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Living With Your Young Adult

 

For many parents and young adults who live together at home, life can sometimes be a bit frustrating. Parents may prefer more structure while young adults may yearn for more freedom.

One way for parents and young adults to navigate this complicated time is to set boundaries. Firm, clear boundaries create reasonable expectations for everyone. This becomes the foundations for a living agreement. There are three basic principles that make up a living agreement:

1- Establish privileges and boundaries.

All privileges and boundaries are unique to each family. Start the creation of a living agreement by having a family meeting and having a discussion about what boundaries will work for your family.

Examples: Parents will pay for cell phone costs if the young adult works or volunteers 10-20 hours per week. Or, if the young adult is paying even a nominal amount of rent, then parents can not enter the young adult’s room if the door is closed. Parents will pay for car insurance if the young person does their own laundry, keeps their room and bathroom clean, takes out the garbage and helps out with grocery shopping and other household needs.

There are consequences for not upholding responsibilities. For example, the young adult may not have access to the gaming console if daily hygiene is not maintained. And parents may have to pay $5 to the young adult every time they enter the young adult’s room without permission!

2- Pick and choose your battles.

To start a living agreement, begin with one to three items. These should be small, easy to accomplish items. The living agreement document can and should evolve over time. If an adult child begins to take on additional responsibilities, they should, in turn, have more privileges.

3- Set realistic expectations and boundaries – on both sides.

Setting realistic expectations allows a young adult to feel a sense of accomplishment. And having a young adult set their own boundaries allows for smaller victories to reach larger triumphs.

A living agreement is a great tool for communicating your expectations with your young adult who is living at home. If you are interested in learning more about creating a living agreement, please join us at the Advance LA Parent to Parent Support Group on August 16, 2019, from 6:30 – 8 pm. Our guest speakers are Bonnie Schuman and Hali Paul who are certified mediators who specialize in working with young adults and their parents in resolving conflicts and repairing relationships.

Many young adults may need additional assistance with achieving independent living. Advance LA offers a one-to-one Life Skills Coaching program where our coaches help their young adult clients with independent living skills.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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5 Ways to Manage Autumn Anxiety

 

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, right? Well, not necessarily.

If thinking about summer coming to an end makes you feel anxious, you are not alone. It seems that a large number of young adults find the thought of starting the fall semester or the upcoming return of chillier weather to be a cause for higher anxiety levels.

Therapists are calling this end-of-summer anxiety, “autumn anxiety”,  after seeing so many clients with feelings of anticipation and nervousness during the last week of August through the first weeks of September.

Some people hate the heat and the laziness of summer and can’t wait until the fall season starts. But there are other people who LOVE the summertime and experience deep and intense feelings of sadness and panic at the thought of the summer season coming to an end. There are often feelings of guilt about not having done all that they wanted to do during the summer, especially as the summer months seem to come with a great deal of pressure for everyone to “make the most of every summer moment.”

Some of the anxiety regarding fall is that, even for adults, there are feelings of new things happening, new schedules, new assignments, and new jobs. It makes sense that people feel anxious!

If these autumn anxiety symptoms sound familiar, here are a few tips for taking back the enjoyment of August:

  1. Go outside: Spending time outdoors and in nature can restore positive mood and energy levels.
  2. Get sleep: Long sunlit days can mean you get up earlier and stay up later — a recipe for sleep deprivation. Your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re sleep-deprived, which can contribute to emotional sensitivity.
  3. Take it easy: Give yourself a bit of a break. August doesn’t need to be all about preparation. This is the time to rest up while you still can. Stay organized, but know that this is a transitional month, and that means taking it slow.
  4. Seek help: The August blues are something to monitor and take care of. When an inability to focus on a task affects your ability to function at work, at home, or in your relationships, it is time to seek help. Even if seasonal anxiety is something you’ve always had, it is something that is treatable. Talk to a therapist, Life Skills Coach or trusted friend about how you are feeling. Learning strategies for dealing with autumn anxiety can be really helpful.

Summer often feels like a time of optimism — months on end where the sun is shining, and there’s always ample amounts of ice cream — but it’s important to remember that it’s OK to feel the autumn anxiety.

Treating yourself kindly during this end-of-summer time period will likely go a long way towards helping you feel a bit better.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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How to Prepare in the Summer Before College

 

July is the month for spending time at the beach, having a BBQ with friends, lounging in a hammock on a lazy afternoon – and preparing for the fall semester at college. The last part of that sentence may have made you think, “what?????” Although it isn’t easy to think about college life during the carefree summer months, spending time in July doing some college prep will have a big pay-off when college starts in September.

