Adult and Minor Children – How to handle problems

Section One – Adult Children

Helping is doing something for someone that he is not capable of doing himself.

Enabling is doing for someone things that he could and should be doing himself.

  • Being the Bank of Mom and Dad, or the Bank of Grandma and Grandpa.
  • Loaning money that is never repaid, buying things they can’t afford and don’t really need.
  • Continually coming to their rescue so they don’t feel the pain—the consequences—of their actions and choices.
  • Accepting excuses that we know are excuses—and in some instances are downright lies.
  • Blaming ourselves for their problems.
  • We have given too much and expected too little.

Two separate yet intrinsically combined things going on when we look at the pathology of enabling our adult children, what are those two things?

  1. We have the issue of the dysfunctional child himself—the product of our enabling.
    1. Most often, we are dealing with adult children who have no concept of healthy boundaries as they pertain to their parents and grandparents.
    2. Many are dealing with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, and more.
    3. Some of these children are involved in illegal activity, while others have been in and out of jail numerous times.
    4. Some are abusive to us.
    5. Some have jobs while others do not, most have extreme financial challenges.
    6. Others are still living at home, and some have even moved their spouse or “significant other” into their parents’ home with them.
    7. Many have been in and out of treatment centers, most often at the urging (and cost) of their parents.

While we cannot change the behavior of our adult children, we can change how we respond to their actions and to their choices.

We can, and must, begin to establish healthy boundaries and rules.

  1. Then, we have the issue of our own personal health and growth (or lack thereof.)
    1. For many of us, we have spent years taking care of, bailing out, coming to the rescue, making excuses for, crying over, praying for, and otherwise focusing an unhealthy amount of time and attention on this adult child, that we have neglected our own mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
    2. Many of us have neglected other family members as well, as the adult child has taken so much of our energy.
    3. Some of us are now experiencing severe financial ramifications from having enabled our adult child.
    4. Others are finding their marriage falling apart as tempers flair and situations spiral out of control.
  2. A Sense of Entitlement (What real obligations do you have?)
    1. For many of us, we have spent years taking care of, bailing out, coming to the rescue, making excuses for, crying over, praying for, and otherwise focusing an unhealthy amount of time and attention on this adult child, that we have neglected our own mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
    2. While there is nothing wrong with helping an adult child, you have no obligation to do so after they are 18 years of age in Texas.
    3. Do not let culture get in the way of your child’s personal development and maturity.
    4. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your obligations and responsibilities, you will create a sense of entitlement in your children.
  3. Children Who Refuse to Grow Up (Kicking them out of the nest)
    1. Just like the eagle, sometimes it is necessary to kick them out of the nest.
    2. Start early speaking with them about the time they will be expected to move out on their own, this will help them be less fearful.
    3. Letting Go of Our Grown Adult Children (Seeing them as adults)
    4. Sometimes parents do not allow the adult child to leave because it is they who are afraid, this will only serve to create issues which can be avoided.
    5. Adult children who do not leave when it is time, will start to resent the intrusion of their parents in their personal life.

Section Two – All Children

  • Teach Your Children About Money and Money Management (savings, budgets, etc.)
    • I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, if your children think that money grows on trees, it’s your own fault. Yes, I mean you, the parents.
    • Money as a substitute for attention and spending time together.
    • Paying the bills, buying food and clothing, and providing shelter, is not enough, they need personal attention.
    • The main reason children do not learn to manage their money correctly is because the parents do not manage their money correctly either.
    • Money problems is the number one reason for divorce.
    • It is also the thing about which Jesus taught most.
  • Raising Children With Tough Love-Parenting Tips (Setting healthy boundaries)
    • Set rules for the kids when they are young, and help them follow the rules as they grow up.
    • Have clear consequences for any violations of the rules, and do not avoid imposing those consequences when the time comes.
    • Keep your word about the rules and consequences, if you don’t, then you are just a liar.
  • Closing the Bank of Mom and Dad (Teach them how to earn the things they get)
    • Teach them early in their lives how to save money, open a bank account, set a budget, and so on.
    • Give them an allowance for completing assigned chores.
    • Reduce the allowance for chores left undone or incomplete.
    • Offer bonuses for extra efforts.
    • You must meet their needs, but never give away a privilege without a condition.
  • Raising Independent Children – Not Moochers
    • Teach them how to find their own answers and solutions to their problems, whenever possible.
    • Problem solving skills help children to grow up depending on themselves for their needs.

Section Three – The Internet and Technology

  • Carpal Tunnel, sleep cycles, and isolation.
    • The repetitive motions will start the syndrome sooner in life.
    • The blue light from the screens of cell phones, tablets, and computer screens will interfere with the sleep cycle of the child.
    • Too much use of technology will spur isolationism, a lessor ability to interact with others (opposite sex for marriage), and so on.
  • Cell phones for children
    • 21% of children 8 years and younger use smart phones! Wow younger than 8! And 78% of children aged 12 to 17 already have a cell phone.
    • You may be surprised to find out that only 61% of youth use privacy settings on their social media sites and 52% don’t turn off their location or GPS services. This leaves their locations visible to strangers.
    • But the scariest revelation to me was that 14% of children have posted their home addresses online.
    • And before you say, “OH my child would NEVER do anything like that, because we’ve had the “talk” with them; realize this study also revealed that almost 70% of the youth polled admitted to hiding their online activities.
    • Add this to the fact that less than half of the parents are aware of what their child is doing online.
    • In many abusive relationships, one of the two will use the cell phone as a means of manipulating and controlling the other (threats, etc).
  • Internet access.
    • 1 in 4 use their phones primarily as a computer for online access, the other 75% use their tablets or other mobile device. So even if you think they’re not online because they don’t have a phone- ask yourself- do they have a tablet, an iPod, an iPad, a kindle? These need to be monitored just as heavily as smart phones.
    • And let’s not ignore the regret of Sexting. It’s taken more than one Weiner down (Anthony Weiner, the former US congressman to be exact). And a study performed by USC researchers discovered that 20% of teenagers said they’d received a “sext”, but only about 5% admitted to having sent one.
    • And if that’s not enough, over half of the kids aged 10 to 17 admitted to posting risky comments or photos online. All the while, 25% of them said they use their mobile device to hide this type of online behavior from their parents.

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