Is it our fault? This home issue is affecting us and our adult children 81



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This epidemic is affecting not only our adult children’s lives, but ours as well…. So who is to blame?

Academics and experts have gone beyond saying adult children living at home in their 20s and 30s as just a phase – they’re now calling it a societal phenomenon.

“This is not just an Australian phenomenon. In fact, across the entire Western world we are finding young adult children living with their parents much later than they were 20, 50 years ago,” said associate professor Cassandra Szoeke of the University of Melbourne, reports the ABC.

Professor Szoeke and lead researcher Katherine Burn reviewed 15 years’ worth of academic studies of Boomerang and Failure to Launch children and their parents, with a sample size of more than 2 million people.

Across the Western world, more emphasis is being placed on education so that young people can get a good job – they often stay at home longer because they feel they can’t afford to live out of home while they study.

Many young adults do not believe they can afford to live and study without family support, said the researchers. Also, never-married or divorced adult children are more likely to live at home, and one study found an increased number of unmarried adults could explain the high stay at home rate.

Interestingly, both aspiring full-time workers and those who are unemployed are likely to stay at home.

The most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of young adults moving away from has fallen dramatically.

Professor Szoeke said tension arises when parents suggest the children should leave because of the stigma.

“People have thought if you’re a Boomerang child, it’s a failure. In fact, even the American wording, failure to launch, implies there’s a negative aspect,” she said.

Professor Szoeke said young adults and parents should talk about what the ground rules are, and sort out who is expected to do what.

“I think as a society and culture we have to start talking about the fact that this is so prevalent,” she said.


Tell us, who do you think is to blame for “failure to launch” children?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. I think if the parents are ACCEPTING the responsibility and can afford for their adult children to live in the family home it is no one else’s business.

    10 REPLY
  2. Yes it’s the parents fault, if it’s easy & cheap for the kids to stay, they’d be mad not to, & a lot of parents are happy for them to stay as long as they want..I was sad when mine left home.

    1 REPLY
    • I was really happy to get rid of the last one – I thought he’d end up moving into a nursing home with us the way he was going 🙂

  3. It would be interesting to find out more about which young adults are doing it. Are they mostly city based, does the cost of paying back student loans influence this, does the extremely high cost of housing in some cities make it more common in those cities. One of ours was a boomerang coming and going a few times.

  4. My children always welcome to come home! Had very successful times when they have needed to be home for a while!

  5. Who do I think is to blame for “failure to launch” children? The Gen X’s born in the late 60s early 70s were protected as their parents experienced the squeeze which by the end of the 80’s had pushed world interest rates to the high teens.

    These Xs then got married in the late 80s early 90s and experienced the continuous growth for 22+ years so there are folks now who are starting families who have lived in a land of milk and honey with excess to spend big on discretionary items and expect to buy a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3 car garage house for next to nothing on low interest.

    Time and time again I head these Gen Xs saying to their children “You can stay at home for as long as you like”. Even talking about extensions to houses to accommodate this.

    All I can say is Good Luck. B|

    3 REPLY
    • I think it’s also the fault of the parents, they don’t want to let go and it’s unhealthy for all concerned.

    • Lee Horrocks Most definitely. I hear my step daughter say it all the time now her husband has been retrenched and as a 50+ jobs have dried up so the incoming is reduced while the mindset remains with Alice in “Milk and Honey” Land.

      I keep my lips zipped. 😉

  6. My daughter has come home to live with me. She is divorced, and at around 50 her fibromyalgia had become so painful she could no longer work. She was put on Newstart, and so could afford accommodation, or food and clothing, but not both, so I arranged for her to live with me in my retirement village. When I die, she will have one month to find alternative accommodation.

    6 REPLY
    • Thanks, Anne. After several years and three tries, she finally has been given a Disability Allowance. She is saving up as much as possible for when I die.

    • Ann Cleveland-Dunn I don’t think the widows pension exists any more. They put you on Newstart when you separate.

    • If she is 50 now, why can’t she stay in the retirement home when you pass away? She should be old enough.

    • She’d have to buy a unit for herself, and then pay annual “maintenance” fees of around $5000. She won’t have sufficient money for that. My meagre estate will be shared equally between her and her two brothers.

  7. This is actually misleading because going back 45 years ago when I first came to Australia I had lived at home with my parents. In the UK it was normal to live at home until you got married. It amazed me that 18 years old kids were sharing with strangers a lot of the time.

    2 REPLY

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