Millennials and Their Parents Describe What It's Like to Still Live Together
Photo by Sean Acklin Grant
living at home

Millennials and Their Parents Describe What It's Like to Still Live Together

"We treat each other like housemates."
19 October 2017, 11:18am

Moving out of your childhood bedroom into a criminally disgusting flat that you share with your mates should be a basic right of passage for all young people. But thanks to a housing and rent crisis caused by exploitative landlords and negligent government policies, many people in their twenties can only dream of having their first house party shut down. Instead, they're forced to stick to home comforts, rather than enjoying the freedom that comes with moving out. In November 2016, the Office for National Statistics found that 3.3 million 20 to 34-year-olds in the UK are still living at home – a rise of 618,000 in the past 20 years.

We spoke to five Millennials and their parents, all living in different parts of the world, to find out what it's like for them to still share a home. We learned about how they split the bills and chores, and whether it's cool to bring a date back.

Frederic, Bettina and Lutz – Germany

Frederic (right), with his parents, Bettina (left) and Lutz (middle). Photo by Lea Albring

After graduation, Frederic (25) moved back in with his parents in Cologne.

VICE: Why do you still live with your parents?
Frederic: I moved out at 20 when I started university. I really needed the independence, so I swapped my tiny room at home in Cologne for a flat in the city. I've been staying with my parents since I graduated in June. I made the decision to move back in because it made sense financially. I'm currently doing my Masters, and I might do a semester abroad, so it's definitely not worth me getting a flat if I'm going to go away again in a year.

Do you help out at home?
Frederic: We treat each other like housemates. For example, when we eat together, we take turns cooking. Of course there are lots of perks – for instance, the fridge is always full and my mother's home cooking.

Bettina: My husband works in Berlin during the week, so I'm glad I have my son here. But I make a point of not mothering him too much and doing everything for him. I used to just clear away Frederic's dirty dishes, but nowadays I stick a note on them or text him a reminder.

What do your friends think of you living with your parents?
Frederic: Most of them completely understand. It's more the other way around, actually – people used to ask why I had a place of my own when my parents lived so close.

Lutz: When I went to uni 30 years ago, everyone wanted to be free and get away from home as soon as possible. Now most of my friends have their kids living with them.

Is there anything that annoys you about living with your parents?
Frederic: As a student, I have my own daily rhythm. I usually stay up later than them and like to listen to music. That's not just a problem for my parents, but also for our neighbours. But I don't expect to be able to do whatever I feel like. Living together means being considerate, and that would be no different if I was living with my mates.

- Lea Albring

Jonathan, Joe and Maria – Canada

Jonathan (middle), with his parents Joe (left) and Maria (right). Photo by Sean Acklin Grant

Jonathan (23) still lives with his parents in Ontario to save money while he's pursuing a career in music.

VICE: What made you decide to stay at home?
Jonathan: When I started university, it made sense to just stay at home and save money, instead of accumulating debt and worrying too much about bills. Now that I've graduated and I'm working part-time, I'm able to focus on my dream of being a music producer, without needing a full-time job. It was a really good feeling being able to take my scholarship grants from my Masters degree and put it in the bank, without having to worry about spending it on food or rent. Hopefully, it will go towards something worthwhile, like a deposit on a house.

What are the positives and negatives of having Jonathan around?
Joe: There really are no downsides to this – he's great company to have around. When you're cooking for two, a little bit more to feed a third person is not a big deal. The bills are not much more than what they would've been if the two of us were by ourselves.
Maria: Thankfully, he isn't a messy kid.
Jonathan: I mean, it's not always peachy. I think there's always going to be moments when we fight, but it's never been that bad.

What do your friends think about you still living with your parents?
Jonathan: A lot of them are in the same boat as I am right now. To be honest, some of my friends who have been forced out on their own seem to resent the fact that I have a security blanket. My friends know that I'll move out when it's the right time.
Joe: We know parents that have kicked their kids out at 16. If Jon was the kind of boy who was lazy, smoked and drank a lot, we would definitely consider kicking him out if we thought it would help give him some direction.
Maria: He'll know when it's the right time – I don't want him to stress because he can't find money for rent or food.

What about having parties or girls over?
Jonathan: Well, I've never been one to bring girls over anyway, so that wasn't a problem. I'm more of a relationship person, rather than someone looking to bring multiple girls back. Also, I like the idea of going out to a friends house party and then coming back to the comfort of my own home.
Maria: We want him to have a life. I've tried to get him to have more parties, but he never wants to.

- Moses Montrezza

Watch: The Great Council House Scam

Melania and Mirela – Italy

Melania (left) with her mum Mirela (right). Photo courtesy of Melania.

Melania (24) moved back in with her mother in Rome after losing her steady income.

VICE: How come you moved back in with your mother?
Melania: I don't have a steady job anymore, so I lack a stable income and struggle to pay my bills. Most of my friends still live at home, so it's not really embarrassing for me.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living at home?
Melania: Even though my mum can be annoying at times, I've definitely had worse housemates. We both contribute to the household chores, so it's pretty fair.
Mirela: Yeah, it's good to get a helping hand when you need it, and it's also good as a parent to have the chance to be involved in your child's life. Unfortunately, while she's trying to figure out her own life, she often doesn't have much time for me.
Melania: This is just what most parents go through when their kids start to grow up.

