Monday, January 04, 2010

They Grow up So Fast?

ChildhoodLast week a commentor made the common observation that "Kids go up too fast nowadays" which made me cringe a bit.

While I'd agree that yes, children have sexuality thrown at them from every direction to the point that we see children having children (for the record, a bad thing) I'd also disagree and say that in fact nowadays children don't grow up fast enough--don't grow up at all in some cases.

With the invention of public education and the shift from farms to cities the 20th century presented a unique phenomenon: adolescence. It used to be that children were children then suddenly they were adults. You were bar or batmizvahed into adulthood either through religious ceremony, an apprenticeship or simply the expectation that you were now to provide for yourself as a man (or marry if you were a woman) but now we have this creature roaming amongst us called The Teenager, with a full-blown stage of growth dedicated to its preservation and contentment.

But it hasn't stopped there, you can see the creep that's occurring as we create new stages of human growth from preteens (or tweens) to catchy phrases like "Gen Y" or "Twenty-somethings." I can just picture my great-grandfather's face if he heard me referring to a 21 year-old male as anything but a . . . man.

You see the results of this shift in thinking everywhere. First we made age limits for drinking alcohol, then age limits for driving cars followed by age limits on getting jobs (even for something as simple as babysitting) followed by age requirements on car seats. If I didn't know better I'd say we're trying to make it illegal to grow up.

Over Christmas we watched the HBO docu-drama John Adams and dropped our jaws as the future president, John Quincey Adams, was apprenticed by his parents at age 14 to travel Europe as a private secretary. But by age 14 my own grandfather had left home and joined the military and by age 18 both my grandfathers were fighting the war in Europe--one already married to his 16 year-old sweetheart (they're still happily married today). Shocking, simply shocking.

Contrast that with the middle class Harry Potter/Twilight-loving, video game-playing, chauffeured child we have on our couches today. The one whose life is still managed by personal secretaries, coaches and pop culture, who sees no reason to get a job--even if the law allowed it--because he has an allowance and all his needs provided for. Many parents I know believe that teens shouldn't get jobs at all. Why? "Because teenagers only have this time once and they need to enjoy it."

What?

Or if you wanted to be less anecdotal you could look at the numbers: consider the average age for marriage today compared to the rest of history--even for first marriages, which are starting to be viewed as a trial run (because we're not grown up enough to get it right the first time apparently). Look at the average age for having children, the average age for getting a driver's license, the average age for graduating from college (a four-year degree now takes a whopping six years to achieve), the number of adults living with parents in their 20's, the number of adults living with parents in their 30's, or the popularity of television shows and movies eulogizing childhood and youth, begging us to be "children at heart" (whatever that means?) and portraying adults as eternal adolescents, hanging out together and shunning the responsibilities that human beings used to have--until the 20th century and prosperity allowed them to forget them and just relax.

I guess some would ask "So what's the big deal? So what if people can be younger longer, isn't that a good thing?" To which I'd say. "Um . . . no."

What has all this extended childhood accomplished? What good has it done? It's only taught our children that the world revolves around them and that the rest of us are here for their pleasure. It's taught them that high school is the most important time of their lives (a terrifying thought) and to obsess about how they look and dress during this "critical" period to the point we have anorexia, bulimia, school shootings and all sorts of newly-invented teen traumas. It's allowed us to dumb things down and lower our expectations so that our children can get by with doing less while we hover and manipulate and obsess over their lives. It's caused us to worship youth and focus our attention and financial resources (i.e. spending your retirement savings on your children's education) on our children rather than teaching them to be responsible, to think of their elders or to respect age and wisdom as wiser cultures have done.

The Century of the Teenager only raised a generation of self-absorbed, pseudo-adults living at home, unmarried, dodging significant relationships in between their random couplings, playing video games into the morning hours and acting in all ways like twelve-year olds, craving entertainment and pleasure. They didn't label it the "Me Generation" for nothing and the situation is only sliding one direction on that slippery slope, folks.

