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Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

Author of Getting to 30

It's the new reality for parents of kids in their twenties, and everybody is talking about it: Will our child ever leave home, find love, start a career, settle down, act like a grown-up? Dr. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, who coined the term "emerging adulthood," is the world's leading authority on this newly defined developmental stage, from age 18 to 29. His new book, WHEN WILL MY GROWN-UP KID GROW UP?, cowritten with writer and parent Elizabeth Fishel, is the parenting guide that says it's all going to be OK, and demonstrates why the time spent in emerging adulthood—which may look like flailing to parents—actually helps kids become happier, healthier grown-ups. The book is now available in paperback, re-titled GETTING TO 30: A Parent’s Guide to the 20-Something Years. Arnett is a popular and frequent speaker nationwide at organizations devoted to family relations and therapy, parenting, social work, and college counseling and admissions.

Dr. Arnett is a research professor in the psychology department at Clark University and the author of Emerging Adulthood, the book that brought attention to this new stage of life. Despite derogatory portrayals of slacker 20-somethings in recent films and TV shows, he says, "It's a mystery to me that they are seen as . . . lazy and selfish, that they don't want to grow, when the fact is that they are more likely to be working and going to school at the same time than their parents were at the same age." He recently released the findings of a poll he conducted with emerging adults, which found that they gradually transition away from their parents during this age span, the majority report close relationships with their parents, and they are surprisingly optimistic about their adult lives. Arnett will release the results of a 2013 parents' poll to coincide with the publication of his new book.

WHEN WILL MY GROWN-UP KID GROW UP? offers parents the tools to deal with the challenges of emerging adulthood, including setting goals, how to listen more than you talk, how to share household responsibilities, money-management strategies, being available for career advice and help, and ten things that are better left unsaid.

Dr. Arnett is the author of the textbook Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood and since 2002 has been editor of the Journal of Adolescent Research. He recently founded the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (, which sponsors a biennial conference and a journal, Emerging Adulthood. The father of teenage twins, he lives with his family in Worcester, MA.

Speaking Topics

  • When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up? Loving and Understanding Your Emerging Adult
  • Emerging Adulthood: The Promise and Perils of a New Life Stage, Ages 18–29
  • Emerging Adults on Campus: Understanding the New Life Stage, Ages 18–29


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