5 Tips for Creating Healthy Boundaries With Your Adult Children

5 Tips for Creating Healthy Boundaries With Your Adult Children

The Importance of Boundary-Setting With Grown Children

  • Set Financial Limits
  • Delay Your Response
  • Claim Your Time
  • Encourage Problem-Solving
  • Examine Yourself

Creating healthy boundaries with your adult children can present a number of challenges. Parents can feel as though the urge to step in and help their adult children through difficulties is hard-wired. However, this situation is not healthy for parents or children, and it is critical that parents take steps to establish appropriate boundaries.

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1. Set Financial Limits

Finances are often at the heart of a lack of boundaries between adult children and parents. It is understandable that a parent does not want to cut off a child who is unemployed or in another type of financial crisis, but parents can make agreements with their adult children and stick to them. This might include a plan for paying back money monthly or having the child make contributions to rent and expenses if the child is living with the parent.


2. Delay Your Response

The inability of parents to set limits with their adult children often happens in the context of ongoing crises in which the adult child is coming to the parent in a panic asking for money or other assistance. Psychology Today suggests that parents respond to urgent requests by saying they will discuss it with the other parent or think it over and have an answer the next day. This helps parents stay on a consistent course and shows that they will not be thrown instantly into crisis mode simply because their children are.

3. Claim Your Time

Sometimes, parents may need to set a boundary with their adult children that is about time rather than money. Adult children who would not dream of asking their parents for cash might assume the parent is always available to take care of their own children or pets. As an article in Forbes explains, parents can set a boundary about how they spend their time, and they are not obligated to be available for their children even if they do not have other plans. Simply wanting to be home and relax is enough.

4. Encourage Problem-Solving

Setting emotional boundaries may also be necessary. For some parents of adult children, the problem may be that the child is constantly coming to them for help with various issues. Rather than leaping to solve the problem for the child, parents can ask questions that help guide the child to a solution. For example, parents might ask children what their thoughts are about how to solve a particular problem or what they want to do.

5. Examine Yourself

Often, a lack of boundaries between adult children and their parents is not just about the inability of the children to be independent. It can also be about a parent’s reluctance to let go. Parents may not even realize the degree to which they encourage their children to depend on them. While it might seem as though this is a way of expressing love, it leaves their children incapable of functioning as full adults. It is important for parents to look at themselves and the role they play in this dynamic.

One of the biggest obstacles many parents of adult children face is feeling responsible for smoothing over any difficulties their children encounter. However, this leaves their children poorly equipped for adult life. Once parents recognize that creating healthy boundaries with adult children is also loving, they will be on their way to better family relationships.