Ben Shapiro: Millennials Need Adulting Classes Because Their Parents Were Too Lazy To Teach Them To Be Adults | Opinion

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34 percent of 18-34 adults in America still lived with their parents as of 2015, up from 26 percent a decade before. iStock

This week, America learned about something the millennials like to call “adulting.” The term started as a sort of quasi-joke—whenever a millennial would do something age-appropriate rather than radically immature, this was an act of “adulting.” Now, though, millennials apparently require training in being an adult.

According to CBS News, Rachel Flehinger has co-founded an Adulting School, which now includes online courses. Skills taught include basic sewing, conflict resolution, and cooking, among others. CBS suggests that the need for such classes springs from the fact that many millennials “haven’t left childhood homes,” given that 34 percent of 18-34 adults in America still lived with their parents as of 2015, up from 26 percent a decade before.

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There’s a good deal of truth to this. If you’re living at home, with mom and dad doing their best to spoil you, you’re less likely to know how to do laundry, cook, or balance a checkbook. Dependency breeds enervation.

But here’s the catch: living at home doesn’t necessarily breed dependency. As of 1940, more than 30 percent of 25-29-year-olds lived at home with parents or grandparents. They were adulting, even while living at home. Parents expected their kids to do chores, to be responsible, to prepare for life. Instead of blaming living at home, then, we have to blame our style of parenting.

While speculation has run rampant that economic hardship has forced millennials to stay home longer and thus fail to “adult”—student loan costs and housing costs are generally blamed for millennial economic hardship—the truth is that we’ve simply become lazier as parents. The recession of the late 1970s didn’t cause this sort of massive lifestyle shift; neither did the Great Depression.

This is a generational problem. Since the Greatest Generation, adults have become less and less adult. Our grandparents had to grow up during the Great Depression and World War II; they learned to “adult” long before they were actual adults. As of 1940, the average age of first marriage was 24 for men and 21 for women; today, the average age of first marriage is 28 for men and 26 for women. Men and women both entered the workforce far younger generations ago—so while today’s millennials are better-educated than their grandparents, they’re also experiencing real life later. Couples had children much younger, and had more children; today, the average age of a first-time mother in New York is 31, while that number was, on average, 26.3 across America. Some 45 years ago, the average age of a first-time mom was 21.4.

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GettyImages-903724814 34 percent of 18-34 adults in America still lived with their parents as of 2015, up from 26 percent a decade before. iStock

So, what’s the real issue?

We’ve become far more focused on the self-esteem of our children, which means never forcing them to take difficult steps in life. We’re more likely to let our kids crash on our couches than tell them to get a job and pay rent. We don’t push our kids to build families of their own; as life expectancy has increased, so has adolescence. Americans aren’t expected to start building a life, particularly middle- and upper-class Americans, until they’re nearing their 30s. There are many Americans who make decisions that force them into adulthood—single mothers, for example, aren’t going to be taking “adulting” classes. But the question is how we can encourage young people to “adult” in non-circumstance-driven fashion.

The answer is thrusting responsibility on young people. That’s painful for parents. I know. I have two young children, and the thought of them struggling is physically painful to me, especially since I can surely prevent that suffering. But “adulting,” as Nietzsche might put it, is suffering—and through that suffering, we become responsible human beings capable of better the world around us, capable of building the institutions that undergird a functioning society.

Or we can keep coddling our kids—and, via the government, coddling ourselves. But at some point, if everyone is busy “adulting” while we keep pushing off the age of adulthood, there are no adults left. There are just children. And leaving kids in charge of society is an incredibly bad idea.

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, available on iTunes and syndicated across America.​

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​

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