Multigenerational Homes

by Weam Namou

My mother with my daughter

My mother with my daughter

On Wednesday night, I went to visit my brother who had just been released from the hospital for a minor health issue. He lives less than a mile away with his wife and their three children and with my mother. Before I got married eight years ago, I lived with them as well. That’s the eastern tradition. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you live under your parents’ roof until you get married.

Shortly after I arrived to their home, I took off my shoes and curled on the couch as my children went to play with their cousins. I was exhausted and needed some rest and this was the one place where I can feel free enough to sleep well and be attended to. When I returned home, I tried to do research on when it became a norm in America and other western countries for children to start leaving their parents’ homes at age eighteen – a custom that easterners cannot fathom.

I couldn’t find the answer to that, but a report published in London, co-written by associate professor Enrico Moretti of the University of California-Berkeley, found that eight in 10 Italian men ages 18 to 30 live with their parents, compared with one in five in Great Britain and one in four in the USA. There were a lot of articles discussing the fact that these days a lot of adult children (14 million) are still living at home for economic reasons. Dr. Phil has an article out called “Steps to Independence: How to Get your Adult Child Living on their Own” where he talks about the simple steps both parents and their kids need to take to make their lives more productive, fulfilling and healthy.

But what better way is there to have a more productive, fulfilling and healthy lifestyle than when you grow up amongst children and elders, amongst birth and death? This type of lifestyle can teach a person the type of independence, responsibility, love, cooperation, maturity, and respect that no book, class, school or doctor can teach.