So the question is: As a mother living in a world that glorifies eternal childhood and youth what can I do about it? Should I do anything about it? To be honest, there isn't much I can do--except within the walls of my own home. I can expect my children to pull their weight with the household chores, I can stop thinking of them as "children" and more as "adults in training." I can allow them privileges and responsibilities designed to help them become adults as soon as possible, I can speak with them about my expectations and reasons for why I do things, I can talk to them less as children and more as adults. I can teach them how to date, how to get a job, how to drive a car, how to shop at the store, how to balance a checkbook and manage their finances--and I can do this before they're 18 and expected to leave home. Or not leaving home, as the case may sadly be.

I suppose it comes down to this: Are we going to treat children as accessories to our vanity, cooing over them for twenty or thirty years in an effort to keep them dependent so we can vicariously relive our youths or are we going to treat them as individuals to whom we gave the gift of life accompanied by a responsibility to better the world? Because if we keep our offspring as children forever not only does it cripple them but we'll miss out on the chance of having an even fuller and deeper relationship with them--as adults.

***

Newt Gingrich (and I find myself chuckling that I'd actually reference him) had an article in Businessweek a year ago which I only now read after writing my own opinion on the matter titled Let's End Adolescence. You might find it interesting as well. Or irritating, depending on how you feel about what I've just said--but he's got more facts and figures than I do to back up what we both seem to say.

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64 comments:

rosiescribble said...

I would love to show this line to my own mother: "Because if we keep our offspring as children forever not only does it cripple them but we'll miss out on the chance of having an even fuller and deeper relationship with them--as adults."

I will not be making the same mistake with my daughter. Coincidently, I was anorexic for 20 years. What a shame I was not allowed to grow up and exert my independance in more constructive ways.

A brilliant piece of writing.

thediaperdiaries said...

Amen, amen, amen!! Could not agree more. Thanks for boldly saying it.

Chris said...

I agree with you somewhat but remember people often did live long enough to outgrow childhood 100 yrs ago.

I wouldn't want my daughter to marry at 16. What a dumb muffin I was at 16! If I married the guy I was with at 16 my life would be a disaster. There is something to be said for wisdom. If I had been wiser at 16, okay but no I was waaaay too stupid. And scientifically speaking that's part of normal development. The brain needs to catch up to the body.

I'm all for teaching kids to be independent though. I want my girl to stand on her own 2 feet.

Laurie said...

Bravo! Consider the article I read this weekend: The Kindergarchy: Every Child a Dauphin available online in the Weekly Standard. One thing I noted this weekend in church in a poor mt comnunity here in Central America : Older children acted sensibly during church, often taking good care of younger siblings, as this weekend was a special service where children stayed during the sermon rather than going out for their children's service. It was very orderly, and kids for the most part didn't expect or need to be entertained. While I deplore the need for many younger adolescents to make a living in a third world setting, I see no reason why these children should not be expected to be part of the workings of a household. My 26 year old niece is a child in many ways in the US. And she is married. However my grandfather was plowing as best he could at age seven. A balance perhaps?

Jo@Mylestones said...

Hear hear! You articulated so well a line of thinking I've been swirling around lately.
My 5 yo complained yesterday that he was having a "boring day." That set me off on a diatribe about Almonzo the Farmer Boy working before the sun came up and sometimes all day long doing chores, and "you have so many privileges...you don't know how good you have it...yadda yadda."
I struggle with how to raise hard-working, others-centered, character-driven kids in this self-absorbed, lazy culture. It's hard to fight the flow. But it's so refreshing to read your take on this!

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

Amen!

Kathy G said...

Health insurance reform is an important issue right now. There's a lot of things in the current bills I agree with; however, I don't think it's all good. Right now the Senate version would allow children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents' plan.

Talk about perpetual adolescence!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Amen, Michelle! I love this so much! Even though we give our kids an allowance (to purchase their own clothes and their "entertainment" expenses) we still expect them to get jobs and WORK. I've seen them grow in independence and self-confidence so much through this.

