Parenting adult children: it’s one of the most difficult—and yet least discussed—life transitions facing today’s boomers. Toddler tantrums and teen hormones were no picnic, but there is an abundance of resources available for those stages of parenting—not so much for how to parent adult children, though. That’s why we’ve created this guide. Use this as a resource hub and reference it for tools, tips, and strategies so you can better navigate this challenging time in your adult children’s lives.
When Your Children Become Adult Children
Whether you believe adulthood begins at age 18, or that it’s less about a number and more about maturity, the reality is that today’s young adults live in a very different world. Crippling college debt. A highly competitive job market. The pressure to perform—and succeed—early on. Constant comparison with peers via social media. Because of these changes, new definitions of adulthood are emerging.
In fact, experts are using the term “emerging adulthood” more frequently, thanks to the work of Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a research professor of psychology and author of Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road From the Late Teens Through the Twenties. In the book, Arnett explores the demographics of this life phase and marks the distinction between adolescence and adulthood.
But life for a 20-year-old adult child looks totally different than that of a 30- or 40-year-old adult child. If you have a large family, you may have adult children in all three of these stages of young adulthood.
There may be overlap and outliers in these decades—for example, more than 10 million millennials are currently caregivers for a parent or grandparent—but these are among the general milestones and markers for young adults:
- Life in the 20s. Finishing college (or attending other post-secondary institutions), applying to/attending graduate school for an advanced degree, looking for jobs, dating, exploring identity, defining career and life success.
- Life in the 30s. Career advancements, relationship changes (longer-term dating, marriage, cohabitation), travel, saving for/buying a home, starting a family.
- Life in the 40s. A more focused career (or perhaps a career change), raising children, planning for caregiving as parents and grandparents age, continued education.
Parenting Adult Children
Your diaper-changing and chauffeuring days are over. Whether you feel relieved or conflicted about this change, it’s time to embrace your adult child’s independence and enjoy a new phase of parenthood; there are different ways for parenting adult children. Here are eight ways to grow a healthy relationship with your adult children and how to parent adult children in their 20s and beyond:
1. Recognize and respect your differences. If you and your child had conflict well before adulthood, it won’t disappear overnight on their 18th birthday. Sometimes, the conflict is simply the result of a personality clash and being under one roof can intensify it. Good news: there’s no time like the present to accept—and celebrate—the uniqueness of your child. You may not always agree with their life choices, but as their independence grows, find joy in connecting without conflict.
2. Share your wisdom and insight (without being critical). Because your child may have a very different temperament than yours, they may not always respond well to your suggestions—helpful as you think they may be. If they sense criticism, they may even shut down completely. If you’re sharing wisdom, do so with grace and sensitivity. This is one of the many challenges in parenting adult children, but it is also a strong way to build a bond of understanding and empathy with them as well. Learn how they communicate.
3. Setting boundaries with adult children. No matter what your living arrangements are—adult children living at home, adult children living overseas, and everything in between—you still need boundaries. There may be times when you’re the first person they call in a crisis, and other times they’ll want to figure it out with a friend first. Likewise, just because your children are adults doesn’t mean you should tell them all the intimate decisions and discussions you may be having at home with a spouse or partner. Set ground rules for how to disagree. Setting boundaries with adult children may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it and stick to it, the easier it will get.
4. Do things you love together. If you loved shopping with your daughter when she was a teen, there’s no reason to stop now. Maybe this is a time to discover new things you both love. Whatever traditions, hobbies, or activities appeal to you and your adult child, commit to enjoying them together on a regular basis.
5. Make room for significant others in their lives. It may be hard to share your children with their significant others, but these relationships are an important stage in their launch toward independence. Be open-minded and gracious as you meet this person and find ways to get to know them without being too pushy or critical. This doesn’t necessarily mean letting go of adult children but giving them the room to grow and learn at their own pace.
6. Be a consultant, not a CEO. Tess Brigham, an LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapist) from the Bay Area, says this phase of parenthood is not about running the company and being in charge of their life as you were when they were a dependent but, instead, parenting adult children may mean offering expert advice and guidance that adult children can implement.
7. Be a sounding board for adult children. Create an atmosphere in which your children always feel like they can talk to you, says Cynthia White, a Canadian-based freelance writer with a 29-year-old daughter and 32-year-old son. “Adult children will not always be asking for advice, but rather, just asking for a sounding board,” White says. And, in addition to keeping the lines of communication open, keep a poker face when they do talk to you about stuff that makes your skin crawl, she adds.
8. Make family meetings a regular occurrence. If you’ve fostered open communication throughout your child’s life, regular family meetings will feel much more natural, says Dr. Richard Horowitz of Growing Great Relationships. In large families, keeping everyone on the same page can be tricky. Regular family meetings allow a safe space for siblings and parents to share issues of concern, and to process hard things together.
Adult Children Who Ignore Their Parents
Not every parent and child have a happy relationship, and adulthood can widen that gap. Look for opportunities to foster a healthier relationship than you had in the past, now that the dynamics of authority may have shifted. Try to find common interests—if your daughter loves sports, plan to go to an event together. If your son loves art history, invite him to meet you at a museum on a Saturday.
If the wounds of your painful relationship run deep, you may want to seek out a therapist who can help you understand the roots of the hurt, and work toward healing. There may be an opportunity to bring your son or daughter to a session with you so the therapist can mediate an open conversation about these past hurts.
No matter what the situation, be persistent in pursuing a relationship with your adult children, recognizing that you may be closer to some of them than others. If your child is completely ignoring you and you’ve already attempted to ask why you may need to give them time and space. Don’t take it personally, and consistently express your desire for a relationship when they’re ready.
Adult Children Who Disrespect Their Parents
While you may not always agree on everything in this new phase of your parent-child relationship, adult children shouldn’t be testing you or rebelling against you anymore. Set an expectation for respect: you are still the parent figure.
If your adult child moves back home, you may also be providing room and board. Tess Brigham, a trained psychotherapist turned 20-something life strategist, says one of the most important things parents can do before an adult child moves back home is to evaluate what you want from this arrangement—instead of immediately preparing your child’s room and filling the refrigerator with food.
“It can be so hard for parents to say no,” Brigham says. “That’s why it’s so important to set an intention, to think about what this might look like and set clear boundaries.” For example, you should still go to a yoga class or the gym and keep your own commitments—instead of dropping everything to go get milk or pick up a job application for that child. This prevents resentment on the part of the parent and helps ensure that self-care remains a priority. “You need to support your child without getting lost in the process,” says Brigham.
Adult Children Who Move Back Home
Dr. Horowitz says there are two main reasons kids move back home: money and parenting styles. It’s harder to be financially independent in today’s society, where college debt often far exceeds what new graduates are able to earn—if they are fortunate enough to find a job. They either rely on their parents for income or must move home.
Even if you wouldn’t have considered yourself a helicopter parent, many young adults are less resilient if you’ve intervened often on their behalf. “They hit an obstacle and are less likely to cope,” says Horowitz. “This may be because they’ve become too attached, and it gets in the way of independence.”
Whatever the reasons are for your adult child’s moving back home, your success in making the arrangement work for the short-haul depends on setting clear expectations and rules for adult children living at home.
Rules for Adult Children Living at Home
1. Beware of—and undo—old patterns. Even if your son kept his dorm room surprisingly neat, it’s easy to slip into old patterns and habits once he moves back into the comfort and routine of home. Be prepared for this possibility by discussing the way things were and share how you’d like to see those old patterns change in the present.
For example, if he came home from his high school job and plopped down on the couch to watch TV—leaving his dirty clothes scattered about the living room—set an expectation early on: when he gets home from work now, you’d like him to leave his belongings in his room before he hangs out in a family common area.
Whatever conflicts you had with your children before are likely to resurface, although they may look different now that they’re adults. And your relationship is different because of it, but that doesn’t mean old patterns—particularly negative ones—should be part of the new living arrangement. You may not be “in charge” anymore, but so long as they’re living in your home, work toward a better relationship with honest, open communication.
2. Make sure the burden of chores and household work is shared as equally and fairly as possible. They don’t need a sticker chart anymore, but your kids should still contribute to the work of the household. Sit down together and discuss timing, and what’s realistic based on their schedule and yours.
If your daughter loves to cook but works at a restaurant during dinner hours, perhaps ask her to make some freezer meals on the weekends or mornings off so you’ll have access to easy options throughout the week.
If your son has his own bathroom now, it’s his responsibility to clean it—unless he is willing to do some other household tasks (mowing the lawn, replacing burned-out light bulbs, taking out the trash) in exchange for Mom’s white glove touch.
For more guidance on setting rules for adult children living at home and making an at-home relationship work with your adult children, read Boomerang Kids: When Adult Children Move Back Home.
Letting Go of Adult Children as They Transition Into the Real World
If your children are still teenagers, the successful launch into adulthood starts even now. Here, Amy White, MBA and creator of the Daily Successful Living Blog, shares what worked for her and her husband as their three teens (who are now 20-somethings) transitioned into adulthood:
- Help, without giving handouts. “One of the decisions my husband and I made as our children began to leave home was to provide support, but not give a hand-out financially,” White explains. “As a parent, it is hard to see your kids struggle, which leads to a tendency to overindulge. To help our kids, we continued to pay for their health insurance, cell phones, and kept them on our car insurance.” White says once their children started their first real jobs, she and her husband sat down with them and explained the cost of their phones and insurance, then let them know that this was a cost for which they were responsible.
- Set up a system for payback. Each month, our adult children are responsible for paying us back, says White. “All of our kids have slowly begun to transition these accounts into their own names and take this responsibility on themselves. We now have one child on our phone plan and one on our car insurance,” she says.
- Letting go of adult children means celebrating the transition to independence. White and her husband have enjoyed this shift. “It has been really fun watching them begin to stand on their own financially,” she says. “I think that by gradually letting them transition—while providing the financial support they needed at the time—helped each of them to experiment with money and find a way of budgeting that worked for them.”
When an Adult Child Has Mental Health Issues or Special Needs
Monica Garret-Hughes, an RN at BrightStar Care based in Lubbock, Texas, offers advice on establishing healthy boundaries when your adult child lives with mental illness. “It starts before day one, with understanding their illness and background,” says Garret-Hughes.
When she meets with families to provide care, Garret-Hughes seeks to understand triggers and how the illness presents itself. “The first priority is demonstrating clear boundaries and never wavering,” she says. But it’s important for parents to learn what their son or daughter is able to do, and encourage them along the way, per Garret-Hughes. “Establishing routines and being predictable is also very important.”
One of the biggest challenges in navigating this type of parent-adult child relationship? Separating your child from his/her mental illness. “Behind the mood swings, combative behavior and tantrums, there is a beautiful soul that still needs compassionate care,” says Garret-Hughes.
J. Hope Suis, the author of Mid-Life Joyride, assumes many of the responsibilities for her grandson, as her youngest daughter—his mother—struggles with mental illness. “My daughter, her husband, and their two-year-old son live with me,” says Suis. “I also have to work through how to handle issues like money, household chores, and other situations with her directly, and learn how to balance where mental illness stops/starts and enabling begins.” Enabling adult children can happen without you even realizing it. Suis took a course provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) so she could better understand her daughter’s illness and gain the skills she needed to parent her as an adult.
