Advice and Structure doesn’t just end with school.
I have so many friends who were treated well when they were younger, they all grew up with Tamagotchi’s and the latest Disney movies, they never missed out on a school trip; Their lives were structured. Then they turned eighteen and their parents stopped helping them.
We spend so many years in the cotton wool world of secondary school, you turn around and find; it’s up to you to decide whether to go to College, work for a paltry zero-hours contract or go to India to ‘find yourself’
They told you in school that if you didn’t do well, you wouldn’t amount to anything; so you take on a job in a phone shop and find that the structure suits you, okay it means you have to flat share; maybe get in a bit of debt, but nobody ever explained that the same debt incurred by Student Loans is never going to be possible to pay back. So you work and go out on the lash, perhaps fall in love or just sleep around.
Yet, much like the fact nobody ever explained that University Debt is totally invisible; you are left wondering where your life is headed, if you’ll actually grow out of perpetual student mode.
The Christmas shoppers descend upon your phone shop and you want to quit because the manager is practicing his best Donald Trump, day in-day out mithering at you to meet your sales targets. You want to quit your job, but you are already in debt and the older you get, the harder it is to apply for a college or get into a University.
This is happening all around us at the moment; I’m not saying University is the answer to all your problems; I happened to pick at random and ended up in Northampton, which was a vast wasteland in comparison to the city of Swansea in which I lived (and that’s saying something)
I was taken in by the idea of further education after a difficult secondary school and a frustrating college Education in something called ‘Media’ many of my classmates dropped out to work in call-centers lured in by the certainty of money.
Their parents either lacked an awareness of the stresses of the modern world or in some way, decided that supporting their children through the early steps was sufficient. Some teens even end up having to pay their parents rent; as if they should magically know what to do as soon as they turn a certain age.
Some parents even use money to control their children or fail to recognise the drudgery that a life without any clear guidance can produce. I’m fortunate to be aloof to this kind of challenge, as I’ve always had at least access to money. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to feel entitled to let any personal sniping or emotional problems of any of my family get me down…Makes no difference to me.
Given that ‘Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years.’ This type of neglect is creating further distance between young adults and their parents; they see their job as the caregiver to be over with and never have the privilege to think of their teens as ‘friends’
I’ve seen friends spiral down into drug dependency and unhealthy relationships as a response to lack of guidance. I was lucky enough that one half of my parents was willing to support me financially; until I found a concrete opportunity to work abroad.
I was encouraged to go up to London for interviews for Voluntary Service Overseas, which could be seen cynically as time I should have been putting money into the household. It’s time to acknowledge that parenthood doesn’t have a sell-by date and that there is so much more obstacles in early adulthood than there ever was in the Tamagotchi days.