How To Stop Enabling Grown Children And Why It’s Important
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated July 08, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
It can be hard to accept when your children become grown-ups. You spent years taking care of them, providing for them, and protecting them. Then you look up one day and they're graduating college and getting married. It's hard to know how to stop enabling grown children and what changes are needed in your parent-child relationship so they can continue to thrive as adults. In this article, we'll define enabling, why it's harmful, and how to stop.
Why Is Enabling a Bad Thing?
You may have heard you shouldn't enable your adult children. But why? What's so wrong with helping your kids? Well, when you enable your child well into adulthood, you may think you're helping them, but you're actually holding them back. It may not be intentional. You just want to make life easier for them so they can be successful.
But it's important to understand the difference between helping and enabling. Here are some signs that you're enabling your child:
- They live at home, or you pay for their living expenses.
- You're constantly helping them through crises.
- You constantly make sacrifices so they can have what they want.
- You're overwhelmed from helping your grown child.
- You're constantly worried about doing something that will hurt or upset them.
A Lot of Parents Are in This Situation
All parents want what's best for their children throughout their lifetime. It's normal to want to shield them from hardships. However, at some point those children grow older and become adults. It may be hard to accept that your children should now be making their own life choices and decisions. It may be hard to see them as anything but that small little kid that needed their mommy and daddy for everything.
It may be even harder knowing that eventually they may experience some type of trouble, and you may not be able to help. So many parents tend to take care of anything within their control, not knowing that they may be preventing their children from growing into the responsible adults that can handle their own problems. Enabling is more common than you may realize. There are a large number of adult children continuing to live at home. Learning to move from enabling to empowering your grown children will help them more in the long run. With a few simple changes, you can put your adult children on a better path.
What Is Enabling?
In the therapeutic world, an enabler is someone who habitually allows a family member or close friend to make choices that can result in harm.
You often hear of a spouse or other loved ones enabling an addict by justifying their usage or providing them with the substances. An enabler feels as though they are helpful at the moment by keeping that other person comfortable and not allowing them to become upset. However, they're only making things worse in the long run.
Why Is It Harmful?
Many parents have a hard time when their children are coming of age. They don't want them to go out into the cold, dangerous world. So these parents handle a lot of the tasks their adult children should be doing on their own, such as laundry, cleaning, paying bills, etc. In doing this, their adult children become more comfortable and may stay at home longer since their lives are being taken care of.
Such parents may find that as the adult child ages, they're ill-equipped to handle the world around them. At some point, whether at 18 or 30, they will enter the real world. If they've been shielded from it, they're likely to have a hard time functioning. If their moms have always done their laundry, cooking, and cleaning, they may not know how to tend to a home. They may not know how to write a check or balance their bank account. They may not know how to go grocery shopping or even understand a recipe.
Many parents who tend to enable forget that their job is to help their children gain life skills. What they need to realize is that they are raising a member of a community, a future employee, and probably someone's future spouse. It does society a disservice to forgo teaching children independence.
Adult children tend to accept the help they receive, but it's been found that offering too much help negatively affects the parents. According to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, "Parents who perceived their grown children as needing too much support reported poorer life satisfaction."
How To Change Enabling Behaviors
To correct enabling behavior, it's important to understand that behavior. It's easy to get lost in the moment of trying to provide instant gratification to your child. But now it's time to step back and think about the long-term effects of your enabling. Think about what would happen if you never taught your children to do their laundry, cook a meal, or drive. They'd be lost in the world without you. As much as you may want to feel needed, it's important to not make this about yourself, and think about your child's future (without your help).
While this may be difficult at first, it is possible. Your adult child may not want to put down their video game device to pull their weight in the house because it's been allowed for so long. But it's important to stick to your plan to foster your adult child's independence.
Consider holding a family meeting. Discuss topics such as:
- Everyone's roles and responsibilities.
- What you've come to realize about enabling.
- What you would like to teach your adult child.
- Why you feel it's important to change the family dynamic.
Coming to realize that you may be enabling someone is not easy. You'll likely need support throughout this journey. That's why it's important to rely on your family and friends. It may also be beneficial to find someone neutral, such as a therapist. You can find convenient therapists online at BetterHelp. There are hundreds of licensed online therapists waiting to help.
They may even help you discover you've been enabling someone without realizing. As discussed earlier, it's very difficult for someone to realize they're enabling a person, as they feel as though they are simply helping them.
