The transition to adulthood is taking longer and is more fraught with perils than ever before. With most young people not marrying until almost thirty, they are experiencing nearly a decade of life without a lot of structure or stability, but much more autonomy to make decisions that can either help or hurt their trajectory towards adulthood. Indeed, the gap between young people who are flourishing and those who are floundering is rather stark, and it is widening constantly. For many parents, they thought their parenting would end as their children turned 18-19 but the research is clear that they play a significant role in influencing whether their emerging-adult children flourish or flounder during the third decade of life.
This session will help us better understand the conditions and context in which young people are attempting to transition to adulthood in the broader culture but then focus on what it means for LDS emerging adults. Factors (e.g., media, relationships, personality, education) that have been shown to influence flourishing and floundering, respectively, will be examined. There will then be special attention given to the role that parents play in the lives of their children during this critical time of development.
Larry Nelson is a Professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland. He has worked at BYU for 18 years where he teaches courses on child development as well as a course entitled the "Eternal Family," and has previously taught Book of Mormon for the Religion Department. He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching. In his research, he has published extensively on topics such as shyness, parenting, and the factors that lead to flourishing or floundering during the transition to adulthood. He is President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood. He and his wife Kimberly have been married 26 years and have three children and one grandson. He lives in Pleasant Grove where he serves on the stake high council and loves to spend time in the outdoors.