Still living under your parent’s roof at 30? Get a life.

Are you still mama’s boy at 30? Your mum drags you out of bed to have breakfast, asks you what you will have for lunch or dinner and even reminds you to make your bed.

What are you playing at? Wake up at your mum’s breakfast and get a life: you can’t really grow up until you leave home.

Your parents will always be your parents; they will rarely be in a rush to see you leave as they might want you near them for some reason, but by all means you need to prove your independence.

A quarter of young people in the UK now live with their parents, according to the recent Office for National Statistics (ONS).

ONS released last year showed that British society is undergoing a significant shift, as one in four young adults now live with their parents. Those aged 20 to 34 are now more likely to be sharing a home with their parents than any time since 1996. Men are far more likely than women to be living with their parents.

In Ireland, more than four in ten people aged 18 to 29 live with their parents, according to a new European study.

Lack of employment opportunities often causes many young people to not go anywhere, or to move back home even when they graduate – at the time they should be becoming fully independent.

In the past several months, some studies have suggested that the reasons grown children are returning to the nest in greater numbers than ever may have less to do with the rise and fall of the unemployment rate, and more to do with lasting changes to young adult life, such as the growth of student debt and delayed marriage

The percentage of young adults living with their parents who are unemployed is almost twice the unemployment levels found amongst those in the same group who don’t live with their parents.

Least likely in London

The number of young adults living with their parents drops considerably to 1 in 5 while in Northern Ireland which is more than 1 in 3, above the national average.

In 2013, the study revealed that Northern Ireland had the highest percentage of young adults living with their parents with 36 per cent while London’s figures were the lowest with 22 per cent as you can look at the record levels below.

Case study

“It is not a matter of getting married or not. Living on your own as a man teaches you to be more responsible,” says Bob Murphy, a 59-year-old retired army officer, who says he left his parents when he was 18 to make his own life.

“It teaches you lessons that you would not learn from home. It helps open your eyes and earn living. You learn financial discipline, self-regulation and taking care of yourself,” he says.

Bob argues that a 30-year-old who still lives with parents is like someone who rides a bus and, when the bus gets to his stop, refuses to get off. Or a visitor who has overstayed their welcome. “Yet you can’t leave that person out of the door or tell that person that time is up! As parents, we will never throw them out, but we expect to see them setting out their own stall and finding their way of living.”

Elsewhere in the world people are more likely to move on. Renatus Mushi, 33, a lecturer at the Institute of Finance Management in Tanzania, argues that it is not good to stay with parents too long – most of his friends of that age have already got married and have kids.

“I got married when I was 28 years old. Now I have a six year-old kid. Most of my colleagues have gone on the same path.

“Some of them prefer to rent a single room staying with their colleagues, but once they get good financial positions they shift to good houses where they can get married: that is the most common situation in Tanzania.”

Renatus says in Tanzania, more than 70 per cent of people grow up in villages. In many cases around age 20 to 22 they move out from their parents’ home for college, and after that they run to towns to look for jobs and start their own lives.

“Most people in their twenties in my country, they are out of their families, even though there are some people who have genuine reasons for taking this dreaded decision to move back. After they graduate, they may come back to stay with their parents for one month, then they shift.”

Renatus adds that in his country a “mama’s boy” is always the butt of jokes when the boys are out for drinks.

“What is mum making us for dinner today?” “My son, I washed and ironed your clothes!” “Your mother will vet all your girlfriends or chase them out!” “Your father asks you what time you are coming home?” Such are the questions anyone in the unfortunate position of living with his parents will have to grapple with whenever he is out with friends in Dar es salaam.

Roisin Crowe, 21, a fourth-year college, student says she would have problems dating a guy who at 30 still lives with his parents. “Living by yourself is totally prized. I bet that a grown man who still lives with his parent would be an alarm bell. If a guy like that wants a date, you run as fast as you can,,” says Roisin, laughing.

But this is not only about Bob, Renatus and Roisin. What about the people whose pictures we use as screen savers or wallpapers on our computers, phones or tablets? Where were they at the age 30?

Nelson Mandela, before he turned 30, had married his first wife Evelyn, had two children, became the first national Secretary of the ANC youth league and was a force to be reckoned with in anti-colonial politics.

Fidel Castro, celebrated revolutionary who many regard as one of the few who boldly showed the American government the middle finger and got away with it, turned 30 in 1956. By then he already had a wife, had opened a law firm, led a revolution and unsuccessfully run for congress.

At 30, Steve Jobs, the one who changed how we view gadgets, had cofounded the world’s renowned brand Apple, featured on the front page of Time magazine and became a global celebrity.

Facebook founder and the social network genius, the young tech tycoon Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, is now 30 years old. He got married at 28, but before getting married  he used to rent a month-to-month apartment in California. He didn’t live with his parents.


By Seraphine Habimana


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