Saturday, February 23, 2008

Livin' Large With the Folks

Guest Post dedicated to people who suffer from multiple personality disorder.


S. Wray Gregoire
posted on Friday, August 17, 2007
Bio | Sheila Wray Gregoire Archives | Printer-Friendly Version

Living in Your Parents’ Basement
When I was sixteen, I knew for certain that when I hit eighteen I was moving out. This wasn’t because I didn’t like my mother. It was simply a matter of pride. I was going to make it on my own.

Today, I’m constantly floored by the number of young adults I meet who are still living with their parents while they “find themselves”. Recently I was chatting to a high school graduate about what she was going to do in September. She hadn’t given it a lot of thought, really. She might go back to high school, she said, because she really liked some of the sports teams. If not, she supposed she would get a job. For now she was just enjoying the summer while she sorted it all out. Her parents didn’t mind. They enjoyed having her at home.

At least she was only eighteen. Unfortunately, many who are a decade older haven’t made much progress in locating their true selves while they live in their parents’ basement. And they don’t seem to be bothered very much by this.

Our culture, I believe, has encouraged this extended adolescence because we have changed what it means to feel good about oneself. Today, many people are quite content with their lives even if they do not have any accomplishments to speak of. They’re good people, after all; what does it matter if they aren’t settled yet?

Perhaps this starts in the nursery, where we tell children that they are special no matter what. And it continues in school, where instead of stressing achievement, because that might make some children feel badly, we stress being nice to each other. We have “student of the week” awards for children who have been friendly, rather than “math pro of the week” for a kid who aced a test.

We also rob kids of the feeling that they can handle things themselves. When it comes to school, most kids can’t get through it without their parents helping with homework, something that was virtually unheard of twenty years ago. Now it’s expected by the schools, the parents, and even the kids. Attend a grade eight graduation and you’ll hear parents muttering in the stands that it should be them getting the diplomas after all the work they went through!

When children graduate and move on to university, again they’re still relying on their parents. My generation expected to pay for higher education ourselves. Kids today can’t even dream of paying their own way. Twenty years ago university cost $7,000 a year, including tuition and all living costs. Today, $7,000 just covers tuition, at the same time as the wages that students earn have stagnated. While you might expect a kid to be able to pay $7,000, no kid can pay $20,000, not without serious loans. So our kids can’t become independent in the way other generations have before them.

Maybe it’s not so surprising, then, that the number of young adults who still live with their parents has increased. Twenty-five years ago a quarter of all men in their twenties lived at home. Today it’s a third. Of course, many twenty-somethings live with their parents after schooling because it takes a while to find the right job. If they have a plan to get out, that’s not really a problem. But if kids are living with their parents because they don’t want to make any plans at all, I have three words of advice: Kick. Them. Out. Don’t switch margarine brands in the hope that they’ll leave (as one commercial suggests), or subtly leave real estate pages strewn over the kitchen table. Cut off the purse strings and let them go.

Many of us want to give our kids a great life, but floating them when they should be caring for themselves only impedes maturity. Somehow we need to find that balance between doing what is necessary for our children and encouraging independence at the same time. We may waver on this during the teen years, and even during higher education, but once a child is an adult, it has to be their show now. At one time, kids relished this. There’s no reason why they can’t again.

21 Comments:

At 2:39 PM , Blogger Helen Mansfield said...

Hmmm. I'm not sure about this one.

In the many countries of Yerp, as W. calls it, many well-adjusted and working children remain at home until they in turn find a partner, marry, and move out of the home.

The kids then have kids of their own, and the process starts over again. Like the family is setting up generational franchizes. Weird.

I think some parents don't want their kids to move out because the parents were the ones who forced soccer, violin lessons, and martial arts on them, making them take on more than they could handle at a young age. Then, when they should be out on their own and dealing with the adult world, the parents pull them back in.

But then, you've got the comic book guys who still play D & D in their room in the parent's cellar, but I don't want to speak ill of most of my former boyfriends ..

 
At 3:15 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

helen: Peculiar ehh? I read a study where most of these young adults will end up writing in GW for a third term?

 
At 7:31 PM , Blogger The Fool said...

