Is 25 the New 18?

Hi Readers — The BBC reports that, “Child psychologists are being given a new directive which is that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25.” The reasons given have to do with neuroscience of the still-developing brain, but the brilliant Frank Furedi, author of “Paranoid Parenting,” weighs in on that:

“I think that what it is, is not that the world has become crueller, it’s just that we hold our children back from a very early age. When they’re 11, 12, 13 we don’t let them out on their own. When they’re 14, 15, we hover all over them and insulate them from real-life experience. We treat university students the way we used to treat school pupils, so I think it’s that type of cumulative effect of infantilisation which is responsible for this.”

When authorities agree that 25 is the new 18, he adds, “it inadvertently reinforces that kind of passivity and powerlessness and immaturity and normalizes that.”

I’m not positive there’s anything terrible about people in their 20s living with their parents while they get on solid economic footing. But I do agree that treating them like they’re not ready for prime time,  rather than simply young and under-employed in a tough job market, ignores the fact that all of human history until now has assumed that certainly by 18 or 21 (and, for eons, younger still), a person is emotionally and cognitively ready to take on the world. Even if the mind is still developing, that doesn’t mean it’s not capable of adulthood, just that it’s a work in progress.

As are we all. – L

Harnessing science to prove no one's ever old enough for independence.

Harnessing science to prove no one’s ever old enough for independence.

, , , ,

68 Responses to Is 25 the New 18?

  1. QuicoT September 26, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Yeah, and “he just needs a bit more time living at home as he dips his toes into the job-market” is the new “spoiled helpless”…

  2. QuicoT September 26, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Joan of Ark led an army into war at 14!

  3. Silver Fang September 26, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Alexander the Great was a regent for King Phillip when he was 16. Young and inexperienced doesn’t mean stupid. It simply means young and inexperienced.

  4. pentamom September 26, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    And of course there’s always the unanswered question in this — does the need to take responsibility actually *stimulate* development? If it does, then trumpeting these studies on brain development is going to create a vicious cycle: the age of “brain maturity” will keep getting moved forwards, which will cause people to expect less responsibility from ever older people.

    A hundred years or less ago when the legal age of majority was 21, it was assumed that there was no major life responsibility or commitment a typical person of that age was not prepared to handle. Now we think that marriage before 25 is rushing it and even before 30 is a little questionable, let alone having kids, a mortgage, running a business, etc. Can the hard-wired development of the human brain REALLY have changed so much in that amount of time?

  5. J.T. Wenting September 26, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    So are we also going to raise the age of consent to 25, age at which people can vote, drink, smoke, buy a gun?

    Probably not as that would cost the kind of people coming up with this nonsense a lot of votes (the left get almost 100% of the under-25 vote).

  6. Kristi September 26, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I grew up on a working farm. The year I turned 14, our foreman retired. My father’s time was consumed by running the family logging company and he worked 10 to 14 hours a day. My mother worked full time also. Instead of hiring a new person to oversee the daily farm operations, I was in charge of everything but the hiring of seasonal help, and the bookkeeping. By 15, even that was turned over to me, and I was paid accordingly. I learned quickly that if I screwed up, it meant lower or no profits and I didn’t get paid! It was the best thing my father ever did for me.

  7. Amy September 26, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I was blown away when I learned that young adults could stay on their parents insurance until they’re 26 years old. I was married at 26. I left home at 19 and have been on my own ever since. I certainly didn’t (and don’t) expect my parents to pay my way as an adult, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to raise kids who are going to need me to support them after they’re married and have a family of their own!

  8. lihtox September 26, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I don’t disagree that kids shouldn’t be given responsibility at a younger age. In particular, I think we segregate teenagers away from adult society at a time when they are longing to get out in the world and start making a positive contribution: teenage angst is the result.

    But there are other possible explanations for this expansion other than helicoptering. Mobility is one: when people settle down these days it’s usually far away from their families. In olden times (ignoring the pioneers), yes people might have married and started a family at 18, but their parents and older relatives were close by to lend a helping hand, offer advice, etc.
    The economy is another issue. In the 50s-70s, a man could get a job out of high school that paid well enough to support an entire family in relative comfort (cf Archie Bunker), and that job might carry them all the way through retirement. That’s nearly impossible now, even with two parents working. People have kids later in life partly because it doesn’t seem fair to subject children to the sort of instability that twenty-year-olds live with. (We’ve moved around several times in our lives, but now with a 6-year-old, the thought of taking her away from her best friends is heartbreaking.) And the terrible job market is what leads to the mobility I mentioned before: if you restrict your job search to a 50-mile radius of your hometown you’re really handicapping your chances at being employed.

    So this goes way beyond helicoptering and laziness.

  9. Barb September 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with kids living with their parents when needed. I remember hard times growing up where my parents lived with my grandmother. Both my kids are in their 20s now and were raised very free range, but my son lived with us until he got married and for a while while he was married because while his wife was pregnant she was put on bed rest and could not work so they couldn’t make rent after baby the got their own apt again. My daughter is a senior in college and still lives with us but she lives her own life coming and going as she pleases. Staying with parents longer does not mean they have to rely on them for decisions just support.

