George Will makes the case that childhood has been extended for men, into their thirities in many cases. I think he's absolutely right about this, but I'd have to admit, even I am guilty of holding these lowered expectations for young men. He points out how Tiger Woods was referred to as "the kid," at age 33. I tend to think of males under 30 as kids(the CEO of Facebook is 25, so there certainly are exceptions).
But even I am shocked by some of what Will reveals here:
In 1956, the median age of men marrying was 22.5. But between 1980 and 2004, the percentage of men reaching age 40 without marrying increased from 6 to 16.5. A recent study found that 55 percent of men 18 to 24 are living in their parents' homes, as are 13 percent of men 25 to 34, compared to 8 percent of women.
Mike Stivic, a.k.a. Meathead, the liberal graduate student in All in the Family, reflected society's belief in the cultural superiority of youth, but he was a leading indicator of something else: He lived in his father-in-law Archie Bunker's home. What are today's "basement boys" doing down there? Perhaps watching Friends and Seinfeld reruns about a culture of extended youth utterly unlike the world of young adults in previous generations.
So you might ask, what's the danger here? It is this; an extension of childhood means a delaying of taking on adult responsibilities, at least in full. Which means you're taking more from society, in one form another, than you're giving. This is what the helicopter parents have wrought.