Even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of 18-to-29-year-olds living with their parents was increasing. High rent, college debt, and paralyzing societal (and parental) expectations — now exacerbated by the pandemic’s disruptions —are making it hard for some young men to leave home. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, senior research scholar in psychology, weighs in on “Fighting the Failure to Launch in Young Adults” in AARP The Magazine.
“It’s perfectly fine for parents to ask hard questions like, ‘How do you see your life a year from now, three to five years from now?’” says Arnett, who originated the theory of emerging adulthood as a distinct life stage between ages 18 and 29. “A 19-year-old struggling with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ is normal,” but a stuck 29-year-old may be trapped in unrealistic expectations of waltzing into a well-paid dream job. “At some point you have to go to work, be financially self-sufficient and enjoy your job as best you can,” Arnett says.