Helping Them Through It
Your adult children may push back at first. However, your role as a parent is to see the bigger picture and understand that while they may be happy now, this is not what's best for them long-term.
They may say things like, "don't you still love me?" or "why are you so mean to me?" It can be hard losing the support they've grown accustomed to. Be understanding and compassionate. But it's important to stay strong enough to hear these thoughts without changing the course of action. While they may even say they don't love you anymore, be strong. This is merely a reaction to you breaking the cycle. Forced change is uncomfortable, but people only change once they are uncomfortable enough to do so. Another idea is to invite them to a counseling session. Many young adults are on their phones most of the day anyway, so they can plug into an online therapist along with you to do some family work. It may not even seem like therapy to them, but rather texting about life.
Once you begin to break the cycle of enabling and see your child gain independence, you will feel overwhelmingly proud of them. It will make your efforts worthwhile. You'll be able to see your child make life decisions and choices you would make yourself. You'd be surprised what they can do with a little guidance and a little freedom.
They'll be making you dinner and doing your laundry in no time. Then you'll be the one who gets to sit back and play video games while they clean around you. Okay, maybe not quite, but you will be able to relax knowing that you raised an independent, responsible young adult who will do great things in this world because you let them become themselves.
Making these changes in life might not be easy for you or your child. Having access to online counseling in those tough moments can be the difference between success and failure. Both you or your adult child can reach out for advice. Read reviews on some of BetterHelp's online therapists below.
"April finds a way to ask all the right questions to put things into perspective for me. She's always timely with her responses and keeps up communication if she's going to be a little bit delayed. She has helped me tremendously since I started working with her and I'm extremely happy."
"Douglas comes up with clear solutions and I appreciate that. I didn't want a therapist to tell me to talk about my day and how does that make me feel and that it's normal to have these feelings. I know it is normal to feel angry sometimes, but I wanted to understand how to recognize it and address it. So if you need constructive conversation with fast results for everyday annoyances and (especially effective child rearing advice!) I think Douglas is your therapist."
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
At what age should your parents stop supporting you?
There are varying answers to that question, but young adults need to be able to support themselves. In terms of parental support, there are also many variables involved. Perhaps a child has a disability and needs extra help. There are instances where a child can support themselves in combination with their parent's help. When you are in college, you may require some financial support from your parents as you are studying, but it also allows you to start providing for yourself. You might find a work-study position or a part-time job, for example, during college. Everyone's situation is different. Some might not have the luxury of having parents that can help them while they're in school or a recent graduate at all, whereas others might rely on their parents and financial aid during school. The important part is that you're working toward independence as an adult. There's no specific numerical answer to this question, but you want to help your child grow.
What is an enabling parent?
An enabling parent is someone who does what their child asks of them, even when it's not good for their child. Examples of that are giving their child money whenever they ask for it. It could be letting adult children live with you indefinity without asking for rent. When it comes to substance use, providing money for substances and seeing them suffer but continuing to look the other way. Your child needs to understand that they need to look out for themselves. Enabling an adult child can be detrimental to their mental health. You'll find that your adult child is uncomfortable having boundaries set for them in some instances. Still, it's imperative to stop enabling your adult child because that way, they'll learn to function on their own.
How do I stop being an enabler?
One way to stop being an enabler as a parent is to empower your adult child to thrive on their own. Tell them that they can do it. You can advise them along the way and teach them skills, but let them fend for themselves. Allow them to see that they're capable of making steps in the right direction and caring for themselves. It can be challenging to let go and stop providing everything for someone you love, but you're doing a good deed. If you don't stop enabling your adult kids, they'll never realize just how capable they are on their own.
How do you deal with adult children?
Parent and child relationships are meant to grow and evolve. Your adult child is growing as a human being. It's important to realize that you can have an adult friendship with them and that the dynamic has changed from when they were kids. Even if your adult child lives with you, you can set boundaries and show them that you're not going to do everything for them. See your adult son or daughter as someone who's grown and who is not a child anymore. A parent can be a positive influence in their grown child's lives while allowing them to be independent. If you're enabling adult kids, you're taking away their ability to realize their full potential.
What is an enabler personality?
An enabler personality is someone who's a people-pleaser, craves being liked, and has difficulty setting boundaries. Tending toward this personality type doesn't mean that you can't change your behavior. It's essential to look inside of yourselfand the enabling behavior and see why you're doing those things.
