Times Have Changed

Next Steps Old Wooden SignIn the midst of emails back and forth about my 50th college reunion, it’s hard to believe that we’ve gotten to that point in our lives already. But as I think more about that graduation and what we did in the months after, I realize how different it is for college graduates now.

We had paths clearly laid out for us after graduation: a job, graduate school, marriage. Whichever the choice, it was unlikely we would be moving back into our parents’ house. Now, college graduates are returning to the nest in record numbers. Boomerang kids don’t seem to be taking the next steps that we did.

We were the transition between two generations – the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers – and we showed signs of both. Like our parents, we took responsibility for supporting ourselves and tended to follow the traditional track to marriage and motherhood. But, leading the way for the boomers, we were also influenced and inspired in the 60’s by rock and roll, women’s liberation, the civil rights movement, and folk music with its lyrics about social justice.

Current college graduates are Millennials – click here to read about their very different set of influences and expectations. They’ve been affected by a wide variety of factors – the expanding world of the Internet, a stagnant economy, global upheaval, student loans, the growth of social media. You can learn more on our website about how these complex issues affect boomerang Millennials’ assessment of present choices and uncertainty about the future.

If you’re the parent of a Millennial who seems stuck and wants help in taking the next step, here are some suggestions for you:

Encourage them to brainstorm. If your kids are having difficulty outlining what they should do now, urge them to think outside the box. The more open they are to new opportunities, the greater the likelihood that they will accomplish one of them.

Help them prioritize their options. They can order their possible choices in different ways – for example, the easiest to implement or the most likely to succeed or the one offering the most flexibility. Whichever way they organize the possibilities, they’ll feel more in control.

Persuade them to put one into action. It may take a little nudge from you to get them to make a start. But once they’ve begun, the momentum of the process will carry them forward.

Reinforce that it’s OK to fail and begin anew. Reassure them that we all learn valuable lessons from failure – just remind them of Steve Jobs. What’s more important is how we react afterwards and prepare to try again.

The more parents and kids understand where they’re each coming from, the better we’ll all get along. So be sure to contact us with your questions at HerMentorCenter.com and stop by each week as we continue the conversation.

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