How the transition from ‘teenager with parents’ to ‘adult with parents’ is like playing Xbox on Level: Hard

By Jessica Morris

Introduction

In a recent blog, I reflected upon the challenging transitional process that a parent experiences when your teenage children transition to a young adult. Family conflict is inevitable because each family member is in unfamiliar territory. The article, ‘How the transition from ‘parents with teenage children' to ‘parents with adult children' is like solving the puzzle of the Rubik's Cube’ focused upon how parents can make this process a little smoother.

Now, Guest blogger and freelance journalist Jessica Morris addresses the same issue, focusing upon how the young adult can make the process smoother, likening the process to that of playing Xbox on Level: Hard. Are you curious? Jessica’s writing style will engage you, entertain and give you food for thought. (You can follow Jessica Morris at http://www.jessicamorris.net )

How the transition from ‘teenager with parents’ to ‘adult with parents’ is like playing Xbox on Level: Hard.

TransitionSometimes the transition into adulthood, especially in a family environment, is long and gradual. Other times, I feel it is more of a sudden lurch as if I have suddenly missed a step and am attempting to find the ground. It is, as it was said previously, like a Rubik’s cube. Yet I feel it necessary to make this more relevant for generation Y and instead liken the transition into a complicated game on Xbox. Have you ever stood in front of a television and attempted to mirror the movements of a figure on the screen while playing one of these games? Each time you complete something correctly you are rewarded with points, but fail to match the screen and you are left with nothing. Actually, this is not true. If you are playing with others you will probably be left with some embarrassment, laughter and possibly a vendetta against the rest of your friends as you look forward to watching them misstep to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ on Dance Central. Ultimately, until you have practiced these movements over some time, you will look more like a duck rather than a competent dancer. I feel as though transitioning into the mindset of an adult within your own family is much like this. Both the young adult and the parent will inevitably face the task of copying each other’s movements. Often the other will be perceived as old fashioned, too provocative or even shameful. Yet we are given the task of learning to appreciate and at times mirror these movements- these differences that now define these individuals in the family unit as their own person. They determine their own movements and choose how to respond to those of their family members.

This transition will take time, much like the time it will take as you increase your ability to mirror the movements on a screen. Sometimes these movements we are each trying to replicate or even understand are slow and gradual. We understand how they have developed and why they are being performed in such a way. When this occurs, it is perhaps simpler to appreciate our parents. We see them as separate entities to ourselves, and so we must learn to be gracious and appreciative of the differences in their actions and words. Perhaps we will even notice similarities in how we both do things. But still there are other times this transition is more like dancing to Nicki Minaj on level: hard. In other words, members of the family are asked to pop, lock, push, pull, jump, punch and kick intensively, sometimes without warning; and they are asked to do it together.

There will inevitably be conflict in these times. The parent may want to jump when their child insists on doing a back kick combo. Other times the parent may feel completely dumbfounded as they watch their child complete these new, somewhat questionable movements, without any thought to what their parent’s opinion is. As a young adult baring a different colour on the Rubik’s Cube to my parents and as the choreographer of my own life, I would agree that a successful transition involves both courage and humility for both child and parent.

The Courage to:

• Dance to the beat of your own drum and navigate life on your own terms, rather than by your parent’s expectations.
• Speak up for yourself when you feel you are being treated as a child rather than an adult.
• Admit your struggles to your parents when needed and listen to their advice.
• Physically and mentally remove yourself from the home and begin to form your own life.
• Determine your own values, actions and behaviours and take responsibility for these.

The Humility to:

• Listen to your parents and allow them to express themselves, even when you might disagree with them.
• Have a conversation so you might understand their point of view.
• Accept that this transition is hard for your parents, be kind and work with them as you both seek to navigate it.
• Accept that in some capacity your parents will always see you as their ‘baby’. This does not have to make you dependent on them; it means they have a unique and intimate connection with you. Respect this and allow them to be a part of your life. Learn the healthy medium between the role of child and self-sufficient adult.
• Befriend your parents and get to know them as adults.
• Be gracious when they fall into their old patterns or behave in ways you don’t understand or disagree with.

If you are in a period of transition and desire the opportunity to talk and receive support through this challenging process you can call Colleen for a FREE 10 minute consultation on 0434 337 245 or if you would like to make an appointment to see Colleen, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling's online appointment diary.

 

How the transition from ‘parents with teenage children’ to ‘parents with adult children’ is like solving the puzzle of the Rubik’s Cube

rubik cube

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember the old Rubik's Cube? 6 colours and 6 faces with 9 stickers on each face. Each face turns independently so that the colours are mixed up. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must consist of entirely one colour. Invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik, it is a toy for all ages and consequently one of the world's top selling toys of all time. You may have had one as a child. You may even have one now. I wonder if you have had success in solving the cube and if so, how long it took you? I have to confess that any attempts I have ever made to solve the cube puzzle, have been met with frustration and impatience.