In the case of an adult child with special needs, a longer period of support may be required before a transition to independence. Some adult children with special needs may always need support, but it should be tailored to their needs and with their goals for independence in mind. Read our article, Who Will Care for My Special Needs Adult Child? for insights and advice.
Parents Enabling Adult Children
Author Heather Goodyear has a desire to see strong families in every phase of life, and this has informed both her writing and parenting (two of her six children have reached adulthood, and one is right on the cusp).
Says Goodyear, “I have learned that too many parents fall into regret as their children reach adulthood. They have nostalgia for the baby, toddler, and growing-up years—and regret that those days will not return.” This regret often fuels enabling or even conflict, because—instead of embracing all the independent aspects of their grown-up children’s lives—they begin to fight against their children’s growing independence. “This creates a turbulent time between the parents and adult children that will likely cause more regret for parents later,” says Goodyear.
How do you avoid enabling adult children, particularly when your adult child is demanding and needy (and perhaps has been that way throughout childhood)? Begin with setting boundaries with adult children and keep the goal of independence in mind. Work together to establish expectations. Talk openly about challenges and be honest in your communication about hurts and hopes.
Adult Children Taking Advantage of Parents
If you lamented the empty nest, you’ll probably welcome your child back home with open arms. But that doesn’t mean you should do everything for them or let them take advantage of your warm welcome.
Carrie Krawiec, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, Michigan, advises parents to take an inventory of what they can control and what they can’t. “You may not be able to control how late your adult child stays out or sleeps in, but you might be able to control their resources like money, use of the car, etc.,” says Krawiec. “Create rules for adult children living at home and expectations for the things you can control and avoid what you can’t.”
What to Do About Adult Children Who Expect Money
Elisabeth Stitt, author of Parenting as a Second Language and founder of Joyful Parenting Coaching, offers this advice on navigating money matters with adult children:
“Let’s say your mid-20s adult has moved back in with you. You are sympathetic to the challenges of the high cost of housing and want to help. Helping is different than removing all obstacles and preventing your child from taking on adult responsibility. Sure, let them rent from you at a reduced rate, but do charge rent. How much? Well, enough to reduce the amount of struggle, but not all of it. If you are housing your adult child for a reduced rate, and he is spending a lot on his leisure activities (no matter how wholesome), you are enabling your adult children and not allowing them to be an adult.
“Gauge how much support to give by asking the question, is my support helping my child to reach a higher level of adult responsibility? For example, perhaps your providing housing allows your adult child to hold down a job and take continuing education classes at the same time, or maybe you are saving him from a couple of hours of commuting a day so that he can put in the extra hours to really impress his boss and line himself up for a promotion.”
For more on this thorny topic, read our article, Giving Money to Grown Children: When to Stop and How to Break the Habit.
Top Concerns of Parenting Adult Children
Whatever parenting adult children concerns arise in this new phase, the challenge often boils down to setting and honoring boundaries:
- How do you help them launch successfully without enabling adult children?
- How do you help your daughter struggling with money management to become financially independent?
- How do you empower your son who battles crippling anxiety to live in his own apartment?
- How do you navigate the return of a child—with grandchildren in tow—after a painful relationship or marriage ends?
- How do you balance the desire to be all things to all the ones you love—children and grandchildren, spouses, and aging parents—with doing the things you hoped and even planned for in the empty nest stage?
There are many layers of complexity in this stage of life, and resources around it are few and far between—as many of these changes are newly emerging, and life for adult children looked very different in prior generations.
As in any challenging life phase, talking through the issues with peers and those in similar situations is a positive starting point—as is seeking out counselors, mediators, and other professionals who are equipped to guide and direct—to ease the growing pains of the parent-adult child relationship. For many families, the unhealed wounds and scars of childhood (for both the parent and child) may need to be confronted in order to develop a healthy, grounded relationship.
We’re here for you through it all, and we welcome your feedback on topics you’d like us to address. Or, tell us how you’re handling a difficult situation with your adult children in the comments below.
Thank you, one of the challenges I struggle with is expectations of financial and maintaining household support while positively supporting an adult child’s personal growth and self-improvement (e.g., the example above indicates providing housing so that an adult child can take classes, or reduce commute so that he can do work to lineup for a promotion). What to do when there are good reasons (e.g., reducing commute or encouraging that he has a job) but there isn’t movement on the adult child’s part to move forward?
I have 2 adult sons, one is 31 married with children and living on his own. The other is 36, singled and has his own place but is having such a difficult time living on his own. The family has supported him in every way to make the transition as easy as possible for him but he doesn’t seem to appreciate it, although he says he does. His actions shows differently. He has either given furniture away or destroyed it. Whenever he gets upset. On the other hand my youngest son didn’t get nearly half of what was given to his brother, which I feel guilty of because he and his wife has to work to get what they need and are so much more responsible and in need of it. It’s so frustrating and unfair at times. I’m at the point with my oldest son where I can no longer help him. I’m emotionally, mentally, physically and financially exhausted! And I now know that it’s my fault! For I have enabled him and my husband was right, so now when I say I’m done, his response is “but you’ve said that before!” And again he’s right! But I truly am depleted, I couldn’t do anything else if I wanted to! It’s been a roller coaster with my 36yr old son for the past 5yrs which has been a strain on my life and marriage. We’re maintaining but now dealing with damage control and getting things back on track. But how do you manage that when you’re still dealing with an adult child who doesn’t want to grow up?!
Kara, I feel what your going through 10000%. I’ve been struggling with the same feeling and emotions. I totally get giving them their space and them needing to navigate their independence. But to feel like I’m not even thought to them, I can’t wrap my head around. There’s not much info or support out there in navigating this part of parenthood. Hugs to you
I gave my all to raise my three children. They have moved away and communicate with me about once a year or two. Nothing I say or do helps. I have been advised to “give them space”. And so I am, yet for what reason or purpose? To lose more years with them? It is not helping either. So I am sad and don’t tell them how I feel.
I would like to see more blogs on what adult children can do to have healthy relationships with their parents.
I li St t my husband 3 years ago and because of the cost of living crisis couldn’t afford to stay in my home. I moved in with my daughter and 14 year old granddaughter it worked fine at first but my daughter has a new partner and he is moving in with us (they’ve only been together 5 months) her attitude towards me has changed she has no patience with me she’s abrupt doesn’t listen to anything I say and this is despite me doing all the cooking and ironing working 16 hours a week and tending to my granddaughters animals. I feel completely used and disrespected. By the way I also give my daughter 90% of my money. I really don’t know what to do
Its the worst! My son 19 and his gf 18 moved out because I told him maybe she should go back to her parents and go to school and he could start school. They were paying a small rent but when they shut me out and distanced themselves from us and with my alcoholic elderly mother causing problems I felt like I was putting out fires all of the time tying to keep peace. They would barely speak to me while they were both here living and after about 6 months it started to hurt and I spoke up about the treatment. I regret it so badly. I gave them a couple of months but they said it was toxic and I was clingy which is true… first child and I was afraid to let him grow up. I profusely apologized as I was stressed and frustrated. Taking care of my mom 3 teens in the home and my dad just passing and we just moved and thats a lot of excuses. When it came down to it I think I was feeling my son pulling away he or she would barely say to words and said I talked about how much I loved them too often. I would let them slip on rent because I knew my son was stressed trying to grow up so fast. I wrote him a letter and had his step dad give it to him as he has blocked me as she has. I feel just terrible because I should have handled it differently. I didn’t give thought that he was trying to grow up I was selfish and wrong. I miss him so badly I cannot sleep or eat. I wanted to transition him in a good way instead it turned traumatic and awful for him. I made so many mistakes with him in his life but I would never give up on him. I was not raised in a good home and I did not know how to mother the right way I thought I did but I drove a wedge between us where we could no longer communicate. I gave him everything but I don’t think I listened to him the correct way. I let my emotions navigate me. I apologized immediately but the damage was done. I feel ashamed and I let him down. I wish I would have just kept my mouth shut because my boy wont speak to me now and its unbearable.
I choose this topic because I have two adult children. They are like night and day. Parenting them really gets difficult and painful. So glad I found this group. I can see that I’m not the only parent that struggles.
I’m doing a speech on Parenting Adult Children. Your book is a part of my research. It’s excellent information.
I wish my parents did this to me. They don’t want me to leave and start my life. Even though I am living separately from them, they expect me to come and do their weekly house chores and they interrupt with every decision I make. I’m in my 20s and I pay for my college. I live with my grandma who’s very old needs my care the most. My parents say that they will be my responsibility in the future, so I have to be as close to them as possible. But I want to live and decide things for myself.
My daughter is 36, she and my granddaughter 14, live with me. My daughter is disabled with many ailments and they just keep coming. She constantly is correcting my driving skills, I can’t seem to do anything right. Then she says don’t take it personally I’m just trying to help you. Well, how else am I supposed to take it? She’s talking directly to me. I told her this. Now she’s offended and not talking to ke. I hadn’t said anything to her but I couldn’t take it anymore. I was doing the driving cuz she had knee surgery and she said well that’s why you should let me drive. I said I didn’t know you were ready so I was trying to help but ok. Please do, I don’t want to keep getting beat up. You even get upset when I put my signal on when I’m turning in the driveway and there’s no car behind me! It’s a habit.
My adult daughter and my teenage grandson are currently living in my mothers house, which is next door to me.
Mom passed away years ago, and the house was left to her children, which I am one of.
She pays 200 dollars rent a month plus all her utilities; ie electric, phone.
Pays her own car insurance and car payment.
She does not clean the house or take trash out regularly as she should.
Afraid her attitude about living conditions is going to affect the child negatively.
At wits end on how to handle this.
I’m having a really tough time letting go of my adult children: 48 (daughter-married with no children), 45(son-3 children which the mother won’t let me see) and 31(son by a different and abusive father-some emotional issues and lives alone). We have gone through spurts of not speaking to each other and clashing personalities especially the mother of my grand children. We now speak but things are so different and distant. I want to keep in touch but they have no time for me. I am angry one day and depressed the next. I will be 70 years old and I know I to get need a life but I am not interested in any relationships. I’m not a people person so I am alone most of the time.I at a loss
My husband had spinal surgery. Our adult sons did not contact their father the night before to offer their support, they only sent a message the morning of after I texted them stating we were on the way. After surgery, I sent a text that he got along well, they responded, “great”, “awesome”, one of them contacted me later to ask how he was, but never responded after I told him. I am so angry at their indifference … should I approach them?
Dear Ms Jackson,
I’m sad to hear of your husband’s burdening health situations and of your sons’ neglect.
My own family also has unsolved negligence in similar scenarios. Sometimes I cry and cry. So I’m not writing with the gift of perfect wisdom – but to share compassion and also to share the best approach I have learned so far, which is to try something like this:
Call a son. Say how are you and can we talk for a bit. If no, schedule a time.
The goal of the important phone call is to schedule an in person conversation – You know how much your father and I love you. Something important to us had come up and I need to discuss it with you – how about lunch next Thursday?
Why all this project about setting up a meeting: so that everyone is expecting something life changing – something important – something requiring sincere attention and focus.
