I would be remiss if I spoke of adult children without speaking of differences in culture. As Shallini pointed out the other day, it is customary for adult children to live with their parents until they are married. To do otherwise would be radical. And I think there are places where multi generational living is the norm. Some places, the youth take care of their parents. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this way of thinking: it is just counter to how I’ve grown up.

So, when Shallini asked:

“What if she wants to move home?”

My first thought was:

“No &^#$^ing way”

Because, unless there is a legitimate reason, I have zero expectation that my daughter will ever live with me full time again. First off, I know she does not want to live with me when she gets out of school. Second off, I don’t want her living with me when she gets out of school. I love her….but…..in 21st century America that just doesn’t fly.

How does western society treat adult children that live with their parents when there is no legitimate reason? What do we really think?

Well, Big Bang Theory had Howard, who was continually mocked for living with his Mother, which he did until he married. He was seen as a man/child and routinely mocked. How many women want to marry a guy in his thirties who still lives at home? Who has a Mother that cooks for him and does his laundry? That’s the kind of guy that you tell your friends NOT to go out with. You see a guy living with his parents you scream TROUBLE….ISSUES…..

I had a friend from high school, a woman, who did not choose to move out of her parents home until she was about 40. I will tell you that this was a very weird dynamic and there were issues with her that did not constitute the living arrangement but signaled something was very wrong in her head. The red flag was this living arrangement and her parents did nothing to help her. Correction: they thought her living with them would help her.  This story ends with too many pills and a too early death.

As one blog friend stated yesterday, they have a friend who is in their sixties and still working hard to support a child in their thirties. I’ve heard of many such cases. Is this the new normal?

Or should we start to change out outlook, look towards a more Eastern way of thought, and consider multi generational households? Is there a benefit to many layers of a family residing under one roof? Incomes pooled together, helping one another out when needed?

Is Western society too focused on the individual other than the collective?

So my questions for write my blog Thursday:

What is your opinion of adult children living at home when there is no good reason (saving money for a short term basis, sickness, recent separation and need a place to crash short term)?

Why?

 

 

 

Advertisements

65 thoughts on “Culture Club

  1. From the moment our kids learn to take their first steps, we as parents celebrate and encourage their increasing independence. Moving out is just another step in that series of steps that started long ago.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. But should we be wondering about the opposite side? I’m not changing my opinion he’ll no, out she goes…..but are there valid pints to the opposite side

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We built our home with an attached in-law apt. completely self sufficient for my mother. We didn’t want to wait until it was a matter of necessity. The kids enjoyed a great relationship with her that endured until her death at 90. This is not in everyones ability but it was good for us. Now that the apartment is empty, my son moved into it. Cheaper for him, doesn’t cost us extra and he can save money and still work on his student loans, the advanced degree that is a requirement in his career has put him into debt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. See, I don’t really think of that as living together. I think of that as a separate living environment where boundaries are firmly established. And I get the money saving. That’s not enabling, that’s cutting your hard working kid some slack

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! I think the cultural differences are related to availability and affordability of moving out and jobs and things like that, not having a parent continue to treat an adult child like a child and support them and have all the dynamics of parent and child continue. In multi-gen homes and families , those adult children are working, sometimes even married with children. If White America were to live this way, expectations and roles would have to be reworked .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s pretty accurate. It all depends on how the family dynamic is established. Kid living in basement playing video games versus young adult with a job and responsibilities

      Like

      1. I wish I could say more about personal experience, but I’m not sure who reads this blog. I’ll say this, enabling dysfunctional behavior in childhood and teen years HANDICAPS adults.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Our view has long been very different hasn’t it? Raise them and then get them out the door! I’ve had all three come back for a very short transitional period just after graduation but they were eager to get out and stay out. I would have found it difficult to imagine (before my divorce) having an adult child living long-term under my roof.
    However I got to experience the flip side of the situation when I went to stay at one of the child’s homes prior to finding this apartment at the time my divorce was being finalized. Again, very short term but I was grateful that I could. I admit that there have been conversations since that point about multi-generational living as a possibility in the future.

