Life transitions happen to us all, at different phases of our lives. Our sister program, AgeQuake, Elder Mediation, focuses on life changes and transitions in later life. Family Conversations™ Transitional Mediation focuses on a time much earlier – helping young adults remain at home or leave the nest. This is about gaining independence.

Some kids can’t wait to leave the home, even before graduating or turning eighteen. Others stick around into their 20s and older, or return after they’ve left. The reasons are varied, but most occur due to unemployment, finances, divorce, drug or alcohol addiction. Whatever the reasons they usually have a few common threads running through the stories: a lack of emotional, educational, social, or physical support and preparedness. This is where the family can help.

In this article, “family” is much more than just blood relatives, but relatives are certainly at the core. People need to know they are part of a “home team”, or at least create one for themselves.  “Lives change – Families are forever”.

Our family meetings offer opportunities for people to gather together to support young adults, listen to their concerns and work together to create solutions and plans that can lead to increased independence and connections.  Our model brings together caring and loving adults, including immediate and extended family, teachers, elders, neighbors, friends, employers and anyone else personally connected to the young adult. And the decision of who to invite rests with the young adult.

These youth conferences are best implemented while students are in their junior or senior year of high school and preparing for their future, are still living at home after turning 18 and are fearful of leaving the nest, or who through a variety of reasons return home after being out on their own.  Here are a couple of articles that give some views of skills and lessons that may not have been shown and taught to young adults.

Initially we held youth conferences for youth who were expected to be transitioning into more permanent living arrangements as they aged out of the foster care system.  More recently we’ve adjusted our Transitional Mediation youth conferencing models to come in line with recent social trends. We’re implementing these family meetings at many other decision-making points.

“Child welfare agencies have come to recognize that no youth can truly live “independently” at age 18.” Counselors and psychologists are also seeing adults in their 20s and 30s needing more supports before being ready to become more independent. “… an emphasis is placed not on ‘independence’ but rather on ‘togetherness’ of the people the youth can seek out and rely upon now and in the future. As such, an important part of preparation for youth conferences is helping the youth understand that everyone needs help and support during one time or another in their lives and relying upon others for guidance ultimately strengthens, rather than decreases, their ability to move responsibly into adulthood.”

This is where our description of “family” comes in. These are people in your life that you can count on in a variety of ways. Employing these family meetings earlier has the benefit to create added stability and build more permanent relationships for the young adult.

And make no mistake, more and more, young adults are living at home beyond their 18th, 20th, or even 30th birthday.

Family Conversations can help with both family meetings to help prepare youth for being ready to take on adult roles, as well as parents and adult children navigating the tricky lives of living together under the same roof.  Call us for a free consultation.


“My adult children are still living at home. They want to be treated as adults, but they act like kids. How can we work out this arrangement?”

Adult children living at home is getting more common as they remain at, or return to, their parent’s home. Often people’s expectations differ, and often aren’t even discussed. One for the first things you can do is sit down and have a conversation. Keep this in mind: Listen so your parents will talk and talk so your parents will listen.  Holding a family meeting can help everyone express their wants, concerns and ways to deal with disagreements and conflicts.

Often, when families need to care for aging parents or other relatives, the burden falls disproportionately on people who live closest. It may be easier to see different solutions if you’re the one who sees the situations most often. It’s also easy for others to think they know what’s best, even if they haven’t been around too much. Sometimes people may not even agree on which issues are most important to be concerned about. Most issues are rarely black or white.

People truly want to do what helps. Trying to figure that all out may cause even more stress for family members, including the relatives you’re trying to care for.

 Questions to ask yourself: 

  • What do I expect to give, and what do I expect in return?
  • What help does my adult child want or need, and how have I determined this? Have we discussed the situation?
  • Do others, spouse, relatives, friends, agree on the problems? Why, or why not?
  • What are the arguments about – money, time commitments, appreciation?

Helpful Tips: Talk with siblings or other relatives and discuss your concerns. Think about having a neutral person work with you to give you feedback about what might be helpful for your situation. Get commitments to work together to, 1) take care of mom and dad (or another relative), and 2) work out family squabbles separately. Find ways for all family members to contribute to this family issue.

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