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  • Staff Writer

Adult-To-Adult Communication Can Improve Decision Making

Transitioning into adulthood is a challenging time. As a young adult, you will have many decisions to make. These choices can impact the rest of your life as they will lead you down a path toward a certain direction. While there are many ways to work through decisions, adult-to-adult communication can help.

Adult-to-adult communication is when two adults are discussing a subject. As a young adult, you will learn to communicate as an adult with other adults. This is very different from adult-child communication. When adults communicate with each other, they are both speaking from their feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Neither is trying to control the other.

This differs from the dynamic at play with adult-child relationships. Whether it is a parent or a teacher, communication with a child often includes teaching of some sort. While adults can teach each other, a part of adult communication is that each person has a voice to communicate their thoughts and feelings. It is an equal relationship and the communication mirrors this. For example, when working with an educational coach, students learn skills. However, it consists of two adults communicating equally.

Learning Adult-To-Adult Communication

As a young adult, you are in a period of change. This period can often feel uncomfortable and includes learning new skills. Adult communication is one of these skills. While this can be difficult for all young adults, it can be even more challenging if you struggle with a learning disability or mental health disorder.

The beginning of this process is finding your voice. Finding your voice includes discovering what you think and feel. It means learning what is important to you, separate from your parents, community, or other important adults in your life. Then, you must learn how to effectively communicate this to others, being clear on what you think and formulating these thoughts into words.

Communication and Decision Making

Research has shown that adolescents make decisions in ways that differ greatly from adults. While adolescents have full access to many parts of the brain that help with decision-making, they are not fully developed. Other aspects, such as increased reactivity to reward or context-dependent decisions, are also amplified in adolescents. Due to these changes, it can be hard to learn how to make decisions that are good for your current and future self.

However, as a young adult, you will notice a need to make more and more decisions. Things like if and where you want to go to college, where you want to live, or what kind of life you want. While you may or may not have considered these decisions in your teens, they will be brought front and center into your life as a young adult. Therefore, improving your decision-making skills is important.

Developing your ability to make good choices for yourself can be difficult. However, support, where you can explore and work through different options, will help you to learn about yourself while improving your decision-making skills. During adult-to-adult communication, you will have the opportunity to work through different ideas you have. This gives you skills that can help you to make authentic decisions and receive input that can help you learn more about yourself.

Making Authentic Decision

While decision-making as a young adult, it is not uncommon to feel uncertain about the best next step for you. It is a confusing time and there are many opinions out there about the “best” way. However, the best path is one that is authentic to you. Making authentic decisions means choosing the path that is right for you at the time.

By being treated and communicating as an adult, you will be asked what you think and feel. Remember, both parties are equal in adult-to-adult communication, meaning that you are an equal participant in the conversation, sharing what you think and feel. This can help you to make decisions that fit you by providing a space and conversation where you can explore options and formulate them to share.

Sharing With Others

While formulating your opinions and thought helps you to learn about yourself, sharing with others is also helpful in decision-making. By sharing your plans or thoughts with another person, you can ask for feedback. Sometimes, you do not always see inconsistencies or consider other options. These blindspots are quite normal. However, when you share with another adult, they can share their perspective and possibly give you an alternative point of view.

However, this does not mean that they are treating you like a child. As a young adult, it can be hard to distinguish between the two as you learn how to communicate in adult-to-adult relationships. While another adult may share their perspective, you do not have to agree. Regardless of if you agree or not, hearing another person's thoughts is one way to stimulate your thoughts and help you to see other angles of the situation.

Being a young adult has many challenges. You are in a transition from adolescence to adulthood, which brings up many decisions that must be made. This occurs while you are undergoing changes that impact your decision-making. At Northwest College Support, adult-to-adult communication is a core value. We believe that helping you to learn to communicate as an adult can improve your decision-making and self-awareness, particularly for those of you with mental health or other issues that impact decision-making. Our programs help students who benefit from support and education to help them thrive as an adult. If you or your student is in need of support to thrive in college, call Northwest College Support at (877) 485-2776.

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