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May 25, 2006


The rich will buy their children their own place because the rich understand that there is a big loss of status when young adults live with their parents and they don't want their children to sink in status.

I agree that multi-generational households are generally a living arrangement for the poor. But I do think that your rationale to explain that is rather short of reality.

Consider also that the multi-generational household -

... is a common practice in many cultures.
... may be caused by economic factors - such as inability to pay for institutional care.
... and in NZ at least, there are probably only 2% or 3% of families who might be able to buy houses for their children's families and only a small proportion of those who actually so do. In NZ, house ownership is about 75% (75% live in a house that they own) I believe.

A sizeable percentage of young people buying houses today are receiving monetary help from their parents. So they may be the owner of the house, but they didn't necessarily pay for it with their own earnings.

No matter the reason for multigenerational households, I think it's a trend that may prove beneficial for our culture (and I'm not talking about financial benefits). Ours is one of the few cultures in the world that think it necessary to kick our grown children into the street once they are out of school.

However, in order for such an arrangment to work, both adult parites must be willing to and capable of changing old habits and opinions. Parents cannot tell their adult children how to live their lives and adult children cannot treat their parents like children. It is necessary for all parties (including the children) to honor one another. This means adults must be able to honor the children as well.

The blessings of such an arrangment can far outweigh the difficulties when all parties approach the arrangment from a place of gratitude and joyful anticipation. Even though an adult child may in fact be caring for a parent, that parent's usefulness hasn't necessarily ceased to exist.

A return to the old way can be exciting, enlightening, and fun. I personally would like to see more families try it. I for one am enjoying the hell out of it and am hoping this experiences continues for decades to come.

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