In their search for identity, young adults eagerly try to assert their individuality. A job, a college degree, a fiancé, a fashion trend, a type of music,... these are some means to establish their independence.

Parents / Educators are seen as interfering. Young adults like to decide for themselves. The contacts they establish are usually beyond the boundary of home, village, social club or religious group. They are opportunities for broadening their outlook on life. Reasoning and moral judgements are therefore not always in agreement with the dictates of tradition and orthodoxy. The media have a major influence in re-defining their culture, lifestyle, status, social acceptance, tastes, mannerisms and ideals.

Many young adults, however, do show a keen interest in life's burning questions. Social involvement and care for the earth and its people are some issues of concern. Many are emotionally linked to the social or religious causes they espouse, sometimes to the extent of staking their lives on them. Born into a world they have not created, they are eager to take on the responsibility of creating their very own world in their very own way.

On questions of emotional development and sexual growth, youth-clubs and social gatherings are ways to enter into relationships and maintain contact. In cultures where love-marriages are accepted, dating begins. In cultures where arranged-marriages are the norm, prospective spouses are introduced to each other. The search is on for a life-partner.

Winning the confidence of the young adult is a precious asset that a parent/educator will do well to safeguard through tact, wisdom and discretion. For this, it is essential to know what the young adult likes and dislikes before the educator chooses to respond in Don Bosco's Way.

  • independence and freedom
  • being with friends
  • being with their fiancé
  • dreaming about their future
  • criticising the system
  • privacy
  • condescending adults
  • interference in their decisions
  • nosey people
  • being corrected - especially in public
  • criticism from friends
  • being ditched


  • Show care and concern through action rather than through words
  • Show interest in the things they are interested
  • Respect their 'space'.
  • Recognise and accept their right to be independent.

  • A spiritual life that makes sense to the yonjg adult is one that is rooted in concern for others, especially the deprived and marginalised.
  • Appropriate themes like peace and justice can help channelize their energy towards a social commitment.
  • Peer participation through symbolic expression at religious and social rituals enthuses them.

  • Be firm about what you think and believe to be true even if they disagree.
  • If a correction has to be given, be reasonable, forthright, clear and brief.
  • A correction in private is much appreciated by young adults and it helps to build the confidence of a parental or educational relationship.
  • An appeal to reason may mean facing the challenge of their questions. They may also be encouraged to seek the answers for themselves from reliable sources.
  • Fair play is a value they most appreciate.