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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In defense of the Helicopter parent--it's taking longer to grow up
I recently read this book by family scholar Richard Settersten, coauthored with Barbara Rey, titled Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Something are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why it's Good for Everyone. "I couldn't put it down" is such a hackneyed term that even high school essayists won't use it. But in my case, it's true. I haven't plowed through a book this...
Published on March 8, 2011 by ngonzalez. Certified Family Li...

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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overbearing
I bought this book after reading a review in the Economist, and was intrigued by the premise. I fit into this age group and situation, and was interested to see what their research revealed. This reads more as a guide for 20-somethings than a means for gaining any real meaning into the plight of this section of Americans. In fact, I'll summarize the theme of this book...
Published on February 8, 2011 by Robert Hamilton


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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In defense of the Helicopter parent--it's taking longer to grow up, March 8, 2011
This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
I recently read this book by family scholar Richard Settersten, coauthored with Barbara Rey, titled Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Something are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why it's Good for Everyone. "I couldn't put it down" is such a hackneyed term that even high school essayists won't use it. But in my case, it's true. I haven't plowed through a book this fast since the Da Vinci Code.

Not Quite Adults explains the phenomenon of the lengthening duration from high school graduation and attaining what has been the experience of transitioning to adulthood of the past few decades. Young adults are meeting the sociological markers of leaving home, finishing school, finding work, getting married and having kids in a more lengthy and often reordered way.

The book had so much meaning for me, for a three reasons. First, the content was co-authored by a first rate scholar. (I work in the field.) Settersten is Professor and the Hallie Ford Endowed Chair in the Human Development and Family Sciences Department at Oregon State University. Moreover, I could identify with every word because I am the mom of a transitioning adult. It affirmed what I am noticing intuitively--that the time elapsing from adolescence to adulthood, as it was defined back in my day, has stretched and that today's young adults need a head start, including supportive parents, to make the leap.

Finally, it confirmed a trend that I began to see increasingly in my previous 15 year career as an academic adviser at a major university. I worked a lot with older students, returning to college in their late 20s or 30s. Typically, they had bailed out after a year or two of college due to lack of funds, or some life circumstance of some kind (such as having a child) or because of some overall confusion or lack of direction. They didn't have a safety net and, by the look of their transcripts, they hadn't found an adviser who gave them a game plan. By the time they arrived at my desk, most of them needed well over 60 semester credits and hundreds and hundreds of dollars in tuition. I saw a steady stream of prospective students in my career who had no savings and were sometimes living hand to mouth. They could just not scrape up the money to start over. Furthermore, they recognized the precarious situation they were in and were reluctant to pursue student loans even though it would be the best investment long term. The authors describe the concepts of "good debt" and "bad debt." A car depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot. A college education just keeps paying dividends throughout a lifetime.

The authors are especially interested in understanding some of the differences between "swimmers" and "treaders." Swimmers get off to the right start. They have a leg up due to booster parents or a fortuitous combination of mentoring and funding. They are able to attain higher education, then a job, and then pursue homeownership and family formation once they are financially established. Treaders get sidelined due to cumulative disadvantage and, in the absence of the right kind of encouragement and support, they are constantly playing catch-up and can't get a foothold on life's ladder.

Get ready for some mythbusting backed by bulletproof scholarly data. The media is rife with judgmental conventional wisdom that what we have here is a "failure to launch." The authors stress the modern truth: " ... what's different today is that the stakes on all fronts are much higher. Poor judgments and small mistakes on the road to adulthood are all substantially more perilous than they were just a decade ago. In an increasingly winner-takes-all society, there is little room for missteps. With missteps, the opportunity to succeed--the bedrock of America--fades. The result: a world that opens up widely to some while narrowing for others, with a shrinking middle in between."

Finally, for parents like me, this book removes the shame that society is attempting to foist on us... that we are crippling our young adults by not tossing them out of nest to "sink" or "swim." There are horror stories of over-involvement--such as enmeshed parents calling professors or employers to intercede for their children--but there has never been more need for a mentoring parent in a couple generations.

