Most parents would go to the ends of the Earth to make their child happy or to ensure their child is okay. However, there comes a point in which trying to appease your child becomes, enabling them to become dependent.
Overly dependent children are almost stunted in their growth, which places them in an awkward position. They are fully grown, and entirely adults, but must behave like a child because they don’t have the tools or the motivation to do more with themselves.
Many parents may question, “Why is enabling my child such a bad thing?” And unfortunately, there are several reasons as to why it’s not good to enable your child. Put simply, when your grown child never discovers how to take care of themselves, or if they revert to childhood due to a setback, and we never push them back on course, they could be dependent forever.
Rather than helping them, by enabling them, you are holding them back even more. No matter what your intentions are, if you are enabling your grown child, you are hurting them.
So where do you draw the line, what are the signs of enabling?
1. They live at home with you, and/or you pay for their living expenses.
2. They depend on you to fix everything for them.
3. They promise the next job, or gig they take on will be the change they need, but never follow through.
4. You make sacrifices for them to get what they want.
5. You feel overwhelmed.
6. They are completely dependent on you.
If this sounds like the relationship you have with your grown child, you are enabling them. But the good news is, there are tips you can take to turn the situation around.
According to Psychology Today, here are three ways to stop enabling your child, and empower them.
1. Push them “to do” rather than “to stew.”
Encourage them to look at various job opportunities. We live in a modern age in which jobs are everywhere. You can deliver groceries or takeout with services like Instacart and Door Dash, and if that doesn’t work for them, there are many other routes to go.
2. Question before handing over cash.
While it’s not the worst thing in the world to help them out financially, Psychology Today notes that providing them with money should be “contingent on children’s (their) efforts toward independence.”
3. Prepare for being caught off guard.
If your child typically catches you off guard to ask for something, have a prepared response. Tell them you need 24 hours to ruminate on it, and stand by that.
Above all, make a plan to move them towards independence. It won’t be overnight, but making a plan to help them find a job, a place of their own, and placing the proper routes in place for their success is a must.