Author: Vernon Meigs
I think most of us know that a man is seen as a loser, and not relationship material, if it is found out that he doesn’t have his own place and instead lives with his parents. The stereotype of such a man is often a basement-dweller without a job and/or a girlfriend, and one who has not “grown up.” Feminists and gynocentric conservative types are both quick to apply the stigma against a male they wish to deride.
The source of this stigma is an attitude, at least in the western world, that the care from a parent towards his child ends once the child enters adulthood. In other words, the attitude behind kicking a kid out of the house to fend for himself is considered normal. When applied to girls who become women, the attitude is, at worst, “why haven’t you found a boyfriend/husband yet?” On the other hand, a boy who becomes a man is expected to assume immediate responsibility from barely any starting materials. It is not socially laudable for a man to stay in with his parents as a grown adult, or to crawl back to them after some time on his own that didn’t work out for him. In terms of attractiveness a young man can be damned if he tries his hand at independence but fails as luck would have it, and he can be damned if he is doing his best but is forced to admit that he lives with his parents.
This stigma is not doing any favors for well-deserving men, and I dare say that it never had to happen. It is time to make the case for upholding positive contexts for when a man lives with his parents.
If your first thought is that parents shouldn’t have to baby their sons all the way to adulthood and beyond, then congratulations, yours is the sort of mindset that can’t see past the unfortunate stereotype of the man who “fails to launch” — this is a mindset that desperately needs to be challenged. Of course I am not advocating for perpetual hand-holding of the offspring by parent. Nor am I implying that a mother refusing to let children leave home due to over-protectiveness is good for the child either. Those are separate subjects.
What I am advocating, however, is the continued natural involvement of the functional family.
I have always wondered about the irony of some who pay lip service to the nuclear family, who then proceed to just want the house to themselves with the kids out of the picture once they hit a certain age. A father and son need not be in a position of re-enacting the Greek myth of Oedipus and Laius vying for possession of the mother; if fathers become sick of their sons at a certain point then all that had come before is pointless. And while I can grant some element of men defining themselves separately from their mother (in terms of boundaries), the imperative for a man to leave his house to escape the mother complex that he is allegedly beholden to is a load of bogus; a mother and son in a healthy familial relationship can very well carry through without both the possessiveness of the mother and dependency of the son. Strange narratives have been woven in an effort to make males the subject of societal utilitarianism, which render the very living conditions of a young man precarious at best. We seem to take too much to heart the dubious tale of lions throwing their cubs off cliffs and raising the one that climbs back up.
Love and support of parent to son should transcend these narratives. The real transition that happens upon adulthood is: from parents raising their children into adulthood, to parents and children loving and helping each other out always.
It is well taken that the importance of the nuclear family is a genuine one. However, I think it stands to reason that there has been too much exclusive focus on the nuclear family instead of making room in the discussion for a more multi generational, extended format.
Is there anything wrong with a man who is fully grown and continues direct involvement with his own parents, if his parents are loving enough to continue the relationship as father/mother and son? I say not. Depending on circumstances, is it not a more financially conscious (in other words, responsible) decision to cut on some expenses, at least for a length of time, until it becomes feasible to go out on his own? If the parents are more of an older age, or even in a condition that requires some extra care, can they not use some help from the son? I’d say that’s better than shipping them off to a retirement home (which I call the other side of the split-the-family coin.). All of this can be applicable to women’s relationships with their parents also, though the focus on men is because they’re the ones with the social risk hovering above their heads. In any case, why should parents’ relationship with their children become a long-distance one by necessity?
Let’s say the adult son has a child or children with a woman. Is it not viable for this new ‘family in the making’ to move in so that the childcare can happen in a multi-generational format? Yes folks, that does count as “living with your parents” no matter what stereotypes you cling to.
In the “Modern Times” talk between Camille Paglia and Jordan Peterson, Paglia makes reference to the transition from the extended family of old to the modern nuclear family, the latter of which she refers to as “claustrophobic cell” and a “hot house environment”. Out of all her talking points here (some are good but others deserve skepticism), she has a strong point about this subject in particular. Is it possible, she asks, that human beings aren’t meant to be stuck in the house with just their parents? To take this notion further, could this possibly be a source of tension between parents and children where they occur? Is that why some parents and children become estranged, dysfunction occurs, and parents kick children out? Is the insular interpretation of the nuclear family the very cause of people wanting to collapse the very idea of it?
If any of this is true, the only way to save the nuclear family is to open it to expansion, let it breathe, and cool down the hot house. If the nuclear family is of importance towards men, boys, and yes also to girls and women, then we may have to give this serious consideration. Being an arch-individualist, anyone who knows me knows that I argue for independence, and certainly that of men. But independence is not the absence of others’ involvement in one’s life, and why would a man not continue to voluntarily be involved with his own family, if the family is an important part of what made him who he is?
The multi-generational family and the idea of familial love without an expiration date, if more normalized, could be of benefit to men in many ways.
He could be saved from the trouble of buying a house if it is not feasible to do so economically. Goodness knows the housing market is horrendous at present, so it is a good solution for the present day. It is even more economical than getting an apartment that’s only semi-decent. Depending on circumstances, he can inherit and continue to improve and maintain the house to pass it down to the next generation.
His parents can help him and his partner with looking after the children. This is the opposite of impractical, as it always has been done in the past. It can be just as sensible today especially if the man is in a partnership or even a functional marriage with a Modwife, and in which both may be working some sort of job or otherwise performing some sort of labor.
He would be more able to learn lessons as an adult that may not have been easily learned during childhood or even teenage. I myself have lost track of the things that I would have been able to learn and apply better if I did so in my adulthood, instead of letting it fly past my head when I wasn’t able to contextualize any of it during a much younger time.
Perhaps even homelessness for men can be mitigated to the capacity that it can, if these men have a family to return home to.
He will never have to feel alone, as there will be a family in the truest sense that’s always there to help him.
In a broader sense, the relations between the older and younger generations will be much improved, with bridges gapped. In my opinion we have way too much bickering about “Boomers” vs. “Millenials”, with no meaningful relations between the two nor any semblance of the generations learning from each other. The more normal this broadened coexistence between the generations in a setting such as the extended family, the more we understand each other. This could work wonders for self-actualization, most certainly for men.
To normalize the notion of a man continually involved in their parents lives, in direct opposition to the popular stereotype of the deadbeat living in his parents’ basement, we must rid ourselves of that default stigma and trust that men are doing the best they can whether they live with their parents upon adulthood or not. The stigma pretends to be a form of “tough love” that alleges to want men to be stronger (“for the good of society”), but is really just another manifestation of the disposable, valueless male. The stigma is gynocentric as it makes men beholden to the judgment of hypergamist women. These women want to live second-hand through successful but stupid men, instead of desiring to actually be part of a family. Such is the gynocentrically motivated bravado of the western dad that wants his son moved out lest he be deemed pathetic. That is not any meaningful sense of love. Hypergamists and those that hound after them are equally to blame for perpetuating this needless standard.
If you are a parent to a son and care about him, then you would voluntarily avail help to him when needed. This is not hand-holding; if you have been a good parent then you’ve made sure he has grown up capable of handling himself generally speaking. But the time to help him will come someday, and he need not be considered pathetic as a male if he were in a position to ask for it. Fathers, too, may deeply appreciate a son’s support in return.
Original Story on AVFM
These stories are from AVoiceForMen.com.