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Question: Do you feel it is societal changes or over functioning Bio parents

captjacksprrw's picture

I'm just taking a pulse check and wonder how many others ponder this.  I've read so many articles about the new norm being children living at home until 25 or more (I have one .. SS28 with both some bad and excellent experiences).  Do you feel this is just a shift in society as a whole or do you feel the root cause is over funtioning biological parents.  Please post your thoughts.  Here is my kick off:

  • Do you find that your spouse as a biological parent seems afraid of some separation or judgement if they set a goal age for the adult to get out on their own
  • Is it wrong for us Steps to feel that these adults are Not functional members of society and this is not okay and not normal
  • Have any steps had success in pushing that full grown bird to fly without causing WW3
  • Any thoughts on why so many bios over function and will not woman/man up and establish that you are the parents and adults, they no matter how old are the children and this is reality

tankh21's picture

I find that this is such a kid-centric world now and some bios tend to coddle and do have guilty parent issues with their kids which really doesn't do them any favors. Some Structure and boundaries should be taught to kids that way they can become successful adults in society. There are effective ways to teach kids structure and boundaries without causing emotional or mental issues. The way I was raised was by having fear instilled in me however, I really don't think that is an effective way to teach the kids that are growing up in this society today. I will say that kids need to be taught to be respectful to adults whether it be a parent, a teacher etc. I truly feel that the root of this kid-centric world is because of over functioning bios.

susanm's picture

Over functionng bios.  It is people who create society, after all.  And the root of the "kids need to stay at home until they damned well please" seems to be a group of people who were butt hurt that their own mommy went back to work and they got labled the "latch-key generation" and had actual responsibilities.  (The horror!  Study a bit of history.  The only time there ever was a "carefree teenager" was after WW2 when our economy was booming because Europe was in rubble. Before then, kids worked and were lucky if they went to school up to 8th grade.)   Apparently they decided when they were 12 or 13 that when THEY had children they were never going to deny them anything and that adolescent fantasy stuck for waaaaay too many people.  So essentially we have a bunch of mental children parenting.  Wonderful......

beebeel's picture

A lot of the increase in adult kids staying home longer can be attributed to the high costs of college these days. 

CLove's picture

Everything costs  a ton. No one saves. Credit card debt as well as college debt.

STaround's picture

College has gotten more expensive.  Rents have gone up more than wages.  I have seen studies that show that adults kids in intact families are more likely to live at home after college than COD. 

captjacksprrw's picture

Thanks all.  I had not included that in my thinking.  In my case SS28 is employed full time and probably carring average to low debt.  We did have to scramble to make up the last 5K to get him through.  Of course, he has a degree in Computer Engineering but is working for Walmart in an entry management role

nengooseus's picture

But I have strong opinions on this.  I feel like it's a combination of both societal changes and overparenting.  In fact, I think that overparenting has become normalized within western society, and I'm not OK with it.  People are having *baybies* instead of having children who will one day be adults, shifting the parent-child interaction.

My skids don't understand (or have) basic values like respect for others or the importance of being honest.  They are learning from their dysfunctional BM that if you don't get what you want, you just lie about it until it happens because you're the only person in the world that matters.  There's no humility and a HUGE sense of entitlement that goes along with children who have no real problems because their parent has mowed it down for them.  Ironically, they like to create their own ridiculous problems so that they can blame the world for them.

There are other factors, too, I think.  The relatively high cost of housing, the changing labor market, and the incessant push toward college are amongst them.  The fact is that close to 70% of kids who graduated high school in 2016 went to some kind of college, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That's insane.  I wish we would start recognizing the importance of the trades in our society, which I think would help our very strange labor market.  These factors all contribute to kids who can't launch.  So not only are they not being taught self-sufficiency, but even if they have those skills, they literally can't afford to leave home.

