Young Adult Self-Sabotage

Ken Rabow shares tips on troubled teens and unmotivated young adults with sleeping and waking issues

Why are so many young people willing to self-sabotage every aspect of their potential future?
Young adult self-sabotage is everywhere. Not participating in class, not doing the required studying, staying up late, sleeping most of the day away and missing more and more school. For quite a few, video gaming and/or pot addiction is another big factor.

The most frustrating part of this is that these same people are very often gifted in some way and yet here they are ….. off the tracks.

Many young people today are able to thrive or at least get by in a nuclear or single parent family, learning from their caregivers and finding other elders to learn from at school, sports, dance, music, etc. These young people grow through the ritual of daily tasks of homework, tests and projects. Graduation becomes their rite of passage. But what if your child does not connect to such a system? This creates young adult self-sabotage.

You’ve tried it all — traditional therapy, behavioral therapy, conditioned response, pharmaceuticals, begging, pleading, tough love — and some of it worked for a while and some didn’t work at all.

Young adults sabotage can leave all concerned feeling hopeless sometimes.
Feeling that your child will never grow up and take responsibility, but it has been my experience that some alternative approaches can make a world of difference. Once your troubled teen or young adult goes beyond their regular world filled with all the trappings that keep him/her where they are and finds a support system with a mentor / life- coach who is non-judgmental, on their side and open to thinking “outside the box”, that child will become motivated to start the process of getting back on track.

Four ways to create success for a troubled teen or young adult.

  1. 1. Find a mentor to work with your child.
    Someone not from the immediate family, preferably through Skype. Skype sessions allow the client to learn positive new habits at the place where they usually get in trouble: their computers.

Have the mentor ask the student these pertinent questions:
a) Name three goals you would like to work on.
b) What are the challenges to those goals?
c) What would be the first sign-posts of success?

2. The mentor and the student can put together a daily routine based on the student’s goals and interests
(e.g. meditation, yoga, tai chi, weight lifting, biking, jogging, playing an instrument, singing and reading). Basically all the things we were told that have no real financial benefit. Start with two 5 – 15 minute routines to be attempted five to six days a week. Then slowly build up to as many routines that the client feels they can comfortably handle. (Five is a good final number.) Make a weekly worksheet that divides the tasks into columns. Make room for the student to write the duration of each daily exercise (0-20). The goal of these exercises is to empower the student. These exercises are self-motivated without help from the family.

3. Hold bi-weekly meetings discussing progress.
Looking at existing obstacles and exploring solutions to these obstacles in a non-judgmental way. Therapy works well in once-a-week sessions. Mentoring / life coaching young adults requires two times a week. We are building whole new structures to succeed. This requires six to nine months of twice-a-week support until the client has internalized the habits.

4. During these sessions the mentor asks: 
“If you could do anything at all with your life, without concern of how you would make it happen, what would you choose?”
With this answered, the mentor and the student can go about finding ways to put their toes into the pond of these life purpose quests. Whittling away at young adult self-sabotage. It could be a 12-week workshop, a college class, a volunteer position or starting a small business. This time is used to help the student bring his “daily work” training into these new situations. To enhance his successful patterns accordingly. For so many young people, their home has been their box of safety and joy. Something they find wonderful and yet limiting . . . not a good long-term strategy.

Mentoring young adults is an important goal is to help these newly empowered youth create the tools they need. Allowing them  to feel safe going out into the world successfully. To eradicate young adult self-sabotage, you need to create mini-boxes of safety for them to thrive in. Places where they can learn to be self-empowered. Without exception, students who go through the entire process choose self-empowerment over self-sabotage. They not only succeed but most often become examples of leadership in their chosen vocation.

Help your child find their inspiration and get on track for a successful life!

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Author: Ken_Rabow

Ken Rabow is the Mentor's Mentor for Troubled Teens, Young Adults and their Families