Like the old Rubik's Cube, a family system undergoing transition from ‘parents with teenage children' to ‘parents with adult children' takes on a complexity not easily resolved. Typically, each person in the family unit has their own ‘colour' while at the same time, adapting to the rest of the family system in such a way that personal and family identity is interwoven, the colours of the Rubik's cube mixed. Teenage years herald the beginning of the movement towards ‘solving' the puzzle of the cube, as adolescent family members begin to challenge family rules and values and move towards being separate, if you like, finding their unique face on the cube. This movement towards separation finds it's developmental resolution as the new young adult ‘leaves home' (literally or figuratively) to find their own place in the world.

Any transition takes time. It is never a linear process. We all move towards change and growth at our own pace. There are moments when the process of change feels overwhelming and frightening, so that we regress into former, more comfortable ways of functioning. There are times when we find ourselves stuck. Other times we experience accelerated growth. When a family goes through a significant transition, the process of change takes on a complexity, not dissimilar to the Rubik's cube puzzle, that each member of the family system has to navigate and resolve.

This has been my own present experience, having recently holidayed with my own adult (20 something) daughters. Being in close proximity much of the time, my challenge as a parent was to recognize and acknowledge that my daughters are no longer children dependent upon and answerable to their parents, but adults in their own right, functioning as separate from us and to be treated with the respect we give to other adults. Like the puzzle of the Rubik's cube, this is a challenging and frightening experience. It is a grief experience because as a parent I have to ‘let go' of the child I have cherished. How to do this successfully?

The key to a successful transition can be summed up in two words: courage and humility.

 

The Courage to: 

  • relinquish the child you gave life to, who you loved, protected, nurtured, guided and provided for.
  • relinquish your authority as a parent.
  • relinquish your personal expectations of your adult child
  • let go of the child I knew.
  • allow your adult child to have their own opinions, values, personal preferences and approach to things.
  • accept and acknowledge that your adult child is their own separate self.  Being different does not have to be a rejection of you.
  • watch your adult child make choices that you would not make but encourage them just the same.
  • withhold your judgment when you feel disappointed or disapprove of their actions.
  • risk getting to know this new adult in your life.

The Humility to:

  •  acknowledge that ‘my way' is not the only way. ‘My way' may not even be the right way on some occasions!
  •  respect and give respect to your adult child, treating them as an equal.
  •  listen and learn new things.
  •  acknowledge when you have ‘stuffed up' (and you will).
  •  apologize when you are wrong.
  •  share your own ‘wisdom' when you are invited to do so.
If you are in a period of transition and desire the opportunity to talk and receive support  through this challenging process you can call Colleen for a FREE 10 minute consultation on 0434 337 245 or if you would like to make an appointment to see Colleen, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling's online appointment diary.

7 Ways to Get More Done In Your Day

7 Ways to Get More DoneThe end of one year and the beginning of another and it is likely that you are feeling ‘frazzled’. The 21st century lifestyle is a juggling act for most of us. Balancing our couple relationship, family, work, community groups and also have time for yourself is a tall order. However the  Christmas/New Year break lends itself to an opportunity for you to review how you spend your time and consider some simple ideas that can reduce your stress and increase your productivity. Sounds good doesn’t it! So here are:

7 Ways to Get More Done in Your Day

1. Look After Yourself First
All those things you know you should do for yourself but somehow neglect because other things get in the way: personal exercise, healthy eating, hanging out with positive people and feeding your mind with material that builds you up.
When you take the time to care for yourself, you will actually feel better about yourself, more energized and motivated which all equals increased productivity.

2. Clean out the Clutter
I have noticed that where an individual complains of feeling a lack of control, their environment generally reflects the same. Typically by years end, your office and/or home environment has accumulated paperwork, books, old equipment and other unnecessary items. Now is the time to do a de-clutter and prepare the space for the year ahead. I promise you that it will save time, energy and money – you will recover what has gone missing, be able to find things in the future and feel less stress.

3. Use The Right Tools
How long have you been putting up with an office chair with poor back support? (That one is a message for me!) Is your lighting adequate? Does all your office/household equipment work properly? How often have you heard someone ‘blow their stack’ because of that office printer that never works! It’s time to do a stocktake and invest in the right equipment for your physical and mental health sake!

4. Use a Diary or Digital Organiser
Recording appointments, things to do and goals is absolutely necessary to feel in control of your busy life. Use a diary or digital organiser that you can carry with you. This is the most effective way to get things done, plan your work and your life.

