“According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 31% said young adults shouldn’t have to be on their own until age 25 or older.”

It looks as though kids are in no hurry to leave the nest and parents are not pushing them out.  That is definitely a different way of thinking compared to a generation ago.  This change has probably been precipitated by both the state of the economy and also by the changes we have all witnessed in our culture.

So is this change a reason for concern?  Our answer would be yes and no.   There is no need for immediate concern if a post-teenager is moving toward a legitimate goal. If that’s the case, it may be appropriate for the parent to support that child by providing a place to live or some financial backing.  Both parent and child should know that when the goal of securing employment is reached, the child will become self-supporting.

We would be concerned if the adult child is “holding out for a management position” or “looking for a ‘career’” and not taking advantage of the employment possibilities that are offered. If that is the case it is time for the parent to gently but decidedly severe the financial ties. Parents need to give their kids the opportunity to be independent.

The research suggests that parents aren’t doing too well.  We tend to think of helicopter parents hovering over children on the playground or in junior high and high school – Mom making an appointment with the history teacher to explain that her daughter needs to get an A in the class because she wants to attend Harvard, or Dad button-holing the football coach to demand more playing time for Junior. But this Pew Research indicates that the helicopters are not landing following high school or even college graduation.   Graduates applying for a job or an advanced degree may now find in their interview packets the instruction not to bring their parents to the interviews.  Obviously this is the result of more than one parent showing up!

It’s possible that parents who buy into this extension of adolescence may do so because of their desire to maintain control.  Maybe they believe the lie that continuing to hover is best for their adult child.

If you are the parent of a young child, it is never too early to encourage age-appropriate responsibility.  If the current trend continues, our nests may soon be filled with “children” in their 30’s.  Hmmmm….that would be a very crowded nest!

What are your thoughts of kids returning (or never leaving) the nest?

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