Mom trying to help her adult child who makes poor life choices

How to Parent Adult Children Who Is Making the Best Decisions

Raising adult children can come with its own set of unique challenges. You’ve surely gained hours of free time now that you don’t spend most of your days changing diapers, taking your child to school, or helping them find the perfect outfit for prom. However, you likely don’t worry any less about your child’s well-being than you did when they were living under your own roof, and if you’re honest, most days you probably miss the mess, loudness, and chaos that once filled your home.

Parenting adult children can be even more difficult and painful if your child isn’t making the best decisions. Maybe they’re being reckless with their finances, experiencing relationship or parenting issues, or behaving in ways that make you doubt your parenting tactics.

Taking care of your needs while providing support is key in this new stage of your child’s life.

Remember, It’s Not All Your Fault.

The reality is that you are no longer responsible for your child’s actions, and you have a lot less control over the choices they make (and the consequences their choices bring). After all, you can’t ground them when they misbehave or shelter them from all harm. Remember that no parent is perfect, but that it is not your burden to bear – or your fault – every time your child makes a poor choice.

Boundaries Are Important for Both of You

Just because your child is an adult doesn’t mean that they have the right to treat you however they choose. If your child tends to ask you for things you’re not comfortable with or treats you or your home with disrespect, it’s time to set some clear boundaries of what is acceptable.

However, remember that boundaries go both ways. If you struggle to maintain space and give your child the room to grow and thrive as an adult, they will likely feel coddled or might struggle to fully emerge into a responsible adult. If this sounds like you, consider if setting healthy boundaries, including emotional boundaries, would foster a healthier relationship between you and your adult child.

Listen, Share Wisdom, and Don’t Panic

Rather than panic and jump in to the save the day when your child makes poor choices, opt to provide support and listen instead. Understand that consequences can help your child grow, and that having chances to problem-solve is essential for fostering maturity and growth.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t provide any support to your child. Take time to listen to their stress and don’t jump straight to lecturing or shaming them for their decision. And if they’re open, you can help your child process their decision and share your wisdom on they can navigate the situation – instead of immediately fixing it.

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