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Extended adolescense

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In a recent article The Feminist Catch 22, I briefly touched upon the idea of the extended adolescence rut that Generation Y is still stuck in. Mostly afflicting young men, this has been written about frequently. They may live at home or equally juvenile housing situation, have trouble in school or holding a job and spend far too much time in their room or out having fun.

The problem begins because the 20's is the time build the foundation for a successful, adult future. In normal development, the shelter of childhood grows old and the child yearns for independence. The constriction of childhood begins to outweigh the benefits. Plus, you are more capable, quicker, stronger, and see all the possibilities that exist in the world. It is key to work your hardest at this time. You have the energy, time, skill or profession, learn to hold a job and make relationships work. The new platform provides the structure, funds, food and fun that used to be given to you by your parents.

There is nothing as tired or demoralizing than a twenty or even thirty something who has yet to start on his adult journey. A developmental failure of sorts - the longer you stray off the path of healthy development, the harder it will be to get on track. Parents worry they are also failures. Many of these struggling souls have a powerful capacity for avoidance - a knack of putting off to tomorrow what needs to be done today. Coddling parents who never fully withdraw the purse strings also are teaching their children scraping by is just fine because they have the bank of mom and dad to fall back on in hard times.

Sometimes other factors are at play but should not be used as excuses to continue the behavior include anxiety, depression, ADD, etc. which need to be treated. There is also the recession excuse or problem and many Generation Y-ers are saying it's all up to luck. (As a hard working woman, I can tell you that is hogwash!) Avoidance and inability to self-direct or shutting down is common. Any real achievement requires dedication and sweat equity. For a failure to launch 20 or 30 something, home is a respite, for the latter, it’s a trap.

Instant gratification has to end. They fear independence and individuating in a society filled with competing adults. Avoidance is tough to treat because these people avoid dealing with their avoidance. They often don’t realize that avoidance plays a crucial role in their unhappiness. They avoid, and they will tend to avoid treatment as well. But with humanity and humor, it is possible to launch.

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