There was an article in the paper recently that said Millennials are living with their parents longer than ever before, and for the first time on record more 18-34 year olds are living with their parents than on their own.  

This has implications for many aspects of society: the housing market is sluggish because Millennials aren’t buying and there are no empty nesters to downsize and sell; it has lessened the demand for apartments, and fewer people are working in jobs because they don’t have the pressing need to pay rent. Millennials are also delaying marriage, which in turn delays raising a family, and we will see repercussions from that for a long time to come.

The author speculates that many are living with their parents post-college due to heavy debt loads from their time in higher education. Another theory is that low wages in jobs prohibits workers from being able to afford high apartment costs or living on their own.

I think another possible answer is that Millennials have not developed sufficient life skills to claim their independence. As more and more schools embrace intrusive advising and success coaches, colleges get further away from being a laboratory for development of resilience, maturity and perseverance. Young people are not left on their own to fail, or to figure out the consequences when they do. They don’t have as many opportunities to develop what Angela Duckworth calls “grit”, a stamina and tenacity that comes from sticking with something that is hard work. Many Millennials have been nurtured and even coddled for their whole lives, and they leave college without the confidence that they can make it in the “real world” because they haven’t gained experiences that tested their mettle  in the “pseudo real world” of a campus.

It’s touching that Millennials have such a comfortable relationship with their parents and that families provide a safety net for so many. But just as baby birds are meant to leave the nest, I believe Millennials are meant to become engaged citizens and contributing consumers in their own right. Before they are 40. 

What role can you play in helping that to happen?

– beth triplett

Source: Goodbye, empty nest: Millennials staying longer with parents by Christopher S. Rugaber for the Associated Press in the Telegraph Herald, May 25, 2016, p.6B.

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