New Jersey Raises Smoking Age to 21 Years Old

I saw this article over the weekend, and wanted to share it with my readers.  While I am usually a strong supporter of autonomy and the right of adolescents and teens to make decisions.  When it comes to addictive substances, like tobacco, I believe this law will help emerging adults by making it illegal to smoke during later adolescence when peer pressure is so strong.

New Jersey just raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21, joining California and Hawaii.

The new law was signed by Gov. Chris Christie and is set to take affect on Nov. 1. The law includes the sale of all tobacco and electronic tobacco and smoking products.

New Jersey’s smoking age was already higher than most states after it previously made the minimum age to buy tobacco products 19 in 2005.

Read the entire article here.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think that your state should follow the trend?

An Example of Generational Mediation – Tattoos

© 2009 Lisa Padilla, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

We met at my favorite spot – McDonalds, the home of free wifi and endless sweet tea.  The man immediately began to open up about his son, and how proud he was of his academic achievement and occupational accomplishments.  At twenty years old, his son was not a slacker or self-absorbed like most other Millennials (if you believe the media).  He was already financially self-sufficient, and held down a career job.  But in spite of his fatherly pride, something had robbed this father of the ability to enjoy his son.

His son was the last of four children, and had been born to the father much later in life.  The father expressed how often he struggled to understand his son in ways that he did not have with his other children who were almost ten years older.

tattooHe had asked his son to refrain from tattoos until he was twenty-one.  The father’s reasoning included the under-developed brain of emerging adults, his spiritual viewpoint of tattoos, and their long-term impact upon the individual’s body.   Although he couldn’t imagine how anyone would want a tattoo, he would allow his child this option at the proper age.

The son ignored his father’s wishes, and the father’s disappointment was obvious.  He was trying not to take his son’s decision personally, but it still hurt.  The reasons not to get a tattoo were so clear to him.  Why would anyone get a tattoo when “style” change so frequently?  He used the word “style” in reference to tattoos several times during our discussion.

I asked what he meant by “style” and he said.  “In our world clothing styles change every season, and hair styles change once every couple of months.  Why would you get a permanent tattoo?”

While growing up, I often heard people associate tattoos as a trend.  With a larger portion of the population getting inked in today’s world, few would categorized tattoos as a style or fad that changes change with time.  In my discussions with emerging adults, the decision to get a tattoo often reflected a life event, core belief, or part of their identity (more – Sacred Ink).

They are the opposite of a fad, but tattoos often reflect a person’s longing for permanence and search for uniqueness.  The process of globalization has made it even more difficult for people to establish their own place in our world.  Tattoos are a simple way for humans to create a marker of their identity.

As I began to speak, there was a beautiful moment as for the first time, the father understood his son’s perspective.  We sat in a quiet moment.  When our time ended, he turned to me and said, “I have learned a lot.  We should talk again.”

David - Prof 2Another day in the life of a generational mediator.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit that seeks to equip churches and parents to minister to emerging adults.


Made for Maturity – Maslow’s Basic Human Needs and Human Development

When discussing basic human needs, most people are familiar with the work of Maslow and his pyramid of basic humans needs.  Maslow’s five basic human needs were:  physical, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization.  His pyramid was built upon the premise that when one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one.  Maslow believed that people are motivated to achieve certain basic needs. For example, after sitting on a couch for several hours, our physiological need to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom will pull us away from any video game not matter how exciting (or mind-numbing).

Maslow Hierarchy - Up-dated

Maslow’s Hierarchy up-dated for today’s wired world.

My three developmental tasks of adulthood – discovering vocation, developing community, and establishing autonomy– are internally motivated because humans were created with desires to love, to be free, and to be needed.  These basic human needs are based upon God’s creative design.  Since each developmental tasks is rooted in a basic human need, individuals do not need to be convinced of their importance, but will naturally work towards their fulfillment.

Vocation – Humans desire to be needed.

