I recently came across this interesting article from Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, “Moving Back in With Your Parents? 5 Tips to Make It Easier.”
For many cultures, living with your parents is the norm. It’s moving out (when you don’t yet have a family of your own) that’s unusual.
During a brief stay in Africa, I noticed fully grown, single men living with relative ease in their parents’ houses. My mother, who comes from an Asian family, also knows of adult sons still at home.
The same goes for single, unmarried daughters who are 21 years or older. The family wouldn’t dream of sending them out, alone, into the world. “You’ll have a roof over your head until you’re married,” their father will say.
Now I’m not at all in favor of going back to Regency times when a woman’s only ambition in life was to marry and raise kiddos. I value and encourage the independence that an education and a career can provide for girls.
That said, I still think there’s merit in examining why the Western culture promotes “moving out” as part of a rite to adulthood. Not so in many parts of the world, including Asia and Africa.
Of course, even in these cultures, living with your parents shouldn’t be a free ride. The adult children are expected to pay for their room and board or at least contribute to the family’s upkeep if they don’t yet have a job.
And they’re looking forward, young men especially, to the time when they can exit gracefully after they’ve built up some capital and obtained steady employment.
As more young adults in the U.S. are discovering, it’s cheaper to live with your parents while you seek more economic stability. It has its challenges, but it can also make families stronger. And that, in itself, is almost always a good thing. 🙂