The boomerang child phenomenon has become so commonplace (and the term so commonly used) that “boomerang child” has made it into the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Here’s their definition: “a young adult who returns to live at his or her family home especially for financial reasons.” According to Merriam-Webster, the term was first used in 1988.
The Urban Dictionary, Investopedia, and Wikipedia have definitions of boomerang children, boomerang, and the boomerang generation, respectively, but I believe this is the first time the term has made it into a “serious,” print-based dictionary. It looks like both the trend, and the term, are here to stay.
A recent opinion piece by Mark Steyn on Macleans.ca talked about the impacts of adult children living at home, pegged to the story of Giancarlo Casagrande, a 60-year-old Italian father who has been ordered by the Italian court to pay support to his 32-year-old daughter until she finishes her thesis — which she’s been working on for eight years.
This might sound utterly bizarre, but it’s simply an extreme example of the cultural shifts that have allowed adult children living at home to become such a problem all over the world (and it is a problem — statistics show that there are numerous financial and emotional consequences for both the parents and the adult child).
As Steyn says in his piece:
If you’re a 30-year-old Japanese gal or 38-year-old Italian guy, why move out of the house? You’ve got all the benefits of adulthood (shagging, boozing, your own TV) with none of the responsibilities (cooking, laundry, property tax bills). We’ve created a world in which a 37-year-old Italian male can stroll into a singles bar, tell the chicks he lives at his mum and dad’s place in the same bedroom he’s slept in since he was in grade school—and he can still walk out with a hot-looking babe. This guy would have been a laughingstock at any other point in human history.
To read the rest of Steyn’s piece, click here.
This cheeky graphic comes from a recent article in the Globe and Mail. And in case you’re wondering what the secret is — it’s you.
The article talks about a study published last month in the Journal of Marriage and Family that looked at the relationships of 633 Philadelphia-area parents, aged 40 to 60, and their 1,384 children, aged 18 to 33.
The findings? Of those 18- to 33-year-old adult children, 76% got domestic help monthly, and 79% got money most months. That’s more than three quarters of 18- to 33-year-olds still getting regular financial support from mom and dad!
The article also introduces us to a couple of families where the moms seem happy to continue baking and doing laundry for their adult children. If this describes you, keep in mind that your adult children will need to learn to do their own laundry some day — and you’re really not helping them to become independent by continuing to care for them as if they are small children.
You can read the whole Globe article here.
From the Guardian:
A 32-year-old woman who lives with her mother and has been working on her thesis for eight years, has successfully sued her 60-year-old father for a living allowance, to continue until her thesis is complete.
Full article here.
I’m pleased to announce that I have recently launched a new book for adult children supporting aging parents at home.
In this valuable new guide, I’ve adapted my strategies that have worked so well for communicating with boomerang kids and completely reworked them to provide a communication plan for adult children and their aging parents.
You can find more information about Communication Strategies for Adult Children with Aging Parents Living at Home, or order a copy, here.
There’s quite a lot of uproar going on right now about a brochure released by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK, urging parents to show “tough love” to their boomerang kids or other adult children living at home. The brochure says that parents shouldn’t nag (it’s not effective), but that they should cut back on the support they provide to boomerang kids to encourage them to step up to the plate and take care of themselves.
Much of the advice overlaps what I say in my book. The difference is that those who buy my book do so because they are looking for tips to make the situation of living with adult children work — meaning that they have some concerns about the situation or are already experiencing stress related to their living arrangements. Spending government money on a substantial glossy brochure to offer this advice to all parents of boomerang kids seems a bit much.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can download the brochure, called “Parent Motivators,” here: www.direct.gov.uk/graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for young adults over age 25 was 8.5% in August. Nine years ago, that rate was just 3%.
For younger adults, the situation is even worse. In August, the national unemployment rate for 18-19-year-olds was a full 25%.
With youth unemployment rates at these levels, it’s no wonder that so many young adults are living with their parents. For tips on how to make the situation more livable for your family, check out our free report on the 8 Most Dangerous Mistakes Parents Make When Their Adult Child Lives at Home by filling out the box on the top right of this page.
A new survey from CreditCards.com shows that 20% of fathers would help their children to pay off $20,000 or more in debt, even without expecting to be repaid. Just 12% of mothers said they would make the same decision.
In both cases, parents were willing to help pay off credit cards, a mortgage, or student loans, and were much less likely to help pay off gambling debts.
You can read an article about the survey here.
More research on adult children living at home has just come in from Australia. This time, it’s from Bankwest, and the results are a bit scary — but even more so are the quotes from Gen Y kids in an article about the survey published in the Herald Sun.
First, the findings from the survey, as published in the Herald Sun:
- Parents are forking out $6000 a year to support their stay-at-home children.
- Only 42 per cent pay rent and of those, the average amount is just $70 per week.
- 60 per cent of parents think their kids don’t pull their weight around the house.
- Almost half of parents felt they were taken for granted by their children kids.
- More than half of Gen Ys said they could not afford to move out and 39 per cent said they liked the extra perks of homemade dinners and getting their laundry done.
It’s that last stat that probably gets the hackles of parents up. If it’s got you fuming, check out this quote from a Gen Y-er from the article:
“It’s nice having somebody take care of you a bit: laundry, dinner, a clean house, not having to do too much and obviously the money side.”
You can read the entire article here.
A new survey from St George Bank in Australia shows that 50% of parents are unable or unwilling to provide as much financial support to their kids than they did before the global economic crisis.
Jason Rose, a real estate agent in Australia provides some interesting analysis of this situation on his blog. He says that among the impacts are the fact that adult children will live at home longer, and adults will be much older when they buy their first homes.
You can read his blog post here.