Adult children living at home
Recent media coverage has highlighted the number of young people still living at home. There are many reasons for this; the recession has affected many young people who have lost jobs and have had to return home.
Ironically, European statistics show that it is not just an Irish Mammy problem; many countries in Europe have the same problem. Perhaps it’s more about parenting styles. The most common parenting style is the overprotective parent; more usually the mother. This is the parent who cares, cares, cares for the young person. However; this can deny the son/daughter the opportunity to learn new skills, become competent and confident and become enabled. If a teen/young person is denied opportunity; they miss out on important life skills at different stages of development and some can be rendered virtually helpless by a parent who gives and gives and asks for nothing in return.
The importance of encouraging our young person
Never do for them what they can do; or learn to do for themselves. However; take time for training and ensure you are patient and encouraging. Teenagers and young people are happy to learn as long as there’s an absence of criticism. Criticism discourages them and dries up their efforts to learn. You will be surprised to find that they become remarkably responsible; when given responsibility.
Effective communication with our young adults
When young people have to return home or remain on in the home; rules many have to be renegotiated. Good communication is essential here – use ‘I’ messages to communicate your needs and your feelings and you will receive a better response than the usual ‘You never help!” which are blaming messages and will only get a defensive reply back. ‘I feel unappreciated and I need ….’ may get a better response.
Choice giving teaches young people responsibility
Offering choices to the young person is also advisable ‘If you choose to help out at home; you’re choosing to have use of my car; if you choose not to help out you’re choosing not to have use of the car; you decide’. Offering choices helps your young person become responsible and accountable for their actions. How can they be expected to make good choices around drinking, smoking, drugs and sex if they have not had the opportunity to make choices and live with the consequences of their decisions? Therefore; allow your teen/young person to experience the consequences of their actions; the hardest thing to do is leave the forgotten item and not run and ‘rescue’ them – but what do they learn? Waking them once means they may need to experience the consequences of being late; but thereafter they should take responsibility for getting to school on time. Remember our job is not to fix and rescue – but to enable our child to become responsible and competent at leaving the nest, through lots of encouragement and trust and belief in their capacity.
Teach young people to be financially independent
Finally, giving young people money without expecting anything from them eliminates the need for them to seek out work or babysitting to be financially independent. Leave your young people a little short moneywise rather than the other way around – too much money can cause problems.