    Will it ever happen? Who knows, but even if it does that’s not the same as a family ideology that springs from a cultural norm. That expectation of familial living is what seems so foreign to Western/American society. Having a yes or no opinion is difficult given the context of how we have been taught to raise our children. Does it seem harmful in some ways, to both parties- yes, but that is what my society has taught me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s exactly what I thought when Shallini posed the question . I can’t imagine a world where I expect my daughter to live with me. I actually stared at the screen when I read the comment because it was so far out of my norm

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I think you are on the right track. What adult really wants to live with their parents? I know my dad wished us kids would have lived with them forever. I think he wanted to live on ten acres with each having our own house. Not happening. I dont understand why grown adults live with their parents. I know short term might happen but long term. Not a good thing. I feel that person just doesnt want to grow up on some level or levels.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I think short term getting feed on the ground is ok. For example: someone leaves the military, needs a short term stay or finished a job overseas and comes home for a visit or has a job and needs housing temporarily to get their feet on the ground. Since you live in NYC, very expensive for housing, I can understand this might be an option. However, letting her stay as an adult long term without a job, no. Moving on. While in the military, I had an Italian friend who was the librarian on the base in Philly. Her son, late 20’s, lived with her. He was very handsome and my age but the turn off was when he left for work and his mama started his car for him as it was cold outside. Time to move forward. Italian mamas and their sons!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t know much about today’s many cultural expectations/dynamics, but years ago in my mother’s generation, kids lived at home until they got married period. People had large families, but there were always one or two single ones who didn’t get married, so they just continued living at home and taking care of the aging parents. Are those cultures who still expect the single daughter/son to do that, just buying into that tradition that they will have someone to help them out later when they are old? In many countries in the world, elder care and nursing homes do not exist. Is it “shameful” in some religions to have a single woman live on her own in such a morally loose society? What might people think of her reputation? On the other hand, I have seen Italian children live multi-generational, with built-in baby sitters and elderly care provided, and it’s all one big happy family……with lots of pasta!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think that whatever works for BOTH the children and parents (not just one-sided) is fine, for whatever reason. Emotional factors can be much more hidden and difficult to sort. Sometimes, just knowing there are options can be helpful…such as a child being given the choice whether to move back with parents, since they might then be able to see more clearly that this is not what they want or need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I started writing about this I had no idea how many different ways there are to look at this situation. It really comes down to do we do what society expects us to do, and is it wrong to not adhere to the norm

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree. To a point. There’s the definition of need that has to be explored and if the need is healthy. My friend living with her parents till 40 was by no means healthy…her parents enabled her destructive behavior and didn’t help her root out her issues. My friend letting her adult daughter stay for twenty months so she could save up money to further her life goals is reasonable, because boundaries were set and established and respect was given on all sides. “Need” is the optimum word. What is the need, and why is this the best option to solve the need. My friend says her mother is stirring up the pot to live with the daughter, and my friend knows that will be the end of the marriage….which is the greater need? Mother or husband?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I wrote a piece on my blog awhile back called “A Return to Tribalism.” Multi-generational households used to be the norm in this country back when 96% of households were agrarian. I think there are some advantages to this, however, it is not the norm anymore. The bigger problem I see now is there is no longer affordable housing in this country – through ownership or renting. The last article I read on this said 75% of the average wage earners in this country could not afford the median price of a home in the USA. This means you have to have multiple wage earners under one roof, which means redefining “family.” It could be married couples, both working. Or multiple same-age non-relatives sharing costs or even multiple non-relatives sharing work, household, and child care duties, or a combination. No one can afford child care outside the home either. It could be 3 generations under one roof – a return to the old way. It could take the form of tiny houses – granny houses or guest houses or RVs – in the back yard. I certainly can’t fault this generation for an economy that favors only 2% of the population. The economic burdens have become so great, it is not surprising children are staying under their parents’ roofs. There is another trend as well. Older adults moving in with their children because they can not afford long-term care facilities. Personally, I lost my home and most of my property when I got divorced. It’s been five years and I’ve been searching for an affordable home while renting this entire time. There are no simple solutions anymore.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s a tough one for sure. I do think younger people need to strike out on their own and find their own way, but I think they will face challenges with finding affordable housing, affordable health care, and a livable wage. And they may need to adapt to multiple ownership arrangements. One of the basic foundations of democracy is private ownership of real property and I would hate to see this fade away

