The “Millennial” generation goes by a number of names that reference a growing trend among us.  “Boomerang Generation,” “Growing-ups,” and the “Go-Nowhere Generation” have all been used to describe the growing trend of adults living with their parents.

More adult “children” are living at home than ever before.  It’s reaching levels that we’ve not seen before, with Gallup reporting that 29% of adults under 35 years old live with their parents.

There are several ways these numbers interrelate, but in addition, the effective unemployment rate for 18-29 year-olds is at a staggering 15.5%.  That means 15% of millennials are in-between jobs, looking for work but unable to find it, wandering aimlessly, or have given up looking for work entirely.

I realize there are a lot of factors that help create these numbers, but one in particular has become rather irksome to me.

Our parents’ generation has to stop propping us up.

That’s right, moms and dads.  You’ve got to stop, because it’s crippling us.  It will be years before sociologists can measure the results of what has happened from this phenomenon, but here are a few consequences I think they’ll see:

1) We’re not going to reach our full potential.  Millennials will never reach their full potential as long as your hands are under our collective backside giving us a boost.  No one will reach their potential if not pushed, challenged, stretched.  Baby birds don’t fly if they never leave the nest.

2) It’s shielding us from consequences.  We know you love us, moms and dads.  We know that the expansion of wealth in this country has enabled you to have more than enough so you can share with us, and that’s great.  But propping up our lifestyle, allowing us to live at home indefinitely, and giving us “stuff” are falsely shielding us from consequences, making transition into true adulthood more difficult and traumatic when it happens, and opens us up for bigger problems

3) It keeps us from learning how to handle money.   We can learn some principles at home, and get some practice, but at some point, you have to take the training wheels off.  Real financial education happens in the real world, when we learn that our lifestyle choices have financial consequences.  You learned that, and your parents learned that; and we have to learn it, too.

4) It’s not helping us financially in the long run.  Thomas Stanley and William Danko, in the excellent book The Millionaire Next Door, discuss how when one generation makes regular financial gifts or payments to the next generation, it actually cripples the younger generation’s ability to build wealth.  The parents’ support goes only to lifestyle improvement, and never actually moves the needle for someone in their financial life by helping them get out of debt or build wealth.   Even though it may be counterintuitive, parents need to stop supporting us if they want us to have a chance to secure and build wealth for ourselves.

5) It’s keeping an entire generation of entrepreneurs from creating amazing new businesses.  Yeah, I know the job market is bad.  So what do you do when there’s little chance of finding a steady, secure job, but you’ve got bills to pay?  You go create that job.  That’s what we do in America.  You move yourself from being “unemployed” to “self-employed,” and you go change the world.

Parents, you’ve got to quit.  I know you’re trying to help, but how about you help in a real way by requiring us to take responsibility for our own lives.  Save your money now, then, when we’ve established ourselves, consider matching our investing to help us really start building wealth.  We’ll be better off for it in the end.

Question: What do you make of the older generation’s support of this younger generation?  Do you think it will have the same consequences, or others?