7 Ways To Deal With Adult Children Who Make Poor Decisions

Stand strong. Love powerfully.
By Julie Baumgardner
August 3, 2022

As you were raising your children you emphasized the importance of treating each other with respect, making wise choices and doing the right thing. So, why do your adult children make poor decisions?

Seriously, let’s be honest. As a parent, it’s sometimes hard not to experience anger, perhaps some guilt and even resentment toward your grown children when you watch them repeatedly treat you or others disrespectfully, make poor decisions with money or their career, or make poor choices in general.

You may even question where you went wrong as a parent…“How could this child have grown up in our home and be making life-altering decisions that are affecting them AND the lives of their loved ones and friends?” you ask yourself over and over again.

☆ While you might be initially tempted to swoop in and rescue, take a deep breath and keep reading.

Before you beat yourself up and allow guilt to invade your mind, stop. It’s highly likely you did everything you could to help prepare your child for adulthood. Questioning every decision you made as a parent isn’t helpful for anyone. 

Here are some ways you can still be a guide for your grown child and give yourself peace of mind – even if they’re making poor decisions.


If you have a voice at all in your child’s life, now would be a good time to ask to have a conversation with them. As the parent of an adult child, how you approach this conversation can make the difference in whether or not you’ll be afforded the opportunity to continue to speak into their life. BEFORE you have this conversation, process through your own emotions in order to be as unemotional as possible while you’re talking with them. Also, think about what really needs to be said.

This should not be a lecture or interrogation. Ask them about what they’re trying to accomplish. Express your concern for what you see them doing or how you see them behaving. You might be able to offer wisdom, suggest other people for them to talk with, or resources to assist them in getting back on track. Avoid fixing it for them

Set boundaries.

Regardless of whether you’re able to have a conversation with your child, if you’ve not already set very clear boundaries for them, now is the time. Sometimes parents feel like they’re being unloving when they do this. In reality, the exact opposite is true. This is one of the most loving things you can do to help them move forward in a healthy way. Consider boundaries such as: 

  • You’ll not tolerate being treated disrespectfully, so if they can’t be respectful, they can’t be in your home. 
  • If they’re dealing with addictive behavior, you’re willing to help them get the help they need, but you won’t support their habit.1
  • They won’t be able to access your money, even if something were to happen to you.
  • Giving them money to bail them out of financial mistakes will not be possible.  
  • Taking responsibility for their behavior in any way won’t happen.
  • Moving back home is not an option. OR if moving back home could be an option, it wouldn’t happen without a contract in place about what will happen while they are at home and a move-out date set. A warning: if you choose to let them move back home, even with a contract in place, it could be very difficult to get them out.

Avoid enabling.

No matter how old your child is, your role as parent never stops, but it does change. When they’re adults, you’re more the coach or advisor on the sidelines, not their manager. It is incredibly painful to watch your children make poor decisions and not swoop in to fix it. Unless you want your 30, 45, 50-year-old child expecting you to continue to make everything alright for them, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT enable them by taking responsibility for their actions. Don’t confuse enabling with loving your adult child.

Don’t cave.

This may require you to pull together a group of trusted friends to support you and help you stay strong. We love our children. Following through on our commitments to keep the boundaries that are in place and not rescue them can feel so unloving. It just goes against everything in us as parents. Yet, standing strong and following through with what you said you would do is actually the most helpful thing you can do for your child to encourage movement in a healthy direction.

Manage your emotions.

Parenting adult children who make poor decisions can be like a roller coaster ride. One minute you think you are making progress and the next day you are in the pit again. It’s tempting to let them have it, but don’t. You do need to be able to process your emotions, but don’t do it with your child. Talk with a trusted wise friend or seek out counseling. Let the tears flow, put words to the disappointment, anger and resentment you feel, grieve what you thought would be that is not, and make a plan for how you will continue to live as fully as possible even in the midst of your adult child living in turmoil. This is vital.

Don’t let their behavior put a damper on your love for them.

Sometimes it’s hard not to take your adult child’s behavior personally as though they are doing it just to get back at you. While that is possible, it isn’t necessarily true. They still need to know there is nothing they could do to make you love them more or love them less. Your love for them isn’t conditional.

Live your life.

When people ask you how you are, in your heart of hearts, you feel like you are only doing as well as your children are doing. At some point, we have to separate our adult child’s behavior from ourselves and choose not to let them rob us of all of our joy in life. I’m not saying we don’t grieve. What I am saying is, we don’t allow it to consume us.