Personally, I think sports really gets in the way sometimes. Unless you have a kid who's going to play professional sports someday, why push them to continue, especially if they don't want to play anymore (something we had to come to grips with) or if they need to work to help out the family?

I loved your phrase "accessories of our own vanity"--boy, do I see that often, espcially when it comes to choosing a college. I had a friend tell me the other day "I have one more school that I need to look at." Huh?! She's been to college already. Her daughter is the one who needs to check out the schools, but my friend is pushing her to look at the "right" schools. Ugh.

Thanks for your insights.

everydayMOM said...

So true! I love this post!

I grew up in a small town and got my first part time job the day I turned 16. Before that, we had paper routes and babysitting jobs or mowed lawns.

Now we are raising our children in the suburbs, and it seems so much harder to instill those same values when the kids around us are given so much by their parents.

This is a good reminder of what we don't want our kids to become.

Jeana said...

Excellent post. Have you heard of The Rebelution website? http://www.therebelution.com/dohardthings/
They do conferences, have written a book and keep a blog, encouraging teens to "Do Hard Things". I highly recommend all three for teenagers.

Shannon said...

Well spoken!

Lynn said...

Oh, geez, isn't that the truth? It's like kids are growing up faster physically and growing up sluggishly mentally/emotionally.

A good example of the paradox can be found at textsfromlastnight.com. Any of the entries show it.

The Dunns said...

"Raising A Modern Day Knight" by Lewis is a great book that addresses the importance of rights of passage in parenting and raising boys to become men.

I agree with your thoughts. My boys are still young but I know I need to start teaching them responsibility, respect, and leadership now to prepare them for their future.

Melissa said...

I hadn't thought of it quite that way before, but I agree with what you said. Thanks for the food for thought!

chelle said...

I am still at the endless childhood stage with my kids, and I see your point. I would not want them to be as dependent as they are now on me forever. I am not sure what the balance can be given the current climate, but I am always encouraging my children to be independent and take responsibility.

Godlonton Family Adventures said...

Well said. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as it ticks me off everyday to hear of teens and kids 'getting away' with things because they are 'kids'. Oops they made a mistake, they are too young to deal with the consequences, so we'll slap them on the wrist and send them on their way and hope the learn from their mistake! What?!
I hope I can teach my kids to be independent and self sufficient and teach them that the world owes them NOTHING! You work hard for what you get. I hope everyday I can do this for them.
Thankyou for the article, it was great!!

Linds said...

Absolutely BRILLIANT, Michelle!

Mirien said...

I agree! I'm reading "Free Range Kids" by Lenore Skenazy and she says many of the same things. She explores why we are so overprotective and hovering in our culture. I'm loving this book--it validates the opinions I have on many things, but I tried to talk to a group of other women about it and they all jumped in, "I could never let my kids have that much freedom--it's too dangerous!" Yep. Too many of us buy into that.

Chris said...

Great post, and a great comments as well.....the key is acting with responsibility, not acting or looking older!! That is true maturity....

Carinne said...

I agree completely - with one exception. I do agree with letting kids be kids and "stay children" when they ARE children. That's one thing about life 100 years ago. They also kept children innocent longer - and that's more of what I really mean. Children stayed very innocent for years while they were little and then in the course of just a couple years, they were expected to be little adults. Children shouldn't be expected to grow up when they are children. There is a difference between growing up and innocence. However, I can't stand the term "preteen". That's when they should be behaving more grown up.

Sarah Jewel said...

Michelle - THANK YOU for saying what I've been saying for SO LONG, but way better than I could have. :)
Your article is a MUST READ for every parent, or future-parent. I posted it to my facebook so everyone I know can read it (doubtful, but I can HOPE, right?). :)

Anonymous said...

Bingo! Well said.

Nicky said...