When do you see yourself moving out?
Melania: As soon as possible! But every time I think I'm at the end of the tunnel, something happens that screws up my plans.
Mirela: Soon, I hope. Not that I don't want her around, it's just that it would mean she has found her own life path and a semblance of stability.

There is an Italian term, "bamboccioni" (big babies), which refers to a person in their twenties still reliant on their parents. Do you think that describes you?

Melania: Well, in a way, yes, but I don't see myself living like this forever. In Italy we have a big problem with unemployment and affordable housing, so my situation is not that strange. But I do feel way behind where I should be.

- Matteo Contigliozzi

Simon, Amanda and Ian – Australia

Simon (middle) with his parents, Amanda (left) and Ian (right). Photo courtesy of Simon.

Simon (26) is an Economics student from Melbourne. He hopes to be able to move out of his parents house in the new year.

VICE: What made you decide to stay at home?
Simon: Convenience, basically. It's been very easy. I get on well with my parents. A lot of people I know are driven nuts by parents who still treat them like they're 15. But this isn't the case for me.

Saying that, I am looking forward to moving out when I finish my Masters degree next month and start my first proper job in the new year. It's been good but these things have their limits. Besides, the bachelor pad phase looks like fun and I want to do that before all my friends are married and boring.

To what degree does the price of buying or renting play a part?
It's a consideration but not the deciding factor. Since finishing high school, I've worked full-time for close to four years and during this time I paid rent at home at a rate comparable to what it would have cost to rent a room in the suburbs. I'd probably have enough for a deposit on a flat but I blew my savings on going travelling for a year, including an exchange semester in the UK. The jury is still out on whether that was a good move – it definitely seemed like a good idea at the time.

What are the plus-sides and downsides of living with your parents?
There are heaps of upsides. For a start, they live in a really nice part of Melbourne. It's going to be decades before I can afford anything remotely as impressive. There's loads of room and its not hard to get some privacy. Also I'm a 10 minute walk to shops, the beach, the train station and a few bars and pubs. When you compare this to living in a draughty dump with a couple of people I found on the internet, it's a no brainer. Oh and the home cooked meals, of course. I'm not a bad cook, but my repertoire is way more limited than my folks. They're great cooks.

The aren't really many downsides. For ages, it seemed everybody else was doing it. Though now I feel like I'm pushing the limits of acceptability. When I'm out late, I usually rush home before sun rise to avoid the shame of showing up at home after my parents wake up. I know a few guys that just say they "stayed at a mate's" and roll in at noon in a shocking condition. Apparently their parents buy it. How naive of them, nobody has sleepovers in their twenties.

What's it like for you, Amanda and Ian?
Amanda: I haven't had to go through the grief of Simon moving out and losing that connection with him that goes with distance. Also, it's nice that we get to relate to him more on an adult level.
Ian: Yeah, although when he do worry about him, the problems are more complex than when he was a child.

What do your friends think about you living at home?
Simon: It doesn't really come up. Among my friends, it's probably a fairly even split between those that are still living at home and those that aren't. Perhaps it's swung only recently to me being in the minority. Even so, if they think it's pathetic, they're very polite about it and they're not polite about much. So I can only conclude that they really haven't noticed.

When it comes to girls, it really depends. Interestingly, the younger ones generally think it's gone on too long. But they're just young and idealistic. I probably was once, then reality hits and you wake up at 26 living at home.

Julian Morgan

João, Raúl and Margarida – Portugal

João (left) with his parents, Raul (middle) and Margarida (right). Photo courtesy of João.

João (30) enjoys living at home in the small village of Sismaria because it's affordable and convenient for his work.

VICE: What made you decide to stay at home?
João: I work with my father at a factory that is only a two minute walk from our house, which is just really convenient. Of course at some point I would like to move out of our small village into a big city but, for now, moving out just isn't worth it. Also, I actually like living here – the countryside is beautiful and I'm only 10 minutes away from the beach.

What are the upsides and downsides of having your son living with you?
Raúl: We love having him around – he's really good company. I can't really see any downsides to the arrangement.
Margarida: My husband and I will support whatever decision he makes. If one day he decides to go, then that's fine – he has a right to live his own life. But we will never kick him out. Though, I must admit I'll be excited when he meets someone special and moves in with her.

And what about you, João, what's the advantages and disadvantages of living with your parents?
João: Apart from how convenient it is to get to work, my parents are really easy to live with – they're not the kind of people to impose rules just for the sake of it. Obviously at a certain point – and I'm always thinking seriously about when that should be – I'll want to have my own space.

What do your friends think about it?
João: Most of them are still living at home, so they can't make fun of me. I think that living in a small village makes a difference. At least around here, people tend to stay at their parents longer. It doesn't really make sense spending money moving to the city if you don't have to. Apartments there are smaller, though you do get more privacy. But right now it's not something that bothers me.

When do you see yourself moving out?
João: Maybe next year, but I don't know where I'll go. The distance to my work is very important, and the factory is here, so I'm not sure I can cope with long distances.

– Pedro Miguel