Adult Children Living at Home: Almost 25 Percent are Boomerang Kids
If you have an adult child living with you, you are not alone. During “The Great Recession,” 24 percent of all kids age 20 to 34 have gone back home to live with mom and dad—or never launched. This number is up from 17 percent in 1980.
Zhenchao Qian is the author of a recent study and a sociology professor at Ohio State University. "This 'Great Recession' has had tremendous effects that previous smaller recessions did not. The surprise mostly is that it's increasing for every group." Besides economic reasons, kids are staying home longer for the lifestyle—fewer responsibilities and a comfortable place to live.
How has that affected parents? Many feel that their children aren’t gaining valuable life experiences. In an article on adult children in Empowering Parents, J. Elliot comments, “ All of the things I do to try to ‘help’ my 21-year old son (pay his rent, car insurance, etc.) really just get in the way of his independence…” Others speak of a false sense of entitlement—their kids expect to be taken care of indefinitely, and don’t pitch in to help around the house.
Marney Studaker Cordner LMSW and Kim Abraham LMSW explain some of this phenomenon in their article, Failure to Launch: Why So Many Adult Kids Still Live with Their Parents. While the authors acknowledge the affects of the financial downturn on young adults, they also see another disturbing trend: “Over time, our kids have stopped learning to solve problems and entertain themselves because adults are quick to jump in and fix things for them….we’ve gone from caring for our children, to caretaking.” The solution? Help support your adult child in becoming independent. “Shut down the Parent ATM,” advise Studaker-Cordner and Abraham in their series on helping adult kids launch, “and make your boundaries clear. Instead of picturing of your adult child as a little bird whose wings may not hold him up when he leaves the nest, think of him as fully capable of flying.”