Adulting and self-advocacy

Still thinking about moving out and spreading your adult wings?  Great! Part of adulthood is knowing what you want/need, and then figuring out how to go about getting those things. Self-knowledge and asking for what you need is called self-advocacy.  Your parents advocated for you when you were younger, but now it is your turn.  Let’s develop those skills.

First, let’s consider in what ways parents advocate for their children.  Parents set up play dates and car pools, get their kids on sports teams or in art classes, and protect them from bullies.  A well written letter to the teacher gets the student extra time for an assignment.  A well worded conversation with an airline agent gets you an upgrade.  I think you can see the parallels here….

Are you ready to take on any of the tasks that your parents were doing for you?  Can you sign yourself up for events? For my middle/high schoolers, can you arrange your own social events (duh, yes!), get yourself there (maybe?), and pay for the social event (uh, maybe you need a job)? Can you take on parts of the social tasks and learn the skills to do the rest?

Can you complete a job application, get to the interview, and get yourself to work on time? If you need help, can you ask for it? (HA! That is self-advocacy, when you ask your mom or roommates to practice the interview questions with you or re-read your cover letter!)

Can you negotiate the terms of a property lease or car loan? Can you negotiate for a better rate on your credit card? (No joke, these tasks are related to self-advocacy, and there are short articles published on these topics daily!)

Adulting goes more smoothly if you know what you want or need.  If you take a moment to observe adults in your environment, you may find that adults self-advocate all the time (Can I get a lid, please? Can you help me with my phone? Do you know what this weird charge is on my bill?).  You, too, can self-advocate.  Self-advocacy goes better with self-knowledge, and both are necessary to thriving as an adult.