Tips for Parenting Your Adult Children

Parenting may seem like a balancing act at times. Things may get easier over time because you won’t be dealing with crying babies or piles of dishes, but there will be different parenting challenges. It may feel difficult to navigate your relationship with your adult child, but there are a few ways you can make that happen.

Talk About Next Steps

Make it clear that once your child completes high school, they are considered an adult and will need to take on more responsibility. While you may allow them to live at home, they shouldn’t be allowed to do their own thing all day. Many parents tell their children they need to be either working full-time, doing school, or balancing some combination of the two. This helps your child learn independence and know that they can’t expect you to support them for the rest of their lives. While you should encourage your child to be doing something productive, that does not mean you can never help them out. In fact, college can be very expensive for a young adult who may not have much in savings. You can help them out with the cost of tuition, books, or other expenses by taking out a low-rate private parent loan.

Have Them Pay Their Way

It’s common for parents to have their children pay for some of their expenses, especially if that child has a regular income and is able to pay for their share of the food, utilities, insurance, and other bills. You may give your child more freedom, like removing or extending their curfew, but you may have them take on more responsibility in return. You may have them go grocery shopping or cook meals. This also teaches them valuable life skills they will need if they live on their own at some point.

Having them start to make their own way also requires you to let them clean up after themselves. This means letting them pick up after themselves around the house, but it also means you should allow them to fail when they make mistakes. If they have not been careful with their money and now need a new car, it can be tempting to buy it for them. But this won’t teach them anything from their mistakes

Avoid Criticizing Their Parenting

If your kids have children and you don’t agree with their parenting, it can be hard to avoid jumping in when you see them making parenting mistakes. If you see them raising their kids differently than you did, it may be hard to avoid rushing in and critiquing them. If you do see them do something you really want to say something about, avoid doing so in front of everyone. Have a private, honest conversation about things. You can help them prepare for parenthood in other ways that don’t involve criticism and judgment so lean into those opportunities whenever possible to be involved without being unwelcome.

Create a Plan for Disagreements

Young adults are more willing to talk things out than when they were teenagers, and they are likely more willing to disagree peaceably. They may also see your point of view better than when they were younger because their judgment is better and they tend to be less impulsive. Still, that does not mean conflict will never arise, especially with everyone living under the same roof. If there is a disagreement, look for ways to dial things down. Listen to what they have to say without interrupting them. Then share your thoughts in a calm tone. If one or both of you is starting to feel agitated, take a timeout before returning to the subject. Giving yourselves time to think things over and allow your emotions to cool is just as helpful now as when they were younger.