Launching Young Adults from the Nest

At the end of many counseling sessions, I can tell that my clients are happier than when they walked in and they have a renewed sense of hope to face the challenges of life. These clients eagerly make another appointment and wave fondly as they leave my office. Ahhh…I love my job. However, there are those “other” sessions that happen from time to time. The client may not like my perspective on a particular course of action they are taking. One such session occurred a few years ago in which I told a young adult that he needed to immediately get off his parents couch and stop being a moocher. He glared at me while sitting with his arms folded and a scowl on his face. Ironically, his parents were there with us during the session and they were both smiling broadly. Funny how perspective makes all the difference. I assure you I wasn’t unprofessional with this young man; just honest. He had taken advantage of his parents generosity long enough and needed a reality check in which I was more than happy to provide. He was a talented, educated young man with gifting from the Lord. Just no internal motivation to get the ball of his life rolling.

Launching young adults into the world is a tricky parenting challenge. Parents want to provide as much support as possible, but they need to do it without crippling the young adult’s ability to think for themselves. All my clients repeatedly hear me talk about “internal motivation.” It is truly the driving force for all our actions. Internal motivation drives our relationship with God, our work ethics, how we treat our spouses, parent our children and all other factors of life.

I encourage parents to support their children spiritually, emotionally and financially to the best of their ability BUT never do so to the point that the spark of internal motivation is darkened. It can be difficult, although not impossible, to relight once it’s dimmed.