The Transformation of Concerns Over the Lifespan – Adulthood to Death

This article follows a previous one, highlighting concerns experienced from birth to adulthood.

As the midlife years commence the growing concern is for meaning in life; not just “what have we achieved?” but “what purpose do we have?” Family concerns become more fully formed as our children grow and gradually become adults themselves. At this stage we might be on our third or fourth career. Work seems, perhaps, a little less important. Life is a little more balanced, or it least the concern for balance receives more hearing. About this time there is a concern for change-of-life; both genders, male and female, are involved. This is not just a physical process.

The later midlife years can be seen, by many, as the best years of life. Concern has transformed again from the direct concerns of one’s own life to the superintending concern, for instance, in grandparenthood. With an indirect level of concern within the family there are direct concerns for health; cancer is an obvious threat. Ill-health and more acquaintance with the medical fraternity, perhaps, become the norm. We begin going to more funerals than weddings.

The senior years can be a real mixed bag, as is life in general. The need of the senior – their primary concern – is now family. As life swings full circle the nurture of family and the needs of harmony are crucial now. Health, again, is the overriding concern. How much more life can be extracted? Are great-grandchildren a possibility, and, can they be enjoyed? Is there a last opportunity to do those things we wish to do before incapacity overcomes us? These are also the evaluative years: how well have our lives stacked up? Hopefully we will not be too cruel in our assessment; kind enough to understand we did the best we could with what we had.

Old-age is the place of withering and shrivelling, as the person prepares to become one with the earth (physically) and at one with eternity (spiritually). The concern is preparation for death, and this concern is shared, in different ways, for the person and their family affected. Children of the old-aged bear the burden of their parents if they are responsible and loving, just as their parents bore the burden of their children if they were responsible and loving. The family dynamic is the key concern. There are results sprinkled all through the continuum from full support to total neglect.

When death comes concerns, of this life, end. Yet, there is always a concern left behind. The one that loves will think of these concerns left behind and leave what legacy they can.

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.

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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.

Joshua Soto, MA is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern (639) in private practice in Irvine, CA. Josh specializes in working with pre-teens, teens, and young adults. Josh facilitates counseling and coaching groups in and outside the office to help young people learn mindfulness, social skills, and healthy coping skills to manage stress at home and at school. He is employed and supervised by Dr. Renee Miller, LMFT (43207) at 18023 Sky Park Circle, Suite G, Irvine, CA. Josh is accepting new clients and can be reached at (714) 422-0396 or by email at [email protected]