All Kinds of News for June 07, 2017
Durability (noun) - the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage
Many stressors serve as impediments to emerging adults as they make their way in the world. Their ability to manage those stressors, over time and in real-time is critical to their effectiveness in coping with the multi-faceted lives they are compelled to live. Depression may keep them from getting out of bed to go to work. Executive functioning challenges might lead to losing track of assignments and due dates in a course of study. Anxiety could cause them to overthink, well, everything actually. And yet, what they are looking for, and what their families are hoping for are in many ways the same thing — durability.
Usually, they have a history of starting strong, like at the beginning of a semester. But over time, a corrosive effect takes over that wears away at them. They lose track of things, life piles on, the pressure mounts and they continue a long-standing pattern of succumbing and ending up with some damage to their psyche. Unlearning this pattern takes time, effort and the support of a long tether, one which allows emerging adults to dust themselves off, expose their inner grit and not feel the current of a circling helicopter care giver from above. This autonomy of the long tether helps them to feel greater ownership of their situation. They know the help is available, but that the expectation (by everyone) is that they will be able to, mostly, figure it out. According to Berk (2013), this helicopter style “likely interferes with emerging adults’ ability to acquire the skills they need to act on their own.” Garrett and Moskovitz of Urban Edge in Denver in the (2017) talk about the importance of grit as a predictor of achievement in multiple domains for emerging adults.
“In the six months before we opened Onward Transitions” says Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC, co-founder and Clinical Director of Onward Transitions, “and in the year since, we have spoken with nearly 100 families about how they hope that their emerging adult could come to Portland, put their therapeutic growth to some reality testing, and become more durable in the face of the business of life.”
During the Onward Transitions admissions process, one mother spoke of her hope for her son:
“We just hope he can continue to become more durable, over time.”
Unknowingly, she was the voice of her generation of parents, speaking plainly about her hopes for her emerging adult struggling to meet the challenges of independent living. He had done the “heavy lifting” in therapy, had tried college, tried volunteering at home, and none of it had really come together for him. The team they had put together as a family helped them to recognize that getting out, without a net, but with a tether, might be the right thing.
Fraize shares: “We have been able to be part of the lives of a small sample of young adults who have built up their durability through working, going to school, volunteering, cooking meals, exercising, budgeting, paying bills, refilling prescriptions, making appointments, and most importantly — bouncing back after making a mistake. The members of our Pine House, and our step-down “Neighbors” here in Maine talk openly about adding on another “layer of complexity” to their lives, as they gain mastery over the preceding ones. They relish the fact that they are working through their struggles, and report feeling “grown up” when they do. They report feeling better able to endure, and not collapse when old emotions rise up or life drama takes the stage.”Berk, Laura E., 2013, Lifespan Development Series, 6th Ed., Pearson, ISBN: 9780205957606Garrett, Clay M., and Moskovitz, A., 2017, Autonomous Programming: The Benefits and Challenges of Emerging Mentorship Models, The Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, Vol. IX, Number 1.
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions is a comprehensive, non-residential independent living service that supports young adults, ages 18-27 living independently in the neighborhood of their choice in Portland, Maine. Our members choose and live in their own apartment from day one. They do not ever live with us. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression, executive functioning and meeting the requirements of launching towards independence.