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“Hi, Ma, we’re back!”

Barbara Bensoussan

With rent prices soaring, and many 20-somethings finding themselves between jobs, some adult children are returning to their parents’ emptying nest. It’s a tricky situation — tensions can rise and tempers may flare — but it can also be the springboard for a deeper, mutually beneficial relationship

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In other times and places, getting married didn’t necessarily mean moving out; it was normal for several generations to share a roof. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, when people struggled to pay rent, many Americans accepted relatives into their homes. With the economy more agrarian back then, children helped out on their parents’ farms after marriage and received their own share of the produce. Even in cities, it wasn’t uncommon for young couples to start a marriage with parents, until they had the means for their own place. The belief that young adults and families should live alone grew out of postwar prosperity and cheap housing: “During the 1960s, most parents felt it would be ‘unthinkable’ for their adult sons and daughters to return home, or have their parents move in with them,” writes Susan Newman, PhD, in her book Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)learning to Live Together Happily. “Independence was a crucial, strived-for virtue.” These values became ingrained over the years. Most young people adopted the belief they should be self-reliant, and feel sheepish and embarrassed if they need to return home. But returning home isn’t necessarily something to be ashamed of.CarolLostetter, a Minnesota mother whose son moved back home along with his wife and two daughters, told Minnesota Public Radio, “My son isn’t a failure because his salary isn’t enough for his expenses. Moving back in with us was the most financially responsible thing he could have done.” 

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