Adulthood – How Is This Life Passage Designed?

Did anyone ever tell you how to be a grown-up?

All too rare is the person who can answer “yes” to that question! Yet, learning the fundamental pattern that drives the basic stages of adult life has a myriad of benefits. It can be a tremendous relief (‘wow, I’m normal, I’m not crazy, sick, bad, not-OK!). It can provide guidance for how to move through the various passages in healthy and satisfying ways. It can provide much needed direction for improving your relationships with your partner, your children, your parents, your friends and your co-workers.

It can even reduce or even eliminate feelings of insecurity and feelings of not-okayness. How is this possible?

It comes about because most of us are suffering under the false belief that being grown-up, having reached ‘maturity’ means that we should have put away the things of childhood – that we should have outgrown the needs and feelings and processes we grew through in the stages of childhood.

But that is absolutely incorrect! We are not designed to outgrow the stages of childhood – we are designed to repeat them in more sophisticated form throughout our entire adulthood. In fact, a good definition of emotional maturity would be being able to continue meeting the same emotional requirements for ourselves in adulthood that we first experienced in the dependencies of childhood.

If we continue to hold on to the belief that repeating these stages in adulthood means that we’re not mature people, that we’re not really grown-ups, our holding on gives rise to a huge amount of internal stress and all those horrible feelings of insecurity, thinking there’s something wrong with us, lacking confidence, etc.

But accept the fact that not only did you not outgrow the stages of childhood, but that you’re not supposed to, that you’re perfectly normal in that respect, and suddenly you’re free of all that awful, self-generated stress and upset. You might even feel, as some people have reported, like dancing in the streets!

What do your grown-up life stages have to do with your parenting?

In a word: everything! Here’s why: It is part of our basic nature as mature people to be able to repeat the same stages our children are growing through. That means that we have the same growth tasks to carry out (on a more mature level) that our children are carrying out in their foundational years.

It’s as if nature gave us an automatic way of reminding us what our children are growing through so we can assist them in their growth tasks.

So deep and so profound and so fundamental is this evolving pattern, that it is one that we share with all of nature. Understanding this fact illuminates what we are up against if we try to deny it and try to fit our lives into some pre-conceived, or rather, ill-conceived mold.

That turns out to be an incredibly costly process – one that robs us of our health, our sense of well-being, our security, sabotages our relationships and more.

Remember that other saying: Don’t fight Mother Nature… she always wins.

That’s an expression that really is true – and it’s also excellent advice for how to be a grown up.
Much better to join with our natural, inborn pattern as we evolve through our adult lives. We need to conclude – once and for all – that we will never outgrow the stages of childhood, and that we are destined to repeat them throughout life.

No matter how old we become chronologically, it is our fundamental nature to remain in the same growth pattern as children in this vast universe we call home.

The New Face of Adulthood: The Changing Journey Young Adults Are Taking

It may not seem all that long ago that the standard milestones of adulthood included going to college, leaving home, and being independent. The experience of being on your own and feeling like an adult is a big deal for all of us in our lives as we feel we are embarking on a journey towards what we feel we were meant to do as a career. However, the millennial generation has seen a big change in what adulthood looks like now, with many twenty-something’s either moving back home or staying with their parents for a variety of reasons such as changes in social norms and a shrinking job market. This period is being referred to as Emerging Adulthood, and with it comes the need for an understanding of how young adults can thrive through challenges not previously experienced by previous generations.

Most adults forty and over recall their 20’s as one of the most challenging periods of their life, not just in figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives, but also in taking the steps in making it a reality and experiencing all the twists and forks in the road of adulthood. Studies are showing that young adults are currently paying a heavy price in seeking a college degree with a large number of them facing the dilemma of earning a degree without the guarantee of finding job to begin paying off their student loan. For many, returning home makes a heck of a lot of sense in the grand scheme of things. It’s no wonder that the thought of marriage and starting a family would be put on the back burner for a while. Additionally research shows that young adults view their college education not only as long term investment in achieving employment, income, and job security, but also in the sense of earning a degree as a milestone of adulthood.

