Just Asking… (Are you stunting the growth of your adult children?)

Most parents want the best for their children. Many of them nurture their children to the best of their abilities and watch them grow through stages. If things go as planned, their children learn life lessons along the way and carry those lessons into adulthood. Their children may make mistakes, but because of their foundations, they learn from their mistakes and move forward.

 

Because of the investment many parents make in their children, some of them don’t know how or refuse to let their children grow up. During the first sign of struggle, they jump to the rescue. They continuously bail their children out of trouble, never allowing their children to stretch and grow. Instead of watching their caterpillars struggle to break out of the cocoons, parents break open the cocoons for them, thereby forfeiting their children’s chances of ever becoming butterflies.

 

Interestingly, parents who interfere in their children’s growing process think they are helping. They say they can’t bear to see their children experience discomfort so they do whatever they can to smooth things over. They are so focused on their children that they forget about themselves.

 

It may seem admirable for a parent to be so invested in his adult children’s lives, but if a parent operates on this premise, he will soon discover that instead of helping his adult child, he has stunted his growth. It takes wisdom to know when to offer help and when to back away and allow an adult child to find solutions to his own problems. It takes strength to watch an adult child struggle, knowing that struggle is not always bad. And it takes resolve to step aside when everything in a parent wants to make things better.

 

Take an honest look at your actions with your adult children. Ask yourself whether your “interference” is hindering them or helping them to move towards maturity. If they are making the same mistakes repeatedly and you keep bailing them out, your “help” just may be a hindrance. If this is the case, love them enough to step aside. Remember, it may be difficult to watch that caterpillar struggle, but if you refuse to open the cocoon during the struggle, that caterpillar could turn into a beautiful butterfly.

Books by Levon

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