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.