Steven Mintz: Moving In With your Parents? Smart Career Move

Steven Mintz, a professor of history at Columbia University, is the author of "Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood" and "Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life."

Millennials are the "go nowhere" generation. They're spoiled, lazy, undecided about a line of work and all too willing to move back in with their parents after college. Boomerang kids, they are called — as if every time their moms and dads toss them out, they circle back to crash their parents' hopes of a child-free life. At least that's the rap against them.

It's true that many 20-somethings move back to their childhood homes and let their parents subsidize them in ways that would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. But are they really entitled narcissists exploiting their parents' goodwill? I don't think so. I've been teaching undergraduates for 30 years, and when I talk to families, I see parents who are supportive of the semi-empty nest — and a recognition that this is the reality of the current job market.

Not that it is always easy. One New York dad told me in an e-mail that when his son graduated from college in 2009, he urged him to move in with him. "I wanted him to save money and take his time exploring job options. Living together gave me a chance to get to know him as an adult. But it was an odd mixture, partly a return to adolescent dependence (complete with free food and laundry service), and partly adult independence (he kept his own hours and socialized with his own friends). The ground rules had to be worked out, and over time, they were."...

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