Many young adults are conflicted about the autonomy they are given in young adulthood. As a teen, they may have pushed boundaries and tried to make their own rules. When it comes time to launch into adulthood, it is common for young adults to freeze and want to go back to what is comfortable. During adolescence, their parents played a bigger role in making decisions for them and solving problems they may have faced as consequences of making their own rules. When young adults realize that they may be less prepared to make these decisions than they through, their fear of independence can hold them back from moving forward in their lives.
Fear of Independence and Responsibilities
Growing up, many parents take care of household responsibilities without teaching children how to contribute. Their generation has been sheltered by spending more time indoors, less time on their own, and more time turning to Google for answers for their questions instead of relying on their experiences. As rates of anxiety have skyrocketed, so have rates of risk aversion. Young adults have widened the net of things outside of their comfort zone to include many traditional adult roles and responsibilities.
The following tasks may be too overwhelming or seem out-of-reach for your young adult:
- Attending postsecondary education
- Finding a job
- Forming intimate relationships with others outside the family
- Working with others
- Moving out of their parent’s house
- Cooking and cleaning
- Paying bills
Fear of Decision-Making
Children raised in family environments that are reward-oriented and permissive or where all their decisions are made for them often encounter anxiety and lack of motivation as adults. They may lack the confidence they need to leave the nest and become independent. If they’re used to having problems handled for them, they may lack confidence in their own judgment and decision-making abilities, and they may have a hard time managing stressful situations that are a normal part of life.
Parents often believe that if they can control their child’s behavior and avert a negative outcome, their child will stop making unhealthy choices. By attempting to rescue their child from bad choices, they are removing the consequences. When a dependent child doesn’t suffer the consequences of their bad choices, there is no motivation or need to change. A better approach might be to let the child learn the consequences of their bad choices or bad behavior.
Fear of Being Alone
Ultimately, many of young adult’s fears about independence come down to the fear of not being able to depend on others and feeling alone.
These fears about feeling alone in adulthood may manifest through:
- Feelings of helplessness and inadequacy
- Difficulty expressing needs
- Low self-esteem
- Blaming others for personal problems
- Having no personal interests or goals outside of relationships
The reality is that most independent adults are not fully self-sufficient. While young adults are taught to value taking care of themselves and not needing others for emotional support, some people internalize this as that they are not supposed to ask for help and end up feeling more isolated from others. In group therapy, many young adults realize that one of the reasons they have struggled to launch into independence is that they have not considered what interdependence might look like. Interdependence, simply put, means the people in the relationship maintain their sense of self while working together to meet each other’s needs as well as their own. The aim is to connect emotionally with others in a meaningful way while setting boundaries.
Some therapeutic goals that young adults work on in wilderness therapy might include:
- Practicing self-sufficiency and assertiveness skills
- Learning to cope with fears of being alone
- Taking personal responsibility for behaviors
- Practicing decision-making
- Becoming comfortable spending time on their own
- Learning to express disagreement in productive ways
- Working with others as a team
- Actively listening to others
blueFire PulsaR Can Help
blueFire PulsaR is a co-educational wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-28. This program addresses emotional, social, and behavioral problems in young adults who are considering dropping out or experiencing “failure to launch” syndrome. Adventure therapy, wilderness ventures, equine therapy, academic opportunities and “family spark” are used to help students open up and look at their life. This program is dedicated to helping students regain a better sense of the world around them adopt healthier self-management skills.
For more information about how we help young adults launch into independence, contact us at 1 (844) 413-1999. We can help your family today!