If he asks “what’s this about?”, answer, “sweetheart we really need to discuss it in person”
At lunch 80% momentum: I have total faith in our love and in our wonderful family”. 20% intensity: We need you. When tough things happen we need YOU. I’ve probably never said this, and I’m not sure I’ll succeed now in communicating this to you – but the kind of words and actions that would help us include: (call.. send card.. etc)
Then, if you have the emotional strength, get curious How do you feel about what I just said? (Just listen and show that you understand what he is saying. Don’t worry about whether he is immediately saying he understands and will act differently henceforth. Assume he heard you and will absorb this and consider it going forward.). If it’s all too emotional for you: “Thanks for listening – I’m grateful for you – good bye for now”. If you are serene, ask more questions: “How did you feel about the surgery – were you scared?” etc. Maybe even: “How do you feel about growing older? About death?”
Maybe some of this will help. I’m hoping….
Also hoping, of course, that you and your husband can use music, meditation, prayer, nature, humor, gratitude, etc to refresh and gladden your spirits: LIFE IS HARD. Y’all all miracles. We people are resilient:
My daughter has just turned 19, she’s having a gap year and working full time. Shes fallen into the wrong crowd, with troubled kids, she stays out until 1am during the week even though I have asked her to be home earlier
Im worried that if I push to hard I will push her towards them but I also want her to know that Im worried that she will get caught up in something bad. How do I navigate a way through to help her see they are bad news.
Once when I had a child of similar age with similar off task habits, I used this very good advice:
I took time to inwardly focus on how much I love her and how much I wish for her. Then I talked to her with as much intensity and gentleness as I could, telling her the story about the day she was born, and how I burst with love and commitment for her, and what my wishes and hopes were for her then and now. I didn’t say anything about the matters which had been in contention. She cried and said, “Now I don’t even feel like keeping that plan…” and I won’t ramble about details, but there was a change.
I’m sharing this, knowing that life and family and love do not operate via formulas – we can’t just follow Script A to guarantee Result B – I’m sharing because we are all in this together and we can learn from the experience of others…
Lots of experience has also lead me to these two conclusions:
– – it’s always great to build some relationship with her friends. If you all spent the day together at the beach you would obviously bond – but that’s not likely for most of us. More often, this kind of thing: “would your friends be willing to come by for a few minutes before you go out on Friday – I’m hoping they will sample these three new desserts and give some feedback…”
– – in the long run kids behave in adulthood more like the adults have been behaving, not so much like their adolescent selves…. Have hope!
Can anyone help me with my issue. My adult 27 y.o. son is in a relationship with a young lady from Tansania. She is in this country on a visa and attending grad school working on a PhD in linguistics. I’m concerned as she is a foreigner and I am afraid my son knows little if anything about her. They met through an online dating app. Can anyone help me calm my fears or assist in easing my anxiety? Thank you.
Informational: thanks and helpful. By my children’s choice, they choose not to communicate with me which is sad for me but I am trying to be patient for their interest in a parent adult child relationship. Its not easy to do for many years but I am adjusting.
I am sorry you feel this way. I do not know how to explain the fact that we need to let our sons and daughters make choices. They have the right to do so. They are free men and women. The only thing you can do is tell him to take things slow and easy and that things always are better that way, but if he does not then he needs to understand that all the future is in his hands, not yours. I think we just need to FACE the fact that they are not ours. They are meant for other people and they have the right to make mistakes. I was feeling like you until I decided to let him go. I think they will be open to you when you do this. Because they wont feel the need to pull away. Stop chasing so they stop running
I’m having a hard time with my 16 year old child, please help me
My 29 year old grandson lives at home. He went to college and did well getting a BS and Masters in double majors. He did this even though he became legally blind at 18. He was able to get help financially with his education and is on SSI disability. He has taught English in Chile and Argentina and Spain He contributes financially to the household and does all sorts of help with household work. He wants to move out and be more on his own. He doesn’t have a drivers license but purchased an e bike and this gives him a means of transportation. I think moving back home has hurt his journey to independent adulthood. I also feel my daughter his mom is getting used to his help financially and help with household tasks. Any suggestions ?
I have an adult daughter who is divorced, lives over 3000 miles away. She just broke up with a man she was with for over 2 years and has been traumatized. Where she is living has now also become a very dangerous place. We are trying unto convince her to move closer yo family and in a safer area and she is not budging. Not sure how to help my adult daughter make positive life changing decisions without causing issues between us.
Is anybody in this group divorsed, remarried, has grown kids (40ish), grandkids, and lives abroad. If so I would like to share experiences and issues
Im a divorce women with two adult children. For years I have always helped them financially and with chid care, even when they live 10 hours away by car. i have paid for preschool, lessons, health care for both grandchildren and adults. Just recently I told my daughter I would be unable to afford these expenses and to ask her father or the father of her children if they could chip in. She became angry and has no idea of the Herculean effort I put into traveling to where she chose to live, the costs, and the demands on child care when I have so much to take care of in my own home. I need to set boundaries, but it looks like she may end the relationship. I can’t be allow myself to be a doormat any longer. If she decides to cut off any relationship with me, that’s a price I’m willing to pay rather than have a relationship based on how much money and work I can provide for her. I need the time for myself to travel and reconnect with friends and family.
Good for you. I like you supported my single daughter and grandson for many years, l made a decent living so it wasn’t a financial burden. My daughter wants to control all aspect’s of my life, this is nothing new. We teased she was “Old Mother Hubard” when she was young and then it became the “Queen” as she got older. When l finally stood up to her and said NO to yelling at me, criticizing me in front of others because l don’t express my self to her liking’s, the list grows longer…… My consequences are NO contact at all!!!! Her justification is “I have learned to live without you”. Horrible for me not seeing my only grandchild through his last two years of High School. I moved and now live 625 miles away, and out relationship is at best very strained. I am 71 years young and do not want to spend whatever time I am allowed on earth to be verbally abused. My grandson in old enough to make his own decisions in life. He’s 28. At this point l have a conversation with him maybe 2 times a year. I hope you can find peace in your decision. May God guide you through this valley.
Wonderful insightful writeup. My only 26 yr old son is living with me and my husband. He is independent, no bother to us, cooks for himself too in same kitchen. He is also sometimes help to us ( lifting , moving heavy things, snow shovelling, lawn mowing etc). He has a great job and is doing wonderful in his career but I always keep doubting if by staying with us, he is losing out on any thing in his life. Although he is strong headed, he is sort of introvert, and has few friends which we know of. But I would like him to come out of his shell and be more outgoing.. how can we help him do that? I fear if he lives on his own, he will just sit in front of computer for work and order food without making an effort of meeting people or improving his life. So my worry is to let him live on his own or not (untill he marries)? Some prosper living alone, others dont.. I am so confused.
Dear Friend – here is a thought:
In many cultures multiple generations live together naturally and with joy. In movie plots, we often see the problems with this – but conflicts and problems are included to build intensity – not to educate us on best practices.
Perhaps you can help more with small steps down a path to increasing his involvement with the world.
Look for and encourage and support interests.
Maybe become a bit more acquainted with his current friends.
Maybe together y’all can participate in some service activity where you will meet new people, and share the joys of giving.
Be a gentle breeze encouraging him. I remember the story we tell children about the sun and the wind competing to get a man to take off his jacket. The more forcefully the wind blew; the more tightly the man clung to the jacket. But, when the Sun gently smiled, the man unzipped it and then eventually took it off. I’m thinking that wind would try to push your son into a different residence…
Also, of course, we are all meant to be unique – and he may or may not expand his horizons.
I am dealing with an adult son (40 years old) with mental issues. Communication is difficult for us. He is unemployed. We need counseling that is affordable. Any suggestions?
Excellent write-up. I absolutely love this site. Thanks!
I am having a challenging time with my adult daughter who has 3 children 4 and under. I do help her as much as i can however she and I are both resentful with each other.
I am seeking help on how to better my relationship with her. She is 43 and i am 65. She blames me for her insecurities, and anxiety. I read about overwhelming mother…..after reading that i may be overwhelming at times and will try to not do that….She keeps blaming me for her anxiety and insecurities . She is a very well educated person hold a very high post. I thought i brought up my kids well, it seems like i may not have. I don’t know what to do. I am so dumbfounded. Yes it was hard for me when i had kids…i had 4 children by age of 34. I did work very very hard to put them to the best school and paid for their undergrade degrees. I nurtured and cared for them to the best of my knowledge….
i don’t understand where i went wrong. ……after reading the definition of an overwhelming mother….may be that was what i was and am….I am seeking for help for me to have better relations with my daughter. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you
My daughter is 40 with a three year old. She mentions her childhood trauma and my son says his upbringing and childhood was wonderful. We can’t imagine what her trauma was and I’m afraid to ask.
My 23 year old daughter is very closed up and has shut herself emotionally from me. At the moment, my husband and I and going through a very difficult divorce while we all live in our marital home. She lives with us but completely avoids any conversation or activity we could do together.
The minute she gets back from work she gets into her room and shuts me out.
I have tried everything I can think of but she has just shut herself from me.
I hear you. I raised 2 boys , now 43&52 while Being Executive Director of a Montessori School of Altruism . I am 72 1/2.
I am a 3 time Stage 4 Terminal Cancer Survivor.
Joan Baez said “Action is the Antidote to Despair “
I suggest you agree with her by saying “I hear you, I am sorry you feel that way, what can I do to help you right in this moment.” As a Survivor , Present Time has become so Precious, creating a new future every moment. I am rereading this book. YOU CAN’T AFFORD THE LUXURY OF A NEGATIVE THOUGHT. By Peter McWilliams .I believe humor…cannot be overstated..silliness..dumb jokes..agreeing to process a little at a time, .. good therapist for just me.. and just cultivating Hope,Compassion, Empathy and a lot Recognition for everyone and especially for how fortunate I am to be alive.. I thank my shoes. I suggest intentional acts of self kindness…Feel really good about what you have done and that you care…believe in YOU🙏🏻👏👏👏👌Cecilia
My 23 year old son lives in our basement and his older brother is married and lives in town. My 23 year old has always been a hard worker and amazing guy and still is. However, over the last 5 or so years he does not say much when he goes or who he goes with or when coming back. He has a small group of friends and I don’t think he dates. In 2021 is had a experiences that required being rushed to the hospital for panic type attacks and over the last 8 months will not say a word to my wife and I. Will not talk at all, nothing, even simple questions or conversations. He stopped his education after the panic attacks. He is working some now selling door to door part time but I want him back in my life speaking to my wife and I and doing things with us. I have talked to the best and no buddy knows what is going on. I love him a lot and my wife and I have had a pretty happy home and can’t figure out why the silence and even some of this to his brother. We actually spend a lot of time with our kids even traveling the world over their lives. In early 2021 before the panic attack both my sons and wife were out of the country together on vacation.
What has changed and can someone get a mental illness but it only seems to be against parents, however dating or making new friends is not happening either. Thoughts. Thank you
When a child became adult, both parents and children have to adjust to their conditions for the betterment of their family. Awesome work!
I think there is a social pressure and expectation of parent hate. It is a real thing. Many kids spread that poison in other children. I have seen it. I am so sorry you are going through this, but I would ask him to move out and stop chasing him. Tell him you expect to have this relationship with him and you want this relationship with him, but you are not going to force it and it is hurting you that he is giving you the silent entitlement treatment. If he is willing to try to be a son, then he can stay, if he wants a roommate, he needs to find a real one because you are parents and you are not roommates, and you love him and you wish to be loved by him but freely. Tell him you understand that out there is a hate for parents that it is not good or healthy for anyone. However, you will always be there to love him back when he decides to accept your love. A relationship is made of two free wills. If its only you trying, you are asfixiating him. have you ever been loved by someone you do not want and who is always on your case? it is not appealing. Stop chasing so he stops running…
My Son is 28yrs old and says he may need to move back home while he looks for a home of his own. He got a promotion in a different town and needs to move. His new position starts in two weeks. My partner of Six years says no way. I feel as They both have selfish tendencies, stubborn and butt heads. She has no children and don’t understand. She can not understand why I would let him move back in.
