Want to Keep Mom and Dad Happy? Move Far, Far Away
Your mama loves you, right? And you take her at face value when she says it’s no trouble at all that you’re still living with her and your dad, sleeping in your old bedroom, ordering your Netflix through their account and eating the last of the pistachio ice cream, because hey, you’re awesome, and who wouldn’t want you around, right?
You might want to check the results of a new study of adult children, their parents, and depression.
As reported at Science Daily, researchers from King’s College, London, examined the rates of depression among parents in Thailand whose children lived nearby and those whose kids had moved to urban centers. They found that parents whose kids flew farther had a 16 percent rate of depression, compared to 27 percent for those with at least one child living nearby. Among parents whose offspring moved away and then moved back home again, the depression rate was 33 percent. Similar results have been found from studies done in China.
So what ever happened to “Empty Nest Syndrome,” in which parents wither up and die when their kids fly the coop? Gah, don’t be so ’90s. It’s been replaced by “Cluttered Nest Syndrome,” since the “boomerang generation” has proven so much more apt to move back home in recent years. (This demographic group has also been called YUCKIES—for “young, unwittingly costly kids”—and our personal fave, the “babygloomers.”)
The co-author of the Thai study, Sureeporn Punpuing, noted that children often returned home because “something had gone wrong in their own lives, such as divorce or job loss”—a situation bound to add to parents’ woes. The authors also cited the satisfaction parents feel when their children are successful and living away from home as having protective anti-depression effects. They did note that in Asian nations, grown children who have moved to urban areas actually send money home to their parents—a practice that would certainly make us more cheerful, but which doesn’t seem likely to take hold in the U.S. anytime soon.