Take a moment to think back to when you were a young adult. Or, if you’re a young adult today, imagine your parents at your age. Between all the memes and jokes about Boomers and Gen X’ers graduating college and starting a job at 21, then starting a family and owning a home by 24, lies a grain of truth.
As it turns out, children today are more attached to their parents than they were several decades ago. And the attachment isn’t negative or overly dependent; it’s actually quite healthy. According to a recent post by Medical Daily, the mix of technology, a tough job market, and a greater emphasis on education instead of raising a family has driven children closer to their parents.
The implications on child psychological development are many, and must be responsibly acknowledged by both parents and their older children. With a third of young adults (18-25 years old) living at home, parents may not easily realize the developmental line between their young child and their rapid entry into adulthood. Predictably, smothering young adults like they are young children can have undesirable consequences as they transition into the workforce.
But why are so many grown children living at home in the first place? It’s not because they’re feckless and lazy. Instead, culture now emphasizes the knowledge over property. It’s the norm for kids to pursue an undergraduate education. And with the economy and job market taking a turn for the worse towards the end of the last decade, it makes sense that recent graduates are moving back home.
Equally important is the increasing age of marriage. Instead of marrying in the early 20’s, young adults are staying single for longer while they get more footing on their careers. Because of a lack of marital or familial obligations, they can continue to have frequent interactions with their parents.
Technology also brings parents and children closer together than ever before. Even for those not living at home, they are able to stay in touch thanks to the ubiquitousness of mobile phones, video phones like Skype, and social networks such as Facebook.