Class and American Families
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Grown men living with mom and dad - What's up with that?

WBUR On Point with Tom Ashbrook had a great show on April 4, 2006 on the "Failure To Launch" phenomenon popularized by the recent movie of the same title. Tom interviews Leonard Sax a family medicine physician and a psychologist, and Katherine Newman, a Sociologist at Princeton, about the fact that the percentage of young men between the ages of 22 and 34 living at home with mom and dad has doubled in the last couple of decades.

It appears that these boy/men are like Peter Pan and have failed to grow up and achieve independence. Is this pathological, or a new form of family which we haven't seen before?

Different people have different interpretations of the phenomenon, some good and some bad, and some perplexing.

My thought is that the biggest reason for this new trend is economic. Working class and lower class men have no good ways of supporting themselves, let alone a family, with the wages that they can command. Even middle class, college educated men, have increasingly large college loan debt, and a need for graduate school education often, before they can enjoy a middle class lifestyle to which they have become accustomed living with their parents, on their own.

I also believe that there has been a deterioration in the work ethic in the United States over the last 30 years as we have shifted from an agricultural and industrial economy to a service and information economy. It is unclear what it means to work hard any more, and how this translates into economic success. The way to get rich or affluent these days is not through hard work but through investment in the stock market or positioning oneself in a career that places one at the intersection where money changes hands, not where goods and services are being produced. For example, I was shocked 15 years ago to learn that the biggest major at my Alma Mater, SUNY Brockport, which has historically been a teachers college, was business. I remembered thinking to myself at the time, "What the hell kind of a college degree involves a major in business?" When I was in high school in the early 60s, the smart kids took regents classes if they wanted to go to college, and the dumb kids took business courses and learned how to type.

At any rate, it seems to me that this phenomenon of young adult males in their prime still being dependent on parents says more about the state of our economy and social factors than it does anything about individual pathology or failings.

To listen to the show click on the link below.

Link: On Point : Failure to Launch - Failure to Launch.



You guys have NO idea!
Just Because a guy live with his parent doesnt mean he cannot support himself, or knows independance. WHO CARES!!! A woman would like a guy for who he is, not for what he has! Achieving independance is no big feat for anyone. I wish people would stop stereo typing guy who live with thier parent, nothing wrong with it, if a guy enjoys his parent so be it. He might be taking care of them, well since they took care of him. you have to remember it really depends on how a guy is living with his parent too, if he is a moocher and a low life will then yes. but if he productive and have a job pays rent and bill, then hey leave that guy alone!
Come on people there are other things in life other than to worry about a guy who live with his parents, single or couple. parent.


I believe that it is more of an economic factor than anything. Sure there are plenty of deadbeats out there just mooching, however the increase in this "phenomenom" is most certainly econmic. I am a college grad, I work two jobs and live with my mom who has been divorced. The home is a bed and breakfast. I pay rent, bills, take care of the yard and other things that she just can't. If I weren't there the B&B business would fail, the house would be owned by the bank and my Mother would live in a van down by the river. So as far as Peter Pan, I think not. A responsible, caring individual more adequetly describes the scenario. However, we do need to take into account that everybody's situation is different and it is never fair to generalize any one persons situation. Nobody "fits the mold". Period.


I was dating a 35 y.o. man that still lived with his mom. He never went to college of lived on his own. His dad died when he was a late teen. He never moved out. I found it creepy, as his mom was healthy and could take care of herself -- why did he still live with her. I broke up with him because the dynamic made me feel like a third person in their relationship. I think it is very unhealthy economic or not.


I was dating a 35 y.o. man that still lived with his mom. He never went to college of lived on his own. His dad died when he was a late teen. He never moved out. I found it creepy, as his mom was healthy and could take care of herself -- why did he still live with her. I broke up with him because the dynamic made me feel like a third person in their relationship. I think it is very unhealthy economic or not.

Keith Manning

I think that we, as a generation, may be a bit spoiled. With the economy the way it is now, of course it's easy to say that buying a house a more is difficult than is was thirty years ago. But who says you have to live in a house as nice as your parent's home right out of the gate? If these people who are still living with their parents are supposedly paying rent and utiliy bills, then why can't they just pay for an apartment? Are you so afraid that you may have to leave your upper middle class suburban bliss to move to an apartment that may not be as nice as your parent's house? Are you scared that you might even (God forbid!!) be in a less affluent area? Who knows, you might even have to find a roommate!
Very few people start out on top and most of us will never get there. But, if you're over 25 and can't even be independant or resourceful enough to put a roof over your own head with your own mailing address, then you may just be a deadbeat. If you are still living with your mother while in your 30s or 40s, then let's hope that YOU are the one who is taking care of HER.


