Friday, July 03 2009
Many adult children are returning home or not leaving to begin with. It used to be the thinking that when a child reached 18 they were legally and financially independent and should be on their own. Then society realized that 18 was too young so we should ensure children were ready and able to survive independently and most suggested waiting until young adulthood was reached at 21 or 22, college, military, or trade school was finished and the young adult could be on their own.
Now the thinking is emerging that 21 or 22 or maybe even 25 is too young to expect our children to survive on their own without needing assistance or support in an ever increasingly complex social and technical culture. What then should be the age parents should expect their children to be independent where parents can enjoy their children but not feel the need to be their financially or physically for the child's survival?
One way to think about this is to reason backward. If people are living longer, and they are, what is now middle age? When will people retire? Thirty used to seem old, but with the changes in aging the developmental stages are changing as well. Yes, 11 and 12 year olds are becoming physically more mature at younger ages, but the realization is gradually dawning all levels of society that our children are not ready for independence and maturity emotionally, socially, and financially until they reach their 30s. What a shock this is for both the child and the parents. Ninety per cent of adult children are ready to be independent by 30, but for many 30 is the age they need to reach to be independent.
Think of the profound changes this will create in the way we raise our children and their expectations on leaving home as well as the parent's expectations on when the child is ready and able. to leave.
Helping Hearts Heal,