Self-worth and family relationships can be significant issues that come up for young adults when they return home. Some millennials I have spoken with often describe a feeling of heaviness that they feel by trying to respect their parents while trying to live their own life. Living at home and still trying to maintain a sense of independence can be a bumpy road to travel as parents may expect them to follow rules they were living under while still in high school. For many young adults living at home while struggling financially with a student loan and not being able to find a job can leave them feeling hopelessness and seeking comfort by managing their depressed mood and anxiety with excessive marijuana and alcohol use.

When young adults realize that self-medicating isn’t helping them to deal with their problems, the option of seeking professional help by talking to someone can be the beginning of a turning point. Young adults may find the prospect of going to therapy awkward if they are expecting a therapist to be a stern parental figure, but it can be an opportunity to find a therapist who is encouraging of their desire for growth and independence. While substance abuse and addiction can be what brings young adults into treatment, the core issues of feeling stuck in between one stage of life and the next is of equal importance.

Treatment for young adults can include learning more effective ways to cope with stress in their life and mending strained relationships with their parents whom they depend on for financial and emotional support. Clients I have worked with have often found that I’m not a parental figure, as much as someone who is there for them and be present to hear their story and witness their movement towards growth. Therapy is also the opportunity for young adults to explore their identity outside of their family and who they are in the world. It isn’t uncommon for a young adult to have therapy sessions with their parents to work out the strain they may all be feeling with the delay in them being launched from the nest. Therapy helps young adults to discuss where they are in their lives and work on how they are in their separation process as an adult from their family, and how independent they are feeling as the dynamics in their family change into something in which they feel they are being treated as an adult. Clients I work with are putting the focus where it needs to be at this time of their life, which is on where they are and finding resilience and growth. Exploring the possibilities that come from individual choice helps many young adults to feel hope for their future, or develop a calming sense of peace by being assisted in narrowing down their choices rather than being overwhelmed by them.

Preparing Your Child Or Teenager For Adulthood

One of the greatest gifts you as a parent can give your child or teen is the ability to handle their emotions. Said another way, teaching children how to identify, reflect on, and deal with their feelings by the time they leave home is one of the best ways to prepare them for adulthood. In fact, it is my opinion that emotional strength and ability will take a person much farther in life than intellectual ability or a specific ability (like athletic or artistic ability).

So what does it mean to identify and handle feelings? Well, to identify feelings simply means to name them accurately. To handle feelings means to sit with them and be able to tolerate the intensity of them. But how is it that teaching your child/teen to do these two things will prepare them for adulthood? The brief answer is that the events in anyone’s life stir up all kinds of intense feelings inside them. If a child/teen cannot tolerate and handle intense feelings, then acting impulsively or avoiding/withdrawing may be done, often to their detriment. So let’s look at this issue in some detail.

To identify feelings is not a simple thing. In fact, in my work as a psychologist I find that not only children and adolescents but most adults have a hard time accurately identifying their feelings. For example, when I ask clients what they are feeling about a situation, words like “upset” and “frustrated” are common responses. And while those are certainly words that describe emotions, they don’t go very far in terms of detail. In fact, it’s similar to someone looking at a buffet in a restaurant and saying there is “food” rather than naming the many different food items. So for a person to say, “I’m feeling upset,” actually implies the possibility of many different feelings.

To handle feelings is also not a simple thing. Feelings can range from weak to strong in intensity. It’s when feelings get strong in intensity that they become hard to handle. At that point feelings become like a “hot potato” and need to be gotten rid of quickly. In other words, when feelings get too intense is when children/teens will often say and do things like misbehave, throw a fit, talk back, withdraw, etc. So one way to keep a child/teen from misbehaving, withdrawing, etc. is to increase their ability to tolerate their feelings; that is, the greater their capacity for sitting with intense feelings the less likely they are to need to get rid of them (discharge them) via misbehavior.

How do you as a parent help your child/teen tolerate their feelings more so they are less likely to act out? You can think of it as a two step process. First, help them identify what they are feeling by asking them directly. (If they say, “I don’t know,” then you can make guesses with them at what they might be feeling.) Second, “be there” with them, that is, sit with them and stay engaged mentally with them for a brief time. (Keep in mind that just by being with them, whether it’s one minute or thirty minutes, communicates that you aren’t scared off by the intensity of what they are feeling.)

