When 20-Somethings Move Back Home, It's Not Such a Horrible Thing, Study Says

Filed under: In The News, Social & Emotional Growth: Teens

It's OK if they move back in! Credit: Getty Images

If you happen to look out your window only to find a moving van backing up into your driveway with your 20-something son hopping out and saying "Hey, Mom, I'm back," you're in good company.

But here's the thing to know: Your kid is not a slacker. And you're not a helicopter landing pad or his maid. You're a safety net.

So says a new study that finds young adults are heading back to the homestead in rising numbers -- and that it's alright, Time magazine reports.

The researchers studied 712 young adults ages 24 to 32 and found that financial help for mid-20-somethings is just a stop-gap, with almost half of them receiving either money, moving expenses or living with their parents.

But, by the time they reached 30, only 10 to 15 percent received help, Time reports.

"Today, the road to adulthood is much longer and more arduous than it was 30 years ago," study author Teresa Swartz says in a in a statement describing the study, which appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family. "Parental aid serves as 'scaffolding' to help young people who are working towards financial self-sufficiency and as 'safety nets' for those who have experienced serious difficulties."

A growing number of studies have pointed to the rising unemployment and recessionary economic forces that have spiked the trend of young adults moving back home, as well as the rise in extended families living under one roof, Parent Dish reported last September.

More than 49 million Americans -- that's more than one in six people -- live in households with three or more generations, according to a Pew Research study. The percentage is even higher for age groups including 25- to 34-year-olds, and those 65 and older, where one in five, or 20 percent, live in extended families. The study also finds that from 2007 to 2008, the number of Americans living in a multi-generational family household grew by 2.6 million.

The good news: The new study counters criticism that these young adults are indulgent and prolonging their dependence on Mom and Dad, researchers tell Time. Instead, parents are simply responding to the current economic reality, they add.

"In an economy that requires advanced education for good jobs, parents are more likely to aid their children when they are students," Swartz says in the statement. "As the labor market offers fewer opportunities for stable, full-time, well-paid work for the young, parents often fill in when needed."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.