Are parents too involved in their adult children’s lives?

“Parents are very involved in the lives of their adult children, and that’s fine with them,” declared the front page of The New York Times on February 9th. “New polls show that today’s intensive parenting has benefits, not just risks, and most young adults seem happy with it, too.”

But it’s true? Maybe it depends on what you consider “intensive”.

The article discussed a recent Pew Research Center survey that included a fairly large group of young adults, people between the ages of 18 and 34, everyone from high school seniors to workers Googling “gum pain.” Separately, he interviewed parents of people that age.

One of Pew’s most important findings was that “parents are highly involved in the lives of their young adult children.” He judged this in part by the fact that 73% of parents say they text their kids “at least a couple of times a week.”

If this is super involved, then I’m super involved with my sister, my friends, and my political discussion WhatsApp group (even though it drives me crazy). But I wouldn’t say I do it intensively parent none of them. Texting is so quick and easy that texting family members “at least a couple times a week” seems much more normal than excessive.

Then there’s the fact that young adults “turn to their parents at least sometimes for advice about work, finances and even physical health.” Wouldn’t it be strange if they didn’t? Its a bit sad? And how are they? hypothetical find a good periodontist?

I’m on record as recommending that kids explore on their own without a communication device. That way, if they get lost or the bike chain falls off, they have to figure out what to do next. They can’t just call a parent. I really want them to develop problem-solving skills and independence. Childhood is the time to do this.

Then, when they become young adults, with a little luck (really a factor), they are resourceful and capable. But that’s not the same as having lots of resources or being capable of anything. So they come to us, not because we are helicopters, but because we are happy to help.

Not all young adult problems require bootstrapping.

Ah, but the survey also revealed that many parents help their adult children financially. They are more involved when kids are ages 18 to 24 and less involved as they get older. Is it intense? Intrusive? Well, young adults are attending college in record numbers and racking up record college debt. I’m actually not sure if college is the best route for everyone, but it’s still popular at the moment. Helping young people get to their financial footing doesn’t strike me as a destructive enabler. (Maybe because I did it myself.)

I know there are some who think that any care after a certain age is pampering. But I actually think it’s time to turn this around.

Give them independence as children. Let them play, explore, take some small risks without adults always supervising. They will see that you believe in them. This helps them believe in themselves. You are there for them without being overprotective. I realize there are a lot of blurry lines, but basically I’m talking about trust: you trust that your kids can handle some things. They trust you to be there for them when they can’t.

This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Or, as my husband said, “At some point, it’s not all about parent-child. It’s just family.”

This makes the title boring. But it’s true.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *