Failure to Launch: Parenting Adult Children

Posted September 18, 2015 by

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Do you fear that down the road, your teenager won’t be motivated to take on adult responsibilities like moving out, finding a job or paying bills? Or is your child over 18 and still disrespecting the rules of your home?

You’re not alone! The topic of adult children is a popular one at Empowering Parents. As an Empowering Parents 1-on-1 Coach, I help parents struggling with adult children all the time — in the comment section of our articles, on social media, over the phone — you name it!

I find it helpful to start these conversations with a little insight into “why” such conflicts occur. Many times I point parents to Rules, Boundaries and Older Children, which gives a great overview with tips on enforcing the rules of your home.

I also highly recommend creating a Mutual Living Agreement. This document outlines the rules and expectations in your home, which need to be agreed upon by your child. Treat this like a contract — if the agreement is broken, you enforce the consequences.

If your situation has become uncomfortable or intolerable, don’t worry — there is more you can do. Check out 6 Steps to Help Your Adult Child Move Out for ways to help your bird leave the nest. Specific phrases, tools and techniques for asserting your authority can also be found in James Lehman’s Total Transformation. This best-selling behavior program comes with mini flash cards that have important reminders.

Remember, your financial responsibility ends when your child turns 18. At that point, anything you choose to provide is a choice. That’s right — a choice. It’s a magical word, isn’t it?

Take care,

Denise R., Empowering Parents Coach
Learn more about 1-on-1 Coaching

Quote of the Week! “Your adult child is not entitled to live in your home past the age of eighteen. It’s a privilege and you have every right to set the parameters. That’s always been your right — and always will be.” — Kim Abraham, LMSW & Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW


Denise Rowden is a parent of two teens: an 18-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son. She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and is currently working on her Life Coach certification from the International Coach Federation.

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