My grandson graduated from college in 2020 and has been unable to find work. To me, it looks like he has just given up and doesn’t seem to be motivated to look for work. He is living with his parents (my daughter and son-in-law) and we are all concerned about him. How can we help?
The pandemic has been especially hard on teenagers and young adults because there were so many special events they were looking forward to that did not happen.
We all experienced many losses but for those who spent most of their young lives dreaming of certain occasions that did not come to be, the last few years have been extremely difficult.
Dreams of homecoming and junior/senior proms; playing the last year of a sport they’ve been involved in since elementary school; getting the lead in the school play; leading their debate or musical team in a local or national contest; getting their driver’s license; attending graduation ceremonies for high school or college; getting their first degree-related job; leaving roommates behind to find a place of their own- all of these are examples of some of the losses that most teenagers and young adults can identify with.
Consequently, we see rising rates of anxiety and depression in this population of young people. On top of that, news reports on television and comments on social media forecast rising inflation, increases in rent, and a wider gap between earnings and the cost of living. Therefore, your grandson and his peers have much to be concerned about and reasons to feel, well, a bit anxious and sometimes, hopeless.
This is the time for all of you to provide him with encouragement and support and to help him come up with some small goals that he can work toward. As he accomplishes small goals, he will likely feel better and want to work toward bigger goals.
Empathize with him first and then help him come up with some action steps for making his life better. Anything that allows him to feel as if he is accomplishing something, moving toward his long-term goals, and beginning to move toward living independently should be helpful.
If he continues to isolate and appears to be anxious and depressed, don’t hesitate to help him get in to see a professional counselor.