Do You Worry About Your Emerging Adults?

By Natalie Caine, M.A., NABBW’s Empty Nest Expert

Parents ask me if their children’s behavior of indecisiveness is damaging?

I believe there is the up side and the down.

You learn through choices and mistakes.

When you become immobile that is limiting and frightening.  Get help.

When you move slower you see and feel more.  Children might take a break from education, work and choose an internship or travel. Some marry late and make different choices for a spouse because of time they chose being solo. Your children aren’t you and you don’t honestly expect them to be.  You just need a reminder to separate your dreams and style from who they are right now.

I notice children don‘t make choices in a straight line unless passion comes to them early in life.  If they know they want to be a veterinarian or chef, they persist.  If they have unknown interests which is more frustrating than multiple interests, they change their mind or meander. This behavior drives parent’s crazy.  It is a challenge and you need to remind yourself, THIS IS THEIR LIFE. THEY DON ‘T MAKE DECISIONS LIKE YOU DO.

Expectations need to be sorted, again.  Over and over, I do see where children might launch late and still they launch themselves. They feel badly about , “Not having it in gear, yet.”  Parents think they don’t and they really do, so you don’t have to carry those feelings for them.  Some aren’t talkers which doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling worried, embarrassed about not having a direction, or feeling like a taker because they aren’t making money.

Parent, your job is to ask how you can help. You want to practice listening and talking less, and back away from directing and problem solving.  At the same time, hold your boundaries so you don’t limit them feeling uncomfortable, making choices, and being responsible for actions.  You know your child.  I often say that because it is true.  What gets muddy is your anger, fear, and resentment of behaviors not changing. Get support to grieve what hasn’t come into reality, yet, and gather tools to deal with differences and challenges.

Counseling for your child can be a great choice. Can you offer to pay that bill?

One of the biggest challenges is EXPECTATIONS.  You want them to go to college and simply get going with their adult life.  You are burnt out managing and not having free time. You feel embarrassed that your child isn’t, “solid” yet.  Life is life. Which means, if they need to live at home, they do.  If they don’t know yet, they don’t. If you don’t like their choices, it is their choices. You need to care for you and get support. You know your child better than anyone.  Do you honestly think they don’t want to feel successful and good about themselves? What resources do you think they need that they aren’t receiving?  What do you need?

One family became more at peace with indecisiveness by communicating through notes on the kitchen table rather than, “TALKS or CHATS.”  It was less threatening and explosive.  They kept an empty journal where parent and child could write a thought, feeling, or question and then the other person could respond.  Options reduce fear.

Parents feel it is their money and space.  True.  Don’t support poor behavior like not making the grade due to partying or over sleeping.  You know what is of value and isn’t.  They need guidance and the word NO. They need to make choices and clean up the mess.  They will make mistakes. Let them have the learning and the feelings.  Listen more. Talk less.

Get support for YOU.   You matter.  No one has a map or guide book.  COMPASSION and CURIOSITY are two great tools.  SELF FOCUS and SELF NURTURING refreshes your exhaustion and worry.

It is not easy. It is sleepless at times.  Talk with other parents.  Have a community. At the same time, be true to who you are and who your family is today.  Comparisons diminish self love.

Take good care,

Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.
Empty Nest Support Services
Los Angeles, CA
(800) 446-3310 or (818) 763-0188

On the web www.emptynestsupport.com

natalie@emptynestsupport.com

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Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.