18 votes

How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood

19 comments

  1. [15]
    suspended Link
    (I laughed too hard at this) Part of life is learning how to deal with adversity. Obviously, if parents are anticipating and clearing the path, then the children won't learn how to do this in a...

    One didn’t like to eat food with sauce. Her whole life, her parents had helped her avoid sauce, calling friends before going to their houses for dinner. At college, she didn’t know how to cope with the cafeteria options — covered in sauce.

    (I laughed too hard at this) Part of life is learning how to deal with adversity. Obviously, if parents are anticipating and clearing the path, then the children won't learn how to do this in a timely manner.

    Even more astounding to me is that we have the largest percentage of kids, averaging in their mid thirties, who still live with their parents. Something is way off.

    17 votes
    1. [3]
      DGx Link Parent
      Is this all that weird in and of itself? In certain other cultures, they'd see this as normal. Hell, I'm considering asking my mom to live with me when I graduate grad school because I love her so...

      Even more astounding to me is that we have the largest percentage of kids, averaging in their mid thirties, who still live with their parents. Something is way off.

      Is this all that weird in and of itself? In certain other cultures, they'd see this as normal.

      Hell, I'm considering asking my mom to live with me when I graduate grad school because I love her so much and I don't want her to have to work so hard!

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        retiredrugger Link Parent
        I know it's just syntax, but while the difference between "I live with my mom" and "my mom lives with me" subtly make important points. In the first it implies the individual needs assistance from...

        I know it's just syntax, but while the difference between "I live with my mom" and "my mom lives with me" subtly make important points. In the first it implies the individual needs assistance from their family, whereas the latter demonstrates it is a chosen option in which one supports their family. I apologize if I come across as rude and nitpicky, but I think the distinction matters.

        6 votes
        1. DGx Link Parent
          No no, I don't think it's rude at all. I agree that there is a distinction. One implies lack of ability to be financially independent and one doesn't. But I guess my overall point is that this...

          No no, I don't think it's rude at all. I agree that there is a distinction. One implies lack of ability to be financially independent and one doesn't.

          But I guess my overall point is that this distinction isn't necessarily important in other cultures, as you don't really even entertain the idea of "moving out" to begin with.

          4 votes
    2. [7]
      NaraVara Link Parent
      This sounds like sensationalism on the part of the writer. Finnicky aversions to certain types of food are strong symptoms of having an autism spectrum behavioral disorder and it's extremely...

      Part of life is learning how to deal with adversity. Obviously, if parents are anticipating and clearing the path, then the children won't learn how to do this in a timely manner.

      This sounds like sensationalism on the part of the writer. Finnicky aversions to certain types of food are strong symptoms of having an autism spectrum behavioral disorder and it's extremely likely that the student had a bevy of challenges adjusting to college life of which the cafeteria options were only the easiest to get fixated on.

      Even more astounding to me is that we have the largest percentage of kids, averaging in their mid thirties, who still live with their parents. Something is way off.

      In many cultures it's not at all uncommon for people to live in large, joint family arrangements their whole lives. This is how it is ensured that parents and grand parents are taken care of in old age and to make sure that the income stream for the overall family unit is diversified and buttressed against a bad harvest or a downturn in the market for whatever service or cottage industry. In the part of India I come from we don't even really use words to differentiate between direct siblings and first cousins, they're addressed the same way.

      If anything, the notion of a singular nuclear family full of atomized individuals who are capable of supporting themselves in isolation is the historical anomaly, and arguably was only ever possible due to the invention of an administrative welfare state that enabled it. As we've shredded that welfare state, people revert to more communal forms of living, either with families or in group homes or roommate arrangements.

      12 votes
      1. [4]
        Pilgrim Link Parent
        Is that a true statement or a story you told yourself?

        This sounds like sensationalism on the part of the writer. Finnicky aversions to certain types of food are strong symptoms of having an autism spectrum behavioral disorder and it's extremely likely that the student had a bevy of challenges adjusting to college life of which the cafeteria options were only the easiest to get fixated on.

        Is that a true statement or a story you told yourself?

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          NaraVara (edited ) Link Parent
          In the future, please reconsider the tone you use when making requests for detail or clarification. Your comment comes across as combative and belittling, which does not create an environment for...

