Teens approaching adulthood face a myriad of new challenges. In addition to coping with the biological and cognitive changes of adolescence, teens must determine an educational path, think about career options and begin the process of separating from the family. Although all teens face these issues, they are nonetheless difficult to navigate, which makes it essential to support your teen emotionally and help him explore his choices and goals.
Career and Education
Planning for a career and education is a common difficulty for teens approaching adulthood. Career planning with your teens helps them develop their roles and use their experiences to create the life they want, explains the Alberta Employment and Immigration’s teen career planning guide. In other words, when deciding on an educational and career path, your teen is essentially being asked to envision what he wants out of life. This can be a difficult task for an adolescent with limited life experience.
Independent Living Skills
As your teen approaches adulthood, she will need to develop the skills necessary not only to support herself financially, but also manage her own household and activities of daily living. These activities include paying bills, cleaning, preparing food and seeking out medical care. Although your child has likely learned many of these activities from observing you and other adults -- and indeed, may have practiced these skills at home -- executing independent living activities without parental supervision can be difficult and daunting for some teens.
Establishing a sense of identity has traditionally been regarded as the central task of adolescence, according to the American Psychological Association. Although adolescents begin to struggle with identity issues at the onset of puberty, as they reach adulthood, these issues still remain salient. Older teens may struggle to define their own values and examine the ways in which their beliefs and interests fit in with both your family and with their peer group.
Separation from the Family
When teenagers display rebellious behavior, this is one of the mechanisms by which they begin to separate themselves from your family and explore autonomous living. Although your teen may be excited about the prospect of moving away to college or getting her own apartment, separating from your family is also a great source of difficulty for many teens. As such, it's important that your teen knows he is still a member of the family even when he lives outside the house, explains the Government of South Australia’s Women's and Children’s Health Network.
- American Psychological Association: Developing Adolescents
- Early Head Start National Resource Center: Stages of Adolescent Development
- Alberta Employment and Immigration: Career Planning with Teens
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services: Life Skills Inventory
- Women's and Children’s Health Network: Leaving Home
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images