Our son, if we have anything to say about it, is going to get a full ride through a Bachelor's degree and, after he completes his degree, he is welcome to live with Dad and I, to come and go as he pleases, until he has his first job and can sock away a little cash. My favorite quote from the entire book is this: "Involved parents, and even the helicopter parents of media fame, aren't so bad after all--especially in contrast with parents who give no support at all. It's far worse to have uninvolved parents than it is to have super-involved ones. Rather than a sign of weakness, involved parents provide young people with advantages, including advice, funds, a roof and a bed, and connections."

This is where the book prods those in my field into what we can should be doing, --namely to start a dialog about launching the young adult in the form of family life education. What does being a healthy springboard for our children look like? And what is the point of over-doing? Right now I'm muddling through with the guideline of teaching him to fish. We need parent education for a new developmental stage--and fast. The rules have changed, and this trend is here to say.

This book is a fantastic read about a critical change in our society. It's in paperback and is therefore quite affordable. I couldn't recommend it more.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overbearing, February 8, 2011
By 
Robert Hamilton (Philadelphia, PA, USA) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book after reading a review in the Economist, and was intrigued by the premise. I fit into this age group and situation, and was interested to see what their research revealed. This reads more as a guide for 20-somethings than a means for gaining any real meaning into the plight of this section of Americans. In fact, I'll summarize the theme of this book for you in one sentence: Go to college, *graduate*, or your life is screwed. Despite admitting at various times throughout this work that college may not be for everyone, the authors repeatedly hammer home that your life will be a catastrophe if you don't pursue and succeed at getting an education, regardless of your financial and/or home situations. This is contradictory to such statements within the text as, "Not going to college should not mean failure. No student should hate themselves because they repeatedly try but fail."

I suppose if you're not a member of this age group and want some cursory knowledge into 20-somethings, this is worth a read. If you're in this age group, this book will either make you feel like an accomplished god (with a college degree) or a total waste of humanity (who tried and failed).
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, March 7, 2011
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Not Quite Adults is a groundbreaker! Wide in scope and lively in style, it challenges the stereotype that today's 20-somethings are a generation of entitled slackers who refuse to grow up. Rather, the authors show how the times are a-changin'--- and how these changes have radically impacted the transition to adulthood today, providing insights into why the slower path to growing up is beneficial to all. As a developmental psychologist---and the mother of a 24 year old---I love this book. It should be required reading for anyone interested in what is happening to 20-somethings in America today.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author is completely out of touch with reality!, March 3, 2011
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This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
>>Ray suggests that GenY is so frugal that they might take their fear of debt too far, and avoid even good investments such as college, home purchases, and small business start-up costs. "Many young people, especially those from lesser means, see the price tag [of college tuition] and think, 'Oh my god, I can't possibly take that on.' They could be shortchanging themselves,' says Barbara Ray, since college is an investment that pays off."<<

How out of touch is this author?

1) Home purchases? Has Barbara Ray been living under a rock the past five years? Missed this little thing called the real estate bubble? How could anyone possibly say that Gen Y is "afraid of debt" after we have all been severely punished by reckless borrowing? Talk about a lesson not learned.

2) College? How you seen the ridiculous tuition hikes that this nation is suffering through? It has gotten so ridiculous that NYU students (considered to be one of the most expensive universities in the US) are protesting! I just finished reading a report about how ivy-educated lawyers can't get a job that pays more than $15 an hour, while holding six-figure debt loads. I agree that higher education is essential in the growth of a person (financially and emotionally), but in this world of predatory for-profit education tricking today's youth, and law schools pumping rosters for extra tuition, navigating the higher education waters have become so much more difficult.

3) Small business start up costs? Have you tried to get a SBA loan recently? It is nearly impossible. What the author fails to address is how TARP funds got pushed into bank treasury accounts and never found their way to stimulus lending. I am a firm believer in entrepreneurship driving growth, but Ray's ridiculous assumptions are outrageous.