Here are 5 ways to prepare for college during the summer:

  1. Prepare so you can hit the ground running in the fall:
  • Research Professors: Check out Rate My Professors and Uloop to read reviews from other students at your college. This will help you pick courses and instructors that match your learning style
  • Register for fall classes: When scheduling your classes, be sure to check the campus map to make sure you have enough time to walk from one class to the next.
  • Download a campus map and have it on your phone for easy reference: Become familiar with where the drop-in tutoring program is located and take advantage of free tutoring.
  • Purchase textbooks: some professors post their textbook requirements before class starts. Here are some tips for saving money. 
  1. Practice Your Time Management Skills:
  • Every Sunday in July, take a few minutes to plan out your week. Make plans to spend time with friends, to exercise, to work at a summer job, to read, to clean your room, and to engage in a hobby or favorite activity. Then write down your activities and tasks in a paper planner or paper calendar, on your laptop’s calendar, or on a whiteboard in your room. By doing so, you will become more aware of how your time is spent, how long it takes to get where you are going, and the actual length of time an activity lasts. This is good practice for when you are planning your college schedule. By practicing during the summer, you will strengthen your time management skills for the fall.
  1. Practice Your Study Skills:
  • One of the most essential study skills is the ability to effectively take notes. July is a great time to get familiar with note-taking strategies and find the one that best fits your learning style.
    Effective strategies include paying attention to boldface words and headings reworking main ideas into concepts that are easily understood, being attentive to captions, using different modes of note-taking such as highlighters, sticky notes, index cards, graphs, charts, and diagrams. The goal is to make sure that the notes you take either answer or reference the objective and questions that accompany each lesson. Don’t just write down every word the instructor says. Listen to what is being said and try to relate it to your life. Putting it in your own words will also help reinforce the lesson. Here’s a way to practice: listen to a TED talk that interests you and be sure to take notes as if it is a lecture for a college class. Then highlight the main topics or make note cards with index cards. Study your notes and have a friend or life coach quiz you and see how well you remembered the information. This is a great way to practice note taking during the summer!
  • Create or find a comfortable space to study free from distractions. Some people prefer the library, others a coffee shop, or a bedroom. Find out what works for you!
  1. Practice Life Skills:
  • The summer months are a great time to learn and practice the life skills that are needed for college. Learn to do your own laundry and practice doing it once a week. Wash your sheets and make your bed with clean sheets. Make yourself an appointment at the dentist. Go grocery shopping and then make a meal. Practicing these skills will make life at college so much easier!
  1. Practice Self-Care:
  • Learn to treat yourself well! Practice getting to bed at a time that allows you to wake up refreshed. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and are likely to continue to do once classes start. Make healthy decisions regarding what you choose to eat. Develop a plan for what you will do when you feel overwhelmed, such as meeting with a therapist or life coach or taking a yoga class.

So while you are enjoying the lovely summer season, spend some time preparing for college in the fall. Advance LA’s Life Skills Coaches assist their clients with getting ready for college by helping them practice the above 5 skills. A Life Skills Coach provides support and encouragement to make summertime college prep as fun as a day at the beach!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Health and Wellness

 

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? The Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that adults eat 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That seems like a lot! And research shows that most adults eat only 0 – 2 servings per day.

We all know that eating fruits and veggies can help us to feel healthier. But even for the most health-conscious eaters, getting more of these nutrients can be a challenge. So, here are 8 tips for adding more fruits and veggies to your daily diet. And keep in mind that ½ cup of a fruit or vegetable equals one serving.

