Posted by: B | 2004/10/02

What is too old to still live with one's parents?

Opinions, please!! What is too old to still be living at home? I recently watched a Dr Phil-show on "adult children mooching off their parents" and felt SOOOO guilty afterwards. He basically said that as soon as you've matriculated, your parents should kick you out of the nest, and if they can't do it, then you should do it yourself to relieve them of any unwanted and undeserved financial or physical burden. And if you ARE still living at home you should contribute to the household financially and by doing chores. Well, at least I'm helping out a LOT (not money-wise, though). I'm 20 and still living with my parents - not because I want to, believe me, I love them and all, but the guilt and shame is overwhelming. Also: my mom thinks it is beneficial for me not to live on my own, because of my eating disorder. So she wouldn't really allow me to leave.
What do you think?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hello B,
Frankly, I hate Dr Phil's showing off and over-simplification of issues, so I wouldn't take his show seriously. He wouldn't make a show about the real issues that are relevant here, and couldn't make one about perfectly nice adults who have perfectly good reasons for staying at home --- his program is pure showbiz and so it needs to highlight people abusing the situation and making for neat headlines and comments. If he's promoting excessive or unnecessary guilt, then he's doing a lousy job as a shrink.
His advice on parents needing to kick you out immediately after matric is simply WRONG and downright foolish, and typical of so much of his advice --- glib, over-simplified, at times thoughtless, and doing anything for a cute comment. He also seem to have a pathetically simplistic idea of what contributions a young adult can make to the parents household.
Also, as seem absolutely typical of Dr Phil, he has all the sensitivity to other classes, cultures and ethnicity, of a used tea-bag. In MANY cultures round the world it is not only seen as appropriate for adult children to stay with the family home for many years, but as disturbingly inappropriate for them to leave. Does this guy only ever work with people identical to himself ?
He also speaks with the disturbing arrogance of a rich white man who can do what he pleases, and fails to recognize that economic necessity, among those of us not millionaires, may force some people to stay at home ; or that some choose to stay at home to care for parents who are handicapped or needy.
And if you have any problem like an eating dsorder, it's far more sensible for you to work it out and get beyond it, with the support from your family, than to prematurely move out because an American millionaire thinks you ought to.
MIke and Carol are right ( and by the way, Carol, congrats all round and especially to your son for staying straight for a year after his heroin addiction ! ).

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Our users say:
Posted by: K | 2004/10/04

Did the same with my eldest son, now 21 - living conditions with Dad and his girlfriend are much better, can smoke dagga and drink when he wants to, come and go as he please, not have to clean up after himself etc.

Things are different with the other kids, one is 20 and also earns a meagre salary so I won't take rent, helps in the house and garden and is always willing to help in the kitchen too. Other two teenagers are still at school but assist tremendously with looking after and playing with my youngest who is 4 now.

I personally find that the older they get, the more I enjoy their company and that they regard me as a freind as well as their mother. They can stay as long as they like as far as I am concerned!

Reply to K
Posted by: carol | 2004/10/03


if they are looking for a free ride i show them the door .. my youngest I sent back to his father he is almost 18 .. wont go to school , wont go to collge and wont rinse a cup ... so ... tata ... i have become extremly hard other two are fine .....

Reply to carol
Posted by: Blain | 2004/10/03

Carol, what you doing and the reasons you keeping them at home is perfectly acceptable, i have a problem with ppl that stay with mom and dad for the single reason to get as much for free as possible.

Reply to Blain
Posted by: carol | 2004/10/02

My two are also still at home ... my daughter is 20 and is at tech ...

My son is 21 .. he earns a pathetic salary so I dont ask him for rent BUT he does help keep my house spotless , he plays with the dogs and is very supportive ..I sometimes wish he would find his own place but life just aint working that way .

Also I prefer to have them around ... times have changed when I was 20 I was pregnant and running my own home ... my daughter isnt going to be mature enough for that for a while still ... she needs to grow and mature at her own speed . My son is a recovering heroin addict.

BTW CS its a year now !!!!

Reply to carol
Posted by: Mike | 2004/10/02

Times seem to be changing and children are staying at home a lot longer in general. When I was around your age most kids were leaving home, but now its not uncommon to for children to take a year off after school, then start studying and with three or four years study that takes them to age 22 / 23 at least.

You contribute, and your parents are happy to have you at home, so as far as I can see there is nothing to worry about. You should be making an effort to be independent in as many areas as you can and take part time jobs so that your parents can stop supporting you entirely and can see that you are doing what you can.

I wish you the best in gettin gover the eating disorder. This will surely make your parents concerned about you if you decide to leave home.


Reply to Mike

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