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10 Questions Parents Need to Ask Their Young 'Teen-Adult' Child...

I've been thinking about you for quite some time now. You being the parents of teenagers and young adults, whose lives are beginning to take shape, decisions are needing to be made, moving is in the foreseeable future, college is around the corner, leaving for years on a mission, unfulfilling jobs, etc. It's stressful and unpredictable. The question I'm hearing from many is 'How do I know if my son or daughter is ready?' The question is coming up so much because so many are coming back home, and unable to cope and deal with real life.

The bottom line is...for many, we'll call millennials, these options are down right scaring the crap out of them. They are freezing, becoming stagnant, procrastinating, hoping to be rescued, and struggling to launch. The unknown is too unknown. Sounds redundant, but that's what it comes down to. What I don't know scares me, and the only way to know is to walk into it. The problem is, walking into it is terrifying and creates a sense of possible failure and/or falling short. 

It's time they do what Harry Potter did and name the monster...Harry's was Voldemort, what is theirs? Do you know, or do they? Many people around Harry refused to say his name, "he who will not be named," which only made him, Voldemort, more powerful. After he is named, he will need to be confronted. This can be very difficult, and I want to help with this. 

So, just to clarify a bit...anxiety is the anticipatory fear of the unknown (like the turtle), and the unknown has never been stronger and more in the face of young people. Everyone has it and the less people talk about it, usually the more they have. Anxiety is difficult because we don't usually feel the most difficult fears until we are in the 'thing' that triggers it most. Before the fears, are a vast assortment of worries. For many young people, life hasn't been hard enough to really trigger it at all. No offense, life as a teen can be difficult and there are special circumstances, but not getting asked to a dance is not really the kind of difficult we are talking about in regard to dealing with the next step of life. 

I want you to ask yourself these questions about your son or daughter regarding their achievements and life experiences. 

  1. What are the most difficult things your child has started and finished (mostly) independently throughout their life? 

  2. What are the most difficult events of their life and how have they handled them? Did they avoid the situation? Did they express emotions? Did they shut down and act like it was all ok? 

  3. How well does and has your child dealt with confrontations? 

  4. Has your child showed intrinsic goal directed persistence and drive in activities such as school, sports, music, work, service, jobs, or anything else you can think of throughout their life? 

  5. How well does your child stand up for what is and isn't okay for them? (i.e. telling people to stop swearing around them, to never offer them drugs, to be respected by peers, etc)

  6. How engaging and connected is your child in social situations, with strangers, with peers? Are they often avoidant via their phone or other ways?

  7. What are the most powerful experiences of rejection they have encountered and how have they dealt with them? Have they even had to deal with rejection? 

  8. In what ways has your child confronted their fears? Do you think they know their fears? Do you know their fears? (Being rejected, alone, inadequate, failure, not good enough, worthless, addicted, hopeless)

  9. When your child thinks of their future, how optimistic are they? Is their optimism based in evidence or is it naive and only wishful thinking? Does it overwhelm them? 

  10. Heaven forbid, you and/or your spouse were killed, how confident are you in your child's ability to function and reach their goals? 

I know these questions seem harsh and very blunt, but the fact is, these are the questions needing asked and that I do ask parents everyday. Many parents know the answers to these questions don't match up to what they would have answered blossoming into adulthood. 

This is why I offer group therapy and more simplified and shorter therapy sessions to individuals struggling with these questions. It needs attention now. Typical individual therapy is no longer the best way. It's helpful, but not nearly efficient and effective as group. Trust Me...Please!

Best Regards, Shayden 

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