Dr. John McKinnon is the author of An Unchanged Mind
, a book about delayed maturity, as well as the forthcoming To Change a Mind
, which discusses how parents can help nudge kids along to mature functioning.
He (and we) have noted the Times'
ongoing series about the psychology of teens, and this week, that has been extended to our society's child-like twenty somethings. Here's what Dr. McKinnon had to say, a bit more insightful than my grumblings about the undependable, drifting "adults" I often bump into in my own life:
Have you seen the piece about delayed psychological development in the NY Times Magazine?
From where I sit, of course, this reframing of the 20's as a new "stage of emerging adulthood" strikes me as a cheerful re-packaging of "stuck" adolescence and delayed arrival of adult character structure and responsibility.
This account seems filled with the benign possibilities provided by yet another decade of self-preoccupation and delayed maturity. The implicit message is that maybe this is somehow really a great thing. I must say, however, that few of our parents, who are fed up with academic and economic fecklessness, the persistence of inconsiderate arrogance, goal-lessness and selfish, childish moral reasoning (oddly soft-pedaled in the NYT account) share this optimistic viewpoint.
I'll be intrigued to hear what people think about the piece. Surely it marks the arrival of "maturity" as a major issue in the sophisticated lay press, even if contemporary psychiatry has not yet recognized the problem.