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Over Half Of Boomer Moms Support Adult Kids

Illustration for article titled Over Half Of Boomer Moms Support Adult Kids

A new survey shows many Baby Boomer moms are supporting their adult kids, financially or otherwise. Should we really be surprised?

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Reuters reports on a survey by research firm The Kitchens Group, showing that over half of moms in the Baby Boom generation provide their kids with financial support. Twelve percent have primary responsibility for one or more grown children's financial upkeep, and 9% have at least one kid living with them indefinitely. There are lots of possible reasons for this, one obvious one being that for young people on the job market today, it's hard to find a job that pays a living wage. However, Liz Kitchens of The Kitchens Group thinks there's more at work than money.

Predictably, Reuters hits the kids-are-lazy hypothesis, quoting 58-year-old mom Denise Beumer: "My son, he can't put the dishes in the dishwasher. It's like they feel it's an entitlement. I'm wondering if I made things too easy for them." Of course, it's possible that some of today's youth are just too coddled to flee the nest (they must exist, people talk about them enough). But it's also possible that young people today are just tighter with their moms than in generations past. Helen Bernstein, whose grown daughter lived with her for a time, says she never would have done the same: "I left home at 17 and never looked back. I felt like once I left my parents' house, I would have been a failure to go back." And Kitchens herself says, "I wasn't completely unhappy when both of my kids bounced back for periods of time," Kitchens said. "I think we've created good dinner companions."

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A wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests that many twentysomethings today are closer to their parents than the Baby Boomers were to those who spawned them — and it's not a shock that with that closeness comes and increased degree of financial enmeshment. This certainly has potential negative consequences — kids' freeloading and the control issues that often spring up around money come to mind. But it's also true that the American economy and the American family both look different than they used to, and maybe it's time to acknowledge the ways these differences could be intertwined.

Baby Boomer Moms Keep Supporting Grown Kids: Survey [Reuters]

Image via Stasys Eidiejus/Shutterstock.com

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DISCUSSION

My mom worked her fingers to the bone cleaning houses as a single parent. I put myself through college (with the help of student loans) and haven't asked for a thing since I was 17. Now that I'm settled and have my teen years more than a decade behind me, I' still am taken aback to hear about how some kids well into their mid-to-late 20s still either get some of their bills paid by their parents or live with their parents. Am I just the anomaly? I mean I get that our poverty growing up may not be the norm but I hated every second of watching my mom work to put food on the table for me and get me new clothes. I wanted it to stop as soon as possible. I'm shocked to hear this statistic. I assumed that most of the cases were just kids who had a bad turn of luck after college who needed a little help in the interim while they found a job or got through graduate school. But with more than HALF of moms supporting their adult kids, there have got to be some freeloaders in there. We're not just talking kids in their first few years out of college.