Often parents feel guilty for past failures and allow an adult child to manipulate them and give in to unreasonable demands. But the fact is that you may be hurting more than helping. The more dependent your child becomes, the worse they will feel about themselves.

When you withhold funds, they may find the motivation they need to look for work. When they work, they begin to feel better about themselves. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a strategy for helping your child, then perhaps you need to talk to a pastor or counselor who can help you be objective. It’s worth the time and effort to get on a positive track. They need to see that you have their best interests in mind.

Should We Agree?

One of the first steps is seeking to understand the young person’s point of view. This requires a willingness to ask questions, and then to listen with a view to understanding what is going on in the mind of the child. This is a bridge that many parents find difficult to cross. Remember that we don’t have to agree with our children in order to affirm their ideas. It is such affirming realism that helps young adults mature.

Uniting with Your Spouse

If you are struggling with the behavior of your adult child, it is essential that you and your spouse talk with each other. When the two of you have agreed on a strategy, then stand by each other as you talk with your adult child. It is a united front, shared with love and firmness that convinces the young adult that he is at a crossroads in life. Your togetherness helps both of you to handle your frustration, and your marriage has a chance to grow stronger.

There are five love languages. What’s yours? Take the 30-second quiz .

Excerpt taken from Parenting Your Adult Child   by Dr. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.

To find out more about Gary Chapman’s resources, visit Five Love Languages.