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Moving out: What to do when you don't know how to get started


Danny Raede

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When your child is of moving out age and you’ve tried everything you know to light a fire under them and get them motivated.. And nothing seems to work, make sure your actions are informed by these 2 guidelines:

#1 - Your job is to create calm, not join their chaos

If they are struggling to be motivated to move out, 99% of the time it is a capacity issue, rather than a motivation issue. They are probably deep in Defense Mode, so make sure to hold some space for them, and help them process through their emotions.

When they get emotionally big, its your job to stay in your center. Don’t shrink if they get big. If this is hard, you may wish to seek out a competent therapist in order to help yourself.

#2 - Set boundaries with conditions

Where we see a lot of parents struggling is in the distinction between setting boundaries and enabling. So think about it this way:

I was recently talking to a coaching client who expressed that every time his son would have to do the dishes, the son would get emotionally big and run up to his room. The dad asked me, “How do I hold the boundary of him needing to do chores if he is shutting down?”

So I said to him, hold space for your son. Help him feel calmer. Then once he is calm, ask him to do the dishes again.

The question of boundaries VS enabling isn’t an either or. You can both be compassionate to a persons situation AND still have them help with the dishes.

So next time things get a little crazy, remember to stop, pause and think of those 2 things.

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The tricky part about the boundaries/enabling bit is that time isn't infinite. Giving room for the emotions can be de facto agreeing that the thing that kicked it off won't get done.

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7 hours ago, saacnmama said:

The tricky part about the boundaries/enabling bit is that time isn't infinite. Giving room for the emotions can be de facto agreeing that the thing that kicked it off won't get done.

I would think in this situation, that the requested action might be too big if giving space for emotions guarantees it won't get done.  And that's a recipe for a meltdown in our house.    

The best advice I was ever given was to change my definition of success if the goal was shutting my kid down.  Ramp it back to something that is just slightly hard to do.  Like, 1 dish.  

Then celebrate success (quietly) and try for 2.  

If 1 dish is too much, then try for a conversation while keeping it together. 

Either you end on a positive, even if it's not what you'd hoped for.  Or you help them baby step into the bigger project.  And for each small success, you are setting the foundation for an easier job next time.  

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