Raising our children to become independent responsible adults is the primary goal of most parents around the globe. But what happens when our adult children prefer to stay at home, play video games and sit on the couch all day, refusing to get a job or to take responsibility for their own lives? Many parents face the struggle of not knowing what to do for their adult children. The situation can seem hopeless. This is contrary to God’s plan for their lives. How can we as parents help them to lead full productive lives? Firstly we need to ask ourselves if we are enabling them. Are we saving the adult child every time they get into some trouble? You might be setting up patterns of unhealthy rescuing known as ‘Enabling’. What is enabling? Enabling is fixing problems for someone else and in doing so it begins to interfere with the adult child taking responsibility. Does your adult child suffer consequences for not doing their chores or do you allow them to make excuses or do it later when it suits their own schedule? An enabler removes consequences and by doing so also stops a valuable lesson from being learnt. Enabling goes further than just helping out the adult child. For example: Adult child doesn’t pay the rent and decides to spend it on weekend partying with his mates without having prior arranged/discussed the issue with the parent. The parent hears the adult child sulking and steps in to help financially thus bailing him/her out from suffering the consequences of his/her actions. What has the adult child learnt? That the parent will bail him/her out of financial trouble when he/she decides to have a splurge. This places unnecessary financial burdens on the parent. How to Encourage them to take responsibility In trying to encourage your adult child to become more independent we need to attempt take on a supportive and understanding role while working with your son/daughter not for them. Be calm and firm without taking controlling or adversarial role when giving instructions and lay down the consequences of not carrying them out. Encourage her/him to contribute to the household for room and board. Don’t simply provide spending money, let them earn it. Be prepared for rejection to the new way you’re handing things. This is normal and being a parent doesn’t mean we will always be popular for our decision making. But we will be doing the right thing by the adult child even if they don’t seem to agree. Sources: Jeffery Bernstien Ph.D. Psychology Today – Stop Enabling Your Overly Dependent Adult Child Further reading: The Co-Dependent Rescuer & Enabler Where to Get Help Talk to your doctor who can point you in the right direction. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you. Visit ACA to search for a counsellor near you. Free 24/7 Counselling Services Lifeline on 13 11 14 Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 Headspace on 1800 650 890 Studying at aifc Have you thought about counselling? It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can extend God’s love and grace to the hurting out in the community. For those who would like to enrol in aifc’s accredited Christian counselling courses we have two intakes per year for courses commencing around the following months: At The beginning of each year in February. Mid-Year courses commence in July. Enrolments open approximately 3 months prior the courses commencing. Enquire now and fill out the form with your details to receive course information by email. Note: A Masters course in Christian counselling will be introduced in 2018. Contact aifc Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm with your enquiries on 6242 5111 or toll free on 1300 721 397 Share this Facebook Twitter Pinterest Where to get help 24/7 Helplines Lifeline: 13 11 14 Kids Helplines: 1800 551 800 Mensline: 1300 789 978 Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 Headspace: 1800 650 890 Talk to your doctor and see a mental health professional. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you.