At what age should you leave home?

In Italy they call them bamboccioni – big babies. In the UK, they’re called KIPPERS, kids in their parents’ pockets. So who are they? Adult children that are still living at home in their twenties and sometimes thirties.
Last week a judge ruled that a 60-year-old Italian father still had to pay an allowance for his 32-year-old daughter who is still living at home, without a job. On the heels of that story, Italian Innovation Minister Renato Brunetta proposed a law to make it mandatory that kids leave home at 18.  But it’s not just a European problem, the US, Canada and India are also complaining about  their chicks that refuse to fly the coop. Journalist Carola Long doesn’t think it’s all bad, she defends living at home well in your twenties.
What’s the convention where you live? At what age do you think it’s appropriate for kids to move out and get on with their life without a parental subsidy?

40 Responses to “At what age should you leave home?”

  1. 1 patti in cape coral
    January 25, 2010 at 20:43

    I went to visit my husband’s stepmother in Colombia. She has a three bedroom house, one bathroom. She has three sons, all with wives and children. Basically, there is a family living in each bedroom. I didn’t ask where stepmom slept, but I did see hammocks hanging in the backyard.

    In most hispanic cultures, families, and even extended families, live together much longer than families in the US. Even though I was born in the US, I’m comfortable with my children living with me for an extended time. My rule is that you have to be working, looking for work ( 6 hours a day until you find a job), or going to school. My husband grew up in Colombia, but he really likes the US style a lot better, where you leave home around 18-22. He thinks it fosters more independence and a stronger work ethic, and women learn to take care of themselves rather than wait until they are married. It really depends on culture and economy.

  2. 2 Idris Dangalan
    January 25, 2010 at 21:06

    Am 31 now but I pushed to leave home I was under 18, for studies in UK but my Mother putting pressure on my dad,not to sponsor my studies because of what she believe is wrong and am under age to leave home. My dad want me to studies there in order to have good educational background and having good mind not corrupt like many other. The problem am facing I read medical Biochemistry but working as inspector in national youth service corps, which is irrelevant. Lastly i advicing both parent and kid.

  3. January 25, 2010 at 21:21

    how can a law be passed;my niece who is in her late 20’s and I doubt because of the love of her mother and father who are now pensioners will ever leave as she is mentally unfit

  4. 4 Bert
    January 25, 2010 at 21:41

    I find it a little pathetic when grown up kids are still living at home, be that in Western Europe or in the US. Although there are extenuating circumstances in which this might be desirable. For example, when the “child” or the parents are in need of constant care.

    However, I would by no means condone government action to prevent such living arrangements. Most young adults should start feeling rather confined if they are still at home in their 20s, one would think.

    I think that in the West, the typical “flying the coop” occurs when the child starts attending university, or starts his/her first job after secondary education. Some kids hang on at home, if the university is in their home town. But in my opinion, they would be missing out on some important growing up years by staying home.

    I started noticing when our daughter approached the start of her university career that living at home was becoming an impediment to her continued growth. And I definitely noticed the same effect on me, when I was attending university and went back home during the summer breaks. It was nice and familiar, sure enough, but something intangible had definitely changed.

    January 25, 2010 at 23:02

    I always said to myself I wouldnt leave home until I got married! Sadly I had to leave home aged 29 due to my step dad making my life a misery! We just clashed & didnt get on. So aged ONLY 29 I moved out. I knew nothing! A friend asked me what drop my curtains were I didnt know what she was talking about! I asked my mum a few months later do I wash minced meat? So much blood! Thankfully my mum who knows me so well, didnt laugh. If I was turned out aged 18 I dont know what would have become of me! Each child is different & so leaving home is up to the child & parent. In some homes the child leave & the parent dont think they are ready & dont want them to go. I hope my son isnt at home until he is 29 as he’s hard work now with, attitude!!!