    As for the new insurance rules that allow them to stay on till 26 I am so grateful for that. My son just fell off my insurance this year and without that he would not have coverage, he and his wife were working either part time or for a small company and didn’t qualify for assistance, so my insurance was all he had.

  10. lollipoplover September 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I have a pet peeve with 25 is the new 18.
    We’ve had a string of “missing” alerts in our area. They’re actually 23-24 year-old women making poor choices in boyfriends, drugs, and lifestyles. They take off to the city with a low-life(and apparently don’t answer cell phone calls from parents) and the family want alerts to find them when they went voluntarily on their own. Adult women making poor choices, not kidnapped girls or endangered runaways on the streets.
    The “We just want them home safe” family pleas when they went off on their own and are likely partying like it’s 1999 drive me nuts.

  11. Vicki September 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    So, would this mean pushing back the age for enlisting in the military? After all, we don’t want to send “children” into war!
    We created adolescence and now we seem to be trying to extend it. My boys (age 13 and almost 12) think this is crazy. Start treating them like they are capable human beings at an early age and they will become capable human beings at an earlier age.

  12. Susan2 September 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I think living with parents or being on the parents’ insurance and emotional immaturity of young adults are two separate issues. The latter can contribute to the former, but in many cases the former is solely an economic issue.

    The Christian Science Monitor has had several articles in the past year about how the economic slump has disproportionately affected young people, despite tales about ageism in hiring. Even when young people get a job, the pay tends to be very low, and it may take them 10-15 years to catch up.

    The fact that I was able to move out of my parents’ house and get a job with health insurance at age 22 is most likely due to my luck of being born at the right time than the fact that I wasn’t “spoiled” or made “helpless” by my parents. It is scary out there now, and, as my kids near adulthood, I am getting more worried about their ability to even feed and clothe themselves as adults.

  13. Andrew September 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    @QuicoT,
    And you see what happened to her. Burned at the stake. Her parents should have been prosecuted for child neglect for not keeping her home until she was 25.

  14. Rachel September 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Lenore, I love your last paragraph, which really defines what it is to be a teenager,young adult, and simply human–people are able to take on the challenges in this world at a young age, and will keep learning as they go through life,even into their 30’s, 40’s, and on.

    I recently read in the Week Magazine that people in their 20’s have started taking their parents to their job interviews (8%!) and that 13% of employers communicate with their younger employees’ parents about how well they are doing on the job. These employers don’t seem to mind or think this is strange!

    I also heard a radio story a couple years ago relating that college kids tend to call their parents often–more than once a day–to let them know what is going on in their lives and to ask for advice. It’s nice for adult kids to be close to their parents, but they do need to learn how to live their lives on their own.

  15. pentamom September 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    There’s an unfortunate stigma attached to young people living with their parents that was not there 50 and more years ago when it was not unusual for adult kids to stay home until they either married or were somewhat older. My own parents lived with my grandparents their first year of marriage in order to save up for their first house. There are all kinds of good reasons, whether just good economic sense, or a desire to continue to be part of the family, or a need to help out with things, for an adult child to remain living with his parents that need not reflect badly on either the parents or the kids.

    I think what has happened is that for whatever reason, those adult children who did not leave home early become (as a group) less responsible. It might have been post-war parents wanting to spare their kids the difficulties of their own youth in the Depression and war years, and so instead of the earlier model of adult kids living at home and helping out with the family expenses, it reversed to parents providing a home and lifestyle that the kid could not have earned on his or her own at that point. Or maybe it was something else. At any rate, living with parents became associated with slackers and now it’s considered a black mark regardless of rhyme or reason. But it doesn’t have to be a sign of immaturity.

  16. pentamom September 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Not that it matters a lot, but Joan was probably closer to 16 or 17 by the time she actually started leading the army.

  17. Andy September 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    No matter what age, I would not want to be without insurance. It is one of those things I would be fully willing to give my adult children if they would net be able to pay for their own.

    It is probably different, because living with parents until you marry is “normal” here. Unless you moved out of town for college, living alone or with friends is considered waste of money (housing is very expensive).

    Basically, you are supposed to help your family as much as possible whenever family needs it. That of course means that kids help their parents too.

  18. Alaina September 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I’m 23, so I can give a side on this issue a lot of other comments can’t.

    Right now, I’m living at home and working two jobs. Both are part-time, one fast food, one for the city. If I were to move out right now, to survive, I would have to never miss a day of work at either job, get an apartment in a sleazy part of town with a roommate to cover half the expenses, never get sick, and survive off of ramen noodles. I graduated college with honors, with a degree that’s highly sought-after; in fact, I have one of my jobs because of that degree.

    Being on my parents’ insurance until I’m 26 insures that I can continue to get my prescriptions. And getting a job with insurance is almost an impossibility; while I was job-hunting, 9/10 jobs were part-time, and even most of the part-time jobs wanted at least 3 years of experience.

    So please, leave ‘insurance’ and ‘living at home’ out of these arguments.

