Dear Special Advisers, these are the reasons you can’t tell ‘older children’ to leave their parents home

Nigerians are the kind of human species who assume they have every right to ask you to jump into a river because drylands are no longer mentally favourable. It is usually a combination of religious, cultural factors, with sprinkles of prejudices formed over time from interactions with other Nigerian human species. At other times, you think it is the ‘entitlement factor’ at play. Confucius might just be the best teacher in case you get into a dilemma.

What’s the gist?

One Twitter user thought it is the right thing to do to ask children 20 to 27 years to move out of their parents’ house, for reasons s/he did not disclose.

Thinking whatever reason, including clout, her ‘Royal Majesty’ has reignited the when-is-it-time conversation. You know, just like when friends and family ask you when you are getting married, because you are not getting any younger. Tiring right? But, why do young people leave home? Some young people leave home through choice. Others feel forced to.

Millennials – and Generation Z – have been getting a lot of flak lately for not moving out of their parents’ homes as adults. For older generations, the idea of buying a house and starting a family at a younger age was the ideal of success. Older generations are quick to point their fingers and pull the “well, back in my day” guilt-trip.

And they are not wrong. Back in their day, it was different. They could pay ₦150 for a ‘proper’ two-bedroom apartment, transportation did not require gold-filled pockets, food was VERY cheap, clothing was cheap…so they were more likely to move out after high school or university and never look back.

But it is a different world now, remembering how the price of literally everything is above everyone’s means. You ever tried taking ₦1,500 to the market lately?

Moving out for parents is a tearful but happy moment when their children move out of the family home and start making it on their own. Or rather, it would be a tearful but joyous moment if it actually happened. The reality is that it takes more than peer pressure for anyone to fly out of their parents’ nests.

As it turns out, a lot of Nigerian youth are just flat broke. The number of young adults (27 years old or younger) who are financially independent might not exceed 20% of the whole young adult population if you decided to do a survey. Due to an unfavourable entrepreneurial market, nepotism-inclined job opportunities, an over-dependent nuclear and extended family, young adults frequently find themselves moving backwards financially.

Living at home with their parents just helps decrease living expenses, pay off debt and increase savings.

Beyond finances, a level of personal responsibility is necessary for young adults to thrive outside of their parent’s home. Unfortunately, with the rise of so-called helicopter parenting, many young adults aren’t used to doing things for themselves.

Yet, you see numbers like 24 for a man, 30 for a woman, and realise that Nigerians pay more attention to age than actual mental and financial maturity – the same disposition towards marriage. It is an age-long stigma associated with remaining at home after the age of consent. We usually fail to see that the negative perceptions associated with supposed adults still living at home are unfair to both parents and children.

But the thing is, whether you are a man or woman, it is your parents’ house. No one should tell you when it is time, especially when you know you cannot be responsible for yourself.

Besides, by staying with their parents, young adults may be better prepared, both personally and financially, to take the plunge into independence at a later age and have a greater chance at success.

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