Brazilians coddle their adult children
A Brazilian was shocked when I said I was going to ask my adult daughter to contribute towards the household expenses (a small percentage) since she is coming back to live with me after College and before she heads to Graduate school. I have talked about this subject before on this blog, but I want to discuss this big cultural difference that shapes how different Brazilians and Americans are.
Basically Brazilians live with their parents until they get married. And if they never get married, what happens? They will live with their parents forever. Shocking? For most Americans, yes. If you ask any 20-something American, their dream is to have their own place, or live with people their age. Yet, with the economy still in recession and high student loans, young people are flocking back to their parents’ house. Nevertheless, they still want it to be temporary.
What is hard to understand is how Brazilians let their employed-and many times very gainfully employed-adult children live with them without ever contributing to the household expenses. Especially if the parents are not rich and have to think of their retirement. This teaches their children to feel entitled: entitled to protection, entitled to have someone taking care of them, as well as being always dependent.
The main reasons Brazilian adult children live with their parents in Brazil are the lack of opportunities, low salaries, very expensive apartment rents and the comfort of their parents’ house, which many times have a full time maid. Who doesn’t want to have dinner on the table, freshly washed and pressed laundry and a clean house for free? But there is a secondary reason: Brazilians are much more emotionally dependent on their parents. They take a longer time to mature, especially women. They don’t seem to mind their parents’ interference in their daily life. Few Brazilians leave their parents’ home and the city they live to venture into the world as I did. They want the benefits that being close to home brings.
Who is right or who is wrong? Based on my own experience, having raised two very independent and responsible young adults, I think I prefer the American way. I am very proud of the young women they became; very proud of how self-sufficient and fearless they are, all the while keeping their emotional ties with me-in a good healthy way.
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