“And the thing is, Mom, Dad, I've lived upstairs since I was three, and it's been great.” Tripp, Failure to Launch, 2006.
Failure To Launch, a romantic comedy, was nominated for People’s Choice Awards in 2007 for favorite movie comedy. And it was funny but under the humor it addressed a real problem of the rise in young adults, ages 18-31, still living at home.
I was reading the PEW Research report on Social andDemographic Trends and learned that the estimate, in 2012, of young adults between the ages of 18 to 31 still living at home was 36%. Granted, half of home-dwelling millennials are college students, Pew found; most (56%) haven’t hit their 25th birthday yet. Just 16% of adults aged 25-31 live at home. The economy plays into this, as does student debt (average of $27k upon graduation). Still, that’s 26.6 million young adults still living with their parents in 2012.
It boggles the mind.
I was on my own at 18. I was proud of the fact I was living independent of my family. Granted, I didn't have a lot of skills but I had been raised to be a self-sufficient adult and that meant working at whatever job I could to pay my bills. In the early part of my 18th year I lived with a couple of roommates until I could save enough money to buy a car. Once I had a car I moved out and rented a room from an older widow with kitchen privileges. I was attending college and working. It was great not having to share quarters—I had my fill of that. Not long after that, I found a better place renting from a widower who broke his huge house into 3 separate living quarters. I had the bottom half of the house and shared the kitchen with him. I had a four-room apartment and I loved the country setting with a huge yard, lots of trees and flowers, and at least 10 acres between neighbors and me. I could have my dog and my cat with me. The upstairs was a separate apartment and the tenet was an older woman in her 40’s. We all got along well but we had our own apartments to retreat to. There was a feeling of freedom and safety. It was a nice arrangement for a few of years. After college, I moved to take a full time job and my own ground floor apartment. Alas, my dog had to go to my parents’ house for a while. Eventually, I transferred to Virginia Beach and moved into a small house with cat and dog as roommates.
I had been on my own and independent for five years when I met the man who became my husband. I was 23. When we married, I gave up my small house and we found a larger place, ironically, only two streets over from where I had been living. It was a nice subdivision with large yards and close to work and the beach. J
I could not imagine moving back to my parents’ house as a young adult. In my mind that would have said I had failed to um, launch. It would say, I couldn't take care of myself. My parents wouldn't have said no if I needed help. I received no financial help from my parents (who were still raising 7 other children) once I left home. I had to take care of me. It was my turn.
I’m not sharing this as a way of saying, look how good I am/was. It was more to give my mindset after graduating high school. Independence and self-sufficiency was a big thing for me.
But this generation, the Millennial generation born after 1980 and were between the ages of 18 to 31 in age in 2012 seems to be failing to launch. My son is on the tail end of that generation and he’s 18 now. On one hand he wants to be on his own but on other hand, he’s not quite ready to make that leap. I’m not surprised since males tend to take a bit longer than females to mature emotionally and gain their independence. Young women have a tendency to reach certain targets quicker than young men.
This gender gap was addressed in the PEW study, “The men of the Millennial generation are more likely than the women to be living with their parents—40% versus 32%…" There is another study I found interesting and also talks about the gender gap and it was conducted by the BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY, entitled, TwoDecades of Stability and Change in Age at First Union Formation and addresses both the play of gender and education in the process.
I’m not inclined to shove my son out before he’s ready. J However, we have made it a point to let our son know that he needs to make wise decisions that will allow him to live independent of us. I expect him to find his own place and be self-sufficient with in the next couple of years. This past year was vocational college. The next step is finding a job and saving up for a car. I’m not giving him one although I will help. I think one has a greater appreciates for what one has to earn. We've also talked about giving him a section of the property to either build or move in a mobile home until he can build. That won’t happen until he can support himself and has a solid track record of being responsible.
- What are your thoughts on this tendency of this generation and it failure to launch?
"Look, many young men who should be able to move out, simply can't. It's called "failure to launch"…I promise you, when this is over; Tripp is going to be an independent, self-sufficient adult." Paula to Tripp's parents, Failure to Launch, 2006