Changes don’t happen overnight. You can follow all of the advice in our blog. You can spend hours discussing what you need to do with counselors and parents who have been there. But it takes time.
When you choose a transition program such as NDFYA, or are trying to help your young adult yourself, understand that your young adult won’t improve immediately. There will be days he or she needs to be dragged from bed. They’ll lose track of time and miss appointments. They’ll backslide into old habits.
It’s part of the process. It also doesn’t necessarily mean the process needs to change.
Even Students in a Program Have Failures
For example, a student shared with us she had struggled at first with time management, especially when it came to waking up in time to come into the office here at NDFYA. It was too tempting to stay in bed when she didn’t have parents around to ensure she was getting up.
However, as our staff continued to visit her apartment here on campus each morning to make sure she had indeed started her day on time, it gradually became part of her routine. Now she is living on her own outside of campus. She admits to occasionally having days where she oversleeps, but tells us she now understands the necessity of making appointments on time.
Failure Is a Necessary Step
In order for your young adult to succeed, he or she must experience a few scenarios where things go wrong. Learning what will happen in those circumstances, such as the money lost from missing an hour of work, gives your young adult an incentive to not let it happen again.
If the naturally-occurring consequences don’t encourage your young adult to change his or her behavior, then you may need to impose some additional consequences yourself, such as refusing to allow them access to your vehicle when not working.
Be Prepared to Take the Time It Takes
It’s always tempting to think what you’re doing isn’t going to work when you try something and it doesn’t go as planned. Then you end up moving from solution to solution to the find the “perfect” one, and actually accomplish nothing.
(There is a difference between jumping between programs and recognizing when a program simply isn’t working. If a great deal of time has passed and you see no progress, you may need to reconsider your current program.)
When you or your young adult feel that temptation to change the plan because a few missteps happened, don’t give in. Gregory Ciotti suggests you instead look at the total number of days your young adult has been successful and concentrate on those accomplishments.
Recognize that your goal may take a couple of weeks, or a month, or a couple of months, or longer, to reach. Teach your young adult to forgive themselves for the slip-ups and move on.
When your young adult does reach their goal, though, it’ll have become a habit and will seem much easier to do every day. This is when you see progress, and it may even be a lot of progress at that point.
Focus on Creating New Habits
As your young adult works toward independence, remember that you are helping him or her create new habits that will help them support themselves rather than breaking the old habits. Stay on one path, and you will find it takes your young adult where they need to go.