    The under-30 crowd has a different view on living with your parents right now: my first question, upon finding out someone’s living at home, is always to ask why. I’m working towards my master’s degree; a friend is saving to buy his first home; a third sent out twenty applications in the last week. We are absolutely okay with people living at home for those reasons. Then there’s the former roommate whose mother called her every morning so she’d wake up for class; the classmate whose mother wouldn’t let him go to a study group if it would end after 9 PM; the professor who had to tell the class that anyone else who had their parents call to argue about their grades would get an F by default.

    If someone’s still living at home, and their reason starts with ‘My parents’ and doesn’t end with ‘are incredibly sick and need my help’ then they are probably still a child developmentally… because they never got a chance to grow up.

    Otherwise, we’re adults. And unless they want to add maturity tests to voting and licenses and other crud, they’d better keep the age limits the same.

  19. Cassie September 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    I’ve read numerous places that your brain never stops growing! Kids and teens have proved time and time again that they are capable and smart.

    Lenore, you may want to check out:

    http://www.therebelution.com,

    it is an excellent website about teenagers rebelling against low expectations. 25 is NOT (or shouldn’t be) the new 18. This is just another excuse to keep people from living a full life, and to excuse laziness and complacency.

    Btw, this comment is form a young adult! ;)

  20. Donna September 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    I don’t have a problem with adult children living at home – just lived with my mother for a couple months while waiting for my tenants to vacate my house at 43 – IF those children are contributing to the household in some way and act/are treated like the adults that they are.

    So many children today who live at home still have mommy cook all their meals, clean up after them and wash their clothes. In return, mommy and daddy expect them to follow the same rules and live much like they did in high school. It is just an extension of childhood.

  21. Jessica El-Beck September 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    I am 30, I have had a master degree, a good job, and house since I was 24. I was raised fairly free-ranged and I tried to be as independent as possible since I was 18. Some of my friends who are also 30 act like they are 16. I have one friend whose father still pays her bills for her even though she has a good job and lives on her own. She is proud of this and it seems like I see this type of attitude more and more.

  22. marie September 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    Alaina said, Being on my parents’ insurance until I’m 26 insures that I can continue to get my prescriptions.

    I have no idea what Alaina’s financial situation is or how much her prescriptions cost. Perhaps without insurance, she would not get them at all.

    Disclaimers out of the way, I will direct this at anyone and everyone… OR YOU COULD PAY FOR YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS. I do. In general, people have come to believe–mistakenly–that insurance means never having to pay for healthcare.

    I don’t look down on kids who still live at home unless, as has been said already, they are still living there as children. If those parents EVER have to scrub the pots/pans or do laundry or mow the grass…the kids (and parents) are doing it wrong.

    On the flip side, young people who get a cheap apartment and a roommate and an extra job AND a savings account…those kids impress me.

  23. Crystal September 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    I got married and purchased my first home at age 19. I graduated first in my class in college — early. By the time I hit 25, I had already worked several years as a public school and piano teacher and birthed two sons.

    But huh. I guess I wasn’t ready.

  24. Buffy September 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    As long as this country ties health insurance to employment, and as long as not all employers offer health insurance (or find ways around offering it to all employees) damn straight my kid is on my insurance. I am unclear why anyone would want their child to have to pay out-of-pocket for their health care when insurance is available – we as adults would not want to do that so why would we expect it from our adult children?

    One car accident, without health insurance, would have that kid living in my basement, bankrupt, far longer than keeping him on my health insurance would.

  25. Andy September 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    @marie Just out of curiosity, why do you put equality between “living like children” and “never helping in the house”? I through most parents require young kids to help with dishes or vacuum cleaning. These things have nothing to do with being adult, 12 years old is fully able to do most of them.

    I also do not get why adult kid living with parents should do them all. In my mind, they should contribute the same e.g., the one who has the most time do most of the work while everybody cleans after himself.

    You can pay for your own prescriptions if those prescriptions are cheap. Price for insurance company is usually much lower then price for person buying without insurance. Insurance companies have huge negotiating power, individuals very little.

    With more serious diseases, you are unable to work and get money without prescription, which makes it impossible to work and save in advance.

  26. nancey September 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Marie,

    Have you paid for a prescription lately? Couple of years ago, I went to the pharmacy to pick up an antibiotic. I had forgotten that my plan had changed to a deductible and I was charged $79. That’s a lot of money for an ear infection.

    My husband has been on high blood pressure meds since his 20’s for a chronic kidney condition. I once priced it out once- $822 for a 3 month supply. Most twenty year olds cannot afford that kind of payment. Blame our politicians, not the kids or their families.

  27. Chihiro September 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    I’m at university now and I’m amazed at how many kids apparently can’t function without their parents. A lot of kids don’t know how to do their own laundry, or heat up noodles on a stove. Most go back home every weekend, even if it’s a several hour drive, to have mommy and daddy cook for them and wash their clothes. It’s absolutely insane. Less than a century ago, a lot of us would have been married and popping out kids at this point. And these kids can’t even take care of themselves.

    It’s also very frustrating because I have to take a class about adjusting to college life-basic life skills that people should know at eleven. Why should I waste my time doing that?

  28. Julie September 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Psshhh. The only thing that will restrain a child, is the society that creates the boundaries for that child. It’s when others expect nothing, or little from the youth, that the youth in turn, learn to expect nothing or little from themselves.