Humans desire to have a role in their world that makes an impact upon our self and the lives of others.  Vocation provides us the ability to be useful and make a difference in this world.  While paid vocation often fulfills other human desires (like income for physiological needs and security), it also fulfills our God-given desire to work, create, and design.  God is a worker, and is glorified as we follow His ways.  Work was not a result of the fall, but the ability to work is a gift (Genesis 3:17-18).

 Autonomy – Humans desire to be free.

Regardless of your theological beliefs concerning determinism or free-will, thoughts of being controlled or unable to affect the outcome of your life can lead to depression, anxiety, or apathy.  Autonomy is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences.  A sense of autonomy allows the individual to see they can make decisions that will change the outcome of their life.  Autonomy provides hope and motivation to the individual to affect our current circumstances.

Community – Humans desire to be loved.

We seek community because we desire to love and to be loved.  Our God is capable of love, and of relationships with His creation.  Veith states, “From the beginning, God put us in families, tribes, societies.  God ordained that we be in relationships.  He ordained that we need each other.”  (God at Work, 2002, 41).

When our basic needs (vocation, autonomy, and community) are unmet, we are motivated to action.  Our desires increase in intensity the longer they remain unmet.  A lack of desire to meet these needs can be rooted in a disability, an addiction (drugs, alcohol, or entertainment) or depression.

The church must seek to meet the needs of emerging adults, through offering assistance in their journey to meet the basic human needs of vocation, autonomy, and community.  I believe that church who create mentoring environments focused on these needs will draw and retain emerging adults.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit that exists to help parents and churches understand the challenges of emerging adulthood.



New Conference – Parenting Towards Adulthood

This week, I am presenting a conference for parents and adolescents on Autonomy this Saturday, November 7 at Christian Life Academy in Farmington, Minnesota.

This workshop is completely free, but to help us prepare we are requesting that you please RSVP to Miss Heather Meyen, 651-463-4545 or if you plan to attend.  This unique workshop is designed for parents of 7th-12th graders and their students to attend together!

Who’s the Boss?: Directions to Adulthood

Autonomy is an essential developmental step towards becoming an adult.  This seminar is designed to increase communication and improve your relationship with your child as you together explore the Biblical definition of autonomy.  We will begin by exploring what autonomy means, and then give you and your child opportunities to evaluate their journey towards adulthood.  The morning will include several conversation breaks for you and your child (discussion questions provided) that will cause you to think, listen, laugh, and grow.

David Boyd 1 (1)If you are interested in hosting a conference or workshop with Dr. Boyd, you can reach him at

Signs of Helicopter Parenting – A Visual Guide by Hannah Marks

I recently came across a visual guide  that describes Helicopter Parenting and its affects upon emerging adults.  While many adults want to give their children autonomy, not all parents recognize when they are too involved in the lives of their children.

helicopter parent1helicopter parent2helicopter parent3

Hannah Marks is the Outreach Manager of the Yellowbrick Program.  You can access the full article at

Related Articles:

Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out

Here is an excerpt from How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims.  

Stressed out student in hallway of school building.

I haven’t read the book yet, but it is now on my reading list!

Here is the link to the article.

Here are few quotes:

  • “The data emerging confirms the harm done by asking so little of our kids when it comes to life skills, yet so much of them when it comes to academics.” Maturity and success as an adult is not based upon academic rigor.
  • “My guess is 75 percent of the parents would rather see their kids depressed at Yale. They figure that the kid can straighten the emotional stuff out in his/her 20’s, but no one can go back and get the Yale undergrad degree.”  As a parent, is your concern for their achievement, or their emotional health?
  • “As parents, our intentions are sound—more than sound: We love our kids fiercely and want only the very best for them. Yet, having succumbed to a combination of safety fears, a college admissions arms race, and perhaps our own needy ego, our sense of what is “best” for our kids is completely out of whack.”  Do you allow your children the freedom to succeed or fail without becoming overly involved or emotional?

It is crucial for parents to allow their emerging adults to develop autonomy – which is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences.



X-Men and Emerging Adulthood – Entrance Exam

I found this image on the web, and wanted to share it with my readers.  Other than being an Extreme Marvel Fan, I love how this comic defines the importance of becoming autonomous.

