Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sally Koslow discusses "adultescents" and looks at why many in the current generation’s unwillingness—or inability—to leave home and become fully independent adults. In Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest, she includes the latest research, interviews frustrated parents and their frustrated offspring, and writes of her own experiences with her grown children.

Join the conversation! Share your experiences—as a parent or as an adult living at homeby leaving a comment or by calling us at 212-433-9692.


Sally Koslow

Comments [36]

ruth from brooklyn

some of the callers expressed a sense that ms. koslow and mr. lopate were being "harsh." unfortunately viewing the world as it is is not being harsh; it is being realistic. many young people today were raised by parents who believe it is a rule of nature that each succeeding american generation was entitled to a better life than the preceding one.

the children of the baby boomers are unlucky for two reasons. first all were born at a bad time in the history of our species. more than 7 billion humans on earth competing for a shrinking supply of resources does not make for a promising tomorrow. second, most of these youngsters were raised to believe that they are the center of the universe and that they are owed the earth and its resources just because they exist.

ms. koslow is a brave and intelligent woman.

Jun. 21 2012 09:37 AM
anna from new york

Clark from NJ,
As a citizen, I'd rather see you finding time to educate yourself rather than zombielike "working, working, working, never thinking." From my perspective you (and your parents) failed.

Jun. 20 2012 08:47 AM
anna from new york

"I was smart and lucky."
No, you were just lucky and stupid (in a grander sense). I can assure you that people much more intelligent, able to think and analyze (and not just function like zombie repeating slogans, cliches and platitudes) dont have now:
health care etc.
Who said it: "A moron is a moron is a moron?" Becuase the morons of yesterday were lucky and stupid and indecent and opportunistic, geniuses of today are doomed.

Jun. 20 2012 08:40 AM
anna from new yokr

"Pop-culture typically reflects reality in many ways - as the writers of these flicks are experiencing those realities."
Oh really, Tom? I would think that pop-culture sells fiction.

Jun. 19 2012 07:53 PM
tom LI

Anna from New york - re; the peter pan comment. Pop-culture typically reflects reality in many ways - as the writers of these flicks are experiencing those realities. Thats what they see going on around them with their friends. When was the last popular flick written by a 50+ yo writer? (Outside of an Eastwood flick)

Jun. 19 2012 06:40 PM
tom LI

This young adults leave now! trend is new to history. In a country fixated on The Family Unit, and societal good - that we demand the kids to bolt as soon as possible post-college is weird to say the least. And runs counter to the vast majority of the world.

Plus we wonder and in lament in many ways why so many alleged adults are so freak'd out by growing old, or caring for the elderly or simply respecting them and their place in society - when no one lives with aging adults anymore...! We're a Nation that creates misunderstandings (about many things) on purpose - because we think its the best way to do things...wheres the proof of the benefits that the children MUST leave at age 20-something...?

Jun. 19 2012 06:35 PM
anna from new york

Phil, a very good comment. But nobody talks about real problems: exploitation, outsourcing, insourcing, lack of health care, cost of living and education.
Read some really scary comments from some "truths" (Orwell, we need you now)

Jun. 19 2012 03:47 PM
anna from new york

Randall, a good question. You have a generation of people who have had empty and not quite decent lives who are afraid of being a second with themselves (their conscience - I would too).

Jun. 19 2012 03:20 PM
anna from ew york

"Just look at the popular movies about Peter Pan-like young men acting like idiots (and the women who coddle them)"
OMG. This is really moronic. And where's a connection between Hollywood movies and ... REALITY?

Jun. 19 2012 03:14 PM
anna from new york

"Here, the author is not criticizing living with parents, per se, but rather narcissism and entitlement. Don't they seem to abound today"?
This is soooo moronic. There is nothing wrong with living with parents. There is everything wrong with being a bad citizen. I don't need moronic, ignorant and ruthless co-citizens.

Jun. 19 2012 02:53 PM
John A.

Smartphone connections and Gaming online subscriptions and cable TV (or) 50 megabit home internet Plus the time out to maintain Tumblr And Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram And TheSims. Reboot necessary!
I spent a summer job in the No.Maine woods in a trailer. Now that was a reboot.

Jun. 19 2012 02:28 PM
anna from new york

I was right. Of course, she is a babbling "lady" babbling about babbling when there real human tragedies.

