Tuesday, 20 May 2008 6:33 PM

Hitting 21 and Still With Parents

In all Western societies, celebrating someone's 21st birthday marks freedom to be independent to live your own life.

This however is not the case for Solomon Islanders where children are still under their parents' roof even after hitting the 30-plus age factor.

Youths observed that turning "sweet sixteen" only goes to mean the reins of parents are tighter than ever.

The young ones said turning 18 years old and parents are worrying about children rushing off to get married.

"The older one gets, the more protective our parents become," they said adding it is one reason why even after hitting 21, "we still act irresponsible and dependent very much on our parents".

While some are in favour of spreading their wings at age 21, most are in favour of how Solomon Islanders choose to live.

"In some ways, turning 21 and moving on your own is good because it will help young people to learn how to be responsible at an early stage," Rachel Lee said.

She said that the practice has its advantages and disadvantages.

"For a society like the Solomons where families are very close, it would be like parents wanting to get rid of their children so that would cause misunderstandings in a lot of areas," Ms. Lee added.

"Children growing up with parents create a close bond in the family and that is very evident in many family units in the Solomons," said Hubert Otto, a student of Honiara High School.

He said that there is no need to adopt foreign ideas but keep to what has kept the societies of Solomon Islands very closely knitted.