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Should college grads be given the boot from momma's basement?

Should parents expect their kids to pull out those wings and leave the nest after they graduate. (AP Photo/file)

Will you be tough when your kid proposes coming back home to live after finishing college? There is the rough job market, economy and all that, but according to some, letting them come back home might just contribute to the problem.

"Our economy needs them to enter the game, to not watch the game at 25, 26, still in their mother's basement getting level four on Grand Theft auto," Tim Elmore, author of "Artificial Maturity" and "Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future" tells KIRO Radio's Tom and Curley Show.

Elmore says he's heard from a number of college deans that the new 18 is 26.

"What we once expect at 18, you're a man now, lets take responsibility, let's take initiative, it's not happening [at 18]," says Elmore.

The transition to adulthood is being delayed, and the stage of adolescence seems to be expanding on both ends says Elmore.

"Kids are entering into adolescence at 8 years old, getting something tattooed or pierced, getting on teen websites, getting sexually active, but then they're staying in adolescence well into their 20s. So what was once a doorway from boyhood to manhood or girlhood to womanhood, is now perhaps this elongated season of life."

Tom and Curley host Tom Tangney asked Elmore what's so wrong with that.

"What is so bad about a delayed maturity? You yourself point out that kids brains don't develop until they're like in their mid 20s completely. You also mention we're living decades longer than we ever used to, so what is so harmful about having an extended adolescents maybe allowing young adults a few more years to sort of explore and develop these broader interests, maybe that's a good thing."

Elmore says it's not the end of the world, but there are a few things we might want to think about before just letting them sit back with their game controllers.

"Over the next 15 years, over half the workforce will be departing. The baby boomers will eventually have to leave because they were such a large generation and Gen X is a much smaller generation. Even if everybody in Generation X were a brilliant leader, there would not be enough of them to fill the vacancies left by the boomers. These kids in these younger adult generations will be pushed into management, leadership positions ready or not, and I'm saying I think we need to get them ready," he says.

He also argues that past generations have shown it's appropriate to have higher expectations for them.

"If you stop and think about it, 100 years ago, we were at a whole other place, the word adolescence didn't even exist," says Elmore. "What we had was a very different world, where 4-year-olds were doing age-appropriate chores, 14-year-olds were working the farm, 17-year-olds were leading armies, 19-year-olds might be getting married and having children. I'm not suggesting we have to do that. I'm just saying it's in them to be and do so much more than get lost on Facebook and Twitter."

While some take what he's saying as a negative about the generation, he says he really just wants to see them tap into all the potential they have.

"I think they're loaded with potential, creativity, passion, some of the energy we desperately need - we that are over 50 years old - could be given to us, if they entered the game and didn't think, 'Well you know I could go back home after college,'" says Elmore. "I'm just saying we need them to do more than spending time with momma in the basement."

The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Tom and Curley every weekday at 9am on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FMTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 9am for The Tom and Curley Show.

About the Author


Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.

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