I do truly I understand the anxiety she has about it, but at the same time as a mother it hurts me and she doesn’t even try to understand how I feel. I’m the middle.
I think my problem is not wanting he is
Very good information.
How do I get my 20 year old to come back home? After graduating high school, we moved almost an hour away to be closer to family, which was always the plan since before she started high school. Instead she basically moved in with her long term boyfriend’s family because his mom allowed it. We’ve been trying everything to get her back home, short of refusing to pay for college, and it’s just not working. I’m heartbroken and hate that I’m missing out on day to day interaction with her and special moments at this time in her life. I’m so proud of the independent and responsible person she is. She wants us to just be happy when she visits and accept the fact that she’s not living with us. She’s my only child, so I’m all of a sudden an empty nester and it’s really hard not to be sad about it all the time.
This happened to my husband and I, we were shocked and distraught. She is our only child as well. I spoke to a psychologist who told me that she would be back after one year. She was correct, my daughter came back just over a year of being out of our house. While she lived with her boyfriend and his family, she would come to visit but we refused to visit with her boyfriend. During the year that she was gone, I started making time for myself and doing things I wanted to do. The less involved I was with thinking about and pining for my daughter, the more she came around. Try not to think too much about your daughter and move on with your life. She will come back, have peace and know that your relationship with your daughter is stronger than you think it is.
Fantastic article. I’ve been struggling with both our sons in this young adult phase running into many of the situations above. The struggle is one son moved to another state and struggling with finding his place and all therapists have a wait list. The other son is struggling to find his future career. It seams like anything we suggest is not helping. This article was very helpful thank you.
Thank you for this wonderful thoughtful article! It gave me some great things to consider.
You’re welcome! We’re so glad it was helpful.
Wow! Thank you for this article! I needed to read it today and your bullet points at the end are spot on! Thank you again!
You’re welcome, Anne! Thank you for reading Extra Mile!
What if my daughter (25yrs) is in a bad relationship and seems to have more of an obsessive infatuation attachment than a healthy relationship? She refuses to hear anything about it. Do I go along with the relationship and the guy?
I am hoping someone may be able to assist me with this personal question. I have been reading MANY articles referencing respect between young adults and their parents. I am especially thankful for this article due to the explanation of having a young adult child with special needs! My issue at hand is the opposite actually, I am the young adult child trying to balance a boundary with my parent. The particular parent I am addressing has a very shaky past with my sister. My sister has mental health problems and many unfortunate qualities that hinder her in having a “successful” life. However, she has a bright spark of personality, is very open, friendly, and has graced me with a wonderful niece/nephew. My parent was obviously born in a different time and has his opinions on what is considered to be right and wrong. My parent has ALWAYS been very close to me because I pursued a relationship with him after a traumatizing experience he put us through when we were younger, but my sister did not. My parent and I have always been referenced as two peas in a pod, twins, mini me’s, etc. We are very similar is personality, looks, likes, and even at times in what we consider to be right or wrong. (morals). I love him very much and have never truly had a problem I didn’t think we couldn’t fix together, he has been very supportive of me and I of him.
However, recently I have been running into a grand issue at hand that I have spoken to my parent about and let’s just say it didn’t end well. I have been raised to say yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, and no ma’am. I have respect for my elders as long as they also hold respect for me. I recently got out of a bad 12 year relationship with a new light in my life, I have been maturing more, holding more responsibilities, and in doing so am starting to learn what boundaries are! I also now understand that when you do set boundaries why some people view you as a heartless or cruel individual because you are basically telling them that something they are doing or saying is directly effecting you in a negative way and when you state they will no longer be allowed to do it my, how quickly you become such a bad person. My parent has always been very cruel in a manner to my sister he says things that are very harsh and at times unnecessary. He calls it tough love and also calls it the truth that no one wants to hear. My parent has constantly hurt my sisters feelings ( and no we are NOT some delicate snowflakes who cry when you curse NO) but your parent shouldn’t tell you that you were a mistake, even if he didn’t use those precise words. Your parents should tell you that you should have aborted your children or gave them up for adoption ( did my sister have children at a bad time YES) but still the babies are here and it is not their fault things happen. My sister has made bad choices, my sister has had opportunities thrown at her feet, and my sister has been offered ways to better her life that she has done nothing with…that doesn’t mean a person, especially a parent, constantly has to break them down as a person. I love my sister and have accepted that she is simply a different person who suffers with depression on a level I cannot comprehend. My parent, unfortunately, views depression and people with mental illness as weak, unmotivated, and full of excuses. During our last conversation my sister likes to take pictures and post them on Facebook while using goofy filters. My parent saw a photo she posted of a full image of my sister in a mirror with comfy clothes on, flip flops, and her tummy out like a croc top. My parent called me( ME the big sister) stated he called my sister and she didn’t answer. Then told me to call my sister and tell her take down that HIDEOUS PHOTO off Facebook right now. I was not only shocked but completely angry that he would demand such a thing of me basically call your sister tell her she’s ugly and take down a photo that she felt good about. My parent stated she can take better photos, and I stated it wasn’t for him it was for herself. I also stated if he didn’t like the photo to scroll past it but he called my sister first to tell her it was a hideous photo….my big sister mode kicked in and he scoffed at me then said never mind he would tell her himself. I loudly proclaimed you don’t call my sister, F you! I have not spoken to my parent in 2 months due to this pathetic display. Was I wrong, ABSOULTELY, I should not have cursed at him. However, raised emotions/big sister mode came on and some friends have even told me that I was not wrong to tell him this. I have spoken to my sister and she has told me my parent has called her stating he did not apologize but asked if she was still mad at him? When she says she was still mad but kept talking to him he then says that’s normally what happens yall get mad at me but you either need something or you calm down then you talk to me again. That is NOT an apology and I told my sister that my parent really needs to understand he needs to apologize to her for this situation. When he does that(apologizes to my sister) I would speak to him and apologize for cursing at him. My sister then tells me she wanted to ask my parent why he hasn’t called me yet since he called her? My parent responds with because I have been good to you both, and have done a lot for you kids and you will learn to respect me. What do you do or how do you handle a situation where the Parents disrespects the young adult? Where was the respect for my sister when he is borderline bullying her, where was the respect for me to bring me into a situation where I am asked to degrade my sister? Do not talk about respect, if you cannot show it. We are not 5 years old anymore and we DO NOT have to just respect you period. If you do wrong, you do wrong even if you are a parent. Learn when you do wrong that it is your job to apologize, but then my parent actually believes he did NOTHING wrong…..what do you do or better yet what do you even say?
Dear Brittany, you have the same name as my daughter. I was always a very dedicated and loving parent and still I made mistakes according to my daughter. I always told her every momma loves her baby ever since she was a toddler and that I wished no matter what happens that we will always be close as I experience problems with my parents and I still talked to them and held a relationship with them, as they were my parents and they were different from me, and you can pick you friends, but you cannot pick your family. My parents died a few years ago and I miss them. I no longer focus on the things that irritated me about them. I only remember the things that I loved about them. Sometimes, I say I want to pick up the phone and tell them about something special that happened and I realize that I can’t ever talk to them again. My relationship is PERMANENTLY OVER due to death and not by CHOICE. My advised to you is this. Make a list of all the bad and good things and then a list of things that you can change and cannot change about them, baring in mind that you cannot control other people’s behaviour. If and when you decide to speak to your parent again, tell them this is your list and you realize that you and they are different and hold different opinions on probably many issues, but should you both try to build on your relationship and overlook what you can’t and always try to be the bigger person and walk away if one of you really MESS UP as chances are your personalities and habits and belief systems are formed by now. As your parent if you want to wait till they are dead to have regrets about all you could not build in your adult relationship with them, or if you wish to try NOW. You will always find fault with your parent and they will always find fault with you, but I PROMISE YOU THIS. When they die you simly miss them with all their faults and you laugh at it, because you had a relationship with them, Good or Bad. You and they tried, and did not give up. LIFE IS A CHALLENGE THAT ALWAYS THROWS HUDDLES AT US. Your parent is wright. They will always help you and you will always help them. The day you were born, they were always on your side to help you (and to critisize you of course, comes with the territory). LIVE IS NOT PERFECT and I WOULD HATE MYSELF IF MY CHILD HATED ME AND REFUSED TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH ME. I WOULD SEE THAT AS A TOTAL FAILURE ON MY PART. I’m glad that my parents died thinking that I LOVED THEM, BECAUSE I DID AND STILL DO AND REALLY REALLY MISS THEM NOW. I tell my daughter, I DON’T CARE IF SHE IS MAD AT ME. SHE CAN BE MAD AND YELL AT ME AND SHE CAN ARGUE WITH ME. I DON’T CARE. AS LONG AS SHE IS ALWAYS PART OF MY LIFE. Brittany, you sound like a wonderful person and big sister and your parent has taught you right from wrong, but when you become a parent, as your sister is, you will realize it’s all just normal. PARENT AND KIDS FIGHT AND THEN YOU MOVE ON. IT’S ALL JUST NORMAL. I THINK YOUR PARENT LOVES YOU AND YOUR SISTER VERY VERY MUCH, BUT THEY ARE YOUR PARENT NOT YOUR BUDDY AND THEY WILL ALWAYS LOOK AT YOU LIKE THE LITTLE GIRL THAT THEY HAD TO HELP AND PROTECT AND RAISE AND CHERISH AND LOVE. IT’S HARD FOR A PARENT TO JUST BE YOUR FRIEND. Take Care Brittany and All the Best to you and your Family!!!
2 of my 3 children have needed to move back home either dur to military transition or between moves. One with her spouse and children and the other with the boyfriend- established relationship and already living together. They both stayed between 1 and 6 months. No problems and I was happy to help. Enter child number 3. He is 21 has not moved out and having a difficult time navigating adult life. Smokes pot but otherwise a good kid. Then he starts seeing a girl who was 17ish and couch hopping because her home was not where she wanted to be for various reasons (not abusive) she was staying with a friend and then started staying on our couch with my son several days a week I said to my son that she was welcome to hang out and I would give them rides but she cannot move in. He asked if we could store her stuff I said sure of course no problem…but she cannot move in. I told him that he was vulnerable because he wore his heart on his sleeve and easily got hurt and frankly i thought this girl was using him for a place to stay. And i said she was vulnerable because she is looking for a place to stay. He said ok. Then she was still here. I said she cannot move in. She has a place to stay. He said she has a job interview the next day where he works so it was convenient. I said again she cannot move in. Next thing I see is her clothes in his drawers all her things all over his room and the bathroom. Giggling and laughing in the shower. I was so angry that he was not respecting what I said. I said she cannot stay here and she is still here. He went on about how I gave the other 2 siblings time with their s.o. and how is this different. I said they were established relationships. 3 weeks prior this girls said she was going to stay away for a while because when she hung out with one person to long they started to irritate her… until shewas in an argument with her friend and now looking for a new place to stay. I started being really resentful of him being disrespectful. And I was now loud about not wanting wr in my house. She heard me but never addressed it with me or left. My son told me he would be out on a month. But then they went to a hotel for the weekend and you know that was costly. They would get food that was cooked for dinner and leave it in their room and call in food delivery. The hall reaked of pot. I said several times stop smoking that in my house. His cat was now locked out of the room. Brand new purchases of lingerie.
