According to an article in the New York Times by Anna Bahney, many recent books and a study by the Institute of Social Research conducted by the University of Michigan, a growing number of parents are financially supporting their children well into adulthood, meaning into their 20s and, in some cases, even their 30s.
Along with this observation come plenty of questions: What accounts for this phenomenon? Is it a problem? Is it only natural?
Being a full-time student with a part-time job, I’ll admit that my parents willingly financially support me, and I accept their help with open arms. I’m not sure that I will need their aid after I graduate, but I feel reassured knowing that they will be there if I have trouble fully leaving the nest right away.
Is this the mind-set of a spoiled, overprivileged 21st-century brat? Do adolescents and young adults think that they have it made for them because their parents are willing to pay for their lives while they’re kicking back and enjoying the benefits? I don’t believe so.
If parents today are able to provide financial support for their children, then why shouldn’t they? Well, obviously there are some limitations. Just like many of my peers’ mothers and fathers, my parents have made it painfully clear that if I drop out of school or graduate and then decide on being a couch potato for my profession, the bank of mom and dad will be officially closed for business. Basically, any kind of support, monetary or otherwise, comes with a price.
Parents house, feed and clothe their children all through elementary and high school, and this is considered perfectly normal. In recent years, this support system has been extended not because parents are spoiling their children, but because they want the best for them. With financial support from family, young adults now have more options.
In other words, I won’t have to scramble to pick up the first job open to me because I feel pressured to independently support myself right away.
That extra help from my parents doesn’t only help pay for food and rent, but it helps to support my passions because I won’t have to abandon them for fear of ending up homeless.
As long as a person is headed in some direction and is actively looking to develop a sense of self and independence, I don’t see anything wrong with their parents helping them financially.
My parents will support me financially as long as they feel that they aren’t flushing dollar bills down the toilet. Put simply, as long as I show my gratitude by utilizing their money to build my own life, they will be willing to help me.
So to answer the question of whether this growing number of young adults depending on their parents is a problem, I would say, generally speaking, no. The agreement between parents who give money to their children and the children who take the money from their parents should be built on mutual care for each other’s well-being.
My parents provide for me financially because they care about my future, and I use their money for school and try to show them that it’s going to good use because I’m grateful.
And who knows? In the future, if my parents should ever need my help financially, I would be more than happy to give it to them. Parents shouldn’t feel obligated to dish out money just because their kid wants it, and children shouldn’t look at their parents as ATMs.
In addition to all of this, it may be a good sign that parents are even willing to financially take care of their children because it shows that family ties are not completely gone. In a time when divorce rates are high, it is easy to lose faith in the closeness of family.
I don’t believe that the increase of young adults supported by their parents is causing a lazier or less-driven population. On the contrary, I see it as an opportunity for people to more freely discover their own sense of self and independence.
Because more people are in less of a rush to get out on their own, more individuals can find a job that truly makes them happy.
Linda Domingo is a third-year English major.