The Winding Road is Jeffrey Jensen Arnett name for the period from the late teens through the twenties. Arnett sees emerging adults (as he calls them) identifying three cornerstones for becoming an adult: accepting responsibility for yourself, making independent decisions , and becoming financially independent. If he is right, then a bit of consensus is beginning to emerge for an cultural “marker” that would identify adulthood. Years ago, I saw a study that looked at close to 20 possible markers in our culture (everything from driver’s license to voting to marriage). The question was asked “When in our culture are you considered an adult?” The winner was financial independence….with only about 17% percent!
If you have crossed that threshold already, when did you consider yourself an adult?
Tomorrow I am part of a panel at a local high school to talk to parents, teachers and other friends of adolescents about staying connected to teens as they move along this “winding road.” You, reader, are a rich resource. I have already listened to my college students and my children. I have reflected on what I have learned through study and experience. The crowning piece would be to add your voice to my preparation!
Now or later, your thoughts on the following would be appreciated:
- What should parents do/not do to stay connected with their teens?
- How do parents keep the bond strong while making space for Arnett’s three cornerstones to be established?
- What are some of the best ways for the faith community to support families?
- What is the role of doubt…and failure…and risk?
Thanks in advance for joining the conversation!