Dear Style & Substance:
Any transition in life is an opportunity. Nature gives us many examples of the process of change and evolution — we do not plant seeds underground in order to create dormancy — we plant seeds to come to fruition. In order for a seed to bear fruit it must go through numerous transitions, some stressful, some natural and easy. Parenting is the same process. This is Part II in continuing with the tough topic of the “Successful Launching” of your young adult children. We call this part the “hard sell.”
The “hard sell” is used to quickly and efficiently get your young adult child unstuck and on track. It can happen when there hasn’t been honest and straightforward communication about the future or when unexpected events or emotions have changed the original plans.
Having both parents in agreement with the expectations is a very positive position to begin this process — whether you are all in the same house or if you have two separate households; it takes some consistent communication to get the launch completed. It cannot be the same for each child, just as discipline has to be modified; different children mean different interests, abilities and issues.
It is not atypical for 18 to 24 year olds to be “stuck.” Many parents assume that since the child doesn’t seem like they are making any attempts at momentum, that they are unmotivated. Don’t instantly go to mad or frustrated. Simply asking them what they are anticipating in the next month, 6 months and year, is a great way to open up the conversation without it appearing to be an attack. The discussion of self-sufficiency should happen with ground rules in place for having a civil series of conversations. Civil meaning that sarcasm, frustration and walking out are not options and these rules should be set at the onset of the talks.
Financial responsibility means a young adult creates a plan for self-sufficiency — beginning with the basics of having a formal banking system to budgeting for daily necessities to short term and long term planning. It is also determining needs versus wants. If a young adult lives at home, a small rent should be required, just to get them in the habit of seeing to the financial reality of “needs.” College loans have thrown a huge wrench in independence. As parents, you can guide this debt process and offer suggestions for strategies and meeting with financial planning professionals. If they do return home, have a contract or tight verbal agreement of expectations; financial, household contributions and communication.
A very unrealistic expectation is for young adults to live a lifestyle at the same level that they have grown accustomed to. Because parents feel so uncomfortable that their child may go without something, they feel compelled to alleviate the “pain” that they perceive they are in. The healthy response to “this is hard” should be “yes, it is,” not “how much do you need?” Managing adversity and struggles is a life-long process. The tough part of adversity is you rarely know when it is going to pay a visit. A parent wishing for a successful launch should differentiate between growing pains and adversity and communicate and act accordingly.
Understanding and helping to develop your child’s strengths and abilities will help you guide the goal setting process. We have decided that success is a path that is created by a series of logical and good choices. Taking a job doesn’t mean that career goals and expectations are on hold, it means your young adult is beginning to network, polish, create a routine/schedule, and stimulate his or her mind. Encourage them to make the job their own, do it with professionalism and keep their eyes open and resume prepared for the next good thing.
Putting these new strategies into place will give you some “growing pains” of your own, but should open up communication and set a joint effort, solidly made plan into motion.
Please feel free to drop by Style & Substance “free advice night” at the Champlain Wine Company on Aug. 15 from 5-7 p.m. Buy a glass of wine, or do a tasting, and then give, get or share some valuable advice with our friends.
A S K
Style & Substance
creative life coaching solutions
Email your questions or request a life coaching appointment to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information: visit our website at yourstyleandsubstance.com