I haven’t read the book and it’s going to take some time before I gather the fortitude to do so, as the subtitle is enough to make me cringe: “WHY 20-SOMETHINGS ARE CHOOSING A SLOWER PATH TO ADULTHOOD, AND WHY IT’S GOOD FOR EVERYONE.” I want to be clear that I am responding to the Journal article, not the book.
To be fair, before I go off on my own rant, I will cite the benefits as the Journal lays them out:
“A recent book suggests the trend may actually be a good thing. Few young adults who live at home are slackers mooching off their parents, say the authors of “Not Quite Adults,” a book based on more than 20 large, long-term data sets supported by the MacArthur Foundation, and interviews with 500 young people ages 18 to 35.
More often, they are using the parental subsidies to get through college or professional training, and to save money, say the authors, Richard Settersten, a professor of human development at Oregon State University, and writer Barbara Ray.
In fact, many young adults who finish college and delay marriage get a much stronger start in life, according to the authors.
Settersten and Ray also contend that the closeness between today’s parents and young-adult children can ‘open new kinds of conversation’ that can deepen family bonds. They see ‘some great things about how this period of life is being shaken up,’ including a wider range of lifestyle and education choices for young people. That assumes, of course, that the young adults are actually making progress during the delayed-launch period toward getting an education, saving money and building their credentials, the authors add.
Of course, another factor is that young adults have higher expectations as consumers, to own items once considered luxuries such as cell phones, dishwashers and digital cable TV…”
I find the term “parental subsidies” comically offensive. What are we – the Department of Agriculture? David and I were very clear with our Spawn, it’s known in our family as THE Talk. Any help we would offer monetarily once The Spawn reached eighteen would be a gift.
We do not “owe” them anything. We were blessed enough to be able to help them with their higher education, and we’ve put a cap on that, limiting it to an undergraduate degree.
We feel further “subsidizing” could easily become a counterproductive disincentive to starting their own lives.
Are we now expected to give our 20-somethings “a wider range of lifestyle and education choices” on our dime? Are we to give this oh-so-special generation more advantages?
Let ’em go out and see the world while we sit at home eating 25-cents-a-bag ramen noodles, paying the credit card bills and watching our retirement savings dwindle?
I worked my hind end off and saved my hard-earned dollars so I could enjoy this part of my life. I was an over-involved, over-the-top helicopter mom, just like I was supposed to be. David and I gave our offspring every opportunity our situation allowed. Now I’m supposed cough up MORE so the Spawn can live the dream? I think not.
Even more comical is “that young adults have higher expectations as consumers.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Dishwashers and digital cable TV? I don’t have those luxuries and I’m certainly not going to pay for my adult kids to have them. And if they ever live in my basement, THEY will be the dishwashers – and I will be hosting many lavish dinner parties. Heck, I might even start a catering business.
Delaying marriage is often attributed to “kids” boomeranging back home after college. The Journal cites the authors of “Not Quite Adults” as feeling that this gives a young adult a “much stronger start in life.” Possibly so.
My three un-boomeranged Spawn would be considered an Old Maid, Confirmed Bachelor and the dreaded Spinster Cat Lady if they lived in a different time.
Staying single longer is a choice many of today’s 20-somethings make. But trading marriage (or a solid relationship) for twelve more years of childhood – while Mommy does your laundry and Daddy sets up your job interviews – is not a “delayed-launch period.” It’s extended adolescence.
The kicker is that the article dubs “young people ages 18 to 35.”
Isn’t thirty-five the beginning of middle age? Are we to have our offspring skip over the part where they learn the joy of earning the benefits of a life for themselves? If the saying is true, and “fifty is the new thirty” then, possibly thirty is the new infant.
Break out the diapers Honey, Junior’s moving home to enjoy our parental
I have grave doubts as to whether anyone living with Mommy and Daddy at thirty-five receives any long-term benefit from the situation. Unless, of course, they have moved back home to take care of their parents in their old age.
Now, there’s a trend that I could get behind.
So you’ve heard my side of this. What’s your take?
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