Okay, so now that you know a little more about how to help your child/teen identify and handle their feelings, how can this be helpful in terms of preparing them for adulthood? Put simply, their increased ability to identify and handle feelings will allow them to be more patient when confronted by situations in adulthood that cause intense emotions in them. And more patience will lead to them being more likely to mentally sit back and reflect on possible solutions to the situation in front of them. And of course, more patience and more reflection on most situations in life will lead to better outcomes.

The Consequences of Low Self Esteem Into Adulthood

When a child suffers from low self esteem, it will certainly carry on into their adulthood if not altered. Simple things such as meeting new people can be very difficult, as well as taking on challenges, valuing their own opinion and much more. It is important for parents to understand just how crucial healthy self esteem in a child can be because a parent has the ability to help increase a child’s self esteem and guide them in the proper way through a series of activities, words, and so on. Without a parent intervening in a positive way when it comes to their child’s self esteem, the following can be carried into the child’s adulthood:

Communication skills – A child with low esteem is likely to grow into an adult that has difficulty in communicating with others whether it is with their spouse, coworkers, and so on. This is because they do not feel secure and confident with what they say, they may be afraid to say things.

Negative Thoughts and Feelings – Since a child with low self worth has negative thoughts and feelings about themselves and even others, it will be the same sort of thing once they become adults with a difference being they are more likely to keep things within themselves versus saying negative statements out loud.

Quick Temper – An adult with low self esteem may have a quick temper. This is because of the frustration they feel and negative thoughts that they feel which come out through their temper, hence being that of a quick temper.

Blaming Others – Because an adult with low self esteem often feels low about themselves, they will also blame others to make themselves feel better.

Difficulty with Relationships – Having difficulty in relationship is common when your child has low self worth and goes from a child into adulthood. This is because they have trouble communicating and may have negative feelings often, which makes it hard for their loved ones, and so on.

Keep in mind while some of these signs may or may not occur into a child’s adulthood, everyone is impacted differently. A child with low self esteem doesn’t mean that they are bound to show all of these negative impacts. It is also important to remember that with self esteem you don’t just have it or not, but instead there are levels that fall in-between. A child can have very low self esteem or just a little self doubt which will all impact how they transform into adults.

The Rickety Bridge To Adulthood

Despite its metaphorical name, The Rickety Bridge To Adulthood was a real bridge in Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania, a real town neatly wedged halfway between the Delaware Water Gap and Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge.

In 1962, Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge was known as “Your Host In The Poconos With The Most In The Poconos”; a simple line for a simple time. 1962 was an equally uncomplicated year; likely the very last one our nation would ever enjoy. Two popular icons of the time best tell us why The Rickety Bridge To Adulthood could have existed then – and only then.

Barbeque Grills and Dads.

Barbeque grills were so sturdily built, they doubled as concussion-proof boxes for safely exploding hand grenades and artillery shells. With brand name starter fluids not yet in wide use, men instead lugged jerry-cans full of gasoline from their local Texaco. Lit cigarettes jitterbugging on their lips, these casual arsonists splashed on more flameable explosive roasting a wienie than The 5th Division Marines used capturing Iwo Jima.

Likewise, 1962 featured extremely sturdy Dads, perhaps more so than any other in the long history of fatherhood. Unlike adult males in today’s slippery chain of family command, The 1962 Dad was the sole hand on the tiller of authority. What Dad said, went; even when what Dad said – went dreadfully haywire.

The 1962 Dad was like Google, Wikipedia and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not rolled into one. Even when you knew in your the gut things he said were plain screwy, there existed no source of info you could counter with. Worse, these Dads never looked even vaguely like authority figures. He grew scraggly mustaches, smoked smelly, cheap cigars known as cheroots, and, in a frontal assault on good taste, Dads wore fire engine red socks beneath black high-top sneakers. Should Mom lodge a protest, Dad had but one reply:

“Tough Toenails.”

