While the summer should be a time of bonding, saying final goodbyes to high school friends, it was suddenly “stolen” from our youth and wasted in isolation.
How Parents Can Help Transition Young Adults Into the New Chapter of Life After Graduation.
None of us know exactly how to cope with the fallout from this unprecedented situation.
It has been even more stressful for young adults getting prepped from graduation for college or university. Summer should be a time of bonding, saying final goodbyes to high school friends.
Not only did our young adults miss out on graduation and prom ceremonies, but also on all the summer athletic sports and holiday trips. For some the hope to earn some cash to pay for tuition and books was their plan to transition into adult life, but it too was demolished.
So, what can parents do right now to help young adults cope?
Here are a Few Suggestions
1. Don’t jump in to fix things
Talk about the stressful times. Acknowledge it is very unusual and no one has seen this turbulence before. So, it’s new to everyone worldwide. Don’t over react. Ask your child how they feel and look for alternatives to get through the lockdown. Ask, “What would you like me to do to help right now?” Give the message that will help them find the way.
2. Help youth find positive coping strategies to manage disappointment
In life, we all have to deal with disappointments. We can help young adults learn positive coping skills during these times, the better prepared they will be to deal with future situations. Learning skills like deep thinking or deep breathing and relaxation can help.
3. Honour their achievements
Help them to plan ahead by making a wish list of what could have happened and what they would like to happen. Plan ahead for a big party once anti-social distancing is over? How can they or family find ways to celebrate now?
Consider arranging a videoconferencing meeting with important members of their social circle and have speeches. Have everyone tell the young adult how proud they are of their achievements. Reinforce that life is good.
4. See the current challenges as an opportunity to build resiliency
Many young adults have never had to deal with challenges disappointments or even minor stressful events. Once they get through this, they’ll feel better able to cope with other future stressful situations.
5. Focus on the positive
Managing time at home is not easy they have to set up their own routines for webinars and online lessons. These are all valuable transition skills that students need, whether going from high school to post-secondary education or eventually to a job.
6. Limit media consumption
Young adults spend much of their time online and this is a good way to keep in touch. But too much is not good, especially if some of those interactions have the potential to be negative or increase anxiety. Studies have shown a strong link between time spent online and negative mood symptoms.
Remember, young adults can learn to become quite resilient if left to figure things out on their own and given positive support. Send the message that you have faith they’ll succeed. Not that you’re waiting to rescue them when they fall apart.
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