Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, says we have infantilised young people and this has led to a growing number of young men and women in their late 20s still living at home.I accepted a contract as an assistant professor at the age of 24, and some of my contemporaries were starting families. But then, we had to organize our own sand-lot ball games or Lionel train operating sessions or what have you, and we had chores, and we understood that when the streetlights came on it was time to go home.
"Often it's claimed it's for economic reasons, but actually it's not really for that," says Furedi. "There is a loss of the aspiration for independence and striking out on your own. When I went to university it would have been a social death to have been seen with your parents, whereas now it's the norm.
"So you have this kind of cultural shift which basically means that adolescence extends into your late twenties and that can hamper you in all kinds of ways, and I think what psychology does is it inadvertently reinforces that kind of passivity and powerlessness and immaturity and normalises that."
Furedi says that this infantilised culture has intensified a sense of "passive dependence" which can lead to difficulties in conducting mature adult relationships. There's evidence of this culture even in our viewing preferences.
TV property expert Sarah Beeny says that adolescents do not have to move out of the parental house in order to learn how to be independent and there are huge advantages to multi-generational living.Four year olds can learn to set the table and put away their toys, eight year olds to dry the dishes (you want to have a little maturity to deal with the hot water to wash them) and ten year olds can manage sorting the clothes and loading the washing machine.
"The solution to not having useless 25 [and] 30-year-olds living at home is not sending them out of the home, it's making them do their own washing, pay their own way, pay towards the rent, pay towards the bills, to take responsibility for cleaning up their bedroom and not waiting on them hand and foot," says Beeny.
She says that parents should play a part in teaching adolescents key skills and that young people in return can keep their parents current.