LOVE IT! I agree! Our society is so guilty of overparenting!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Fantastic observations here! It's weird because much of mainstream parenting advice for babies is all about promoting independence long before it's developmentally appropriate, but then there is this massive shift to exactly what you touch on here where teens are concerned.

I've long hoped that the way we raise our children will be under the umbrella of "adults in training" - I want to turn them loose from this nest with most of the life skills they will need for life on their own. Cooking, cleaning, money management, meal planning, grocery shopping . . . All of those can and should be learned (and learned well!) at home before high school graduation.

Really great thoughts here, Michelle!

Carrie said...

This is so true - I babysat at age 12, and now I look at the 16 year olds around me, and there are few of them I'd leave my kids with!!! But the entitlement starts at home - if we don't teach a good work ethic & thankfulness for God's provisions, our kids certainly won't learn it anywhere else!

Patricia L said...

Funny, I had a similar conversation with a good friend of mine recently. She's anti-children as in she doesn't ever want to have any of her own (she tolerates, possibly even likes, mine). She asked why in the world my husband I decided to have baby #4-- due in May (insinuating that we are certifiably insane). I told her that, as my oldest has gotten older, I've realized that we don't really have "children" for very long because they grow to be adults pretty quickly. She looked at me like I had a third eye.

Trixie said...

Excellent post! I have very strong feelings on this topic and could stay on my soapbox for a LONG time.

Two weeks after I turned 16 I was living on my own as an adult and have never once received any help from my parents -- save widsom, which is worth more than money. I was able to do this successfully because of how my parents raised me for the first 13 years of my life. I grew up in a very "underprivilaged" home where friends and neighbors thought we were too sheltered and had to work too hard. So... a 16 year old that does nothing but text and play video games isn't sheltered?!


Years later it almost seems weird to me now -- basing your whole adult life on what you learned from age 1-13. But apparently it can be done and done well. Most of history supports this. Try researching the teenage accomplishments of our founding fathers!

I recently wrote a whole series about my Old Fashioned Life. You can take a peek here:

http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/search/label/Old%20Fashioned%20Life

Trixie

Anonymous said...

Great Post: My mom just shared with me (she's 79) that when she was a teeanager, she was expected to work and then contribute her wages to the family. I was expected to get a job at 16, my mom took me around to different places of business until I got a job. I hope I have given my children some sense of work ethic and the ability to be grown up and make their own decisions.

Janel M said...

Amen.

Alice Wills Gold said...

I always love when you blog your opinion..mine usually is in synch.

totally agree.

I want them to go straight from 10 to 18 though. Let me know if you figure out how to fast forward.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

My mom also parented her three boys like they never would leave the house. and shockingly enough two out of three didn't for the first 6-7 years of their adulthood. Thanks for writing down the words I have been longing to say.

BONNIE K said...

A wonderful, wonderful post. My 21 year old daughter just went back to college after spending her winter break here vegetating and I can't tell you how many times I have wondered to myself where did I go wrong? I did too much for her. She has no motivation. It drives me nuts.

mamabearscubhouse said...

typing is difficult because i can't decide whether to hit the keys or continue clapping! brave, in your face post!

i am doing my best to lead by example... NOT give my kids everything on the planet that they want and to teach them to seek answers for themselves..hopefully a natural desire to learn and be self-suficiant..and if i'm lucky, spell better than me, too. lol. anyways.

afterall, endless childhoods are meant for hubbies, not grown women. k, completely kidding. i think. :)

melinda

CountryMidwife said...

I have the privilege to have as my clients, neighbors and friends many Old Order Amish and Mennonite families. And here I get to see the difference. The adolescent girls, for example, can clean a house, help milk 50 cows, make two meals for 10, care for a toddler and a baby, and sew a dress -- by noontime! The confidence, and competence, that results from the young people 'raising to expectation' is really remarkable. It sounds callous, but think of children like dogs: they seem fine and you may think they're happy loafing about, but they are REALLY happiest when working and contributing.

