Friday, December 21, 2007

Difficulty Growing Up

Some things that have happened recently have made me very aware that the transition between childhood and adulthood is very difficult in this culture. Friends from several different environments, relatives, children of friends, children of colleagues, and so on. In all of them there are adult-aged children who are having huge problems with the transition.

Here are some examples:

  • The person who is paralysed by not knowing which direction to go in after (or before) university and sits at their parents' house depressed
  • The working adult child who lives with their parents and shows no sign of moving out, despite their parents wanting them to
  • The adult child who is consistently treated like a little child by their parents

In all of these the question seems to be one of responsibility and society's attitude to it. Children often do not want it because they don't know where to start and there are too many options. Parents sometimes want their children to take it without knowing how to equip them to take it. Or they expect the child to take responsibilities without the rights or the rights without that responsibilities.

So what to do about it?


Anonymous said...

What would you suggest doing about it?

John said...

When churches run a "parenting teenagers" course or something, whether for those inside the church or outside or both, stick in a session about that.

Remember to pray for people in those situations.

Anonymous said...

At least part of the problem is that while we're living ever longer, people's perception of risk is growing hugely. I've known someone who lived next to a main road and who (I imagine) hardly ever got let out alone to go and make their own mistakes. Then when they went to university, they couldn't cope at all and ended up on medication. As I type this, other cases spring to mind of people whose parents were afraid of 'stranger danger', cars, or else just afraid, and who produced adult offspring lacking self-confidence, initiative, self-worth, or a heady cocktail of those deficits, plus probably a fear of the unknown. As you say, the parents don't give them responsibility.

Then there's the acquaintance approaching 40 who's fathered a child, split with his girlfriend and still lives with his parents. He's quite a different case and I wouldn't blame the parents of what I ranted about above.

It all makes me quake at the thought of having children!

Anonymous said...

As for what I'd do about it: try to get the kids involved in some form of sport. This is going to be easier for some than others and will also depend on the child's natural ability, but it can benefit them in so many ways. Being fit is good for self-image, for starters. Mainly, sport can introduce kids to risk or at least perceived risk, in a (sometimes) controlled environment.

For me, I lacked coordination so ended up doing a lot of cycling. It gave me a chance to test my limits, to realise I could do more than I thought I could, to experience and deal with failure, to get used to risk and to be responsible for myself. Being within striking distance of the peak district did of course help with this, though!

*Perception of risk needn't involve risk. If you've ever done any indoor lead climbing you'll know what I mean. You're almost totally safe but the prospect of falling several feet before the rope tightens still requires you to conquer your fear, and is therefore very good for mollycoddled children.

John said...

Yes. One of the top things I wish I'd known when growing up is that

There often doesn't come a time when you are ready. You just have to get on and do it.