How Can I Get My Young Adult to Take Actions I Know They Need to Take to be Successful in Life?
The answer is not one you want to hear if this is your goal as a parent of a young adult. Recognize that you have raised a child to become an independent adult with separate beliefs, abilities, practices, and preferences. Congratulations, you have succeeded! Unfortunately, many of us parents still want to try to get these young adults to buy into certain expectations. “Expectations,” as Dennis Prager argues in his book Happiness Is a Serious Problem, is the source of all unhappiness. So one route to greater happiness is to give up certain expectations we have about our young adult children and ourselves. If we can subscribe to and apply the following truths, we can increase our happiness.
- We cannot control our young adults.
- We are not responsible for our young adult’s decisions or actions.
- We are responsible for our decisions and actions.
- We will not use the past to excuse our actions or our young adult’s actions.
- We will try to balance love (support) with emancipation (letting go).
- Positive change in us is the starting point for engendering positive changes in our young adult.
Much parental guilt and misery arise out of failing to embrace and practice these truths. But if we practice them, you might ask, will our young adults become more emotionally and behaviorally independent? The answer: return to truth number one. Change in them may not happen, but we can sleep better at nights by embracing these assumptions and applying them in our interactions with our young adults, knowing that we are doing the best we can as parents.