Turning Points in Young Adulthood Reduce Behavior Issues

Many parents believe that their child’s behavior issues will be just a phase they grow out of when they are older. They see risk-taking and hopelessness as a rite of passage for adolescents, but begin to worry when their young adult is continuing to struggle with the same issues. Researchers suggest that most young adults do, in fact, grow out of behavior issues, but they do so once they experience turning points in their lives rather than naturally.  

The Effect of Turning Points on Behavior Issues

In their age-graded theory, Sampson and Laub recognize the role of social capital and its ability to create turning points in the lives of struggling young adults. They found that people struggling with behavior issues can change their behavior with the help of positive changes in their life circumstances, such as moving to a more attractive environment, returning to school, gaining employment, and establishing social support.

Changes in life circumstances are most likely to lead to behavioral change when they are associated with cognitive shifts. These shifts correspond with reassessing one’s life circumstances: something happens, something changes, and suddenly unhealthy behaviors no longer meet their needs in the same way. Their negative coping mechanisms seem incompatible with positive events they’ve experienced as part of their current lifestyle. As their social roles change, young adults begin to establish a more positive sense of self and confidence in their ability to succeed.

Moving to a New Environment

For many young adults, moving to a new place gives them the opportunity to reinvent themselves and to let go of emotional issues they’ve carried with them in other places. Many young adults who are struggling with failure to launch syndrome find that moving to a new city pushes them out of their comfort zone, but that this move was necessary for them to gain independence. Choosing a transitional living program outside of their hometown gives them distance from stressors and unhealthy friendships and allows them to focus on their personal goals. 

Doing Well in School

Going to college and choosing a major that they are passionate about helps boosts young adult’s self-esteem. Many students struggle with feeling directionless and unmotivated, but positive feedback can help them feel more committed to their academic goals. In transitional living programs, young adults are encouraged to take classes at local colleges and are offered additional academic support to help students stay organized. Mentors check in with students about their academic goals, provide college counseling, and help them feel a sense of accomplishment about what they have achieved.

Finding a Stable Job

Young adults who are unemployed are more likely to feel socially isolated or to justify addictive behaviors, like substance use and video games, because of their lack of other responsibilities. Finding a stable job helps young adults become more socially connected, feel a greater sense of purpose, and explore career options. We believe that job stability involves not only finding a job, but also developing life skills like reliability, helpfulness, and commitment that can be applied in a variety of settings. Mentors help connect young adults to volunteer and job opportunities in the community by helping with resumes, role-playing interviewing, and helping them identify their strengths.

Strengthening Social Bonds

Meaningful relationships have a significant impact on reducing behavior issues. This may be because young adults place more value on the opinions of their close friends or because these relationships are based on more prosocial activities. Spending more time with supportive people reduces exposure to deviant peers and antisocial activities. As a relationship-based program, young adults at Foundations Asheville strengthen their support network of peers and mentors through group therapy and positive social activities in the community.  

Foundations Asheville Can Help 

Foundations Asheville is a co-ed program for young adults ages 18-24 who are struggling to find the motivation to launch into adulthood. Many of our students struggle with anxiety, depression, social skills, learning difficulties and behavior issues, like video game addiction and substance experimentation. This program is committed to helping young adults develop and sharpen the skills they need to be successful in the real world. There is a focus on teaching students how to enter the workforce, develop vocational trades, and functional living skills. Foundations Asheville gives young adults the opportunity to gain confidence, find their purpose, and learn useful skills that will help them navigate through their adult years.

 Contact us at 1-877-318-7273. We can help your family today!


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