Flying the nest fears: One in five worry of relationship strain when children leave home, says Salford study

By Amelia Goswell

One in five worried parents fret that once their children fly the nest, their relationship with their husbands or partners will become strained new research by Salford University has revealed.

The University surveyed groups of 16-18-year-olds and graduates, along with their parents, to provide 1,000 responses about their fears and hopes while they’re at university and beyond.

One respondent summed up the worried parents who no longer have their time filled with cooking, cleaning and acting as a taxi service and said: “They [your child] know things are changing for them as they are going away from home and starting something new.

“They come home and just expect it to be exactly the same as when they left. They don’t think about the fact that things are changing for us as parents too.”

The study covered various aspects of student life, ranging from costs and fees, to job prospects upon finishing their course.

In the section covering finances, just over half of 16-18-year-olds and their parents said that the new fees regime had had little impact on their thoughts of going to university – while another 20% felt there was no impact at all.

There was also a noticeable difference in attitudes to funding their time at university through part-time work: 79% of prospective students indicated they would be looking for a job, whereas only 45% of graduates had done so.

Having a career was chosen as the most important reason to go to University for both parents and students, whilst not getting a job upon leaving was found to be the main concern.

The data has since been used by the University to inform a new guide for parents which takes the findings and translates them into practical help and advice covering everything from worries about budgeting and part-time work, to fitting in with University life.

Nicky Chapman from the University’s student admissions department said: “Universities produce a lot of guides for parents, but we couldn’t find any that are based on genuine research; we’ve now asked them and produced a guide which is genuinely useful and addresses their concerns.

“Some of the results were surprising, but what really emerges from the survey is the phenomenal level of support and advice that parents provide to their children and the genuine fears they have as they start out on independent lives.”

Image courtesy of Petras Gagilas via Flickr, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

Related Articles