More Parents Happy to Keep Kids in Nest

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More Parents Happy to Keep Kids in Nest

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 31 percent said young adults shouldn’t have to be on their own until age 25 or older. In a 1993 Newsweek study, 80 percent of parents pegged that age at 22.

Researchers say the new study is evidence that attitudes are catching up to new norms of adulthood, shaped both by a merciless economy and cultural forces that have been shifting for decades.

“It takes longer to become financially independent these days. Parents are adapting to a new reality,” said Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, who researches the path to adulthood at Clark University’s psychology department in Worcester, Mass. He has led an effort to recognize “emerging adulthood” –– age 18 through the 20s –– as a life stage between adolescence and adulthood, characterized by instability, exploration and often financial help from parents. More parents today wind up supporting their children even into their 30s, he said.

“It’s a bit jarring to them,” said Arnett, who is writing a book for parents of emerging adults. “On the other hand, most of them are willing to provide it and provide it without doing so grudgingly. They see it as necessary to their kids’ success.”

Arnett said that cultural changes since as early as the 1960s have led young adults to delay milestones such as marriage and buying a home. Parents have fewer children and higher incomes than in the past, so they can afford to help, and young people are willing to try more jobs while looking for the right one.

Help from parents can take many forms, such as chipping in for rent, opening the door to move back home or covering health and car insurance. The cellphone plan is often the last tie to be severed, Arnett said.

Source: Columbus Dispatch