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An Expert Says This Book is a Great Resource for the Parent-Adult Child Relationship

The adult child relationship can get complicated.

By Lauren Tippetts

Today’s young adults live in a different world, and face different challenges, than their parents did. Dr. Liz Hale said it’s getting more common for parents of these young adults to still be raising them in adulthood. She aimed to help those parents strike the right balance when they find themselves in this situation. The source she found most helpful was this book by Jim Burns:



Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out“, $8.79

Liz said there just aren’t a lot of good resources out there for parents of adult children.

“You’re a parent to adult children far longer than you are a parent to small children,” she  emphasized.

Jim Burns proposes five different questions for parents of adult children to ask themselves, and Liz shared her insights on them as well.

1. Have you given your child the passport to adulthood?

Even if adult children are acting like adults, parents need to set the precedent and give their kids the passport to being an adult.

“You really are not in charge anymore, and you really have to give it over to them,” Liz underscored.

When adult children aren’t acting like adults, parents want to pull the reigns back, but Liz said that is not the solution.

“We have to let the reigns go,” she said.

2. Are you enabling dependency?

“This can be hard to self-diagnose, because parents really want to be needed,” Liz said.

A parent’s job is to prepare kids for the adult life, and then, just let them go.

“They are now responsible for themselves emotionally, socially, and financially. That’s saying to them, ‘I believe in you… I trust you,'” Liz emphasized.

3. Do you want it more than they want it?

You child’s virtues and values may not be the same as yours. When there is a disagreement about something, parents need to stay loving and accepting.

“You want to keep your arms and your home open because that adult child may fall, and they want to know that they can still come to you for advice,” Liz said.

4. Are you communicating on an adult level?

Liz emphasized that, “Unsolicited advice is always going to be heard as criticism.”

She said to agree with what is lovely in your heart, and leave the rest unspoken.

“Not everything in this world needs a comment,” she said.

5. Are your ready for the boomerang?

More adult children are living at home now than they have in 130 years.

“The biggest mistake families make is they don’t set the expectations, on both sides, before a child moves back in,” Liz said.

Parents need to be ready for the potential of a child moving back in and have those conversations sooner.

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