Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children - How Much Involvement Is Enough?
How much involvement is enough when setting boundaries with your adult children
? Just enough! You raise your children with the idea that when they turn 18, they will be completely independent with the exception of possibly paying for college. But just because a child turns 18 doesn't mean parenting isn't wanted or needed. What it does mean is that the relationship between a parent and an adult child needs to be different than the one between a parent and a minor child. This is a particularly relevant question for adult children with problems.
Statistics show that adult children are becoming financially independent at a later age than in previous generations. Adult children are living at home longer and marrying later. Even married children need help, especially in this difficult and uncertain economy. This parent-to-adult child relationship often involves answering the question of how much time, money, guidance, help, and involvement to offer.
Involvement can range from too much to too little to just enough.
Too little involvement results in a grown child having little support through difficult times and feeling abandoned and disconnected from the family. They find themselves lost and alone in a world that may be more than they can negotiate. The result is that it may lead them to do things that aren't in their best interest in the long run.
Too much involvement results in enmeshed relationships which prevent healthy individuation and independence. This parent is overly involved and doing too much for the adult children which prevents them from having to grow up and face life on their own. This parent may enable irresponsibility and wrong choices by picking up the pieces and preventing the adult child from dealing with consequences.
Just enough involvement fosters healthy responsibility and independence in the adult child and offers mutual respect (1 Peter 2:17) and flexibility to respond to the needs and boundaries of both the parent and grown child. The involvement doesn't hurt the adult child or the parent. It may involve financial help at times, support through difficult times, or letting go to allow the adult child to learn from mistakes but always involves setting necessary boundaries especially with adult children that have problems.