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Parents worry because teenagers 'are too keen to settle down'

Published 24/08/2016

Parents want their children to travel the world and see the sights before settling down, new research shows
Parents want their children to travel the world and see the sights before settling down, new research shows

Teenagers now seek stability more than any other generation, leading their parents to worry they will miss out on life experiences, a report has found.

More than three-quarters of 16- to 18-year-olds crave stability, compared with an average of 71% across all age groups.

But they place a higher value on financial stability than their parents think is necessary, according to the research from the Centre for the Modern Family, a think-tank set up by Scottish Widows.

Six in ten (60%) of those born in or after 1998 and who grew up in the financial and political uncertainly of the last recession know what they want to do for a job and 63% plan to go to university.

Some 41% of young people want to go straight into a job after completing their education and 28% want to prioritise finding a job that pays well, while just 18% of parents want this for their children.

Just a third of parents (34%) want their children to go to university and almost a quarter (23%) are concerned about their children gaining qualifications that will not be valuable in the workplace.

Almost a quarter of parents (23%) worry their children will miss out on life experiences, and nearly half (47%) are concerned their children may never be free of financial worries.

Only a fifth of 16- to 18-year-olds (19%) plan to travel the world before they start work, but 56% of parents want their children to make time to do this, at least before starting a family.

Three-quarters of parents (75%) only want their children to start a family once they have enjoyed more life experiences, while 25% specifically worry that their children will miss out on opportunities to see the world.

A fifth of young people (22%) plan to focus on starting a family, an ambition only 5% of parents encourage, and 63% want to marry before having children.

Jackie Leiper, a Centre for the Modern Family panellist, said: "Having grown up in the shadows of a recession, this generation are a far cry from their more carefree predecessors.

"Their intentions are commendable, but it's important that they are given the support they need to achieve their ambitions without feeling under undue amounts of pressure and stress.

"Whether planning for higher education, that all-important first job or dabbling with an idea to travel the world, young people need to be encouraged and supported by their families and educators to help them reach their goals.

"It's only with this support system in place that they'll be able to achieve the stability they're striving for."

More than 2,000 people took part in the research.

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