If we don’t want to succumb to stinking thinking as outlined in our previous blog on the topic, what mindset should we adopt as parents of young adults? Just as irrational beliefs can trip us up as parents, adopting certain rational beliefs can facilitate the launch process.
Beliefs to be Adopted or Strengthened
Beliefs count and drive our behavior, and some need to be discarded, and some strengthened. Here are four beliefs that need to be adopted or strengthened.
- A mindset of showing unconditional love and pursuing a relationship with our young adults is essential to a successful launch. As these young adults seek to stand alone, they need to know that, no matter what, we stand with them in love. Just cutting off young adults or booting them out as a result of anger and frustration will be destructive to the young adult, you, and the relationship.
- We have to adopt a mindset that change starts with us. The only change we can make is in ourselves – our thinking and behavior. We can’t ultimately control them. Rather than look at our young adult and say “how can I change them?”, look in the mirror and ask how can I change me in a way that will help them move on with their lives?
- We must have a mindset that combines love and backbone. Love without backbone leads to appeasement and enabling of inappropriate behavior. Backbone without love leads to anger, resentment, and alienation. If we only say we love our young adults but never take a stand, define what we believe is acceptable and not acceptable, we do them no favor. Once they face the real world of rules, laws, and consequences, they will have a rude awakening. Showing backbone by being clear and firm on our values forces them to stand up versus leaning on the parent or expecting to always have a soft landing.
- We need to have a mindset that accepts the inevitable dissolution of the nuclear family.
This mindset can be difficult for both parties, but it is a necessary last step in the process of letting go. We have to face the loss and accompanying grief of seeing them move on with their lives. They no longer need us, and if this is the case, we should be grateful. But it’s hard for parents. It’s more difficult when the relationship is contentious. In such cases, the letting go process can be complicated and emotionally wrenching. Hopefully, both young adults and parents can move from a relationship of need to a relationship of choice.
To learn more about these mindsets or practices, check out our practice books that describe these necessary parental practices.