More than half of the 2,000 adults over the age of 25 polled believe it is harder than ever for young people to grow up and fend for themselves, blaming the economy, longer time spent in education and a lack of effort.
Youngsters are finding it hard to fend for themselves, experts say[/caption]
In contrast, children in the 1980s were cooking family meals and helping out around the house long before they became teenagers.
To help young adults become independent faster, seven in 10 feel they should be taught life skills from a really early age, and a further two thirds believe they should know how to manage their finances.
The survey also revealed the top 50 signs ‘Independence Day’ has been reached – including being able to budget efficiently, being financially independent from mum and dad, and paying your own bills.
Nuala McNally, 17, who sits on the National Youth Board for the National Citizen Service (NCS) – a programme to help 16-17 year-olds build confidence, independence and learn life skills – which commissioned the research, said: “There are a number of factors which may contribute to young people finding independence later now than ever before.
“It’s much harder for us to leave our parents’ and guardians’ homes for the first time, meaning less opportunity to put practical skills such as budgeting.
“In addition, a lot of us are choosing to stay in education longer, which is great as more people are academically investing in their future.
“However, it means we have less ‘real world’ experience.”
The study also found independence has arrived once you take care of washing your own clothes, spend money on household goods and are self-motivated.
Booking your own doctors and dentist appointments, being comfortable talking to people and not having a curfew are also signs of reaching real adulthood.
While others claim independence is when you have a credit card, are able to navigate public transport alone, are comfortable hosting dinner parties, and know how to take a meter reading.
Mowing the lawn, having sex and buying your own toilet paper are among the more obscure inclusions in the top 50 list.
However, despite the legal age of adulthood now being 18 in the UK, a resounding six in 10 adults don’t believe this reflects the real age people become independent.
And while 75 per cent of adults do think parents should play the biggest role in teaching a young person everything they need to know for adulthood, a fifth think some of these learnings should come from teachers.
Even those adults who claim to have reached independence already admit they’ve had to borrow almost £400 from family or friends in the last 12 months.
TOP 50 SIGNS OF INDEPENDENCE
1. Being financially independent from your parents/guardians
2. Moving out of your parents’/guardians’ home
3. Managing your own bills/outgoings
4. Buying your own property
5. Having a job
6. Being able to budget
7. Having control of your own bank account
8. Paying rent
9. Having savings
10. Paying your own mobile phone bill
11. Planning and going to do your weekly food shop
12. Doing your own clothes washing
13. Spending your money on household goods e.g. hoover, mattress
14. Booking your own doctors/dentist appointment
15. Being self-motivated
16. Owning your own car
17. Buying your own clothes
18. Going on holiday without your parents/guardians
19. Making your own dinner
21. Being confident at taking on any task without help
22. Sorting out your own car problems
23. Travelling alone to a foreign country
24. Passing your driving test
25. Having a baby
26. Having no problem saying ‘no’ to people
27. Buying your own towels and bedding
28. Being comfortable challenging other people’s opinions
29. Being confident talking to new people
30. Navigating public transport alone
31. Having life insurance
32. Not having a curfew
33. Knowing how to do a meter reading
34. Confidently being able to cook a roast dinner
35. Having a credit card
36. Being able to change a light bulb by yourself
37. Being happy to go out for a meal alone
38. Having family and friends come to you for advice
39. Getting a pet without asking anyone’s permission
40. Being able to buy alcohol
41. Dressing weather-appropriately without anyone telling you to
42. Volunteering by myself
43. Being able to mow the lawn on your own
44. Buying toilet paper
45. Having sex
46. Owning a host of cleaning products
47. Hosting dinner parties
48. Being able to bake a basic cake without looking at a recipe
49. Putting up a tent by yourself
50. Having your own social media accounts
And 38 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, admit they still rely on their parents or guardians emotionally or physically.
Jermain Jackman, youth advisor to the NCS Trust Board, said: “The age of independence is real and every young people experiences it, however different people go through it at different times.
“Care leavers for example, are placed in adult-like situations where they’ll be living on their own and having to manage their own bills and then you have, on the other end of the spectrum, 30+ year olds still living with their parents at home.
“So I don’t think we can set an actual age of independence but what we can do is prepare for that age.
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“That’s why organisations like NCS are so important by equipping young people with those practical skills such as managing household budgets and cooking, these skills become tools when reaching that age of independence.”
The NCS programme is proven to boost young people’s confidence and ability to respond to challenging situations – both of which are key attributes to help build independence. To find out more visit NCSyes.co.uk.
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