How to Help Your Adult Child Succeed

Helping a child to succeed takes time, thoughtfulness, and sacrifice. It’s about a parent caring for their kids. When they grow up and become adults, that caring doesn’t stop – if anything, it intensifies because now those ‘children’ are out in the real world, and there is no safety net anymore like there was when they were little. Parents need to find the perfect balance between letting their adult children make their own mistakes, and stopping them from doing something that could ruin their lives. So it’s tough when you try to help your adult child. Here are some great tips on helping those adult children out in the best possible way.
Give Advice… When Asked

As parents, we’ve often ‘been there, done that’, but for our kids it’s a new experience and they are learning how to live out in the big, wide world. So it can be extremely tempting to give them plenty of advice about what to do and how to do it. Yet that advice can be unasked for, and that’s the kind of advice that goes unheeded. In this situation, it’s best to step back and watch from a distance, unless something truly catastrophic could happen such as an addiction to drink or drugs that would require expert help at a rehab center like The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake ( It’s also important, however, to answer – and answer truthfully – when you are asked for advice. Try not to sit on the fence, and give your reasoned opinion. It could be that you’ve been through the exact same situation yourself, and you can offer expert advice on what to do. Even if you haven’t been through whatever it is, your life experience will give you an idea one way or the other.

Marriages Are A No Go Zone

If your child gets married, or moves in with a partner, it’s their choice. Gentle marriage advice here and there is fine, but anything more than that can make the relationship tense. Imagine if your mother or father in law was always making comments on the state of your marriage, even if it is well intentioned… it would make you feel uncomfortable around them, and it could lead to arguments with your spouse. So leave well alone until, as above, you are asked. Even then, it might be best to encourage the couple to seek counseling rather than getting in the middle of a bad situation which will lead to at least one, if not both, of the couple wishing you had stayed away.

Don’t Enable Bad Behavior

Enabling bad behavior isn’t just about giving in and giving your adult child drink or drugs if they really need to see a recovery clinic. It isn’t just about allowing them to stop looking for work just because they’re living with you and you’re providing for them (although these things are both examples of bad behavior and do need to be stopped). It’s about letting them do things that might end up being a mistake. If you constantly step in and fight their battles for them, or help them out when they’re in a difficult situation, they will never learn how to function as an adult, and they will continue to head towards those bad situations, which you will continue to help them out of. It will cost you time and money and, although you love your child dearly and that’s why you’re doing it, it could ultimately cost you your relationship with them as they come to resent your ‘interference’ and you finally come to the end of your rope. Choose carefully about when you step in, and it will help both sides immensely. Everyone makes mistakes, after all.

Set Limits

If your adult child still lives with you, then you need to set limits and have rules – just as you did when they were little kids. More and more adult children are staying at home for longer because they simply can’t afford to move out, and that’s not necessarily their fault, but it’s not yours either, and it’s your house; the rules are required. You might choose to ask for a small amount of money for rent, food, or to help with the energy bills, for example. If you want them to save up more quickly, then you might instead ask them to do the housework for you, or at least take their turn with it. There should be limits on how many visitors can come over, and until what time, for example. This may sound harsh, but every adult has limits set on them, and this is how society functions. It’s a good way to get them ready for when they do actually move out.

Realize They Are Adults

Although it’s important to have rules about good behavior, it is also important for parents to realize that their children are adults now, and need to be treated as such. It can be a difficult thing to do, but it shows respect, and if you show respect to your adult child, they should be able to show respect back to you.

Realize You Can’t Be There All The Time

It’s easier, of course, if your adult kid lives with you, to know who their friends are, and what they do on a daily basis. It’s next to impossible when your child has moved out and is perhaps hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away. Even if they move just to the next town or state, you still won’t know what they’re doing at any given time. Unlike when they were little. This is something that you will need to accept if you’re going to let them live their lives. Don’t keep calling them to check to see if they’re okay. Don’t keep sending them texts and then get angry and frustrated – or worried – if they don’t answer right away. They are probably busy. They might be working, they might be sleeping, they might be out with friends who you don’t and never will know. Whatever they are doing, be glad – they are able to do it without you, and that means you’ve done a fantastic job as a parent.

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