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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 00:38 GMT 01:38 UK
Parenting 'goes on beyond childhood'
family
Letting go is not easy, even if parents want to
Parenting is a role which often continues long after children have first flown the nest, a new survey has suggested.

A quarter of all 20-somethings questioned for the study admitted to returning home twice or more after first making the break for independence.

Factors such as money, class and relationships seemed to have a significant impact on whether, and how frequently, a child returned to stay at the family home.

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) studied the "in-between" phase between a child growing up at home and becoming an elderly adult dependant on care from their offspring.

'Open return ticket'

In the poll by YouGov, commissioned by the SMF, just over 1,000 people aged between 20 and 30 were quizzed on their relationship with their parents after leaving home.

Some 23% - one in four - admitted they still lived with their parents.

A total of 28% of men questioned were living with their parents compared to 18% of women.

And 54% of those surveyed who were living at home with their parents said they were content to be doing so.


Our research reveals a more complex picture of continued family contact and interdependency

Roger Wicks, Social Market Foundation

One in four said they had gone back twice or more, while one in eight had returned three times or more.

The research suggested a growth in the "open return ticket" for offspring to head back to the parental home.

The foundation says a new social trend is emerging, which it describes as "lifelong parenting".

Even those who did not return home admitted to receiving cash from their parents after moving out.

Cashflow problems

The highest proportion - 43% - said they now lived with their partner, but many had chosen to return home at some stage after first leaving.

Those still at home gave various reasons for opting to stay with their parents as young adults.

Young adults living with
Partner - 43%
Parents - 23%
Friends/housemates - 15%
Alone - 13%
Sibling - 2%
*Source: YouGov
SMF research fellow Roger Wicks said greater job insecurity, and the rising costs of education and housing were all factors affecting a young person's choice of where to live.

"When asked for the main reason for not having left home, 59% said it was that they could not afford to move out," he said.

He added that the break-up of relationships, often with a heavy financial burden, could also contribute to the return home of many 20-somethings.

Three in 10 of those in clerical, services, supervisory or manual employment lived with their parents.

Of those in professional or managerial jobs, only 17% were still at the parental home.

"Our research reveals a more complex picture of continued family contact and interdependency, which lends support to the view that the family is not dying out," said Mr Wicks.

The family unit had evolved in order to survive, leading to a new "contract" between parents and their children in their 20s.

The research was carried out in association with Lever Faberge UK and involved 1,044 people aged between 20 and 30.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Westhead
"Far from being in decline the family is getting stronger"
Co-author of the report Jessica Asato
and Elaine Tiwari, who lives with her parents, discuss reasons young adults continue to live at home
See also:

26 Jul 01 | Business
05 Jul 01 | Business
27 Nov 00 | Business
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