The Public Interest

When Do Parents Grow Up?

Rachel M. Flick

Summer 1982

A CROWNING number of writers is calling our attention to the fact that children today seem to be very confused and are unduly inclined to delinquency, suicide, and drugs. A somewhat smaller number, however, has been willing to assert that you really cannot understand kids without looking at their parents. It is frequently noted that adults today are rootless-cut off from the religious and civic traditions that used to anchor them. It is conceded that Americans are adrift and afraid, and lack the sense of place and purpose that their parents had; although many Americans have already reproduced themselves, they still claim not to know who their “selves” are. Surprisingly few writers, however, ask what we should expect of the children of such people.

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