We need to adult kids

No kid­ding, lots do not get the skills they need to grow up

Central and North Burnett Times - - MIND - Mind you with Rowena Hardy

IHEARD a ra­dio in­ter­view the other day about ‘adult­ing’. Mer­riam-Web­ster de­fines it as “To be­have like an adult, to do the things that adults reg­u­larly have to do”.

And you may have seen t-shirts with “I don’t want to adult to­day”.

It seems to have be­come a so­cially ac­cept­able verb. Amer­i­can psy­chol­o­gist Rachel We­in­stein started recog­nis­ing that many young adults in their 20s lacked some ba­sic life skills and were re­ly­ing on the in­ter­net as their source of ad­vice.

Their be­lief that “ev­ery­one seems to know this ex­cept me and I feel stupid” is caus­ing them anx­i­ety, lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion, which is why she came up with the idea of The Adult­ing School in Port­land, Maine that she co-founded with Katie Brunelle.

It’s not a school as such, more a set of re­sources in the key ar­eas of DIY, work, money, com­mu­nity, re­la­tion­ships and well­ness.

I grew up in a time when there was no in­ter­net and no eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble or search­able on­line con­tent for any­thing apart from the trusty dic­tionary, en­cy­clo­pe­dia and other books.

I also had the com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence and wis­dom of both par­ents, which was great for some top­ics and sadly lack­ing for oth­ers.

In fact I learned a lot by watch­ing, ask­ing and be­ing given things to do and, de­pend­ing on your age, you may be able to re­late. Some­how I man­aged to find out or work it out with plenty of mis­takes along the way to learn from.

Given how quickly the world changes and the many dif­fer­ences be­tween now and 30–40 years ago in re­la­tion to what in­flu­ences us, ed­u­ca­tion and the chang­ing so­cial land­scape, I’m not sur­prised that many young peo­ple now feel they don’t have the ba­sic skills re­quired for daily life.

Our fam­i­lies and friends are not al­ways the best role mod­els and much of main­stream ed­u­ca­tion fo­cuses on core sub­jects and aca­demic abil­ity and less on life skills.

Life can be com­plex and chal­leng­ing for so many rea­sons and we all need to learn to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our­selves, make in­de­pen­dent de­ci­sions, es­tab­lish healthy re­la­tion­ships and man­age our fi­nances.

Clearly some­thing needs to change if some of our young peo­ple are strug­gling to cope with the ba­sics.

Maybe it’s about rein­tro­duc­ing th­ese skills into fam­ily rou­tines and in­tro­duc­ing some key prin­ci­ples back into ed­u­ca­tion to help build more con­fi­dence and re­silience.

I also had the com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence and wis­dom of both par­ents, which was great for some top­ics and sadly lack­ing for oth­ers.


◗ Some­times those in their early 20s find ‘adult­ing’ quite dif­fi­cult.

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