July 30, 2006

GROWING UP

An interesting article via Instapundit: A Nation of Wimps: "Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they're breaking down in record numbers."

I've managed to connect to one of the least pertinent parts of the article, but I couldn't help but notice this paragraph:

Adulthood no longer begins when adolescence ends, according to a recent report by University of Pennsylvania sociologist Frank F. Furstenberg and colleagues. There is, instead, a growing no-man's-land of postadolescence from 20 to 30, which they dub "early adulthood." Those in it look like adults but "haven't become fully adult yet—traditionally defined as finishing school, landing a job with benefits, marrying and parenting—because they are not ready or perhaps not permitted to do so."

Using the classic benchmarks of adulthood, 65 percent of males had reached adulthood by the age of 30 in 1960. By contrast, in 2000, only 31 percent had. Among women, 77 percent met the benchmarks of adulthood by age 30 in 1960. By 2000, the number had fallen to 46 percent.

Granted, I've only grown up in one era, so I can't really compare my entry into adulthood in the 2000s with someone else's decades ago, but I can't help but feel that people my age are sometimes hopelessly immature.

The husband and I went to a party relatively recently, a housewarming picnic for a couple who just bought their first house. We didn't know any of the couples at the party, so we did a lot of watching on the sidelines, and as darkness fell, so did IQs. By the end of the evening, we stared wide-eyed as married women lifted up their skirts and flashed their thongs to distract single men during their men vs women beer pong game. Yes, you read that right. This party at a 30-something's new house in the suburbs turned into a night that rivaled anything I saw in college. And then of course we sat horrified as people grabbed another beer for the road and drove home.

These people all supposedly had jobs and relationships and should've been considered adults, but I've never felt more out-of-place or uncomfortable in my life. I'm not above admitting that I did some wild and foolish things in my college years, but that part of my life is far in the past now. These couples seemed to be having just another weekend of fun.

I have no idea if their behavior has anything to do with their upbringing or parents. I could speculate that it might have something to do with not being quite ready to be adults yet. I hear that the whole "failure to launch" thing is a real phenomenon in the US, and that people are less and less emotionally and financially ready to grow up than ever before. Could that be a reason why you'd flash your boobs at some random guy while your husband makes another trip to the keg? Is the world too big and scary to leave the comfort of the Fun College Years? I can't say I understand this, since I love every candle I add to my birthday cake; my husband and I constantly play a game where we imagine what we'll do when he retires and we're older and cooler.

I hope I can teach my children someday that growing up is one of the best things you can do. I'm trying to read articles like this and prepare myself, because I want to do whatever it takes so that my child isn't the one lifting her skirt at a housewarming party...

Posted by: Sarah at 09:51 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 623 words, total size 4 kb.

1 WHAT????? Reading this post has made me feel even better about having my 11 year old do his own laundry and teaching him how to cook. As well as having him read the moral compass every day and do essays on what he read even though it is summer break. I was begining to think that maybe his long list of chores and multiple responsibilities were to much but now I might add some things. Ant will be thanking you later in life. LOL

Posted by: Kelly at July 30, 2006 11:11 AM (q+rrW)

2 I think of some of this trend could be attributed to our society's increasing love of youth. I guess it could also explain related phenomena...like seeing 40-year-old women wearing teeny bop clothing or seeing old geezers driving tiny sports cars...America loves youth.

Posted by: Nicole at July 31, 2006 03:33 PM (nTCFk)

3 *think some* oops.

Posted by: Nicole at July 31, 2006 03:34 PM (nTCFk)

4 My grandsons, ages 23 and 27, are having a hard time keeping moved out of the home; a hard time growing up. I don't know about others but my daughter wasn't raised to raise kids like that. But her husband had PTSS or whatever, from Vietnam and was not a good husband or father. He is now getting help and we really wish it could extend to the whole family because they are really mixed up. But a lot of their friends are the same. It's a mystery to me, I cannot imagine me or my children wanting to be around each other that much. They want the comforts of home without the responsibility. AARRGH!!

Posted by: Ruth H at August 01, 2006 03:29 PM (gqQRq)

5 I was talking about the whole children being kept in bubble-wrap thing with my bf just a few days ago. When I was 5 years old, I was hammering shingles into the roof of our new house (only one storey) with a hammer, while my 9 year old brother was using the air nail-gun. My brothers were fully capable of using table saws and other wood working equipment at early ages, because of my father's wood working business. Now had child services ever gotten wind of this stuff, we would have surely be taken away from our parents, because of child endangerment. However, we were never in danger, since our parents taught us how to use those things. In fact, out of four kids, only one of us ever had a broken bone: my brother broke his pinkie body surfing. Otherwise, there was never any major accident that any of us ever had. I was also talking to a soldier in my bf's unit, and he was telling me how it was his job as a 9 year old, when he came home from school everyday, to shoot ducks, to keep them from landing in his father's corn field. A 9 year old with a shotgun? most would ask. However, if you teach a child responsibility and give them the mental tools to actually be able to handle things, they will rise to the occasion.

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at August 01, 2006 11:09 PM (+L0w3)

6 Your post reminded me of a conversation I had with a mom in NC about six years ago. I asked her if her 16 year old daughter did any babysitting. Her answer was: No, she doesn't work because we really want her to relax and enjoy life before she goes on to college and the adult world of working. I was speechless(which is rare). When I was 16, I was working part-time after school at a law firm AND babysitting on the weekends. I loved being financially independent ~ as much as a 16 year can be. I still wonder how that teenager, now 21, is doing. I'd bet the farm she is still in the safe cocoon of mommmy.

Posted by: Patti at August 02, 2006 01:30 PM (7bY11)

7 It's not just the parents. There are lots of institutionalized ways we are softening up our kids. Schools that don't administer tests or grades becuase kids shouldn't be judged don't help. I had several "discussions" with administrators in my kids' school who didn't like the testing requirements mandated by "No Child Left Behind" because "some kids just don't test well." Hello?

Posted by: Lou at August 04, 2006 03:25 AM (0+7qK)

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