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When is Too Old to Still Live at Home?

Updated on October 23, 2012

Children in their 20s and 30s.

How Old is Too Old to Live at Home?

Growing up, my brother and I were pretty close in age. He was a couple of years older than me, so he was always two grades ahead of me. When we were in high school, we moved into a huge house with lots of space. My dad has recently gotten remarried, so we had a lot of extra furniture; couches and the like. When my brother was a Senior in high school, my dad's new wife said that when he moved out, we could turn his room into a sort-of lounge, where my friends and I could hang out. How awesome would that be?

Well, when college time arrived, he never left. He decided to attend the local community college, and commute from home. Made sense (I actually ended up doing that for a year, too). The lounge thing never happened, but I was fine with that. I figured I'd have my own place soon enough, too.

When time came for me to attend college, I did what he did for about a year, and commuted to the local community college. I got fed up with it, and decided to transfer to a college up north after I got my Associate's degree. We both ended up getting our Associate's degree at about the same time, but he chose to transfer to a local school, and he remained living at home.

After I moved up to college and leased an apartment, I found out that my brother had become a member of a fraternity and he would be moving out as well. I thought, better late than never, right?

That year, I had come down to visit at one point, and found that his room was not only still set up, but he had been using it still. The bed was messy, clothing was on the floor, pee was in the toilet. Turns out he had been coming home every weekend, and also for every break, as the fraternities were closed over breaks. I started wondering what the point was of even living in a fraternity, if you still went home fairly often.

My brother is now twenty-four. I recently graduated with my bachelor's degree, and I have been down to stay the night a couple of times for job interviews in that area. He does still live, sleep and eat there. One time he even brought his girlfriend over to stay the night.

But my brother is far from unique.

Virtually all of my close friends from high school still live at home with their parents. Why is this?

1. It's probably cheaper. Many of these people, like my brother, don't have jobs. Or they have jobs, but only work a couple times a week. In the particular area where my brother lives, the cost of living is very high, and I could not imagine working less than 30 hours per week and being able to afford to live on your own, although roommates could be an option.

2. It's less stressful. People who live at home don't have to worry about paying bills, buying food or even buying toilet paper. Mom and dad will do that for you, and you can focus on your school work.

3. People aren't ready. More and more, children are being pampered to no end. You see it when the mother demands use of hand sanitizer after playing on the playground, and you see it when parents drive their children to play dates only a couple of blocks away. What happened to riding your bike? Independence is not instilled in children these days, and they are quite frankly too scared to move out at the age of 18.

I don't know anyone who has moved out at the age of 18. There are those who "move out" and go to college, but coming home on weekends and holidays, while their parents foot the bill of room and board really doesn't count. What happened to getting a job and leasing an apartment? What happened to learning to cook and take care of yourself on your own?

I don't think that exists any more. I know too many people who are in their twenties and still living with their parents. What happened to the negative stigma surrounding the 30-year-old living in mom's basement?

People aren't striving for more. Maybe there isn't any more. Some of my coworkers still live at home and have never gone to college. I have the same job as people in their twenties that still live at home... So maybe I'm just making my life more stressful?

Call me crazy, but I think by the time you are 21, unless you are mentally disabled, there is no excuse to still be living with your parents. 24? That is just too old. You could at least pay rent. People should not be spending a quarter-century as dependents to their parents. In developing countries, which have far less opportunities than we do, people are taking on adult responsibilities in their teens. In the United States, there is far too much opportunity for people to be wasting their lives like this.

How old is too old to live at home?

What do you think?

How old were you when you moved out?

See results

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    • kathleenkat profile image
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      kathleenkat 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      I suppose so, but it's a weigh-in/weigh-out thing. They may have a bigger down-payment, but they may not have the adequate rental and credit history required to get a mortgage loan.

      I am also aware of other cultures. This is however from the point of view of an American (me) observing new trends in Western culture-- there are just so many 25 year olds that still get grounded for not doing their chores.

    • profile image

      Opinion 4 years ago

      I think it really depends on the individual and their relationship with their parents. If for instance someone is able to save up during their twenties to pay a huge down payment on a house isn't it safe to say they were being fiscally responsible? Take this example and compare it to a person that has been renting since their early 20's and able to make only half of what the individual that saved up at home on a down payment. Not only are they saving money long term, interest, but they'll also have more money to spend due to their lower monthly payments.

      Another thing you need to consider is culture. Western society is less family oriented than, let's use for example, asian cultures. In asian cultures it is standard to live with your parents until you are married. Family is seen as more important than independence and it's a little less selfish.

