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Adult children at home: spoiled kids or a close-knit family?

According to a new study, more than half of boomer-generation mothers support their grown children financially, and 60 per cent are the ones their children rely on when problems arise.

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Are you a mother who was born during the baby boom? If so, chances are you were fully independent from your parents by the time you were in your mid-20s. And chances are your own adult children still rely on you for financial support.

According to a survey from the Kitchens Group (a research firm in Florida), more than half of boomer-generation mothers, ages 46 to 65, support their grown children financially, and 60 per cent are the ones their children rely on when problems arise, Reuters reports.

By contrast, 86 per cent of those same women were completely independent from their parents by the age of 25, the online survey of 441 U.S. women found.

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These numbers aren't too far off Canadian statistics. The last available data on Canadian households, from the 2006 census, revealed that 60 per cent of young adults aged 20 to 24 were living in their parental home, compared with just less than 50 per cent in 1986. Among slightly older adults, aged 25 to 29, 26 per cent were living with their parents, compared with less than 16 per cent two decades earlier.

But is it a bad thing that kids are delaying their independence? Is it a sign of uncertain times, and a new generation that can't fend for itself? Or is it an indication that boomers and their children have better relationships than previous generations?

Liz Kitchens, a Kitchens Group partner, suggests it may the latter.

"I wasn't completely unhappy when both of my kids bounced back for periods of time," Ms. Kitchens told Reuters. "I think we've created good dinner companions."

Denise Beumer, 58, a mother of six adult children, offered a different view.

"I didn't expect my mother to treat me like a child," Ms. Beumer told the news agency. "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."

What do you think? Is supporting your adult child a good thing or a bad thing?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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