AI Made Friendly HERE

How to Get Your Resistant Adult Child to Find a Job

  • There’s no way I’m going to work for some crappy boss. (Bobby, 23 years old, flunked out of two colleges that were “not the right fit.”)
  • Dad, seriously? What the hell? You support Mom all the time. You know you can afford for me not to work. I told you—I’m getting myself together and will go back to college next year. (Emma, 26 years old, is refusing to go back to her job at a front desk at a gym or seek a new job.)
  • Just wait. I’ll be laughing at your sorry butt when my music makes me rich and you are still working. (Kevin, age 22, dropped out of community college and refused to get work.)
  • Mom, you know Shandra (Seth’s ex-wife) is a total b*tch. Why should I go back to work just to pay her alimony? (Seth, a 39-year-old physician.)

The above words represent those of adult children I have either spoken with or been told about by parents I coach. Here’s how to help your job-resistant adult child find employment.

Anxiety Leads to Avoidance

While not being expressed directly, anxiety underlies all of the quotes from the examples of job-resistant adult children at the beginning of this post. Their internalized overwhelming worry about potential failure, rejection, or the unknown outcomes of seeking jobs robs them of motivation, making it difficult to take the necessary steps toward securing employment.

This anxiety may manifest in avoidance behaviors such as procrastination, perfectionism, or even withdrawing from opportunities altogether. Additionally, the pressure to live up to expectations, whether self-imposed or from external sources, can exacerbate these feelings of anxiety, further impeding the job search process. As a result, even if they possess the skills and qualifications needed for employment, pervasive anxiety can prevent them from confidently pursuing job opportunities and realizing their full potential in the workforce.

Here are some strategies, along with examples, to guide you in this process:

6 Strategies to Empower Your Adult Child to Get a Job

1. Open Communication: Work to create a supportive and nonjudgmental environment where your adult child feels comfortable discussing their concerns and aspirations. Encourage open conversations about their career goals, interests, and any challenges they may be facing in the job search process.

For example, Emma’s father, Ron, instead of criticizing Emma for her seemingly high levels of entitlement and lack of effort, took a different route. He was able to engage her more effectively by simply saying, “I’ve noticed you seem unsure about what you want to do next. Would you like to calmly talk about it?” This led to Emma breaking down and sharing her feelings of anxiety and vulnerability, which she acknowledged to her father had stymied her job-seeking activities.

2. Identify Strengths and Interests: Help your adult child recognize their strengths, skills, and interests. This can involve reflecting on past experiences, hobbies, or academic achievements. By understanding their strengths, they can narrow down potential career options that align with their interests.

For instance, Bobby’s mother, using gentle humor, helped him recognize his untapped communication and persuasion skills. This led Bobby to explore opportunities in content writing and marketing. Bobby then found an exciting opportunity for a less conventional job role. He got hired to help develop content for an influencer he met online with whom he had exchanged witty banter for a few months.

3. Encourage Realistic Goals: Collaborate with your adult child to set achievable short-term and long-term goals related to their job search. Break down the process into manageable steps such as updating their resume, networking, and applying for a certain number of jobs per week.

For example, Kevin mentioned at the beginning of this post, with gentle encouragement from his parents, attended a music-interest-related networking event. He acknowledged to his parents that the “people there were pretty cool.” One of those “cool people” offered Kevin a job as a music assistant at a local church. Kevin beamed when speaking about this new opportunity.

4. Provide Supportive Resources: Offer practical assistance by helping your adult child with tasks such as resume writing, job searching, and interview preparation. Share relevant articles, online courses, or workshops that can enhance their skills and knowledge in their chosen field.

For instance, Emma, as mentioned earlier, after her father created a safe space for communication, discovered she was interested in graphic design. She then pursued online tutorials and an associate’s degree to improve her design skills further. Emma now works as a junior-level graphic designer for a marketing company.

5. Encourage Independence: Amid his anger and pain from his divorce, Seth had not realized he could get back to work with temporary physician assignments. Partly, what got in his way (enabling him to be overtaken with anger, grief, and anxiety) from exploring opportunities was his well-meaning mother giving him large sums of money.

While it’s important for parents to be supportive, parents should also encourage their adult children to take ownership of their responsibilities. Empower them to make their own decisions and learn from their experiences, whether it’s through researching job opportunities, reaching out to contacts, or following up on applications.

In Seth’s case, he pursued locum tenens positions as a physician. As soon as he started his second temporary position, the staff and patients loved his work and provided him with a renewed sense of purpose. Adding to Seth’s increased zeal to return to work was the warm, caring vibes of a nurse colleague with whom he established a meaningful romantic connection.

6. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If your adult child continues to struggle with finding employment despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from career counselors or mental health professionals. They can provide personalized advice, assessment tools, and support tailored to your child’s specific needs and challenges. Sometimes, external perspectives can offer valuable insights and strategies to overcome obstacles in the job search process.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, helping a resistant adult child find a job requires patience, empathy, and effective communication. By fostering open dialogue, identifying strengths and interests, setting realistic goals, providing supportive resources, encouraging independence, and seeking professional help if needed, parents can empower their children to take proactive steps toward employment. Ultimately, the goal is to instill confidence and self-reliance in their professional pursuits while offering unwavering support along the way.

©Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Originally Appeared Here

You May Also Like

About the Author:

Early Bird