What is the difference between enabling and helping?
Enabling is encouraging maladaptive habits, whereas helping is enabling someone and providing resources to someone when it is unhealthy to do so. Empowering someone to do things for themselves and giving them a hand up when they need it is helpful, but doing everything for someone is enabling. You can help an adult child without enabling them, and it's essential to know the difference.
Why do enablers enable?
Enablers sometimes believe they're supporting and helping their child, but it can also be that they struggle with people-pleasing or guilt and want to be liked. It's essential to realize why you're doing such a thing and talk about it in your therapeutic environment with a mental health professional. When it comes to enabling an adult child, it can be something as simple as having difficulty saying no or the innate drive to want what's best for your kids.
Studies show that half of young adults ages 18 to 29 say they rely on their parents a lot or some for emotional support, while 77% or parents report that their children rely on them at least somewhat for this type of support.
How do you know if you're an enabler?
If you see the behavior that we've talked about here in yourself, whether it relates to an adult child or someone else in your life, you might be an enabler. Speaking to a mental health professional and looking at why you're doing what you do as well as what the consequences of it are can help you to determine if your behavior is detrimental or not.
What does enabling mean in psychology?
Enabling means to do something that makes negative consequences disappear for a person. It means not allowing a person to help themselves. In psychology, it's frequently used when speaking about addiction. If your adult child has an addiction, have compassion for yourself and them. It is hard to watch a child struggle. If you're seeing your child struggle with substance use, encourage them to get help and step in if you have to. You might even seek therapy for yourself first, especially if they aren't willing to get help, and you don't know what to do.
What do you do with a deadbeat son?
Establish a timeline.It’s very important to discuss how long this living arrangement is expected to last. Is it indefinite? Six months? Two years? Until your son gets a job? Once the house is built? What is the length of time your son is thinking he will need, and what can you handle?
Discuss financials. Here are some ideas:
- A flat rate meant for food, mortgage, wear and tear, etc.
- A flat rate for bills and rent, with the expectation that the son purchases communal and personal food items
- A rate based on a percentage of the son’s income
- A rate that is supposed to go up to a certain point once the son finds a job (or another condition that makes sense for the situation)
- No rent, but contributes to bills and food
- No rent, but with the expectation that certain projects and chores will be done by the son
Discuss expectations.As with any living situation, you are going to want to set clear expectations around the ins and outs of living together. It will be important to set clear boundaries. Here are areas to think about:
Cleaning. It’s important to communicate what is expected in terms of cleaning. For some, all you’ll need to say is, “Clean up after yourself and help out with weekly chores.” For others, you’ll need to spell out what’s expected on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Be clear and specific.
Guests. The son shouldn’t be made to feel like a teenager again with curfews, but Mom and Dad shouldn’t feel as though their house has turned into a college dormitory with people coming and going all the time either. Take time to think and talk about what’s going to work.You may have to experiment here to see what feels right for your family.
Behavior. It would be good to talk about things like sleeping late or taking a lazy day to curl up on the couch and veg out. This conversation isn’t reserved for rest. It could be a workout routine, eating habits, or personal choices around drinking or smoking that come into the mix.No matter what it is, this can be territory where parents and the sonmight clash, and it’s important to discuss things and voice concerns, but also keep age in mind. Parents and children may always have that dynamic, but finding language for how to talk about these issues is a good idea.
How do you let go of a child who hates you?
Ask your adult child what theyneed from you in order to repair the relationship. Counselors can get started on a plan to heal the relationship. If your adult child tells you something specific, just listen and determine if you can honor your child’s request. If it is reasonable and sincere, then do your best to repair what has been broken.
Don’t act on your feelings of defensiveness. If you feel defensive, learn to talk within your own head and keep your mouth shut. You should not defend yourself to your child. You can say something neutral, such as, “I have a different perspective on the story, but I’m not going to defend myself because it won’t be productive.”
Expect Respect. Realize that no matter what, everyone deserves to be treated with respect – including you. Children living at home must give the appropriate respect to you.
Don’t idealize your children or your relationship with them. Yes, our children are the most important people in our lives, but they should not be idealized or enshrined. They are mere mortals.If your child is rejecting you, it’s one thing to feel disappointed and sad, but it becomes unhealthy if you can’t focus on anything else other than that. You are best served to remind yourself that you have other relationships that are important as well, and learn to focus on the ones that work.
