Perhaps you have a 20-something sitting on your couch and you are starting to think they blend in with the pillows. They don't move a lot because they are glued to the TV or they are stuck at a level in their video game. Yep, in their 20's and still playing the video games. Well guess what? You just might be part of the problem.
On that same note, also be aware it’s happening everywhere in all sorts of families, and it appears young people are taking longer to reach adulthood overall.
The 20's are really a time for growth. One-third of people in their 20's move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20's, more job changes than in any other stretch.
Adam Price, a psychologist who has offices in New Yorkand New Jersey has tailored his practice to young adults."We can de-motivate our kids when we rescue them from consequences," says Price, "We learn when we make choices and face consequences. When parents soften the blow, we're not helping our kids learn."
Some examples of this are writing a final paper for a student. Cleaning their room. Doing laundry, paying for their car insurance. Calling in sick for work or school. Not letting them bounce and feel a bruise.
As a parent you have to be consistent even into early adulthood if they haven't started flying by themselves yet. If you have made a decision about something -- for instance a curfew at your home even if they are older -- you have to stick to it. Letting the curfew slide is a symbol of everything else that will slide and you will skid into a situation of never getting that young adult off the couch because you are holding them back by not holding them accountable.
Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, co-author of "Getting to 30: A Parent's Guide to the 20-Something Years," Has some suggestions that may help.
Manage your expectations. Understand your child's limits. With college-age kids, if consequences continually aren't working, look at what has happened in the past. Perhaps your child has a learning disability that has been undiagnosed. They could be suffering from substance abuse, or simply just not be the best student and have trouble studying and taking tests.
Open lines of communication. Engage in productive dialogue so they know you're on their side. With college-age kids, "be an asker, not a talker," Price says. "Listen for answers, long before you give opinions. The more they say, and the less you lecture, the better. You don't have to agree for them to know you hear them."
Don't be too generous. There is a line between supporting your children and enabling them says Christine Hassler, a life coach, author and professional speaker with an expertise in Gen Y. Money is often the problem, she says: "Just because you have the money to help them out, it does not mean that you should. As long as you continue to do so, you are impacting their ability to self-generate and possibly putting your own retirement plans at risk."
Create age-appropriate agreements. "If your 20-something is still living at home, have them pay rent. Draft a lease agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of this tenant arrangement," Hassler said.
Accept that as a parent of a young adult your power has diminished. Not everyone grows at the same pace -- it make take more time for some than others. If you commit to yourself and your ability to create a change, you will see that your child will be better able to commit to themselves and eventually you may get a seat back on that couch for yourself.