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the housing prices have to come down eventually, don’t you? Or they won’t be selling many houses! Inflation has definitely outpaces earnings for the majority of country. Sorry you lost your home and property. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks! I do think they will come down, eventually. There are homes you can afford to buy in different parts of the country where the cost of living is lower, but not necessarily very good ones. There are a lot of properties around me where the homes have been condemned. You’d be buying the land and having the cost to demo the old house before building new. I’ve actually been thinking of writing a post about this situation called “Goat Houses.” Because there are places for rent and for sale right now that are the quality of shack that my daughter built for her pet goats – no kidding

        Liked by 2 people

  10. My hubby lived with his parents after college for a few years. He worked and paid a little in rent, but the goal was to help him get established a bit before he got out on his own. His sister is a completely different story in that she stayed there until well into her 30’s and was force to get her own place due to health issue with my MIL. It worked really well for him, to an extent, but my MIL was very much the “do everything for you kids” kind of mom and him finding his feet on his own was exceptionally difficult in certain areas before he laid down hard boundaries for her.

    I left at 19 for a huge number of reasons, but I wasn’t really in a position to be self sufficient and had to move back home until I got married at 23. It chafed and only amplified all the problems that existed before I left, making that period of time pretty miserable. Both of my brothers have gone back and forth for years with my parents stepping in every single time things got hard for them.

    As far as multi-generational living, if I had to ever live with my parents or my in-laws, things would get ugly, fast. There is a crap ton of toxic floating around in my family that I’ve walked away from and I wouldn’t ever go back to it. My FIL… we get along well enough, but only because we only have to do it in small doses. There is just too much that comes out of his mouth and his behavior that I can’t be around for long and keep my mouth shut. As he is the only family besides my sister-in-law that Hubby has, I put up with it for him, but even he wouldn’t be able to live with his dad.

    This is just me and my relationships with the people in my life. I know people that have these nearly ideal, amazing relationships with their families and could easily do the whole multi-generational thing with them. I’m not sure I could do it with my kids, but the only way I think I ever would is if I’m too old to care for myself and they wanted me with them. I’m all for them needing a helping hand, but that is only when they are actually working to get into a better situation for themselves. I won’t work my butt off (or really Hubby is the one that does it all) so my kids can sit on their butts and sponge off that hard work (not that the two still at home would).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know I could not live with my parents. I would also really not be able to live with in laws either. I don’t get the multi generational thing, but I figure it’s worth discussing

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the difference is that most of us in the States or of certain cultures tend to see an adult still living with their parents as someone that is a lazy freeloader, when that isn’t the case in the culture groups that do this as the norm. There are all kinds of logical and acceptable reasons to do this, but that is where our minds tend to go. It doesn’t make either way right or wrong, just differing views.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I sort of fantasize about the “Judging Amy” household (having Tyne Daly for a mom wouldn’t hurt). My older brother truly was a “failure to launch” child. Mom finally locked him out of her house when he was 26. At first, he lived in his car in the garage, but finally started taking care of himself. I couldn’t wait to be out of the house. Went away to college and never looked back. We prize independence in the U.S. Other places prize familial inter-dependence. I don’t see either as being better or worse. They both have pluses and minuses.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Here’s my observation: children between 18 to 25 are in a kind of societal limbo. Those who can handle it emotionally and financially leave the nest, while those who aren’t quite there yet stay at home with their parents [parent]. However by the time everyone is 25, unless there are health issues, I’d expect said child [who is now an adult] to be out there on their own as a grown-up. To do otherwise seems weaksauce to me.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. We’ve taught our daughters the good ole fashioned Western way. The expectation is that you’re leaving this house at 18 to do something…anything. With that said, my oldest daughter would only move back if she ABSOLUTELY had to and we would allow her to, under those circumstances. The main reason she cannot live with us as an adult is because of her personality. It lends itself to living alone lol On the other hand, my youngest daughter would probably be okay coming back, but I don’t think either of us would want that. So, it’s a little bit of culture and personality.