Her mom picked her up and dropped her off after going to the mall.
Her cousins roommate moved out and now they are moving in with her. Unfortunately my son will not speak to me unless he has ugly angry things to say. So he completely disrespected what I said and moved her in anyway. But I am the bad guy. Was I suppose to be a doormat. Could I have been less dramatic? Maybe. But i could have also called the police for trespassing but I didn’t. I banged on the bathroom door twice at 1130 at night because of noise. And was loud about the pot. Just ignore it? No I dont think that would be right.
I think this event may be what will be the beginning of an estranged relationship.
Ego? I dont feel like it is. I feel like I was resentful about broken boundries and disrespect.
I appreciate all comments welcome –
My thirty three year old daughter has really never moved out. If she did it was short lived and she was evicted. Or in a rehab for drugs and alcohol.
Always a fall back on me. She has two boys. One lives with his other grand mother and the other with his dad and step mom. So my daughter pays child support for that one that lives with his dad.
She now is pregnant with her third child a little girl, due in two months. I am at a loss in knowing which way to turn. It is constant turmoil with her step dad of fourteen years. We are both retired, worked all of our lives..
Can we just have some peace. I took her over to pick up her baby daddy to take a look at her broken down car yesterday. We could not get it going. So she asked me to drop them off where he lives in a shed (no heat) behind his nannie’s house…yes nannie (grandmother) now at 4:00 am this morning she is cold and calling for me to come pick her up.
This is just one of many stories………I have a beautiful son. He just turned thirty..so nice young man. He is finishing school to be an electrical engineer. He just started with a fortune five hundred company as an enturn. I feel she drains me and always has to the point I can’t spend time with him. I am exausted.
Luckely she found a friend to pick her up…I was just about to send uber…which I’ve done many times….I’m over it.
Oh and this thirty seven year old soon to be dad….rides a bicycle….can I get some real advice. I do not want to raise a baby. I worked hard and wanted to enjoy retirement.
We have 5 children and 2 are young adults. We tried to set boundaries in our home with the 2 young adults in regards to house chores but has ended in constant arguments. I feel this part of parenthood is by far the worst.
Great article; it scratches at the surface of a complex topic deep enough for readers to appreciate the complexity without being overwhelmed, hunger for more broad and depth of info, while also providing an intuitive set of actionable steps to experiment with while learning. I appreciate the courage it takes publish any content for scrutiny, but especially when that content treads into the murky waters of relationships. Thank you.
Yep, I began fighting the author and content immediately and never stopped. I’m hoping someone can help me see through my inherent biases, reshape and open my perspective, and help me get learning in the right direction of my “unique” needs. All feedback and input are welcomed!
Firstly was the reference to “…transition facing today’s boomers.” My first thoughts were: 1) Boomer children are likely grandparents themselves nearing or already retired. 2) I’m not the target audience, but geez, I had no idea so many ~75-yo parents had yet make this transition with their ~50-yo kids. 3) It terrifies me to think my kids may still be “emerging” as adults at 50! 4) Something’s amiss. Either, (a) the author is old to and their attempt at self-deprecating humor fell flat on me, or (b) lacks the knowledge and experience to qualify any parenting advice, much less advice for parenting adult children. I can’t believe anyone to be so bold as to write this without knowing the 2-3 primary generational timelines commonly accepted, along with their +/-5 year overlaps. And, because I am 44 and on a cusp as either being of the youngest GenX’ers or the oldest of Millennials parenting “emerging adults” as well as having taught, facilitated, managed and led Multiple Generations in the Workplace at all levels for the last 15 or so years, I’m only left to assume that the author is in the only age group that says “boomer” without rolling their eyes and likely spent more years earning a 1st graduate degree than in the workplace. Accurate or not, when I saw the statements (editing for brevity) “whether you believe 18…or maturity..determines adulthood” and “the ‘reality’ is…live in a very different world..crippled by college debt…entering a competitive job market…pressured to perform and succeed early…constantly compared to their peers on social media…new definitions of adulthood are emerging ” I sympathized having been age, and validated those held beliefs because they’re consistent with what I’ve heard my children as well as
Our adult daughter is bipolar and is having a hard time keeping jobs and relationships. As a result, she lives with her grandmother and isn’t making any progress towards independence, saving money or paying for her car/or insurance. How do we navigate through this with such a fragile personality as we are not affluent enough financially? And don’t want to further enable.
Hello Ms. Seitzer, I would like to know do you appear on any podcasts and what is the procedure for inviting you to speak. Thanks in advance for your feedback if someone would email me.
Thanks for the information
My daughter has mental health problems but is now ready to take care of herself
Hello. My observation is that we all form habits with folks, good habits and bad. And hang in there with people who aren’t good to us. Yet some relationships are still important to us so are worth keeping the door open with. Except patterns develop in how we treat them and how they treat usI
I am following this site recently due to noticing how easily I let family overlook me as though their expectation is that I will always understand. Fill in the blank with any situation you like! Good old cheerful mom won’t even notice. Except this time I did notice and my instinct was I’m being bamboozled. Seems every decade or so the real stuff hits the fan and maybe that’s good if only to vent, cool down and realize nobody is perfect.
Lately I’ve wondered if adult children sense we need them and they don’t need us and painful ouch don’t want us or the thought of having to be around for us? But they don’t consciously face this? They rant, evade with blame and smokescreen us basically to force a distance hoping we will go away. Or they yell rudely to make us go away. But we still can’t condone obviously bad treatment or accept blame that’s not ours when accusations aren’t even factually accurate!
Adult children seem to like to loudly proclaim their adulthood and rights and smarts while not acting exactly mature! Us more seasoned in life have a bigger perspective so tend to be more compassionate. Lo and behold!! but even our tolerance and kindness can be used against us. It can be like watching a bratty little kid pulling a hissy fit with us going let’s calm down and talk. People calm down and talk when they truly want to and not a minute sooner. Everybody does what they want to do! Cause we are all prone to this! Adult kids especially!
What did we do when they were little? Didn’t reward them when they were grossly wrong or treated others badly. Still shouldn’t because some use emotional blackmail to try to bring us to our knees with some form of loss being threatened. Which is simple cruelty but I figure we should stay the course as parent our job still seems to be Keep on setting the standard. But wow being Standard Bearer gets to feel like a heavy load. I guess though that if these kids can be cruel they sure aren’t going to give us love. But at least we have a better shot at getting respect. In this case I’ll take it! Honesty is a sign of integrity so you can’t very well cave in to unreasonable demands without lying to everyone including yourself. Hold your head up folks. 100 years ago a forum such as this would have been unheard of.
Hello, my son asked me to help him with funds to start a business. I gave him 100,000 to start the business , then in 6months He cut me off from his life saying I’m manipulating him. Pls Help me What went wrong ?
Thank you for an excellent article. I think going back to family meetings might help with our live-in adult son (27 years old). Has held health issues and also dropped college after 3 years. He is working and trying to decide his next step. It has been 5 years since college.
My struggle are two things: first, encouraging him to go to the next step of returning to college or some job that will allow him to live away from home. He just completed important surgery so might need a bit more time to decide. And second, discussing taking care of cleaning around the house. He always is “too tired” to discuss. However, if I ask to do something right then, he will do so. I just don’t want to keep asking. My husband is also on board with the schooling. Doesn’t care about the cleaning issue. Our son has been told our expectations but doesn’t always follow through. I think he is like his Dad and doesn’t always notice the need for cleanup.
Thank you, Marlene
Don’t forget that adult children are still your children first—not your friends. Do not count on them as your sole source of socialization and happiness. Do not share intimate or traumatic details of your life. Do not chase them around the country as they begin their lives or families. Have conversations early about what they are willing or able to do for you in old age.
How do parents with older get compensated?
I have a 19 year old daughter. Her father and I are divorced and I have been remarried to her step father for the last 15 years. I have allowed her to come back home several times from her Father’s house, as he looses his cool and I did not want her in that environment. She was living with me the last 4-5 months and all of the sudden decided she was going back to his house. Before she moved back the last time, I gave her my expectations – work and be home during the week and help out when you see something that needs to be done. She was only home one day a week and did not help out towards the end. I expressed how she was not sticking to her agreement….and two days later she decided to move back in with her father. I explained to her that before she made that decision to go back to a toxic environment, she needed to understand that I could not keep saving her from these choices that caused her misery and that if this was her decision that she would not be able to run back. She called me crying after 2 days……I am lost as to what to do. I know if I do not stick to my words, she will manipulate the situation and we will be back at this spot when things do not suit her at my house. Someone please help
My daughter just got a divorce,two teen age grandkids,she was seeing her friend for the past year ,her ex got remarried just after the divorce to a 23 year old .I told her she needs to spend time with the kids on weekend and also mentioned to the friend of hers ,she got very defensive and now doesn’t talk to me
I have three adult children.They are all living on their own and have families.The situation is two of the children are totally excluding one son out.Are not communicating or any type of a relationship.This is over a family gathering that they were helping my husband and I at our house.There was the situation where the son was over stepping his authority and he was very bossy and wasn’t afraid to give directions when nobody was doing anything.It been about 4 years now I am so troubled because this son is going through some very hard times and needs to know his family is there.He’s just lost a very important person in his life and he’s having surgery and the two haven’t called him or made any atemped to.It does bother him that they don’t want to have a relationship with him .But it’s really bothering me right now because I’ve been taught you be there when family needs you.I want to say something but am feeling like I should stay out of it.I’ve told them all I sorry this happened at a time when they were helping me.I don’t feel this should be going on so long I feel as it’s also because the ousted son sober up and the others haven’t and this has a lot to do with it.
Thank you for this excellent article! My hubby and I have 8 children. We currently have 6 living with us. One is under 18. All the others are 20 somethings. One has chronic illness and one is special needs. We are trying to create a community of adults here, all working together. It is challenging!!
How do you help them launch successfully without enabling adult children?
extremely helpful and thankful regards
Thank you for this article…I’m reassured to find that my “struggles” with my 3 adult children is “a thing.” And that I’m not enabling or rescuing them.
Me and my adult daughter were very close when she was growing up. But now as an adult she hates me. She treats me like I am her child and I need to respect her. She has thrown me and my husband out for 1) wanting to add any salt to the Christmas cookie recipe, and 2) wanting her to invite just a few of our family members to the kid’s birthday party (great-grandma, aunts…people we know and can talk to. Our son in law had all this family there. Her and her hubby come her to our house and don’t talk to us or each other. They let us play with the kids. We make them dinner. We will do anything for them. One time they came over to sit us in the living room to confront me about politics and racism. I am not a racist and I get to have my own political view point. My son who’s a big deal in his job, wrote me a letter to tell me how much more educated he than I am, more accomplished and more life experiences that me. He’s 33 and I’m 58. Anyway…I am at my wits end. AND my husband had a heart attack this summer and is still healing. Our daughter doesn’t think this stress will effect him/us. We cry almost daily.