Grieve. Allow yourself to feel the sadness of being rejected by your child. Grieve over the loss of the innocence that the relationship once was. Grieve over your lost child – even though he or she is still alive. Brain science shows that in your world, they are no longer part of your life. That sense of “what can I do?” keeps you yearning and longing for reconciliation; but sometimes reconciliation is not forthcoming.
Live one day at a time. Even if you have no contact with your child today, you have no way of knowing what tomorrow may bring. None of us does. The best thing we can do is to live the best way we know how today. When you can focus on one day only, you feel less hopeless and desperate. Remind yourself, “I cannot predict the future.”
Don’t beg. No matter how hurt or desperate you feel to have a relationship with your rejecting child, never stoop to the level of begging for attention or even forgiveness. You will not be respected by your child if you beg and it will demean your position as a parent.
Be empowered. Don’t let your rejecting child steal your personal power. Just because you are having difficulties in this area of your life, don’t get to the place where you feel personally defeated. Do what it takes to be good to yourself – seek therapy, join a support group, travel, go to the gym, do whatever you can to own your own power and stop giving it away to anyone else.
Can I kick my 19-year-old out of the house?
When ason or daughter turns 18, a parent’s/child relationship legal obligation to financially support their child ends. While a parent's love may be unconditional, parents of minor children are obligated to house, feed, and pay for their children's needs. But when your grown children turns 18, parents can, in fact, legally evict their child. However, for parents who plan on evicting their adult child, there are some legal pitfalls to be aware of. Evictions are tricky, so it is highly recommended you seek out help from an experienced landlord-tenant attorney.
First off, whether your adult child is considered a tenant, lodger, guest, trespasser, or squatter will depend on your state law, as each state has different rules regarding the landlord-tenant relationship. Their status will determine what your legal rights are when it comes to eviction. Also, kicking your adult child out without warning may open you up to legal liability.
How do I get my son to move out?
Don’t make their lives too comfortable. Many kids stay because their parents are making it too comfortable, and that can inhibit personal growth.Helping your grown children with an easy life is not really helping them. Adult children may have been forced by circumstances, including health woes and relationship troubles, to seek refuge in their parents’ abodes. But those aren’t the reasons they have firmly taken root. In other words, parents are really giving the kids the privilege but not the responsibility of adulthood.
Don’t Do Everything for Them. Parents aren’t just letting their adult children live with them. The adult children don’t have the curfews or chores of their childhoods. The parents cook their meals and do their laundry. And they allow their children to have, to put it delicately, overnight guests.Don’t do everything for them. Why does anyone want to leave the home when parents pay for everything, and do all the work, and provide an allowance and a vehicle? They have no incentive to be independent.
Charge them rent…”Pay Rent”needs to be marked on calendar. Yep. Start by setting milestones. And then up the ante by increasing the rent six months later. Put some of your child’s rent money aside and then give it back to them when they leave. That way you give them first month and last months’ security. That’s one way to get them out.
Sethouse rules and stick to them. Stay firm about your house rules. The key is to respect your children as individuals and to expect respect in return. Your house, your rules. And if they are going to share that house, they have to contribute. Encourage your child to participate.
Get them help if needed. Another point to consider is that your adult child may need help in other ways. For example, if there’s a skill deficit that’s getting in the way, hopefully the parent can become aware of it and get the kind of help or coaching that’s going to help them.So, if your adult child has job qualifications yet does poorly in job interviews, consider hiring a counselor or a job coach to help with pointers.
Maybe get yourself help, too. Unfortunately, getting a grown child to move out may not be as simple as setting ground rules and charging rent. Sometimes, unhealthy family dynamics get in the way.
At what age should your parents stop supporting you?
According to Money.com, kids and parents often have different ideas about when support should stop. Parents helping grown children with financial support generally believed kids should be independent by age 25, but acknowledged that in their own situation, 30 was more likely. Young adults put those ages at 27 and 32, respectively. It should be noted that studies show that young adults in their late 20s living with their parents is the highest it's been in 75 years. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 33% of 25-29 year olds lived with their parents or grandparents. Brain science shows that boundaries with your adult child is necessary to ensure a successful outcome, including personal growth, because without that adult children living at home can become arduous.