To understand the true meaning of this response, note that in 1962, TV featured “Dad’s Toenails Week On The 4:30 Movie”; five motion pictures starring his yellowing, ugly, razor-sharp protrusions; accidentally irradiated to gigantic, Earth-threatening size. Think wrecked skyscrapers, trampled crowds and no way modern science could ever stop these lethal monsters.

Which brings us back to The Rickety Bridge To Adulthood. It was Dad’s unshakable, belief in himself that required he pressgang his first born son into that best captured in 5 words: Just Like My Old Man. In order to be Just Like His Old Man, the quivering minnow (more often than not known as “Junior”) was absolutely and irrevocably required to cross that bridge.

Although dads were themselves often baptized by lethal combat, they still gave presented two choices, not unlike helping a kid get over his fear of water: the kid could jump or dad could toss him in. The crucial difference here was the water. It was over three stories below, a foot deep and dotted with humongous jagged boulders – in the unlikely event the little shmoo didn’t drown on impact.

In 1962, first born males had their first brush with the inevitable. Cavities, hurtful rejection by girls they deeply loved and The Draft Board would come later. For now, on the far side of a deep rocky gorge there stood Reamys, a frozen custard stand. Even at a tender age, young boys could sense that very little good could possibly ever come from a place called Reamys. While they had no idea what reaming was, either literally or figuratively – they knew it just had to be bad.

Of course, Reamys was, for miles around, the sole provider of ice cream unceremoniously blown full of air before being glopped into sugar cones. Junior never held any real hope his siblings would ignore the offer, the word “custard” always had an effect similar to the plink of a can opener on cat ears.

The one way to get to Reamys was a 60 foot long, foot bridge in ugly disrepair; lovingly ignored by local authorities for decades. Haphazardly strung across the gorge, this fresh-air tunnel to certain doom would shake, shimmy and shiver violently with absolutely no provocation – and the slightest hint of a breeze would cause it to violently sway side to side.

There was no detour, no “long way around” and more than anything else, there was no turning back. If he didn’t cross, his siblings would dutifully report back to Dad. This was freely translated which in turn meant the boy’s absence of backbone would then be transmitted across the free world on all major television networks. The instant a young lad bravely took that initial step on a termite-ravaged cross-beam, an ugly apparition would appear on the far side – what could only be identified as The True Warthog From Hell. Cackling fiendishly, this beast would give the overhead steel wire stanchions a nice, friendly slap – turning the bridge into an unstable mass of gunmetal grey Jello – and the victim’s world into a nightmare. When he somehow got his wits back, he instantly had a truly sickening realization there were fifty nine steps still to go.

While a kid’s natural reaction was to grab the jokingly named “support” wires, this unfortunate move instantly transferred into his very core a spine rattling vibrato. Imagine the keening voice of Dr. Fu Manchu as he repeatedly jabbed bamboo spikes dipped in sulfur into the flesh of the white missionary devil. The unmistakable yang!yang!yang! of the bridge quivering indicated that an entire legion of True Warthogs From Hell had joined the first True Warthog From Hell in performing their deadly task in unison.

These one-yard-high sadists that flocked to either end of this bridge were rumored to be sub-minions of the infamous “Lehigh Creek Gang”. They knew the only way they might effectively graduate to adult thughood was by making each step on the bridge feel like it was indeed the last one taken on Earth.

So, as the little brothers watched (and often snickered), the kid moved slowly ahead, tried not to look down and did his best not to picture a jagged bolder moving from thirty feet down to one inch from his face – in five short seconds.

It would be a mistake to call this a test of bravery. You either made it across or you scampered back into the shame and disgrace of extended childhood. In fact, in 1962, a year of bomb-proof barbeque grills and marauding giant yellow toenails, the spectacle on The Bridge was simply everybody’s idea of a swell time. Adults would watch from either bank swigging endless Genny Creams and laughing uproariously when a poor lad got himself frozen halfway, wondering if back or forth might provide the fastest egress from this jiggling purgatory.

If somehow the lad made it to Reamys and brought back the goods; The Creek Gang urchin-ettes had by this time tired of the fun and the return trip was never as eventful. And Dad? Well, Dad, if he chose to notice his brood had returned with chocolate custardy beards – likely uttered his second favorite expression after “Tough Toenails!” –

“Where’s my change?”