  6. January 25, 2010 at 23:51

    I believe the age I would choose is 21, That is not to say that from the point of ones mess i.e cleaning concerns, including washing up your clothes and dishes yourself, running your own timetable and not treating the place like a 5 star hotel. You can live at home until 21 but you must pay housekeeping, and therefore hold a part time position to pay that housekeeping at least 250 Euro a month. I personally left home at 16 on my Birthday, in Radcliffe, Manchester-North West England. In Manchester it largely depends on a number of differing elements including, Class, Placement and Level of parental income. Those on lower level incomes that fit in lower class, poorer bracket of Parents, (If indeed there were 2, 60% of parents are single in Europe) will tend to have their kids close by, but encourage them to leave early at around the age of 18. Those in the Upper Class or Middle Class brackets tend to be parents – (the other 25% that have managed to stay together, and on a fare to middling income) usually have a child in college and waiting to go to University when it would be expected of the young adults to move on campus.
    However we should not forget the crux of this matter and that is you won’t open many doors to your future by living at home with mummy and daddy – because that’s not cool.

  7. 7 bbrooks
    January 26, 2010 at 00:47

    The issue isn’t when you leave home, it’s whether you live at home as an adult or a child. If you are helping your parent with chores and finances, then it makes sense to live at home and save money until you marry. What’s wrong is that parents are babying their adult children by doing their chores and not insisting that they save their money so they can get their own place some day.

    • 8 Norseman65
      January 26, 2010 at 11:32

      I so agree with much of this comment.
      Stop asking ‘when should “kids” leave home’ (“kids” or children – shouldn’t!)
      Ask why and when should young or even some older adults leave home? answer – It’s up to them But, coming from Scotland, while I lived at home as a wage earner, (from the age of 15yrs) just like my dad did every week (no salaries in those days) I handed my wages to my mum as did my brothers and sisters and was given an allowance in return. In other words, we paid for our keep.

      We were not dependant on our parents to look after us as if we were still children unless still at school.
      In fact, in those days, after we left school, if I failed or refused to go out to work, my father, rightly so, would have kicked me out of the house and told me to go and stand on my own two feet.

      As it was, I went into the Merchant Navy and still sent money home to mum every week.
      Young people who live at home as parasites have fools for parents who let them get away with anything they want and even pay money for- usually, fags and/or drugs, booze, parties. Life for them is too cushy these days.

  8. 9 Patrick
    January 26, 2010 at 01:38

    The idea that people should leave home does three negative things. First of all it results in ones parents going to a nursing home. If you live with your parents then they don’t have to go to a nursing home. Second of all it creates environmental waste. It is more environmentally sustainable to live in ones parents home because going to another home requires the use of environmental resources. Thirdly it could result in people leaving the towns where they grew up and people are supposed to stay where they grew up(unless they have to leave to preserve their health) because staying in one place all your life is how communities get created.

  9. 10 T
    January 26, 2010 at 01:44

    What’s the biggest part of the problem? Dealing with cultural differences. In many countries, it’s normal for the kids to stay and take care of the parents. In the West, it’s the opposite.

    You can argue all day long about it. Really though it’s an individual’s decision. If the govt. makes a law that says you leave at 18, there’s no stopping the flood of other laws after that.

  10. 11 Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri
    January 26, 2010 at 02:22

    I live in punjab (INDIA ), We still have joint families and kids are not forced to leave home, instead parents try their best that their kids get maximum possible education, while living with their parents. After they got jobs or married they still live with their parents. In INDIA, we have very good family life and social life.

  11. 12 Tan Boon Tee
    January 26, 2010 at 03:41

    This question does not arise in most Asian nations where extended family culture continues to be the norm.

    Individualism and nucleus family only apply more to the westerners. Each individual should be allowed to decide when to leave home.

  12. 13 Josiah Soap
    January 26, 2010 at 03:47

    I think kids should leave home after they leave school/university and get a job to support themselves. But we definitely don’t need the Government telling us how to run our lives. If parents want kids to stay at home, thats up to them to decide. I have a few friends in their 40s and even 50s who still live at home with their parents – it seems very strange to me, I left home at 18, but each to their own – except now it seems some governments think that you cannot make your own choices.