AlaneM said...

I compeletely agree Michelle. I'm ready to let my 7 year old start exploring our lil town on his own - my only fear is the train tracks - we have 35 to 40 trains a day going through & the tracks really freak me out.

The Source said...

I loved this! As the mother of a soon-to-be-twenty year old (next week) I couldn't agree more. Our son does live here in our home, but he's in college full time...paid for by scholarships that he earned. (No scholarship no college.) He works 20-30 hours a week after classes, volunteers with the local fire/rescue squad and pays for all of his expenses except the roof over his head. He has only whined about his circumstances once or twice...and then his dad pointed out that he was free to venture out and make his own way. He shut up pretty quickly.

In contrast, our nephew of the same age is sitting at home on his behind. Barely graduated high school, has never had a job and does not intend to go to college. My husband offered to help him get on with a local temp agency for full time work at a good wage...but he doesn't WANT to work 40 hours a week. Working full time is good enough for his mother, but evidently not for him.

Oh, but he DOES want to get a job at the local video game store.

Serena said...

Oh, yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES!

I would say more, but you've really covered it all.

MommyTime said...

I could not agree with this sentiment more. I do think, though, that teaching our children independence, self-reliance, and how to properly scrub a toilet as part of their obligations to being part of a family, is a little different from the married-with-children part of the equation.

At least where I teach, college students are taking 6 years to finish a 4-year degree because they are working full time while going to college and there are only so many hours in a day. Similarly, the raised expectations for education now make it much harder to marry as young if you have the sort of work ethic that says you should have a good job and reliable income before you start making babies. My grandfather, with just a high-school diploma, had a long and prestigious career as an engineer at Ford. Now it would require at the very least a BS and probably an advanced degree to get the sort of engineering design job he had in the 1940s-70s. And if you have to get an advanced degree while working 40 hours per week to pay your own way, well, it just makes sense that you might marry later.

I'm not disagreeing AT ALL with your sense that as a culture we coddle our children too much. But I do think that the notion that average ages for getting married, etc., have gotten older needs to be put into a larger context and not taken as a straightforward proof that teenagers just want to prolong youth. I see far too many struggling students working swing shift at local factories to make ends meet to buy that part wholesale.

The Source said...

I forgot to mention my cousin! His parents send him a monthly check to pay for his rent, utilities and extras...he can't work much yet since he's still finishing up college. He's changed majors a few times and just stuggles so in his attempts to figure out what it is he really wants to be in life. Other than a full time parasite, I mean. He's 35 years old.

Yep, and been in college non-stop since he finished up high school back in 1992! Could have earned a few doctorates in 17 years.

Stephanie said...

I so love your parenting post. You put so eloquently in words the things I feel strongly about in parenting. Excellent post Michelle.

custom shirts said...

I like reading your article and your views are so special and appealing,wonderful!Maybe we should reduce children's physical growing and speed up children's mental growing,right?

article marketing said...

As you say ,I gree with that "children having children" is a bad phenomenon.Society and parents have the responsibility to change this phenomenon!

Amateur Steph said...

Hooray! Very nicely said. Adolescence is forming very discontent "adults."

Anonymous said...

This is a great essay. You should submit it to Newsweek's My Turn or the Huffington Post or something like that!

Shelly said...

LOVE this. You hit it right on the head.

Some Lucky Dog said...

This is one of the best posts I've read in a long time...or ever! Brilliant! Self-reliance is one of the tenants of conservatism (hence the Newt Gingrich article) as is fiscal responsibility and adherence to the constitution. Liberalism has taken over our public school system and, in my opinion, is one of the biggest causes of the ever increasing dependence and sense of entitlement of young people. Kudos to you for taking the tough road and raising your children to take care of themselves!

Nancy A. from Two Mountains said...