5. Learn to say “No”
Do you have trouble saying “no”? You are not alone. Howeveryou pay a heavy cost when you say “yes” to those additional requests that well-meaning friends/colleagues ask of you. So make it a personal goal to be more self-assertive and say “no”. If this feels uncomfortable, try responding with “Let me think about itand I’ll get back to you”. This gives you the opportunity to decide whether it is something you truly want to do as opposed to doing it to please someone.

6. Do What You Do The Best and Delegate the Rest
This is something I am working on for the New Year. What do you spend time doing that is not your forte or you really cannot afford to spend your precious time on? If you are in a financial position to do it, consider investing in a gardener, that house cleaner you have been talking about or that administration assistant. It’s worth investing a few extra dollars if you have more free time to do what you want to.

7. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Before agreeing to attend a meeting, check if you need to be there. Maybe a phone call or email will be just as effective.

By following these simple yet very effective ideas you will have more control over your work and your life, experience less stress and be more productive. All of these factors affect your general well-being and confidence.

If you are experiencing stress and would like further support to gain control of your life, experience growth, wellness and reach your potential you can contact Colleen on 0434337245 or go to her online diary at www.watersedgecounselling.com

 

Coping With The Impending Grief And Loss Of Your Parent

The grief that is attached to  watching your parents age can be  confronting and painful. You experience grief as you observe their ever-diminishing capacity to function as they once did.

There is a grief for both you and your parent as you each become increasingly aware of the losses and the inevitability of death. You become more aware of your own mortality and the passing of time. This brings up feelings attached to unresolved issues, the discomfit of your parent become increasingly reliant upon you, perhaps a parents resistance to giving up their independence. It is a difficult and painful life transition that refuses to be ignored .

Here are 5 tips that can help you cope with the experience of impending grief and loss of your parent:

 

1. STAY CONNECTED

Listen to your parents stories. Frequently, as we age , we have a need to talk about past memories. For your parent, this may be their way of forming a cohesive narrative of their life, allowing them to come to terms with that which they had previously been unable to do. Having someone to bare ‘witness' to it can give meaning and closure to their life journey. If you find it difficult to connect with your parent, think about some of their stories and the significant acheivements, interests or themes and ask yourself how you could use that to build a bridge between the two of you. For instance, one friend of mine decided to take a day-trip  to  visit the town where her now invalid father once designed and made trucks. The original trucks were  still on display and so she decided to take her camera and create a photographic record as a special gift to her father.

2. RESPECT THE WAY THAT YOUR PARENT WANTS TO DEAL WITH THEIR IMPENDING DEATH

It is natural that you want to talk with your parent about their death but they may not feel the same way. Your parent will deal with their impending death in a way that is right and most comfortable for them.Be aware that the frustration you may feel about your loved one not wanting to talk about their death is about your need, not theirs.

 3. BE AWARE OF HOW YOU ARE RELATING TO YOUR PARENT

Times of family crisis, marked by a heightened emotionality, inevitably invite us to revert to former childhood patterns of interaction with our parent. What feelings are triggered by the interaction you have with your aged parent? Frustration, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness? Chances are they are familiar feelings that you experienced as a child.How do you deal with them? Recognize that you have the power to change your response to your parent. What would you Iike that relationship to look like? How would you respond to your parent if you responded from an adult position? Do you need to be firm about what you can and can' t do?

4. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Be mindful of your own self care. People frequently hold the false belief that a good son or daughter must be entirely attentive to their diminishing parent's needs. Feelings of guilt can have the effect of being ‘overly responsible' for your parents care and well-being, which in turn can leave you feeling exhausted and resentful. Making time for yourself to do the things that keep you energized and balanced needs to be a personal priority. If you neglect your own needs, you will swiftly become overwhelmed by the physical and emotional demands that caring for your parent requires.

 5. FIND SOMEONE TO TALK TO ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

Grief can have the effect of leaving you feeling needy and emotionally vulnerable. If you feel like that, talk to someone you trust who will listen and validate the feelings you experience.Talking allows you to identify what you are feeling and to process the feelings. Be honest about your relationship with your parent- do you have feelings of guilt, anger, bitterness or resentment? Put them out there. Denying our experience becomes a toxin that  ignored, floods our emotive state and hampers the grieving process. Grief is an emotional roller coaster so remember to be kind to yourself and accept that what you feel is okay and part of the experience of acknowledging a significant loss.

For more articles on grief and loss, see ‘8 Faces of Grief'  by Colleen Morris at http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/08/05/8-faces-of-grief/

If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.