A clinical psychologist analyzes the widespread problem of people “struggling with adolescent to adult transitions.”
The trajectory of most American teens is to finish high school, attend college or get a steady job, and launch into the world, standing on their own. However, as McConville (Adolescence: Psychotherapy and the Emergent Self, 1995, etc.)—who has a private practice and is a senior faculty member at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland—shows in this apt analysis, many young adults don’t follow this path and wind up back home with their parents, unable to hold a job, maintain a steady relationship, or thrive in a higher education program. The author points out that teens are more anxious and “worry more and risk less” now than in any previous generation, and he rightly suggests that parents must avoid the temptation to micromanage every decision in their child’s life. McConville uses numerous case studies to back up his primary argument that there are three key reasons why this “failure to launch” trend is happening: Young adults don’t know how to assume responsibility for themselves and their actions; they lack supportive relationships; and they can’t locate a sense of hope and purpose regarding their future. Once McConville breaks down these three elements, he provides readers with practical scenarios that demonstrate how others have worked through these situations to become more well-rounded and -adjusted young adults. The author believes parents need to look at their own parenting behaviors and begin treating their children as the adults they want to be by allowing them to have their own ideas, values, and priorities that are separate from the parents. McConville concludes with a section addressed to the “struggling transitioner,” which focuses on one main message: “If you want your parents to stay out of your business, you have to learn to manage your business in a way that doesn’t require them to get involved.”
A straightforward, helpful guide for families struggling with a child’s ability to make their own way.