Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Study claims Taiwanese `postpone' adult behavior

NO SELF-REGULATION Parental overprotection, survey researcher Lee Hsueh-li said, is breeding a generation of people who lack independent, critical thinking abilities

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A majority of Taiwanese between the ages of 18 and 24 are experiencing "postponed adulthood" compared with their counterparts in other parts of the world and a lack of self-regulation should be blamed for the delay, academics said yesterday after surveying Taiwanese youths' aspirations and outlooks on life.

According to a survey CommonWealth magazine conducted among 2,804 college and high school students last month, 53 percent of respondents believed a person should become independent between the ages of 20 and 24. However, over one-third of them said they did not foresee being independent until age 25.

More than 67 percent of the respondents said lack of self-regulation prevented them from being independent.

"The numbers tell us the most of the youths know what their problem is, but they are not motivated enough to be independent because they have been sheltered by their parents," said Lee Hsueh-li (李雪莉), the survey's leading author.

Lee said most Taiwanese parents think they are running a "democratic" family, but the reality is that they are constantly interfering with their children's decision making process by imposing their opinions on them.

Parental overprotection, she added, is breeding a generation of people who lack independent critical thinking skills.

Associate professor Jimmy Wu (吳肇銘) from Chung Yuan Christian University attributed a lack of global experience to an unwillingness to be independent among the Taiwanese youth, saying participation in international volunteer work could help wean the youth from their parents.

"When you are rendering services to others, you are also discovering your own strengths and weaknesses. You learn to overcome your fears and learn to view things from a broader perspective," Wu said.

Wu also encouraged parents to trust their children and relax the reins on them. Parents and teachers should build a stage for the youths to perform without dictating their every move, he said.

National Youth Commission Chairwoman Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said in a globalized market, Taiwanese students should not be obsessed with diplomas but rather focus on developing unique skills in order to be financially independent early on in life.

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