Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Freddie the Freeloader and Minnie the Moocher

Hey, all you youngun's. If you don't know who Minnie the Moocher and Freddie the Freeloader are, look up Cab Calloway and Red Skelton.

In the advice column Annie's Mailbox of a couple of days ago (, a letter writer expresses dismay that his twenty year old son bailed out of home schooling by getting a GED.  His wife had corrected all of his son's homework before it had been submitted, but the son still could not seem to handle high school.  He now works a whole two hours a day, will not help around the house, and has an attitude problem. 

The writer complains that his wife refuses to charge the son rent, and pays for his car, insurance and cell phone.  The father had to kick the son's girl friend out of the house and stopped the son from " filching beer from our refrigerator."   His wife tells the writer to cool it when he gets upset.  Meanwhile, two younger brothers are beginning to play follow the leader with their deadbeat slacker older bro.

Is it just me, or is everyone seeing more and more twenty somethings who are freeloading off of their parents with their parents' cooperation? (You can discount the parents' complaining about the kids - after all, that's what their children do). Of course, the fact that the father in this case complains about his wife but does nothing to stop her from enabling the son might remind readers of my blog post of March 9, 2010 about younger children, Recipe for Producing Frequent Tantrums in Children.  The parents' behavior, as time goes on, produces the future Freddies and Minnies.

I am certain that if these twenty somethings were dragged to many psychiatrists, they would be immediately diagnosed as "Adult ADHD" or some other bullsh*t diagnosis.

Why do children react to their parents enabling behavior in this crazy way? My theory is that, because the parents compulsively do everything for their kids and expect nothing from them, their kids get the idea that providing for children is an extremely vital activity for their parents.   If the parents fight over what to do with the kids but never come to any kind of agreement or compromise, the kids think they like to do that as well.  Far be it from children to deprive their parents of a cherished role.

Do children really give a damn about what their parents expect from them?  Readers, what do you think about all of this?


  1. For me it's exasperating. My brother in law is a family freeloader. He is 53 and lives with his mother who does everything for him. He refuses to pay rent.

    When he comes to our cabin he won't bring anything or even wash his sheets but if I say anything, I am the one who gets the backlash. It's a real no win situation.

  2. Parents need to stand united against freeloading offspring/family members and make them contribute. I have noticed that parents who over-indulge their kids reap what they sow. For example, my sister-in-law and her husband are well into their 30s, and earn more than my parents-in-law, yet incessantly and shamelessly sponge off of them. They cry poor whilst buying themselves iphones, $150 concert tickets and gourmet weekends away.

  3. Old post, but I'll respond. Especially cuz I'm in the age group discussed.

    For me, being in my 20s, I think some people get support for very old fashioned reasons actually. Some people have parents who want to see their kids go to grad school, and they think continued support into the 20s will aid in this. There is much better access to education these days and it gets expensive to go to college. Some parents actually want their kids to move back home for a while after college so they can save for a law degree or figure out what they want to do. I know one girl who graduated from NYU with a degree in literature, wasn't sure what she wanted to do, and her mother encouraged her to go to cooking school and become a chef because she likes cooking. She wouldn't have thought of it as a career, but she became a vegan chef and was able to build a clientele as a private chef through word of mouth. Worked for one person, that person told another person, and so on...I think sometimes the parents encourage the freeloading and sticking close to home in the 20s because they think it will pay off. And I do think this is old fashioned. It wasn't really that long ago that a lot of people lived at home until they got married. J. Edgar Hoover didn't move away from home. I do actually know some people who lived at home until they got married. My sister was one of them.

    Of course I know you mean the slacker moochers. 20 somethings who just seem clueless. Some of it is really just bad parenting. It's not that the parents support the kids too's that they really didn't teach their kids anything. That's what I've noticed. I was talking to a community college professor, and he said young adults will show up with no concept of how to organize or study. He has to explain really basic stuff to them. And he does it because he wants them to do well. But when I say basic things, he has to explain that they have to purchase books because they think its like high school and they check out the textbooks. Or he has to explain that they should take an early bus to campus because if the bus is late the professor won't care. Even things like "make sure you bring paper and a pen to take notes with" needs to be explained. Some people just show up with nothing, throw out their syllabus, and have no clue how college works.

    I have to wonder if some of that is the way our society is now. Both parents are often forced to work and they just don't spend as much time with their kids as they should and is needed. It is for this reason that I really do think welfare should last for more than 5 years. Do we want a bunch of adults who were never raised by their parents and learned absolutely nothing about how to survive in the world? I feel bad for the 20 somethings who live off of their parents, their parents support them, and this is really the extent of that parenting. They teach their kids nothing about how to survive or succeed.

    People have blamed the 20 somethings for being moochers...but I see the parents as getting lazier and lazier when it comes to child rearing. I admire my older sister, because she spends time with her teenager daughter so they can plan her future once she leaves high school. She is very attentive and a lot of parents aren't like that. They can't even teach their kids to write thank you notes :/

  4. Communities aren't local anymore. And both parents are gone 8 to 6 or longer. It starts there. Human toddler brains are programmed for multigenerational village learning. That's the kind of socializing attention they need. It's emotional, social and intellectual. Kids thrive learning from adults in the local neighborhood. Instead they're hauled across town to institution-like schools. They don't learn emotional or social skills. Their brains are fed the "subjects" of the future life path, but nothing about social or emotional life. The humanities have disappeared from the curriculum and the entertainment industry is the only "art" they hear or see. I could go on, but you get the picture.

  5. Throughout my childhood and then much more severely while trying to transition into adulthood, I often felt like the message that I was receiving from my mother was essentially this:

    1. She wanted me to suffer and fail.
    2. She wanted me to know that this is what she wanted.
    3. She wanted me to pretend that I didn't know.
    4. She wanted me to eventually get so stressed that I freak out.
    5. She wanted me to play along with the narrative of me being mentally ill when I freaked out.
    6. She wanted me to help her keep all of this a secret by being isolated while she went around telling anyone who would listen about how she was just trying so hard to help me but I made it so difficult.

    For an example of how this message would come across, my mother initially made it very clearly that I should pursue a dream career and not make the same mistake she did of getting married (her view). I figured out the perfect career (2 years before I graduated from high school) for me, and my mother seemed to be supportive. However, right after I graduated, she became extremely hostile to the idea and said terrible things about me in regards to even considering the choice. This led to several heated and crazy arguments, during which she pushed for me to get the career she wanted me to have. I explained to her that her career pick for me would actually be extremely bad for my mental health, which was a genuine response on my part, as she wanted me to be a physical therapist and so have to be around people in pain all day 5+ days a week. Hell to the no, trigger central. Thereafter, she pushed for me to have this career in an increasingly incessant and aggressive manner, until I finally just landed my first job and told her that I would pay for my own school so that she didn't have to pay for a career for me that she despised for mysterious reasons. This caused her to become increasingly seethingly hateful towards me. When I relented and agreed to start taking college courses in prep for a medical career, she acted nicer, but I wound up having panic attacks constantly and failed 3 of the 4 classes, barely passing the 4th one. After which she told everyone that I self-sabotaged because I am (all the terrible things). I would up spending several years of my 20s living with her in this cycle, including a stint where she kicked me out for having a messy room (and to go live with my new boyfriend, ironically) and then later on screamed in rage at me that I had abandoned her.

    I also saw two therapists during those years but had no luck with them in particular. They kept trying to convince me that I needed to stop blaming my mother for everything and take responsibility for my life and make my own decisions. I could acknowledge that they were logically correct, but I also couldn't explain why the idea filled me with so much dread.