On Living with Parents and Independence


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The inspiration for today’s piece comes from a post I saw sometime ago on Facebook which goes thus: “What  is the appropriate age that a guy should leave his father’s house?” the post got a ton of comments each commenter stating a number and explaining why he/she stated  the given number. Then I got to this particular commenter who replied with this gem “Jesus Christ is more than 2000 years old, he is still unmarried and living with his father, so why should I be tensioned on this issue? ” Of course, I found the comment rather disrespectful but I admit it was funny and it got me thinking about the issue of how long a guy is allowed to live in his father’s house, myself.

Some weeks ago, I was part of a conversation on this same issue. And an argument broke out among the participants. While some were of the opinion that any individual whether male or female should be ready to leave their folks, when they (the individual) graduate and get a stable job, while the others ( the side which  I happened to fall ) argued that a person can live with his/her parents as long as they feel comfortable living with them (I do not support living with them indefinitely though). To those people on the other side, we were advocating our own point of view because we are commitment shy, risk averse slackers, who have no desire to be independent. But I and the others in my group, disagreed and here is why I do not subscribe to that school of thought.

I often find it amusing when I talk to people or I get on social media and I find people arguing that living with your parents is in its entirety a sign of a lack of maturity and a lack of a desire to stand on one’s own feet. I even recently saw a tweet where someone declared that “any man above twenty five (25)  with a stable job should not be living with his parents at all.” Again I must reiterate that that I am a firm believer that anybody, whether man or woman has to leave the comfort of his parents shadow and find his own path sometime(even animals do it), what goes against the grain for me however is when people make sweeping assertions about issues like this without taking the context of the individual in question into consideration. What do I mean by this?  I’ll illustrate with a friend of mine who works in the Nigerian office of a foreign multinational, whose job involves working out of Nigeria for months on end. Sometimes he is out of the country for as long as half the year. This friend is not married yet, so he stays with his parents because he doesn’t see a need to pay rent on an apartment that he would barely live in. Technically he still lives with his parents, the address that  he lists on documents and where friends come to visit him belongs to his parents, so blanket assertions like the aforementioned tweet still applies to him. That is the kind of mistake those who make blanket statements without exception on issues like this often make.

One thing I have found out in my interaction with people both young and old is that independence is a more in the mind rather than in the location, and if you think moving out of your folks’ house is the solution to their trying to control you, you not forget that there are a ton of marriages which are currently falling apart because one or both of the mothers-in-law have moved in with the couple and are trying to monitor them and creating chaos in their family.  When an individual displays maturity and the ability and the desire to be independent,  any set of reasonable parents would know to grant him/her the space he/she needs regardless of whether he/she lives with them or not.  Let me share another example on this issue, It was on an outing with a female friend of mine, who lives with her parents, that I noted that it was getting late and I asked her “shouldn’t you be on your way home now, or don’t you have a curfew or something?” she looked at me quizzically and replied “of course my Dad knows I work late, he also knows I can take care of myself, so he sees no need to impose a curfew on me” I found that a classic example of the point I have been trying to make

In conclusion, moving out of your parents house should be when you are ready, rather than on anybody else’s terms. As far as I know, No set of reasonable parents will put pressure on their child to move out of the house, and it makes no sense to abandon the social safety net that living with your parents create because people are saying stuff on social media or off it. If you feel that your parents are unreasonably domineering, and not giving you the space you require, perhaps what you need to do is to sit them down and negotiate your independence, rather than pack your bags and make for the exit. I am a young man but I am old enough to know that moving out of the house  can never be the solution to friction between a person and his/her folks . It is wisdom that we learnt from Nollywood and Patience Ozokwor. Learn from my unknown Facebook post commenter (apologies to my Christian brothers and sisters), if Jesus Christ can still be living with his father in heaven at his age, why then are you letting somebody tension your life. Nuff said

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2 thoughts on “On Living with Parents and Independence

    1. Well very interesting to hear that, guess I’ll have to chalk this off as another piece that achieved the purpose for which it was written because it helped someone. Thanks for reading

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