Once they've graduated from college and gone off to seek their fortune, it can be disheartening to see them return home to live with mom and dad again. Psychologist Carl Pickhardt who writes about issues revolving around adolescents and post-adolescents--emerging adults is the latest term--has come up with eleven common challenges or reasons young adults might come back to the nest and what they learn from sticking it out and facing up to the challenge of independence.
You can read a fuller description here, but here's a brief rundown of the 11, with Pickhardt's take on the learning moment:
1. Loneliness or homesickness from living apart from family. Pickhardt writes: "Coping with this challenge can teach the capacity to live at a distance from family while still staying in touch, and to develop an independent social network of one's own."
2. The chaos of living with too many choices. Pickhardt's take: "Freedom isn't free because all choice is linked to consequence for which one has to take responsibility, and order must be established."
3. Finding and keeping a job. What your child learns from this, Pickhardt says, is that "there is no job security and it can take a lot of work to find work."
4. Flunking out of college--or coming close to it. The lesson: "It is easier to get into college than to complete it, and self-discipline to do the work is required to graduate."
5. Living with roommates who may have different life experiences or may be incompatible. The life lesson: "Skills in managing a domestic partnership can provide valuable preparation for a significant relationship later on."
6. Falling in love and losing out. "Love is challenging and risky, is not guaranteed to last forever, and a broken heart can be mended."
7. Living in a drug-filled world. Lesson learned is all about "moderating alcohol and other drugs meant to induce good feelings so that use does not cause bad decisions, at worst creating a reliance that is hard to break."
8. Being strapped for funds but trying to keep up with more affluent friends. Lesson learned: It takes work "to repay what is owed and the importance of living within one's means."
9. Stress from adjusting to the increased responsibilities that come with independence. "Coping with this challenge can teach how to moderate demand, physically maintain oneself, and keep the pressure down."
10. Negative feelings can overwhelm positive ones, leading to emotional disturbance. What do kids learn from this? "How to recover from intense unhappiness and develop strategies for maintaining a sense of emotional wellness."
11. Fear of the future and the ability to cope with the demands of adult responsibility. "Coping with this challenge can teach pride in having what it takes to brave the unknown and chart and chance one's course through life."