By Mark Falanga
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In the United States, moving back in with your parents is generally not a good thing. According to Jerry Seinfeld, “There’s no way that moving in with your parents is a sign that your life is right on track. There’s no way you could fake this, ‘Yeah, things are going great. I met a terrific girl, I got a great job making a lot of money, and if everything goes according to plan… I’m going to be moving back in with my parents soon.’”
Yet, that’s what 85 percent of college seniors are looking forward to upon graduating, which is a much higher percentage than it was in 2006, when it was only 67 percent. There are many factors for this sudden migration back home. Simply stated, the jobs just aren’t there. The unemployment rate for young adults, age 16 to 24, is at a staggering 16.8 percent. What’s worse is that many of them have simply stopped looking for work, simply because there’s not enough opportunities out there. Living at home sometimes is the only choice left for this age group.
This scenario is not unique to Americans, but the rest of the world as well. In Japan, many parents blame themselves for not raising their children to be independent. In Spain, politics seems to be the problem, as the only jobs available for young adults are short-term, low paying jobs that can’t help recent graduates afford a place of their own. In Italy, kids are coming back, but for a slightly different reason: their families want them to. In fact, it’s seen as a sign of stability that a family stays together and the only time a child leaves is to find work elsewhere in the country.
With the rise in these multi-generation homes, this naturally causes difficulties with parents who were looking forward to retiring and now suddenly have another mouth to feed. It’s a problem for the children as well, who want the same freedom as they had when they were on their own and now feel suffocated their parents’ house.
Some parents do find benefits to living with their adult children. They can help with the chores, take grandparents to appointments, cook meals, and even take care of the laundry or the family pet. Also, some parents enjoy the interaction with their children’s friends.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Susan Denley says that neither she nor her son’s friends mind if she and her husband are there for one of their son’s parties.
“We enjoy their company and that of their friends” said Denley, “This is still our house, so we get to set the rules. But there’s something nice about being around young people that I don’t think we’d be experiencing if our kids were gone.”
However, there are some parents that are less than enthused about this new living arrangement. Many find that when their children move back home, they expect the same treatment as when they were children. It’s apparently enough of a problem that websites like Boomerang Kids Help have tips for how to deal with their adult children who are “burdensome freeloaders.”
The site offers a downloadable contract you can print out and make your child sign (at a cost of $14.95). The contract states rules that cover chores, having friends over, vehicle usage, and financial obligations.
One aspect that both adult children and parents feel is that the act of coming back home is only a temporary living arrangement, that will hopefully not need to be repeated. Fortunately, there seems to be a bright outlook on the economy in 2013. On March 5, the stock market closed at a record high and many hope that with stocks edging higher, companies will start to create more jobs which will hopefully turn these boomerang kids into shooting stars.