Last week, after a nasty court battle and some financial help from Alex Jones, 30-year-old millenial posterboy Michael Rotondo finally moved out of his parents’ house. After 12 years of post-adulthood, at least eight of which were spent living with them, Mark and Christina Rotondo had apparently had enough of their son’s freeloading and decided to finally drop the hammer.
Sadly, like a non-working able welfare recipient or a well established roach colony, Rotondo had grown accustomed to the easy living conditions of not having to work and having his stuff paid for. So by the time his parents got a clue and started nudging him to get a job with notes like “There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one - you have to work!" it was all over but the suing.
Tragically, the Rotondos aren’t alone, not by a long shot. According to Psychology Today, “45 percent of young adults in New Jersey between the ages 18 and 34 now live with their parents.” They call it the “failure to launch epidemic,” and if it’s hitting almost half of families, even in a lefty state like New Jersey, “epidemic” is the perfect descriptive term.
“Failure-to-launch,” writes the site, “is the collective name for the difficulties so many young people today are having in assuming the self-sufficiency and responsibilities of adulthood, and it is a rapidly growing problem.”
Somehow, we’ve gone from kids sneaking off to join the Army at age 10 to 34-year-olds sneaking back into their parents’ basement to play Call of Duty and binge-watch The Walking Dead.
Plenty of outlets, both liberal and conservative, were quick to pile on poor Rotondo. One of the funniest came from a Twitter user who wrote that the 30-year-old evictee has “managed to make himself less attractive to woman than a man living in his mother’s basement, by being evicted from his mother’s basement.”
But I’m not going to add my 2 cents to Rotondo’s sad predicament, not here. No, that kind of humiliation speaks for itself and certainly doesn’t need any commentary from me. Instead, I’d like to explore how Mark and Christina Rotondo’s situation made me think of my own four children, and how my wife and I can up our odds of having fewer 30-year-old freeloaders and more trips to the Caribbean in our not-so-distant future.
Because in the end, isn’t it ultimately the parent’s fault? I mean really, not to be all judgy or anything, but if your kid is 30, jobless, and still living with you, didn’t your parenting go wrong somewhere?
Dear fellow parents of children under 18, Michael Rotondo should be a wake-up call for us all. I’m not saying kick them out at 15 (that would be illegal - I checked) or even on their 18th birthday, but if we don’t start teaching our kids how to be self-sufficient and eventually force them to practice what they’ve been taught, we’re hurting them far worse than we even think we’re helping them. And we’re hurting society too.
My wife and I don’t claim to be anywhere close to perfect parents, but I’d like to think that instilling a few key virtues in our children now, while they are young, might lend itself toward making them more, er, productive when they are grown. So let’s go over a couple of key ones, and let’s use Michael Rotondo as a case study in how things can turn out should we fail.
Teach them to pull their weight
Court filings show that Rotondo wasn’t just freeloading at his parents’ house, he wasn’t even pulling his weight. His parents stated that Michael didn’t contribute to household expenses or even help with chores. If he didn’t do it at age 30, he probably didn’t do it at age 13 either, and if you as a parent are letting your little angel get away with that, there could be a lawsuit in your future.
As soon as your kids are old enough to do age-appropriate chores, they should be helping around the house, and it should continue as long as they are there. All too often parents will pick up after their children or do simple chores kids could do because they don’t want to go through the hassle. But as the Rotondos can attest, the hassle can be much greater by NOT training them now.
Teach them the value of work
Michael, you see, was “too busy to get a job,” apparently. He had worked before, at a Syracuse Best Buy, but it eventually fell apart because he didn’t want to work Saturdays or in the department the store had put him in. In fact, the poor snowflake was so upset he filed a lawsuit for - wait for it - gender discrimination.
So yeah, that’s pretty messed up, but on your end, parents, teach your kids the value of a good, hard day’s WORK. Far too many millenials and recent college graduates somehow feel entitled to start at the top or even the middle instead of where everyone else started - at the bottom - and working their way up.
Responding to the news of labor force 16 to 19 year old labor force participation being at a paltry 34.8 percent, compared to 56.1 percent in July 1989, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld spoke of the value of the summer job.
“Summer jobs get you used to work," said Gutfeld. "In the summertime, it's good to work because then you appreciate when you're outside [and] not working. You need the contrast."
In truth, the best thing you can do for your child isn’t to coddle them, but rather to push them out into the world of work as early as legally possible, so they begin to appreciate the value of the money and effort it takes to build and run civilization.
Only then will they appreciate the sacrifices you made to raise them, which when the time comes should make them want to stand on their own two feet and, unlike manchild Michael Rotondo, grow the hell up.
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