I recently did a training session for the leadership team and staff of Special Olympics of Southern California. One third of the participants were Millennials. Their attentiveness to career development and life choices was personally encouraging. These 2 things are also at the core of the present day topic of Extended Adolescence. Just as the category of adolescence was inserted between youth and adulthood around the beginning of the 20th century, so also extended adolescence has today been inserted between adolescence and adulthood. All this has lead to the popular notion that “30 is the new 20.” But is this the case?
The answer is both yes and no. Let me explain.
YES. It’s true that leaving home happens later than it used to. Parents helping their 20-something children financially is commonplace. Parent-child relationships are more connected than past generations.
However, the question that arises is this:
- Does extended adolescence have any long-term negative effect on 20-somethings?
- Where is the line of harmless connection to home and parents and a mindset that becomes toxic?
- Is there an attitude that causes 20-somethings to get stuck?
- What is harmless, and what can become harmful?
- Is it possible that some important growth steps could be stalled, negatively impacting these emerging adults.
- Are there steps that Millennials in their second decade cannot afford to miss?
Even though there is nothing wrong with having a close connection to home, that does not erase the need to grow into adulthood. There is still the need to become productive, and take advantage of future opportunities. Thinking it will work out by starting in one’s thirties has created personal disappointment, often referred to as expectation hangover.Continue Reading