How To Stop Enabling Grown Children And Encourage Personal Development

Updated February 27, 2021

If you have children of any age, you know how difficult it can be to let them go or to let anything happen to them. You want to protect them from every possible danger or difficult situation. But the truth is that they will have to grow up at some point. They must be able to take care of themselves and face the consequences of their own actions. You need to step back and let them take on those responsibilities, no matter how difficult it might be.

Source: rawpixel.com

Are You Enabling Your Children?

First, are you actually enabling your children? There are several different signs that you might be stepping in too much or allowing your child to continue to avoid responsibility and growing up.

 Will let your adult children start taking over, and you start stepping back in a way that keeps everyone comfortable. All you need to do is find the right professional to help you.

If you’re ready to get professional help for yourself, your grown child, or both of you to no longer enable them, then make sure you’re doing everything you can to start the process early. At ReGain, you can get in touch with a mental health professional online who can help you work through any situation you and your adult child are going through. You can no longer enable them, and you can improve both of your lives with a little bit of help.

  1. You Intervene To Make Things Easier

One of the first things that an enabler might do for their child is to step in to try and take care of a child's problem. For example, if your adult child doesn’t get a job, you might call to find out why. If they don’t get invited to a specific event, you might try to get them an invite. You might feel offended on their behalf if they are slighted in any way, and you may try to do what you can to take care of that slight, with or without your child actually knowing about it.

  1. You Do the Work For Them

When your adult children have something they need to do, how often do you do it for them? Do you take care of doing their taxes because it’s easier for you to do than make them do it? Do you help them with other forms of paperwork or activities that they don’t want to do or don’t know how to do rather than teaching them how on their own? These are more signs that you are enabling your adult child and allowing them to get away with not doing things required.

  1. You Let Them Have Control

While this is one that many people don’t even notice or think about, it’s extremely important. Do you allow your adult child to control the situation and what’s happening in your household? Some parents allow their adult children to disrespect them or to boss them around. While this could be a sign of an unruly child while they are younger, as your child is growing up, this is generally a sign that you are enabling them and allowing them to call all the shots.

  1. You Cover Up Mistakes

When it comes to mistakes that your adult child makes (and they will make them), you might try to cover them up and protect your child. This could be a small mistake, like forgetting to lock the front door, or it could be a big mistake that actually causes someone to get hurt. If you find yourself trying to shield them from the consequences of their actions, even when they need to face the music, you might be enabling your adult child.

  1. You Shield Their Emotions
Source: rawpixel.com

You want your adult child to feel good and to have a happy and successful life. That can be difficult at times, and they will have times where they are concerned sad, or angry. When you step in and shield them from feeling those things, you are not helping your adult child to become a better functioning member of society. Rather, you are making it harder for them to cope with those emotions, which can actually hurt them and anyone else they have any relationship with within the long run.

How To No Longer Enable Your Children

Once you’ve determined that you are enabling your adult children, what should you do about it? How do you make sure that you’re setting them up for success when you’re talking about someone who is already an adult? After all,  it may feel as though you’ve missed one of the most important times for improving the situation and making sure they are prepared to be fully functioning and responsible members of society. But you haven’t missed out entirely. It’s still possible to help your adult child in many ways.

  1. Set Firm Boundaries

One way that enabling behavior starts is by not having firm boundaries around what you will and won’t do or what the child is required to do and not do. This could start from the time that they are young and goes into adulthood. Instead, set up firm boundaries and decide that you will not allow anything to sway those boundaries from now on. It’s a good idea to sit down with your adult children to explain what these boundaries are and how they will work moving forward.

  1. Create Responsibilities
Source: rawpixel.com

Your adult child needs to be responsible for their own actions, and that’s an important part for you to no longer enable them. So, create responsibilities that your adult children need to start taking part in. If they still live at home, it’s never too late to start handing out chores. If they don’t live at home, think of an activity that you normally do for them and start handing the reins to them. That doesn’t mean you need to make them responsible for everything all at once, but it does mean slowly making them more responsible.

  1. Offer Support

You don’t need to cut your child off entirely when you no longer enable them. Rather, you need to start working with them to take over those responsibilities. If they’ve never had those types of responsibilities before, it’s up to you to help them through the process. If it’s something you’ve always done for them, it might mean working with them and teaching them what they need to do. It might also mean setting them up with someone else who can teach them what they need to do and how. Or maybe you decide just to let them figure it out on their own.

  1. Prepare For Resistance

It can be difficult to convince your adult children to take control of their own life, especially after you’ve been handling things for them all this time. You need to be prepared to resist and argue about the new responsibilities you’ve given them. You want to make sure that you’re ready and willing to stand firm in your decisions. You also need to make sure that you don’t back down, no matter what. Remember, your adult child is used to you taking care of things when it gets difficult. Make sure you’re not falling into that habit.

  1. Deal With Your Own Emotions

It’s going to be difficult for you to let go and allow your child to be an adult entirely on their own. It will also be difficult for you not to step in when things get hard for them or not do whatever they want from you. No one is saying that it will be easy to make the change and force your adult children to take charge of their own lives. That’s why you need to take a step back and deal with your own emotions about the situation and what it’s going to be like to let them be their own person.

  1. Create Your Own Life
Source: rawpixel.com

Chances are you’ve been putting a large portion of your life on hold to deal with the things in your adult children’s lives that they can’t deal with. If that’s the case, then you absolutely need to start looking at your own life. What could you be doing if you weren’t spending so much time on your children? What is currently happening with your own friendships and relationships? What about your hobbies and interests? Start spending more time on those activities rather than all of your time on taking care of things your child should be doing for themselves.

  1. Get Professional Help

If you are having a hard time stepping back and letting go of your adult children having a hard time stepping up and taking responsibility, it might be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional can work with you to create a plan that works for everyone involved. They can help you develop a system that will let your adult children start taking over, and you start stepping back in a way that keeps everyone comfortable. All you need to do is find the right professional to help you.

If you’re ready to get professional help for yourself, your grown child, or both of you to no longer enable them, then make sure you’re doing everything you can to start the process early. At ReGain, you can get in touch with a mental health professional online who can help you work through any situation you and your adult child are going through. You can no longer enable them, and you can improve both of your lives with a little bit of help.


Previous Article

Why Does My Mother Hate Me?

Next Article

Is It Okay To Stop Talking To My Toxic Mother?
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Counselor Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.