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Kate Hawkesby: So now you're not an adult until you turn 26?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 16 September 2019, 10:45AM
Do we really need kids hanging round home until they're 26? (Photo / 123RF)

I see the British media are reporting a recent survey which claims you're not an adult until you're... 26-years-old.

It used to be 18 was considered adult, then it was 21- but now, 26!?

I know I didn't feel like an adult until I was in my late 30s (in fact some days I still don't feel like one). Adulting is hard, no wonder kids are putting it off.

So what constitutes being an adult?

According to this survey, there are 50 signs of independence: these include being financially independent and able to budget, booking your own appointments, even doing your own laundry.

It used to be that from about age 12 you were taught to cook the family meal. So what's changed?

Are we doing too much for our kids these days?

Are we making home too good and too easy for them to ever want to leave?

When was the last time you saw an 18-year-old leave home? And I don't mean to head off to uni and bounce back every holidays, I mean actually up sticks and start a new life?

And if they do, how soon before they boomerang back? I speak from experience here. The excitement of the oldest leaving the nest to go flatting - only to have them boomerang right back home a few months later. Just as you had got used to that extra space and stopped grieving their absence, boom, they're back.

Kids are spending more years studying or experimenting, they're taking longer to grow up and flee the nest, according to this study.

In fact of the 2000 people surveyed more than half blamed the economy and spending longer in education. It's too expensive to leave home, too tough to live on a part-time job while studying.

But they also pinpointed a 'lack of effort': less real world experience. Seven in 10 surveyed felt that life skills should be taught from an earlier age.

So is staying home longer and investing more time in education a good or a bad thing?
Should kids just be getting out into the world and getting on with it? With parents living and working longer these days do we really need kids hanging round home draining the resources and the wi-fi until they're 26?

Seventy-five per cent of adults in this survey think parents should play the biggest role in teaching a young person everything they need to know for adulthood.

So maybe our job as parents is to teach these skills earlier and faster, teach them to budget and to save, so that they can reach independence quicker - and naff off before they turn 26.

 

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