          In the future, please reconsider the tone you use when making requests for detail or clarification. Your comment comes across as combative and belittling, which does not create an environment for respectful or edifying discussion.

          For what it's worth, here is a broad meta-analysis from NIH on food aversion..

          Parents of children with ASDs often report that their children are highly selective eaters, with very restricted repertoires of food acceptance that may be limited to as few as five foods. Management of food selectivity and concerns about dietary adequacy have been found to be a major reason for referral of children for nutrition services (5). Picky eating, also referred to as food selectivity, is a significant problem because it may be associated with inadequate nutrition as a result of the restricted diet (6–12).

          And here is another study about the efficiency of exposure therapy in addressing generalized inflexibility issues, of which food is called out as an especially prominent one.

          More recently, the literature in this area has seen a surge of studies identifying food selectivity and inflexibility as a particularly troublesome area for children with ASD (Ahearn et al. 2001; Dominick et al. 2007; Johnson et al. 2008; Keen 2008; Ledford and Gast 2006; Martins et al. 2008; Schreck and Williams 2005; Schreck et al. 2004). These recent studies indicate that up to 89% of children with ASD present a variety of restrictive and inflexible eating behaviors (Ledford and Gast 2006). For example, Dominick et al. (2007), highlight that some individuals with ASD maintain a restricted range of foods in their repertoire, whereas others display a preference for a specific texture or color.

          10 votes
          1. [2]
            Pilgrim Link Parent
            I should have elaborated because I certainly wasn't referring to the idea that food aversion can be part of a spectrum disorder, which, as you sourced quite well, is a solid fact. Rather I was...

            I should have elaborated because I certainly wasn't referring to the idea that food aversion can be part of a spectrum disorder, which, as you sourced quite well, is a solid fact.

            Rather I was trying to point out that you can't diagnose autism from a single data point.

            extremely likely

            You're telling a story about a person with no information which is not a particularly responsible thing to do. And yes, people do it all the time. It's a terrible problem because we can't deal with real issues when we're busy making ones up.

            If your point was that food aversion and autism are linked, and that this would have been a good thing to have mentioned in the article, then that isn't what was said.

            This sounds like sensationalism on the part of the writer.

            The writer is using the example to illustrate the issue that the article is about - parents not preparing their children for adulthood. Just because that one example, may, again, with no other supporting facts from the article, have some other explanation, does not negate the entire point of the article.

            5 votes
            1. NaraVara (edited ) Link Parent
              The article is telling that story, I'm providing the more measured probable context. I say it's extremely likely because I don't trust this article, that relies too heavily on gossipy anecdotes to...

              You're telling a story about a person with no information which is not a particularly responsible thing to do.

              The article is telling that story, I'm providing the more measured probable context. I say it's extremely likely because I don't trust this article, that relies too heavily on gossipy anecdotes to support overly broad conclusions, to be painting a full picture. Nothing about how it's written seems fair minded or balanced. Moreover, I didn't diagnose this person with autism. I said it's a symptom of an autism spectrum disorder. What's extremely likely is that the student probably had a variety of challenges to adjusting to college life beyond just the food and the food was just the final straw. That's much more consistent with how human nature works than assuming the specific thing someone we're hearing third-hand that someone complained about is the sum total of all that was bothering them.

              Which is actually fine, given that it's written up in the Time's Style section which doesn't aspire to the same level of rigor and authoritativeness as the more serious parts of the paper. It's been a long-standing stock joke among trend-spotters is that if something is written up in the Style section that's a good sign that it's either not a thing, or a thing that's already gone passé.

              The writer is using the example to illustrate the issue that the article is about - parents not preparing their children for adulthood. Just because that one example, may, again, with no other supporting facts from the article, have some other explanation, does not negate the entire point of the article.

              Most of the article's examples sound like cherry-picked anecdotes to serve their point. If the authors actually wanted to draw meaningful trends they'd have gone with more useful studies or data, but they offer very little of that. The only studies they do cite take several assumptions to link the actual measurement to the conclusion they're trying to draw.

              It's a weak piece that has all the trappings of finding evidence to support a conclusion rather than the other way around.

