So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees.
So what we go out?
That’s how its supposed to be,
Living young and wild and free.
I am the mother of a 20-something adult that refuses to grow up. She stays out all night drinking to excess and bums from her grandparents and friends so that she doesn’t have to get a job. We’ve all met people like this and we all hope we don’t have a child go this route. Unfortunately, one of my children did take this route and it has made me do some inward thinking.
I was driving home from work one night, singing along to Snoop Dog when the lyrics really hit home. I have to admit there have been times when I shrugged off my daughter’s behavior because I too think that its how life is supposed to be. How many times have I warned my kids “enjoy your youth because when you get out in the real world… blah, blah, blah.” But most of the time I keep expecting my daughter to get it together, to get a job and stop being a bum and have some responsibility. I believe I have been a bit hypocritical but as a parent I can’t help myself. It’s my job to instill the right things in my kids. It’s my job to usher my kids into the real world in a respectable way.
There’s an interesting article on the Fox Business website by Christina Scotti, “20-Somethings: No I Won’t Grow Up,” that made me laugh. Mrs. Scotti interviewed Jeffrey Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University, in 2010 regarding the matter and the advice that Arnett gave and the insight he had, clearly indicated that if he does have kids, they most likely are very young. He has the unrealistic viewpoint of that of a young man who contemplates having kids but hasn’t actually started a family because of what he sees when he watches a mother deal with her kid in the throes of bratdom. He sounds like one of those guys that says, “If that were my kid, I’d….(insert – idiotic discipline measure that won’t work – here).”
Jeffrey Arnette says that kids that won’t grow up are – get this – emerging adults. That all they really want is to achieve higher expectations, to have a better job, more money, nice things – he even mentions vacations. My daughter lives on permanent vacation and she won’t even apply to work at Wal-Mart much less something considerably more substantial. Being in your 20’s is not an excuse to have an extended teenage rebellion as Mr. Arnette implies. What makes me positive that he does not actually have kids is that when asked if parents should plan for adult children to move back home he says no. No parent in their right mind would clothe, feed, pay for gas, insurance and spending money on a full grown adult without financial planning. Kids are costly, adults even moreso.
I do think being in your 20’s in about sowing your oats, figuring out life and yes, living wild, young and free but I also think that as a society we have forgotten that in order to be wild, young and free you have to work hard, be smart and responsible. My generation didn’t have a song that said all we wanted to do was get drunk and smoke weed. My generation was Working for The Weekend and I truly believe that that is the difference between the 20-somethings of my day and the 20-somethings of today.
Today’s 20-somethings are raised with the idea that it’s all about the party and the party is all the time; forget about working all week long so that you can tear it up on the weekend. Today, it’s all about feeling special and being encouraged to do anything without ever hearing the word no or learning that the reward comes after the work. We’ve collectively made the mistake of raising our children with exaggerated self-worth because we didn’t want them to endure the same things we endured as kids. Mothers – Fathers, we’ve been wrong. Yes, we should tell our kids how great they are, yes we should celebrate their achievements and yes we should stoke their self-confidence but we should also give them the truth.
If a kids sounds like a walrus when they sing, don’t tell them they sound like Celine Dion. If a kid is so klutzy he needs a helmet to walk around the living room then don’t encourage him to be the world’s best ballet dancer. It’s time to teach our kids to live in reality and to work hard and strive for the stars but to also know thy strengths and shore up thy weaknesses. We don’t even allow heckling on the little league baseball field anymore because we are certain our kids can’t take the hit to their ego. We need to teach our kids to love themselves for who they truly are and to revel in that which makes them who they are, and stop trying to be who and what everyone else wants them to be or who they fantasize they would like to be. As a society we love to preach about uniqueness and expression of self but I find that a lot of the time that is merely lip service – we don’t really believe in it because we are too uncomfortable with who we really are, so we pretend to be something other than that until we have everyone, including ourselves, convinced of it.
I’m not in my 20’s anymore but I’ve put in the work and when the last of my kids have left the nest (1 more to go) I will finally get to live wild and free…and I’ve earned it. That’s what I’m trying to teach my kids is the right thing to do.