How To Stop Enabling Your Grown Child
How often do you hear parents say they want their children to change but don’t know how to get them to do it? If you’ve ever felt frustrated at your inability to change your adult child, then you’ll appreciate these simple tips.
We all want our kids to become better adults. But sometimes, we fail to realize that we are also responsible for helping them succeed.
When we try to force our children to behave or act a certain way, we inadvertently teach them that we don’t trust them. And when they see us being inconsistent, they start to question whether we really love them.
You can’t expect your child to change overnight. Instead, it would help if you focused on teaching them good habits and values from an early age.
This will help them develop into successful adults who respect themselves and those around them. So if you’re looking to help your adult child grow up well, keep reading!
How To Stop Enabling Your Grown Child
If you find yourself in this situation, take some time to reflect on what has led to enabling your child. Has your child been abused? Are they experiencing any mental illness?
How is she currently coping with life’s challenges? Is she struggling with drug addiction? It may be beneficial to talk about the root of the problem rather than just solve it.
One common mistake many parents make is to assume that their grown children have no control over their own lives. Therefore, they think that their kids must have done something wrong to end up where they are today.
However, people tend to blame themselves more than others for things that go awry in their lives. It would help if you remembered that your adult child does not owe you anything.
They aren’t obligated to fulfill your wishes, expectations, or desires. The only thing they owe you is respect and loyalty.
It’s important to understand that, even though you may want to influence your child, it may be unlikely that you’ll actually succeed.
In other words, it won’t matter how much effort you put into changing them; they are probably going to resist your efforts anyway.
So instead of trying to change your child, why not try to work on yourself first? By doing so, you’ll gain more self-awareness and insight into how to raise a happy, healthy individual.
When dealing with your adult child, it’s best to avoid confrontation. You can always tell someone else to handle the issue or simply let it go. Don’t argue with your child because it will only escalate the quarrel.
Instead of getting angry with your grown child, why not try talking to them when you notice problems?
For example, instead of yelling at your kid when she doesn’t pick her clothes up after herself, calmly ask her to clean up the mess before leaving the house.
Tell her that you’ll deal with other cleaning up later, but you’d like her to take care of the task right now.
While you’re taking steps toward improving your relationship with your adult child, be sure to keep yourself grounded by keeping your emotions under control.
If you get too emotional during these conversations, you could wind up damaging your relationship further.
The goal here isn’t to punish your child for their bad behavior. Instead, you should show compassion, understanding, and empathy. And while you’re doing these things, you should use positive reinforcement whenever possible.
Remember that there’s no such thing as perfect parentage. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone deals with adversity in different ways.
Your job is to support your child through whatever struggles they face and encourage them along the way.
Let your grown child go, make it clear that you love them and want the best for them. Express gratitude for everything your child does for you and remind them that you think highly of them.
You may need to practice patience since letting go is rarely easy. Let them make their own mistakes, but don’t tolerate poor choices or harmful behaviors.
Acknowledge that your child is growing up, and accept reality. Don’t try to keep your children from maturing—in fact, you could do more harm than good by trying to hold onto your kids.
As your children grow, they’ll become more independent and responsible.
Give your children space to develop into adults, and give them room to fail without feeling guilty or ashamed. Try not to worry so much about whether your grown children are happy or prosperous.
Instead, focus on giving them unconditional love and respect. Show them daily acts of kindness as a way of showing you care about their well-being.
If your children feel loved and appreciated, they’ll grow up to be confident, healthy adults.
Enabling your adult child comes down to being overly tolerant, too trusting, or overbearing. This is because you are willing to overlook negative behaviors or forgive bad decisions.
While these actions may seem harmless now, they may cause serious problems later. They may even lead to addiction, divorce, or loss of job opportunities.
To encourage your grown child to be independent:
- Let them know that you trust their judgment and believe they will succeed in any endeavor.
- Give advice, but don’t take over.
- If necessary, offer support and guidance, but let your child decide where to turn first.
You could also try encouraging your child to pursue an idea or project. Then, encourage them to follow through with whatever ideas they have.
Letting your grown child choose something they want to accomplish is a great way to motivate them to achieve success.
Show your grown children how proud you are of them. Take pride in the things they’ve accomplished, and tell everyone how awesome they are.
Helping your adult child realize they are special and unique is another way to encourage independence.
Help your child meet goals by offering support and encouragement. Letting your child learn about the world rather than simply talking about it only encourages independence and helps prepare him for adulthood.
Your grown child needs to experience failure before succeeding.
Let your child make mistakes and learn from them. Then, be patient and teach them to grow from those experiences. You should never get upset or annoyed with your child.
Instead, keep communication open and honest. The key here is to show your child that you care and want them to succeed.
Your child may need some extra motivation to achieve independence. They may need something to strive toward, such as a goal or competition.
Encourage your grown child to set goals and work hard towards achieving them.
As you watch your child become an independent thinker, remember to encourage them to express gratitude for everything that has been given to them.
Acknowledge all accomplishments, and express appreciation for the things they do well.
If you have a troubled teen, you understand how challenging it can be to deal with. Not only do you worry about their safety, but you’re also concerned with their mental well-being.
You might not think so, but teens today are more connected to technology than ever before.
With smartphones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, and other gadgets, we spend countless hours engaging in activities that were once reserved for adults.
Teens today use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They play games, create blogs, upload videos, and participate in forums to share opinions on politics, religion, and everyday issues.
Some people say that our kids live in a different world than ours. Is that true? Yes, and yet most of us accept the changes without realizing just how much we’ve lost control over our kids’ lives.
There was a time when we knew how to handle teenagers. Nowadays, however, there’s very little guidance available. Do you know what to do about it?
How can you keep your teenager safe and ensure their healthy development?
To help you navigate the rocky waters of raising an adult child, seek professional guidance from a therapist specializing in family counseling.
A competent counselor will provide you with strategies that can help you improve the quality of your relationships with your grown kids.
You might also consider joining a local chapter of Parents Anonymous (www.parentsanonymous.org) or visiting a group online. These organizations offer advice, encouragement, and friendship to those struggling with similar situations.
To help your adult child become financially independent, start teaching them about financial management. It’s important to teach your child how to manage money responsibly and save for future goals.
In addition, you can help them learn about investing.
If your adult child has spent time working full-time, they already have some savings set aside. But if this hasn’t been the case, then you can help your kid establish a reasonable budget and plan for retirement.
The key to saving money is to stick to a budget, which means having realistic expectations regarding what you can afford to spend each month.
When determining your monthly expenses, don’t forget to include all mandatory bills and regular household expenses. Also, factor in any debt payments you may have, including credit card debt and student loans.
Your goal as a parent should be to help your child achieve financial independence.
By setting reasonable expectations on the amount of money they need to earn, you can play a significant role in making your child financially self-sufficient.
Try to stay positive when speaking with your grown child. Avoid criticizing or complaining about anything, especially if there’s nothing you can really help fix.
Instead, maintain a friendly relationship with your mature child and avoid getting angry or frustrated.
If you’re going through a difficult time in your marriage or relationship, discuss this with your child. It’s essential to maintain a strong bond between parents and children.
Make sure to talk with your children every day, no matter what. When you communicate regularly, you strengthen your relationships with each other.
Raising an adult child can be difficult, especially if you’ve had a poor experience growing up. However, the rewards of parenting an adult son or daughter far outweigh the challenges.
As long as you approach your child-rearing responsibilities with respect, honesty, compassion, and unconditional love, parenting an adult child is rewarding.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: November 29, 2023