As I mentioned, my kid and skids are all <18.  DH and I have discussed since the children were small that the skids will not live in our home after HS graduation.  SD is perfectly average and enjoys the social aspect of school, not the learning aspect.  SS is slightly below average and has no interest in school.  They are both great candidates for the military, especially since both of their parents have served.  It would give them direction and job skills (if BM doesn't sabotage both of them by pursuing unnecessary medical diagnoses).  Bio DD will be going to college.  She is high potential and has a great interest in advanced education, much to her bio dad's chagrin.  He thinks college is a waste of time.  She treats (or is learning to treat) school as her job, and as long as she keeps that up, DH and I will support her.  Somewhat ironically, she is the one best prepared and most ready to leave the nest, even if she can't for a few more years.  

How do you not have WWIII when you talk about this stuff?  You talk early and often.  You manage the expectations of the DH and the kids.  You work on teaching the values and learning the life skills.  And when all else fails, you move into a 1 bedroom condo!

thinkthrice's picture

that EVERYONE needs to go to college with its runaway costs that no one seems to blame the college administration for nor suggest the "professors" take a pay cut is a big problem.   Result is that college "education" has been dumbed down and cheapened while, at the same time, has become outrageously expensive.  At least big corporations, villafied by all, produce worthwhile and useable products.

Bring back vocational schools!  Universities are now nothing more than mills to keep the youth voting for career politicians who are enriching themselves...who in turn  return the favour by donating taxpayer dollars (not their own money) back to the campuses.

The cycle of quid pro quo is complete while the real losers are the youth of today.

susanm's picture

The high cost of college has nothing to do with salaries to the professors.  In most schools they are no longer even keeping traditional full professors in endowed chairs but rather are using adjuncts and "junior professors" who have been teaching for decades and will never get the full professorship that used to be assumed after so many publications and years of teaching.  

The dollars go into (drum roll please) FUND RAISING.  Yep.  The money goes to bringing in more money!  The largest and best funded sector of every major university is fundraising followed closely by the student loan/tuition collection department.  And let's not even talk about those with major sports programs which are money making mills in themselves and do not fund academics in the slightest.  

So please have some pity on the professors.  Most of them are holding 20 year old Volvos together with duct tape.

tog redux's picture

BM makes 100K to teach TWO courses. One of them online. 

I do think professors are overpaid for what they do, at least in some schools. 

STaround's picture

paid much less.  I am appalled at the overhead in colleges.   I went to a major university university, and the Dean of Students at the time was a person with a masters who had been a RA.  Now all the admins are Ph.Ds.  I have nothing agaisnt more eucation, but no need to pay for it.

tog redux's picture

That's what she makes and she's tenured. So she can do it as poorly as she likes and still get paid lots of money.  

Gimlet's picture

She's probably tenured then?  About three quarters of faculty are now adjunct, many with no benefits and being paid much less than tenured professors.  It's a problem in academia.  I can dig up some stats if you're interested.

tog redux's picture

She is tenured, yes. I'm glad they are moving away from that model, because she is the perfect example of why it's broken. But that being said, there must still be lots of other tenured professors making scads of money for doing little to nothing. 

Gimlet's picture

The flip side is that adjuncts are not being fairly compensated and even though colleges are bringing in more money, it's going to higher adminstrative costs.  Yes, there are terrible tenured profs and that model should be revised, but not the way they are doing it. 

tog redux's picture

Hopefully they will find a happy medium.  It fills me with ire what BM has gotten away with. And she doesn't even have a Ph.D. 

susanm's picture

She must have gotten in at the tail end of the "old system."  Seriously - it just isn't that way anymore.  Even for people who continually publish or do peer-reviewed hard science.  There are a few slots in the major schools to bring in big names from government and business for the prestige factor and they get paid well or will go to another school that WILL pay them well.  But the person teaching your kid classes every day is not making squat.

thinkthrice's picture

but here in ny the faculty parking lot looks like a BMW sales lot.

Gimlet's picture

Susanm is right.  The increase in the cost of college is  largely tied to the fact that student loans are not able to be discharged in bankruptcy, as well as increased budgets for administration for fundraising and increasing endowments.   

