One of the big memes in student affairs these days is the increasing dependence of students on their parents. Sometimes, this is blamed on parents’ over-protectiveness, sometimes on students’ reluctance to grow up, but regardless, it seems a point of general agreement.
We can’t say much about long-term trends, but thanks to our regular CanEd Student Research Panel, we can provide a more nuanced portrait of these students. A few months ago, we asked panel members who lived at home about their parents’ on-going involvement in their lives. Specifically, we asked them what kinds of household activities their parents still did on their behalf. The results are shown in the figure below.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 81% of students reported that their parents often or always shopped for their groceries, 71% of students’ parents paid their household bills and 65% had their meals cooked for them by their parents. Female students were slightly more likely than males to report that their parents conducted household chores for them, with the exception of grocery shopping, where males were more likely to rely on parents than were females. Allophones and scholarship recipients were also more likely than other types of students to report that their parents conducted household chores for them.
In the absence of historical data on this subject, we have to wonder how university students would have answered these questions five, ten and twenty years ago. Are students increasingly dependent on their parents, or are things pretty much the way they’ve always been? And if they are increasingly dependent, is that just a function of changing demographics (i.e., more students from cultures where living with parents into adulthood is more common), or a more general phenomenon of delayed adulthood?
Let us know what you think.
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