  13. 14 TomK in Mpls
    January 26, 2010 at 04:01

    Age is not an issue. It is people and the situation. I have a brother that left at 14. It was not an *event*, it just kinda’ happened. He is by far the biggest financial success of the bunch. I was the worst, I left at 17 and came back for 2 stretches totaling less than 3 years. Always with an active plan to leave.

    Most of these people with no plan are a problem. But it only hurts them and their parents. If they wish to be a social and Darwinian dead end, *GREAT*! Mankind is better for it. And don’t just blame the child, the parent is even more to blame for having this tolerance, then raising the child with these tendencies, and then not having the tough love/spine/intelligence to do the right thing.

  14. 15 Alex V - Chicago
    January 26, 2010 at 04:17

    It all depends on the person here despite complaints. There are people who need to live at home with parents for an assortment of reasons, most notably circumstances beyond human control. It is a necessity, and it isn’t appropriate for such law to take place, especially in this economic climate.

    Additionally, I’m a student almost going to university and I’m considering living with my mom when I go.

  15. 16 sumedh
    January 26, 2010 at 05:55

    we at nepal never leave our parents house. we live as a joint family and we enjoy it..its taken as a bad moral to leave your parents when you become an adult.

  16. 17 @guykaks
    January 26, 2010 at 06:53

    At the age of 21 is appropriate!

  17. 18 John
    January 26, 2010 at 09:04

    This is actually none of the government’s business. Why should anyone dictate to me how long I should keep my children at home or at what age they should have to leave? That is completely between the parents and their children. Furthermore, what is right for one child may not be appropriate for another. Parents need to look at this on a case by case basis. I am sick of the government trying to run EVERY aspect of my life.

  18. 19 Roberto
    January 26, 2010 at 10:30

    RE “” Italian Innovation Minister Renato Brunetta proposed “”

    ———The Italian peoples have a legendary millenniums of innovation long before the creating by the state of appointed/lifetime “bureaucrats.”

    This must be the WHYS comedy relief story of the week. Surely we deserve a photo of the Italian Innovation Minister along with official email address to send our our raucous jeers to.

    A clip of ye olde banana peel slip next in the queue with a call to ban bananas, eh?

  19. 20 anna
    January 26, 2010 at 11:25

    In Greece it is also very common to live at home till you’re 30 and more. Besides culture, there are practical reasons. I mention the following: it takes ages to graduate from uni (noone kicks you out), you ‘ll never get a decent salary before you’re at least 30, and expenses are too high to survive on 700 euros a month when bills+food+rent is over that. IF you get a job, cause unemployment soars in the 18-30 group, and especially among women. House sharing is very very uncommon when not a student except in the pre-marriage state (e.g. moving out to stay with boyfriend/girlfriend). Basically, you can survive, but it is very hard to save any money during the 18-30 period of your life unless you live with mum and dad. A lot of people choose to stay in order to save some money now so later they can buy a house or a car, or pay for the furniture of the new house after getting married. In the meantime, mummy cooks and cleans and washes etc. Not a bad deal, isnt’t it? Greek mothers spoil their kids also. Greek mothers consider their kids to be kids even if they’re 50 (the kids). Also greek parents approve or disapprove the chosen means of survival of their kids. People turn down jobs because their parents think it is not a “good enough” job for their kids. In the meantime they pay the price for being involved. If someone wanted to work at mcdonalds cleaning floors only to pay for rent to move out, the mother/father would probably tell him/her not to do it, ask to wait a few years before moving out, offer to pay allowance until something better comes up, only to protect the family’s public image. He wouldn’t want people to say that his daughter or son is forced to scrub floors at mcdonalds because he (the father) cannot support his family… Eventually this dies out after you hit 30, but still, the damage is done.

  20. 21 Norseman65
    January 26, 2010 at 11:57

    Reading through the many comments it is clear that no one thinks that laws should be passed to decide this for parents.
    Most comments display more common sense than any government department ever can, in that it is up to the family to agree when their young men and women should leave the nest.
    Yes cultural differences exist between the East and the West and need to be accounted for but I think most people are saying the same thing about young people – stay or leave for the right reasons and there are many of these to support both arguments.
    But if anyone wants to sponge off another person, whether at home or not, kick them out and make them fend for themselves.