Can I kick my 22-year-old out of the house?
Generally speaking, parents only have duties to minor children. Once kids turn 18, those duties end for the adult children living at home.You can evict an adult child from your home, and then turn your back on them.It’s advised to speak with an attorney in the state that you live to receive legal state-specific information on the age when you can evict a child. It’s important to know that enabling parents will remove the positive progress of what has been accomplished. Granted, many parents feel guilty, and that’s understandable.
Can I kick my kid out at 18?
Generally speaking, parents of grown children only have duties to minor children, but often parents enable their children. Once kids turn 18, those duties end. You can evict a grown adult child from your home, and then turn your back on them.It’s advised to speak with an attorney in the state that you live toreceive legal state-specific information on the age when you can evict a child. Encourage them to attend a trade school or even obtain a college education. Counselors can get started on a plan to heal the relationship and guide your child toward education as well.
How do you kick a teenager out of the house?
Ending the enabling behaviorof grown children is sometimes imperative. Parents enable more than not, and the parent child relationship is compromised. So, set ground rules. Most parents don’t want their empty nest to be destroyed by their kid coming back and living with them forever. Caring parents should provide a safety net, but without making a commitment to take in their adult child indefinitely. The length of time that the parents expect to put the child up, the financial contribution that the adult child should be responsible for and the expectations about household chores should all be established before the new roommate gets a fresh set of keys.
Watch for red flags and enabling behavior. If the adult child isn’t contributing in any way, you’ve got a problem. If the couch-surfer is out of work, they can contribute to the household in other ways like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, or helping the parents get to their doctor’s appointments. If they aren’t making an effort to help, and they’re becoming increasingly isolated, it’s time to start having weekly family meetings about the kid’s job search – and to set clearer deadlines for moving out. Enabling your adult behaviors will not help.
Don’t resort to bribery. Enough said. Bribery or rewards never work. The kid may take the money or the car, or whatever is being offered, but they still won’t move out. Instead, if you are in a position to help out financially, you might go ahead and provide a month’s worth of rent – but only after the kid has found a job and the lease on a new place is already signed.
Stay firm. If these strategies don’t work, and the adult child still won’t budge, It’s time to seek out professional help for the couch-warming kid in the form of therapy, life coaching, or career counseling. If there isn’t a budget for one-on-one appointments, try group therapy or even online chat groups that help motivate people toward work and autonomy. Don’t create a situation where you’re always bailing them out. The ultimate in bailing a kid out is letting them live at home.
How do I deal with my son in law?
Welcome your son-in-law with open arms. That sounds obvious and may seem like enabling behavior, but many parents resist a wholehearted embrace. If you accept that he's the man your daughter has chosen, and respect that, you should be able to reach out and treat him as a valued addition to the family.Part of that embrace includes discouraging your daughter from bad-mouthing her husband to you (except when she faces a serious problem). If your daughter gripes to you about her husband's unfinished chores or inconsistent interest in personal hygiene, she's bound to bias your view of him. Hear her out if you like, but then just advise, "Talk to him about it, honey."
Respect your daughter's boundaries. Often, a mother-in-law has her own blueprint for what her daughter's life should be like when she marries. But the mother's plan may not match her son-in-law's, or her daughter's.A mother-in-law might assume that choices she disapproves of come from the son-in-law, when the opposite is the case. Jumping to conclusions and meddling can backfire, so avoid the temptation and trust that your daughter will make sound decisions without outside managing.
Leave your daughter in charge of trying to change him. Keep whatever differences you may have with her husband in perspective. Don't overlook his good qualities while getting hung up on one flaw, such as a tendency to be late, or his gaining a few pounds. Above all, avoid the temptation to criticize. It could turn both spouses against you.What to do if he's unfriendly, or you don't like the way he treats your daughter? If he's unfriendly, strike up a conversation about something he's interested in. If it works, great. If he's uncomfortable, stop.If you like to hug and kiss, but he doesn't like it, use words instead of actions to tell him how happy you are to see him. And if you don't like the way your son-in-law treats your daughter,examine your reaction first to make sure you're not making something out of nothing. Then ask yourself if your daughter is happy. Your job is not to cause trouble in the marriage, it's to be as supportive as possible and bring out the best in everyone. However, if there is abuse involved, you absolutely need to step in.
