When is the right time to leave home? Italian government minister Renato Brunetta thinks it's age 18, and recently suggested a new law to require it.

Brunetta's proposal is a reaction to an Italian judge's decision that Giancarlo Casagrande resume paying a monthly allowance to his 32-year-old daughter, who lives with her mother and has been working on her graduate thesis for eight years. Her father stopped paying the allowance (a requirement of the parents' divorce) three years ago without the courts' permission.
Britain's Daily Telegraph reports that in Italy, "48 percent of offspring between the ages of 18 and 39 [are] still living with their parents." In Italian, this phenomenon is called the bamboccione, or "big baby" syndrome … Canadian columnist Mark Steyn points out in Macleans:

[M]ost developed nations have managed to defer adulthood and thus to disincentive parenthood—quite dramatically so, if the judgment against Signor Casagrande holds. It's no coincidence that the countries most prone to bamboccioni and parasite singles are the world's oldest and fastest aging, with the lowest fertility rate: Japan, Germany and Italy are already in net population decline.

I wrote recently about modern China, where very different social pressures have also created a problem of demographics and economic peril. But I don't think it's fair to conclude that living at home is symptomatic of delayed adulthood. No, the real problem is not grown-up children living at home, but their using it to shirk responsibility and hard work.

Many of my childhood friends were raised with inherent assumptions about "leaving the nest." However, most of them were also female, and whether unspoken or understood, most expected that by the time ...

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