On Monday night the topic of boomerang kids moving back in with their families was back in the spotlight, with a HuffPost Live segment featuring the voices of former and current boomerang kids, as well as a parent facing the sandwich generation squeeze: having a parent-in-law and children back home.
"Is this something that we need to be worried about?" asked Janet Varney, the segment's host. "Is it a poor reflection on our economy or is this something we can embrace the way other countries do?"
Huff/Post50 associate editor Anthonia Akitunde chatted with Varney; HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd, The Atlantic's Jordan Weissman; Harry Bigle, a boomerang kid in Los Angeles; and sandwich generation representative Peter Cokrlic.
"It really is a mark of the times," said Bigle, when asked if the economy was the main reason the boomerang kid phenomenon was happening. "If you had the ability to not live with your parents and be able to sustain yourself in your own apartment, that would definitely be preferable, but sometimes you can't."
"It's challenging when they go off to college: you miss them," said Cokrlic, whose mother-in-law lives with him (as did his two children for an extended period). "When they want to come back, you get to reconnect after four years of college. It can be a really good thing."
The panel agreed that the economy was the cause for moving back home, but felt the stigma around it was more prevalent in the U.S. than in other countries, such as India or France, where Bigle is originally from. One commenter remarked via Twitter "Entire families live together in the Caribbean. Once grown, people marry & bring their spouse in."
"People used to live in much tighter family units," said The Atlantic's Jordan Weissman. "Before the recession, Gen Y was already developing this reputation as boomerang kids. You go back 2005, 2004, you were already seeing stories being written about how we weren't mature enough, how we didn't have our priorities straight. And people went back and they see 'Oh, housing prices were going up, things were getting expensive because of the housing bubble.' There's an economic reason for all of this."
So why the stigma? "At the heart of it all is this idea of independence," said Huff/Post50's Anthonia Akitunde. "I feel like American culture is all about striking out on your own and following the American dream. I think it has more to do with the idea that you're failing at meeting this idea of independence by going back home more than anything else."
Weissman and Bigle commented on the need for respect from both boomerang kids and their parents. "It's just like any relationship," Weissman said.
To see the entire conversation, watch the video above.