Parents who continue to support children into their 20s aren't over-indulgent or raising "slacker" kids, according to a new University of Minnesota study. Rather, U of M researchers found that parents who provide extended support actually help their children achieve autonomy and self-reliance.
Half of young adults in their mid-20s received financial support for housing from their parents or lived with their parents, according to the study, which collected data over time on young adults. However, the likelihood of financial support declined by 15 percent each year and the likelihood of living with parents decreased by 18 percent each year. Only 10 to 15 percent of the young adults still needed any such support from their parents in their early 30s.  
“The fact that young people depend so heavily upon their parents well beyond the age when most people from earlier generations had already started families and had dependable jobs has triggered a great deal of public anxiety over whether these trends signal young adult immaturity and stunted development,” says sociology professor and study author Teresa Swartz. “The larger social trends in delaying family formation may be one reason for the extended dependence upon parents. Today, the road to adulthood is much longer and more arduous than it was 30 years ago.”
The authors found that this extended support provided the "safety nets" for young adults as they gained the advanced degrees and training needed to compete in the current employment market.
The findings, being published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, are based on the Youth Development Study that started in 1988 and tracked St. Paul public school students starting in ninth grade. The study, which started with 1,010 adolescents, continued to follow them annually into their mid-30s.
The U of M research focused on the period of time when these young adults were ages 24 to 32. That period of time covered the rise and burst of the bubble, followed by the improved economy that preceded the latest recession.

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