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Why does it take so long to grow up today?

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

Originally posted on April 28, 2015

It takes so long to “grow up” today—finish education, find a stable job, get married—that it makes sense to think of it as a new life stage, emerging adulthood, in between adolescence and young adulthood. But why? Four revolutions of the 1960s and ‘70s explain it: the Technology Revolution that changed the economy and led to more education for longer than ever before; the Sexual Revolution that made it possible to have a sex life without marriage; the Women’s Movement that gave women an incentive to postpone marriage to pursue a career; and the Youth Movement, which gave adulthood a bad name. Older adults grumble that it takes “too long” to grow up today, but most people will be better partners and parents if they wait longer, so why not use most of the twenties for adventures you’ll never be able to have again?
Jeffrey Arnett is a professor in Clark University’s Department of Psychology in Massachusetts. Starting with his Bachelor in Science in Psychology at Michigan State University, Arnett’s education continued with a Masters and a Ph. D. from the University of Virginia. Arnett has held a lot of professorships and research positions with a variety of universities across the United States. Arnett coined the phrase emerging adulthood, the phase of life between adolescence and full-fledged adulthood. Arnett has also authored three publications including a book about the heavy metal subculture and teens. In addition to his background in academia, Arnett has appeared on television and given speeches to further his theory of emerging adulthood.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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