Though your children legally become adults at the ripe age of 18, for many, it takes several years of life experience to fully comprehend what it is to truly be an adult. The role of a parent never truly stops, but evolves, and requires you to be an influence in developing the life of a young adult. As this new dynamic often requires some adjustments for both parent and child, below you’ll find a few solutions to guiding your adult child through this pivotal era in their lives.
Accept That They’re Not Kids Anymore
Separating from your responsibilities in your child’s life when they were younger will be the biggest challenge mentally. It means realizing that they are adults and that you are no longer raising them but providing support as they learn how to be a successful person. This essentially means abstaining from enabling, over disciplining, shielding from reality, and over-involving yourselves in their personal lives. As difficult as this may be, it is ultimately a necessary first step in having a positive relationship with your adult child.
Give Advice (And Respect Their Decision)
Your adult children will often come to you for words of wisdom as they’re learning more about life. When asked for your personal opinion, you should not hesitate to give them a realistic response based on both facts and personal experiences. What they do with this information, however, is solely up to them. Though you may not agree, it is necessary that you allow them to make their own decisions and be there if they need you again.
Don’t Enable Bad Behavior
The sooner your child learns that there are consequences for their negative actions, the better. Ignoring the problem and in some instances, always bailing them out of negative circumstances, will only hinder their ability to handle obstacles throughout life. For example, if your child is bad with debt, do not extend yours to them or pay to reduce theirs. If you notice your child is abusing drugs and alcohol, don’t turn the other cheek. Instead, look for detox centers in Los Angeles, or wherever is most convenient to get them the help they need.
Stay Out of Relationships
If your adult child is in a committed relationship and comes to you for advice, it is best to turn them to other helpful resources. As much as you may want to help them, most parent’s relationship advice stems from their love for you and their own painful experiences which may not be the best advice for your child. Encourage them to work through problems (unless otherwise life-threatening) by seeking help from a therapist or religious leader.
Set Boundaries if You Share a Residence
Some young adults don’t move out of the house right away. Others, go through life experiences that require them to return home and regroup. For whatever reason your adult child is living at home with you it is important to set boundaries. You might consider doing things like setting a rate for room and board and laying down some ground rules for the household. Express that there will be consequences if the rules aren’t upheld. Then put it in writing and stick to it.
A parent’s job is never really finished. Once your child has become a young adult, you may find that they need you more now, than they ever did when they were children. To ensure that the dynamic change is a positive one, keep the above-mentioned advice in mind and apply it to your circumstances.