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Adult Children Who Won’t GROW UP. Not a trend, fad or generational “hiccup”. Characterized by putting off adult responsibilities; Is it a laziness, or is it the fruits of affluence, or are larger economic forces to blame?

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not a trend fad or generational hiccup
Not a trend, fad or generational “hiccup”
  • Characterized by putting off adult responsibilities;
  • Is it a laziness, or is it the fruits of affluence, or are larger economic forces to blame?
  • Years 18-25+ have become a new transitional never-never land between adolescence & adulthood;
when our grown kids disappoint us jane adams 2003
“When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us” Jane Adams, 2003
  • The kids are all right and other lies parents tell;
  • Waiting for the kids to grow up before parents can get settled;
  • Parents who give too much;
  • Too much of a good thing.
wall street journal 1 6 05
Wall Street Journal, 1/6/05
  • “The Coddling Crisis: Why Americans Think Adulthood Begins at Age 26”
  • Stunted independence;
  • Long distance handholding;
  • Higher expectations of bosses to act parental.
usual markers of adulthood
Usual Markers of Adulthood
  • Career choice selected by end of HS;
  • Completion of an education to prep for that career;
  • Entry into job market, building up job and salary history;
  • Financial independence from parents is longed for and achieved.
usual markers of adulthood continued
Usual Markers of Adulthood(continued)
  • Emotional maturity and satisfying love/friendship relationships;
  • Legal marriage, childbirth, home ownership or if still with parents, pays an appropriate R&B;
  • Citizen—pay taxes, vote in elections, responsibly upholding laws, uses self to serve community (volunteer, etc.)
kinds of problems facing families with acwwgu
Kinds of problems facing families with ACWWGU
  • Child cant/wont leave home or is paralyzed by indecision;
  • Child has problems getting/holding ANY job;
  • Child has a job with NO FUTURE;
  • Child won’t accept entry level position for career choice;
  • Child will only work part-time.
more problems
More Problems
  • Child is chronically depressed and/or abuses alcohol/drugs;
  • Child has escalating debts, financial crises, require parental “bail-outs;”
  • Child has eating disorder, bi-polar disorder or some condition that requires therapy/supervision;
  • Child lives outside the law (deals drugs, gets DWI’s, etc.)
still more problems
Still More Problems
  • Can’t get along with others (family, job, friends, etc.)
  • Cannot tolerate frustration with systems and delegates parents to do it (Motor Vehicles, credit cards, college debts, job application procedures, etc.)
  • Emotionally immature expectations of life, job, boss. Has a sense of entitlement
time magazine 1 24 05
Time Magazine 1/24/05
  • Cover Story: “Grow Up? Not So Fast”
  • Previously called the problem “Generation X” or “slackers;”
  • New term: “Twixters”??
  • Not just an American phenomenon;
  • Boomerang kids; Kippers; Tanguy syndrome, Nesthocker, Mammone, Freeter—all terms for the same condition.
the effects on parents
The Effects on Parents
  • Delayed attainment of financial security (kids not set yet);
  • Ambivalence about feasibility of retirement (when, where, etc.)
the effects on parents continued
The Effects on Parents (continued)
  • Husband/wife may staunchly disagree on nature, cause, solution to the problem;
  • Destructive parental blame & punishment cycles;
  • Increasingly long road of parenting.
research on twixters by srbi public affairs 11 14 04 n 601 ages 18 29
Research on Twixters ( by SRBI Public Affairs 11/14/04, N=601, ages 18-29)

WHAT MAKES YOU AN ADULT?

22% Having 1st child

22% Moving out of parental home

19% Getting good job with benefits

14% Getting married

10% Finishing school

more research
MORE RESEARCH

WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON YOU DON’T CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ADULT?

35% “Just enjoying life the way it is”

33% “Not financially yet independent ”

13% “Not out of school yet”

still more research
Still More Research

EVEN THOUGH 43% WORRY ABOUT PAYING BILLS, THEY’RE BIG SPENDERS. % WHO SAY THEY SPEND MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE ON:

Eating Out 32%

Clothes 26%

Going to/renting movies 17%

Computers/software 12%

seeking a safe haven in the family
Seeking a “Safe Haven” in the Family
  • 70% report spending time with family in previous week;
  • 48% communicate daily with parents by phone or email;
  • 39% say parents have great deal of influence over their lives;
  • 26% say parents were TOO protective of them while growing up.
cultural influences
CULTURAL INFLUENCES
  • Family dynamics affected by 55% divorce rate; 2 working parents; high degree mobility;
  • High cost of living;
  • Latchkey children;
  • Delayed marriage & parenthood.
educational practices
EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES
  • Teaching toward testing without develop. critical thinking skills;
  • Education geared toward college entrance without regard to purpose
  • Education without basic communication skills.
family child rearing practices
FAMILY/CHILD REARING PRACTICES
  • Less contact with families of origin and the extended family;
  • More permissive attitude/fewer limits on outside activities (hurried & overscheduled);
  • More encourage of “self-expression.”