Big corporations, by and large, exist to make money and planned obsolescence is part of that approach.  Many corporations have outsourced production to other countries and their products are nothing close to what they used to be.  I'm not really sure what they have to do with college costs.  They exist to make the most profit they can for their shareholders, and they do what they need to do to meet that goal.

I do agree that college costs are out of control and that not everyone needs to go to college.  Trades are a viable option.

captjacksprrw's picture

Good insight .. relative newbie question what is the DH abbreviation?   Also, yes you do make a point.  Housing, etc is expensive anough for us with 2 working.  In my case, although the relationship has gone from awful to really good with SS28 and he does pay some rent, it is still a sore point with me that a "man" who is 28 is living at home.  I want him to be successful and on his own and come visit often.

ESMOD's picture

I believe it is involves a number of different factors.

First, I think that parenting has become more child centric vs family centric.. where the children are expected to know their place in the hierarchy of the home.. and there are benefits and responsibility that each person has.  For the child to have "equal rights" in the home.. they need to be the head of their own home... but many parents are guilty of elevating their children's status while they are still AT home.

So.. why would you leave a cushy place where all your needs are met and you are given the AUTONOMY to live as you wish.. have overnight guests.. come and go as you please etc?

Now.. sure.. the cost of getting an education "can" be a factor.. but seriously.. a vast number of basement dwellers don't attend college.. so that in itself is not a major root cause.

Of course, for a time.. maybe not in super recent years.. but the 8-15 years prior.. unemployment was more of a factor.  Jobs numbers are pretty good now.. but they were NOT for a protracted period of time.. which meant it was more "normal" for young people to be unemployed or under employed.. college degree or not.  So.. a much larger number of kids boomeranged back home.. or never really left the nest.  And because these numbers swelled.. it became more commonplace and ACCEPTED practice.

Back in my 20's a guy living with mom/dad? Looooooser.  Now?  there is not the same stigma because so many kids couldn't leave home due to not finding jobs that would support an independant living.

But.. perhaps the tide could change???

Both of my SD's moved out on their own within a year or so of their HS graduation.  They both secured decent jobs that afforded them the ability to pay for places to live on their own and cover their expenses.. offering medical benefits etc..

Now at 21 and 25.. they both are still independant of us.. financially.  If they had a crisis.. would we offer respite? probably.. but I believe they were fortunate to enter the real world at a time when job opportunities afforded them the ability to be self sufficient.  Since their father and I both were from a time when people didn't sleep on dad's couch after graduation.. I guess our expectations were always pretty clear.. and the girls rose to those expectations.. despite the fact that some of their friends floundered a bit more.

tog redux's picture

I think the Internet and 24/7 exposure to scary stuff has made parents overprotective and scared to let their kids out of their sight. We've become child-centric and people think if they don't act that way they will be judged, or worse - CPS has been called on parents for letting their kids play outside. Meanwhile, they are crippling their kids, removing every obstacle from their path, and failing to teach them independent living skills.

Some of these kids are living home to pay off crazy student loans - but some are just afraid to "adult", as they put it, and want to stay forever in the warmth of Mom and Dad's home, and Mom and Dad are fine with it.

Aniki's picture

CPS has been called on parents for letting their kids play outside.

One of several ridiculous things. Isn't is sad? Sad

tog redux's picture

Yes, very. I'm very happy when I see kids riding their bikes around the neighborhood alone. Seems like parents are getting some sense back. 

MissTexas's picture

Of course I am kidding here...

And yeah man. When I was a kid, I was riding the bike all over the place. We would ride to a town 27 miles away and back. The bikes were plain o'l bikes. No gears or streamlined tires. It took us all day, but we loved it, and there was no obesity! We looked amazing!

If we weren't riding bikes, we were playing tag, hide and go seek, swing the statue, and other games. 

Nowadays the vast majority of "kids" are stuffing their faces in front of some sort of screen. They're almost completely sedentary and health issues are mounting throughout the country for the under 25 year old crowd on the whole. So very sad.