    • kathleenkat profile image
      Author

      kathleenkat 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Yeah, I have noticed that in general, people act differently towards their parents than they do towards everyone else. Sometimes this manifests in disgusting child-like behavior when mixed into living under the parent's roof (like a child). Seen it happen. I am confident that your daughter will not behave this way when she moves out, and you may consider asserting that she is a GUEST in your home and needs to be respectful or get out---our homes are our most expensive investments, and we need to feel safe and comfortable in them. Best of luck to you and your family. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Beth37 4 years ago

      I got married and moved out when I was 17... my daughter moved out when she was 18 to go to school. However, she ended up needing minor surgery and therapy for her knee and couldn't work. She basically became the nanny for my two little ones. She loves them and is good with them, that is a blessing. However, I am the one person on earth she lets it all out on. It sucks. I cannot ask her anything. I cannot contribute any opinion or ask any requests without WWIII breaking out. So I went into a shell and basically hid in my comp. whenever she is around. I tried to tell her that I wanted to be the kids mom whenever I was around, but it was like telling a 16 year old she couldn't go on a date. So I keep quiet to keep the peace. I think she is changing and maturing a bit now, but no one else on earth would know she's like that... she saves that just for me... so special. I wont mention what her room looks like or the fact that she doesn't do one chore... she's my only kid who is like this and other than the way she treats me, she is a really good kid/adult. Anyway, this arrangement wont last too much longer I don't think, and maybe good will come of it in the long run. I hope so.

    • kathleenkat profile image
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      kathleenkat 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Thank you :)

    • elechifrank profile image

      elechifrank 4 years ago from Canada

      Very interesting Article!!

    • kathleenkat profile image
      Author

      kathleenkat 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Yes, Tussin, it is my opinion, as is everything I write on here. In North America, it's becoming more and more acceptable to live at home well into your 20s. I would also say that living at home in your 20s for free is essentially the same as your parents giving you a monthly allowance to live on your own; they are paying for you no matter what. It is also, of course, my opinion that everyone should be working by the time they are 18. Perhaps we would have more tax revenue in this poor economy we have here in the US.

    • tussin profile image

      I'M BANNED Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!! 4 years ago from Behind You

      I guess it's important to point out that this is your opinion on how young adults should live in the US and Canada. In other countries, especially poorer ones but also a lot of first-world European countries, people don't move out in their early twenties; it's just not done.

      In think if you live in the US or Canada and you're not going to college, you should move out by the age of 20. If you're going to college, then 22, which is when you should be graduating.

      What's really more pathetic than living at home in your mid-twenties is living "on your own" but getting a monthly stipend from your parents to pay for your living expenses. People who admit that and brag about it should be so embarrassed for themselves!

    • kathleenkat profile image
      Author

      kathleenkat 5 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Thanks; and none taken. Many people my age (I'm in my 20s) are still living at home because it's free. I do know one person, however, that helps her parents pay the bills, and they were able to purchase their first home because of it.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Combined families and children remaining in the home can be a very good thing. As soon as one becomes an adult, like your brother, one should contribute to the expenses and abide by the homeowner's rules and moral values. Our society is ever changing and I see this type of thing more and more. But-no offense-it seems your brother was using his home as a pacifier. This is a very interesting article.

    • profile image

      JC 5 years ago

      Living at home is common in different cultures, until marriage.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Great hub, Kathleen. Too many young people in their 20s do live with their parents. An explanation of this is that it is precarious socioecnomic times and jobs are often difficult to get. However, despite these precarious socioenomic times, some young people are getting jobs and proceeding to live independent lives of their parents. Many young adults are ACTUALLY FEARFUL of being on their own because they are so used to being taken care of by Mom and Dad i.e. which represents a proverbial womb and they do not wish to leave this womb and face the REAL WORLD.

      Eventually one must mature and move out of the parental home to establish his/her own life. Of course, there is a negative stigma to those living at home in their mid-2os and beyond. They are often viewed as irresponsible, immature, and dependent. They are also viewed as lacking in life and survival skills. Many young people who live with their parents have no idea of what it is like to budget and make do as they have their parents footing most, if not all of their bills.

      God forbid, what if their parents die, where WOULD they be and/or become? This situation of young people living with their parents in their mid-20s and beyond has reached epidemic potions. As I have said before, each person is responsible for his/her own life! These young people need to GROW UP and to assume responsibility! Pure and simply stated! Hub voted WAY up , by the way!