Let's not blame the economy. Let's be brutally honest. Let's look within. I believe we have to look at one's childhood and their relationship with the mother. Was the child raised to be self sufficient and independent? Was a strong work ethic instilled early on? Did the adults model this behavior in the child's rearing? Or was the child raised to be dependent and/or observed relationships that were co-dependent? We also must look at the parent who allows the adult child to either return home and live, or in some cases never leave. There are obvious voids in the parent and in the child's life that they attempt to fill by either reliving the past or trying to make up for lost time. Whatever the case I believe the co-habitation of mothers and their adult sons is emotionally unhealthy and debilitating. I agree with a previous post that if they contribute to the maintenance of the household with their parent(s)either financially or physical upkeep,then why can't they do this on their own?


I moved out at age 23 and lived in another state for 10 years. While out there I will say I met some wonderful people and enjoyed my solo years but I'll be honest and say I had developed severe panic attacks in high school so I could never concentrate in class and so didn't go to college but worked as cook. I tried to make a go of it by returning to college in new state I moved to (got an associates degree) and met two wonderful girls in my 20s/early 30s that would have led to marriage if not for my panic attacks that couldn't hold down same level of education and job they had (highly educated and very well adjusted people). But my panic attacks just never went away and drove me out of college just a year shy of 4 year degree. I couldn't work in cubicle world or a felt insane but yet because of family ideals of work I tried to make it there instead of just doing something more hands on. I tried therapy and small medications (I'm not going to go through life a med zombie so I stopped taking xanax to survive a stupid day in weird cubicle world). Fact is I never made it. It's a hard truth I face. I worked hard when I worked. I lived honestly never in trouble. I did try an honest attempt. I'm not a screw up at all but some people in this life just don't make it like the fairy tale nonsense they tell you as children. The other thing that doesn't get mentioned enough is because America is becoming hard core "you're on your own pal and we're not all working together to help each other" it's created a society where getting a chance to start and hold your own initially is extremely difficult for many people. It really is easier sometimes to just stay with parents than face the massive wall of debt you know you're going into while working jobs you know are never going anywhere big. If there was free education and health care it would (and would have made a massive difference in my life). But I could kick myself for not staying a cook instead of listening to family/society you need 4 year degree and "real job". I would have owned a house at 25 if I had stayed a cook and put away cash for down payment because that was well before real estate boom and in area I live real estate values tripled from when I was age 25 to 40. I'm youngest in a big family and my parents were 41 when I was born. About 10 years ago they both started to go down hill. I moved back to area for new job at internet startup that was massively finance. I looked at a house for 135k and realtor says to me "Clinton was magic and Bush coming in the market will tank...I'd wait a few more months. This house is not worth 135k". The market doubled when Bush came in (not saying because of Bush) and internet startup I was working for and paying nice (so close to becoming a reliable job) burned through $250 million dollars and left entire company an email one morning basically "get out, because we can't make payroll for tomorrow". I was back to square one just as the real estate market then when nuts. I was back at home with elderly parents who over the last 10 years (now in 80s) need me to look out for them. It's a total reversal now of positions. If I had bought that house (but real estate agent seemed like you knew what he was talking about so I just listened to him ) and still lost my job I still would have made a huge profit because a year later that same house went for 210k. I know so many guys in my area that never finished high school, can't read, beyond ignorant...all of them that banged nails for a living and got drunk for fun went on to get massive houses and $65,000 super pickup trucks. I know you shouldn't judge by money but in this culture people do. People respect money over trying to live honorably. Being older with parents is like having the plauge in the eyes of so many. I can't really understand why they look down on it so much but they do. Some of the biggest scumbags in life I grew up with (the real jerks who nasty people when young) made a fortune building bad houses and hiring illegal workers for peanuts (and now they want them to leave). I have to drive by their stunning marvels of architecture nearly every day and just shake my head sometimes. If anyone young still at home is reading this and you just know you're not mister/miss corporate world or just don't seem to be making it too well in "real world" I'd say just take a job that pays okay and save save save. By a SMALL first home and fix it up so structurally it's really good. You can sell it if market comes back or just stay in it happy if you like it there. And it's a good way to meet a mate (in some ways were still just animals...have a decent nest and a mate will come) And finally, it's not the end of the world being 44 and living with parents. I got to know my dad in a way I wouldn't have and I don't have stresses that so many of my friends with mortages/families have. I can't say they are happier than I am though society will judge them as better. My parents are also able to stay in the house they first bought and not have to be shoved into a nursing home (most of which are not pleasant places to go to die). I would ask all of you who are harsh on people who "blew it" to open your minds a little and realize not everyone lives a great life and some people don't really come close to American way of life. There are reasons why. You should keep that in mind. If you made it out and doing well give yourself a pat on the back but have an open mind about those that haven't. If you have a buddy you grew up with that never moved away or moved back then call them up and rekindle your old friendship telling them you think it's no big deal at all where he/she is living.


married 12 yrs. divorced. financially secure, college educated, financially secure.
having dated a man that lived at home for 9 yrs. he got his own apt this week - very excited - got a union job after trying to make it on his own -
He went through a divorce and kid seperation - big deal -
I am glad here is a dose of reality -
it is called co dependent
get out of mommys wing -
get on with life
I thank my mom how to she taught me be independent and strong-
my boyfriend is excited and i am too
grow up and move OUT!!!


