In The Media

Helping Your Child Through Unemployment

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Anton Community Newspaper, Anton Media, Blog

By Kathy Rivera

Transitioning from school to the job hunt is a daunting yet pivotal phase in the life of every young adult. As your child embarks upon this important journey, they may feel a mixture of excitement, fear, and worry, and not without reason. Job seekers today face more uncertainty than ever, with the latest unemployment rate for young high school graduates falling at 7.9 percent. Recent college graduates fare slightly better with an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, though this number is nearly double that of all workers with a college degree, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

As parents, it can be difficult to balance positive reinforcement while managing expectations. Unemployment affects not only the job seeker, but the family unit as a whole, hindering the independence you want for your child. The psychological effects of rejection are amplified the longer the job hunt continues, so it is vital to understand what you can do to best support your child throughout this phase of their life.

Be patient

It’s important for parents to understand that the job market is vastly different today than it was when they were young jobseekers. Gone are the days of walking into a business and handing the owner a resume with the expectation of receiving an interview later that week. Today, candidates can expect to send out dozens, if not hundreds of applications with little to show for it. According to Pew Research Center, 39% of Millennials have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, making them the most educated generation to date, and that number continues to climb with Generation Z. These impressive numbers have created a highly competitive job market, resulting in more college graduates finding themselves in roles that don’t use their degree.

Provide encouragement

After submitting countless applications with nothing to show for it, it’s understandable for your child to feel demoralized or even hopeless. However, it is crucial to motivate your child to continue their search and build upon their skill sets, tailor their resumes to specific jobs, and network with professionals in their field. Remind them that they aren’t alone in feeling discouraged, but that there is a job waiting for them.

Establish healthy coping mechanisms

Constant rejection can be difficult to deal with. Let your child know that it’s okay to experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, and frustration when unemployed, but they shouldn’t let that consume them. Encourage them to take breaks from the application process to relax with friends and loved ones, enjoy their hobbies, and take time away from the computer. Stress-management techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness will help them through overwhelming feelings during the hunt. Self care is crucial in avoiding burnout when applying for jobs and maintaining strong mental health.

Trust that they know what is best

It makes sense to want updates on how the job search is going, especially if your child is living at home. Despite this, try to refrain from asking for updates too frequently, as this can create further pressure for your child. If they have any promising leads, trust that you will be the first to know. Today’s young adults have a better understanding of the current job market than you may, so allow them to explore their options, make mistakes, and grow on their own.

By adopting these approaches, we can not only help our children overcome the burden of unemployment but help them to foster the independence and resilience needed to thrive in a professional landscape, all while maintaining their mental well-being.

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