Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

July 10, 2012

RANDOM THOUGHTS: When does a child become an adult?

CROSSVILLE — Often conversations begin with “How are you?” Today the question is more likely, “How do you feel about the health care bill?” In these very early days opinions are pretty evenly split between like and don’t like.

One of the things people like is keeping children or young adults under 26 on the parents’ health insurance, but my question is why that seems so important. I understand that parents generally call their offspring children no matter the age, but in the real world when does a child become a responsible adult?

The dictionary defines a child as a person between birth and puberty; a youth the time of life between childhood and maturity and an adult when they are fully grown and are of the legal age.

For any who reached the age of 26 in the generation of the 1940s, as I did, dependence on parents stopped much earlier. We had been reared as children to assume adult responsibilities. Once we reached voting age parents were supportive and gave advice when asked but otherwise we were adults. In most of the world that is still the model.

Recent studies of child rearing in 21st century America found that parents are using new rules. Instead of children helping their families at home it is the adult family members helping the youngster. This turn-around has become so widespread the studies concluded that today’s American kids represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world! Just plain spoiled rotten, but why? 

Actually it was parents asking experts in family relations why they had lost control of their children that led to the studies. One reason pointed to the amount of stuff the child owned. Parents bought all that stuff just because the child wanted it. Soon that little one assumed they had the power and whatever they wanted was theirs for the asking.

Today books on what parents are doing wrong are flooding the market. Titles such as “The Price of Privilege,” “A Nation of Wimps” and one written by the mother of a college graduate “Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest.”

Author Sally Koslow’s son spent two years following his four years of college on his own and then moved back home with 34 boxes of LPs. Unemployed he stayed out late and slept till noon. The perfect example of a young adult which she described as “stuck in permanent ‘adultescence’.” She coined that new word and blames the poor economy as one reason but admits that as a parent during the son’s early years she led him to believe he was entitled to anything he wanted. 

Many have blamed “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care,” published in 1946, by pediatrician Benjamin Spock as the beginning of the change in parent’s ideas of child-rearing. For 52 years the book was the second best seller of all time next to the Bible.

Spock advised parents to be more flexible and affectionate and treat youngsters as individuals. By the 1970s critics said it was because of that permissive advice parents were seeking help on how to change their child’s expectation of instant gratification. Until his death in 1998 Spock denied that charge. He said, “The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.”

Back to the law allowing young adults up to 26 to remain on their parent’s health insurance I wonder who really likes it, the parent or the child?

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice