Without a Successful Adolescence, Adults Don’t Fly


Scared of letting your teen spread their wings and fly? Consider the consequences of skipping necessary developmental milestones in the teen years.

Being a teen is a vital stage for ensuring a successful adulthood. Adolescence is about taking charge of one’s own life, branching out, breaking away, and moving out into the world with confidence. Teens do this naturally most of the time, and we parents hold them back from their attempts to pull away, wanting to give them just a little extra oversight and supervision. Teens who live at home, and then young adults still partially supported by parents, linger in between childhood and adulthood roles. They move incrementally toward independence.

With parenting extending well into the college years, young adults may wait much longer than they would have in previous generations (or still might in other cultures) to take on full responsibility for their lives. This leaves parents of apparent young adults shocked and befuddled when notably un-adult behaviors and emotions bubble to the surface for our twenty-somethings. 

Failing to fully navigate through adolescence means never truly breaking away into adult roles. Not-fully adults struggle with the following and more:

Lack of direction
Teens break out and make their own maps for their futures, but if they fail to master mapping out their lives, they grow into adults who lack direction. 

Off-loading responsibility on parents or other adults
Teenagers take on independence and with it gain experience with responsibility. Taking responsibility can feel daunting later if you lack that experience being the decision maker. This leads to dumping responsibility on others. 

Feelings of uncertainty
Teenagers are confident creatures, even cocky at times. They need to practice confidence and gain comfort wielding it. Going out into the world without confidence leads to feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.

Inability to make decisions
Without a successful adolescent stage to gain experience, adults wind up struggling to make basic decisions. 

Unwillingness to try new things
Teenagers are the masters of new-experience seeking. It they cannot sort out their need to explore as teen, they become adults who won’t try the unfamiliar. 

Peer relationship problems
The guiding force during the teen years is usually centered on the peer group. Teens learn through the reactions and responses of their peers. If they skip this learning, they will likely become adults who fail in the realm of relationships.

Inability to set goals
In the breaking away period of teendom, what starts as simple independence shapes into an orderly process of planning for the future. This happens through trial and error, and without it, adults can’t see how the future takes shape. 

Difficulty sustaining work
Taking ownership and accepting responsibility, skills built during adolescence, are vital precursors for accepting adult roles. Floundering adults won’t find their place in the world, and won’t sustain financial independence through work. 

Posted on April 11, 2016 .