Boomerang Babies: Is it OK to move back home as an adult?

By Brigida Mack - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -- It's the time any parent will tell you they look forward to: being an empty nester. You've finally gotten the kids out of the house and standing on their own two feet.

But what happens when they need you again? Especially if it means you ponying up some green or even moving back home.

A new study shows it's a lot more common than it used to be and that the old myth that 20-somethings are lazy and can't cut it in the real world if they turn to Mom and Dad for help.

Nearly half of all young adults studied got financial help or lived with their parents in their mid-20s according to a new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The findings don't surprise sociologists like, Dr. Lisa Walker, chair of UNC-Charlotte's Sociology Department.

"Historically, people stayed home longer, lived in extended families," she said. "It's only been since the mid-20th century that we've had this model that you're adult now, go prove that you're an adult."

Evan Ocheltree, a twenty-something living in Charlotte, found himself floundering a bit after college and moved back home for a few months.

"I probably would have rushed into something that I didn't want to do," he recalled. "So I kinda took my time, kind of wanted to decide where I wanted to be...and my parents were very supportive of that."

Ocheltree's experience is the kind Dr. Walker points to when making the point that having your parents as a safety net can be a good thing.

"For most people if it's paired with a healthy relationship with your parents, it actually can be very positive," she said. "It can lead you toward thinking about what the right next step is."

But she cautions there's fine line between needing help and being too dependent on your parents.

"Moving back in with no plan and no end is sight," said Walker. "That's a very different situation. And leads to the parents enabling."

The study also found the number of adult children needing helping in their 30s dropped drastically, with along 10 to 15 percent needing assistance from their parents.

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