How parents can engage disconnected children

July 2017

One in eight young adults ages 16 to 24 are neither in school nor working, a situation that is detrimental for them and society. Additionally, 71 percent of young adults can't join the U.S. military because they lack academic skills, have criminal records or suffer health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

WalletHub recently examined 10 indicators of youth risk across all 50 states to see where young adults are faring poorly and where they're doing well. Jessica Borelli, associate professor of psychology and social behavior, was part of the expert panel, and offered some advice for parents with disconnected children.

"Figuring out the potential cause of the disengagement can help point out the direction of a possible solution to the problem," Borelli wrote in WalletHub. Teens may feel their goals aren't within their reach, or their expectations (or their parents' expectations) may be out of step with the teen's interests and abilities, Borelli says.

Or, teens may simply be too comfortable, a problem more often faced by middle class and upper-middle class teens who have all their needs met. In that case, rewards for doing hard work -- such as phone time after homework is completed -- can be motivating.

Read Borelli's advice.