My Emerging Adult Was Fired From A Job, How Can I Help As A Parent?

Getting fired from a job can be a major blow. It turns life upside-down, similar to the effects of a traumatic experience, shaking up normal routines and rupturing sense of self. Emerging adults may feel the loss with a wide range of emotions, and may have a hard time thinking about securing future employment. As a parent, help an emerging adult who was fired from a job by listening, offering validation, suggesting self-reflection on career goals, and finding resources for career planning.

Listen actively and openly

Support your emerging adult who was fired from a job by listening to their feelings. Allow ample time and an unbiased position for your child to process the tough emotions brought about from losing their job. Understand that getting fired from a job is, indeed, a loss and may incur feelings associated with grief.

Offering unsolicited advice or expressing your view on the situation might make matters worse. The emerging adult will be sensitive to criticism and may internalize blame, negatively impacting self esteem.  Realize that you cannot fix the situation, only your child can take the steps to move forward.

To actively listen to your emerging adult after getting fired from a job, start by paying attention to your emerging adult’s verbal and nonverbal communication. Avoid distractions, like having the TV on or having the discussion in a busy restaurant. Listen to the whole concern, without interruption, and ask open ended questions or statements, like, “please tell me how you are feeling”. Be sure to thank your emerging adult for sharing their feelings.

Validation of feelings

Once your emerging adult opens up, letting you know how they feel about getting fired from their job, its time to offer validation. It is okay to feel sad, angry, frustrated, confused, or anxious after getting fired. Actually, experiencing deep emotions after getting fired is completely normal and plenty of people will, at one point in their life, lose a job. Let your emerging adult know that, naturally, the initial feeling of self-doubt or failure is something most people go through after getting fired.

Support self-reflection

Getting fired from a job certainly opens the opportunity to re-evaluate career choices and goals. Jeffrey Griffith, MS, Professional Staff at the Career Development Center at Yellowbrick suggests parents help their children assess their workplace behaviors and attitudes. Encourage emerging adults to self-reflect on their priorities and give themselves an honest self-evaluation by posing the following questions:

  • Is the career field right for them?
  • Does the career path fit with their values, personality, and interests?
  • Is the workplace environment right for them?
  • Are there any areas needing improvement that may have contributed to the job loss?

Reach out to resources

Professional support may be a great solution for an emerging adult who was fired from a job. Services, like the Career Development Center at Yellowbrick, enable emerging adults to improve employability by sharpening skills like networking, job-searching, and interviewing. Employment planning services usually offer an outlet to explore career paths based on interests, personality, and values. Engaging professional support may lead to a greater workplace satisfaction once landing a new job.

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