Act for Yourselves - X-menAutonomy is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences.  Here are a few questions to test whether or not you are able to think and act for yourselves.

1.  Can I tell someone “no” without worrying whether or not they still like me?

2.  Do I have a clear understanding of who I am, and what I like (personal identity) which is distinct from those around me?

3.  Can I make decisions without asking everyone around me?

4.  Am I afraid to make decisions because I fear my decision will leave me alone or isolated from others?

5.  Do I seek friends who look, act, and sound exactly like me?

6.  Do I always wait to see what everyone else is doing before making a decision or expressing an opinion?

7.  Do I have trouble making decisions about what I like or want to do?

8.   Can I tell someone my opinion without stress?

9.  Am I able to withstand peer pressure?

10.  Do I enjoy diversity, or does it make me uncomfortable?

Establishing your personal autonomy is crucial for your development into adulthood.



I wish that my journey into autonomy would have also granted me access into the X-men.  I guess the good news is that I never have to wear a spandex suit.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to encourage emerging adults and their parents.

Go Get a Job – The Developmental Reasons for Adolescents to Work during High School

While “Go Get a Job” can become the go-to response for parents whose children are regularly asking for money, getting a job is a big decision for both adolescents and their parents.  The purpose of this article is to help parents think through the reasons why an adolescents should get a job.   While getting your child away from the house may be helpful, as one parent said, “There needs to be a measurable, attainable goal.”

Here are some good reasons to allow your adolescent to “Go Get a Job:”

1.  Financial Need

Parents should communicate to their children through word and deed that they are not a source of endless money regardless of their life stage.  One parents says, “Whether or not my children get a job is up to them, but I will not be handing out free money.”  Saying no to your children’s financial demands is great motivation for them to get a job, and develops a sense of personal autonomy.

© 2008 Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

I have seen so many parents take second jobs, and work around the clock in order to fulfill each demand of their adolescent children.  This is especially true in today’s world when college is perceived as an entitlement rather than an opportunity.  Speak regularly with your adolescents to set their expectations about college.  One parent says her children, “worked hard for the privilege of getting a higher education. I don’t think they’ll take it for granted, ever.”  Parents should not be seen as benefactors of their children, but both children and parents are participants within the family system.

2.  Learn Skills

Entry-level jobs can teach skills that are key to life development.  One emerging adults states, “A job helped me to learn skills to keep a work schedule, manage my own money and time, and interact with managers, bosses, and coworkers.”  Another Emerging Adult says, “As a soccer referee, I learned how to treat people professionally even when they don’t reciprocate.”  This emerging adult took his soccer knowledge, and turned it into a vocational skill.  Skills learned by adolescents include:  responsibility, time management, the value of work, working with others, working with customers, computer skills, dealing with authority, and business etiquette.

3.  Discern Vocation

© 2009 Alex France, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Adolescents are ready to begin a life-long journey of finding work that will provide for themselves and those they love.  In these early jobs, emerging adults can learn what type of work fulfills them.  For example, an adolescent can learn whether they enjoy working with people, or working alone.  One emerging adult reflects, “I wish looking back that I had invested more in jobs that would have prepared me for a career after school, by focusing on getting administrative or service experience.  Instead, I went for what worked with my schedule and paid the most.”

 4.  Social Skills

While getting your kid out of the house should not be the only motivation, your child must learn to develop new social networks.  Learning social skills including:  listening, following authority, smiling, contributing to conversations, and managing conflict are crucial.  One emerging adult shares their experience.  “I just liked the job, because I had a friend who worked there so we had a blast working together, and all the adults in the place loved us and treated us like their kids. I’m still FB friends with most of them.”  Sometimes parents want to protect our children from outside influences during high school; however, it is important that adolescents are able to build their own social network.

 5.  Learn Autonomy

A workplace setting will require the adolescent to develop autonomy.  As a parent, you must allow them to make their own decisions and face the consequences.  It is not your job to wake them up for work each morning, to call their boss, or to fill out their paperwork.  If an adolescent’s first job comes through family connections, it is even more important that parents stay out of their work world, and allow the child to achieve or fail based upon their own performance.