Jun. 19 2012 02:23 PM
anna from new york

Ah, I must add. The society (yes, there is such a concept) needs all sort of specialists. Babbling about getting the right degrees to get jobs without mentioning exploitation is irresponsible. Did the "lady" check how many hours highly educated (much more than bachelor's or master's) are forced to work. Did she spend a second doing a simple calculation, such as: two people work 60 hours a week, gee, there is a third job - for this Art History Ph.D.? A rhetorical question.

Jun. 19 2012 02:12 PM
clark from nj

My sister & I worked during college breaks. She worked in the "bacon room" at the local pork processor and I landscaped. My parents required us to pay for our room & board during these breaks. Granted, it wasn't much but we still needed to contribute to the household. When I finally moved out 9 months after college, I shared an apartment with 2 others in a rough part of Boston. I remember taking the last $5 out of the ATM the day before I got paid. I think I was making 17K the first year.
There's nothing like moving out. There are trials and tribulations but where would any of us be as a society if we didn't take charge of our lives, make mistakes and learn?
I worked a year before going to college and saved the first year's tuition. I also worked during the school year. I was able to leave a private 4 year college (approx 10K/year) with 9K in student debt. I was smart and lucky.

Jun. 19 2012 02:09 PM
anna from new york

OK, enough of it.
I think this "lady" should go to McDonald's and take Leonard with her.
Living with parents is shameful, but being a crook, thief and murderer isn't.
Did this lady and Leonard check what is the nature of the workplace, young people enter if and when they find a job?
They inherited the world the idiotic boomers created: phony, immoral and simply indecent. What are the contributions of boomers? Dismantling of New Deal (which benefited the bastards)? Where's universal health care, vacations, sick days, not to mention a trace of dignity in the workplace? Talking about young people enjoying life ... How about all these desperate who don't have jobs, don't have overfed, overprivileged and over, over, overprimitive parents (or any parents at all), but have huge student debts and a perspective of eternal slavery. Nice.
What are you babbling about?
There are actually some good comments coming from listeners, including the ones about multigenerational families and different cost of living.
Check the cost of housing, health care, education then and now.

Jun. 19 2012 02:05 PM
Amy from Manhattan

That last listener comment made me remember that I heard on a news program on WNYC in the last few days that the adult-children-living-w/parents phenomenon was helping to shrink the housing market.

Jun. 19 2012 02:00 PM
Henry from Manhattan

I notice that all people younger than myself have smartphones. I would have a smartphone too, if the monthly plans were a lot cheaper. What do these people need smartphones for anyway?

Thank goodness I was able to move out of my parent place and secure an apartment in my twneties. My first attempt to move in with a girlfriend ended with me moving back home to recoup. Then I got a Brooklyn studio all to myself, that was great, but yeah, money was tight. Then I got married young and moved in with my wife and I can credit her for our financial stability, not that she made a lot of money, but she’s just good with budgeting, etc.

But yeah, I remember a young coworker who asked for a raise because she was having trouble making ends meet on her own. Later, in casual discussion we found out she had full cable package!

Cable? Expensive smartphone plans? Sorry, those just bleed money.

Jun. 19 2012 01:59 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Here, the author is not criticizing living with parents, per se, but rather narcissism and entitlement. Don't they seem to abound today?

Jun. 19 2012 01:58 PM
Nadia from NYC

Young adults living at home are a symptom of the shrinking middle class. If you do not like it, blame the 1% and the government policies that favor the rich. The baby boom generation are the ones who had it "to easy," not us! Which is sad....

Jun. 19 2012 01:58 PM
John A. from Westchester

Some places just have better youth cultures than others. Silicon Valley seemed to reek of jobs at every moment. Long Island strikes me as particularly young. There will be other places. I wouldn't let a child think that here in Westchester is a good place to start out, unless there are preexisting connections for the job.

Jun. 19 2012 01:57 PM
Michelle from LIC

I'm a bit surprised by the anti-youth tone of this discussion. Young people's failure to conform to the nuclear family standard of two or three generations ago is not simply the product of "youth today" being soft, lazy ingrates. What about structural issues that produce economic inequality and limit access to quality jobs and housing opportunities--many of which are the unfortunate legacy bestowed on us young'uns by the excesses of the boomer generation?

Jun. 19 2012 01:56 PM
sam from brooklyn

At 34, I had to move back home not because of today's economics or student loans but because of today's child support laws and the amount which is taken from my salary. I could not afford living expenses, taxes, student ln, and the tremendous, unreasonable amount child support expected of me. Additonally, every two weeks I get my 2 year old child for the weekend which also poses a problem with myself and my parents. Please discuss this problem.

