NBA star Jeff Teague will make around $8.8 million this season. And he just moved into his parents' basement.

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images


Teague, a first round pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 2009, has played seven seasons in the NBA. This offseason, though, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers —— not far from his hometown of Indianapolis, where he already owns a home.

The funny thing is, Teague gave the house to his parents a few years back since he was spending all his time in Atlanta. Now that he's back in town, he's moving back into the house — and he's not asking his parents to leave.

"They got the master, I just got the basement," he said in an interview on Fox Sports 97.5

When asked how long he expected to live with his folks, Teague said plainly, "The whole year." In response to this, the hosts jokingly asked if he had a curfew, a bedtime, or had to do chores.

You might expect a hot-shot athlete to quickly offer up some explanation for living at home, like I'm busy looking for a place, or It's only temporary.

But not Teague. He didn't seem fazed by the jokes, and he didn't offer to elaborate.

Teague isn't alone when it comes to living with family.

In fact, recent findings from Pew Research shows that for the first time in 130 years, living at home with parents is the most common living arrangement for 18-34-year-olds in America. And internationally, this kind of arrangement has been super common for a while.

Some people are quick to jump on data like this as evidence of a coddled generation unable to solve problems for themselves. Folks even call this generation the "boomerang generation" (as in, they always come back).

But there are a lot of other factors going on here, most of which have nothing to do with coddling or laziness. Here are a few:

1. Young people aren't rushing to commit to a romantic partner, and a lot will never get married.

Marriage is great and all, but it's not mandatory. Photo by Lê Düng/Flickr.

One big reason for the rise in young people living at home is that "romantic coupling" has seen a sharp decline: In other words, young people are waiting longer and longer to move in with spouses (if they ever do at all, and a lot aren't).

And for many single folks, living with family beats living alone.

2. Jobs that can pay enough to keep up with rising housing costs are hard to find.

While employment isn't a problem for Teague, a lot of young people live at home to stay afloat while looking for a job or trying to save as much of their paycheck as they can for a down payment on their own home. It sure doesn't help that housing costs have been on the rise for years.

Add in the fact that the average college graduate these days comes out of school with over $30,000 in student debt, and it just makes economic sense for some young people to live with their parents when they can.

3. Parents are living for a really long time and some need help.

They raised you! Helping out when they get older is the least you can do. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Some estimates say the number of adults caring for their aging parents has tripled in the past 15 years, which makes sense because life expectancy has been rising for decades.

This kind of care can be taxing for young adults; they may have to take time away from work, pay out of pocket for extra help, or even just spend a ton of time helping their parents with daily tasks.

Moving back home can help with affordability and convenience for people in this situation.

4. Some young people actually want to live at home.

In Psychology Today, Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., referenced one study that surveyed 18-24-year-olds who had never left their parents' homes. Most of them said part of the reason they stayed was because — gasp — they actually liked living there.

She also writes that there aren't major differences in life satisfaction between parents of adults who never left home, those who left and never came back, or those who have moved in and out over time. So maybe getting to spend a little extra time together in the same house isn't the worst thing in the world.

If a 28-year-old millionaire wants to live at home, maybe it's time for us to recognize that it's a perfectly acceptable choice for anyone.

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

What if, instead of valuing moving out on our own above all else, we valued people who grow up to be happy, empathetic, productive members of society ... even if they're doing all of that from their parents' basement?

In other words, if a situation works for you and your family: go for it! It's clearly working for the Teagues. We may not know exactly why or how their arrangement works, but Teague obviously doesn't feel like he owes anyone an explanation.

And that's the way it should be.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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