Apartment Intervention: Why Millennials Should Pick Their Own Places, Not Mom and Dad


It’s time for an intervention. We need to address the elephant in millennials’ rooms: Should parents really be picking out (even purchasing) first apartments for their kids?

At a time when what the world needs now is empathy—lots and lots more empathy—an entire generation is being deprived of the important life experience of living in character-building, less-than-ideal dwellings appropriate for their life stage and age.

“Many parenting experts and psychologists recoil at the idea of parents usurping this rite of passage in the name of expediency…,” the New York Times explores this week in an article entitled “When Mom Picks Out Your Apartment for You”. “You have to wonder, is all this parental help actually helpful?”

Let’s look at just a few of the important, character- and empathy-building milestones and hard-earned lessons young people might miss when others (ahem, helicopter parents) pick out or pay for their pad:

  • Seeing 23 apartments before finding one that isn’t a fire trap or a million dollars
  • Moving in with friends and learning to first “adult” together
  • Lugging furniture (and daily groceries) to 5th floor walk-ups
  • Temporarily using the cardboard box something came in as its stand
  • Curb-shopping to decorate because you’re living paycheck to paycheck
  • Dealing with and negotiating with slumlords
  • Reveling in the absurdity of lease agreement fine print
  • Random Craigslist roommates who turn out to be slobs and/or psychos
  • Rodents and roaches and learning how to remedy them
  • Improvising renter DIYs & creative decor that doesn’t eat up your security deposit
  • Losing part of your security deposit on a project fail
  • Paying friends in beer and pizza to help you move. Again.

As the Times writer also points out, “Moving is messy, but years later you remember the night you used a frying pan as a plate because everything else was in boxes after your second move in two months.”

Some of our best and most happy memories are of the growing pains and “rough times” as we come of age, no matter how relative in the grand scheme of things, and they shouldn’t be something parents try to shield their children from, right?

In our opinion, renter’s remorse—and even, to an extent, home-buying regrets—are as important a part of life and growing up as any other.

Are you pro-parental intervention or team go-it-alone? Tell us in the comments!

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