Aniki's picture

My siblings and I were outside All.Day.Long. Riding bikes, playing tag or other games we created, playing sports... we didn't want to go INside! LOL

I've heard of all-too-many kids who whine and cry because they are told to leave behind the electronics and get some fresh air and sunshine. This is obviously the new form of child abuse!

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Same here, Miss Texas. We roamed all over the countryside. Bikes weren't a big thing because of the hilly terrain, but we covered many miles on foot or horse via shortcut trails. Want to swim? Walk a mile to the creek or three miles to the nearest home with a doughboy pool. Want to buy candy? Two miles to the country market. I rode my pony (bounce bounce BOUNCE) 8 miles each way to get to the nearest town or four to the nearest village. There was no question of asking an adult to cart us around, and it made us very self reliant.  

There used to be more of a separateness between adults and children. We had our world, they had theirs. I did not expect my SAHM to be at my beck and call. We had freedom provided we held up our end of things, and there were consequences if we didn't. We weren't adored or worshipped, we were part of a family and a community. There were rules, and expectations. I don't see parents setting expectations for their kids nearly enough. Don't they talk with their kids, discuss the future and how their kid will fit in it?

A parent is a teacher and a mentor, but many parents don't seem to understand what the goal is - to raise up strong, capable young adults who can take care of themselves. And then they're surprised when they end up with an ill mannered smelly basement dweller.

Gimlet's picture

I wish I had saved the post but way back when,   anotherstep posted a detailed and insightful summary of all the social changes that happened to drive much of what we are seeing today.   It included a combination of the media cycle (increasing fear in parents even as safety for kids was steadily getting better), marketing efforts around parenting and making kids happy (your kid needs all this stuff or you are a bad parent) and the self esteem movement, which was actually a terrible idea, as well as changes to the economy and job prospects (the loss of manufacturing, increased college costs and rent costs) etc. 

Alas, that post was lost to time and user purges and it's too hard to try to recreate on my phone,  but the root of this is likely multiply determined, as most things are.

captjacksprrw's picture

Good point.  There definitely has to be more than one factor including my pet peeve of overpartenting as I'm sure many of these environmental factors have influenced the actual overparenting.  It's good to get input from other step parents

MissTexas's picture

one reason for it, but rather it is muti-faceted.

Disclaimer:Before I begin my explanation, please know I am not lumping everyone who is, or has been divorced, or is in a dual working household into this category.


Divorced and dual working parents have skyrocketed. Because of that we have an explosion of parent guilt, which has largely resulted in passification of the problem, and handling their offspring with kid leather gloves, so as not to upset or further inconvenience or traumatize them. So, divorced parent guilt is the author of "overparenting" which is an oxymoron, because really, in actuality there is "NO PARENTING" going on from the adults, as these "parents" have adopted the role of "BUDDYING" rather than standing strong in their expected parental roles.

Because of these behaviors the emergence of  what I refer to as "clipped  wing syndrome" (which doesn't allow for full force launching) has become the new norm. A bird who's never been encouraged, or allowed to fly, or that has had its wings clipped simply does not know how to fly. As a result, figuratively speaking, you have 20-30+ year olds ("wounded birds") still living in mommy and daddy's house, with little to no expectation to ever do anything.

I once saw a sign in a park that read, "Please do not feed the squirrels, as they will no longer forage." It's a great metaphor or analogy for today's youth. They have been fed, clothed, had cell phones that cost more than any home computer their parents have ever purchased for themselves, and they've never been held accountable or responsible for their actions. Why would they want to "launch" or want for anything else? They seemingly have it made. I have a dear friend who had a baby at 5 months gestation. She has cerebral palsy and is now almost 30 years old and in a wheelchair. She is not self-sufficient. She will always need care. Used to, THAT was our society. Only the physically or mentally challenged were expected to live in the home for the duration of their lives. We have had a huge societal shift, and now the supposedly "normal functioning" are living at home far beyond their years.

It's a profound difference and contrast to our WWI and WWII veterans, many of whom lied about their ages to be legally admitted into our military to fight for this great country. At 16,17,18,19, these young people recognized the danger we were in of losing this wonderful nation, and they felt it was worth fighting for, and many died during their fight. Can you imagine if we had a draft nowadays? "Oh, I can't go, I'm allergic to ragweed. There  might be something that triggers my allergies." "I can't eat this government issued food, I'm gluten free." And the excuses could be listed exponentially without end.

