Have you interacted with college freshman lately? How about High school students? Why are there so many 25 year olds seemingly with out a plan or purpose? The answer is the extension of adolescence or latent adolescence.
Today's Junior High students act like elementary students, high school seems like junior high, and college seems like high school. Maybe most troubling is how many 22-26 year olds are totally unprepared to face the world.
Where is this coming from? I'm not psychology major but I have a few ideas.
1. The lack of a rite of passage. In cultures where there is a clear rite of passage from adolescence into adulthood there is no such problem. It's not just a ceremony (but walking on fire, or throwing knives, or spending a weekend in bear country might be good ones), it's as much that the child is now treated like an adult. The culture holds them to that standard, the family does, and the child knows they are now an adult. We don't have a set age for when you're an adult. Kids know this. They milk child hood as long as they can. With no deadline on your youth, you can be a lost boy forever. With a rite of passage it eliminates this maturation ambiguity. This may require you to look at your child as an adult instead of a child or young adult.
2. Helicopter parents. We have the most over involved generation of parents ever. That's why college freshman orientations are increasingly programmed to help parents get the idea that they're really not welcome. One school message board had a thread going before move in day along the lines of, "How long should I stay? 1 day? 2 days? 3 days? What if my child needs something?" "Well I'm going to his first classes, and I'll help him switch classes at the registrar office if he needs to get out of a class"
REALLY?!!! You're going to his classes? This is a generation of parents that have not allowed their children to make many decisions. They picked out the clothes, they picked out the teachers, they picked out the sports, they picked out the extra curriculur's and so on. These kids literally don't know how to make decisions or problem solve because mom and dad have always done so for them. It is almost always borne out of good intentions, a fear of the child being hurt. Some times the parents are living vicariously through the child. Regardless the child is not learning Independence.
A new trend is recent college graduates taking parents with them to their FIRST JOB INTERVIEWS! I mean seriously why are we wondering why kids aren't growing up.
When you don't allow kids to make decisions young, where the consequences are fairly minor, then they'll have to learn when they're older where the consequences are more severe. If Johnny doesn't want to put a coat on this winter, let him go outside for a while until he gets cold. He'll learn to put a coat on by himself. If Jenny doesn't want to eat supper, that's fine, but don't give her a snack. Going all night hungry won't hurt her, it'll teach her why we eat supper when we do. These seemingly every day small decisions are how we train our kids to make wise decisions. If we make bad decisions as adults there are consequences. If we rescue our kids from bad decisions or don't allow them to make decisions, then it'll be hard for them to transition to a world they've never experienced.
We see all these things happen at camp. We run a short week for 7-9 year olds who want to try camp out with out going a full week. More cell phones are smuggled in that week than in our junior high or high school weeks. Is it because these kids have so many friends to talk to? No, it's because parents want to be able to call at any time to "check in" on them. We have potential staff come to interviews and expect their parents to be able to sit in with them.
So here's what we're doing to help students transition from dependency on parents to being more in dependant, spiritually, financially, and take more responsibility.
It's called ASCENT. A 9 month program for recent high school graduates who aren't quite sure what the next step is for them. Your student will have a level of freedom and Independence different from at home, but yet still in a safe environment where they can learn about who God made them to be. They will be challenged to think and problem solve on their own, and to learn to work in teams.
This tuition based program will help build character, Godliness, self discipline, leadership and health relationship skills, personal finance and career readiness, as well as teach professional Christian camping skills.
Students will spend time in class, practicum, personal study, and in service both on and off campus. Tuition includes meals and housing. The time frame is October through April.
If you're interested or have questions give us a call 231-873-3662. Space is filling up for this fall.
Here is a link on the delay of adulthood.
Here is a link on how college freshman orientation policies have adapted to dismiss parents.