Are you putting off “adulting”?

Are you putting off “adulting”?

Remember your first date? Your first paycheck? Your first car?

For many of today’s adults, these were rites of passage in their teen years. However, today, we are seeing more and more adolescents delaying adulthood and these firsts.

A recent study published in the journal Child Development examined surveys from 1976-2016 of U.S. adolescents ages 13-19. The study found a decline in teen participation in what could be considered “adult activities.” These included having sex, dating, drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without their parents and driving.

What’s behind this trend?

Sharon Klingman, licensed clinical professional counselor at Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill., offers her insight.

“I believe the trend towards less and less direct face-to-face communication with more reliance on texting, tweeting and other social media platforms has increased the overall level of anxiety children have about being out in the world,” she says.

“They have anxiety about situations where they can’t access their media, like driving, or when they have to talk to someone, like at a job or even when they have to order something in person at a store or restaurant. I believe this anxiety keeps them home more often and longer in general than in generations past.”

“I also see parents lowering their expectation that their children will strike out independently after high school or college. There is more social acceptance to having adult children living at home so the children feel less urgency about making their way to independence. Instead of jumping from school into a car, a job and an apartment, they may take things one step at a time, finding their independence in increments with a safety net underneath them.”

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  1. Haven’t young adults been living with parents for centuries, though? And still do in mangy foreign countries amd cultures. Only after WWII was a push for the younger generation to buy single family homes.

  2. Or maybe it’s just because there *are* no jobs?

  3. I will take issue here. Since when is sex, drinking alcohol and dating considered adult activities that create independence? All three relate to addiction and are often seen as teeny bopper activities in the eyes of responsible parents with too many friends who nurture overgrown adolescence by refusing to put that crap aside once responsibility of parenthood demands it. If anything, there are too many overgrown teeny boppers in their 60s who still define adulthood as needing to go out each Saturday night and they are the ones addicted to the internet and cell phones. My son is autistic and holds two jobs and finds work an art form and a pleasure, not just ” a bunch of crap to put up with” in order to get some paycheck. He has not been on the internet in 3 years nor does he own an iPhone nor wants one. He gets along fine with family members and likes work out puzzles and read and I don’t see anything childish about that.

  4. Having children and RAISING children are not synonymous. The former requires little effort. The latter full commitment. The home should be a TRAINING CENTER, involving both parents. Unfortunately, many modern homes suffer from a lack of unification and stability. Children are often left to there own devices, without moral guidance. Thus, many are MEDIA TRAINED.
    Much of “media” is bereft of good, sound, moral guidance.

    Example: Teach a youth the fundamentals of the mechanics and responsibility of owning a vehicle before they get a legal permit and license. The same for sex. RESPONSIBLE sex falls within the framework of marriage. Proper marriage requires a license. Good parental direction and training can help youths become successful adults.

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About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.