Parenting An Adult Child Who Makes Problematic Or Poor Choices In Life - What's The Best Way?

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald December 26, 04:00 am

It's true that a parent's job doesn't end with diaper changes or attending a child's school plays or sending money for college tuitions. But it takes a real challenge to parent an adult child who has been making poor choices. How should a parent approach this when an adult is supposed to be responsible for his own life?

No one can predict what the future holds but parents can always prepare their children for this. Yet even with the best parenting, a child can still commit their biggest mistakes and failures as adults. It happens in many families -- the child with the highest potential to succeed later in life could end up jobless, divorced or suffering from substance abuse.

School counselor Steve Wisner, who admits to alcoholism in college, believes that it helped him recover when his parents didn't intervene right away. "The decision to wait for my situation to worsen was difficult for my parents to bear," he wrote via Huffington Post. But it was because of this that he made a conscious choice to get into recovery.

Even though it was a long way for him to fully get sober, Wisner believes that his parents' acknowledgment that they had no power over their adult child's choices actually helped. Today, his success at overcoming his addiction reflects in the pride his parents show for him. "My mother calls me her 'miracle child' and my father proudly carries my first-year sobriety coin in his wallet," he wrote.

Parents might automatically feel that it's their responsibility to help out their problematic adult children. Yet sometimes helping out can be enabling and making a situation worse.

Failures and discomfort can become a motivator, according to iMom. Parents of adult children should only help if they see that there are desire and willingness from the child to remedy his situation, as in the case of Wisner.

Children are perceptive and aware of when they have disappointed their parents, more so with adult children. The best thing for parents to do in this case is to throw emotional support full of love and understanding, and reaffirm that no matter what they have done, they are still the parents' children.

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