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Juliet Linley

Juliet Linley

Posted: November 19, 2009 09:25 AM

Mummy's Boys: Bone-Idle, Broke or Basket Cases?

What's Your Reaction?

More than half of Italy's bachelors live at home with their moms. With that in mind, a recent poll on Italian TV posed two crucial questions on the 'Mummy's Boys' ('mammoni') phenomenon. The first:

How come Italian youngsters tend to live at home for so long?

According to half of the respondents (49%), it's because they can't survive on their own financially, either because they're unemployed or only work part-time.

But if it were purely for financial reasons, surely 'mammoni' would have become extinct when the economy was booming. Instead, there have always been -- and continue to be -- mummy's boys...

More than a third of those taking part in the poll said they believe it's just more convenient to stay with one's parents. While -- and this interests me the most -- only one in ten respondents said the parents were to blame for not pushing their children to earn their independence.

Maybe I'm wrong here, but if you have parents who encourage you to create a future that is independent of mummy and daddy, after a certain age it's simply no longer comfortable to live at home! Having your parents asking what time you're coming home in the evening, or having dad lend you his car for you to go out on a date, is cool as long as you're a (high school) student. Then, basta. Time to move on.

(Or, as in the French film Tanguy, it's the parents themselves who try in vain to make their grown son's life at home a misery...with a view to winning back their former life as a couple)!

It seems to me that being a 'mammone' depends a lot upon the education Italian kids are receiving at home.

Giving security and self-confidence from early childhood, to then allow them to fly the nest (physically as well as psychologically) as soon as they feel ready doesn't seem to be happening.

Plus, there's an economic crisis throughout the world nowadays, yet in other countries youngsters don't stay at home until they are well over 30 as they do in Italy (they share houses or move to wherever they can find work...even abroad). Italians generally like to stay put.

One gets the feeling youngsters don't want to make sacrifices and always go for the easy option. The problem, of course, often lies with the parents who -- for selfish reasons -- prefer to keep their offspring closeby.

But let's move onto the second question:

How do you view this prolonged co-habitation between parents and their grown children?

According to nearly half (48%) of respondents, it's pathological and causes great difficulties within families and within Italian society as a whole.

While 43% say it's perfectly normal and should be accepted as such.

So, are mummy's boy's bone-idle, broke or basket cases? I think the latter but, perhaps even more importantly, isn't it time Italian mums stopped continuing to spawn more and more 'mammoni'?