By Terrie Tyrie, LCPC
I remember graduating college and taking care of myself – housing, transportation, doctor’s appointments, and paying bills. I would not have chosen to “adult”; however, I was unaware that I could choose not to be an adult!
Now it seems with this new noun – “adulting” – there is an option and a choice to become a responsible adult.
As a parent, now I have two twenty-somethings living at home. I can see that we have given these children the ability to choose to adult. We tend to parent kids well into their twenties.
How do we stop this trend? We let the consequences of our society happen at home.
If you take a look at how our society works, there are consequences for our actions. Such as, if you give an honest day’s work, you get paid. However, if you don’t…you do not get paid. The way to teach emerging adults this simple idea is to allow consequences for behaviors that are life learning skills at home.
For example, my client has kids home from college this summer and they are not contributing to the household chores. I asked them what is the consequence? The client says, “they are adults I cannot restrict them like I did when they were teens.”
I say, “but you are still driving them places or lending them your car. So, if you have to clean their dirty dishes then you do not have the time to drive them or you will have to use your car to go to the store since they did not pick up the item needed for dinner.” Using consequences to teach lessons to our emerging adults is what it takes for them to begin to understand that “adulting” is not an option but a requirement.
If your child does not read his mail, they might forget to pay a bill.
If your child does not do their laundry, they may have to go to work in a dirty uniform.
If your child does not schedule an appointment to get their teeth cleaned, then they may get cavities and have to pay the bill.
Therefore, as parents we must stop reading their mail or washing their laundry or making their dentist appointments and allow the consequences that they must face if they do not “adult.”
If you need more help with parenting your adult children.. or children of any age, please Reach Out for help from one of our Relationship Repair Associates.