Mary Pleshette Willis wrote an article over at More.com called Tapped Out: Supporting Adult Children. She talked about parents who are still supporting their kids out of college or who fail to put the reigns on handing out money like an ATM when their kids face hard times. Most of these parents were aware that they were doing too much. But, when it came down to it, they were not willing to let their children fall into subpar living conditions and in many cases, anything less then the [sometimes high] standards they had become accustom to at home.
In Ms. Willis’ article, she is talking about grown children in their 20s and 30s. But, what about beyond that age range? If continued support goes well into adulthood and middle age, when does it become too late say no, set limitations, and begin enforcing those limitations?
Not having any children myself, I can only imagine how hard it would be for a parent to stop providing a safety net for a child and what a tough start it would be for a child to stop relying on parents when the groundwork for independence had never really been laid. Sometimes this process is initiated by a guilt-ridden parent tormented by the hours spent working away from the child or some other event occurring during the kid’s early years. Sometimes the parent’s reign is so heavy that the child never develops the will or the desire to take care of his – or herself.
Many readers may not consider this scenario applicable because you do not yet have children or because your children are still children. But, for young parents, maybe now is the time to start practicing a bit of tough love. Maybe now is the time to start teaching your children to be self-sufficient… to want to be self-reliant.
I don’t know. Again, I don’t yet have children. But, it makes sense to me to start as early as possible.
What’s your take? Have you thought about these things when it comes to your children?