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How long should adult children be living in their parents' homes?

360: NY man's parents giving him the boot
Posted at 7:41 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 00:33:18-04

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DENVER -- A case in New York is prompting debate and discussion about when children should leave their parents’ homes and live on their own.

The case involves a 30-year-old man who was ordered to leave his parents’ home amid complaints he didn’t help with expenses or chores. Appearing in court, the man argued he was not given sufficient legal notification to vacate.

"A six-month notice is reasonable amount of time for someone who has been depending on persons for support,” said 30-year-old Michael Rotondo.

The dispute is prompting discussion from many points of view here in Colorado. 

“I think it depends on each individual family. But we like the fact that our kids went to college and mostly didn't come back!” said a woman named Anne, who lives in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood.

Others are more judgmental.

"My thoughts on that is shame on him. Because a man should be able to stand on his own two feet," said Ben Duda.

Yet the reality is that a growing number of grownups living are home. According to Pew Research, 15 percent of millennials are now living with their parents.  That's up 5 percent from Generation X.

Living in the Mile High City isn't so economical, and with a mountain of student debt, having a place of your own isn't so simple.

"Housing in Denver is expensive…so I can see it," said Jeff Fierberg.

But in some families, coming home comes with compromise.

"My mom gave us all a year to live at home rent-free," said Denver resident Lauren Schaefer. "You could either pay a landlord or pay mom, and mom would continue to cook, but you had to help," she said.

But there's a flip side to all of this – a phenomenon known as "helicopter parenting,” where parents smother their kids into adulthood.

"It costs a lot to develop your own apartment, buy a car and all those things," said psychologist Dr. Shawn Worthy of Metropolitan State University of Denver.  

Worthy says it makes sense for parents to help, but sometimes that can be a hindrance in the future.

“Often times the parents aren't launching. The parents are supporting and encouraging dependence and that's the thing that become worrisome,” said Dr. Worthy.

In a world of economic stress and family dynamics, parents and children in Colorado are having to make adjustments.  

"I have my mother, myself and my 10-year-old daughter, Grace," said Duda, whose mother is now living with him. "I'm helping her out, and she's helping me out. It's a good mesh.”

Proof that no two families are the same.