Unbeknownst to you, dear readers, I have been out of town for a few days, in an area with only sporadic internet connection. So I will respond to your comments at a later date. And, if I run out of posts, check out what the inventive and adorable Lucy Marmalade is posting.
Anyway, as my children approach the age of independence, I have been giving some thought to the whole issue, made, perhaps, particularly acute by the recent--and even on-going-- financial meltdown. Last year, there were all sorts of stories in the news about adult children returning to the nest. I think this is called boomerang something or other. These stories provoked lots of comments--along the lines of tough love required! set down ground rules! you're creating a slacker!
The responses upset me, which was a puzzler, since in general I agree with the authors of The Millionaire Next Door, who argue that parental Economic Outpatient Care to adult children indeed creates low-productivity adults. I have certainly seen this among some of my acquaintance.
I don't have any answers, but I have been mulling over the cultural basis for assumptions about independence. I always liked the responses to the boomerang tales that were written by Asians, who said that in their culture, families helped each other and that multi-generational living was the norm and not the shameful exception.
My son has lots of friends of Asian descent and has visited Japan, China, and Korea. He says that the adult children of Asian families give the older generation a certain percentage of income. He also said that he plans to participate in this tradition!
Who knows? But I wonder if the financial meltdown will provoke a rethinking of what is the "norm," including ideas about independence within families.