Young Adults (18-24)
Just when you think your student has finally graduated from adolescence to young adulthood and can now take more responsibility for how they carry on their life, you are blindsided by actions or inactions that leave you stunned. The behaviors you controlled and managed while they were growing up have suddenly gotten out of control. Families often report scenarios such as these:
- Dropping out of college or doing more partying than studying
- Excessive drinking or drug use
- Living at home, doing nothing but hanging out with his/her friends (or spending all their time in their room playing games on the computer)
In the last 10 years we have seen a marked increase in the number of families with young adults who have failed to launch. We see clients from 18-35 who, either alone or with their families, are looking for ways to become “un-stuck” from the hole they have managed to create for themselves or have stumbled into. It also is not unusual to find that parents themselves, through enabling actions or co-dependency, are contributing factors to the situation.
Most parents we see think that once a student has turned 18 they have lost complete control. The truth is, turning 18 does not mean becoming independent, let alone autonomous. It means they can vote, can get drafted, and can say no. Will they? Our experience has been that with the right strategy over 90% of the time the young adult eventually agrees to get treatment or other appropriate assistance for their needs. Often what’s needed most is a well-defined course of action, and the knowledge on how best to present and execute it. We carefully coach parents on how to intervene, beginning with planning for alternative scenarios if the individual rejects the offer, and with setting appropriate expectations and boundaries.
Adults (25 and older)
It’s tragic and tremendously difficult to watch another adult self-destruct. And to see a loved one go again and again into formulaic “rehab” programs without any long-term stability can be heartbreaking. This is why we work closely with relatives and friends to understand how they got here, and address the underlying causes such as enabling and co-dependency. We then collaboratively create a plan and a set of strategies that will disrupt and permanently alter the patterns that have become unmanageable.
It starts with guidance on how to intervene. Part of the challenge with adults is their level of autonomy. Adults (those over 25) are independent – they have relationships, and even careers, that add a level of complexity to any course of action. An adult plan typically encompasses strategic life-style redesigns that preserve whatever healthy outlets and relationships that do exist while purging those affiliations, activities and even jobs that contribute to the negative situation. Designing realistic interventions, not short term fixes, provides a family the best chance for sustained success.