During a supper at my friend’s home, I realized how handsome and adorable her son was. The young 20-year-old lad was sitting in the same room watching some of his favorite TV show while constantly using his smart device. I instinctively told my friend that how proud she must be of her son who is not only good-looking but has come out with flying feathers in his academics too.
I was completely startled when she said with a half-hearted smile that although she was proud of him, his childish behavior still bothers her.
Her son is continuing his graduate studies at his parent’s comfortable and luxurious home rather than having to move into some grim studio apartment that he could afford while working part-time. This doesn’t mean that my friend and her husband aren’t happy living with their son. But what they want is to make sure their son becomes a responsible adult and they want him to take care of his daily chores.
This incident left me wondering and urged me to find out if it is happening to other parents as well or was it just my friend who is being too unreasonable. But what I learned from my curiosity is truly shocking! There are other parents too who are still cooking and washing for their twenty-something grown-ups who are determined to not grow up. (See more parenting tips & advice)
Why Grownups are Not Growing?
Well from what I figured out after my vigilant probe on the topic is that the road to adulthood has become relatively longer as when compared to the times I and you were into this phase.
The young generation of today stays in school longer, our kids live with us longer, and they marry later and find jobs at ages when we were usually settled with a family. The transition to adulthood has become a long process and parents find themselves distressed at how long their children are taking to grow into responsible adults.
When your kids go through their emerging adulthood, you may be intimidated by the fact that how long all this is taking. You may even ask yourself sometimes that is it even going to end or not especially when you find your kids aged 20 and above unsure of their futures. They may declare some career one day that may leave you shocked but the other day, they have completely abandoned the idea of the fear of failure.
This phase of emerging adulthood has a downside for both children and parents. While kids are struggling to know their place in the society, parents are feeling exhausted of all the emotional and financial support they have to provide to their kids for such a long time.
How is The Slower Path to Adulthood Good for Everyone?
The traditional path we took that led us from our high-school to college to job and marriage; everything was settled before 25, is no more relevant to today’s generation.
The path kids take today is a lot slower with lesser directions than ever before. And before you make up your mind that your kid is lazy and slacker, know that it isn’t the truth. There are many social factors that have played a key role in slowing down the transition to adulthood. One of the biggest reasons being a dramatic shift in the job force.
And when it comes to your kids getting married, they simply won’t do it because they have probably heard about a lot more divorces than the marriages they have ever attended. The change in social patterns has urged young generation to create independent lives before they commit to anything.
Overall, the markers that used to determine adulthood don’t fit anymore. And the times have also changed the way how your kids perceive the world. They are unlike us. They don’t want to become work alcoholics and so they are trying for a work-life balance. In fact, the future generation is very thoughtful and so young kids are committed to their communities. You must have heard of youngsters volunteering whenever the society needs them.
Social justice and society are very close to their hearts. They want to give back a lot more to society than they have received. All the modern parents have to do is to understand that the time has changed. They must change their expectations accordingly. If their kids move back home, they should not consider it their failures.
Same goes with when their children aren’t willing to move out after graduating high school. Instead of considering them hopeless or lazy, you can talk this out with them to better understand what your kid feels.
What Should You Do If Your Kids are Not Growing Up?
Now, there may be some cases when your kids are actually doing nothing or doing anything without giving it a thought. Some of the kids may not fall into the category I discussed above. They are actually lazy and love being pampered.
They do not care if you are washing their clothes or cooking food for them. One such case I came across was about an Italian couple whose 41-year-old son won’t move out. Her mother was so exhausted of meeting his adult son’s endless demands that she had to be hospitalized. The couple sent a legal letter to their son demanding him to leave their house within six days.
That was an extreme situation. But when you think your kid is in the initial stage of the same situation, what do you do? You can’t simply leave your kids stuck in this selfish phase of their lives where they do not realize the principle of giving and take.
However, before you make an attempt to change this situation, you must know that your kids are not to be blamed entirely.
Sometimes your overly parental love can be the reason that led you to this condition. When the nest is nicely feathered, why will the kids bother to struggle through the hardships of life?
So, keep this in your mind, don’t do anything for your kids who are not growing up. Be selfish not for you but for the sake of your kids. Let them manage their life without any emotional or financial support from you.