WWW Opinion Times

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Emerging Adulthood

Social Scientists are pointing to a disturbing trend in post-adolescent years. Young people are living for longer periods at home and are marrying later. In the United States, the average male marries at 28 years old compared to about 21 years only 10 or 15 years ago. The result: it's taking longer for young people to obtain a college degree; they're opting out of making a commitment to a career switching jobs up to a dozen times on average and moving back at home. They are not abstaining from sex either. They typically have several sexual encounters. They are refusing to allow the shock of adult responsibility to hit them.
Crosswalk.com - The Generation That Won't Grow Up: "Social scientists debate the significance of this new phenomenon. Some see this trend towards delayed adulthood as a good thing. Advocates for the trend suggest that these young Americans are simply enjoying the benefits won by advocates of social liberation. Furthermore, they have grown up in a culture of affluence that has afforded them unprecedented options, creature comforts, and security. They simply do not want to enter the more insecure world of adult responsibility.

Jeffrey Arnett, who sees what he calls 'emerging adulthood' as a positive trend, teaches developmental psychology at the University of Maryland. These unsettled young Americans are simply taking their time to focus on adult responsibility. 'This is the one time of their lives when they're not responsible for anyone else or to anyone else,' he argues. 'So they have this wonderful freedom to really focus on their own lives and work on becoming the kind of person they want to be.'

In other words, Arnett sees delayed adulthood as a new social phenomenon that allows self-centered Americans even more time to focus on themselves while 'not responsible for anyone else or to anyone else.' Of course, what Arnett celebrates, others see as the very heart of the problem."
This trend is not merely a result of the choices of young people in the emerging generation. It's also the result of parenting practices which emerged out of the false teaching of Dr. Spock. This trend will only change with a revival of parenthood. It can only lead if it continues to the downfall of American society.