There are several reasons to encourage your children venture out into the world of work.  One parent writes, “each family has to look at the individual kid and see what makes sense for them and the family.  Every child will be different.”

May God guide you as you reflect on your child’s developmental needs.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

Parenting Young Adults with ADHD

As a parent with a child with ADHD, I know that parenting can be challenging at some times, and exhausting at others.  My son at the age of three would stay awake playing in his room until 11 pm because he could not settle down.

I have seen the challenges as a toddler, and child.  The challenges of a young adult with ADHD affect development, and cause difficulties within the home.

Here is a great article that I found that discusses the challenges of young adulthood for the person with ADHD.  The author does a great job of supporting the concepts of autonomy, community, and vocation.



Emerging Adult Sues Parents for Child-Support?

Rachel CanningWhat do your parents owe you?

Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old from New Jersey, believes that her parents owe her a lot.  Rachel is suing her parents for $650 in weekly child support, tuition at Morris Catholic High School ($12,700 a year according to their website), and her legal fees.

Rachel claims that her parents were abusive, and forced her to move out.  Her parents claim that Rachel left because she would not follow house rules including chores and a curfew.  Rachel was living with the family of one of her friends who is also currently paying her legal fees.

State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied her motion for financial support, but ordered everyone back to court on April 22.  This case will examine the question as to whether her parents are obligated to financially support their daughter.

Laws being made in our country speak to our culture’s expectations of emerging adults to grow up and care for themselves.  Under the Affordable Care Act, an emerging adult can now stay under their parent’s health insurance until 26.  While I am not necessarily opposed to this law, we must understand that laws set expectations, and expectations direct behavior.  This is the reason why Rachel Canning’s lawsuit is important.  This case explores several topics in our society including:  autonomy, the age of adulthood, responsibility of parents/children, and the abilities of parents to direct a household.

In this article, I want to look at the right of parents to impose consequences on their children’s behavior.  Rachel’s parents claim that Rachel broke the rules established in their home, and therefore she had to leave the home.  If she would abide by those rules, then she is free to return (which she recently did return home).

Parents cannot control behavior (although we would like to!), but they should be able to make appropriate consequences for behavior that they deem unhealthy.  Law experts worry that a decision in support of Rachel could lead the way to greater law suits.  What if a 16-year-old sues dad for a car?  What if a 10-year-old sues mom for an i-phone?  A decision which favors Rachel over her parents appears to remove power from parents to guide and direct their children’s behavior.  It also removes power from parents to impose consequences on their children’s behavior.

Many emerging adults have been given complete freedom, but are not dealing with the consequences.  Parents step in too often when their children make bad decisions because they cannot handle the child’s pain.  Freedom does not make an individual an adult, autonomy does.  Parents and emerging adults must both value autonomy in order to fully mature.

Autonomy is the ability of an individual to make their own decisions and deal with those consequences.  In this case, Rachel is stating that she has the freedom to make her own decisions (and her parents agree), however, she apparently is not willing to live with the consequences of those decisions.  Rachel wants to be able to make her own decisions regardless of the consequences.

Many parents struggle with allowing children to deal with the consequences of poor decisions.  If a child gets a bad grade, then they will call a teacher, or help them do the homework.  If they get a speeding ticket, the parents pay the fees.  Instead of a child learning that poor decisions bring negative consequences, the child expects that their parents to deal with the consequences.

Gardener planting the seedlings to the flower bed.Dealing with the consequences of actions is a concept that is found throughout scripture, and is often referred to the principle of sowing and reaping.  In Galatians 6:6-9, Paul teaches that the individual will reap what they sow, although it might not be according to the world’s timeline, but according to God’s timeline.

I believe that our society should rally to support the rights of parents who make emerging adults deal with the consequences of their actions.  As we give them autonomy (not just freedom), they are ready to face the road ahead.

What are your thoughts?  Did your parents ever set consequences for your decisions?