It's a viscious cycle. Guilt begats non-parenting, and role reversal, where the kids tell the parents what to do and how to live. In turn, the "parents" are afraid of their "kids" and refuse to change anything for fear of "losing" these babies. Parents have become enablers to all of these behaviors. In doing so they have served themselves, their kids, and MOSTLY THEIR SPOUSES  with life sentences of great injustices & everyone is expected to follow suit in functioning in THEIR dysfunction, and if the spouse refuses to, they either leave on their own accord, are ousted because they "don't play well with others", or they suffer their life sentence in silence, for fear of the unknown if they should speak up or leave.

It's a very sick game where nobody wins. 

 Another contributor is social media  and the "it's all about me" society. If you don't think so look at all THE SELFIES everywhere you look. How can anyone think outside themselves and put others first, or learn empathy when nobody else matters?

sandye21's picture

"It's a viscious cycle. Guilt begats non-parenting, and role reversal, where the kids tell the parents what to do and how to live."

What is also sad if that children are so entitled and self-involved that they are unable to grasp the concept of mutual caring and respect.   Once the 'chosen ones' are launched and move into middle age, there seems to be no sense of obligation toward the parents who continuously doted on them.  We have to ensure that we have measures in place so that we will be properly cared for when we can no longer take care of ourselves.

Most of the people who lived during WWI and WWII are deceased or close to it.  Their focus was on survival rather than where were they going to go to college.  After WWII, there was an equalization of the economy.  Housing was somewhat affordable and college was cheap.  In the last 50 years we have witnessed a slowly growing divide, and the middle class is disappearing.  Many younger people can no longer afford the benefits even their parents were able to take advantage of but the same expectations are still there. 

What is REALLY ironic is that even though economic change has been somewhat slow, taking decades to finally register as reality, social change takes forever.  Coddling our children, providing them with every advantage possible and teaching them that it was all about them might have been 'the way' in the 70's but it can't work for the average person today, and this creates unjustified guilt and shame.

And where do step parents figure in this equation?  Well, the media that professes to be so in touch with the reality of today has left us on an 'uncharted' island, while we grapple with social standards which predate WWI.  We're still expected to be that invisible, silent - and convenient shadow in the background who takes on the blame for failed marriages or whatever the 'chosen ones' choose to throw our way.  Our husbands have to 'divide' their love between SM and their offspring rather than doing what is necessary to make us part of a 'combined' and mutually respective family.

NotThatTypical's picture

The thing is finically it’s harder for young adults then it was in the past. We want to BS around and say it’s them not trying but look at reality. Once upon a time a family could survive on dad going to work and mom staying home.

Now not only do both parents work but many times one parent will work two jobs to make ends meet.

On top of that we’ve lost the village. Cohabitation is seen as this bad thing. The only way my sister was able to live outside of my parents support was that she, her boyfriend, and one of our cousin shared a small rundown two bedroom apartment. I’m pretty sure she got food stamps and I know my aunt was still subsidizing my cousins expenses. I’m not trying to put them down because in reality they all worked very hard but there just wasn’t much else they could do.

My sister COULD have gone to college if she wanted to take out a ton of loans to pay for it. This idea that college is affordable is a joke. I could only afford it because I got multiple scholarships. Even then I still struggled because of that wonderful word “internship”. If it weren’t for my husband at the time having an income I never would have finished. I still ended up in extreme debt in the end due to medical complications.

I have a good friend who makes over 60K a year but after paying his student loans he still has to share a 3 bedroom apartment with 3 other people.

It’s very hard for a young adult to really support themselves alone so yes a lot of time the family does assist more than it seemed they did in the past.