      2. [2]
        suspended Link Parent
        It isn't. We don't know, from the NY Times article, if this person has what you are describing. The setting/context of this article is the United States.

        This sounds like sensationalism on the part of the writer.

        It isn't. We don't know, from the NY Times article, if this person has what you are describing.

        In many cultures it's not at all uncommon for people to live in large, joint family arrangements their whole lives.

        The setting/context of this article is the United States.

        2 votes
        1. NaraVara (edited ) Link Parent
          I addressed this in my last paragraph: Moreover, the United States has immigrants. Lots of them. Often from more communitarian and family-oriented cultures. The proportion of immigrant or...

          The setting/context of this article is the United States.

          I addressed this in my last paragraph:

          If anything, the notion of a singular nuclear family full of atomized individuals who are capable of supporting themselves in isolation is the historical anomaly, and arguably was only ever possible due to the invention of an administrative welfare state that enabled it. As we've shredded that welfare state, people revert to more communal forms of living, either with families or in group homes or roommate arrangements.

          Moreover, the United States has immigrants. Lots of them. Often from more communitarian and family-oriented cultures. The proportion of immigrant or immigrant born children attending college and entering the workforce is larger than it's been in several generations. So the "cultural context is the United States" isn't really a good way to focus your lens here. I'd argue it's naive to think social changes like that wouldn't bring about cultural changes in how people view relationships and expectations around family life.

    3. [3]
      10K Link Parent
      Mid-thirties is indeed worrying, but I would love to see some geographical data on where these people live, cost of living nowadays is through the roof and stagnating wages may be the lead driver...

      Even more astounding to me is that we have the largest percentage of kids, averaging in their mid thirties, who still live with their parents. Something is way off.

      Mid-thirties is indeed worrying, but I would love to see some geographical data on where these people live, cost of living nowadays is through the roof and stagnating wages may be the lead driver behind these stay at home thirty-year-olds.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        Grand0rbiter Link Parent
        I'm 32 and live with my parents. Brazil. It may take one or two more years to be able to afford living by myself.

        I'm 32 and live with my parents. Brazil.

        It may take one or two more years to be able to afford living by myself.

        4 votes
        1. suspended Link Parent
          Please, keep in mind that the setting/context of this article is the United States. In many countries it is the norm that children live with their extended families. On the other hand, it has been...

          Please, keep in mind that the setting/context of this article is the United States. In many countries it is the norm that children live with their extended families.

          On the other hand, it has been the norm (in the United States) that children form their own immediate families outside of their childhood homes. This doesn't necessarily mean that children are abandoning their parents nor are the parents abandoning their children. It's, simply, been customary for generations.

          Thus, I believe that the main reason that this is happening here is because of economic reasons.

          9 votes
    4. UntouchedWagons Link Parent
      I'll be 30 next year and I'll probably still be living with my dad. Although I work with him in the family business that I'll probably end up partially taking over.

      I'll be 30 next year and I'll probably still be living with my dad. Although I work with him in the family business that I'll probably end up partially taking over.

      1 vote
  2. [4]
    mbc Link
    Do these people really exist? I've never encountered anyone like this. Then again, I don't live in New York City surrounded by journalism folks.

    Do these people really exist? I've never encountered anyone like this. Then again, I don't live in New York City surrounded by journalism folks.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      rkcr Link Parent
      For the most extreme examples? Probably not many. But the cultural pressure to support your kid is strong these days, and it's hard to look or feel like you're a good parent when you are actively...

      For the most extreme examples? Probably not many. But the cultural pressure to support your kid is strong these days, and it's hard to look or feel like you're a good parent when you are actively choosing to do nothing.

      2 votes
      1. suspended Link Parent
        I believe that there are economic reasons that are the largest contributor to this phenomenon. One example, is that income disparity has been increasing since the 1950s to what we have today in...

        I believe that there are economic reasons that are the largest contributor to this phenomenon. One example, is that income disparity has been increasing since the 1950s to what we have today in the United States.

        Income inequality, as well as, many other small factors that exacerbate the problem are causing alarming rates of drug use and suicide.

    2. kfwyre Link Parent
      I wrote about an example recently, actually. They are far from the norm, but they are definitely out there.

      I wrote about an example recently, actually. They are far from the norm, but they are definitely out there.

      1 vote