Survey: Parents and Kids Attached at the Hip and Pocketbook

PHOTO: Brenda Bass and her daughter Morgan Roper are close, communicating several times a week via email, text and Skype.

Morgan Roper and her mother, Dr. Brenda Bass, are in touch at least once a day via phone, text or email, and there are few subjects they can't openly talk about -- even sex and dating.

Bass is a pediatrician, living in Los Angeles, and her 24-year-old daughter works as a production coordinator for "Dora the Explorer" in New York City, but the distance doesn't stand in the way of their closeness.

"Yesterday I talked to her four times," said Roper. "Some days when I am having a crisis, then I call Mom. I come up with a good solution and then get her advice."

A survey of 1,034 young adults (aged 21 to 26) and 1,229 parents (aged 47 to 66) published in the latest issue of AARP The Magazine shows that boomers are much more communicative with their 20-something children than they were with their own parents at that age.

The online survey, "Parents and Kids: Then and Now," finds that 31 percent of today's young adults communicate with their parents more than once a day; only 13 percent of their parents said they were in touch with their own parents daily.

The survey is accompanied by an article, "Are You Too Close to Your Kids?" In it, AARP asks if today's parents are too attached to their adult children, hindering their independence.

Though Bass, 57, admits she felt close to her own mother, the nature of technology has changed parent-child communication.

"When I was in college, I had to stand in line at the pay phone on Sundays, which is when most of the people talk to their parents," said Bass. "That would be our weekly chat."

But sometimes Bass has to stop herself before jumping in to support her daughter financially or make decisions for her, resisting the kind of helicopter parenting for which the boomer generation is notorious.

The survey showed that 60 percent of today's young adults got together with their parents at least once a week; 79 percent said they were comfortable discussing emotional life events; and 81 percent felt comfortable sharing information about their finances.

Both boomer parents (53 percent agreeing) and their children (63 percent) were divided on the statement: "It's better for young adults to live with their parents then to struggle on their own."

"For the last couple of years, we have been bombarded with media reports and all kinds of musings on kids coming back home, and what that means for boomers and the difficulties of young kids getting jobs," said deputy editor Marilyn Milloy about AARP's decision to conduct the survey. "We tried to figure out a new way to look at this."

AARP concludes that millennials are experiencing a new stage of development from their parents' generation -- "emerging adulthood," a term coined by Clark University psychology professor Jeffrey Arnett.

"When I was 18 and went off to college there was absolutely no expectation that I would be coming back home -- you were on your own," said Milloy. "You had some contact with your parents, but you pretty much survived on your own."

"I couldn't get out of the house fast enough," said Milloy. She is now the mother of two college-aged children, who still live at home.

"Jeffrey Arnett suggests we really have given short shrift to what is really happening to kids in that period from 18 to 29 -- it's a period of searching and self-discovery, particularly now in a time so complex, where the job market is dicey," she said. "There are so many options for our kids on a number of fronts, sexual choices and work choices, that they need more guidance than ever."

December's Millennial Jobs Report reveals that youth unemployment is at 11.5 percent, according to Generation Opportunity, an organization that advocates for young adults.

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