Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How old is too old?

Out of Ur asks if 26 is the new 18, based on the new health care law. Apparently so, if we go by the statistics. But, is that a good thing? Here's what he says, in part:

“The continuing relationship between parents and young adult children is a really momentous change in the operational meaning of being a parent in the early 21st century,” Brookings senior fellow William Galston told The Washington Post. “No one resists or resents it. Young people expect it.”

They expect it because their parents won’t let them fail. Some employers report phone calls from parents demanding to know why their son or daughter did not get a job. It’s understandable that parents would want to ensure a secure standard of living for their children. But that’s just the problem. Parents may actually train their children to immediately expect the same standard of living they achieved after decades of work. No wonder their children don’t think they can get married until 30 and have secured a suitable paycheck, good health benefits, and a nice home of their own.

<idle musing>
"Train up a child" goes both ways, unfortunately. Training your children to expect life to be easy and have everything handed to them on a platter is sinful on the parents' part and encourages a cor curvatus in se—a heart curved in on itself—on the child's part.

Let the kid fail! Someday they are going to; everybody does! If you let them fail when they are younger, the damage is less and, hopefully, they will learn...

OK, go ahead and shred me for that :)
</idle musing>


Evan said...

While I agree with you entirely about all of the parental hand-holding these days, I think it's also worth considering that for young adults leaving the nest, prospects are in many ways much harsher today than they have been in the past. I have a decent job with good benefits, but I can't just go out and buy a house the way my parents did when they graduated from college. So, as much as parents need to let their kids learn the hard way, I think that a bit of this situation is explainable by an economic situation that is somewhat less hospitable than it has been at other times. This may not excuse the angry calls to would-be employers, but I think it helps to explain why more twenty-somethings are still living at home, for instance.

Anonymous said...

Letting kids fail (or fall) when they are young hurts, but when they fial or fall (as we all do) as adults it hurts more.

Ah, but when they succeed :)

In broad terms I agree with you, parents have to train children to be independent, but also not forget all the help family (most often parents) and society gave us when 20-somethings...

Unknown said...

James, amazingly, this is only a small change in the law. Up until the new law, the age at which children were forced off their parents' health-care was 25. It's only 1 year that's been added. And I agree with the comments that it's a double-edged deal: there are pros and cons.

jps said...


Didn't there used to be a clause about being a student, though? If I understand the new law, that clause is dropped.