Recent research from the Office for National Statistics shows that 3.3 million 20-34 year olds now live with their parents, and a further 500,000 aged 35-64 also live at home.
Is this loss of independence something we should be concerned about? Is it born out of financial need, or are we as parents just making it too attractive a proposition for our young adult children to stay in the family home rather than spread their wings, leave the nest and become independent?
Its a fine balance between being supportive and being over protective, but offering a cushy lifestyle by being too lenient about charging rent, doing their laundry and cleaning their rooms without getting anything back does no-one any favours, even if empty nesters get a warm feeling seeing their nest refilled.
Of course the problems of finding sensibly priced accommodation, of high rents, and trying to save for a deposit are making it hard for youngsters to make ends meet, but as parents we must encourage them to make an effort to gain independence. Instead the stats show that 57% of young adults that live at home have never even tried to move out.
What lends even more weight to the argument that we are making their lives too cushy is that twice as many boomerang kids are male (2.1m) compared to female (1.2). What son wouldn’t like a cushy life where his washing and ironing is done and a meal is on the table when he gets home?
If they are earning, at least charge them rent, even if it isn’t a market rate. Then, if you can afford to, save it up to present them with a nest egg later on when they do move out. This will teach them about how to manage their finances and budget their spending to a realistic level. Sit them down and explain about the costs of living, heating, council tax etc.
Whatever happens encourage them to seek independence – don’t trap them at home with pampering and free accommodation just because you can’t face an empty nest as you will do them no favours.