Or do we?
That is…do YOU? If you’re a millennial.
I heard a story on NPR today that said for the first time in 130 years, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY F-ING YEARS, more young adults live with their parents than with their partners, spouses, or significant others.
Blame the economy. Blame the stagnant wages. Blame blame blame. B.S.
I blame parents. Kind of.
I read a story in a publication this week about “when good parents get arrested.”
It centered on parents that actually let their kids be kids. Walk to the park by themselves. Walk to and from school by themselves. Perhaps sit in a locked car while a parent ran into a store for a minute to pick something up.
And parents that did those awful things had the cops called, had warrants for their arrest; had child services take their kids away. They had to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars in legal fees…to justify that they weren’t neglectful parents.
They had to hire lawyers…they learned of social workers who went to their kids’ school without their knowledge and pulled their kid out of class to interview them. How often were you allowed to walk to the playground by yourself? How many times were you out of your parents’ supervision from ages 5-10?
I’m being dramatic. Because I think it’s all crap.
The media…and social media, can do funny things to our society and culture. Kidnappings. Sexual abusers. Predators. Stranger danger. It is all awful. But it’s also an example (a growing number of examples, actually), where we cater to the exception rather than the rule.
In the article, a Ph.D. and director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire says that: Stranger kidnappings—the threat parents fear most—are much rarer than people think. They account for only one-hundredth of 1 percent of all missing children.
I’m not a math major, but my gut says that’s not why most kids go missing.
And yet, if someone sees an unaccompanied kid or kids in a neighborhood for more than 15 minutes, they feel as though it’s their civic duty to call the authorities.
Hey jackass. Why don’t you go over to the kids and ask them some questions:
Where are you going? Do your parents know where you are? Are you okay? Are you lost?
If their answers are: to the park, yes, yes, and no, that may (if you’re not a moron) give you the indication that they’re quite alright, thank you very little.
Which brings us back to this little phenomenon from NPR this afternoon. It’s very easy to blame the economy and stagnant wages for the fact that more young adults than ever are living with their parents well into their late 20’s and 30’s.
But my gut says that maybe, just maybe, it’s because their parents never really let them grow up and be independent in the first place. Never really let them be self-sufficient. I have no proof of that of course. For I am just a caveman…
And it’s easier to blame and give context to something quantifiable than something that’s more gut instinct.
I remember when I was a kid…7-8-9 years old. Running through the neighborhood. Playing ball. Riding bikes until dark. Karate-fighting neighborhood kids. We had a makeshift newspaper business to announce the week’s baseball games….all of which took place in other houses well into the afternoon/evening.
And I’ve heard stories of my uncle taking buses from Essex to downtown Baltimore when he was the same age to watch movies…hoping to get back by dark so he didn’t get the belt. Last I remember he was a pretty successful guy.
My stepdad was the same way. “The neighborhood boys” are spoken of fondly.
Now employers have waiting rooms for parents so that they can sit and wait for their kids to get finished with their interviews. Or worse yet…accompany them TO the interviews.
It isn’t the economy that’s keeping kids at home.
It’s tough to move out and be on your own when you don’t know how to be an adult.
Blame the parents? Maybe. Maybe if the kids didn’t have the world at their fingertips. If they couldn’t access information or other people at their fingertips.
Why do I have to move out when I can talk to all my friends, get all of my news, and socialize with anyone through my phone? I have a bed, get fed, and have most of my shit paid for at home!
Let’s just say…that they better be masters of their own domain.
They’re going to need the discipline at some point.