The frazzled generation

In this era the past 20-somethings remain mired too often in protracted adolescence. That, plus other factors, are entailing a frazzled generation.

Hundreds of thousands in Canada and millions in the United States well past their teens are living with their parents.

This is a new trend so prevalent that no longer does it cause any embarrassment among youths. According to anecdotal evidence this situation is the same in Britain and especially true in Italy.

The sluggish economy, high housing costs and the difficulties in finding suitable employment, are mainly to blame for so many moving back to their parents’ house.

Family life in too many instances nowadays is being disrupted. Many are finding that they are having to take care of their elderly parents who are living longer and consequently need all kinds of care.

Often the middle aged believed at last they were free of any family obligations and could pretty much do as they pleased, devoid of taking care of their offspring. Yet, the so-called sandwich generation is beset by their renewed liabilities, leading to delayed retirement with careers that seem non-ending.

The effects of these changes permeated not only the youngsters in their 20s, but extended to middle age and beyond for those burdened by these shifts.

While most of us welcome family continuity, not many 50-year-olds wish to be confronted by the cries and demands of infants. Frazzled families now apparently must contend with a seemingly never-ending necessity to help out.

The group of young people have the option of living with their parents while paying off their debt and saving for a down payment for a house. Also, youngsters frequently have been encumbered by their student debt.

The 25 to 34 age category is being helped to buy a house by parents who fund down payments and/or assist with monthly charges. So many purchases currently are made by installment loans.

This is the first generation in decades that the parents are better off than the children, so those parents very often are writing cheques.

What is to be done?

The exhausted older people would like a more enlightened attitude among employers to provide flexible working hours. More businesses might supply daytime nurseries. Perhaps too this new trend might lead to closer family ties.

In any event, there are many ramifications that are developing, calling for more attention by all concerned.


Bruce Whitestone