Why I Like (Not Love) My Parents
Young people today are much likelier to have positive relationships with their parents than ever before. Why?
By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University
There are two types of people in this world: People who hate their parents, and people who like them. (Please observe the difference between like and love—love is a given, while like is earned.)
When I was a child, my parents would often have to park in front of my elementary school and pry my tiny fingers off the door frame of their Chevy Equinox to get me to enter the building. I was also the kid who almost always left sleepovers early. It was nothing personal between me and the other kids. It was just that home was better. Why? Well, because my parents were there.
So yeah, you could say I like my parents. I also probably seem like a weirdo freak with separation anxiety. Okay, maybe, but dang, why’d you have to cut so deep?
In all seriousness, I am turning twenty this year, and I still really like my parents. Sure, I went through that little phase from age eleven to fifteen where I thought they “didn’t understand me,” but hey, everyone has flaws. But now, as a semi-adult, I can sincerely say that I enjoy their company. I have no problem tagging along for dinner, or chilling out at home on Friday nights playing a board game or watching TV. To me, those things actually seem fun.
But the weirdest part of it all is that I’m not alone.
It seems that the more I talk to people my age (a.k.a. millennials), the more I find that they’re actually pretty chill with their parents. This is a huge difference from only ten or fifteen years ago, when most teens couldn’t wait to get out of their houses and be out on their own. Sure, there are still some millennials who uphold that age-old tradition of hating on their ’rents, but I find that as long as the parents aren’t major douchebags, young people today have no problem hanging around at home.
The question is…why?
Well, I’m no sociologist, but I did get an A- in SOC 101, so I’m basically an expert. What I have learned from my meager liberal arts education is that Generation Y is often called the “boomerang generation.” This means that after graduating college, people in their early-to-late twenties tend to return back home to live with their moms and dads. They’re known as “boomerangs” because even when they’re thrown out on their own, they always come back.
*ba dum tss*
Many older generations, otherwise known as grandma and grandpa, seem to think that this is because young people today are lazy and too weak to fly solo. Sure, that might be true in some cases, but there are A LOT of factors that contribute to the weakness of millennials who try to go out on their own, including inflated cost of education, apartments and amenities, as well as the difficulty to nail down a good job after graduation. Lazy? Maybe. Drowning? Definitely.
So what if baby bird can’t survive on its own, and it has to make its way back into its parents’ nest where it has a comfortable bed of sticks and a delicious meal of regurgitated worms every night? What’s the problem?
That’s the thing—there is no problem. Suddenly, instead of seeing their parents as ignorant tyrants, millennials accepted their parents as cool, helpful people. And at the end of the day, based on the causes behind the boomerang cycle, this response probably became a survival instinct. For instance, “Hey, these people love me and want to willingly take care of me and help me. Maybe I shouldn’t tell them to f— off…”
I’m not saying this is exactly what every twenty-year-old who chills with their parents from time to time thinks. But if you really think about it, it makes sense. Everyone’s out here trying to survive, so biting the hand that feeds them doesn’t make logical sense.
As for me, I’ll probably end up spending this weekend with my parents. This is partly because I’m home for summer vacation and I’ve isolated myself from almost all of my high school friends. It’s also because it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday (if you forgot, you’re welcome). But mainly, I’ll be home this weekend because I genuinely like spending time with my parents and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.
Parents are wise, awesome creatures. Whether they’re biological or not, they have lived long enough to learn a lot of valuable life lessons. Also, they probably helped teach you how to use a spoon and to speak at some point in your life, so, you owe them at least one hang-out session.
You may be reading this article, thinking, “Who the hell gave this girl a platform to write an article because she is way off—my parents are ridiculous; they will never understand me, and as soon as I graduate, I am never looking back.”
First of all, kudos for making it this far in my article despite disagreeing with my point of view. That must have taken some strength. Also, I’m no family therapist, but I strongly encourage you to rethink your stance on your ma and pa (or ma and ma/pa and pa—gender assumptions are *so* 2016). Like I mentioned before, parents are special creatures, and the moment I stopped refusing mine and their advice, my life instantly became easier. Now, I find that if my parents think something is a bad idea, I should probably stay far, far away from it. #adultlogic
I also know that not everyone has a solid pair of good, understanding parents. I happened to be blessed with two really great ones who’ve supported me in every way since elementary school. When they were prying me off of their Equinox, it seemed like they hated me, but looking back, I knew it was just because they wanted me to succeed. And when I graduate college in the next few years (God-willingly), they’ll be giving me a gentle push to step out into the world on my own. But in the back of my mind, I know they’ll be there if I fall.
Until then, I will happily spend as much time with my parents as I can, because not only do I love my parents, but I really like them, too. I don’t care if I look like a lame homebody, because I know that somehow, someday, I’ll look back and smile, and it’ll all be worth it.