Becoming More Independent From Parents Through Wilderness TherapyOctober 21, 2019
Young adults are taking longer to move out of their parents’ house and it is becoming more common for them to move back in. Their generation is sometimes referred to as “baby boomerangers” due to increased dependence on their parents later in life. In a survey of empty nesters, half of the parents interviewed said that their child lived at home longer than they expected. While this arrangement may offer a nurturing environment for young adults struggling with mental health issues, it makes it harder for them to gain independence. Wilderness therapy teaches young adults valuable life skills that help them become more independent from their parents.
Cycle of Dependency
When a child tries to navigate launching into independence, it can bring up a wave of emotions for parents. It can be difficult for them to watch their children grow up when they are used to seeing them every day and taking care of their needs. Their desire to rescue their child from difficult situations can reinforce the extent that young adults expect their parents to solve their problems for them.
Young adults who are struggling with failure to launch often underestimate how hard it can be to live independently. They quickly learn that responsibility is about more than just chores around the house and that it involves greater levels of motivation and self-awareness than they expected. Independence goes beyond physical separation from one’s family. Emotional independence involves developing skills in a variety of areas that help young adults cope with negative emotions and make informed decisions.
Often, living at home as a young adult can bring up conflict with parents. Young adults want to be independent, even if they are living under their parents’ supervision. They may feel resentful that their parents are overprotective or want to be just as involved in their lives as they were in high school. This can lead to more arguments or not talking at all.
In the survey, 30% of parents say communication with their children increased after they moved out. Around 75% of parents reported talking to their child more than once a week. Many parents claim that when living together, they did not see their child as often. Living independently, they made more of an effort to plan meaningful time together beyond updating each other about when they were coming or going.
Opportunity to Repair Relationships
Independent living can provide families the opportunity to repair strained relationships and rebuild respect for each other, as it breaks the cycle of anger and resentment. Many young adults express gratitude for the chance to live at home but acknowledge that the proximity made it easier for them to stay dependent on their parents.
With distance from negative influences and family conflict, young adults have the opportunity to focus on themselves and their personal needs in wilderness therapy programs. This allows them time for self-reflection and space to practice life skills before transitioning into independent living.
Wilderness therapy programs, like Trails Momentum, emphasize the importance of family involvement in improving communication and encouraging young adults to gain autonomy. Through family therapy and workshops, parents learn skills that will help them support their child, hold boundaries with them, and prioritize their own self-care.
Trails Momentum Can Help
Trails Momentum is a wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-25 who struggle with anxiety and depression. The program’s goal is to inspire change in young adults that draws on a sense of community and adventure that helps shift the narrative about a young adult’s trajectory. Students are taught how to connect with the greater world, foster real relationships, and personally develop their own identity. Trails Momentum gives students the opportunity and tools they need to recreate themselves, becoming more independent from their parents, and get on track to a healthy, happy, and successful future.
Contact us at 877-296-8711.