Parenting is a very unpredictable job. You never know what will happen next. That is sometimes a good thing, but all too often, the unpredictability can bring on more stress than anyone should have to deal with. When the children have grown up in years but haven’t truly matured, we tend to hang on to them a little bit longer than usual. It is human nature to want to be sure that your child is safe and sound no matter what age he/she is. Knowing when it’s time to let get of your adult children isn’t always clear cut. That is when you need a little extra parenting advice.
Here are some suggestions that will help you let go:
1. Stop beating yourself up- It is very easy to blame yourself for what your child is doing or not doing. Many adult children make the choice not to work, to get involved in drug or alcohol use or some other issue. You don’t make that choice for him/her. Feeling guilty only keeps you holding on longer. Understand that whatever the issue is, it isn’t something you have done to cause it. Adults make their own choices and are responsible for them. Therefore, when your adult child makes a bad choice, it is his/her responsibility, not yours.
2. Talk to someone- When you are going through major issues with a small child, you talk to someone. You find help and seek advice on how to handle it. When your child is an adult, you can do the same thing. Go to a counselor who can help you sort through what is and what isn’t something you should take action on. He/she will be able to help you look at things in a different perspective. If you choose not to talk to a counselor, at least talk to a friend or family member who you can trust with these issues.
3. There is only so much you can do- You can’t force your child to see things your way. You can’t force him/her to change his/her ways. The more you push, the more he/she may pull away. Sometimes, you have to let your adult child make his/her own mistakes and sink to the bottom before he/she will realizes that it’s time to pull him/herself up by the boot straps.
4. Give yourself time- It takes time to learn to let go of an adult child who is bent on self-destruction. Give yourself time to get past those bad feelings you have. The feelings do subside and you will be much less stressed when they do. Nothing happens overnight. Don’t give in out of fear of what might happen to your child. That may sound cold hearted, but it is truly the most loving thing you can do. You can continue to hold on, but that is not what is best for your child.
5. Don’t aid your child’s behavior- When your adult child isn’t helping him/herself, you can’t do anything either. If your child isn’t working because he/she simply refuses to do anything for him/herself, you don’t do a thing to help him/her if you give him/her money, a place to live or food. Again, this sounds incredibly cruel. It is not. The more you hand over to your child, the more he/she will rely on you for it. The sooner you are able to say no, the sooner he/she will get back on track in most cases.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by an adult child who is unwilling to do anything for him/herself. You do a disservice to him/her and you can end up with declining health problems. Take this advice from a parent of an adult child who hasn’t figured out what he needs to do in order to survive in the world. Helping a child who needs help every now and then is different. Everyone needs help at times. This refers to those adult children who simply refuse to take care of him/herself. Knowing when to let go is the best thing you can do for you, your child and everyone around you.