More than half of Baby Boomer mothers in the United States support adult children financially and 60 percent are the person their offspring go to when they encounter problems according to a poll conducted by The Kitchens Group, a public opinion research firm in Florida. At Albing International Marketing, we call this trend “Retro-Nesting.” And it contrasts with the 86 percent of those 46- to 65-year-old women surveyed who said they were fully independent by age 25. “We wanted to get the hell out as soon as possible,” said Liz Kitchens, a partner in The Kitchens Group. Another Boomer quoted in Today’s coverage of the survey stated, “I left home at 17 and never looked back,” she said. “I felt like once I left my parents’ house, I would have been a failure to go back.”

On the other hand, “I wasn’t completely unhappy when both of my kids bounced back for periods of time,” Kitchens said. “I think we’ve created good dinner companions.”

As a Baby Boomer parent of three Millennials, I understand this generational behavior difference and conflicting attitude. Our generation was the offspring of the Greatest Generation and, while we loved our parents, they were distant and most definitely NOT our friends or the people with whom we had fun. They worked very hard to provide us with a better life, but their lives were separate from ours. We had our own activities, our own music and our own places to congregate. Conversely, Boomer parents have attended every one of their kids’ sporting events and musical performances. They have attended rock concerts together and even hung out at the same coffee bars and restaurants.

I like my kids and (I think) they like me. I enjoy spending time with them and I was not unhappy when my son moved back with us for a year after college while he settled into a new job and saved money. My husband enjoyed commuting with him and his 16-year-old brother loved having a partner for backyard lacrosse games and basement ping-pong. (AND an advocate during some disagreements with his parents.) My son was (relatively) neat and he pitched in with household chores. All in all it was a good time and both parents and son were a little sad when he moved into Manhattan to live with his friends, but we all understand it was a rite of passage.

Last week our daughter graduated from college. She is interviewing for jobs and we hope that she lands something soon. On the other hand, there’s this little part of me that also hopes we have at least some time to re-connect before she heads off on her own. Her stuff is all over my house and beginning to get on my nerves, but I know that these are also very special times.

Our story is quite upbeat, but not every story ends so happily. This morning’s article in The Huffington Post paints a very different picture for recent college graduates and calls them a “lost generation.”

What do you (both Boomer parents and Millennial offspring) think about the Retro-Nesting trend?

-Robin Albing, President/Albing International Marketing LLC