    Like

  14. My mom told us that once we moved out we were not allowed to come back. My older sisters stayed at home until they were married (Italian Catholic upbringing) but I moved out at 22 into my own apartment with no expectation of moving back home. I did get married but when it ended six months later my mom asked if I wanted to come back. I told her I had moved out in the first place because I wanted to be an adult and moving home now would be reverting back to childhood. I had proved to myself that I could make it and I did. Our oldest daughter moved out after high school and has had to move back for brief periods 3 times and went to live with my mom for a while as well but always moved out on her own again. Our son has moved out once but had to come back home just recently (he’s 30) and it is causing some issues. We don’t think he’s making an attempt to save money to move back out again but it is VERY expensive where we are and he says we are not giving him enough time (it’s been 6 months). Our daughter graduated from college a year ago and came back home, got a great job and has been researching apartments almost from the minute she moved back. We do charge them rent, but not an arm and a leg. They have to be able to learn to fend for themselves. I don’t do laundry for them and while I occasionally make enough dinner for everyone, most of the time they cook for themselves. On the other hand, my brother-in-law is now 64 years old and still lives with his mother. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Whenever my mother visits, bless her she’ll walk into my living space, turn my sofa cushions then tell me the room needs dusting before asking me if my bathroom is clean……………………… no @%$#ing way would I EVER move back home 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Our daughter and her two children moved in with us when she was going through a divorce. It was so tough on all of us. My dad also lived with us at the time, and his presence acted as a buffer. Maybe that’s the key to multi-generational living—the more the merrier?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think it’s healthier for adult kids to move out after college … to learn to be responsible and to learn “adulting”. I think it’s fine for them to come home for brief periods of time … saving for a house, in between jobs, etc.

    I never really liked living with my parents so no way did I return home after college lol. Well actually, after my dad passed away I did live with my mother once for a week as an adult. It was the week before hubby and I got married. I’d given notice on my apartment and did not want to move in with my now-hubby until after we were married. So thus I lived with mom for a week. I remember arriving home from my 8 to 5 job to find my mom had a hot dinner ready for us to share as soon as I walked in the door. I remarked to her that it was sure was nice to come home to a cooked dinner, and she said, “Yes, everyone should have a wife.”

    Liked by 2 people

  18. My son is on the Autism spectrum. My expectation is he will live at home. My hope is that he will one day be able to live elsewhere. But until that day we’ll figure it out as it comes. Right now we’re learning that he needs to clean up after himself and help with the budget and paying bills. That way he can see where the money goes and why we’re broke a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also an autism mom. My son is 22 and wants to live his own, but I’m honest with myself, he may always live with me. I have noticed that Joshua tends to get where he needs to be, just as a slower pace. He has been working part time for a year and we are working on driving now. I never thought I would have a adult child living with me, but it can’t be helped.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There are always situations where it is more optimal to have adult children living at home, but it still requires boundaries and thought and respect. In the end we help our kids as we see best for their benefit, and help the become successful in their own right

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Cultural differences count. Most of us would be horrified at the thought of our old parents living amongst strangers with nurses to take care of them. Just as horrified as you are to think of an able-bodied adult living with parents!!
    Both nuclear and joint families have their plus points. I grew up with 3 grandparents living with us. There were differences of opinion, no doubt, but for the large part there was a sense of security. When we kids fell ill, there was no dearth of home remedies and a support system in place. And lots of stories to keep an ill child occupied, for which my mother is grateful to her mother, to this day!
    For me, living with parents/ children does not mean a loss of independence, squabbles, shame or sponging. It means respect, safety, tolerance and love. So back to what I started with – cultural differences!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. First, let me say that I have not yet read all the other comments.
    Second, let me say that I am speaking from personal experience/perspective.

    I firmly believe cultural differences mean everything for this particular subject. (especially) American culture tends to value the individual over the group, and that’s different than many other cultures. This makes sense to me because I grew up white in America. However, I do not actually subscribe to this value. I believe the group is a more powerful and possibly successful dynamic. Even successful individuals work to create groups around them.
    I liken the value of the group to a mixed age preschool classroom. You’ve got skills and behavior modeling going on, you’ve got authentic learning happening through simple every day goings on. There is value in the group (or multi-generational family) dynamic. More than most American’s realize.
    But here’s what I know about the cultural differences in adult children living at home based on my own personal experience.
    American adult children living at home do not participate in the healthy functioning of the household. They do not behave like adults in the environment in which they were children. Brains are pattern seeking, y’all. And not too many humans like to break a comfortable pattern.

