It stated that 26% of young adults (which they classify as from 20 to the MID-30's!!) live at home with their folks. In some parts of the country, like Northern Ireland, that number rises to 36%.
If this was simply because of financial reasons, like the economic downturn, I would be okay with it. If there was some health reason, or an unforeseen tragedy, I would totally understand. If it is a temporary stopgap, no big deal.
But it seems to be other reasons that drive a lot of these perfectly capable men and women (though it is, the study says, far more likely to be a man living with mum and dad), to stay with their parents even after being in the work force for well over 10 years. And I think it's a problem that is already in the US and will continue to grow if we don't make some changes to our own parenting strategies.
Take the 'case study' they quote in the article. He's on the younger end of the spectrum at only 25, but his reason for lingering at his folks house is this: "It was meant to be short-term, but it developed from there, partly for financial reasons - I suddenly had a lot of disposable income and it became quite comfortable."
Do you see the problem? He was expecting a lifestyle his age, experience and job could not afford, so opted to live at his parents house, basically sponging off of them for shelter, utility bills and food, etc., so he could have more money to spend on himself to be 'comfortable.'
That's the kind of mentality we are fostering in our own children when we inundate them with expensive gifts and luxuries (Iphones, Ipads, etc.) and never expect them to contribute or save up or, God forbid, wait! If we don't connect the dots for them between hard work and reward, they will never see it themselves and expect what is not reasonable to expect.
The normal flow of life is NOT: graduate high school, attend college, get a first 'real' job at 22 and buy the house of your dreams (all the while going on expensive vacations, having the latest technology, and driving the fanciest of cars).
And if we let our kids think that IS the natural flow, oh, how they are going to struggle.
It disturbs me how many kids leave high school, having been given a new car to drive and fancy cell phones, etc., and get totally punched in the face when they realize that even with a first 'real' job after college, they must share an apartment and forgo annual trips to Hawaii. They don't 'get it' and often find themselves deep in credit card debt after living the life they have come to expect is their 'due.'
If our kids leave our homes and head into the world without understanding the connection between hard work and reward, or the concept of prioritizing needs over wants, or even the notion that we 'move up' the ladder as we go, we have failed at one of our primary parental responsibilities.
George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) once said something in an interview that has stuck with me. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something like: 'I tell my kids that I am rich, but they are poor.' He was making the point that he has been very careful not to raise children who expect to live off of his success. He could have showered them with every luxury known to man and ensured they never lifted a finger to work, but he wanted MORE for his children. He wants them to pursue their own destinies, fulfill their own purposes, and to feel the pride and accomplishment that comes from doing it on their own merit.
I admire that. And I want to give my kids that gift, too.
Don't get me wrong. . .if our kids ever need us, I hope we will be there for them. But if what they want is a free ride so they can spend whatever money they do make on themselves, while we are footing their other bills. . .well, no thanks.
I love my kids far too much for that.
(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)