Or not, as the case may be. I was reminded by Betsy Shaw’s BabyCenter article about this.
I am intrigued by the Christmas address of Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams (see here) where he said:
contemporary life had become characterised by a basic impatience about learning. […] too many people, including the elderly and children, were expected to stand on their own feet without support from outside.
More chilling is that our society seems to make
childhood a brief and rather regrettable stage on the way to the real thing, which is ‘independence’, turning you into a useful cog in the social machine that won’t need too much maintenance.
I look at my darling nearly-four-year-old daughter and wonder how much pressure I put on her to be independent and able to stand on her own two feet. Yes, parents need to teach and encourage a measure of independence and ability, yet we also need to revel in our children’s childishness, the very things that help them to learn and make sense of the world in their own time, at a pace that is appropriate for their developing minds and spirits. Time and time again, DD has shown me that she does thing in her own sweet time, in her own way, and that is the right time for her. Think of toilet training (no, don’t think of it – yuck!), or learning how to hold a pen or how to get dressed. All things that she did when she felt like it, and me pressing her to get on with it didn’t seem to help one bit.
At the same time, I don’t want to end up with a kidult who refuses to grow up, or someone who is still living at home at the age of 30 plus. Part of this is due to age at first marriage (see here), part of it may be due to the cost of housing and the lack of low-cost entry-level housing in the past 10 years, and part of it may be that they are on a good wicket and don’t want to leave. Link to ABC Radio National podcast on this is here, and it’s interesting that maybe grandchildren won’t get the help that the children got.
One friend with adult children considers that she has been a successful mother at the point where her children have moved out of the family home at 18 or 21 and have a safe place to live.