Ever wondered why it's completely normal for Indian, in particular Punjabi guys (and gals) to live at home till they're well into their thirties or beyond? Only of recent years has the concept of adult children living at home become more widely accepted in the western culture. Though it is still highly stigmatised and one is typically greeted with "You still live at home!" or "Your thirty year old son still lives with you?" It is generally men who are seen as the bread winner and as such judged more harshly should they live with their parents.
The concept of independence in the Australian culture is instilled into us at a young age. It is expected that we either start working or pursue higher education after our senior year at school. Then eventually leave the nest once we have established a somewhat stable and independent lifestyle, usually before our twenty first birthday. Yet in the Indian culture it is the norm to still live at home with your parents well into your thirties or even yet for life! The Indian culture is exceptionally family oriented, valuing family over all else. They believe that parents should take care of their children and set them up for life, then when they retire the children take care of their parents.
Unlike the western culture, with majority of children encouraged to leave home in their teens, Indian parents will support their children through life. Typically teens will only leave home to pursue further studies and even after graduating are encouraged to return home. It is tradition for the eldest son once married, to live at home with his parents and his newlywed wife. The parents will support them in starting their new life together while the wife will generally help her mother in law as home keeper. As home keeper she will prepare and cook each meal of the day, clean the dishes, wash dirty laundry and ensure all household chores are seen to. Whilst the daughter in law will help around the home, Indian parents do not expect any monetary payment for living at home. When they are elderly and can no longer take care of themself, their children will take care of them.
Living at home with family means there is more time for family. You can expect dinner to be a family affair in an Indian household. Usually everyone is very much involved in each other's day to day life and support one another where ever they can. Whilst they are very supportive and loving of one another you will not see anyone display their affections publicly. It is completely normal in the western culture to see your mother and father hug or kiss one another in show of their affection. However in an Indian household you will never see a mother or father kiss or even hug one another. This is expected of everyone in the household even the younger generation. It is not acceptable to show any public displays of affection as it is seen as taboo.
Growing up in a western household it would be very difficult to understand the concept of having your parents raise your own children. In the western culture most Grandparents are loving and doting yet leave the hard work of raising the child up to the parent. It is the norm for Indian Grandparents to have a pivotal role in raising their grandchildren. This allows the parents to return to work if required. Though it isn't only the Grandparents who play an important role, most of the family also contribute. Children are raised in a very family oriented environment with multiple role models. Generally the Grandparents have final say over how the children are raised, though this really depends on the family dynamics. The same is also said with how a household is usually run day to day.
Living in a household with Grandparents, Parents, Children & Grandchildren can at times mean there are no boundaries when it comes to privacy. It is expected that privacy does not interfere with family time. Even traditional Indian homes are open living. It is not unusual to find curtains in place of bedroom doors or to have multiple beds in the one room. Even the living room is typically filled with beds where family members sleep. This is mostly due to family playing a more important role than finances. Anyone and everyone is usually welcome in an Indian household.
It is no wonder why the western culture is starting to adapt to this family oriented lifestyle. It isn't just about the monetary gains, but more importantly about the emotional health of living in a supportive environment.
What do you think of this lifestyle? Do you still live at home and love it?