Complicated Launchings: Good Intentions

Sophia K. Havasy, Ph.D.

Young adults struggle with good intentions—at least the ones I see. They want to do well. They want their parents to be proud of them.They don’t want to disappoint anyone. Good intentions can become a burden if that is all you’ve got. The young adults with self-management disorders take a long time to appreciate how important skills and plans are to go with the good intentions. It takes executive functioning and critical thinking skills to be able to self-reflect and appreciate that you have not a clue as to how to take the good intentions and convert them to actual goals and plans.


Young adults can be very persuasive. They can plead a good case. “I’m ready now. Just give me a chance.” They say it as they head off to college. They say it after a bad semester. They say it after being put on Academic Probation. They say it after a DWI. They say it after over-drafting the bank account or hitting spending limits on credit cards.

It is not just the young adults, their parents also need to realize that good intentions without self-management skills are like a Hallmark card. It is very nice, but not something you will take to the bank. The parents want to believe the good intentions, even when the evidence suggests strongly that the young adult is not ready. The parents want to be supportive and not undermine the young adults’ confidence or squash their dreams.

Young adults with self-management disorders need patience, more time to mature, and assistance in problem-solving. They need parents who will work with them in a collaborative way to achieve their goals and develop the skills to manage life.

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