  1. Choose a healthy snack: Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips or a candy bar for a snack, try choosing something healthier such as carrots with hummus, celery sticks, and peanut butter, or a piece of fruit.
  2. Keep fruit in sight: You are more likely to eat fruit if it is easy to see. Place bananas and tangerines in a pretty bowl on the counter where you will see them on the way out the door. Have cherries and grapes rinsed and ready to grab from the refrigerator.
  3. Make soup – it’s easy!: Homemade soups are super easy to make and have lots of vegetables in one serving. Just saute carrots, onions, celery, green beans, and corn until tender. Then add a can of tomatoes and 3 cups of vegetable broth – viola! Homemade soup! Throw in a can of beans or some pasta for a heartier soup if you like.
  4. Think of the fruits/veggies!: Make sure every meal or snack you eat is paired with a fruit or veggie. This can be accomplished by add salsa to your eggs, avocado to your turkey sandwich, and fruit to your cereal.
  5. Double up: Two serving of veggies, please! The USDA recommends filling half your plate with fruits and veggies.
  6. Dessert!: A sweet snack after dinner can be a handful of frozen grapes or strawberries – especially delightful in the summertime!
  7. Make a smoothie: A smoothie can be a perfect breakfast, lunch or snack. Start with your favorite fruits, add some almond milk, and then throw in a handful of greens for an added nutritional boost. And if you add a banana or a small spoonful of peanut butter you won’t taste the greens!
  8. Share the cooking! It’s more fun to cook with a friend or Life Skills Coach and experiment with finding ways to add fruits and vegetables to your favorite dishes. Try adding a layer of spinach to the lasagna or a cup of sautéed diced carrots into the spaghetti sauce – you will be surprised how good it tastes!

Having health and wellness as a goal can help to make you more aware of your daily nutrient intake. Grocery shopping and planning meals with a friend, parent or life skills coach is a great way to achieve your goal of choosing to eat in a more health-conscious manner. Happy Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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May is the Month to Find a Summer Job!

 

Now is the time to start looking for that summer job. The earlier you start, the more likely it is that you will find a job that you like and one that is a good match for your skills. A recent study showed that 70 percent of all summer jobs are usually filled by the end of May because employers want to have their hires in place by the time summer begins. So let’s do this!

 

1) First things first: create a resume

Even if you do not have any formal job experience, you can still impress employers with a professional-looking resume. You can list unpaid internships, extracurricular activities, volunteer stints, and classwork related to the prospective job. If you are unsure what your resume should look like, you can visit the career office on your college campus, meet with a Life Skills Coach, or ask a supportive adult.     

 

2) Have your list of references ready to go

Prepare a list of three references ready to give to interviewers. Teachers, professors or academic advisors, volunteer leaders, and coaches, can provide a personal reference. Babysitting and volunteer references are fine if you are looking for your first formal job. Make sure to ask your reference giver ahead of time, if you can use them as a reference.

 

3) Practice and prepare for your job interview

Career counselors say that interviewers make up their mind about hiring in the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate. Therefore, to make a good first impression, summer job seekers should practice doing mock job interviews with life skills coaches, family, friends, and teachers, to get feedback. Also, because nothing is more important than making a good first impression, applicants should show up at an interview dressed in a professional manner. This means a suit, or pants (not jeans) and a button-down shirt, a dress, or skirt and blouse.

On the day of your interview, arrive early, bring your resume, turn off your cell phone, have a strong handshake, and make direct eye contact when meeting the employer. Also, be confident and enthusiastic about the position. Then after the interview, be sure to send a thank-you note in the regular mail or by e-mail.

 

4) Show that you are flexible by being available to work

Research shows that employers ranked “being available for all shifts” as the most important thing they are looking for in new employees. Employers expect employees to work evenings and weekends. Applicants who state that they are willing to work hard-to-fill shifts have a better chance at getting hired.

 

5) Make sure your social media can pass inspection!

It is now a common practice for employers to look at a candidate’s social media presence. Applicants should take a look at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts and make sure that there isn’t anything inappropriate. One rule of thumb is, “If you wouldn’t want to your parents or your professors to see it, don’t put it up!”

 

6) How to find a summer job

There are basically three ways to find a summer job: networking, using online job sites, and “pounding the pavement.”

Networking is a great way to find a summer job. Talk to teachers, family members, coaches, friends, and parents of friends and ask if they can help you with your job search. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much people will want to help you!

Online job sites like indeed.com are also really helpful. Use the site’s search engine by typing in a keyword like “summer job” and the city where you want to work. Most job sites require applicants to upload a resume and a cover letter.

“Pounding the pavement” is also an effective method for finding a summer job. This means walking into a business and asking the manager if he or she is hiring. This shows confidence, motivation, and maturity. Make sure you have your resume and list of references ready to go!

 

7) And last but not least, stay positive!

A positive attitude is the most important thing in a summer hire, even more so than experience. So during the interview, and in your follow up thank you note, convey that you are passionate and enthusiastic about the open position. Good luck job hunting – you got this!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Spring Cleaning Strategies

 

Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. At this time of year, we begin to feel more open to inviting changes – both big and small – into our lives.

