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Parenting or Policing Your Young Adult Through the Summer

Yellowbrick Program - Parenting or Policing Summer

Summer triggers excessive behavior, especially for adult children living at home with their parents.  To your young adult, it’s prime time to spend nights in beer tents until dawn or to stay out with friends, experimenting with drugs like marijuana or cocaine. The pressure of tight tank tops and barely-there bikinis influence extreme summer diets.  It’s a tough time to parent, to guide, and to negotiate boundaries with your adult children.

Distinguishing the Norm from the Not

Surely, this is normal and encompassed within parenting young adults – until you detect a pattern, leaving its mark of concern, worry, anger, shame, guilt or judgement across your heart.  How do you approach your child once you’ve suspected they’re down a dangerous path? Do you find yourself parenting, or policing your adult teen through summer?

Positive Parenting

Positive parenting techniques for young adults living at home with their parents often includes the practice of simple social skills needed to develop healthy relationships. By offering mutual respect, actively listening to each other, and intentional compromising, parents and adult children negotiate boundaries to which both feel satisfaction. But what if positive parenting just isn’t enough to keep your teen or young adult on track?  How do you parent when you suspect a drug addiction or eating disorder?

Policing vs. Parenting

Policing their choices, or attempting to control the who, what, when, and where’s of their lives, seems like a logical strategy to attempt when things have fallen far from deviant. Parents police for various reasons. With threat upon their young adult’s safety, parents impose restrictions, struggling to keep their families intact and their children alive.  Others aim to regulate their adult child’s actions, masking the severity of the situation from friends and family.  Parents look for a sense of control as they try to subdue the chaos and destruction that has taken over their adult children’s lives.  Decisions to enforce guidelines and restrictions for adult children, choices intended to help, may actually enable addiction and ultimately lead to dangerous outcomes. Ultimately, they unwittingly reinforce an experience of inadequacy, ineffectiveness and loss of authority within the young adult.

Where to Turn

If you find yourself trying to control your young adult’s every move, you may feel overwhelmed with anxiety and alone.  With crisis present at all times, you pray for solutions. You’ve come to a dead end, not sure how the situation will ever turn around.  One thing is for sure, change has to happen.

It will take everyone’s combined effort to initiate positive change.  Parents and young adults, in collaboration, negotiating limitations and agreeing on a set of consequences, often see positive results. While parents need to let addicted young adults know where their boundaries are and what they are not willing to support, acknowledging an adult child’s voice, view, and vision may be what it takes to turn things around. Empower young adults to take control of their wellness. This may sound impossible, but trust in your adult child and expand your support system to include skilled professionals. Bringing others into the system may unlock powerful stalemates.

With an open outlook and attitude, families experiencing these struggles will need to welcome professional help. The Life Strategies Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Yellowbrick provides adults ages 18-30 years old the outlet to explore identity, gain self-acceptance and regulation, and emerge as young adults while partnering with comforting, compassionate skilled professionals.  With peer community involvement as a cornerstone to Yellowbrick’s treatment experience, developmental processes help young adults evolve and be successful in school, work, and society. Learn more.

Positive parenting works, even when addiction threatens the health and safety of adult children.  By helping adult children recognize healthy limits, negotiating acceptable boundaries, and seeking a support network, parents can empower their young adults to make choices for a safe, productive and meaningful summer for them and the entire family.

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