I feel sorry for some Italian parents in the news this week.
They want their son to leave home so badly that they've had to seek legal help. It seems that, after having him in the house for 41 years, they've got somewhat tired of looking after him.
Apparently, having your son living at home to a ripe old age is quite common in Italy.
According to news reports, a study published last year showed that 48 per cent of Italian "youngsters" between the ages of 18 and 39 still lived at home. There's even a name for these sons – "bamboccioni", which translates as "mummy's boys".
I'm certain that, for many, the moment of helping the young adult on his or her way can't come quickly enough and it's usually the young male of the species who, by sheer physical and vocal size, rapidly outstays his welcome in the nest by his late teens.
Yet, according to Waikato University research, Kiwi sons hang around a little longer than their sisters.
By the age of 21, 58 per cent of girls have fledged and flown, but only 48 per cent of boys.
A touch of the bamboccioni here, perhaps?
Having a young adult at home requires a further adaptation of your parenting approach.
It's your home where you wish to operate and relax in accordance with your rather old-fashioned expectations.
You might also have younger children around and wish to maintain boundaries that you don't want undermined by older siblings.
Yet you really do have to accommodate the needs of another adult around the house, especially if they're working or approaching 20.
Here are some ground rules you might use, as appropriate:
You will contribute towards the cost of food and power. It's cheaper here than out there.
It's not a serviced hotel and we'll expect you to do some chores.
You will give sufficient notice about your mealtime intentions and are welcome to invite company to dinner. Alternatively, you're welcome to prepare your own meal.
You will be expected to maintain a certain level of hygiene in your room.
You will not have sex in this house, because it embarrasses us or isn't appropriate with younger children around.
There are to be no drugs in the house or you are out.
If the law is being broken, we will contact the police.
You will respect our right to do what we like in our home.
You are free to come and go, but a quick, courtesy phone call will stop us worrying.
Enforcing these isn't difficult, because they are old enough to be self-sufficient and can be obliged to get their own meals, do their own washing, or leave.
© Ian Munro 2011. All rights reserved.