Thursday, May 25, 2017

Emptying the Nest

Many commentators I admire are aghast that so many parents allow their adult children to continue to live with them or allow them to move back in with them (such as after college). This is seen as part of what is making them "snowflakes".

The idea is that since children become legal adults at age 18, they should be out on their own at that age (and if they are done with high school or should be), and it is only allowable for them to continue to live at home, if it is at all, if they are going to college full time and, perhaps, also working part time. Dr. Laura also makes it clear they have to be following house rules, especially when it comes to not fornicating or allowing a boyfriend or girlfriend to stay over. The adult children are to be kicked out and all material/financial support ceased if it is known that such a rule has been violated. (If the parents do have such a rule Dr. Laura will tell them they should.)

Some parents hear this and are surprised, because they think it would be good for their adult children to live at home to build up financial stability rather than having to share a dump with roommates and struggle.

Dr. Laura sees virtue in that struggle, and she cites her own experiences at that age.

There's a potential problem citing the past, however.

An example of that was on yesterday's  Dr. Laura program. A caller was a mother who has having her 22 year-old daughter live with her and she cited student loan debt as one reason. That was not a reason for he 22 year-old with the college degree to move back in. It would ne interesting to compsare the costs of college and rent today vs. when Dr. Laura was that age, adjust for inflation. That the caller's daughter had such debt means the caller and her husband didn't save enough for the child's education. Meanwhile, they probably pressured their daughter to go to college straight out of high school in the first place. Now that daughter has significant debt and is supposed to be on her own to sink or swim. To be fair, Dr. Laura doesn't present college as necessary for every individual, but so much our our society does. Financial planners and financial services providers and politicians regularly talk about the importance of higher education and saving for your kids' college education, and employers require college degrees for jobs way more often than is necessary.

I don't think Dr. Laura has said one way or the other if parents in general should save for/pay for their children's higher education in the first place.

Some people cite that their culture encourages people to live with their parents until they get married, to which Dr. Laura points our that they're now in the USA (or Canada), so it is irrelevant what some other country's culture has been. Dr. Laura also knows better than to appeal to American traditions, since it used to be traditional for people, women especially, to live at home until marriage. On the other hand, very little of the population went to college and most people got married younger.

In addition to living on their own being a way to build character and an eventual sense of accomplishment in those adult children, Dr. Laura also advocates the nest be emptied for the sake of the parents, specifically their intimacy and privacy, more specifically the former, since it's kind of a stretch to cite privacy, given that they lived together for at least 18 years already. Regarding intimacy (which is not sex!), Dr. Laura insists if a parent prefers an adult child continue to live at home, it is because they don't want to be alone with their spouse. See point 12. Or, if they don't have a spouse, they don't want to be alone.

Husband-fathers like me actually have an incentive to 1) get the kids out of the house as soon as they are 18, and 2) discourage them from going to college. Courts will often force divorcing fathers to pay for their children's  higher education.

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