One type of change that can bring about a sense of optimism and enthusiasm is to undertake a spring cleaning for your home. Psychologists suggest that spring cleaning has a very valuable function: as we remove our home’s clutter of all the things we needed for comfort during the winter months, we make room for spring items that symbolize new beginnings.

Before you start, choose a reward for yourself for when you are finished – maybe a mani/pedi, a splurge on a restaurant that you have been wanting to try, or going to a movie the IMAX theatre. Then make a to-do list of what you want to clean. Once you are finished, you can check off the items on your list that you accomplished, and say, “I got a lot done today and now I am going to treat myself for a job well done!”

Spring Cleaning Strategies:

1-Get Rid Of The Clutter

Professional organizers suggest the “4 step method.” This means sorting your stuff into four categories: (1) trash, (2) giveaway, (3) store neatly, or (4) keep out on display.  Arm yourself with large trash bags before you begin. The items you put in the trash category may cause you to feel a pang of loss so experts suggest that you take a photo of the item so you can keep the good memories that are attached to the item. The items that you give away can be donated to Goodwill. Put away neatly the items you plan to store and wipe down or clean the items you plan to display.

Cleaning will be so much easier when the clutter is gone. And you will feel energized once all of the clutter that is weighing you down – literally and figuratively – is gone!

2-No need to buy lots of cleaning products

There are an overwhelming number of cleaning supplies. The problem of buying lots of different products is that you now have all the cleaning supply bottles cluttering up your cabinets! You really just need a vacuum, dishwashing soap, a good all-purpose cleaner and paper towels or microfiber cloths.

3-Time to Clean!

Gather cleaning products, a sponge, a bucket with sudsy water, and a few towels.

You’re going to start with the “top zone” of the top floor of your home. The top zone is any area above your head. Start here:

  • Dust above cabinets
  • Clean air vents
  • Dust or clean ceiling fans
  • Dust or wash light fixtures
  • Clean high windows
  • Change light bulbs and replace air filters

Next, move to the “mid-to-low-zone,” otherwise known as waist-level. These are the surfaces you probably clean weekly, but for today, give them a little more attention and an extra deep cleaning:

  • Dust surfaces
  • Polish wood furniture
  • Clean leather furniture
  • Vacuum and spot clean upholstered furniture
  • Wash sheets and change bed linens
  • Clean and wipe down bathroom sinks and counters
  • Scrub showers and bathtubs
  • Clean toilets

Finally, move to the “bottom zone” or floor-level surfaces. It’s time to pick up ALL that dirt and dust that’s shifted down toward the floor. Now it’s time to:

  • Sweep hard floors
  • Spot clean and mop tile or linoleum floors
  • Vacuum rugs and carpets
  • Wash small area rugs
  • Dust baseboards
  • Sweep front and back steps and/or porch

4-Create New Cleaning Habits

Now that your home is clean, you will want to keep it that way! A simple, daily clean up in the bathroom (wipe down shower, wipe off counters), a nightly clean-up of the kitchen (wash and put away dishes, clean stove top, sweep floor, throw out old food), and a weekly bedroom tidying (put clothes away, wash bed linens, straighten up) will keep your home neat and clean all year.

Congratulations – your home is now clean, organized and ready for spring! Now give yourself that reward because you deserve it!

If the thought of spring cleaning overwhelms you, Advance LA Life Skills Coaches can help! Our coaches help their clients to use executive functioning skills to create their to-do cleaning lists, their shopping list for cleaning supplies, and then they assist, support and encourage their clients as they clean. It’s more fun, and less daunting, to clean with a supportive coach!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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p2p Recap – Independent Living

We had 13 parents join Advance LA for our monthly P2P meeting on Monday, November 3rd.  This special group meets on the first Monday of each month to share successes and challenges in supporting young adults in their transition to increased independence.

Among several topics discussed, parents shared that their young adults may be ready for that next step of independence, to live in an apartment, but they were concerned that there would not be adequate supports.  Group facilitator, Dr. Lee, shared with the group Advance LA’s innovative Tier 2 Apartment Living Program which focuses on young adults who are ready for this transition, though they still require additional guidance and support in order to be successful living on their own.  Through the Tier 2 program, young adults experience independent living at their own pace. Residents live on their own – but they are not alone. Each resident is assigned a life skills coach who assists them in meeting their independent living goals. In addition, the program includes weekly group coaching which facilitates social connections and develops the skills necessary to manage an apartment as a group. Learn more about this at www.advancela.org/LiveAdvanceTier2.