  29. Warren September 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    The benefits package we carry with our company allows for our offspring to remain covered as long as they are a full time student, and only to 25. No professional students allowed.
    We call them benefits because it just bumps up our universal healthcare system. Benefits cover drugs, glasses, dental and such.
    Alot of adult kids at home has to do with the fact that their first independant place does not come with free sat tv, air cond., free wireless, free phone, free laundry and so on.
    Saving for your first house? Do it on your own. I did. Just meant at times I couldn’t take that weekend in Vegas with my buds, or eat out as often as I liked. It is called life.

  30. K September 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    My best friend is an organ transplant recipient. Sure, without insurance she could pay for her prescriptions. But then she couldn’t afford food or a place to live.

    I was married at 23 and had my first child at 26. It irritates me when people shrug away bad behavior because a person is “young.”

    However, I lived at home during college and commuted to school, while also working a full time job and running a pet sitting business on the side that helped pay for my car and books. In lieu of rent, I did all the housework and while I was on my parents car insurance, I paid my mom the premium for my vehicle. I paid for my own gas, clothing, personal care items, and lots of groceries. And I stayed on my parents health insurance until I graduated at 21 and was immediately kicked off.

  31. K September 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Also, I think the science behind this is fascinating. But there is a big difference between saying parts of the brain aren’t fully developed at a certain age and saying someone isn’t an adult at a certain age. How long before someone accused of a crime presents a brain scan as evidence and says, well this brain scan shows that his cerebral cortex (or whatever) isn’t developed, therefore he suffers from a medical condition that makes him act like a child, therefore he is not responsible for his actions.

  32. Donna September 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Marie –

    Huh? I don’t understand the argument. I don’t see where anyone said having insurance means that you don’t have to pay for healthcare. Having insurance does mean that I have to pay $15 for a prescription, instead of $800. Not sure what making my child leave my health insurance and pay $800 for that $15 prescription proves except that we are making bad financial decisions.

    For many that have employer-based insurance, insuring your 20-something child costs you little to nothing. Most places I’ve worked require you to enroll in a single plan or a family plan. If you have a spouse and/or other children, the 20-something costs you nothing additional since you are already on the family plan. Even for me who has only one dependent so am actually paying extra for my one child, it cost a grand total of $80 a month to insure my child when I had a outside employer. Much cheaper than the same insurance would have cost by herself. Even if you insist that your child do everything for herself, it still makes the most financial sense to leave your child on your employer-based insurance for as long as you can and collect the additional money you are paying, if any, from your child.

  33. Beth September 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Right on, Donna. I think we’ve had this discussion on this site before, about how allegedly helicoptery it is to have one’s adult child on one’s health insurance up to a certain age.

    If that’s the case, then is my employer the same as a helicopter parent, in that they need to protect me from the big bad world by offering me health insurance instead of forcing me to make it on my own?

    Sorry, but my under-employed 22-year-old who LIVES ON HIS OWN will remain on my health insurance until he gets a job that provides it. I’m not willing for him to lose everything if he is in an accident, gets cancer, or even needs a minor surgical procedure (which can run into the many thousands of dollars)just to prove that I’m not babying him.

  34. Linda Wightman September 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Donna, it may make economic sense to keep your 25-year-old child on your own health insurance, or cell phone plan … and I don’t say there aren’t circumstances where I would to it. But at an age when previous generations would have been expected to be fully-functioning, independent adults, it’s another apron string that keeps them dependent.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for living situations where the generations are near enough to help each other out. We don’t have nearly enough of that in this individualistic age. But there’s a difference between mutual assistance and prolonged dependency.

  35. Donna September 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    @ Linda – There has never been a time when society expected children to fully support themselves in their early working career.

    As was the norm for the time, none of my grandfathers even attended high school (I have 3 – one dropped out of school in elementary school, two immediately after middle school). Only the rich who expected to go to college bothered to complete high school. The rest eventually left school to get full time jobs while still living with their parents. By the time that they moved out on their own, most had already been working for several years.

    And all of them were successful despite a lack of education. One was career military and the other two eventually owned their own businesses which they sold and retired well off.

    None of that is happening today. We’ve created a world where people need to go to school far longer to have a fighting chance to succeed at life. Instead of being 4-5 years into their career at 18 like our grandfathers, our children are at least 4-5 years away from even starting their careers at the same age. Expecting them to have the same sense of maturity and responsibility is not too much to ask but expecting them to have the same ability to support themselves as people who had already been working full time for 4-5 years is ridiculous.

  36. K September 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    My dad and his three siblings all went to college and my grandfather paid. College was much more affordable then, so they all came out with no debt. My dad and his two brothers then went into the military and eventually used the GI bill for grad school. I got a four year degree for 14k total. But grads now come out with so much more debt and not even a promise of a job. I don’t think you can easily compare this generation, financially, to those of their grandparents.

