Welcome to extended adolescence

We recently attended a conference where Max Valiquette, President and CEO of youthography.com was a keynote speaker. He shared some interesting insights about a new trend he calls “extended adolescence.”

If your adult children are still living at home (or have boomeranged home again) you already know that adolescence (that state of almost-adulthood) is lasting longer than ever before. For example:

  • in larger cities, 54-59% of 20-29-year-olds live at home
  • the average age to graduate from university is now 25 (20 years ago it was 23)
  • the average age of first marriage is 28 (20 years ago it was 25)
  • the average age to give birth to your first child is 29 (20 years ago it was 26)

What’s also interesting is that kid are entering adolescence earlier than ever before:

  • the average kid is put into their first organized educational “classroom” before age 4
  • the average kid tries their first cigarette by age 13
  • kids now have to make decisions about what courses to take in high school that can profoundly affect the direction their lives will take (starting as early as age 14)

Fifty years ago, adolescence as a concept didn’t exist. You were a child, then you were adult. Now, we have this extended concept of adolescence that lasts for 10, 20, even up to 30 years. How is this changing the way you relate to your kids — and how they view your responsibilities towards them?