Little if any mentoring

by fathers or uncles or

other significant adults.

child development
CHILD DEVELOPMENT
  • Developmental stages are incremental with specific challenges to be mastered for optimal function;
  • Separation/individuation crisis—development of a self;
  • Development of empathy;
  • Parallel process for parenting—parent is transformed by changing needs of child.
what is a good enough parent
What is a “good enough” parent?
  • Parents who know how to both gratify and frustrate their child so that the child develops a connection and a confidence in their ability to become independent;
  • The parent who is not perfect but tries their best with the resources they have;
  • The parent who knows his/her limitations and can seek help when needed.
  • Mutually respectful with the child, accepts his/her dependency/vulnerability and does not violate that sense of trust.
adolescent development
ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT

Early Adolescence (12-15)

  • Preoccupation with radical physical changes;
  • Peers exert greater influence;
  • First solo forays outside the family.
more adolescent development
MORE ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT

Late adolescence (16-19)

  • Greater freedom from parental dominance;
  • Milestone achievements (driver license.)
  • Graduation from HS, first job;
  • College admission/graduation;
  • Peer influence predominates.
adolescent challenges and distractions
ADOLESCENT CHALLENGES AND DISTRACTIONS
  • Central question is: Who am I and Who will I be?
  • Common distractions: play station, x-box, game cube; cell phones;
  • Computer: games, instant messaging, internet, chat rooms;
  • Tattooing, piercing, etc.
  • Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex;
  • Participation in criminal activity, vandalism, petty theft, etc.
young adult maturity is attained
YOUNG ADULT MATURITY IS ATTAINED!
  • Three processes need to be initiated:
  • Inner Direction and self awareness;
  • Foresight—Look where you are headed, set goals, move toward the future;
  • Self-launching—motivation, inspiration, optimism and ignition.
how can a parent help
HOW CAN A PARENT HELP?
  • Help your kids figure out who they are by starting this process when they are 11 or 12. Periodically review their emerging strengths & weaknesses & work on shortcomings. Identify the kinds of interests they keep coming back to—the key to possible careers.
parental help
Parental Help
  • Talk about the future on a regular basis.
  • Talk to your child about life (yours and theirs) post-college.
  • Discuss the plus/minus of your own career.
  • Look for role models for your kids to talk to as opposed to members of their clique, or vague celebrity role models.
  • Have regular discussions about individuals in the family or other people that they respect and ask them how they got where they are!
parental help28
PARENTAL HELP
  • Build your child’s work skills by giving them responsibilities around the house and making sure that they follow through. Require/insist on teens to take a part-time job.
  • Get them to earn special privileges/ benefits not just from the extra cash, but from the positive regard they development with supervisors, coworkers, etc.
parental help29
PARENTAL HELP
  • Place time limits on leisure activities. Reduce passivity by reducing the amount of time your child spends on the computer, video games, x-box, etc. Do not let your child stay inside their inner bubble. Encourage your child to take up outside interests that encourage communication with people and worthwhile causes.
parental help30
PARENTAL HELP
  • Help kids develop coping strategies so they know how to deal with setbacks & feelings of inadequacy. (See handout on Six Steps to problem solving).
parental help31
PARENTAL HELP
  • Make sure that childhood is not an impossible act to follow. Don’t overindulge kids with spectacular vacations, opulent possessions & excessive extracurricular. Avoid creating hyper inflated egos that will puncture when they attempt to leave the family nest.
parental help finally
PARENTAL HELP, FINALLY
  • For the parents of the young adult: Display interest but do not take over the reins; career advice should be offered respectfully & parents should never make it seem there are easy answers; offer room/board and/or occasional gifts/grants but do not bankroll their adult start-up. (From: “Ready or Not, Here Life Comes”, by Dr. Mel Levine)
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