- March 18, 2009
- Posted by: Madrigal Admin
- Category: Word of the Week Blog
The boomerang generation earned the name because of the tendency of many of its members to return to live with their parents after a short period away. They give up their independence or pseudo-independence to move back home. (Pseudo-independence is characterised by coming home on weekends with their washing and unpaid bills). They are part of the generations that were born after 1975.
Their parents already have the mortgage, the cars, the white goods, the furniture, the televisions and stereos as well as the well-stocked pantry. Thus the boomerangers have an expendable income for going out, for gadgets, for holidays and for home entertainment. They also have a good deal of free time for gaming, web-surfing and online socialising while their mothers clean and cook for them.
It is an international phenomena, which has attracted an international vocabulary. My favourite is bamboccioni and here are some others.
In Japan they have the parasite singles (parasaito shinguru). These are individuals who live with their parents until well into their thirties to avoid the financial stresses and life demands of adulthood.
In 2007 the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance defined the large part of the population who were 20 to 30 years old and still living with their families as bamboccioni. It means big dummy boys. It created a bit of bad publicity for him.
Twixter describes the Americans generation seen as being trapped, betwixt (that is, between) adolescence and adulthood. Sometimes also known as basement dwellers.
NEET is a mainstream acronym in the UK for young school-leavers that are not engaged in education, employment, or training. They also live at home.
In Germany the stay-at-home bamboccioni phenomena is known as Hotel Mama. This describes the parents’ house where young adults choose to live with their mothers who still undertake the old-fashioned role of cooking, cleaning and washing for them.
But the Japanese have extreme boomerangers, the hikikomori.
Hikikomori translates as “withdrawal” and refers to individuals who become hermits in their rooms for six months or longer with no social life beyond their home.
A BBC report (no longer available but cited here) describes a case where a boy took possession of his family’s kitchen and refused to allow anyone else in. He had his meals provided and his own bathroom. The family had to build a new kitchen.
The report also provided an academic appraisal of the condition. Dr Henry Grubb, a psychologist from the University of Maryland who was undertaking a study of the hikikomori:
… there’s nothing like this in the West. If my child was inside that door and I didn’t see him, I’d knock the door down and walk in. Simple.
This may indicate a broader truth about the root cause of the problem of boomerangers, parasites, basement dwellers, bamboccioni, twixters, NEETs, and Hotel Mamas. The problem may not be the generation themselves but the parents who are not helping their children out to face the world.