Helicopter Parenting and Boomerang Children: How Parents Support and Relate to Their Student and Co-Resident Graduate Children, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Helicopter Parenting and Boomerang Children

How Parents Support and Relate to Their Student and Co-Resident Graduate Children, 1st Edition

By Anne West, Jane Lewis


102 pages

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Hardback: 9781138681545
pub: 2017-10-10
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Drawing an unfavourable contrast between the position of students and graduates with that of their baby boomer parents has become a staple for media comment. Indeed, student indebtedness and difficulties in finding graduate jobs and housing typically contrasts markedly with their parents’ experiences.

Broadening the investigation, ‘Helicopter Parenting’ and ‘Boomerang Children’ depicts how students and graduates are now likely to be close to their parents, receive considerable financial and emotional support from them and, upon graduation, return home. Using qualitative data from two interview studies of middle-class families, this title explores the impact of these changes on young people’s transition to independence and adulthood and on intergenerational and intragenerational equality.

This enlightening monograph will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in fields such as Social Policy, Family Sociology and Education.


The plight of the younger generation, and the challenges this poses to inter-generational relationships, is a key issue for contemporary society. In this timely and fascinating book, two very experienced researchers tackle this central issue head-on. Using evidence from their own studies with middle class parents and their student/graduate children, we are given new insights into the realities of juggling finances and in/dependencies between the generations over time, providing an interesting account of the resulting dilemmas and tensions. This important book should be key reading for policy makers and politicians, as well as parents and young people, along with youth and family studies scholars, and anyone concerned with the future of younger generations.

Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Visiting Professor, University of Reading; Reader in Family Studies (retired) and Visiting Fellow, Open University.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Parents and students: Financial support and student independence

Chapter 2 Students and parents: Communication, emotional and practical support, and independence

Chapter 3 Co-resident graduates and parents: Relationships, jobs and future expectations

Chapter 4 Parents and co-resident graduates: Financial arrangements, responsibility and independence

Concluding reflections

About the Authors

Anne West is Professor of Education Policy, LSE, UK

Jane Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, LSE, UK

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General