You should have peace in your home…and that should be the rule. Now that they have expressed themselves- you have “noted” their point of view- I tell my adult kids after a monologue ends (theirs). “Noted, thank you for sharing, I will give that more thought when we aren’t visiting.” That way they know you heard them.Later, when they want to step up on the soapbox, you can remind them that you already noted their point of view, which doesn’t mean you adopted it as your own only that you listened and that you will most likely think about it when you are not under attack.
im so sad to hear what you are going through! i wish i had words of wisdom to share… only sympathy. Hopefully, one day she will mature and come to realize how she has hurt you and will be truly sorry!
This was an excellent and helpful article. Thank you!
Having healthy boundaries and expectations, spending quality time together, listening without criticism, offering insights (If it were me, I would..), attending NAMI online courses, having some routines/traditions/predictability, open communication, and focusing on goal of independence are fantastic suggestions for parenting this age group. Thank you soo much. Thankfully I’ve done some of these, but have learned new tools!
I have two adult children, a son 26 an a daughter 22. Both married living their lives.
Their mother and I have been divorced for 5 yrs.
Still have a good relationship with my daughter.
Had a good relationship with my son up until my grandson was born 2-1/2 years ago.
Once he was born my son ghosted, and blocked all communication.
A year ago he finally called and said, he is still dealing with the divorce and he’ll contact me when he is ready.
His wife won’t talk to me either.
He lives 2000 miles from me, so it’s not like I can just show up at their door.
It’s a tough time for any aged offspring to deal with. My opinion is to have a real heart to heart with your son. He is now married with kids and will see it more from your side. You need to stipulate how important it was for the divorce to go ahead. Ie your life could be better and your ex wife’s with the separation which in turn would be a better life for him. Let him know that a child brought up in a non loving and argumentative home is worse than parents divorcing. He will start to think on that and if he has had a domestic with his wife in front of their child at any point, it won’t take him long to realise you did the right thing for everyone. It won’t make him go all crazy for you straight away, but he will start to lean towards you again and want time with you as a whole family so you can play grandad and dad again. We all need our pops even at my age of 36. It’s comforting to know he’s on the other end of the phone when I need him. Really do hope you resolve this soon. Life’s too short. Good luck
He’s dealing with HIS divorce? or yours? Send notes, texts etc to let him know you are thinking of him and you are there for him when he’s ready. Don’t sound desperate. Never bash mom…you just weren’t a match and both of you deserved peace. The details of your divorce is your business.
We are supporting our 29 year old son who doesn’t make a living wage. He does pay several bills. He is very good about doing volunteer work. We see each other once a week.
He has come into some trust money that, of course, he didn’t earn.
Do we have some leverage over how he spends this money?
Hi and help! This article is so helpful! My daughter 22, when she comes home is critical of my husband, practically everything he says and is really foul verbally towards him. Also, sadly with me. We can be talking normally and then I literally say a word or something in general conversation, she obviously does not like and she becomes harsh and starts shouting that I’m passive aggressive and is foul towards me. It’s almost like she’s waiting for me to say the wrong thing, so she can get angry with me? I’m not saying I’m innocent but I genuinely baffled. I have to be very careful what I say, I run answers through my head first before speaking them, to check, but sometimes that doesn’t work either, as I am wary of an outburst. I am finding it very upsetting and difficult to handle.
I hurt. My daughter was a gift from God. Five miscarriages, then when I completely gave up, God blessed me with this sweet angel. The pregnancy was rough. The delivery was horrible. She had an apgar of 3. My uterus ruptured so there would be no more. I was absolutely fine with that. I got my little girl. It was her and me for a lot of years. Her dad was in the military and gone most of the time. When he was there, there were numerous affairs and terrible mental abuse. And another wife overseas (ugh). I broke free after 11 years and brought my sweet girl back to my hometown to raise. I overcompensated a lot! Failed marriage. She saw and heard too much. I didn’t get a manual so I did the very best I could. She knows how much I dearly love her. How much I prayed for her. Her elementary days were wonderful. She was a loving, compassionate and caring child who went to vacation bible school, summer church camp, she had birthday parties and asked for her presents to be for pets and donated them all to the shelter. She hugged me and loved me. She had some issues in high school, but I always made sure she was protected and reinforced we all make mistakes. It got worse. Absenteeism and I made excuses. I created this. She went off to college and i really noticed a difference. Fast forward. She’s almost 22. I still buy and try and make sure she’s living the lifestyle she grew up with. Spoil her. But when she lashes out, it’s always at me. I don’t have the best health and it’s so hard to not have her heart like I did before. I lost my father at 17 and I try to talk to her about her elderly grandparents, etc but she does not care. She’s gone back and forth between my ex and I for years. His family dynamic is different than mine. But when she’s angry at me, she cuts the entire family off. I cannot get through to her. I’m so very sad. I don’t understand how she could hate me this much. I’m cut off again. She has boundaries and I crossed them. By that, I mean I expressed my displeasure in some of her decisions. Over the years, she’s asked things of me to not say certain things to her or react a certain way. I have changed what she’s asked. I’m overbearing but I’ve backed off. She doesn’t change tho. She says she’s an adult now. She has boundaries. I’m just so sad without her. I know it’s my issue, that I cannot change her, I just wish she had some compassion and care for me and awareness for the struggles I had to make sure she was happy. I tried. I truly did. And still do.
I am not sure how this platform works. I need help dealing with my 35 yr. old son. He sabotages relationships, jobs, etc. I am thinking he has some mental issues. Do I describe what is going on and people comment?
My 36 year old daughter is living with 37 man who I think is using her, she has good work ethic with great financial opportunities, new car, small savings. He has several criminal misdemeanors, including 2 dui’s, has no credit, according to my daughter, lots of legal costs due to criminal history, car which is unreliable, about 5000.00 in savings, he does have a decent job, met him online dating while he was in court ordered 30 day rehab. They now live together hour in a half away away from me. They moved in after a month of seeing each other, once he was out of rehab. His upbringing was neglectful, child abuse in my opinion. I do not trust him. I live with my parents who I caregiver for. My daughter doesn’t know I know these facts, because I did a public background check. I feel this is a sensitive situation, which could go bad if not handled properly by me. I think she wants the relationship to work regardless of the negative facts. I think she is not wanting to see the truth, she thinks in time, things will get better, I think she’s turning a blind eye to what she should be paying attention to. Hoping you can give me guidance on how to handle this situation.
Very helpful. Thans.
This concerns not my adult child but someone else’s adult child from another state –
At first he was helpful when he first came to visit, months later he was a different person.
He eventually wrote an ugly e-mail, blaming me for everything under the son – telling me
I had destroyed my son’s life, that I was an obnoxious, loud, etc person, calling me all
kinds of names – I never offended this young man. I just told him that he had broken the
first rule of this house, maybe others. I am a single parent. I told him there would be consequences for what he wrote – I am not sure what consequences I can do – I told him
he had to retract the ugly e-mail he wrote. JH
I’m commenting as the adult child. I’m in my late 30’s. My mother (in her late 60’s) is a person who’s tried to parent us, but in my opinion wasn’t the best at it. The problem is that she still treats me like a 4 year old. I’m going on 40 but she never seems to change.
Don’t abandon your mother accept her for who she is and love her through it the alternative is not having a mother this is bad for her but just as bad for you if you know how she is and it is unpleasant try to set limits on what you will talk about try to take care of yourself while you allow a little space for her. This is compassion. While it is hard to do it is well worth the investment. She is your mother. I know. I did it it was hard but she is gone now and I know I did right by her and myself
I asked an important question and I get NO ANSWERS JUST OTHER PEOPLES’ PROBELMS. If you have no answers, why am I even here asking? I will unsubscribe you. Sorry to be a bother!
I sort of noticed that too- there are no constructive responses, but maybe that’s not really the intent of this. Anyway, I don’t think you can really treat a 50 year old any different than a 40 or 30 year old. It’s just that you have been going through this 10 or 20 or 30 years longer so you may be more resolute to make a change (or more engrained in your patterns 🙁
My now 21 year old son who has anxiety and PTSD also had substance abuse issues so about 5 years ago, I went to Nar-anon meetings for about 6 months. The wisdom available at those meetings is invaluable, and can carry over to the issues I am reading here (and experiencing myself). I’m pretty sure the attendees wont care if you go and you don’t have a loved one with addiction.
1. Nothing changes unless something changes
2. You can only change yourself, not your adult child
I live in a community where there are a lot of homeless people, and I always think to myself that those individuals are someone’s child, and what heartbreak their parents must be experiencing, and I wonder what their story is. I also think it took great courage and self care and somewhat like putting your air mask on your face first on the airplane for those parents to have let go.
My advice to parents here:
Where do you want to be in 1 year? (The question is NOT “where do you want your adult child to be in 1 year?” and, the answer is NOT, “I want to be a parent who has a successful independent self supporting adult child.”)
And, Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I have 2 children. One is entering workforce. One is finishing his last year in college. Both are bright and smart. But rarely help out at home. It seems house chores for them are waste of time. How to change that? Thank you
My daughter of 17 has moved in with a man of 37yr. we do not know anything about him, he is Italian, I have been told he has a criminal record where can I find some information
What about adult children who are in their late 50s? Do we treat them differently that those in their 40s?
My 34 year daughter is quite emotionally demanding. She lives oversees and is financially independent but she always wants to talk.about herself and her situation she gets bad anxiety. She has a counsellor but is angry that I didn’t parent her as she would have liked and thinks that I should be there for her more. She gets angry when I don’t meet her needs. I find it very stressful…not sure what to do.
I am going through this now thank you for the info
The article and some of the parents issues are so similar to mine. My daughter has this entitlement attitude. I enabled her with everything from car furniture holiday tickets etc. She has gone overseas many times and came back pregnant 3 times. This Covid year she has gained over 50 kgs. She was bad at doing chores when she was young she is worse at 38 yrs with 4 kids. She cannot even bathe herself or bathe her own kids? She stays with us and her children( our grandkids) since Covid hit she had been evicted from her rental place
If we ask or question anything she blames us for not being good parents. However she will not give custody to the father of 2 kids coz she will loose social security payments!
We have a big problem within the family as my niece is in her mid 20s and relays heavily on her parents for everything but they cant or better yet don’t want to set boundaries for her… we try our vest as a family to let them see where they couldve gone wrong but we think it shoukd be left to there criteria.
Your post was helpful and made me feel a little more normal in my feelings and situation. My oldest is 41, unmarried and had two sons she’s 19 and 10. Last year she got an apartment with a man she met on the internet. He lived in another state and after meeting him just twice he moved here and they moved in together. I begged her just to date him until they knew each other better but she wouldn’t listen. I told her if she and the boys left my home this time she could not return and she agreed. A few months ago he left and they had both just signed a new lease. She can’t afford the rent and is begging to come home. This will be the 7th time she had done this and I feel like my house has a revolving door. My husband died 7 years ago and our 38 year old son with Muscular Dystrophy lives with me. I feel torn and beaten down as she says hurtful things now that I’m not bending. I also worry about my grandsons. I’m at my wits end. I want her to learn to be independent. I don’t want to enable her. What to do?
