My 22-Year-Old Son Has No Direction

It can be very disheartening to see your 22-year-old son with no direction. We still want to help and protect them yet we want them to gain their independence and find their own way. 

Adulthood Is Still New To Them

Someone in their early 20’s can have issues finding their identity as an adult. They’re still trying to decide what matters to them in their lives and what paths are right for them. Finding some motivation and using their resources to make things happen is a big step.  Some young adults are scared and overwhelmed by the thought of losing the support and stability that their parents provide. 

More and more teens are having difficulty navigating this path. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional during this time. There is even affordable Online Therapy to help your child get through this from home.

The newfound freedom of adulthood is pretty exciting and intimidating at the same time. There are things they can do that they weren’t allowed to do before. Young adults are free to make their own decisions without having to ask their parents for approval. They have the right to drink alcohol and have fun. This is a time of self-exploration.

20 somethings may be facing self-doubt and they may fear not being capable of handling all of the responsibilities adults have to take care of. They might be scared of failing in school or work endeavors. There’s a lot of pressure on young adults to figure out what college to attend and what to study. They might be unsure about which career path is best for them.

A 22-year-old should have set expectations and boundaries when it comes to your relationship, especially if they live with you. Don’t be a piggy bank or a pushover. They should be doing things for themselves like making their appointments, working/studying, adhering to rules about cleanliness, and shared chores. Stick to your boundaries.

My 22-Year-Old Son Has No Direction

Adults Have Adult Responsibilities

Adult children should be able to do the shopping, cook meals, do household chores, and contribute financially to their expenses. There are no free rides. Cell phones, clothes, and cars all cost money. Don’t enable them by providing these things without question as if you will continue to help them like this forever. 

Some young adults have rebellious or uncooperative streaks but in order to be treated like an adult, they must act like one. They can’t just live like children forever, having all of their needs met without contributing. They need to be responsible for taking care of themselves and their chores and upkeep. Adult children should be responsible for their own laundry, dishes, meals, and living expenses. 

Young people need to come up with a fully achievable set of goals. Start with the first steps to success and work their way up a general plan of action. It all happens one step at a time. Great things take time to achieve but a series of events all lead up to that end goal. Success and personal growth are something we all strive to attain.

Keep Communications Open 

It might seem like your adult son ignores your advice and opinions. It may seem like he doesn’t even care what he does in the future. Just knowing you’re there when he needs to talk is enough. Don’t be pushy about your relationship. If they seem distant they may just be stressed or confused about what they should do next in life. 

Make an effort to spend real quality time together. Go to a museum you are both interested in or take him to lunch at one of his favorite places. He won’t be able to pass up free food! You are both adults now and have certain likes and interests. Try to enjoy them together. 

Do your best to not be too critical of their choices. They may go through relationships you don’t approve of or lose jobs if they aren’t making an effort. They may pass up opportunities that you wish they hadn’t or make choices differently than you would. You have to respect their choices even if you don’t agree with them.

Don’t be bossy or nagging. You can give your adult children advice or share experiences with them when asked but let them come to you. Don’t be judgemental. Encourage healthy decisions but don’t be a critic. If he is having deep issues you could always suggest some online therapy to help him work through personal struggles and find their inner confidence and independence.

Be Supportive And Positive

Adult children may need help exploring their interests and finding their niche. You could find a career survey for them to take that helps figure out what types of careers best fit their personality, interests, and skills. They need to find something meaningful to them to work for. Encourage their dreams and aspirations. Help them outline a path to achievement and success. Fuel their spark and help them live up to their potential.

Being a good parent to a 22-year-old with no direction is being supportive and loving without enabling. If you think your adult son doesn’t have any idea what to do in life, ask some questions. Ask him if he wants to go to college or if he has a vocation that he is interested in. encourage the furtherance of his education in general, even if he is unsure about what career to try for. Fulfilling your general requirements is a place to start. 

It’s difficult for lots of young adults to self-launch. This is actually a common problem. Many adults are still financially or physically dependent on their parents. They don’t want to lose the safety and security that their parents provide. Help motivate them with positive ideas and emotional support as much as possible.

If it’s completely comfortable for your adult child to be irresponsible, with their needs being met. They don’t feel the need to get a home or car of their own. There’s a lack of motivation to get an education and start a career to afford nice things of their own when they can just use yours. Taking away some of the luxuries you provide might be enough to change their mindset.

Be Helpful

Trying to help our children set reasonable short-term goals for their future to help them see that they can accomplish things when they try. We want to see our kids be a big success but we can’t live their lives for them. Bringing available jobs to their attention is a good idea. Send them links to resources that might help. 

There might be vocational centers or job outreaches that could help. There might be a career he hasn’t even thought of that they offer an educational program for. These centers help match people with training and jobs to learn a valuable lifelong skill or trade. This could be something to work on while he is deciding what to focus on in college.

Look for job fairs or career promotions. If your son or daughter can go talk to some business owners and see what they’re doing on a daily basis they might find something they’re really into. These job fairs bring together lots of local employers that are looking for new employees to showcase their companies and find new talent. This could be the motivation he needs to start a career path. 

We can’t help but worry about our children, no matter what their age. Once they are adults being honest with them and treating them like adults is important. Being supportive rather than critical is also important. Don’t cave to their every whim, try to encourage and celebrate their independence. In time they will find their own way in the world.

Final Thoughts

Eventually, all parents realize that their child is not going to live the life they want them to be. Chances are if your 22-year-old son has no direction, they are still looking for their passion. The good news is that their passion is out there somewhere. The bad news is, they are going to find it in your basement. Encourage your son to get out there and have new and different experiences.