You’re living where? Really?

Okay, I admit it. I moved back in with my parents after college, just until I got settled. And then, years later, after my divorce, I moved back in again. But I didn’t stay long—mostly because it seemed horribly embarrassing to be living with my parents. Plus, it definitely made dating kind of tough. I mean how many times can you get away with, “Oh, can’t go to my place because, ah, they’re painting and the place needs to air out.”
Well apparently, the days of feeling embarrassed about being an adult and living with ma and pa are gone. The Pew Research Center just did a survey of over 2,000 adults across the country and they found that the number of young adults living at home is at the highest level since the 1950s. In 2010, for example, nearly 22 percent of adults 25-34 were had moved back home. The report, “The Boomerang Generation,” also found that:

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Do Pipers Actually Get Paid?

Dear Mr. Dad: Help! Our son is a high school junior, but instead of planning for college, he says he wants to make a career out of playing drums in a band! He’s a talented musician, and he and his buddies play gigs at community events, but he can’t understand that he won’t make a living out of it. How do we persuade him to give college a chance?

A: There are really two issues here: First, can your son succeed as a musician? Second, should he skip going to college? Keep in mind that, at 16, he’s quite literally trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up and his desire to forgo college and play in a band may be just a flash in the pan.

Who says he won’t make a living playing music? Some people, either through hard work, sheer luck (or a combination of both), actually do make it, and some colleges do offer music scholarships. But in general, you’re right: most musicians—or artists in general—don’t. Far more creative people are unemployed or working as waiters or scooping gelato than those who are making a good living at it.
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The Economy As Birth Control?

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I are in our late thirties. We have a 4-year old daughter and would love to have a second child. But with the financial crisis, we’re having trouble keeping our heads above water and feel that we’re in no position to bring another child into the world. We are both heartbroken about it because we come from large families, and we certainly didn’t want our daughter to be an only child. How do we make sure she turns out ok?

A: Since plenty of couples have kids well into their forties, being in your late thirties shouldn’t be a deciding factor. However, the tough economy is forcing all of us to reorder our priorities and reconsider a lot of big decisions. And having a second child certainly qualifies. If you’re struggling to pay your bills now, imagine how much more difficult it would be to provide for an additional member of your family. (If only that mother with the octuplets would have been thinking as clearly as you are.)
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Workin’ It

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m 15 years old and in the 10th grade. I will turn 16 just after school lets out for the summer and I want to get a job. However, my father won’t let me. He says that I’m too young and that he works to support his family. I think I understand his point, but I don’t like to ask my parents for money and I want to have my own.

A: Wow. I must commend you for your desire to work during your summer vacation—and for starting to think of it so far in advance. It shows maturity and level-headedness that many kids your age (and older) lack. So kudos to you. Be careful, though, there are parents all over the country who would love to have you come to their house to give their teens a pep talk.
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Teens and the Part-Time Job

Dear Mr. Dad: My fifteen-year-old wants to take a part-time job at a local fast food place. Actually, I’m not so sure he wants the actual job, just the money that goes along with it. Although I think it would be a great growth opportunity, I’m also worried that his grades will suffer with college just around the corner. I’m thinking of increasing his weekly allowance instead to make up at least part of the difference. What do you suggest?

A: Remember the first time you saw one of your classmates behind a counter a local store? If you’re like me, you were consumed with envy for the power, independence, and the adulthood it seemed to represent. I immediately began badgering my parents to let me join the Mysterious Society of the Working Teens.
So first of all, I wouldn’t assume that it’s all about the money. There’s probably a healthy dose of yearning for independence and maturity, and increasing the allowance might would have a negative effect in those areas.
Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses:
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