Prolonged adolescence is caused by too much privilege, not enough responsibility.
“And that is not what we want in our children leaving home.”
Pastor Ted Cunningham warns about the dangers and long-term effects of a child-centered home, which has become prevalent in our culture. This child centered home produces employee-centered work places and member-centered churches.
Ted addresses this and other trends in his book, The Power of Home: Taking Charge of Your Faith and Your Family.
“What are you sending your child out to that your child is going to want to be the center of all of those environments? As parents we’re great at creating environments for our children to succeed rather than teaching them to succeed in environments they can’t control. We need to prepare and launch them. ”
For many today, the five major milestones of becoming an adult are delayed.
• Leave home
• Finish school or an apprenticeship
• Get a job
• Get married
• Start a family
“Those five milestones have been the same in every generation. The difference between my grandparents’ generation and my generation is my grandparents completed those five milestones in a very short period of time if not in the same week. It was fast. We stretch them out to 10, 15 or 20 years. Telling our kids that there is no rush in growing up.”
“It was in 1904 that we created the term ‘adolescence’ and we put this gap in between childhood and adulthood. I don’t argue too much against adolescence but I do argue against prolonged adolescence. We’ve taken this gap between childhood and adulthood and we just let it grow.”
Why the sudden cultural shift?
“The reason the marriage rate is decreasing [in young people] is because they’re not prepared for the responsibility. They’re not prepared to take on responsibility for another person and providing for another person.”
“The principles that guide you in work, are the principles that guide you at home. It is about responsibility and placing others needs.”
Ted is committed to training his children to lead responsible, God-focused lives and challenges us to do the same. The phases of individualizing and separating from parents is placed in children by God.
“Mom and Dad, when they feel that child beginning to separate from them, when they feel that child developing their own thoughts and opinions, and choosing their own friends and clothes, Mom and Dad start to move from accelerating childhood milestones to delaying adulthood milestones.”
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 13:4