I commend all of you for reading this article and wanting to improve your relationship with your adult children. I am a 37 year old adult child and my parents currently are refusing to speak to me, again, because they feel my behavior towards them is just too hurtful. My dad emails me sometimes. My mom hasn’t spoken to me in almost 3 years. I wish they were open to finding articles like this, but all they want is an apology. They also want me to go to therapy, which I have been doing off and on since I was 17. They think my behavior changed so juristically when I turned 18 and i haven’t appreciated everything they did for me as a child. I very much did appreciate them so much and I adore them and we were always very close. But they do not want to look at themselves as possibly reacting in not the best way, but they would rather constantly belittle me and judge everything I do. I know I am not perfect by any means, and I am very aware of my shortcomings, but I am constantly given passive aggressive responses, and then the silent treatment. How am I supposed to show appreciate for you now? They say it is my job to take care of them. I also have an older sister, who was given an ultimatum and left the house at 18 and she has never been back. Now my mom has the nerve to think she “lost” both her daughters, when it was all her decisions! I am trying everyday to better myself, but I don’t think I should be under such a microscope from them. This article was terrific and thank you so much! Good luck to everyone!
Hi Molly, I came here to read other’s stories and find information about how to parent a 22 year old son who will not say one word to me unless asked and he lives here! I know he loves me and I love him. I am sorry to read that you are having difficulty with your mom. I am a teacher and have a great relationship with most students which pains me all the more about my son. The advice I can share is that your mother sounds centered on her own hurts and maybe you are too. Tell her or write her that you have regrets from the past and hope that you both can forgive each other, but only if you mean it. Can you forgive her if she’s not the person you wished for her to be? At the end of the day, moms are just people. Many people have a ton of faults. Accept her where she is. Hopefully she will rise to that acceptance/forgiveness and reciprocate. Sending hugs your way and if you see this and need a “mom” who wants to listen. Write back! Good luck
Hi Molly, I think by writing this you have already made a big step towards getting back together with your parents. I have an adult son. I love him so much. Your parents will always love you no matter what they said. Good Luck to you. All it takes is a phone call and take it one step at a time.
Read. Understand. Still not finding a way to stop a 42 year old use an EBT money for junk food and not groceries? Why splurge on the dumbest things verse saving money?
Baby daddy was supposed to stay two weeks and now it’s five months later. Not finding a place because of not finding a job that will accept the past mistakes.
Plus never been an actual parent. I’ve raised our daughter. Now showing throwing trash out a car window is okay, smoking is okay, drinking is okay, yelling to get a point is okay.
I wish there is parenting classes. Because yes it’s needed or a personal coach because I’m tired off dealing with this mess. I have restarted my life and had my way of rasing the best kid, accordingly to preschool teachers.
I did what is best for my daughter. Kept her dad in the picture. Let my daughter know her dad. Yet, I’m done with trying to raise two kids!! Responsibility is not mine and I’m tired dealing with the dramatics that my daughter is now learning
What about an adult child who lives at home and has a child of there own. All the information I read is very helpful but doesn’t seem to touch on adult children with children living at home. I am struggling to keep my sanity. Any advise. My husband and I have raised her and help her through all that we could. She got pregnant in her senior year, and has lived with us ever since. Our dreams of her attending college were gone. She still hasn’t graduated high school. She turned 21 in March of this year. We have pushed for her to continue school or get her GED, nothing has been done. The father of the child even moved in with in 2 months of finding out my daughter was pregnant. He ended up quitting his job!! So we took care of my daughter her unborn child and the father of the child for months. We set stipulations and rule for our home. It seemed like one by one they would knock them down. The disrespect started happening and we would discuss it and it continued. Now the baby is 2 years old, my daughter is 21 and she is no longer with the babies father. If I back up a little bit she met him in high school and they dated for 4 years until they got pregnant. So a total of 6 years they have been together and now they are co-parenting. Which is great most of the time. My daughter sleeps all day, is up all night, the baby is not on a good schedule. She just lately has taken the 2 year old out with her to friends houses at late hours. She is lazy and doesn’t pick up after herself and now, now of all times she wants to turn things around and say that I am trying to control her and tell her how to raise her daughter. Even though it was okay to ask me for help which I gave freely, or to support them when she had no money, I have pretty much raised her and helped her through pregnancy and raised her daughter, and allowed the father to live in my home. I cant ask her to do anything she either argues or it never gets done and I do it my self. She disrespects her own father and younger sister who also helps where they can. If we don’t like something and tell her she will just leave and stay at a friends or her current boyfriends house. Just recently its been 3 days since I have seen my grandchild. I feel that if we say something she doesn’t like she will with hold us seeing the baby. Because the baby is so important to us I have not told her to get out or told her how I really feel. So what advise do you have for this type of parenting?? I could really use some help.
Obliviously there is a lot more to the story but this is all I have time to put into words.
How do you disengage from being an enabler? My adult (38yr old) daughter has custody of her children, lives near us and has no help from her ex in the day to day care of her children. She makes bad decisions, like going to spend the night with her boyfriend on school nights and has asked us to babysit. He is at home with his children on these nights( he also has custody). My husband and I feel very strongly about not supporting these weeknight rendezvous and recently told her we would not babysit on weeknights except work or emergency related. I found out that she left the children at home ahead of when her niece (my 21yo granddaughter by my son) who arrived 2 hours later in the evening than expected. My grandchildren are 11 and 12, but they are in a new home, don’t know the neighbors and I am very angry with her regarding her decisions. It seems she will make these decisions where spending time with him completely clouds her good judgement and common sense. I am at a loss, I told her that I am staying out of her business, she drives an old vehicle of ours, on our insurance, and has for over 2 years. She has made thousands of dollars over the past year of living with us and us providing child care and (her buying groceries only) but did not save up to buy her a car, now she has moved out, car in tow, only 6 miles from us but close enough to expect us to change our plans to accommodate her mostly last minute decisions of running the 15 miles out to sleep over at his house. I feel guilty because I know we are her only support system, but at the same time, I feel I have enabled her and am now trying to disengage and enjoy being a grandparent second, a wife and having and enjoying my own life in retirement first. I have no problem helping if necessary, if planned, but am quite annoyed that she does not see the importance of being there for her children first and boyfriend second. He is her 3rd relationship since her divorce in 2018, first one she married, briefly and was a really bad breakup, close to being as bad as her divorce emotionally for her and her children. They need stability, her presence and to feel that she puts them totally first, but I don’t see it and they have expressed their feelings about their Mom to me. I try to be neutral and just listen, but get so angry with her because she is too stubborn and blind to see the damage her decisions are causing in her relationship with them. Have recommended family therapy, started taking the kids myself with the understanding that she would keep it up when home between job assignments and at her cost(retired and fixed income for us) and she didn’t. She has at one time though spend $300 on a birthday dinner for her boyfriend’s Mom, which I elected not to go to. she has her priorities totally wrong and I am getting to the point I want to just withdraw from her as much as possible because I get so angry at her inability to see it clearly. How do you cope in these situations? she is our youngest
I read your articles and I found them very informative. Thank you! Being a parent is for always and is very challenging at times. When to give? when not to give? is a balancing act at all times. Specially when it comes to our children no matter what age they are. My 39 yr.old daughter tells me that I always want to solve her problems and it’s true. I go to my “fix” mode automatically and i need to stop and wait to be ask for help instead of offering it right away. I am still learning!
Amelia – Thanks for reading.
I can relate to your wanting to solve your daughter’s problems. I have a 25 year old son who tells his father and I that he’s not happy with his job. He has a college degree in accounting and works as a state auditor, which is a related field, but from what he tells me, it is not the same as accounting. He wants to work in corporate accounting. The other day I found 3 job postings on Indeed, all of them located in the state where he lives (which is next-door to our state, in the Midwest). From the job descriptions, it seemed to me he would be a good applicant. I sent the information to him, and all I get back in response is that he’s “suspending his job search” after he talks to this one company he’s reached out to. The company is located in a city over 900 miles away. I feel for my son, and I believe he has anxiety, although it hasn’t been diagnosed. I have anxiety and depression myself. I take medication for it and have gone to counseling, which has been helpful. It’s just difficult to watch your adult child spin his wheels. His job search seems purposeless. He isn’t going about it in a thoughtful way, at least that’s my impression. And of course, I think he needs counseling too, and likely some medication, but I don’t even bring this up. I should let up and wait for him to approach me, or approach his Dad, which he is much more likely to do.
I was looking for information on issues that parents commenting here are undergoing with their adult children. I see that some parents here have already asked the questions that I have in mind too and am interested in knowing the answers, if there were any. I don’t see any replies posted.
TJ May 25,2021 4:58AM
I picked up my phone and your article was on the screen. I don’t believe in accidents. I know that God is speaking to me through your informative message.
My daughter is 29. She has always had a job and has completed her master degree. I am so proud of her. I am disappointed that my husband and I are enablers. She is our only child and we will do anything to make her happy. She has no chores, her room is a mess, she does not pay rent. She covers her car note, food, and car insurance. During Covid she was diagnosed with depression and put on meds. During this year she gained at least 40 pounds. She is off meds and no longer in counseling and she seems happier. I truly believe it’s time to set boundaries and goals for her. As her parents we have equipped her with the tools to be independent, strong and capable. I know she does not make a lot of money and times will be hard and we love her dearly. That’s why we keep spoiling her because we will miss her and will worry some. That is selfish for us as parents to not let her fly like an Eagle and fall and get back up. I believe my husband and I should begin with setting expectations of a move out date and expectations of chores and rent for the time she is with us. My husband and I did a great job in raising her and now we are failing her by not giving her the guidance to live her best life. She is a confident and tough millennial personality. So we opt out in order to keep the peace.
Thank you for shedding light that enabling will only add to all of our unhappiness in the long run.
I have always been a single parent, but when my husband died 7 years ago, I became the only parent to my two children. They were fortunately both able to go to university and study to be Chartered Accountants. They both passed and are currently doing their Articles. During that time though, I had to sell our property and made the unfortunate decision to buy a property jointly with my neighbour. The main reason I bought this property jointly, was because it had a separate flat area for my kids after they finished studying. I knew that they wouldn’t be able to afford their own accommodation so made yet another sacrifice in buying with a virtual stranger (whom I thought I knew at the time). Turned out that he is a complete Narcissist and made impossible rules for my children to adhere to. But, then also, the kids did not keep their space clean although they insisted on paying rent and paying for their own domestic worker to come once a week.
The big problem happened when we had a lockdown during Covid and my son asked if his girlfriend could stay over during that time. I said yes – thinking it would only be for 3 weeks, but she ended up staying for more than 9 weeks, with me having to cook for everyone, cleaning and even having to clean their flat! I eventually got so frustrated that I basically told the girlfriend to leave. My kids were furious about that. They were so angry that they moved out and got their own flat. I was heartbroken because I had done so much for them and am now living in a place with a person I hate. Who has been threatening to sell this property, virtually from the start. I cannot really blame my kids for moving out, because it could not have been nice for them to live here with the constant threats, but I still feel betrayed. And now I am forced to sell this property and buy somewhere else – which will cost me money which I just don’t have! Any suggestions?
My 33 year old son lives with my wife and I. He is a very good person. He has not worked since about 2009 when he was laid off during the recession. He has anxiety issues that have affected previous employment. We know he needs to move forward with his life. He just seems to still be the teenager. How should we move forward.
I love my adult daughter very much! We were close until she turned 23. We did everything together and we showed love and respect for each other.
