So, it has come to this: if parents can't push children out of the nest, the courts will. Or, at least that is what happened this past week in Malaga, Spain.
According to newspaper reports, a Family Court judge has given what Spaniards refer to as a 'ni-ni' (neither works, neither studies) one month to leave the family home and strike out on his own. The case came before the judge because the 25-year sued his parents after they refused to add 400 euros a month to the support they already were providing, which included not only a free place to live and all the food he could eat, but also making his 235 euro car payment each month!
Now don't start feeling too sorry for this poor little abandoned 'kid' -- the judge gave him 30 days to move, and ordered the parents to provide him with 200 euros a month for the next two years.
Amazingly, this is not the first such case in Spain. Last summer a university student from the town of Lugo sued her parents because she felt that the 600 euros a month they were giving her was not enough, and that 800 was more along the lines of what she deserved. (Since she was studying at university, she doesn't qualify for the 'ni-ni' label, but I believe 'ingrato,' the Spanish word for ingrate, sounds apt.) In 2007, a 22 year old in Seville asked the courts to force his parents to increase his monthly allowance by 150 euros -- even though his father was unemployed at the time! In both of these lawsuits, the judges declined the young person's request. However, this latest case is the first time a judge has ruled that a 'ni-ni' should live on his own.
"There is no objective need to maintain someone who is a 'ni-ni' by choice, but someone who is truly unable to work or study should be able to count on family support," the family's attorney told the newspaper, La Razon.
Psychologist Javier Urra told the paper that, "Spain is a country where children live an unusually long time in the homes of their parents." In fact, "before the economic crisis, they were not leaving until 34 years of age." However, in Nordic countries "they push them to leave home and find a job early. " He added that issues "such as access to housing in our country make the situation particularly complicated. "
Although there is much written about the Spanish 'ni-ni' phenomenon, the Youth Institute of Spain's Ministry of Health claims that only 1% of young adults (80,358) neither work nor study. And then there is the young man in Malaga and his predecessor in Seville who have taken not working and not studying while living off of one's parents to the next level by actually suing for the right to ni-ni; I'd say the English language has a perfect name for them -- ninnies.
Un juez obliga a un joven «ni-ni» a dejar la casa familiar (Judge obliges young 'ni-ni' to leave the family home), La Razon, 22 April 2011
Una universitaria denuncia a sus padres en el juzgado para exigirles 800 euros al mes (University student takes parents to court to demand 800 euros a month), La Voz de Galica, 26 June 2010
Un juez rechaza la petición de un joven de 22 años de que sus padres le suban 'la paga' (Judge rejects 22-year-old's petition that his parents increase his allowance), El Mundo, 15 March 2007
Note: Sorry, but because I am on vacation and not able to devote time to moderating discussions, I have disabled commenting on this article. I will enable the commenting feature when I return on Tuesday the 26th.
Update: Commenting now enabled.