    When my younger brother was in his mid twenties, he met a woman, they began dating, and within 6 weeks they decided to create a child. Of course, he’s not working and she’s a bartender and now there’s a baby on the way. So, they went to live with my mother “until they could find work and a place”. The baby is born in June, and my brother is out the door before the first of the year. The baby and her mother live with my mother for two more years before moving away. They lived there rent free, my mother provided free child care, and they had no household responsibilities.

    My step-son is a nearly 20 year old college drop out who works 12-15 hours a week as a cashier at the Dollar Tree. When he’s not working, he’s drinking soda and eating junk food while playing video games or watching anime on his computer. He does not participate in the household in anyway apart from using the utilities. He does purchase his own junk food. He does not pay rent. He does nothing to be helpful around the house.

    This is the behavior of young men growing up in a culture that values the individual more than the group.

    I have friends who have multiple generations living in one home. Grandparents eager to help with grandchildren, and when these children come of age, they’re helping their elders when needed. These family groups are serving each other, teaching and learning together, and creating positive and healthy life-long relationship skills.

    No, I don’t want either of my girls to live with me now that they’re adults. Unless there was an emergency, or extenuating circumstances.
    Because that’s how we were raised.
    I love the idea of multi-generational family living! I mean, come on, I grew up with my Grandaddy.
    But I believe it’s about expectations, roles in the family of origin, and benefits to all family members.

    In America, the natural course of life is for children to grow up and leave the nest.
    The financial world is tougher out there for these soon to be, and currently adult children than it was for previous generations. That makes it harder for them to be on their own. I see that.
    But, I gotta tell you, I’m ready to have an empty nest.

    OK, that was long and rambling…but LA, you stimulated a great deal of thought, so thanks! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was very eloquently stated. The problem we face is that exactly: when an adult child moves back in, they forget adult and become child. And this behavior is quite common, though not exclusive. As you stated, there are transitional periods when kids need to move back into the nest. But this is a temporary thing…
      We lose the boundaries of what behavior is right and what behavior is wrong when adult children move back home. It’s a very special group of people who can meld properly

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You took the words right out of my mouth!
        It’s so easy to fall into those old patterns!
        I dont want to always be responsible for everything. Even when the girls are here and they’re cooking and cleaning and being generally helpful, we fall into those patterns.
        And in the case of my husband’s boys, they’ve never been helpful around the house, so their patterns are fully set.
        I’m over it!
        I’m all about being content in my empty nest.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. My son still lives with us and he is in his thirties. The main reason is money. He works full time for a government body but his wages would only cover rent/ rates and power and that’s it, even in the cheapest of places. This on top of three disastrous relationships, (first one emptying his bank account, next one wanting an open relationship and the third one being completely off her head). We sort of came to the conclusion that he could stay here as long as he liked, wanted, needed. It works well for us, he does his thing we do ours, there’s always someone here for the cats, (so going away is no problem).

    It’s not what I had imagined would happen, but ce qui sera

    Liked by 1 person

  22. there is no good reason at all for adult children living with thier parents but this will differ as you move around the world where different cultures have their own diffrent view of adult children. like here in kenya(africa) most cultural practices is that immediately after the ritual passage from a child to an adult for men which is the circumsision ceremony(mostly at 15years of age) a child is considerd an adult and cant live anymore with his parents. so here it is a norm

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You know what might be interesting? Multigenerational non-family living. I mean think about it? There is so much divisiveness these days. People put each other in categories and buy into the lie that people who are not the same age should not get along. Living with parents is hard because of the roles. But communal living works very well in some cultures. It might work now since it is very expensive to live alone. If I had another bathroom maybe I could live with somebody else’s child while we both get on our feet. Often, the divorced women and 20 somethings have a lot in common financially. If I lived with a recently retired person for whom I am not responsible we too could share resources. And when she travelled someone could watch her stuff. Or even someone just a few years older or younger. It would be nice if people got together. Couples probably love in together too fast because of convenience and then it’s hella inconvenient when it’s over or you get stuck. Rambling on randomly. I wrote a post about men who live at home (in America) it’s different in other places or for other intact cultures in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s