This weekend, Viking published an amazing book by our good friend, the first-rate writer Sally Koslow. The subject is our kids, all of ours, and the title is Slouching Toward Adulthood: How to Let Go So Your Kids Can Grow Up. Sally looks at the epidemic of boomerang kids with the tough eye of a journalist and the warm heart of a mother.
We love Sally’s book and hope you will read it. Her story is as important for parents with two-year olds or twenty-two year olds, as she examines the arc of parenting. We chatted with Sally (photo credit: Robert Koslow) about the behind-the-scenes story of the book, and part 2 of the interview follows. She has kindly offered two signed copies of her book to subscribers of Grown and Flown. Details follow the interview.
Grown and Flown’s exclusive interview with Sally Koslow – part 2
G&F: In your final chapter you dip your toe into the water of suggestions for those who are slouching toward adulthood by “….wishing that more adultescents would stop pretending that procrastination represents moral superiority and just try to get on with it.” Were you ever tempted to cross the line and, in a mom-like manner, grip a young person by the shoulders and tell them just that?
Sally:I did not want to be a self-help Barbie but I wished I could have given some of the interviewee subjects motherly advice. Some adultescents I interviewed struck me as sad and lost. However, lives have already changed in some cases. One frustrated young man wandering from job to job in Colorado, for example, has now finished the first year of social work graduate school.
G&F: You say that you fear that “years from now many of them, along with their tottering parents, won’t look in their rearview mirrors and wish they’d done a few things differently.” Any suggestions for how we can get our grown but not yet flown kids to realize this?
Sally: Give them Slouching Toward Adulthood to read. It includes many cautionary tales.
G&F: Much of the blame for our adultescents slow maturation lies squarely with us baby boomer parents. What advice would you give to millennials who are parents of younger children to avoid some of our pitfalls?
Sally:Expect kids to be responsible for cleaning their rooms, making their beds, and performing other jobs around the house. As they get older, teach them to perform practical tasks, like how to do laundry or set a table and to be responsible for completing homework without parental help or nagging. When they get to be teenagers, encourage them to get jobs—i.e, babysitting or shoveling snow for neighbors. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t send your child to the fanciest summer camp or offer them every lesson. Be a loving parent without giving your kids the impression that the sun rises and sets around them.
G&F: How do you know that we Boomers got it right? We were supposed to save the world, not sure we succeeded? Is there something we should be learning from our adultescents?
Sally: How to update the way we dance.