How do you help your adult children without interfering too much?
Apart from the obvious love and encouragement which any mother should give, I worry about the money side of things. If they need it, should we give, loan (if we can) or let them sort it out for themselves?
I believe that as parents we should not involve ourselves so deeply in the affairs of our adult children as to want to manage their lives. We need to demonstrate trust in them and give them space. How will they grow if they are not allowed to go through their struggles and emerge as wiser, stronger people? However, often in life, even we parents come up against a wall and we need help. We turn to the persons closest to us - friends or family members - to help us in these times of crisis. So it is with our adult children. We let go of them and allow them to handle their own affairs, but we continue to be there for them when they come to us in times of need.
By having an ongoing relationship with my children I feel at ease by offering suggestions...
I find that my adult children just want to hear that I support them in what they are doing. They want to know I respect their choices and they like encouragement. They do not want any criticism or suggestions from me. They want me to let them be and just leave them alone to get on with their life. They like to share their successes and listen to their failures. They also want me to be happy and independent. I try!
I truly, welcome this question.................this is where we, me and my adult children are...................Please allow me, this letter to my daughters..........
There is no thing, no gift, no ease, that I would not offer to you.
Sweetie, YOU stood in my kitchen, my living room, and told me that you are grown.....................so, go and be grown. I wished you well........I even prayed for you.
You owe me nothing...........I did, at a time, owe you everything. The price has been paid. You have been sheltered, clothed, feed, educated, and you have a perfect smile...............You are so very lovely.
You stood, in my kitchen, in my living room, and you, dared to challenge me..........so be it........it is the way of kids and moms.............growing pains, is what my Grandmother called it.
Oh yeah, all of those growing years, you dismissing the values that my Grandmother taught me......................I hid the hurt. I sucked it in..........just because, I am expected to love you above all others...................yeah, sweetie, we will talk about that.......................in the tomorrows.
So, you have an infected cut...........here is a $100......................you can't meet your rent.........take this $50...........your TV blew up........take this Sanyo, your phone bill is WHAT, well, $75 is the best I can do.................now, remind me on my next payday..................and so it goes...........
THEN the call...........
Mama, how do you make gravy
Mama, how do I pickle cucumbers
Mama, what tax form should I fill out,
Mama, ask Daddy, how do I know if I need to replace the radiator hose on my car.......
Mama, ask Daddy, how do know if I need new tires.........
Sweetie, darling daughter.......................YOUR Daddy, tried to teach you these things.................you were more interested in dancing dresses and matching shoes.............here, let me put him on the line..........
Life, with babe, teens, young adults and even with our own mates...............it is a dance.........just keep up with the steps.
Personally, I think that my "kids" deserve the help........I hope that for you, yours do too.
If they are making a living.........help them
If they are abusing drugs and alcohol, you need better advice than I can offer.
Let them go........and be grown.
I have taught my children over the years that they can be anything and do anything. I have been their biggest cheerleader and I have pushed them harder than anyone! When they began their adult lives, I reminded them that I was only a phone call away. I would do anything, be anything and give anything I could, but I only ask that they do everything they can first. They have been amazingly successful in their endeavors and I have had the joy of helping to babysit, "floating" them a small loan, picking up things at the grocers and just other odd and end helpful things. They keep me connected, but have been great at handling things on their own!
My oldest daughter is almost 17 years old. I would hope that we will remain close when she is older and has left home. I will let her know that she can always talk to me or come to me for advice. I wouldn't want to be thought of as interfering, but I would certainly help her in any way I can.
In relation to finances, it is so difficult for young people these days in this economic climate. If my daughter needed money, I wouldn't hesitate to give it to her. Yes, they have to learn to stand o their own two feet, but I couldn't live with myself if I thought she needed assistance and was struggling.
I taught my kids everything I could so that they could live their lives and grow. I nurtured them, fed them, clothed them, and when they needed it I grounded them. I owe them my life. So, when they need help, I am right there for them. If I can't be there in the physical sense, I let them know I am there other ways.
I am their sounding board when they need me to be, their babysitter, their friend...and I always tell them to let me know if I overstep the boundaries.
They apologize constantly if they feel they might be complaining too much about stuff. "I'm sorry, Mom. i don't mean to drop this all on you!" But, I tell them, "You were my sounding board when I needed it! And, I owe you!"
So, with this in mind, I loan money when they need it, give it when I can afford it...but I never leave them out in the cold. Because, I know that one day I may need something from them, and they will help me.
This is tricky. You have to take into consideration a few things. your present relationship with the child ( are you really close, semi close, or estranged?) Do you have a history of fighting with the child? Are they always repeating the same mistakes? Are they for the most part, reasonable , respectful of you, and their own lives?
I think in a lot of cases parents are too close to the situation to see it objectively. Sometimes tough love is too tough and often helping children is hurting more than helping. Ultimately it comes down to one question. What will likely happen if I do/ don't help the child? Try to step outside the relationship and objectively answer it. Will some life altering circumstance happen? If no, then it is more than likely the child can handle it on their own. If yes, then you have to decide what degree the circumstance will hurt or harm the child and your relationship. If not helping means the child will lose everything they have acquired in life thus far then you might want to consider helping. If it means they lose on their credit score because they made poor financial choices then you might want to let them pay the price. They will probably thank you for it later down the road.
I always encourage them to work it out and tell them I know they are very capable thinkers. I offer the help when they ask, and I have started having them help with the help in some way.
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