Jun. 19 2012 01:55 PM

Emily from Manhattan lived at home, rent-free, for five months, but finds it "ridiculous that...parents are contributing to their 20something children living at home." What, exactly, is the difference?

Jun. 19 2012 01:54 PM
k.b. from New York, NY

My dad was very strict! I did not dare to move back after I graduated college. I toughed it out, ate beans and rice all the time, and lived with many roommates in crazy situations. It really comes down to having the will and want to live independently. If you do not mind being comfortable, then you can make it. It is tough out there, I know personally, however, it comes down to how much you want to be independent. Make it hard for them to live in their childhood home, and they will find their way to independence.

Jun. 19 2012 01:53 PM

This author is full of stereotypes and mass generalizations. She found a few loser kids and families and thinks that this applicable to whole generations of 20somethings and families.

Jun. 19 2012 01:52 PM
Randall from Astoria

How much does the reticence of the Baby-Boom generation to retire influence the necessity of 20 somethings to move back in with their parents?

Jun. 19 2012 01:47 PM
gary from NJ

My fellow "boomer" generationals have had the fecal touch on every element
of life, and this phenom of spoiled nitwits is the perfect example. I NEVER would have wanted to share my parents' taste in music and movies until I was a geezer. Boomers: we are a FAILED GENERATION! PERIOD!!

Jun. 19 2012 01:47 PM

This is an American tradition of living alone. Other countries and cultures have the tradition of generational living. Where all the generations help each other in different ways. There's nothing wrong with that.

Jun. 19 2012 01:47 PM
Steve Capra from Manhattan

Your discussion is based on ethnocentricies. Adults living with their parents are in the natural flow of life. It's natural for them to remain in the texture each other's lives. It isn't natural to define personhood financially. Leaving one's parents alone is abandonment.

Jun. 19 2012 01:44 PM

...oh, did I mention health "In$urance"™ - after graduation you're off your folks policy.

Try to get health care on the unpaid internship salary.

Good luck.

Jun. 19 2012 01:44 PM
FranciL from NYC

Why can't these kids defer their student loans and move in with roommates and take menial jobs until they can make it? They just aren't used to working things out on their own, and instead of deferring their loans they are "deferring" growing into productive adults. (Just look at the popular movies about Peter Pan-like young men acting like idiots (and the women who coddle them).

Jun. 19 2012 01:42 PM
Phil from Williamsburg

Business is increasingly subsidized through parent supported free labor. All those unpaid interns you spoke of will just be replaced by the next crop of unpaid interns rather than offered jobs. Professionals in their 30s and 40s, like myself, have to compete with unpaid interns with longer and longer resumes. My building is filled with large groups of roommates who's parents pay their rent. As soon as a generation of parents runs out of money the current economy will cease to function.

Jun. 19 2012 01:41 PM

How can a college graduate start an independent life when they graduate with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans and a median 200 sq. ft shoebox apartment in an outer borough is $2000/month?!?!?

Especially when the only jobs available is an extension of the unpaid internship they had as a for-credit course while in school. In what world is it OK to require someone to work for FREE?!?!!?!?

Unless you enter the Banking Industry®, you're f*k'd!!!

Why is it sooo expensive???!?!?!?!

G_d Ble$$ Amerika®!!

Jun. 19 2012 01:40 PM
brian from midtown

I wish I had remained at home for the first few years after college, worked an entry-level job and put aside a little money to start off life - rather than setting out on my own immediately after undergrad and living off a bag of ramen every other day.

Jun. 19 2012 01:39 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I'm so sorry your guest has had to write a book about this phenomenon.

To all the Living-With-Your-Parents-Twenty-Somethings out there:

GROW THE HELL UP ALREADY!! Your parents did their job, now it's time for you to do yours. In fact, most of your parents already had you by the time they were your age.

You want permission to vote, to drink, you call yourselves adults and you can't live by yourselves? Time to wake up and smell the coffee. Out of the damn nest!

Jun. 19 2012 01:39 PM
Emily from Manhattan

I am 25 and I find it ridiculous that nearly 60% of parents are contributing to their 20something children living at home. I lived at home after finishing graduate school and managed to pay all my expenses--including my student loans and health insurance--and save some money, while making a typical entry-level salary.

I finally moved to Manhattan a few weeks ago after living at home for five months and it's wonderful, albeit I need to pinch pennies a little more. Just because you don't have to pay rent by living at home with your parents doesn't mean you should be deprived of gaining financial independence.

Jun. 19 2012 01:38 PM

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