  37. Rachel September 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    While I agree that kids should find their place in the world, I don’t consider anyone an “adult” until 21. I think we get the law and physical growth mixed up. Even though the law says you’re an adult, 18, 19 and 20 year olds are teenagers. You can start getting a job at any age – 11 year olds can babysit, 15 year olds can be life guards, 18 year olds can get a job at DQ. But you can’t expect to get an office job the day you turn 18 just because you’re an adult. When you’re a teenager, things are still changing (especially in college) and you probably just need some help navigating through the social and emotional changes. While you’re the legal age for X, Y, and Z, older people still see you as a kid – and, unfortunately, that’s what you are. There’s no defined age for maturity. Some people are “adults” at 16, some at 25. We can’t say all people are comptent at a certain cutoff age just because that’s what the law says. Seeing a pediatric-anything doesn’t mean you’ve been sheltered. It means that you’re young and need help.

  38. Puzzled September 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    I’m relatively unconcerned. I see an adolescent psychiatrist, not because I think I’m still a teenager, but because I happen to like his approach and think he does a good job for me. If child psychologists want to treat 21 year olds, so what? I don’t know that it follows that anything crazy is going on.

    As for living at home and the various equivalents (cell phone, insurance, etc.) I cannot for the life of me understand the value of wasting money and resources. If a person requires only a little space, and their parents have a little extra space, what is the value of the parents heating that space, and the person paying more than they need for a larger living space? I don’t think 20 year olds should be dependent on parents, but why make living with a proxy for that? Are married people also infantalized, if their wife cooks or husband picks up the kids?

    On the other hand, if that 20 something is living with his parents and being waited on, then that’s a problem.

    I think another social problem is that we appear to be unable to distinguish these things. It seems utter dependency is so common that we just assume that living together implies it.

    Honestly, I’ve thought about going back to med school. Could I afford to go while maintaining a place of my own? Sure. But is that really the smart decision, if I were to go to a school near my parents? Wanting more comfort than I can responsibly pay for doesn’t strike me as a sign of maturity.

  39. Buffy September 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    @Linda and other anti-health insurance posters, please explain what you think your reaction might be if your 25-year-old uninsured son (whom you chose to take off your own health insurance in the name of cutting the apron strings) needed an emergency appendectomy, the average cost of which is around $33,000. Would you feel bad that he now had that kind of debt? Would you be angry if he had not set enough aside to cover this unexpected expense? Would you say “Yay, now he knows what the real world is like; I’ve done my job!”?

    I’d really like to understand the rationale for placing this kind of burden (that, by the way, you’re not willing to place on yourself, if you have health insurance) on a young adult.

  40. Donna September 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Not only emergency surgery, illness doesn’t wait until you are financially solvent. My best friend was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease shortly after college. Without insurance, her meds would have cost thousands of dollars a month. One was so expensive that doctors wouldn’t even prescribe it without insurance. At 25, she had to have surgery to remove a foot of her intestines. Luckily, she did get a job out of college with health insurance (as a result of her college job and not her degree), but would now (18 years later) still be hundreds of thousands in debt if she hadn’t.

  41. Kaye September 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    What I found really interesting was the mention later in the article that 18 year old (i.e. new drivers in the UK) cause a huge number of accidents– and the response from the expert that we should start teaching driving EARLIER, rather than raising the driving age.

    Could apply to so many things– teach things slowly over time, so when they are 18 they are ready…

  42. pentamom September 26, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    “What I found really interesting was the mention later in the article that 18 year old (i.e. new drivers in the UK) cause a huge number of accidents– and the response from the expert that we should start teaching driving EARLIER, rather than raising the driving age.”

    I’m glad to see SOMEONE gets this! Every time the driving age gets raised, the stats for the most dangerous age for drivers gets changed. Well, DUH!!!!!! Inexperienced drivers have the most accidents and probably the most dangerous ones because they don’t respond properly to driving emergencies.

    It’s like the stat about people spending the vast majority of their health care costs at the end of life, oh no, that means we’re wasting money on people who won’t recover. DUH!!! That’s because they’re SICK AND DYING or have suffered a TERRIBLE FATAL INJURY! Yes, that actually IS when you use up medical care! I’m not spending much money at this point in my life on healthcare because nothing is currently trying to kill me! Just like the worst mortality/morbidity rates for drivers are among people who haven’t learned to be very good drivers yet!

    Excuse the caps and the excessive !!!, I just find this kind of thinking so frustrating!

  43. J.T. Wenting September 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    “There’s an unfortunate stigma attached to young people living with their parents that was not there 50 and more years ago when it was not unusual for adult kids to stay home until they either married or were somewhat older. ”

    caused in no small part by the whole “you must have a college degree or you’re useless” idea, which goes together with “you must move out of your parents’ home and go live in a dorm (or apartment of your own” as it’s often associated with moving halfway across the country to some top rate college rather than “destroying your chances in life” by enlisting in your hometown’s community college (which usually makes a lot more sense as they’re just about as good, much cheaper, and keep talent in small communities rather than concentrating it all in a few big cities).

  44. Asya September 27, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    25 is adolescence because of the BRAIN? Well then adulthood obviously begins whenever a girl/boy gets their first menarche/spermarche, after all, their BODIES are capable of reproduction, so am I right?! I can harness that science thing too!

    My husband is 23 and I am 19. We are not from some backwoods religious sect or from a weird foreign country. We live an independent life in NYC and work around the world. We want children soon. Sorry– We do not want nor need help from anybody. Why does it feel like some get such a kick out of infantilizing others? On the other hand, people our age DO act like imbeciles, but there is no shortage of imbeciles in their 30s, 40s… What else can be expected?! The government tries to nanny EVERYONE.

