Can we afford a helicopter?

“Helicopter Kids” is a term used to describe young and not-so-young adults who live with their parents. Bernard Salt, one of Australia’s leading demographic commentators, coined the term in his book, The Big Picture, as a name for the off-spring who “hover around the family home refusing to fully move out and establish their own household”. (1)

Some family therapists are of the opinion that if you treat your 22 year old like 12 year olds by doing their washing and cooking for them and also paying their bills, then you are depriving them of the opportunity to learn crucial skills for living independently.

Of course, money is an area that can become a stumbling block for parental pride. While most would agree that it’s wonderful knowing your kids want to live with you, admitting that it puts a large financial strain on the household is a real challenge.

Most parents want to give their kids a financial start. By allowing them to live in the family home it means that a HECS debt can be repaid, a rental bond or home deposit can be saved. Let’s face it – the way things are looking, this might be the only financial assistance we’ll be able to give them. 

But while giving them reduced rent (or no rent) is one thing, living costs are another issue.

Families can alleviate the stress that surrounds this complex issue by sitting down and openly discussing the costs of running a household which is now full of adults. All parties need the opportunity to negotiate a reasonable board that honestly reflects the full costs of additional food and utility bills.

If you can no longer afford the cost of a helicopter, and the whole subject is too daunting to organise, maybe it’s time to ask an independent person to help your family plan a strategy that will work for your individual family.

Remember! Your kids are now adults, and they need to learn this valuable lesson – before they leave home!

(1)  Bernard Salt, The Big Picture , Hardie Grant Books, Prahran, Victoria 2006

(c)  Carmel McCartin / Budget Bitch

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