    Laws exist any and everywhere to evict an unwelcome guest or intruder. These are equally applicable to unwelcome family members. We do not need specific laws to deal with an otherwise private and entirely domestic issue.
    While extended families live in harmony, ‘let no man pull asunder’
    If there is a cuckoo in the nest, get rid of it before it destroys the other chicks!

  21. 22 username
    January 26, 2010 at 12:10

    It makes no financial sense for British 20 somethings to leave home.

    Come back when houses and bills are affordable and employers pay decent wages

    • 23 Norseman65
      January 26, 2010 at 13:03

      Username says “come back when houses and bills are affordable”

      Do mean leave home when they are?
      Are you also suggesting that the 20 somethings should stay at home for nothing?

      I hope you will qualify your comment!

  22. 24 Mr K
    January 26, 2010 at 12:55

    It’s perfectly reasonable for people in their 20s to live at home so long as it does not hinder their independence and development as a responsible adult.

    I had to return home after university for a period due to financial reasons. This was a mixed experience as I no longer had the freedoms I enjoyed whilst at university but did have the luxury of a doting Chinese mother. In the end I chose to move out as I had gotten too accustomed to the comfort and felt I needed to go it alone for the sake of learning important lessons.

    Self-reliance is a must for anyone to become adult. However, it’s the parents responsibility to give a push if they feel their children are not learning that lesson staying at home. This is one thing the law should not have a say in.

  23. 25 scmehta
    January 26, 2010 at 13:50

    Leave or stay; what matters is when you are able to raise your own family and be independent enough to take up the associated responsibilities, including care of the elders in your or your parents’ home.

  24. 26 patti in cape coral
    January 26, 2010 at 14:38

    A note to parents out there who allow their grown children to live with them: If you pay for everything and do all the chores, and allow your children to do nothing, you are not being a good parent and you are doing your child a great disservice. You always have to keep in mind that you will not be here forever and it’s a great, big, bad world out there. My son is mentally disabled, but I require him to work work and do his chores because I won’t always be here to do it for him.

    I was one of those spoiled kids, my mother did everything for us. When I got out into the real world, it was a rude awakening. Believe me, you don’t want your kids to go through that, even though, by 18-20 it might be too late to reverse any habits.

  25. 27 gary indiana
    January 26, 2010 at 15:18

    I was twenty when my wife and I married and rented an apartment. My son joined the military at seventeen and my daughter left home at twenty-three. I think that as a parent, if you made home so comfortable, or you’ve been so demanding of attention your child stays beyond middle twenties, you’ve done remarkable disservice as a parent.

  26. 28 Tracy in Portland
    January 26, 2010 at 18:16

    I find it interesting the focus is on the bad adult children. Who fostered this massive dependance? If they where given no expectations other than to eat and take up space what do their parents expect? Parents are suppose to raise their children, and prepare them to go out into the world. And just why can’t they kick the deadbeats out? If they are, and pardon the harshness, that pathetic move out. Leave the kid behind and let the ladlord kick them out. Or the new home owner. Besides when the power gets shut off and no food is delivered to the couch they will get the hint.

    Staying with your parents as an adult doesn’t have to be a negative thing. I lived with my parents until my late twenties. I held a full time job and helped on the farm. I don’t live with them anymore but I still help with the farm. A friend of mine stayed with his mom until his mid to late twenties. Him and his brother lived with her so they could buy a home. I don’t think she minded her stay at home kids. Especially since when they moved she had a home bought and paid for to show for it. Guess our parents just gave us different values.

  27. 29 sue smith
    January 26, 2010 at 18:48

    l think it is much more of a bone of contention when the adult concerned is a stepchild. His/her presence enhances the life of the natural parent by their presence as we all love our own children unconditionally and however badly they behave still like to be in their company – but it detracts from the life of the step parent as they dont have the luxury of unconditional love to fall back on when grown stepchild is behaving badly. The step parent just wants privacy and quality time with their spouse/partner.