This is just another author taking a vague generational classification and creating assumptions that cannot be justified by any sort of reality. I can't take anything in the book seriously.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Convinced, August 17, 2012
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Being a younger adult myself, I was interested in reading a scholarly piece on the common failure to launch phenomenon I've seen among my friends and contemporaries. I agree with the authors, at least on my limited, anecdotal experiences, that this is a trend, but I was not convinced that it is a good one. Or, at least that it has aspects to it that are beneficial to society at large. They do a good job of marshaling arguments in support of their position, but my feet on the ground perspective of the slackers who mooch off mom and dad while at the same time exhibiting no discernible plan or desire to live on their own has tainted my view sufficiently that I was a hard sell to begin with. For that reason, in the interest of fairness, you may want to take my review of with a grain of salt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend item and seller!, July 2, 2014
This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
Good book. Provides solid references. In excellent shape for a paperback. Very fair price. Received inside shipment window.
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2.0 out of 5 stars VERY boring and mundane, January 23, 2014
By 
Mark J. Van Ryzin "bigdumbyank" (Minneapolis, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
Not much here that's new or interesting. Here is the summary: Kids have trouble financing school, so many choose not to go even though going would be in there best interest over the long term. Now you don't have to actually read the book.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Enlightening, February 12, 2011
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This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
Super! This book is an excellent overview of how teens and young adults are entering and coping with adulthood and provides important context concerning what parental and education strategies are working -- and what could be done better. The book is exceedingly readable, well-written, accessible, and quite fascinating, presenting a good combination of anecdotal interviews, research, and sociological analysis. It concludes with some innovative public policy recommendations geared toward improving the success rate of young adults.

I learned from it -- and I'm going to give it to my sister, who has an eighteen-year-old and a twenty-two-year-old and who probably falls into the helicopter parent category. She'll be glad to read something positive about that instead of being castigated for it!

Finally, the authors shine a much-needed light on the growing, alarming gap between "swimmers" and "treaders" -- kids who have parental and monetary support and those who don't -- showing how this will lead to an increasing income and class disparity unless it is addressed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly informative and very relevant, March 26, 2011
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Tyna Adams (Birmingham, Alabama United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
This book is important for anyone who has a young adult or works with young adults in educational environments.I was initially drawn to this book because of my interest and research in to parental involvement in higher education and the impact that it has on students. This book goes beyond the generational theories in explaining how parental involvement has become so important and why it remains important in this world of swimmers and treaders. The real life stories of students and young adults trying to get ahead are very moving and relevant in the current state of affairs in our nation. I will be recommending this to all of my colleagues and friends.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars True in a narrow context, but misses the larger picture, December 23, 2011
By 
Aikos (NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone (Paperback)
While much of what ngonzalez said in her review is true, ultimately I'd be more with Michael Kim.

The authors point out that parental support is needed much more today than it was 20-40 years ago. This is true. This is because there has been a steady erosion of the safety net and social spending. No longer do we spend on the next generation through taxes--- instead we spend on OUR specific kids. The gap is growing between the rich and poor; and the middle class is shrinking away.

Instead of calling for a more egalitarian society, as the Occupy movement and the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better do, the authors give tips on how to adjust to a Bad Decision on the part of society. This is all the more egregious given how heavily this study was funded by the MacArthur Foundation, an organization that helped fund the Brundtland Commission report, which gave us the phrase sustainable development-- meeting for the needs of today's generations without eroding the basis of the next generation.

The rich have always provided for their kids-- that is why there are private schools, private universities, trust funds, rich neighborhoods with good schools, etc. And in an era when rich and poor are dividing, bad decisions do carry bigger individual consequences.

But why is the author endorsing the move to a divided society? Why don't they speak out against this move? Does she have no awareness that an indebted citizenry is one with less freedom to dissent against these bad decisions, and one with less time to do so?

Another huge flaw of the book is the failure to mention the ecological realities of today's youth are under. The costs of bad environmental decisions are coming in: the icecaps are melting, weather is becoming more extreme, oil prices are rising after decades of neglecting conservation, frogs and bees are facing die-offs.

As a narrow-minded book on counseling or parenting, the book might have its virtues. Otherwise, it is part of the Reagan Revolution of thinking locally and acting globally.

I would encourage folks to look at the work of Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt and DIY University.
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Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone
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