Kerry Lifeline

Emerging Adulthood

Emerging Adulthood is known as the period of time between the age of 18 years and 28 years of age approximately. Unfortunately little attention is given to this period in an individual’s life which is a pity because it can be quite a daunting, challenging and fearful time.  They may or may not just be out of school and finishing the tail end of their turbulent adolescent years yet this is given little consideration. While it is healthy to encourage more detachment and autonomy and promote the need for more independence it is equally important to acknowledge the plethora of emotions that come with such a step. The fear of the unknown exists. It is part and parcel of this chapter hence parental guidance and support needs to remain steadfast. Emerging adults rarely confess their fears because the pressure is on to save face. They want and need to achieve independence but secretly harbour a lot of fear and confusion as they branch out.   Emerging adulthood can extend into a person’s late twenties so discussing this reality with our teenagers is necessary. They may change academic courses before finding the right one, take time out and travel, work different jobs, go through various relationships etc on this journey of discovery ; but one thing is for sure they will grow and evolve as they do so.   Being open to receiving them regardless of possible mistakes will make them more emotionally robust. They will more than likely seek you out for guidance or comfort and familiarize you with the context of their new world, be it courses, new friendships, problems etc.. They are unique individuals encountering unique experiences to them ; we, on the other hand, may  have forgotten how this feels . We must bear this in mind if they become derailed.

Creating a good foundation, before they eventually fly the nest, will provide a solid base for them to return to. This foundation is achievable via open and honest communication, gentle encouragement, unconditional positive regard and acknowledging the challenges which exist for them. Slowly but surely the need to save face and disguise difficulties fades and the emerging adult can discuss his/her experiences in a more realistic fashion, be it academic pressure, friendship/relationship worries, financial concerns and so on. This is a welcomed moment! Now we can visualize someone who is ready, willing and able to be in touch with their emotions and recognize the need to reach out for support. This can be an uphill struggle for emerging adults who don’t want to disappoint.  Remember, they remain vulnerable and sensitive to praise and criticism despite this outward appearance of emerging adult. As parents we can do a great deal to help them navigate any obstacles they may encounter without remaining so much in the forefront of their lives! Once they know that your support is consistent they can discover a world full of possibilities and, in turn, discover themselves!

SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. Kerry

Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide.

SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision