Archive: Aug 2010

20-somethings: spoiled and lazy

Why won’t kids grow up? Short answer: Because we let them, and because we fetishize youth.

That pretty much sums up the overly-long article in the New York Times that explores why 20-somethings refuse to grow up.

I’ve been stunned at the behavior of a lot of 20-somethings. They seem to be constantly finding themselves, making excuses “oh, toughest economy to graduate in”, and moving back home after graduation. Really? If the economy is so tough, man up and accept a job that you think is beneath you and yes, you don’t get to live on Park Avenue if that happens and no, you really shouldn’t continue to live at home either!

Oh, but that not possible because they are coddled and supported by their parents.

Nor do parents expect their children to grow up right away — and they might not even want them to. Parents might regret having themselves jumped into marriage or a career and hope for more considered choices for their children. Or they might want to hold on to a reassuring connection with their children as the kids leave home. If they were “helicopter parents” — a term that describes heavily invested parents who hover over their children, swooping down to take charge and solve problems at a moment’s notice — they might keep hovering and problem-solving long past the time when their children should be solving problems on their own. This might, in a strange way, be part of what keeps their grown children in the limbo between adolescence and adulthood. It can be hard sometimes to tease out to what extent a child doesn’t quite want to grow up and to what extent a parent doesn’t quite want to let go.

But, but… I have seen high-functioning 20-year olds – they get jobs, work their asses off, live within their means, go to graduate school, move out and live on their own, and even, gasp!, get promotions and establish themselves. So clearly it is not all 20-somethings who go through this phase.

Ah, but there, finally at the end of the very, very long article, it comes to the core of the issue – “emerging adulthood” is not something everyone goes through unlike adolescence.

To qualify as a developmental stage, emerging adulthood must be both universal and essential.

Oh. My. God. You just wasted thousands of words on a theory that basically justifies spoiled brats? Grow up brats. Parents, stop coddling your kids and pretending you are a self-actualized parent.

And the New York Times – please, can we not waste ink on the privileged, spoiled lot? Thank you!