Mark Tronson, chairman of Well-Being Australia, has noted for the last ten years or so that members of his own family, as well as those of his friends and relatives, have been following this trend. It seems to be a social change that is interesting, and very welcome.
Flight Centre's executive global marketing manager Colin Bowman said it has become more socially acceptable for young people to jet-set with their family; although M V Tronson's acquaintances have equally enjoyable, if much more modest, holidays with their adult children.
"Parents go through stages of being in vogue and out of vogue,'' said Bowman. "The kids are more than happy to go away with Mum and Dad. We are all so busy these days, sometimes passing like ships in the night, that a holiday together is a great opportunity to actually get some time with your family."
Although the casual observer may be cynical enough to think the kids are only accompanying the parents because the parents are paying, Mark Tronson knows of many other cases where the individuals share the expense, and even one case where the professionally employed children paid for the parents.
"It is not always simply an issue of money," says M V Tronson. "There are lots of other reasons why families might holiday together."
A KPMG demographer, Bernard Salt, who is chairman of the Tourism Forecasting Committee, said there has been a shift in the relationship between parents and young adult children over the past three decades, so that it seems there is almost a sibling-like relationship.
"From a baby boomer parent's point of view it's a bit like a last hurrah," he continued. "They see it as the last real connection with their kids before they go off into the adult world or a partner comes along and whisks them away. A lot of parents have some money now, and can help the kids with the expenses."
Mark Tronson and his wife have enjoyed several holidays with their four twenty-something children, and with the two sons-in-law as well. He finds empathy with the observations reported above, and adds some of his own philosophical points behind the changing social situations.
The young adults today treat their parents more like friends, certainly as they get beyond their teenage years, and do not tolerate the subservience that previous generations were expected to show to their parents. The benefits are that parents and children are free to enjoy each other's company, in an atmosphere where views on any number of subjects can be expressed and discussed openly without the parents always insisting 'they are right'.
This seems to be a 'common denominator' amongst the families he knows, across a wide range of socio-economic and educational situations, so it seems to be coming from the youngsters. They have been used to airing their opinions and not treating their parents any differently from their friends. The parents have responded with joy to the increased communication, and have respected their children's increased knowledge due their better educational and travel opportunities. Of course, by being open, they also benefit from the children's advice on the increasingly sophisticated electronic gadgets!!
M V Tronson observes that 'open discussion' between the two generations is not something new, as many parents have reported to him that even in their children's primary school years discussion was open, and some consider that television brought with it a lot of information that children sought to have explained and then family discussion ensued.
Wherever the family unit is treasured, it is the one place where each member is free their express themselves and this is so precious – where it works out, and increasingly it is seen to work out - that everyone in that intimate circle wants to keep it together.
With the increase in life expectancy, and the increasing health and vitality of 'older people' in their twilight years, youngsters today have witnessed their parents relationships with their grandparents in a way that previous generations have not seen. There is a sense in which they want to create something more meaningful.
M V Tronson says that a fresh family game (played with their adult children came home to visit at Easter when the entire family was together), is that around the table each person describes who they are with one 'word' and after an explanation, questions are welcome. It can only be played where there is trust and openness and this game reflects this change that news.com identified.