Parents? BFFs? For Millennials and Their Parents, it’s a Blurred Line


My mom is the first person I call with anything—from life-altering events to non-issues (that could possibly turn into issues later, you never know). She’s always willing to listen or lend a helping hand – no matter how lame the situation. We go to wine festivals together each year, serve as the ultimate shopping buddies for one another and constantly laugh at the weirdest inside jokes. The lady is the epitome of a best friend.

It wasn’t always like this, however. As a child/teen, my mom was a straight-up parent who policed whose houses I could visit, and who wouldn’t let me my dye my hair purple. I think the dynamic changed as I prepared to go away to college – I’m not exactly sure.

But what I do know is that I’m not alone in this situation. Tons of my friends call on their parents regularly to talk about a promising first date or a crummy day at work.

Some 55% of millennials reported in Fusion’s 2015 Massive Millennial Poll that they consider one of their parents to be a best friend. It skews higher among women, with 61% stating this is the case.

Ahh, friendship. No wonder so many young people are cool with living at home. A Pew Research Center analysis of Census data found that despite an improved job market, more millennials than ever before are living at home. In the first four months of 2015, a whopping 33% of 18- to 34-year-olds were living in a household headed by a parent or other adult relative (data excludes full-time college students, 18-24).

I’m sure tons of people stay because they can’t afford to move out, but I firmly believe that a lot of young adults enjoy living with their parents/older relatives. What’s not to love about it? For about six months circa 2012-2013, I lived in my mother’s basement, and it was hands down the best living situation of my life. I had a huge room, free dinner, clean laundry, someone to listen to all my nonsensical ranting about millennials, unlimited hugs (I like hugs), etc.

There’s no disputing it: Parents of millennials are likelier to coddle their children than parents of older generations. Maybe they feel sorry of us because of the shitty economic hand we’ve been dealt, or maybe it has something to do with us growing up in this world where events like Columbine and 9/11 permeated everyone with this lingering fear. Either way, based on anecdotes from Boomers, I’ve gathered that our relationships with our parents are different than the ones they had with theirs.

Even if their kids are not living at home, you can bet Boomers are still doing what they can to help their children out. Fully 65% of millennials receive at least some financial assistance from their parents, according to a 2015 Bank of America/USA TODAY poll. Conversely, just 35% of parents reported that they received the same of kind of assistance from their moms and dads at young adulthood.

This is going to come full circle, though. I’ve read several accounts of Boomers having to dip into their retirement savings to help their kids. There’s no doubt that this generation of young adults is going to have to return the favor at some point. Some 42% of millennials told Bank of America/USA Today they think they’ll need to support their parents at least somewhat as they age. And with BFFs like these, I’m sure they’ll be happy to do it.

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