Hi Josh,

100 years ago...it was common for a kid of 13 to start working, or start in an apprenticeship learning a trade. In the last 100 years we have removed almost all kids age 13-18 from the job market, we have ceased most apprenticeship programs (as well as trade schools, and shop classes)...we have housed these "children" in places called schools and we have turned them into needy little clients called students. We have redefined education as "facts absorption" (rather than process)...and even when a kid tests out of the stupid fuckin' system early (many pass the high school graduation testing in 10th grade), they find they still have 2 more years of their sentence to fill, because it's more of a prison system than an education system. Don't get me started. I have taught for 17 years (against the grain, thank you), and I have raised two children (and I have taught them both in my classes).

Good post, Josh.

 
At 5:22 AM , Blogger Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Are you implying there is something wrong with me living in my mothers basement? I'm to busy blogging to get a real job, so mom's basement is the best place for me. The dampness, the darkness and all the cottage cheese I can eat. It's the perfect set up for me. My blog name even reflects my living quarters.
Mom! Toilets blogged! I'll translate. Mom! Toilets blogged, get down here with the plunger and coat hanger and wrassle this piece of cake out of the toilet. G$*&@ Mother! (all Cartman like)
Smiles
Mom!

 
At 6:53 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

the fool: Good to hear from you. Great comment, you almost got me started, however I realized that I could go on for hours so its best to stop now. I will take the time to visit your site, always a pleasure.

toilets: Actually people listen up! Toilets is a regular chick magnet, so there must be something to his method. Whenever I am in a pickle, I think What Would Toilets Do? I think any man that has the nickname Mom must be well centered and the ladies love a man that is confident.Or so toilets has told me. I put money in his pay pal account and he offers me advice. Thanks Toilets

 
At 8:09 AM , Blogger Mike said...

Josh Babe - Seems like "Moms
and "Helen" still got the terminal hots for you. They write you as a teenage girl would write Bobby Darin. Speaking of "fonts" - wasn't he on "Happy Days"?

I assume you know I am a cousin of Peeps and Bill is an older brother. We are a close group of relatives who often have pajama parties and sleep together. Unlike those you discuss in your current blog, none of us live at home. Only my sister, who has no limbs, still resides at home. Without family assistance, it takes her three hours to get up the stairs.

If my son, after graduating from college, wishes to stay with us, he is welcome. I would welcome the smell of pot and beer and young chicks in my home again.

You are from the school of "ignore it and it will go away". They closed that school babe because it didn't work. Thanks for all the emails you have sent me (my email is in my profile). I enjoyed them.

Shall I tire of this before you? Or do we continue our journey forever?

OK my friend, big man hug - Mike
Your biggest fan. Some say I favor Johnny Deep, I don't see it but a compliment is a compliment.

 
At 3:02 AM , Blogger Helen Mansfield said...

Yes, that Bobby Darin was oh so dreamy and could croon like nobody's business.

I prefer Bobby Vinton though. "Lonely, I'm Mister Lonely, I don't have nobody to call my own ..."

 
At 4:47 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Helen: "One is the Loneliest Number" by Three Dog Night I remember listening to this playful ditty and thinking the lead singer is not saying one is, but on ith. I think he had a speech impediment, not that there is anything wrong with that but I would crank this tune whenever it was on the radio just to see if I could discover if he was singing one is or was it one ith?

 
At 7:22 AM , Blogger Mike said...

Dear friend Josh - First, I want to thank you for your kind and encouraging email. I am so happy we became email buddies. I was going to write you some thoughts I had on masturbation, but realized how provincial you are about certain words and thoughts. Josh, any contemporary medical doctor or psychologist will tell you that masturbation is a typical habit in all males over 15. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that 90% of all married men masturbate. And as for as bowel movements, urination and breaking wind - these too are normal and expected body functions. I think you and I need form an Affirmative Action movement educating Americans about these facts. Some ideas I have to bring this movement to the attention of our citizens:

We could organize a Million Man Masturbation March to Washington DC (Blacks and Whites all welcome). We could gather at the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Monument and stand around its' perimeter. At a certain predetermined moment we could all masturbate into the pool, turning the water opaque.