I beleive that this is CRAP. How many women do you know that live at home still? Compare that to the amount of men that you know that live at home. The number of men is alot larger... right? If it were economic factors then women would be living at home too. It is proven that women make less money then their male counterparts, so they, according to this theory, women should be more likely to live at home. For some SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL reason the men choose to live at home.

mary dean

I dated a guy that moved in and out of moms after divorce. He's been back at moms about 5 yrs. During our relationship, he tried to move in with me (unofficial) and popped a surprised engagement ring even though I said it was absolutely too soon. I agree that its a case of dependent personality/co-dependency. I also find the relationship between man and mom very weird. No more middle age adolescnets please

Rachel R

I have been dating a man who is now 43 years old for two years. We still do not live together. He lives at home with his mom. He has always worked hard, making a half descent living. He has never moved out of his parents' home ever. His father passed away 10 years ago, so his excuse is that he has to take care of his mom. Mean while his mother is elderly, but is able to take care of herself and cook and clean. To me this isn't right. As far as I"m concerned, she and her husband (when he was alive) have been the enablers in the situation). I mean, it's all good that he is close to his parents; but he has never been on his own. No wonder he has never had children or even been married. I really love him, but I always feel as though I"m in the middle of this tangle with his mom. He's been around death so much in the last ten years..His older sister died, dad died and now his cat of 19 years. The cat is no longer company for his mom. I don't knwo what to do anymore. I would really like to see us get a place together, but would he still always be over at his mom's everyday? I want to be his soul mate, his companion. I don't feel as though I ever could be.


I agree with sarah and rachel, i've been dating a 47year old for a year now, and he still won't leave home, despite promising we'd get a place together when the lease on the flat ran out. I left home at 19, and have never moved back, despite being a single mom since the age of 21. I found a job and put a roof over me and my son's head. If i could do it (with nothing but a high school education), i don't see why any man should be living with his mother unless she cannot look after herself. In my case, his mum died 20 years ago, and he never left home. Their relationship freaks me out, watching them interact is like watching a married couple. I feel like i'm asking a married man to leave his wife. When i go over to visit him, i feel like i'm 16 again. I'm not allowed to stay over if his mums not there. If i want to stay over i have to stay in the spare room. When we go out his mum always accompanies us. Not to mention the fact that i feel like the 'kid' being taken out for the day with 'mum and dad'. Its just weird. They even wear the same jumpers! Very creepy.


I need some advice. I have a friend that is 35 years of age and has just moved back in with his mother and step father. He has been diagnosed with depression/anxiety as a result of his passive aggressive behavior.He is currently taking antidepression/anxiety medication and sees a psychiatrist. This condition has lingered around since he was fifteen. Gifted intellectually,athletically and attractive. He has had problems with jobs(walk off, budget cuts,etc.). He has no social life other than his family (father,mother,brother), he has had relationships with women in the past but nothing serious. He seems to have lost interest in his activities (running, weight lifting, hunting, etc.)He has a truck (which his brother bought for him) and seems to have lost interest in it also (he dosen't like to drive anymore). Currently he is doing nothing except looking for jobs from time to time. Please help.

Don Pardow

I have this 45 year old deadbeat nazi living next door to me, still suckling his Mommies teet. He sits in his 10x10 room all day and plays war games on the computer. There is no excuse for this laziness. She needs to throw this moocher out. Parents that allow this type of behavior out of their offspring are weak and deserve the smelly, scumbag in their home.


My brother in law has lived with his mom for the last 15 years. He is now 52 and she is 75. He has never paid a cent for groceries or utilities.

She does all the cooking and cleaning and makes his bed. She asks him to help with the dishes and he says no. He sits on the couch and she carries desert over to where he sits and picks up his dirty plate when he is done eating. He has zero social life; not one friend.

He comes to our cabin to go fishing with my husband and sits on his ass while my husband waits on him hand and foot. He doesn't pay anything to contribute towards groceries or gas. When I say this isn't right, everything thinks that I am the bitch.

I think this whole situation is really sick.


No, my mom lives with me!

I had to correct people so many times about the validity of that statement. No, I don't live with my mom, she lives with me.

