This type of parenting problem is a very real one that is often not talked about. The problem is trying to be a parent to an adult child without them becoming dependent on you financially or emotionally. This translates into parents not feeling obligated to continue providing a place for their adult child to live, financial support, or continuing to live with an adult child who feels entitled and all too often is disrespectful.
Parents may feel responsible for feeding, caring for and providing for their adult child. However, this is not only detrimental for the child, but also for the parents. Parents may feel guilt over not continuing to provide support for their adult child. As children grow, they learn through life experiences and making their own mistakes. Children must be taught responsibility by being allowed to make their own decisions and being held responsible for those decisions. They learn through the consequences of their mistakes, whether good or bad. It will be difficult for adult children to learn how to take care of themselves if parents continue to do the caretaking. It is important for parents to set boundaries with their adult child and to follow through with enforcing these boundaries.
Some ways parents can set boundaries include:
• Keep your money. Putting boundaries on financial help is very important. Your adult child needs to be held responsible for paying their own bills. Everyone makes bad choices but if they don’t have to live with the consequences of those choices they will never learn. When adult children are in financial trouble helping them out should be a last resort.
• Listen, but do not rescue them. Listening to their stories or problems without solving them is the best gift you could ever give your adult child. Listen without judgment or action. You are not responsible for fixing their problems.
• Let them live their life as they choose. You may feel the need to tell your adult child how they “should” be living or what they “should” be doing. This type of behavior will only frustrate them, not to mention may cause resentment to build between you and your adult child.
Remember to love and accept your child without judgment and offer your emotional support. Letting your adult child know that even though they make mistakes, you will always love them and accept them for who they are.
**If you or someone you know is struggling with their adult child, contact our office to schedule an Initial Assessment.