All of this is not to say kids were tougher in 1962. Perhaps it was mostly that they were a generation who witnessed the first weapons that could instantly annihilate all life on earth. Or maybe it was that a “police action” had ended 10 years before and another would not heat up for another 5. In the absence of deadly gunfire, rituals were still necessary to indicate passage to manhood.

In any case, there is very little chance The Rickety Bridge To Adulthood is still in the condition last seen in 1962. Worse, a rumor reported recently in a Poconos newspaper talked of a certain establishment that delivered frozen custard to picnics. So nowadays, Dad probably is the shnook chosen to Google the number on his Blackberry; the only test remaining was figuring whether the correct spelling for “ream” applies.

Stress at Late Adulthood

Stress at late adulthood is stress affecting senior citizens who have gone through every stage of life to point where they have so much experience with life. Having experience in life however, does not mean that they have mastered the dynamics of stress. They are still very vulnerable to stress which has been found to be the leading source of health problems in late adulthood. This people suffer from problems that have to do with family, money, health and so many others. Marital stress seems to top the list when it come to a long term cause of stress. Although this is unexpected, it has been found that marital arguments will cause a lot of stress in life for people in late adulthood. Even if the couple has been married for over forty years, the stress from the relationship has the capacity to do harm to their health eventually.

This kind of long term stress has been found to be responsible for their loss of memory and the general function of the brain. Another factor that is instrumental in causing stress at late adulthood is the feeling of being worthless because are retired. Many people of this age who find something else to do will fair better than those who choose to do nothing. Being busy at this age is vital because it provides the sense of being useful to society. When they are productive, they will escape some of the stresses that come with being idol. There are many signs that will help you know whether you are stressed at this age. You need to remember that effects of stress are individual, so you can find as many as you can imagine.

People in late adulthood tend to loose their temper very easily and it is one of the effects. Sometimes you will find them talking to themselves. Others will turn to drugs and alcohol and become addicted. Unfortunately, many people have found themselves here all due to stress. Other people tend to withdraw from reality and live a very secluded life they may also not feel like venturing out to the sun and to the fresh air. Others due to stress may start acting out like young people you will find them wearing cloths meant for young people and living a make belief life which may be considered absurd by many people. There are so many other effects. There are steps that you can take to make sure you avoid stress and that you make the best out of your late adulthood.

The first thing is to ensure you do not become very argumentative. This will help reduce any marital disputes you might be experiencing. This does not mean that you loose your ground as a partner but, it means that you become more of a peacemaker than a troublemaker. The second thing is that even as you retire, make sure you keep busy with something else and make sure it is something you love doing. This will keep your mind occupied and you will be a productive member of society. Make sure you stay positive and do not give in to negativity because it will only stress you.

Journey From Childhood to Adulthood

Childhood is a carefree period. One can laugh cry get angry without much issue. During this time we are pure mentally and physically. There is no burden to carry. We may not be ridden with the feelings of guilt and responsibility. There are no pretensions, nothing to show off. No body to impress.

A child is nearer to god than a man because it has not developed cunningness, and impurities of the mind. No doubt it is the golden period of our lives.

Children are pure at heart. They do not suffer from discrimination, hatred, biases and prejudices.

It in only in the later adulthood that they are molded to confine themselves in the boundary of religion, creed, ethnic groups and nationality. These are man made boundaries.

An adult is burdened with responsibilities of family, children, parents, society, government and what not.

The natural growth and rhythm of life is obstructed. The journey of adulthood is tumulus. Burden of studies, career and what not.

Man who was born innocent is now laden with responsibilities. Any mistake is unpardonable.

We are bound in chains. I long for the freedom of childhood. But find myself confined in the prison of Adulthood.

There is no escape from this confinement.

You are judged, criticized, you have to confirm to the social norms. You have to show off. Our ego decides what we would do. We become totally enslaved to our ego.

Is there any escape? How can we run away from the judgmental eyes of the society? Shall we run away from the family and the society?

Where shall we run away?

Can we escape stress, tension, anxiety and depression?

Not in the modern world order. It is a necessary evil of the modern times. Only those who have surrendered themselves to God are really happy.