Parenting a young adult—regardless of whether they live at home, are away at college, working, or none of these things—changes the dynamics of the relationship on both sides. Parenting from a developmental perspective doesn’t stop once they are adults. They need positive support and for you to be ready to listen when they ask for help, to be ready to intervene when needed, and to have a more equal sense of power and respect that would exist between two adults. This may be the ultimate goal of a parent-child relationship.
Emotionally, they are more “mature” in that they are better able to identify what they feel, why they feel it, what will happen as a result of this emotion, and what they can do to change it. Cognitively, their brains are finalizing the development of the frontal lobe, responsible for emotional regulation, social awareness, abstract thinking, inhibition and impulsivity control, judgment and appropriate social behavior. This means they are improving their abilities with complex problem-solving, making decisions, inhibiting risky behaviors, and engaging in more meaningful activity.
Socially, they are trying out different roles, gaining new experiences, and becoming much more independent. They are negotiating new power levels in personal and professional relationships.
Topics to cover: financial planning/budgeting/credit, setting appropriate goals and building on strengths, picking a career focus, sexual and intimate partner violence, safety, drugs and alcohol and limits, exit strategies, balancing life and work, health and wellness, spirituality, and long-term planning.
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