We Can’t Be That Bad – They Keep Coming Back!

baby birdI’m sure that if times were not so tough, the offspring of baby boomers would likely prefer any option to moving back home, but for some generations that often despise us, they sure find it easy to come back home.

By most objective accounts (and in a sweeping generalization), these are young adults whose every whim was catered to, who got used to pass/fail evaluations, who were told that everyone is a winner, and who received beaucoup largesse from very accommodating parents.

The same parents who left their own nests when it was their time and who hardly looked back. We were drafted, we went to Canada, joined communes, found whatever jobs we could get, and somehow survived. In fact, we survived so well that when we had our own children, we were able to indulge them in a way not seen before. We drove them to all their activities and showed up for every game, play, or recital. We paid, and paid, and paid.

So why should we wonder that they don’t want to leave home or keep returning to the nest? The “dependent déjà vu” phenomenon isn’t just a function of a tough economy. Boomer offspring have been trained from an early age to rely on their parents, and that imprinting has now come home to roost (if you can stand any more of the birds nest metaphor). You’re still feeding and clothing them, paying for the utilities they are using (including the cell phones they need to talk and talk when they’re not texting), baby birdsand giving them a roof over their heads.

According to a Pew Research Center study, nearly 1 in 7 parents with grown children say they had a ”boomerang kid” move back home in the past year. Roughly one-third, or 35 percent, of boomerang kids said they had lived independently at some point in their lives but had to move back in with their parents. About half of the grown children worked full- or part-time, while 25 percent were unemployed and 20 percent were full-time students. They even have their own acronym. NIKE. No Income Kids With Education.

About 20 million people ages 18 to 34 live at home with their parents — roughly 30 percent of that age group. That’s up from about 18 million, or 27 percent, in 2005.

You wanted to be a big part of their lives. You have been granted your wish.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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