We could gather in Pittsburgh for a Pittsburgh Pee-in. Thousands of volunteers standing on the edges of the many bridges in Pittsburgh and at the same moment, piss in unison. The water would steam

Our volunteers could remove the doors off all Port-a-Potties at an assigned day and time.. When construction workers needed to use the toilet, everyone passing would see them sitting and doing their business.

To make our breaking wind statement we could fill all buses, trains, airplanes, subways etc - any contained public vehicle. Again at an assigned time, thousands could break wind simultaneously.

My friend, I think this would work! This would be an effective tool to educate our citizens about normal and expect body behaviour and help them learn to accept it. We may have a challenge in the Bible Belt where masturbation is a sin and will send you directly to hell without passing gas.

Again my kind friend, your emails cheer me up. My hotel continues to have problems with it's Internet service and I continue to print out my emails and comments to you and fax them to my brother who forwards them to you. Conversely, he prints your emails to me and faxes them to the George V. So there may be a slight delay in my responding to your emails. I am sure you are sympathetic to my dilemma.
OK my sweet man, let me shower (yes, and perhaps masturbate) and get beautiful for work this morning. I hate being so far from you. Hope to meet you for dinner upon my return.

Your best friend, Mike

 
At 7:38 AM , Blogger zen wizard said...

Unless your dad has croaked his last three wives and buried them somewhere on the Ponderosa, and you have a great Chinese chef that makes kick ass food every night, if you are a WASP and you turn eighteen you are supposed to move out and move to a different town than your parents and never, EVER talk to them again.

That's a rule.

If there is a really cool big town 50 miles away from your parents like Chicago, you can move there--but it is better to move even farther away than that.

Maybe like on Hazel if your parents get mysteriously transfered to the Middle East, you can stay a little longer. In the right light, though, Shirley Booth DID look Chinese, so I think I am on to a theory, here.

If your dad is a lawyer like on Hazel I am not sure why he got transferred to the Middle East. I would think they need more security guards and dudes that put out fires on oil wells and stuff like that.

 
At 10:07 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

zen: There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from Hazel, one hot babe that Hazel.I have been a member of her fan club since...A very long time. I ♥ me some Hazel! Oh yes the ole 50 mile rule, I know it well I think I first read about this in the bible.

 
At 12:02 PM , Blogger Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

I thought the 50 mile rule was when you were 50 miles away from your wife any thing goes. Then after a while it's down to 10 miles, I'm actually down to 30 feet right now and would consider an 8 foot radius.
Mom!
It's not my position, it's just my name.

 
At 1:02 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.

Peeps, this should make you very happy. Cheers

 
At 1:12 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

toilets: Of course.

 
At 1:24 PM , Blogger Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Thanks Peeps

 
At 4:19 AM , Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

Toilet better be careful. Seems the 50-mile rule works in reciprocal as well. I believe it too. There was a thunder of he-man hooves heading over to his house as soon as that comment posted.

 
At 4:54 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

erin: toilets is a curious fella, he is my big brother, which might help explain a few things. At the tender age of eight we would have to take him to the truck scales to check his weight. He is Ignatious.

 
At 12:48 PM , Blogger zen wizard said...

Getting a hummer from Hazel is like climbing Mount Everest when someone is vacuuming it: Wear some earplugs (silicon recommended), don't look down, make sure the vacuum is equipped with a fresh, HEPA filter to track pollens and pet dander, and try to have some porn playing that you can watch--keeping the remote accessible while you are...I can't remember what I was talking about, but it was a really good metaphor there for a while...anyway, she didn't call him, "Mr. B." because her main job was scrubbing the cling-ons out of the toilet every time he took a dump.

Anyway, for some reason, getting a hummer from a woman wearing a nurse's hat is a fantasy, and getting a hummer from someone wearing THIS HAT is not.

 
At 12:54 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

zen: I like how you were able to create a funny comment with out using any profanity.

 
At 2:37 PM , Blogger SleekPelt said...

Mom is Ignatius? No wonder I like him so much! As for the living-at-home thing ... I don't wanna pass judgment on folks for doing their thing, but I sure as hell was ready to get out of Dodge as soon as I graduated from high school. Never looked back.

 
At 2:49 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

Sleek: Yes, toilets is Ignatious! I lost my train of thought? Yes,toilets...nope. Ah my post yes that it. I wonder if Japanese children are ready to get out of Toyota when they graduate?

 

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