Amen. Very well written. I agree with you (and many other readers it seems) but like 'Chris', I wouldn't want my kids getting married at 16. My 22 year old is already a father and even though my husband and I were the same age when we had him, I wish he would have waited a few years. My 19 year old son is only thinking of going off to Afghanistan to serve in the fall of '10. I'm very worried but respect his decision. He has already changed since his training began; he no longer likes hanging out with his old buddies who are still students... (he says they're too 'young'). I'm afraid he'll come back an even more changed man.
My 22 year old son still has friends who can't keep a job, don't go to school (or just part-time) but many are still living with mom (or mom & dad) and play video games for most of the day... I don't know if it's because my eldest are boys but it seems young men are having a hard time growing up. Young women seem to be more ambitious than the 'boys' around here.

page2 said...

Thank you for another excellent post. I hope I am on the right track with rearing my children to be responsible, productive, contributing adults.

P.S. I would love to read your ideas about getting children to practice the piano (or do homework or chores or other things that aren't fun) if you ever decide to write such a post.

Heather said...

I agree in many ways, but think there is more of a happy medium. Don't get married and have babies at 16, but get married in your twenties and make it last. Treat it with the seriousness it deserves. I don't understand throwing a relationsip under the bus because you think someone else MIGHT be better.

Teens should have jobs and pay for their own clothes, etc. It's practice for when mom and dad aren't around to help them...

Sheri said...

Excellent post! While it breaks my heart on a daily basis to see kids (babies) inundated with sex everywhere, it also breaks my heart to see an entire generation allowed to be slugs, or worse. It doesn't end with the lack of responsibility or work, it is also the way many kids today are allowed to talk to (ie disrespect) their parents and other adults. They are coddled to the point that they actually believe their gift to the world is simply their presence, nothing more is required of them. Well, that is not true in my house, and I won't tolerate it from any kid who visits my house.

But I'm afraid we are in the minority. Not because so many people think it is the best way to raise kids. Parental lazines has become a national epidemic. Yes we are tired, yes we work hard and yes the work never ends. But too many parents are taking the easy way out, and we will all see the effects of it in the upcoming generations.

Judith said...

From Judith, at Flight Song:

Linds pointed me to your blog.

I Hope you'll pursue getting this post published so that parents in many parts of the world, especially America, can read it.

I could not agree more that we are not doing our children, nor their children any favors, by not teaching them to be self reliant. This would take much courage, considering the current norm.

When I say reliance, I mean more than food, clothing and shelter. for without decency, and something bigger than ourselves, the rest really won't matter.

I look forward to reading more of what you post.

Activities Coordinator said...

Thank you. I got grief from a friend just the other day for not giving my children allowance while expecting them to do chores.
"Slave labor," she called it.
"I feed them," I told her.
If they need extra money, they need to find a way to earn it that is above and beyond that which earns them three squares a day.

MommyK said...

Well, I agree with some of what you've said here, but not all. IMO, keeping your children innocent and letting them be kids isn't the same thing as spoiling them or not holding them responsible for their actions. I would like to keep my children innocent for as long as possible, but they are still expected to be contributing members to our family and society, and that won't change as they become teens and young adults.

I lived at home until I was 23, at which point I got married and moved out. I bought most of my own groceries, paid for my own car insurance, car payment and all personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc) and did most of the housework in lieu of rent. And because my parents allowed me to do that, I was able to put a nice dent in my student loans and my H and I started our marriage with very little debt.

I read last year that some Bible scholars think Mary was 13 years old when she gave birth to Jesus. And now, the idea of a pregnant 13 year old is a tragedy. Times have changed and kids have changed, and you can't always force maturity. I'm rather glad that my kids won't know TRUE hard work until they are considerably older. Almanzo Wilder spent half his childhood toiling in the fields and wondering if there would be enough food for over the winter.

jacjewelry said...

