Blast Off! Launching Your Young Adult

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s Vanessa Blaxland, MFTi.

Today many young adults are staying at home longer, well into their 20’s and maybe even their 30’s.  Which may not be a problem in and of itself.  The problem lies in why they are they staying home longer.  Unlike previous generations who stayed at home into their late twenties to help support and contribute to the family, young adults today are staying home in need of being supported.  If you are a parent you can understand the stress of supporting another grown adult would put on you.  Instead of enjoying the freedom of an empty nester you are left putting in parenting overtime.  Now of course you want to see your children succeed and don’t want them to suffer, which may part of why you let them continue to live at home and support them, but eventually for your health and theirs they will have to get moving.

You may be asking “So how do I get my kid to launch?”  Well, launching is a process and it starts with you.  A couple of things that I know do not work is 1) Being overprotective.   If you do not give your children room to spread their wings and fly a little they will never discover what great things they are capable of.  Of course they are going to make mistakes, but that is how they will learn.  If you can shift your role from “Protector” to “Guide” your child will sense the shift in confidence you have in them and be more comfortable gaining independence from you.  2) The second thing that will halt your young adults launch is your attitude about their independence.  Yes, launching your child into adulthood is scary and nerve wracking, whether it’s sending them off to college or they are getting their own apartment for the first time, there is much that you are concerned about, and rightfully so.  However, having a fearful attitude towards your child’s steps toward independence can set your child up for failure, especially if your fears are continually made known to your child.  What can happen is that your young adult can internalize or adopt those fears, unintentionally sabotaging their efforts to launch.  What can help ease your anxieties is to create a support system.  Find a support group of other parents with young adult children, talk to your friends and family who are going through the same thing, or find a mentor who has already launched their children.  Just as your child will need your support as they venture out into adulthood more and more, you too will need your own support system.   Here’s to a successful blast off!

Elana Clark-Faler
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