If you’re providing financial assistance for your adult children, it may get to the point that you feel like you’re not helping them any longer, that you’re actually hindering their progress toward standing on their own two feet. It’s important to consider these things, since ongoing financial help is a growing trend that will have long-term consequences for your child’s well-being and happiness. Well-meaning help can become an ongoing handout that destroys your joy and your child’s initiative and self-confidence.
A recent New York Times article reports on a survey of more than 2,000 young adults from 2007 to 2013. The findings show that today almost half of them receive financial assistance from their parents. Although two-thirds of high school students go to college, only half end up graduating. And they’re taking longer to get it done.
There are many factors involved such as the high price in rent in urban area, the cost of college tuition, the low payoff for the types of jobs they acquire. Whatever the reason, how long is “long enough”? When is it no longer a kindness? When should parents “cut the apron strings”?
When you provide financial assistance, it’s vital to require that your child learns financial and emotional self-management skills. Help them understand what credit really is, how to balance a checkbook, why it’s important to budget and live within one’s means, and that instant gratification or impulse buying doesn’t result in happiness. This can be started at an early age. Otherwise, they can lose whatever motivation and discipline they may have had. You may unwittingly be sending the message that ‘you’re not capable or competent’.
At times, financially dependent adult children may also have mental health issues including anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Anything that feeds the sense of powerlessness will worsen these problems.
It’s never too late to instill financial independence in your adult children. It may, however, involve a series of painful conversations and decisions. Taking control of the situation may feel less daunting when a trained mental health professional guides you through the process. It is possible to help your adult child to become independent of your financial purse strings, without alienating him or her. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment, so we can get your family back on track.
Read more on my website: Am I a Good Parent?