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Transatlantic Blog

Judges: Parents must pay children’s bills into their 30s

Michael Rotondo rose to infamy earlier this year as the 30-year-old whose parents had to sue in order to evict him from their home. But across Europe, judges have ruled that parents must financially support their children well into their 30s, until they finish schooling – or until they find a job in the same field as their sometimes-esoteric degrees.

As I write in a new article at The Stream titled “Judges: Parents Must Pay their Adult Children’s Bills,” the dangerous precedent of asking the state to overturn parenting decisions is partly due to a cultural change:

Some time in my lifetime, the word “adult” has changed from a noun to a verb. We used to speak of people becoming adults. Now, we speak of people “adulting.” An adult is no longer what you are but something you do — hopefully, for as short as possible.

Yet it is also an economic and spiritual revolution in the West. Economic intervention into the mortgage market fueled an economic collapse that left a generation of young people unable to find work. Advancing secularism causes people to look to the state, rather than the family or religious authorities, as the final arbiter of every question. And the state has obliged, as I document, in one outrageous ruling after another.

A wise parent knows best when children need a gentle push to mature. In the EU, the state has stepped into the most fundamental relationship, inserting itself into the family’s most intimate and consequential decisions:

When adults finally change their parenting techniques to help their children mature, they should announce their plans in the kitchen, not before the bench. …

 

The family is the fundamental building block of society. Short of preventing abuse, its internal workings should be inviolable. But these rulings have taken Europe beyond a Nanny State — because a nanny can’t overrule the parents. Yet the EU now considers itself superior to the family, able to decide how senior citizens treat their middle-aged offspring.

Read the whole article here.


Rev. Ben Johnson is a senior editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History summa cum laude from Ohio University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.