  28. 30 Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite
    January 26, 2010 at 19:56

    Hello! Thank you very much for the slot to respond.
    As to the children unwilling to leave parental homes, it depends. How can anyone or any government fix the age and make the young people leave if they have no plans, for instance, to start a family or have no friend suitable for family life. It is very difficult to regulate such personal matters. Young men might be encouraged, especially when it becomes difficult for a mother to look after them. Again, men are the initiating party in family life, and young men might be reminded of their social duties at, say, the age of 28-30. But young girls, who look after themselves and who cannot produce a family at will, may appear at a disadvantage if they are thrown out of the parents’ home at a fixed age. If such laws are to be passed they should be very delicate not to ruin young lives when sex has become vulgar and brutal and not to create absurd situations. Thank you
    On the burqa question, similar awareness would apply. Paris might rule out burqa on cultural grounds, governments may rule it out on safety grounds, but to argue for woman’s emancipation and to ban burqa is somewhat absurd. Who can prescribe emancipation to women who themselves choose to wear it. It is also a cultural relic, although the culture is different. I have noticed that other people responded along these lines too. Thank you.
    Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite

    • 31 Ronald Almeida
      January 27, 2010 at 17:00

      Pigeon-holing and systemising has become a detrimental attitude of our modern scientific world. Little do we realise that life, like the rest of nature is far too complicated with multitudinous variables to accept being dictated to.

      Though it is just such questions that may help us to realise that fact and in turn find harmonious solutions.

  29. 32 GTR5
    January 26, 2010 at 21:46

    I firmly believe that are age 18 a young man should either : 1. go to university or college, 2. find a job or 3. go into the Army. It makes no sense or does the child any good to be allowed to stay at home after age 18. Grow up young man! I don’t know about girls, I don’t have any daughters.

  30. 33 David
    January 26, 2010 at 22:27

    Why leave home? I would encourage my children to live in the same house with me even if we have to rebuild or buy a bigger block and built several houses. It is healthy to wake up and see your children and grant children.

    In my country of origin that is how we lived and that is what brings happinsess in a family.

  31. 34 Ronald Almeida
    January 27, 2010 at 15:24

    Kids should be free and independent as early as possible. But society should encourage and make it possible by giving them all the facilities of an adult.
    No human should be dependent on another more than neccessary, it only stunts his facilities and possibilities.

  32. 35 robin rattansingh
    January 27, 2010 at 19:26

    you should not if you and your parents agree, you could work and live there.

  33. 37 Jaime Saldarriaga
    January 27, 2010 at 19:47

    I think parents and children must reach an agreement. If not possible, then go to a judge.

  34. 38 Tom D Ford
    January 27, 2010 at 22:02

    When most people were farmers the families pretty much stayed together and just added on to the house when new kids were born or a boy brought home a new bride. The girls went to their new husbands house. There was a continuity and a family support system that was very admirable in some ways. Babies were born at home and elders died at home.

    During and after the Industrial Revolution people started moving away from home to where the jobs were.

    I’ve read that this idea of getting kids to move out was part of an economic growth strategy, because they then need to get a separate house or apartment, buy their household furnishings, get their own transportation, and all the rest that it takes to live on their own, and all of those purchases added to the growth of the economy.

    I think one of the key questions has to do with the new fledgling being ready to fly on their own and the world being ready to accept them with jobs and whatever other support systems they need.

    In the current recession i don’t think that either the parents or the kids are at fault, I think that they just have to muddle along as best they can until the economy gets better.

    There is something to be admired about family support systems helping each other out when it is needed.

  35. 39 maryam khan
    January 28, 2010 at 12:13

    i will never allow my kids to leave me if tey will try then i will kick them out……..!!!!!!!

  36. 40 Kenneth Ingle
    January 31, 2010 at 12:12

    I left home at the age of 15 after getting a job at Sainsburys and living in one of their staff homes in London. There has never been any reason to regret leaving at that age. Of course in those days, there was little chance of a “working class child” getting further education, apart from evening classes.

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