Early and middle 20s can be a very challenging and daunting time when the majority of life decisions are made which may have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives. Naturally, families are very anxious about this time period and want to ensure that everything goes smoothly. However, be it either due to family dynamics or the so-called generation gap, one finds it difficult to navigate through this difficult time. The following tips may help.

5 Do's and Don'ts

1. Don't assume: It can be wrong to assume that children are always wrong and couldn't possible make the correct decision. While older parents certainly possess a greater degree of maturity and wisdom, it is important to keep an open mind and recognise that young adults can have their own perspective. 

Do: Take time out to listen to their perspective and concerns. Let them feel you are willing to discuss and they are more likely to open up and trust you. Be open minded.

2. Don't impose: One of the greatest tragedies about our society is parents trying to complete their unfulfilled ambitions through their children. This can begin at a young age and carry on through childhood and adulthood. Every individual is different and can reach their highest potential if allowed to choose their career. 

While sometimes their career choice may seem unconventional, understand that for them it is very important and even if you don't agree with the decision, you can respect the choice.  This teaches them to handle conflict in a mature way and facilitates support within the family. It can be very damaging to belittle the choice or the person.. again, respect and communication are important. 

Do: Keep the communication channels open. Make them feel like they can talk to you about life decisions without being judged. Be willing to listen. 

3. Don't punish: Unlike in the west, young adults in India are generally not as actively encouraged to be very independent. Hence the transition from role of directive parents to guiding parents does not happen at all or smoothly enough in our society. Remember while young adults are young, they are also adults. Which means allowing them to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. This can range from decisions about relationships, career, to day-to-day living. Families need to recognise healthy boundaries from a young age- otherwise either children try too hard to move away or over-dependence occurs.

 Some parents threaten, blackmail or punish in some way if they do not approve of their children's decision. In this way, only the anxiety is passed on but the actual concern is not given importance and this damages the relationship between parents and children.

Do: State your concerns clearly and honestly along with reasons. Punishment rarely produces desired results and usually does more harm than good. 

This video by Dr John Breeding helps you look into the mind of a young adult.

Finally, remember effective and open communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Best of luck!