I'm 32. Ever since mom divorced dad in 2000, we put some money together and bought a house. And then mom moves in. And my part is to pay for the mortgage plus all the bills. She helped me partially with the down payment, and I pay for the mortgage from there on out.

It was not until recently that she decided to help me with rent in 2008. So we did our calculation on household expenses and she pays half of that to me every month. She is now my roommate.

I would have to say the only thing she helps me out with is her cooking. I take care of everything else myself. I clean my own room, do my own laundry, fix things around the house, mow the lawn, etc. Basically, I take care of everything inside the house, pay the mortgage, pay the utilities, pay for her celphone, medical bills, etc. She cooks for me. And I think that's a good compensation.

Anyways, it was not until recently that we begin to have problems. My mom loves dramas. Let me say that again, my mom adores dramas. She begins to get into my personal relationship (girlfriend situations). She can say little things here and there that will make me think otherwise about the girl I'm dating. i.e.: That girl is old, that girl is fat, that girl doesn't look good, that girl is not educated, that girl doesn't have a head on her shoulder, etc.

With little things here and there, it gets to me. And my mom knows best how to push my buttons. And I find myself not having a stable relationship. So I begin to stop sharing with her about my personal relationships. I tried to move out, but it doesn't make any sense to pay for both the mortgage and my own apartment right now. I'll be spreading myself very thin.

My situation is special. I have my own house, but the person with power in the house is not me, it's mom. There are many times I wish I can move out, but my pocket can't afford that. She can't afford to pay for the house herself.

For some reason, I still feel like I'm not grown up yet. I'm 32. But I don't feel like I have the independence of a regular person. Mom, gotta love them.

Chris Roberts

I have studied from literally thousands of books on housing issues and male issues.

There reason why millions of grown men are at home is simply due to the fact men can not afford to pay rent.

Many men do not want roommates.Most men that have had roomates can tell you a long list of horror stories about the roommates.

Also in America approx 70 million men have a felony charge this prevents men from getting apartments .

There only alternative is to either live with there family and work there low paying job to survive this issue iis perhaps going to start alot of severe problems in countries around the globe as this agenda continues to fester no just in America but the whole entire world.

It is truly the most pityful thing you can image.It almost shocking to know that men are not standing up .

The reason why more women are independent is because of medical jobs and other careers that are in business setting that provide more incentitives to work ,since males are seperated in enormous numbers in lower paying jobs ,we have experienced not just a enermous explosion of men entering into he gay life like never before in history of mankind.

It is customary for men to buy a women a drink and be a provider when men realize they can not afford apartment of a place or neither be a provider they find it not just stupid to move it but silly knowing that they cant survive.

Women out number men according to many statistics done in America.Over 65% of African women are not married and further studeis auggest that there is no shortage of black men they 65% of black women single are single because there men do not make any money and are in prison ,jail and other programs.

Men have it way harder than wmen when it comes to being a man .Gosh I havent had sex unless I paid for it .I have truly gotten to the point where I almost see my own mother as trash .

Human are generally good there is no security or task force that can prevent the actions of any person for rebelling due to this situation but men have learned to except this as something for the good of the community.

I truly hope that the next generation of kids willl learn to respect themselves in ways that have been unheard of in history.I have no doubt no even a 1% doubt that I will live to see the ressurection or man , a new era based on love ,terrorism and terrorist will be hunted down there familes wiped of the map ,christians raptured quickly to there jesus the christ and millions possible billions will rejoice


Men that live with Mommy at any age past 22 years old are either effeminate or worthless.


My 27yro brother lives at home with mom. Im so disgusted. Hes lazy, smokes pot, plays video games. Doesnt pay rent or bills yet seems to be able to buy pot and smokes. They even did an event for our birthday which our whole family went yet I wasnt invited and found out wks later. She babies him and he disrespects her and her house. Im struggling but I seem to make it every month. He apllied for one job and.just gave up then he goes crying to her that im mean to him. Lol. F#n pussys need to grow up and be a man. Im 27 and cant find a good man my age cause they are all wimps and I hope my mom and bro enjoy a nice long life dating eachother. Freaking ridiculous. And she says its none of my business. Hey all u ladies on here lets go move in to my moms house she'll wait on us hand and foot. Rent free, no responsibilities. Id rather cut off my arm then move back in to parents house. Guys truly are raised wrong these days. And he treats women like shit so he will be a nerdy mommas boy. He says hes depressed thats always his excuse or that he doesnt know what he wants to do in life. Jesus man grow sum balls. Or clean your vagina. Cause thats just lazy and he gets away with it. I need an intervention for them since mom thinks everything is fine. She is cool with knowing shes enabling him and creating a girly boy. GROW UP STUPID MEN! AND WOMEN DO NOT GIVE THESE MEN THE TIME OF DAY!

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