The period of time between adolescence and early adulthood is a time of great change in a young man’s life. Not only are there physical changes, but intellectual and emotional changes as well, and nearly everyone struggles to navigate this series of shifts successfully. At Waypointe, we’re focused on helping emerging adults who are struggling to find independence to step fully into adulthood in a manner that’s healthy and gives them, as well as their families, the tools necessary to do so.
Breaking the Chains
It’s natural for children and adolescents to depend on their parents, especially since they’ve done so since the day they were born. With the transition to adulthood comes the transition to depending less on one’s parents and depending more on oneself. While it’s acceptable for young men to continue to lean on their parents while transitioning, it’s better and healthier if they come to rely on their mother and father less and less as they grow older and prepare for their future, a future in which they are wholly dependent on themselves. For many young men who struggle with mental illness, successful navigation of this difficult transition may require more planning, support, and attention. In these cases, both the emerging adult and his parents need to focus on the fact that self-sufficiency is healthy and empowering. Everyone needs to work together to help young men take the next step in their lives.
Working Through the Emotions
Anxiety, low productivity, low morale and even resentment are all normal reactions to transitioning from adolescence to the beginnings of adulthood. Problems come into play when young adults and their parents become bogged down by these negative emotions rather than use them as a catalyst for positive change. During such tumultuous times, the first instincts of a young adult who is struggling to gain independence is to turn to his parents for safety. Over time, that instinct can turn into a a crippling over-dependence, where the young man is unable to provide that feeling of safety and peace for themselves. Here at Waypointe, we feel it’s much more productive for young men to examine their emotions and thoughts regarding adulthood, study their assumptions about what it means to be an adult and explore their options while creating a solid course of action to help them create an equally solid bridge. Throughout this process we provide young adults and their family with the knowledge and skills necessary to feel confident about the new direction in which they are going.
The Parent’s Role
Just as it can be hard for young men to walk the bridge from adolescence to adulthood, the same is true of parents. While a parent might feel as if he or she is doing the right thing for his or her child by providing the child with a safe emotional harbor, the truth is that as the child gets older, this harbor can soon become an anchor weighing the child down and keeping him back. Both parents and young adults have to examine their instincts and natural responses to various situations and ask themselves if they’re healthy and helpful.