Back to Home

Active Questions

Do American Parents Want Children To Move Out?
Family & Parenting / 5:57 PM - Thursday January 06, 2011

Do American Parents Want Children To Move Out?

American parents:

I'm curious about cultural differences here about adult children.

As an American, did you encourage your children to move out of your house? Whom brought up the issue and how was it brought up (e.g. did you say "Son/daughter, it's about time you moved out" or did he/she say "Mom/dad, I need to move out")?
How did you feel about them not living with you anymore?

My understanding is that in American culture, it is considered loserish for children to live with parents after 18 (? no offense intended) (this is not true in places like China, Singapore etc). I'm (obviously) not American and where I 'm from parents consider it insolence/hurtful if their children decide not to live with them before marrying (it's considered treating your parents apparently very poorly).

Thanks!

- Asked by Male, 26-28

Read more about the Rating System


In my case, our son moved out when he left for college and lived away at school. He was subsequently commissioned in the US Navy and has lived on his own ever since. He did not get married until many years after he left our home.

My son would NEVER want to live with his parents any longer than necessary. AND, we encouraged him to find his way in life and become independent when he could. Parents do their children no service encouraging them to stay at home endlessly.

Our job as parents is to give our children the self-confidence required .. along with helping them to acquire the skills/education to make a life for themselves independent of us. It's not easy .. but it's what's best for them.

Every culture is different .. but my husband and I were not hurt (although we missed him terribly) that he was able to find his way in life outside our home. We are now happy and can rest easy that he can take care of himself. We're very proud and he's very happy.

- Response by mrscleaver16, A Married Girl, Female, 56-65

Rating Received:

Community Rating: Community Star

America values independence. Part of the parents' job is to raise a child who is independent and fully capable of caring for themselves. To see one's children still at home past the time when they are biologically independent, flopping about like a fledgling birdie who can't figure out how to fly, is embarrassing and nerve-wracking.

Of course, this trend of expectations often leads children to launch themselves prematurely from the nest, and this has resulted in what people are calling "boomerang kids"-- adult children who move out, then return to living with their parents when they can't make it on their own.

- Response by anie01, A Thinker, Female, 22-25

Rating Received:


My oldest son is 18 and he says he wants to have his own place....but he also talks about the kind of car he wants and so on and so forth.....well he is still in school and just got his first job. He has stayed out of trouble and I am very proud of him. I don't want him to move out until he's ready and has the means to make it on his own. He's not babied by no means but I don't think he's ready yet. Thankfully he graduates this June and because he's so athletic may even obtain a scholarship to college.....so he will end up staying home for a little while.

When I was 18 I graduated High school...spent half my first college year at home then had to move out so I moved in with a friend that went to the same college....it worked out eventually.

- Response by lasttrueromantic, A Creative, Female, 36-45, Teaching

Rating Received:


I think more common is once they leave school they move out. I know after college was the time for me and most of the people I know. They either moved out to go to school and never came back home or moved out once school was finished.

- Response by newnumbersguy32, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Financial / Banking

Rating Received:


YES! you need to be on your own and let us have some alone time dammit! although I love my boys a ton, mama needs to be by herself for awhile.
Mine are 21, 23 and 25. It's a perpetual circus.

- Response by busyb704, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Other Profession

Rating Received:


Years ago, it was the custom that children live with their parents. They went to a job or went to college. They courted their girlfriends and left them after the evening was over and returned to their parents' home at night.

Those who remained living at home, always kicked in a few dollars towards the household if they went to work.

However, the last 30+ years or more, things changed. Children moved out, got their own apartments and took on the responsibility of looking after themselves.

Some who were not too responsible, ended back with their parents, not being good with their $$$, and some ended up with unwanted pregnancies as well.

- Response by pushkins, A Thinker, Female, 66 or older, Miami, Who Cares?

Rating Received:


Well as for myself I didn't move out until I had graduated College. Although During my college years I was rarely home except during school breaks. I would not mind if my children were older and in school but if they are just acting stupid and acting out then no I don't think they should still be at home.

- Response by bellabyrdie, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Who Cares?

Rating Received:


In America it's a sign of independence if your child moves out on their own. It's a sign that they've reached adulthood and are self sufficient. There's not the emphasis on caring for the older generations like there is in Asian or Middle Eastern countries.

- Response by lioness21, A Player, Female, 29-35, Consulting

Rating Received:


Thank you for your perspective, I found all of the responses interesting to read. It's good to hear some input on this from another culture.

- Response by ocelotspot, A Hip Hop Girl, Female, Who Cares?, Other Profession

Rating Received:


I agree with the other posters that said Americans raise their kids to be independent and to fly on their own at 18 or college age. But for myself and my own family it was never that simple for 2 reasons. One being the fact that I was born to parents that older than my friends. So on that level I knew I would have to deal with taking care of older parents much sooner than my friends. And for two my mom has had a host of health issues since I was 10 years old. So both of those things told me that even if I did move out at 18, I would no doubt have them moving back in with me soon or a later to take care of them when they truly could not take care of themselves much longer anyway.

And for two coming from a black family and this may sound prejudice but bare with me. Its more or less what I have grown up hearing from my mom. Not to say I believe it or give it much weight but relaying what she tried to get me to believe when I was younger. Which was that white families don't care as much for their kids is why they push them out of the house so early and don't care what happens to them. Unlike with our family there would never be a need for me to leave home like white kids do so early. Cause I have my own room upstairs and a loving and caring family to look after me. But ifi you have seen some of my posts around here you know that when it comes to my folks and my background a lot of what my mom says wasn't true. As there has been more than enough instances where their love has been translated into their version of control. And so by not having very many options right now and a caring heart for my folks well being whether I moved out or not leaves me anchored here. A bit resentful too at times but I have accepted this as the life I have to live for now. Although I still wished they had more children that could possibly help out but they never did. So I am stuck with looking after them and when I do move out, I truly don't want them to follow me to a new place with the same drama.

Sidenote I have considered putting them both in a home before or getting a home care aid. But they are too proud for that to happen. So yet another reason I can't so easily move out. As they are my family and I love them even if they are so damn difficult.

- Response by CursedRomantic, A Thinker, Female, 26-28, Columbus, Student

Rating Received: