It’s becoming increasingly clear why experts are beginning to call this ‘the boomerang generation.’ Now more than ever society is beginning to see a huge shift in the age of independence when young men and young women are expected to leave home and start their own lives. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long before these sons and daughters are quickly returning home to Mom and Dad vowing to never venture out into great unknown ever again. Parents are beginning to see their sons quit or be fired from their job or multiple jobs, quit or fail out of school or leave a romantic relationship to pursue something less committal, less challenging and well… more easy.
The consequences of having no consequences
More and more young men are choosing the easy route… they quit, they give up, they throw in the towel. But what about the consequences you ask? Are there not inevitable consequences as a result of making such decisions? Good question. The fact is, there usually aren’t any consequences; and that is part of the problem. Consequences are a vital part of how we learn and grow and without them learning cannot take place and growth is thwarted.
A consequence is defined as “A result of an action or condition.” Part of the reasoning behind why so many young men choose to return home is that it becomes a safety blanket of sorts. They know they will be able to escape the consequences of their choices if they come home to a quiet room, where they don’t have to interact with peers, teachers, employers or anyone that might make them anxious. This is what we have come to know as Failure to Launch.
The reason why kids won’t leave home
While at home many if not all of these young men’s basic needs are being taken care by Mom and Dad. Food is provided for him at no charge and even in some cases, housekeeping! In many cases his bills are also paid for by Mom and Dad to include insurance, gas, cell service and maybe some spending cash every now and then. If young men are to learn to be truly independent, they must first face the consequences of their choices! They must first understand that life is not a free ride… it takes effort. The more effort the better the outcome. For things to change it will first involve Mom and Dad setting some serious boundaries and taking corrective measures. The longer parents wait to draw these boundaries the harder it becomes for both parents and children.
Helicopter parenting can inhibit social interaction
Parents may also be involved in over-protective parenting, doing everything possible to shield their son from heartache, loss, risk, and embarrassment. This is also known as helicopter parenting which is detrimental to any child who is transitioning into young adulthood. When mom or dad don’t maintain healthy boundaries and can’t keep their paternal instincts at bay the result is what I call the “silent killer”. Rescuing is the silent killer because parents don’t often see the devastating effects of helicopter parenting until it’s too late. When young men are rescued and coddled, they begin to lose their sense of identity as well as their confidence. Without intervention, it doesn’t take long before a once capable young man begins to avoid and shy away from what was once healthy and normal social encounters. If allowed to continue, social interactions at almost every level become uncomfortable and even family functions are avoided. But all is not lost. It’s never too late for parents to take action and begin to change things around for the better for both them and their family, but its not easy. It takes the right guidance, training and a lot practice for parents to learn how to empower their son to change and grow but it is possible. In time he’ll have the confidence to ask his professor for help in class or be able to confront a roommate about dirty dishes or even express his deep feelings toward a love interest.
These are all things that take effort, time and practice and can only be learned in an environment of natural and logical consequences. If parents take away the opportunity to allow their son to grow from his own decisions (even poor ones) they are hindering and stifling his development into becoming a confident young men. Natural consequences is a great teaching tool if parents take a few steps back and let them happen as intended… naturally.
The first thing all parents must understand is that their son is fully capable of not only achieving complete independence but becoming a successful, purpose-driven and a self-directed young man. So remember, when your son is struggling in life, the best things you can do is set healthy boundaries, let natural consequences happen unimpeded and express confidence in your son’s ability to solve any problem that comes his way. You have the power to help your son rise above this boomerang generation and become so much more. It’s never too late.
About The Author
Brook Price dedicated himself to helping others early in his life. He grew up in Sunny Orange County California, then joined the Marine Corps at the age of 21 serving five and half years as a helicopter crew chief and then as chief accountant. His journey with this type of work began when he volunteered as a Young Marines Instructor during his time in the Marines, helping kids get off the street, improve their lives and develop as a leader. After his tour Brook left the Marines to pursue a career in experiential therapy by attending Southern Utah University where he majored in outdoor recreation with a minor in psychology.
Brook has seventeen years experience working for a variety of different therapeutic and transitional programs across the nation. His thirst for knowledge drove him to learn and study successful therapeutic models and programs across the country, most notably Outward Bound. Brook has experience working with therapeutic, residential, military, wilderness and transitional programs for adults and adolescents.