Dudes, embrace the living-with-your-parents thing – it’s just like Germany!

Dudes, embrace the living-with-your-parents thing – it’s just like Germany!

Here’s an idea: Instead of bemoaning re-nesters, why don’t we all admit that living with your parents as a young adult is a perfectly fine thing to do? And not just because, yes, it saves a metric butt-ton of money. The problem isn’t that American young adults live with Mom and/or Dad. It’s how.

The primary issue is that American parents have long championed emptying the nest as a sign of successful childrearing. And for their part, American young people buy into a strange mythology that they must relocate far from their families and reinvent themselves at risk of otherwise being stuck as their young selves forever. But this is a ridiculous social construct. It’s not the norm in Europe, where nearly half of all young adults age 18–29 live at home. It’s one largely absent in, for example, Germany, which, coincidentally, U.S. News and World Report currently lists as the best place in the world to live. …

German parents don’t seem to have the obsession with “reclaiming” their home from their children that Americans do. This is because they live with their adult children—prepare to be shocked—in the same way they’d live with any other adults in a Wohngemeinschaft, a nice long German word for “flat share” that literally translates to “living community.” Young adults are expected to pick up after themselves, do some or most of their own shopping, and if they’re earning money, contribute to the rent or other household expenses. Perhaps many American parents bemoan the continued encroachment of their nests simply because they don’t know how to stop treating their children like children.

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