However, after she met her current fiance we have constantly fought and I really felt that she turned away from me. I realize that she loves her fiance and I really have tried to get along with him. I really feel that my daughter loves me but is abusive towards me.
My Mom and brother passed away a couple of years ago and she told me that she could not stand to be around me so she didn’t spend time with them when they were sick. I felt really hurt by that and I really didn’t understand what she was really saying. I’m not perfect but I have really tried to be the best parent possible. I have changed certain things that could have possibly made her so angry with me.
I’m a single parent and I have tried to over compensate for her not having her father in her life. She moved out of my place when she was 29 and now lives in another city than me. We have both agreed that we wanted to live in the same city. I put my house up for sale. I have now sold it and I have to move. I don’t want to live in the city she lives in because there are no doctors and I found there’s a lot of pollution. I am struggling because she does want to move from where she lives but her fiance doesn’t want to move.
I visited her on many occasions even when she lived in Edmonton. Everytime I try to have a wonderful visit with her we get along for a quite a while.She says that loves having me with her. Then we end up in a disagreement and she tells me to get a hotel room and make my way home. I leave feeling like hell. I told her people argue but they don’t just kick them out and on a few occasions it put me in dangerous situations. For instance, I was talking her about me wanting her to move to Chilliwack. We weren’t really arguing but just talking and then she got off the couch and told me that I was stressing her out. I didn’t say anything more about it.Then she started to yell and this woke her fiance up. She told me get out and it was 2am. She lived in a bad area! Her fiance came and said you don’t pay rent her so get out. I got my suitcase packed and I left. I tried to call a cab but my phone died. I went back to her place and knocked on the sliding door but nobody came out. I walked over to Denny’s and I called a cab. I went to a hotel and left on the bus the next day. She said she was going to drive me but she didn’t come out so I truly believe that was a lie.
This has happened over and over again. I am wondering if I should give up or maybe try to go for professional counselling. I really want to have a healthy relationship with her but I don’t live in the same city. Does anyone have any advice?? Please help!
If you have any family that you are close to or even close friends, I would find a place nearer to one of them. I would not be in the same town with my youngest daughter now if not for my 2 grandchildren whom I have helped raise. I think we get too fixated on being near our children, because they are our children. The fantasy of it is not really always the reality.
I agree with you
I’m currently 25 seeking answers & tips. This is helpful for sure
My 32 years adult son lives in a condo since I bought it for him in 2012 with the agreement he would pay the monthly assessment but he never did. I had to confront legal procedures with the bldg association and continue paying it since then. He has been living there with his girlfriend all this time. He has had a steady full time job. I retired in August 2020 and he agree to start paying the assessment as same as taxes starting September 01. I was also in the process to transfer the property tittle to his name. To my surprise I just found out he paid October assessment but not September. He bought a car 6 years ago and still paying for it.
He called me 2nights ago advising me they decided to vacation overseas for one week. I felt disappointed, frustrated but calmly told him that he should take his responsibilities first over fun, paying the assessment and paying off for his car. I also told him to pay more attention to his health issues (back and stomach). He as always said I am always criticizing him.
He is my only child and tried to back him as much as I could, He has a very strong personality and avoid arguments with him.
Please guide me, advise me how to deal with this issue and thank you so, so much for your support.
glad to be one of the visitants on this awe inspiring site : D.
My daughter just finished her undergrad and was hoping to have a gap year where she would be in another city, trying different jobs. She is studying for her LSAT and has other goals to support her health that right now, she is not meeting. She deals with anxiety and has started seeing her counselor again. We started family meetings again, just to discuss how things are going. I am looking for advice for the best way to support her in making healthy choices. It seems like I have to watch her flounder, that is hard. Is it at least ok if I make a rule that she has to be up by 10 and needs to get outside every day for a walk? Can I make those house rules?
Thank you for the wise advice. This is what many parents with adult children need.
I feel that every one seam to think the adult children and I am not I am confused I am still trying to create a family ethos
My daughter and I don’t see each other much.I know she is busy but all I would like is a catch up phone call ever once and awhile.The only time I see her is when I babysit.I love my granddaughter .Ever since she married I have felt like her husband doesn’t want her to come see me.I recently moved 18 hours from my home because my daughter encouraged me too.She comes to my house maybe every 3 months when I have her daughter.I am lost and lonely I am trying to meet people but it is hard at 66.I feel like I am a burden.I pay my own way and don’t ask for anything
I am in a dlemma right now. My 38 year old son has social anxiety and has been suffering with it for years. He finally got out on his own and met a girl who had overstayed her visa from S Korea but then he got furloughed from his job and walked the Appalachian trail. The he stopped working and he and the girl broke up. He came back here to live with my second husband and went to a therapist to help with his issues and he finally got a job on the A trail and was ready to go for training and then Covid happened and he had to come back i. He isn’t paying me rent because I told him not to but he does a lot for us and buys food etc. My husband now thinks it is time for him to figure out plan b. He says there are plenty of jobs now. I am having a hard time with all of this. Should I discuss it with him and say maybe he has to go back to the therapist. There really aren’t very many jobs right now and I am hoping he will go back on the trail next year. I really get my back up when my husband brings this up. I am sure this is called enabling but he also has so much anxiety. I am thinking maybe to discuss the fact that he needs to go back to the therapist. Any ideas ? I could use help. It gives me a pit in my stomach to deal with this. Yet it embarrasses me that we have this issue in the first place.
I married a man that has 3 children. We have been married 22 years and love each other. We have some arguments but always get over those. My husband has a brain injury and had to retire early. I have poor health with chronic pain. Last month my husband did a surprise visit to my daughter and boyfriend’s home, we have a 3-year-old granddaughter living there. I saw my husband tried to call and didn’t leave a voicemail. Later I got a message saying our granddaughter home.They live an hour away.He saw their apartment and decided it was no place for a child.We said we would give them 2 weeks to clean up the Home. They have done that.Last night I found out my daughter and husband talked. She told my husband she wanted to leave her boyfriend the child’s father[ for the 6th time} and would like to move in with us. She has other options. Her mother who she usually lives with off and on but has worn out her welcome there.I am upset because my husband never consults me about these decisions.I love both of the girls.but my daughter is lazy and a recovering alcoholic.I believe she has stopped drinking but I am pretty sure she is using some drugs,Her psychiatrist also prescribed he Adderall months ago and now she looks anorexic. Her resting heart rate was 124.I think she is using it incorrectly or her RX is too high. Besides chronic pain, I have vestibular issues. Since my grand has been her they are returning and can not handle all of this much less her living here.We have offered to pay for school a second time so she could learn a career working in the medical field as an office person or technician. She won’t do it.I am angry. My husband makes me feel guilty for not wanting them here but my overall health is declining.I retired so I could rest and not do and be around environments that make me anxious.Them living with us will make me crazy and sick.What do I do? Thank you.
Thanks for this article.
I’m struggling with my feelings about our 20 year old and his sudden flight “from the nest”. His childhood had many all-consuming episodes where I had to be always thinking ahead and preparing for the “what if’s”… he had many sensory challenges and severe allergies most of his life… and now, suddenly, he is out of our home.
His girlfriend felt I was “keeping him home” when covid-19 hit and after 2 months of safer-at-home he went to stay with her & her family 1.5 hours away. I am struggling. I just want him to be safe & healthy & happy. But it would be nice if he could stay connected to his family (especially Mom) while adulting…
This really helped. With the whole COVID-19 mess, our daughter has been here since mid-March, after having to leave uni early. She will be going back to school in September, but some days I feel like I might not make it until then. I will have to try some of your suggestions.
Boy, I needed that. Thank you. My life just got a little brighter today.
We are so glad to hear that! Thank you for reading, Anita!
Post was helpful. Thank You. My 40 year old son lives out of state and is a DJ. He is a very caring, loving, obedient individual and lives a very simple life. Even though he has never asked for anything, we understand he makes limited income and so support him financially with a fixed amount every month. Over the years we have motivated him to take up a part time job to cover his health insurance but he somehow feels that he does not want to do that. We have talked to him, he listens but then takes no action. Every year, my husband files his taxes, as he feels that if he leaves it up to him, they will never get filed. It is like pulling teeth to get the required information from him every year. He gives great advice on people and relationships but somehow does not want to follow on what we expect from him. Please advise on what I can do to get him to act.
My adult 37 year old daughter, bought a condo with me when my husband died suddenly. Sharing the cost of living expenses has allowed both of us, some financial freedom when other wise we would both really struggle.
As the mom I seem to be carrying the larger share of the work load, house cleaning, shopping and walking both of our dogs.
When I ask for her help she puts me off saying “not now”.
If I do not give her what she wants she reminds me of some thing she gave to me even if I never asked for it. She gets angry and calls me “whinny”.
Yesterday she called me a liar over something trivial and when I insisted I wasn’t lying she got very angry and said I was overly sensitive because she was joking and I couldn’t take a joke! She put all of the blame on me. I did not think she was joking or even that we were actually joking around.
I hate conflict. It intensifies my grief because i miss my husband so much.
These situations always result in both of us being upset with the other person. I always apologize and try to smooth things over. Today I even bought her a nice breakfast trying to fix the bad feelings between us. I am really struggling!
Thank you for any help you can give me for knowing how to handle these conflicts and make our relationship more respectful.
I, too, lost my husband, suddenly and unexpected in 2/2021. I am 52. I have an adult daughter, we don’t live together but thank you for sharing. I miss my husband terribly, and our adult children try to keep me busy, but like you, my grief intensifies because I loved my husband so much as well.
My adult daughter has mental illness not taking meds hospitalized every other month about to be evicted from her apartment. She can’t live with me. I don’t want to or not sure if I should get power of attorney. I don’t know what to do. I will research legal matters before making a decision.
This post is helpful – thank you. Our son’s aged late twenties, pays a reduced rate in our rental property, he works, but has suffered anxiety and depression for over ten years. He often reneges on social arrangements with us citing anxiety/depression. Recently, my son and I arranged a time (suitable to him) for me to pick him up so he could help me run an errand but when I arrived, he wasn’t there. I waited an hour, phoned and messaged numerous times throughout the day with no response. I became more concerned as time wore on. Many hours later, he responded via text, saying he’d had a bad ‘episode’ at a friend’s place but was okay. I’m at the stage where it seems an ‘episode’ is a convenient excuse. Is it reasonable for me to feel annoyed that he didn’t contact me earlier in the day to put my mind at ease. I feel it was plain disrespectful! 😔
Wow. This struggle contributes to a lot of sadness in this world- parenting adult children
Can be emotionally draining for a lot of people. Thank u for thinking of us. Fix this and watch flowers bloom.
Thanks for your post it touched some areas that are very troubling for me as the parent of an adult child that has mental issues. I really need resource to address the problems I have been dealing with since he got married eight years ago and now has to little ones. If you can give me some direction in that area I would greatly appreciate it.
You’ve got great insights about the Article, Thanks and keep up the good work!
Our 34 yr old daughter with MBA has not kept a job for more than 1-2 years since grad school. Her masters loan is now 6 figures. She’s a very kind person with a great personality and wit. However, when she faces any adversity she gets angry, stubborn and very defensive in a very negative way mentally. She cuts off communication with us (parents) so we are left helpless as to how to further offer her our support (not financially). We both encourage and try to guide her but she is very irrational during these episodes. She lives on her own in our city and is currently in a very long distance relationship of 8 months.