  45. Paula September 27, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    Queen Victoria reigned in the UK when she was 18!

  46. baby-paramedic September 27, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    A few years ago when I was 23 we attempted to get a flat. It was in the neighbourhood we were already living in, and for less rent than we already paying. We were both university students, although I also had a fulltime job. I had five year rental history, the boyfriend had a three year one, both flawless. Our savings from one account (which we supplied a copy of on our application), showed enough money to pay seven months rent. We offered a months rent in advance to help secure the place.
    We were knocked back. We were knocked back because I refused to have my parent’s go guarantor on my lease (my parents also would have refused) (boyfriend was able to get his parents to go guarantor on his half of the lease, so they had no issue with him, despite him having no independent income). When I questioned, it was due to my age, despite the fact I had a flawless five year rental history, despite the fact I had a secure fulltime job, despite the savings we had.
    I thought it was all just an excuse, that they had found someone better for the place.
    The place stood empty for months. I met the owners one day – they never even knew we had applied for it. The agent had said “no one is interested”.

    Same when I went to university, so much about “parent’s of students”, we even had a “Parent’s information night”. And unlike in America, most students do not require their parents income details in order to secure scholarships/loans in order to attend university.

    Now my other half is looking for jobs. So often in the applying for jobs section they have “information for parents”. I am glad that kind of stupidity is not yet present in my job. Parental involvement is still viewed as a weakness (and an indication you are not yet ready for the job).

    Best thing my parents ever did – raised adults.

  47. Jen C. September 27, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    Thank you! I’ve felt this way for a long time (that society is extending adolescence way too long) and people look at me like I’m crazy.

  48. Warren September 27, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Gotta love the American Health Care System. $33000.00 for an apendectomy would financially crush a young adult fresh from home.

    Luckily in Ontario, that same young adult goes in, gets the operation, and walks out. Only out of pocket expenses may be drugs. As for benefits to cover prescriptions, you can get those in the private sector, as well as through employment.

    The states has to resolve the problems, not just deal with the symptoms.

  49. CS September 27, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    As a teenager myself I say we infantalize teenagers enough already! Contrary to popular belief, some young people like myself can do perfectly fine in the world without any extra coddling. Oddly enough, some of us can speak coherently and even have (gasp!) discussions at the same level as some adults. (I’ll stop with the teenage sarcasm now.)

    I’m sixteen and I’ve had a pretty good part time job since I was fourteen, but I had worked previously. In the summer I work almost fulltime hours and in winter I work 3 days a week after school plus Saturdays. Some helicopter parents would be absolutely outraged about this, but does it affect my schooling? Not at all. That’s because my parents raised me free range and I’m able to manage my time well and handle the occasional stress. In fact, by the end of this week I will have managed to read a thousand page book during school because of all the extra time I have.

    Yet when I hear about teenagers or even grown men and women taking their parents to a job interview my blood boils. Can you really be so dependent on your parents for everything? Aren’t you the least bit embarrassed at being grown up and still relying completely on your parents? Staying at home for a while in the current economic situation is completely understandable, but relying on your parents for things like job interviews is ridiculous. I would be mortified if at 12 my mother had come to talk to my boss about how I was doing at work, let alone at 22!

  50. Warren September 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    @CS
    If someone showed up with mom or dad to apply or interview for a position with us, they would be out of luck. That right there would be an immediate disqualifier. And would be told as much.

    I know people married with children that still put “Mommy” down as their emergency contact. Even when the live in different cities. It’s a joke.

  51. Laura September 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    You know something? At 14, I was the one putting my younger sister on the bus in the morning and tutoring her in the afternoon (no, my parents weren’t absentee parents. They just had to work crazy hours to put a roof over our heads). I work full time and live in my own apartment. My sister has a full time job lined up for after she graduates, and it’s a good career she’ll be starting -oh wait. She’s under 25, she’s not ready). I worked part time as soon as I was legally able. Before that, I babysat my sister and her friends, tutored, you get the idea. I would never have dreamed of taking my parents on my job interviews. I was so proud of myself when I picked up my first check, but that pride would have been severely dampened if my parents had come with me to the interview. I can’t even imagine my supervisor calling my parents to discuss my job performance. If there’s a problem, he addresses it with me. My mommy doesn’t need to get involved. Not that there are really many issues; if there were, my company wouldn’t be willing to pay for me to get another degree to train me for another position. But I’m only 26, barely an adult. I must not be ready.

  52. baby-paramedic September 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    I do kind of get the emergency contact thing. I know I am an emergency contact for my mother. Who is married (and has mostly grown kids now). Why? Well, because her husband falls to pieces in any sort of crisis and becomes useless. She figures she needs someone with a clear enough head to navigate the system (and some insider knowledge doesn’t hurt) at its critical entry point. Emergency contact really should be the person best able to immediatly respond to a crisis situation. Same for one of my extreme sports, I put down my mother, not my husband. If they are contacting my emergency contact, it is because I have a massive head injury or am dead and am unable to communicate with hospital staff. At least my mother can parrot off my extensive (relevant) medical history better than my husband in that situation.
    Choose the best person for the situation. Sometimes the best person isn’t your technical next of kin ;)

  53. Mike September 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Good grief. At 26, I had been married for 3 years, had earned my Ph.D., landed a tenure-track job as a professor, and had moved 1200 miles away from my parents.

