Sunday, October 24, 2010

The end of adolescence

Most professional literature not marks the end of adolescence at about 24 years of age.  This is just one of many statistics that we can look at to try to understand our kids and the world in which they live.  The average age of first marriage is not 27.8 for men and 26.8 for women.  The average length of time to get a 4-year degree is now 5 years.  Most students change their major more than twice while is college.  To those hard working parents of another generation this seems confusing because we see ourselves as being very career oriented and able to see the big picture.  We had many of the same choices to make that our children are being faced with but we seem to have weathered it easier. 

When our teens are having problems it is important to help them plan for themselves but then allow them to make the choices as they are the ones who will have to live with the consequences.  This then brings us to the largest problem.  We have been more invested in our children's lives than any prior generation and it is not easy to break away and become independent.  We want to help them solve their problems when what they need is space and time and to use us as a sounding board when they are ready.  We try to speed the process or help them see what to us is obvious.  All this does is add pressure.  Sometimes it then caused them to push us away or to make choices that make no sense as then are wanting to say, "give me space."

What parents can do:
Meet regularly with your teen to get updates.
Ask a few questions but mainly listen and wait for them to ask you.
Don't try to make everything you say be a lesson to be learned, this sounds like preaching.
Have your teen help you with tasks, don't send them to do tasks or load on responsibility.
Let them know you care and that you trust them to make the right decision.
Encourage them to talk with their bishop or other trusted adult for some issues that they just need another adult view about.
Don't take it personal.



    - Sara

  2. It caught my eye that 85% of this year's college grads plan to move back home. Have you heard that number?


  3. I have seen that mentioned many times before and in many cases it is being encouraged by parents who are having a hard time seeing their children struggle just as much as it is college grads looking for a cheaper alternative to real life. I asked my students about it and those who were older or were in relationships thought it would be crazy to go home. Others who are single and focused on the money to be saved thought it was a good idea. They never even considered that they could, should or would pay their parents rent.