That being said I don’t think it’s wrong to demand certain things. I expect both of SO’s kids to get a job or be in school if they wish to live with us past High School. I expect them to be working towards independence and would prefer they take a little extra time at the start then have to return later.

captjacksprrw's picture

.. but my SS28 make almost as much as him mom.  He is not open to learning budgeting, etc and had some savings but depleted that once he found a GF.  Since he hates the word budget (his words) I bought a copy of 'The Richest Man in Babylon' and asked my wife to give it to him.  It makes a nice coffee mug rest in my office lol.  Point is that I believe the root cause is still that the snowflakes have been given too much and made to feel too self important.  As a result, there is no desire to leave just like the Failure to Launch movie.  Being old school I Want an empty nest.  Move out, succeed and come visit often

NotThatTypical's picture

As you said "snowflakes have been given too much". You're talking about a person being enabled. Why would someone do the hard thing and be independant when no one is pushing them? I still say it's harder now but instead of telling someone to figure it out we over support. We don't make them suffer. Like I said my aunt still subsadized my cousion instead of telling him "get another roommate".

ESMOD's picture

it's not unaffordable in many cases.. it's that it has become acceptable to stay with parents... why leave all the luxuries of people that have worked 20-30 years and have EARNED the right to have the NFL package on their TV... especiallly when you aren't given any house rules.


susanm's picture

Yup.  DH kept saying that SD would move out when she was ready.  I asked him why she would ever be ready when she had everything she needed here and the freedom to do as she pleased.  Only when I started making him miserable (or as he termed it "putting him in the middle") over her habits that would be perfectly fine in her own place but not with me as a room mate did he begin to understand.  For example, taking a shower at 3 am in the upstairs bathroom next to our bedroom.  As that woke me up, I was a bitch on wheels the entire next day.  He could tell her to stop doing that, deal with an unpleasant wife, or tell her that in her own place she can do as she likes.  Same with bringing over herds of friends and playing loud music when I am on work calls during work hours. 

Things got bad when she told him she had the right to do as she pleased because "she was 20 now."  DH could not get through to her and she got on her phone to complain to BM that we were abusing her.  That was when I lost it and told her to "get the f*ck out, b*tch."  Miss Thing was insulted that her father did not stand up for her and was gone in less than a week.  Not my finest hour but it worked.  I had reached the end.

captjacksprrw's picture

Yes ... my SS28 is sometimes very pleasant to have around but in my mind he really needs to launch like his younger brother.  We don't have issues such as noise, drinking, friends over, etc. but he has zero incentive to launch.  Plus it really grates on me that his room (upstairs, usually unseen) looks like a garbage dump most times and that is no exaggeration.  Not to mention it would be nice to have a little more alone time with my spouse.

Rags's picture

Separation anxiety can hit parents as well as semi-adult children.  Those people have no business in marriages.

IMHO of course.

No one should sacrifice themselves on the alter of SParental martyrdom to these non performing adults.  The parent nor their nonfunctioning semi adult spawn are worthy of a partner.

The solution is simple. Boot their juvenile asses and let them wallow in their own disfuntion far from us.

Movingonisbest's picture

I think part of the problem with a lot of todays parents is they want their child or children to be more or better than everyone else's.  So that means that with some parents even if they know their son isn't say for instance "college material" they will still go into debt sending that child to college just to be able to brag about having a kid in college. Or sometimes they will get their kid a nice car, give them a down payment on  bigger home, send their kid on lucrative trips so as to make it look like their kid is doing well in life. Thing is, how well is your kid really doing if he or she has to rely on you to help him or her do everything? I think a lot of these kids play on that. As the years go on some parents start realizing they created monster. Selfish, entitled, disrespectful, manipulative dweebs that most people don't want to waste their time on. How kids get from point A to point B used to be just as important as merely arriving at point B. Nowadays you srill have adult kids well into their 30s bragging about what mommy or daddy does for them. Then you have these middle aged parents who are beat down, tieed, and can't really enjoy the fruits of their own labor or even think about retirement because they are still financially supporting these adult kids who most of the time could care less about them. I truly believe that spoiling kids is not appropriate. Just like spoiled fruit is ruined, spoiled kids are typically ruined also.