I first heard about 40 and 50 year old moving back to their parents house from a TV reporter. I then did a little digging (read, went to google) and found this article attacking the poor writing of the AP article. Both of them are good to read, but they still fail to address the human factor in the story.
Why is it so negative to get help from your parents?
The American mentality of individualism and independence has made the family structure so negative that people are ashamed of living with their parents. I have laughed at the jokes about Tony Kansas City living in his Mom’s basement and the constant harassment in the internet of anyone that is a male still living with his parents. I can assure you with great certainty that if I had not had to move out when my parents got divorced, I would have lived them for a while longer. It is financially smart to either help your parents out or let them help you. Financially I have done both, I have helped my parents out when they needed it and I have also been helped immensely by them after I moved out.
One of the most bizarre things that I heard when I first moved to the US was the common theme amongst my classmates in High School about wanting to move out. Not just to go to college move out, but to move away from their parents as soon as they could. I placed most of it to late rebellion, like kids that pack up their toys and want to run away but just go around the block. Then I got a little older and started to hear from parents that talked about their kids like products with an expiration date. Many of the people I knew that had kids referred to the day when their kids finally moved out as the day their real life started.
I then realized that it is a reality of the American culture to kick the little birds out of their nest so they can learn to fly on their own. Even though we are mammals, the American culture does not think of family as a pack.
One of the scary trends that I have wanted to talk about for a while and will hopefully have time to expand on is how many of the people I know feel that their kids are going to be a burden to others. I grew up with kids around me, cousins over at my house or all of us over at our grandparents was the thing to do in the weekend. Kids tend to entertain each other. Here though, every time someone is going to spend time with us and they have kids they start apologizing in advance for their kids, and that is even if they have the courage to overcome the guilt of having other people be “bothered” by their kids.
Serious, people feel like their kids are their problem and they will bother others so much that they should not have a social life. A kid is going to act out the first time they start feeling comfortable in someone else’s place… but as long as they parents start setting some rules that go with the homeowner tolerance it should work out. I am pretty flexible, as long as the kid is not pulling the cat’s leg they are pretty much ok. I don’t have any ancient Chinese vases that will be irreplaceable, and if there is something I am in fear of getting broken… I just put it away.
Before this starts feeling like it is going in a tangent I will make the connection. I feel that the American culture has deviated from what a family is really supposed to be. If you start feeling like your kids are a huge burden that need to be babysat at home so you can socialize you have the wrong picture. Your friends, even those without kids should grow up beyond the I have a house that belong in an ikea calendar (see Fight Club) and have you over WITH your kids. If they are your friends it is time for them to get to know your kids, they are not going away or moving out for at least 18 years.
On the other side of that coin I see more and more of my peers being “burdened” by the thought of their parents or grandparents getting old and the guilt associated with having to put them in a nursing home to take care of them. I think that if more 40 and 50 year olds had their parents live with them so they can take better care of them it would solve that problem… I think that is what most of the rest of the world does it… so why is it so taboo here to actually take care of or live with your family?