OK, here is a question for which nobody has ever given me a satisfactory rational answer. This question also happens to be one of the examples I use in a couple of upcoming posts.
Why are parents in western countries, especially those in North America, so enthusiastic about their kids moving away from them?
I have to say that all of the conventional explanations heard by me such as “it encouraging independence”, “it builds character”, “it is good for them”, “it fosters individualism”, “it is cultural” just don’t make sense from a rational viewpoint. Human have invested far more time and resources in their kids throughout human history and prehistory- and for good reason. Unlike almost all other animals- humans are intensely social, long-lived and rather slow at reproducing themselves. High levels of parental involvement are necessary by default, whether in a nuclear-type family setting or more communal setting.
However high levels of investment also require proportional returns.
For most of human history- your kids were your injury, sickness and middle/old age plan. Even today that is by far the best case scenario. This situation does not change even if a significant minority of kids abandoned their parents as the median return would still be far better than any other alternative.
So why would people who have invested significant amount of time and money run away from their investment, especially when doing so decreases or eliminates the returns.
It simply does not compute.. on multiple levels and under multiple scenarios. However it is too widespread in western countries (especially in the last 100 years) to be an anomaly or fad. I believe that this peculiar behavior might be based on a series of assumptions which have partially held during the last 100 years of growth– but might not hold under low or negative growth scenarios.
What do you guys think? Comments?