  54. Linda Wightman September 28, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    @Donna – “@ Linda – There has never been a time when society expected children to fully support themselves in their early working career.”

    Not so. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be fully self-supporting after I graduated from college. Ditto for my siblings, though two of them did live at home for a short while in a mutually-helpful situation. As far as I can tell, our friends were in the same situation. And our parents as well. Of course we helped each other out — and still do. That’s family. What’s changed, I think, is the expectation that children will continue to be in a dependent relationship for so long.

  55. Linda Wightman September 28, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    @Buffy – “@Linda and other anti-health insurance posters, please explain what you think your reaction might be if your 25-year-old uninsured son (whom you chose to take off your own health insurance in the name of cutting the apron strings) needed an emergency appendectomy….”

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I actually said there were circumstances under which I would keep our kids on our health insurance if I could. But as a general rule, a healthy, non-student 25-year-old should have his own job with his own health insurance — that’s certainly what I was expected to do — and anything else is prolonging dependency.

    Maybe kids need that dependency these days, but if so, it’s a problem and a discredit to our society, not something we should simply accept.

  56. Buffy September 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Oh, OK. Sounds like you’re saying that a young adult with a well-paying professional job at a very small company that doesn’t provide health insurance should just find another job. Sorry, I’m still not getting it – if a “child” is independent in every other way (apparently excepting the job he/she had the audacity to choose) what is the big deal about remaining on the parents’ health insurance?

  57. JP September 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Ah, lots to bark about here. Where to begin? My father graduated engineering at age 20 (soon to turn 21.) By 21, an engineering career started. By still 21, married. By 22, father of one. By 23, father of two. Such was life. Standard stuff……….then. Fast forward:

    Moving backwards, though the present 80’s can be the new 60’s – we’ve applied strange deflation to our human evolution, it seems. The new 20’s are the old teens. The new 30’s are the old 20’s….etc.
    Apply a little bit of socio-economic lubricant, and what slips out is the political shrug: If we don’t have a whole lot of economic opportunity to “adultify” today’s youth, well then, by all means – keep them kiddified.
    For of course – it does require economic opportunity. Adult existence requires independence, and that requires simply – an income. Detach that from the equation and you wind up with this curious animal (once almost as rare as unicorns) the “adult” dependent child. I say balderdash. This oxymoron defies consideration. The two cancel each other out. Definition of adult (as previously mentioned) is independent.
    Shall we re-write the lexicon? Some other kind of “adultness” now abides? I beg to differ.
    A good laugh though – that some psycho-babbler hired on to un-convince us all what common sense should tell us. My brain at age 16 was perfectly capable of handling enough “adultness” as may be required by current 25 year-old thinking patterns. (It had to – I was on my own and would thus have not survived.)
    And let us not forget: The state (in it’s profound wisdom, apparently) would ask us elders to pick up the tab for its failure to provide “young” adults with the means of independence (that being adult incomes.) We shall now shrug and swaddle our youth in hapless apologies (on behalf of same state.) The state wishes to “borrow” the ways and means from the last generation that ever knew job security (with all the proceeds that spring thereof: middle class consumption…raised families, even.)
    I think not.

    Alaina: You prove my point with A+ excellence. If maturity were measured only by one’s ability to dance with this devil of a job market and it’s wondrously whacky prospects – all bets would surely be off. It’s still a Vegas crapshoot. Though we can avoid it (Elvis long ago left the building) no better path has been invented than some form of education…ever higher and ever more expensive. We now live with the results. (You certainly do.)
    Not for lack of brains, or what used to pass for any semblance of maturity….go the youth of the nation. Some fun. Good luck to you.

  58. pentamom September 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    “Queen Victoria reigned in the UK when she was 18!”

    Gosh I hate to take the role of historical nitpick here, but she ascended to the throne at 18 but did not reign until she turned 21 — until then there was a regent.

  59. pentamom September 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    “I know people married with children that still put “Mommy” down as their emergency contact. Even when the live in different cities. It’s a joke.”

    Some places require that the emergency contact be someone not in your household. So, what’s wrong with a parent? Especially if you’re taking your first job in a new town, it makes perfect sense to pick someone you actually KNOW.

  60. Andy September 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    @Linda Wightman I could fully self-support even before I graduated from college. Part time job as a programmer still paid enough and doing school and job still left me with some free time.

    However, it is unfair to ignore the economy and prices. When I graduated,the economy was in boom. Basically, if you breathed, you could find the job, because companies were desperate for programmers.

    When we are talking about mass unemployment, we are talking about economy and not about individual skills. You did not had to write great CV and perfect cover letter, you had to show up and job was yours.

    Bonus: I had no debt when I finished the school, it was free of charge.

    It is recession now and unemployment is much higher. People with experience have often trouble to find jobs. As far as I know, there is big competition even for unpaid internships. Those young adults work for free in the hope it will help them find the job.

