When should you cut off your children?

With rising gas prices and unemployment at an all time high, many parents are making the decision to financially “cut off” their children.

A recent study by MetLife surveyed three generations to determine the appropriate time to allow adult children to fly on their own. The new study identifies the following generations as a part of the study:

1)    Baby Boomers (1946-1964) Ages 48-66

2)    Generation X  (1965-1976)  Ages 36-47

3)    Generation Y (1977-1990)  Ages 22-35

According to the research study, all three generations agree that supporting their children through college is sufficient. After college, it becomes the child’s responsibility to provide for him or herself.

A Huffington Post article reports, “”Young families are devoted to kids, whereas boomers have said, ‘you know I paid for their education, it’s time they take care of themselves,'” said John Migliaccio, director of research and gerontology for the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “The reality of retirement needs becomes more apparent for boomers because they’re closer to it.”

On the other hand, all three groups agree that if there is a crisis or tragedy that takes place in the lives of the children (including sickness, layoff, accident, etc.), it is necessary for family members to pitch in and support in the time of need.

So, the question is, “How much is too much?”

Can parents cripple their children by providing too much assistance? Yes. Balance is the key to proper development. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is one of the most difficult transitions of the human development process. When children are spoiled, coddled, and over-protected, they may ultimately face unhealthy dependency issues that will prevent them from developing into responsible adults.

How do you know if you are enabling your child to be dependent? (Enabling Behaviors)

1)    Do you worry about your child in ways that completely consume your time?

2)    Do you find yourself worrying about your child’s problems?

3)    Do you solve your child’s problems even though he/she can take care of them?

4)    Do you find yourself giving in to your child’s wishes even though it hurts you?

5)    Do you excuse your child’s behavior as stress or a mishap even though you are hurt by his or her actions?

6)    Do you feel that you may not be doing enough to help your child even though you have done everthing you possibly can?

7)    Are you overly protective of your child and feel that you are the only one that can help?

8)    Do you feel you are the source of your child’s happiness and they cannot find happiness unless you approve?

9)    Do you feel you are the only one that knows what is best for your child?

10) Do you feel that you are the only one that understands your child?

If you answered yes to more than three of these questions, it is possible that you are an “enabler” or you are in a “codependent” relationship with your adult child.

Parents can begin preparing children for college as early as middle school. It is important to ensure that your child is adequately developing in the following areas:

1)   Academically

2)   Financially

3)   Mentally/Emotionally

4)   Socially

5)   Morally

With the proper training and assistance, parents can help their children smoothly transition from adolescence to adulthood. However, some common mental health issues parents may want to be aware of in college students are listed below.

Top Mental health issues for students entering college:

1)   Depression

2)   Anxiety

3)   Eating Disorders

4)   Alcohol Abuse and dependence

5)   ADHD

If you or someone you know are struggling with your child’s transition from adolescence to adulthood, please contact a therapist that may assist you during this complicated time.

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Author: Jada Collins, MA, MS. Host of the Jada Show – Register Mental Health Counselor Intern | Author, International Communicator & Life Coach