Listen: Life skills coach Michele Jones chats with Laura and Duncan.
Parents who let their adult kids live a pampered life at home are reducing their offspring’s chances at success in life – and even their salaries.
Those are the findings of a major survey of 17,000 Australians* which showed that people still living at home above age 25 earn $6000 less than those who fly the nest earlier.
And life skills coach Michele Jones is on a mission to turn the tide.
In a chat with Hope 103.2’s breakfast announcer, Ms Jones said she believes 20 is the ideal age when young people should spread their wings.
“We’ve noticed that the people who do have more of that independence when they’re still living at home, they are well ahead of the game,” she said. “Because they have got life skills and have been learning how to budget and earn income.”
How Young Adults Living at Home are Missing Out
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Around a quarter of all Australians aged 20 to 34 still live with their parents, and in Sydney and Melbourne where property is more expensive, the figure is higher, at 27 percent. Reasons include living costs, tertiary education fees and safety.
But Ms Jones believes the benefits of leaving are far greater than the benefits of staying home.
“Children need to learn to live life instead of always having mum and dad hand it to them on a plate.”
“Parents convince themselves the child staying at home longer will help them save for the purchase of their own home; some even going as far as building a granny flat to accommodate their child, keeping them safe and tending to their every need,” she said.
“In reality, parents are simply sending the message to their child that they are not resourceful or capable to live out in the world on their own and they won’t be successful enough to afford a house without their help.
“Children need to learn to live life instead of always having mum and dad hand it to them on a plate.
“Young adults are missing out on friend-based learning, a sense of building their own community, understanding their value, and are deprived of real life experiences of where they have been successful on their own.”
Stay-at-Homes Less Healthy, Less Wealthy
According to the research, independent young people have greater wealth, with men living at home being around $20,000 worse off and women around $96,000 worse off.
Health is impacted, too.
At Ms Jones’ life coaching business Live Your Best Life, she has many young clients who are struggling to move forward in life because they haven’t had to learn how to be independent.
“We’re having a lot of 22, 23, 24 year olds come to see us, who are on antidepressants, who are stuck, and a lot of them haven’t even held down a full-time job,” she said, “yet they’re highly academic and they’ve got great family grounding and have been really fully supported at home.”
How 20-Somethings Can Become Independent
For young people to move towards independence, parents should stop doing life’s tasks for them, says Ms Jones.
They need to learn life skills like budgeting, cooking, study, healthy sleep, exercise, and a work routine. They also need to spend time with peers and groups offline, to learn social skills, develop their own boundaries and tackle peer pressure.
Other important skills young people need to learn include adult communication, conversation and expressing their values, as well as discovering their gifts and interests.
* The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics survey of 17,000 Australians, otherwise known as the HILDA survey, is conducted by the Melbourne Institute.