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The parent-child relationship evolves over time. We tend to think that once an adult, a child no longer needs help from his parents. This is not always true. But to help your adult child, the approach is not the same as when he was a child. Here are five tips from parenting coach Jeffrey Bernstein.
When your children grow up, we no longer intervene in their lives in the same way and that is normal. With age, children gain autonomy and confidence, they are free to make their choices.
However, they may occasionally need their parents’ help and it is essential to respond to this while maintaining “healthy boundaries”, as recommended by Jeffrey Bernstein, a parenting coach interviewed by Psychology Today. He reveals five tips for parents in this situation.
Give advice without stigmatizing
As a parent, we can be hurt to see our child failing, whether in his studies, in finding a job or even in the face of a romantic disappointment. However, although we want the best for our children, it is essential to understand that they must chart their own path and have their own experiences. It can be difficult for some parents to find the right place to adopt, by giving the best advice to their offspring, without restricting them. The coach therefore recommends giving advice, if your child asks you, without stigmatizing their behavior.
Providing support and practical help
For the help given to your child to be constructive, it must take different forms and not be reproachful. “It is essential to balance emotional support, encouragement to seek professional help and practical assistance.” advises the parenting coach.
To help them find work, for example, you can advise your child on their CV, encourage them to contact structures specializing in job searches and let them benefit from your professional network, if you have one. A.
Stay firm but not in control
By wanting to help your child too much, you risk falling into control of your life. “Parents are not puppeteers who can pull the strings of their adult children to control their choices” recalls Jeffrey Bernstein. On the other hand, he recommends, they can help them by providing them with beneficial and encouraging advice. He therefore advises all parents in this situation to remain firm but maintain a positive mindset.
Encourage the adult child to take charge
Encouraging the child towards autonomy strengthens his self-confidence and his motivation. Jeffrey Bernstein cites the example of a mother who helped her 27-year-old daughter find work. “EShe helped him identify his strengths and weaknesses.” notes the coach. By pushing her towards what she knew how to do, she allowed her daughter to “set small, achievable goals and celebrate your successes, no matter how small“. With the encouragement of her mother, the young woman began by volunteering in an animal shelter, before being recruited at the reception of the same shelter and finally studying for a diploma in venereal care.
Establish healthy boundaries
Finally, you can support your child, but you must keep in mind that it is impossible to solve his problems. “Encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and decisions“reminds the parental coach, because it is not possible to bear your child’s difficulties in his place. Finally, concludes the specialist, “Remember that each individual is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting an adult child in difficulty”.
According to him, the keys to moving forward peacefully are a good dose of patience and empathy, combined with the desire to adapt to overcome these difficulties and work with him for a better future.