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Their generation has been and continues to graduate into the worst economy since the Great Depression. They live at home because they have no choice. College debt is a different story, and there are tactics to minimizing it for undergraduate education. But if a young adult wants to go on to graduate school, debt is inevitable. The bigger issue here is why a life necessity — a good education — is something that must hobble too many kids for decades. Many European countries understand that education is a national investment and find it shocking how we burden children and their families with the cost of becoming valuable members of society.
Yes, parents play a key role in teaching their children how to make good financial decisions. Hmmm… your comment surprises me a bit, Marianne. Maybe it is because our backgrounds are so different, we come at it so differently? After my undergrad I worked for 2 years in India and saved diligently. I had 2 choices — take a loan from the bank or borrow money from my dad.
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I went the latter route. My first 2 weeks in the US was a living hell — I was trying to get used to a new culture, new food and the mid-August Texas heat. And then throughout the semester, we saved and scrimped but by the end of the term, I sent my dad his money back. By the time we finished grad school my husband and I had raked up a big pile of credit card debt credit cards were just being introduced in India when we left and we had no clue how those things worked… I applied to every student card I was offered and maxed them out and the interest rates on them are atrocious.
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Our conservative financial upbringing kicked into high-gear. We were on a single income because I had decided to continue school… it took us two years of scrimping and scrounging but we finally paid off every last penny and have stayed debt-free since. This story is not unique to us. Many of my friends have worse stories since they graduated with Computer Science degrees just when the dot com bubble burst. But blaming the system does not seem like the right answer to me. The system here may not be the perfect and there may be other countries that do it a whole lot better.
Do you agree or disagree? Parents are the best teachers.
But it can be whole lot worse as well and people come from those worse systems and manage to make a good life here in the US. This really is a land of the opportunity… it takes struggle, diligence, discipline and luck, but the system being bad really has very little to do with it. Article is spot-on. Overall, my generation is entitled.
The Millenial generation has a tough situation financially for reasons that have nothing to do with entitlement. Really, this is all so very true. It is amazing how many immigrants can come to the US and…. Yes, college is becoming less affordable, which is a shame. However, even back decade s ago, the kids I attended college with spent their time living it up, not working to lighten their later burden.
Even as I got older, the young adults I attended Veterinary School with also subsidized their dinners and drinks out via student loans. They made it bc they had the desire to do so. Fast forward to eras such as the Great Depression. They made it bc of the desire to do so. Our children need to become more resilient and have more of a drive to do things themselves instead of getting help from an all too eager parent bc it does the child no favors. Sorry to say but these opposing comments do not surprise me.
We live in an entitled world where we are offended by everything especially truth. What a comprehensive list of tasks. How true that we underestimate our children, every single day! All it takes is accessibility and patience. Our daughter has been responsible for feeding our dog since she turned 2. One of favorite tasks is emptying the dishwasher.
Slowing down, and letting young children actually enjoy the task, makes life more pleasurable for everyone. Instead of fighting against your toddler and their headstrong demands I do it! So while I did let her help me sometimes, more often than not, I would get her engaged in something before starting to cook or do my chores.
Good suggestions! I find most little kids love to help. The challenge comes in being willing to sacrifice a certain amount of efficiency and quality while they are learning. All my kids are good pancake flippers, they can all bake cookies from scratch without help, they all know how to pack their own lunches. Rather than fight with my oldest about her laundry being everywhere we got her a hamper and put her in charge of it herself. The funniest thing about learning life skills is how the environment shapes that. When my niece is with us there are different skills we take for granted—like using a hanger.
My brother was stunned to realize at age nine that his daughter had never used one because there were none on her height level in their apartment. I love that our kids get to learn different skills from one another when they visit in different places. And I so agree with you about learning different skills while visiting different places. So, my parents got whole fish and my daughter who was either 2 or 4 then was totally fascinated and wanted to help.
And my daughter had such a blast and was so proud of her contribution! Through the rest of the trip she helped us peel peas out of their pods, carry water in a little mug while we carried them in buckets , make chapatis flat rolled bread etc. It was a very different experience and so much fun… and while I was more open to it during our vacation, as soon as we came back and life started moving at a million miles a minute again, I stopped involving her in the daily routine tasks… shame! Another thought — my elder sister was also visiting our parents during our India trip, and she thought it was perfectly normal for my mom to let my daughter help with the fish.
While growing up, I was the middle child among 3 girls, and both my sisters helped mom in the kitchen while I always found ways to slink out. I bet your daughter loved that. My niece goes to India regularly and recounts all kinds of interesting skills to my kids that are new to them.
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They, in the meantime, introduce her to oddities such as watching TV and riding on bikes. The birth order thing does play a role. For instance, my oldest was primed for babysitting because she has younger siblings. My other two have never had that responsibility thrust on them the same way, so those will be harder skills for them to pick up.
So I got good a breakfasts, Arno became pretty good at dinner, and Barrett learned nothing because lunch was the freebie, and that pattern lasted for YEARS—well into adulthood. Thanks, Korinthia! Thank you for the lists Cara! Since my four littles are so close in age, I got into the habit of assembly-lining things early on. While this helps me greatly with time management, it leaves little room for the kids to participate in becoming self-sufficient. This is a hard one for this mama!
I love the idea of assembly-lining, Brit! Maybe you can think of it as helping your kids learn to work cooperatively and raising awesome team players? Wish I would have thought of an assembly line when our brood was young!
From Childhood to Old Age
Excellent article! I think your basic point — about the benefits having kids do chores- is a good one. Thanks for sharing, Larry. Why should children be forced to get up early, rushed through getting ready, spend all day at school, spend more time at activities, come home to do homework, and have a ton of chores? When are they allowed to be children? I lived life just as you described it. They are only little once.
Thanks for that perspective, Katie. Emotional support is also a balance — we parents are humans too. We have our ups and downs. For most of us, being perfectly supportive all the time is just not a possible realistic option. But, life is neither easy or simple. In every culture, kids contribute. Some would say that is good, but we might well find out it creates perma-children.
Adults who never actually grow up. My daughter has been very responsible in taking care of her school work right from when she was in elementary school. She is a senior now. With my second child, my son, I started assigning chores at early. He is 13 now, he helps with mopping, vacuuming and sometime baking too. I agree, Vee.