How to Stop Enabling Your Grown Children

As a parent, it is only normal to want to help your children, regardless of their age. In a situation impacted by the pandemic where the youth is struggling more than ever to keep jobs, parents are subject to emotional and financial drainage. 

These adult children need your help – and now more than ever. This article may help you understand your actions and how to stop enabling grown children, focusing on feeding their independence, mental stability, and motivation. 

More so, you’ll learn how online therapy can help you or your grown child feel happier. 

 Are You an Enabling Parent?

Many parents enabling adult children are more or less aware of how severe the situation is. Typically, it starts with the parents trying to help or, rather, fix children’s issues for them, mostly through financial support. 

While this is thoroughly based on good intentions, toxic enabling can be detrimental to your children’s independence, motivation, and ability to take responsibility for their actions. 

Here are some common signs that parents enable their grown child:  

  • Excessive financial help – it is normal to help your children out when they need it, but not so much when the money is never returned, or you even have to take a second job to help them out. 
  • You make all the important decisions for them, which is unhealthy for your grown children. 
  • Your adult child cannot take a “no” for an answer when they request something. 
  • You need to do basic house chores or tasks for them, such as washing dishes, laundry, or cooking. 
  • You feel physically and mentally exhausted – burnout as a result of involvement in your adult child’s life that infringes on your money, energy, time, and even freedom. 

What to Do to Stop Enabling Your Grown Children

It is important to notice that most parents would tend to adopt an “all or nothing” approach when they realize they turned into an enabling parent. 

However, this may not be the best if you want to improve your well-being while helping them turn into a self-sufficient, responsible adult. 

Change Your Mindset

If you want to help your adult children, you need to start with changing your own mindset. The goal is to motivate yourself and realize why you need to make changes – for your own health and your child’s healthy independence. 

It’s best to adopt a collaborative, non-controlling, and highly supportive mindset as you guide your child towards a better life. 

Increase Your Tolerance

Unfortunately, most parents are caught in a vicious cycle in which they attempt to let their adult children handle their own problems, but they get pulled back in once they see their child struggle. 

Although this may be difficult for most parents who enable their grown children, you need to increase your tolerance. In some cases, online therapy with a professional counselor can help you understand better what happens and how you can break this cycle. 

 Start Devising Boundaries

In general, boundaries are healthy in any type of relationship, including the one we have with our children. These are key to provide a structure and guide your children to becoming more independent. 

In case of emergency, you may help them out, but they should at least have the opportunity to try to come up with a solution by themselves. 

Think of boundaries in terms of what defines your struggles – time, money, jobs, and others. Then, discuss these boundaries with your child and implement them as soon as possible. 

The key is to stay consistent. If your child seems unhappy or uncomfortable with your boundaries, it means that your approach is effective. 

Financial Empowerment

In most cases, parents enabling their grown children get financially drained. In a time affected by the pandemic, this may be even more difficult as many people lost their jobs. 

Fortunately, you can ask your children to take a part-time job at a local supermarket, start a business from home, or even work on a project on which they can capitalize.

You may want to adopt a proactive, collaborative approach rather than rejecting them altogether. For instance, you may help your children with a fixed amount to buy job-appropriate clothes to go for interviews or help them with their resume. 

Let Them Make Their Own Choices

If your children constantly ask you to help them with different issues or challenges, you may have to step back. Although it may sound harsh, they need the opportunity to learn how to help themselves. 

However, rather than simply refusing, direct them to a source of information where they can learn what they need to do. For instance, if they need laundry done, encourage them to look it up on the internet and learn how to care for themselves. 

This helps you to stop enabling grown children by allowing them to choose one of two possibilities: 

  • firstly, to start solving their own issues and
  • secondly, to face the consequences if they refuse to do so

See the Bigger Picture

It is not uncommon to hear your adult child asking you if you still love them or why you are so mean. It is normal to push back at first. 

But, as a parent, you need to see the bigger picture and understand that, even if they seem happy now, this is not healthy for the longer term. 

If this happens, be understanding with your child as they struggle to adapt to your new plan. 

Make an Emergency Plan

As a parent, you will most likely encounter numerous situations in which your child catches you off-guard. If they come to you and say that they need money, for instance, always reply that you need time to discuss with your spouse (or “to consider it” if you are single) and that you will get back to them later. 

This will help you think it through and make the best decision for your child.

Keep in mind that you always have the right to change your mind – although it is great to be consistent, sometimes, we need to adopt a more fluid approach when we handle struggling adult children. You should adjust your replies without rushing. You should not feel forced or manipulated to do something. 


Numerous parents are in this situation. These tips on how to stop enabling grown children may help you decide that it’s time to let them become responsible, productive adults. This is not only for your well-being but also theirs. 

Many parents who struggle to break the vicious circle opt for online therapy on Calmerry. This provides them with a personalized approach to improving their life depending on each situation. 


Leave a Reply