Don't compete for your daughter's attention. Such a rivalry can be painful for the person you both love. Instead, realize that you and your son-in-law have separate relationships with your daughter that are distinct and need not threaten each other.The husband's partnership with his wife is based on marital love; yours, on filial devotion. Understand how much your daughter values each and how happy having both makes her.
Spend time together. If the only time a mother-in-law and son-in-law see each other is with the daughter, children or other relatives around, you may never get the opportunity to really get to know each other. Find some time to be alone together – a lunch during the work week or a joint night of babysitting while your daughter is away on business.If that isn't possible, make it a point to spend one-on-one time talking or doing an activity when you're all together. The goal is to get to know each other better and share in experiences. And remember, no relationship, no matter who it is with, is ever smooth-sailing 100 percent of the time. Beware of providing too much financial support as well.
What's it called when a child leaves their parents?
Sometimes adult children living with their parents is not a case where the parents want them out, but visa versa. When a child wants to leave their parents before adulthood, it’s called emancipation. Emancipation of minors is a legal mechanism by which a child before attaining the age of majority (sometimes called a minor) is freed from control by their parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child. Usually, parents or legal guardians are responsible for children who haven't reached the age of majority. This age varies from state to state, but it's usually 18 or 19. Until a child has reached the age of majority, parents are expected to provide them with shelter, food, and clothing. Parents can also decide where their children will live and go to school and can choose what medical care their children will receive. If a young person under the age of majority is emancipated, the parent or guardian no longer has any say over the minor's life. An emancipated minor can keep earnings from a job, decide where to live, make his or her own medical decisions, and more.
Where to go when your parents kick you out?
At times, a crisis in the home reaches the point of no return, and one or more of the offending parties is asked to leave. This is a sign that the enabling behavior, the situation at home, is extremely serious -- clearly, the person doing the kicking out believes that the problem will be solved if the transgressor is no longer present in the house. If you've been asked to leave your home, you'll need to be ready for a shift in your lifestyle, and to assume responsibility for yourself very quickly.
Contact family and friends. If you have family members or friends who you think might be willing to let you crash on the couch until you can go home or find a place of your own, call them. Do this as soon as possible, whether you've been given a deadline to move out or had to leave right away. Even if you can't stay with a family member, get in touch with them anyway, suggests youth empowerment and support organization Hatch Youth. If you've been asked to leave your parents' or sibling's home, a family member may be able to help you figure out what you need to do to return home.
Ask the police for help. If you're under 18, your parents are still legally obligated to support you, says Hatch Youth. You can go to the police, let them know what happened, and ask them to help you. Be aware that once you talk to them, you may end up facing some less-than-ideal options, like being placed in foster care, Hatch Youth warns. But make no mistake: The streets are an extremely unsafe place to be living, even for adults. Foster care will at least allow you to finish school, and to prepare yourself for being on your own.
Research your state's resources. Many states provide resources to people who are homeless. These programs may be run by the state government or by a private organization, and can include free or low-cost meals, shelters and even some health care programs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that you look into food stamps, find out where your local food bank is, and contact a homeless assistance or a housing counseling agency in your area. If you're a veteran, your military service can qualify you for some special programs, so don't forget to mention it when you're looking for resources.
What happens when you call the police on your child?
Deciding to call the police will have a major impact on your family, so you need to be prepared for the possible repercussions before you invite an officer into your family situation. If the police arrest your grown children (and they might even if you ask that they don’t), a criminal conviction may stay on your child’s permanent record (depending on your child’s age and the state in which you live). A police record will significantly impact your teen’s future, including finding employment.
Calling the police can potentially damage your relationship with your adult children. Your teen will likely feel betrayed by you, and you may never be able to maintain a healthy relationship with them.It can feel embarrassing to you and to your teen when the neighbors are asking why the police came, but enabling your adult child is must worse in the long term. However, sometimes it is necessary to still make the call, despite how your child feels in the moment or what others may think.
For example, in New York, if you know that someone else is disciplining your child in a way that might be child abuse, you must protect your child. You must do more than just try to stop the abuse. You must actually stop it. A parent might have to call the police if he or she cannot stop the abuse alone.
State-specific resources can provide invaluable information to help you out.
Changing your enabling relationship behavior toward your adult children does not mean you can never help them again. And it doesn't mean you have to stop caring for them. It simply means you move from enabling them to empowering them. This is best for both of you in the long run. Take the first step today.
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