Why are 20-somethings delaying adulthood? The media have flooded us with negative headlines about this generation, from their sense of entitlement to their immaturity. Drawing on almost a decade of cutting-edge research and nearly five hundred interviews with young people, Richard Settersten, Ph.D., and Barbara E. Ray shatter these stereotypes, revealing an unexpected truth: A slower path to adulthood is good for all of us. Their surprising findings include
- Young adults who finish college and delay marriage and child-rearing get a much better start in life.
- Few 20-somethings who live at home are mooching off their parents. More often, they are using the time at home to gain necessary credentials and save money for a more secure future.
- Helicopter parents aren't so bad after all. Involved parents provide young people with advantages, including mentoring and economic support, that have become increasingly necessary to success.
Not Quite Adults is a fascinating look at an often misunderstood generation. It's a must-read for parents, teachers, psychologists, sociologists, and anyone interested in today's youth culture.
Visit www.notquiteadults.com for more information on this revelatory book.
About the Author
RICHARD SETTERSTEN, PH.D., is Hallie Ford Endowed Chair and professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, and director of the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families, at Oregon State University. He is also a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. A graduate of Northwestern University, Settersten has held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin, the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern, and the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. He is the author or editor of many scientific articles and several books, including On the Frontier of Adulthood. Besides MacArthur, his research has been supported by divisions of the National Institutes of Health. Visit his website at www.richardsettersten.com. BARBARA E. RAY, as owner of Hiredpen, Inc., helps researchers and nonprofit organizations convey their work to broader audiences. She was the communications director for the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood, and has held positions as senior writer at the DHHS-funded Joint Center for Poverty Research, and as a managing editor at the University of Chicago Press journals division. For two years while living in the western Pacific, she was a travel writer and culture reporter. Most recently, she is the executive editor of the website Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning for the MacArthur Foundation. She blogs at www.mybarbararay.com. She is still not quite adult.
“There are three huge strengths that set this book apart from anything else available on the transition to adulthood. First, it is written in a lively and jargon-free style by two rare social scientists who are familiar with the English language. Second, its scope is stunning, including challenges to becoming an adult created by dramatic changes in education, relations between young adults and parents, marriage and its precursors, civic life, and the world of work. Third, the tone is relentlessly upbeat about the advantages these changes are opening up for young people. This book proves that it is possible to write an interesting book about a big social problem that reflects research knowledge while nonetheless being accessible to the American public.” –Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families
“Based on interviews with 500 young adults and extensive research, this outstanding book offers a fresh and compelling view of why it is taking this generation longer to make career and family decisions. The message here is about the value of “slowing down,” and it makes sense not just for young adults, but also for their parents and educators, who are “fast tracking children” into a lengthy period of being nearly, but not quite, adults. Learn about today’s young adults, why they are making the life choices they are, and why we should feel good about it.” –Barbara Schneider, author of the Ambitious Generation, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University
"Not Quite Adults is perhaps the most important contribution to date about the strange new life of America's twentysomethings. Settersten and Ray are able to combine a deep grasp of the research with common sense advice for "not quite adults" and their parents. The slower path to adulthood is here to stay; thanks to the authors, we are now much wiser about what that means for all of us.” –Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys and contributing editor City Journal
"In a world that is confused by 20-somethings, Not Quite Adults offers insight that will help us understand this generation. Hopeful and challenging, this book is a must read for parents and policy makers alike." –Jane Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells.
"One of the most important functions of social science research is to raise the quality of public debate by challenging myth, conjecture, and sensationalism with empirical realities. This book does just that by presenting an integrated social map of young adulthood in 21st Century America that is grounded in a diverse body of research." –James Garbarino, PhD, Loyola University Chicago, author of Children and the Dark Side of Human Experience
"Amid all the outcry over young people stuck in adultolescence and failing to launch comes this sensible portrait of a generation of almost-adults. Based on empirical research, and not hand-wringing punditry, Settersten and Ray reveal a new stage of development that slows the clock, but does not stop it, making slower, but steady progress to more durable relationships and stable social networks." –Michael Kimmel, Professor of Sociology, SUNY Stony Brook, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
“The rulebook has changed; the good ol’ days of a universally accepted school-work-family-retirement fast track are gone. Despite mainstream media’s attempt to portray 20-somethings as a group of lazy, no-good slackers, Not Quite Adults uncovers the real story – how a slower, more calculated transition into adulthood often makes more sense and leads to a better future for us all.” –Sean Aiken, author of The One-Week Job Project
“Aside from enjoying a panoramic perspective on one generation, readers will be able to glean tips on everything from dating to parenting from this admirably lucid and fair-minded study that, in describing what is happening, reveals what is working.” –Publishers Weekly
A provocative look at how a changing reality is transforming the transition to adulthood for a generation of Americans, and the implications of this transformation in today’s competitive world." –Kirkus