    Bonus: American college graduates start with a big debt.

    You simply can not support yourself while you are doing an unpaid internship or are unemployed – either you are dependent on parents or getting higher in debt.

    I would fully expect people that graduate into bad economy with debt to have slower start and even be dependent longer then people graduating with smaller debt into boom.

    Refusing health insurance from parents when you can not pay for your own (or cheaper cell phone contract when you are low on money) just so you can prove you are independent is not mature decision. It is the kind of decision teenagers do – irrational designed only to prove something to your self.

  61. Jenna K. September 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Funny how hundreds of years ago people had much more responsibility at much younger ages and still somehow made good choices and survived.

  62. GW September 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    At 26, I had been married for 3 years, had earned my Ph.D., landed a tenure-track job as a professor

    Good luck finding a tenure track job these days. Anywhere from two thirds to three quarters of U.S. professorial jobs are non-tenure-track. The last TT line I hired for had over one hundred applicants.

  63. ebohlman September 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    K: You bring up a really important point, namely the giant gap between pop neuroscience and real neuroscience. What real neuroscientists have found is that 1) certain structures in the brain continue to increase in physical size until age 25 and 2) damage to those structures impairs one’s decision-making and other aspects of executive function.

    However, journalists and popularizers have wildly over-interpreted those findings, much to the consternation of the actual scientists who did the research. It does not even logically follow that “a person’s executive function isn’t fully developed until 25″. Even if it did, it would not follow that “18-year-olds’ executive function is worse than we used to think” (if research found that people actually continued to get taller in their early twenties, it wouldn’t imply that teenagers are shorter than we used to think, would it?”.

    And it certainly wouldn’t imply that “people under 25 don’t have sufficient executive function to live as adults”. By the time you get there, you’ve been indulging in plenty of sympathetic magic (assuming that superficial similarities of form represent deep similarities of substance), equivocation (mindlessly switching between different meanings of a word or phrase), and all kinds of other logical fallacies.

    Even referring to the structures in question as “the parts of the brain that control executive function” is over-interpreting (actual neuroscientists refer to such statements as “blobology”).

    Scott Lillienfeld and Sally Satel have a new book out: Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience which I haven’t read yet, but I’ve seen good reviews.

  64. hineata September 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    A shame about the health insurance situation. While health insurance isn’t strictly necessary in NZ, we do have some private coverage, and will continue to pay individual benefits for Midge when she turns 18 (at which point she’ll still be in high school) when kids are bumped off their parents’ family cover here. We will certainly continue to do this until she can afford the coverage herself, even into her twenties – due to pre-existing conditions, if this particular policy isn’t carried on she’ll never get cover again. The other two won’t be getting the same thing – they’re healthy as oxen and don’t need it. They can make their own decisions on such when they are economically independent. You do have to look a bit at the different circumstances of each of your kids, as I’m sure everyone here does – there would probably be things I might pay for the younger one too that I might not pay for the older, and vice versa….

    Regards them remaining at home, when they were younger I would have thought such was terrible. However, the job situation is far worse than when I was their age, and as long as it is a mutually advantageous situation – they interact with us as adults, do a share of the cooking/cleaning/bill paying etc., I now don’t have a problem with it.

    Now if they take to lying around the house whining and doing nothing, then they might need to be kicked out to do a little learning about reality…… :-)

  65. J.T. Wenting September 29, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    “Gotta love the American Health Care System. $33000.00 for an apendectomy would financially crush a young adult fresh from home.

    Luckily in Ontario, that same young adult goes in, gets the operation, and walks out. Only out of pocket expenses may be drugs. As for benefits to cover prescriptions, you can get those in the private sector, as well as through employment.”

    And of those $33k $30k goes towards paying the liability insurance of the medical team and the legal team of the hospital who guard and fight the constant flood of lawsuits filed for billions in “compensation” by patients who deliberately stub a toe or nose in the facility.

    In Canada, you still pay for the procedure but it’s a hidden cost in your taxes and insurance bills, which are higher than they are in the US.

  66. J.T. Wenting September 29, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    “Some places require that the emergency contact be someone not in your household. So, what’s wrong with a parent? Especially if you’re taking your first job in a new town, it makes perfect sense to pick someone you actually KNOW.”

    indeed. And with an increasing number of people being single all their lives, with many places requiring family members to contact in case of emergency, parents are the only thing you can put there unless you have brothers or sisters.

    I’m in my 40s, haven’t lived with my parents since I was 19, yet still give their number for emergencies.
    Not that they can do much, but wouldn’t it be nice if they got notified their child they still love is in hospital after an accident?
    I know I’d like to know if something happened to them…

  67. Andy September 29, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    @J.T. Wenting Overall, Canada has cheaper health care system then united states. The same procedure or prescription pill costs more in America then basically anywhere in the world.

    Even in America, prices for insurance companies are way lower then same item prices for individual. Those prices depends mainly on negotiation power, not on how much materials or drug development costs. Individual in crisis – unable to negotiate effectively. Insurance company – great in negotiating.

  68. Andy September 29, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    By cost I meant cost that hospital charges whoever, not cost that person has to pay out of pocket.