For many young adults, the most challenging part of becoming more independent is finding a sense of belonging and realizing who they want to be in those relationships. They often jump straight into “this is my community, these will be my friends, so what do I want from these people?” This may be the way that they are used to relating to others in a structured school environment or treatment setting, but in adulthood, relationships become more focused on “what can I contribute to this relationship” and “how will this relationship support my self-discovery.” As they transition to young adulthood, many teens underestimate how their relationships will change with their parents, old friends, and even their new friends. Transition programs offer support for young adults trying to navigate these changing relationships.
Challenges of Relationships Changing In Young Adulthood
Many high schoolers look forward to turning eighteen and being an adult, but they don’t always anticipate what that means. Once they become a young adult, they struggle to realize who they are as an adult and with figuring out what that now means. It’s a shift for everyone transitioning to young adulthood, but it is particularly challenging for people who have struggled with self-esteem and relationships or for people who have only started considering long-term goals recently.
“A lot of it is so overwhelming because they think that they need to learn everything all at once and that there are things they don’t know that they should already know. It’s natural for young adults to feel like they’re not a real adult yet,” describes Program Director, Folola Finau. “But instead of giving up on goals and responsibilities, they need to understand that their experience is a normal part of the transition. They are not expected to know everything. That’s why we’re here–to help you, support you. It doesn’t matter what you don’t know as long as you know that you can ask for help.”
Some of the biggest struggles for young adults trying to launch into independence include:
- Changes in Daily Routine After Residential Treatment
Transition programs are helpful for teens who have spent months or even years in and out of residential treatment as they try to reacclimate into society. Many have thrived with the structure and support of a residential program, where they were dependent on others to help them make decisions and take care of things for them. After leaving residential treatment, it can be a significant adjustment to get back into day-to-day life.
It can take a while for them to learn that not everything has to be treatment, that they are trusted to make independent decisions, and that having a hard day doesn’t mean that they have failed.
- Change in Responsibilities in Young Adulthood
One of the ways we help young adults adapt to changes in the level of structure a transition program provides is by encouraging them to create their own individualized schedule rather than following a predetermined group schedule.
We help students look for jobs or volunteer opportunities and offer college counseling for students who want to take classes. But, students are responsible for arranging their transportation, completing their assignments with minimal prompting, and budgeting their income. This involves taking responsibility for their actions and recognizing the potential consequences avoiding them might be, as their parents can’t always step in to rescue them.
- Change in Family Involvement
It is hard to say whether the shift in family dynamics in young adulthood is harder for parents or their children. Their relationship is no longer “I’m only a kid, I’m a teenager, I’m just having fun.” Now that they are an adult, their communication is changing. They have more control over what information they share with their parents and their parents have more control over what boundaries they set.
Family therapy becomes parent coaching with conversations revolving around how to support their daughter’s independence rather than how to prepare for them to live under the same roof. Our goal for parents and adult children to develop healthy adult relationships based on things they have in common beyond their blood.
- Change in Support System
One of the most rewarding parts of residential treatment for many teens is having a built-in support system, but they often struggle to maintain that degree of connection in relationships once they leave a group therapy setting.
We try to teach young adults that the values they discover in relationships with peers in treatment are transferable to all relationships and that authentic connection can transcend distance and time. It is easier to expand one’s support system than to start from scratch with every transition they experience in their lives.
The Power of an Intentional Community During the Transition to Adulthood
After young adults have done some of their personal healing, the best predictor of continued to success is strengthening their support system. While adolescent relationships are often built off shared activities or social status, communication is a big thing in adult relationships.
Real relationships happen when young adults learn how to communicate effectively and go beyond the surface level of introducing themselves and not expecting more than that It’s more like “these are my struggles” and being open to receiving help and them being able to reciprocate. Young adults realize that this is not just having to sit down in an office with a therapist. Effective communication can be applied when getting to know anybody–getting to know people, being open and vulnerable.
Knowing that they have a support system that they can come home to at the end of the day and get the support they need from peers and staff is a big part of why we offer processing groups. As a relationship-based program, we try to build a sense of community so that young adults feel comforted by the support we provide but are still encouraged to go out into the “real-world” community and do what they need to do.
Journey Home Young Adult Can Help
Journey Home Young Adult is a transitional living program for teens ages 18-23. This program addresses emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders that teens may face. Common presenting problems include depression, anxiety, attachment issues, academic struggles, and low self-esteem. Journey Home creates an environment conducive to healing where teens can learn healthy coping skills while becoming more well-equipped to launch into adulthood. Students leave this program feeling empowered, happy, and healthy. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 855-918-0032 to learn more about how we help young adults navigate relationships in young adulthood.