Bravo! While I don't have kids, I certainly share your views and feelings, as I have often made the same observations. I never got allowance. I got a job when I wanted spending money. I did household chores. I was expected to go to college and graduate in four years (and yes, I paid for it myself - both undergrad and grad - with a combination of scholarships and loans that I am paying off now. The best investment I ever made.). My junior year in college, my classmate got a brand new Nissan Altima from her mom for finishing the year with a B average. I was shocked (still am). The same year, my mom asked what my physical chemistry grade was. I said, A-. She asked why it wasn't an A. Both parents always pushed me to do better for as long as I can remember, and they didn't give me money to do it. I still have the drive they instilled in me when I was little.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I read this post yesterday, and was so overcome, I couldn't comment at the time.

Absolutely, positively brilliant. I couldn't agree with your premise more, Michelle. And you make your point eloquently.

Our culture is so bizarre sometimes. We push the little ones to grow up and get sexy. And then we tell them to stay there without taking any responsibilities for as long as possible. It goes with the idea that high school is the best season of your life. We (the Baby Boomers?) have made adolescence into a god. We are the worse for it.

Stephanie said...

Great points, Michelle. Thank you for this thought-provoking post. I agree with your sentiments.

Have you read "Too Small To Ignore" by Wess Stafford? It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. He touches a bit on this topic and I think you would enjoy hearing the author's take...

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Beth said...

Wow. Wow. What a great post. I think parents are really doing such a disservice to their kids by not letting (requiring?) them take on responsibility for their actions, make contributions to the family, learn what it's like to have a job and earn money, etc. Unless you plan on taking care of them for the rest of their lives, you're handicapping them by not letting them grow up.

Kara said...

I think I've sent every one of your parenting posts to my husband to read and file away for our future parenting (i.e. we don't even have kids right now but figure studying up can't hurt, right?). This one, like all the others, was very insightful and really made a great point. I only hope that one day we can parent in a way that would make you proud!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out that someone in their 30s who lives with their parents is not necessarily a lazy sponger. I do, and I work and contribute to the household. Nor is an unmarried person necessarily flitting from relationship to relationship with no comittment - they may genuinely not have found anyone at all (and we don't all need to marry anyway)

However, I do agree with the general gist of your comments. There's something wrong with our society!

Headless Mom said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you.

Why don't you tell us how you really feel?

(I happen to agree with you but couldn't help a little good-natured ribbing. Where's the font for that?)

Tammy said...

What a wonderful article! I have 3 boys ages 14, 11 and 11. How easy it is to let the current culture affect us. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is that we raise our children to be independent and to help teach them how to make good, wise, and Godly choices.

TheOneTrueSue said...

Wow Michelle. I just found this post via Kelly and - AMEN. Great post.

fibro_mom said...

As a mom dealing with a 24 year old who thinks I should do more for her and her children, I agree completely!!! I love all 5 of my children BUT I simply can not justify doing for them what they can and should do for themselves. If they feel I'm a bad mom because I won't handle those things for them, so be it. It'll hurt my feelings a bit but to give in would be depriving them of becoming responsible adults. I will help where I feel it is appropriate, like a ride to the doctor because one of the kids is ill, but I won't hunt down grandkids daddy to collect child support. On the other hand, kids do grow up too fast in that they are being exposed to things these days that would have been kept from youngsters in years gone by: sex, violence, etc. I don't recall myself growing up to images on tv of passionate kissing, and the worst violence I remember is the ineveitable shoot out in the western type tv shows (ie: Gun Smoke) where only the bad guy died. Ahhhhhh..... the good old days.....

Stephanie said...

I love this! Thank-you. I was both working and driving illegaly at 14(Gasp)! I also, had to fight to take a test for my GED, at the time you had to be 17 in my state, to test out of the system. I am now a debt-free, homeschooling mother of four (ages: 15yrs. to 5mos.) I expect respect from my children and resposibility! I am only 33, I watch many other mothers run themselves and thier budgets ragged giving in to every whim of thier children. I don't do anything like that and yet my children are shocked by the rudeness displayed by these other children! they are als shocked by thier lack of responsibilities!