It’s funny—as our children move from one stage to the next, we think to ourselves, “Wow, I’m glad we are past that.” believing the next stage will be easier only to find out the current stage has its own set of unique challenges. When we finally believe we’ve arrived at a place where our adult children can function on their own, we find even this season of parenting has its own set of challenges, especially because they can do so much damage that is completely out of our control, but we can be impacted immensely by it. 

Being the parent of adult children who make poor decisions or behave badly is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and tenacity to do what you know is in their and your best interest. Stand strong. Love powerfully. And, in those moments when you are weak and deviate from the plan, give yourself some grace, get back up and keep putting one foot in front of the other. 


1Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation. (2018, August 24). Boundaries in Addiction Recovery. 

2Smith, K. (2018, March 14). What Is the Difference Between Supporting and Enabling? PsychCentral. 

Image from Unsplash.com

Was This Helpful?

Thoughts? Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Really very sad to see you advising parents to not let their adult children move back in with them (or only allowing it with a contract and a move out date.) Often, moving back in may be the very best thing. I see no shame at all in sharing a home with parents.

    • Mitchell Qualls
      Mitchell Qualls says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. We greatly appreciate the feedback. This piece was specifically written for those who are dealing with adult children making poor decisions which put them in precarious circumstances. There are certainly seasons where it would make sense for an adult child to move back home – recently graduated and looking for a job, selling a home and saving for a larger one, trying to decrease debt, and caring for an adult parent in need. However, for an adult child who consistently makes poor choices and uses their parents as the fallback, that is not healthy for the adult child or the parents. Enabling them to continue the cycle of poor decision making does not help them gain stability and become healthy.
      I hope that helps clarify the intent behind this piece.

      • Michele laws
        Michele laws says:

        I completely agree. I’ve watched several people continue the abuse cycle by falling back on their parents. I’ve also seen people who didn’t have that option go threw the same cycle but not for long because the missing link was the fall back so there for they didn’t have a choice but to be better and make better choices. They did just that.

      • Stella
        Stella says:

        I think reading your advice I have made a poor decision in enabling my 37 year old son to move back with his 7 year old son to pay nothing and expect me to look after his son. My other son is upset about the situation as the continued taking attitude is messing up my life. Therefore you are right in some ways though I felt I had to give help.

      • Charity
        Charity says:

        I totally agree with you I went through and I allowed my child to move back. It was the worst mistake ever please let’s take care of ourselves be strong parents.

    • Jennifer Parker
      Jennifer Parker says:

      Obviously you have never had an adult child who is making poor choices move back home. My son has moved back home twice and each time is was a very trying time. He was very disrespectful of me and my other younger children. Did not respect my house rules that my younger children followed. Didn’t help around the house. Slept all the time. Wouldn’t go to work. Would help with bills. Expected me and others to do everything for him. He was rude and hateful. Couldn’t talk to him about anything without him blowing up. He is currently living with my Adult daughter who is now dealing with the the same issues. He just lost his job because he wouldn’t follow the rules, very argumentative and disrespectful to authority. Been arrested for drug paraphernalia. He doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset! This article actually had really good information and I think can help many parents who struggling with what to do. Tough love is hard. That’s why it is called tough love. I love my son more than he can imagine, but it’s time he gets his life together and I refuse to baby him. I saw what happened to my cousin and how he’s turned out at 50 and he still can’t get his life on track. My aunt made excuses for him all his life and tried fixing everything for him instead of forcing him to be accountable for his choices and facing the consequences to his poor choices! I refuse to fail my child that way. He deserves better then that.

      • Brandy
        Brandy says:

        I agree!! It’s one of most difficult choices, but it’s the only choice when they don’t follow rules at home nor in society.

      • Belinda Morielli
        Belinda Morielli says:

        Jennifer, I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been through the same thing with my son and it’s so hard. I had to stop all contact with him because of his behavior and it’s killing me. I just don’t know what to do anymore. We are moving to another state and I hate to leave without speaking to him.
        I’m working on setting health boundaries. Best of luck !

      • Tracey
        Tracey says:

        Hi Jennifer. I’m in the same situation. My son is 31does not live at home but keep asking for money and my other 2adult children will not speak to me so I miss out on my other grandchildren I am on my own so it’s hard no friends either

    • J
      J says:

      I agree with the author of the article. Been there and done that, having adult children move in. No no no!!! No! Don’t do it!

    • Phil
      Phil says:

      Suzanne, with all due respect, I’m guessing you have never felt first hand the pain of dealing with an adult child who, for whatever reason lacks the essential skills for surviving in the world today. My wife and I are in our seventies and trying to provide those skills to our adult son who is almost 50 yrs old. We are desperately searching for answers which has brought us to websites such as this. People like Mitchell Qualls are a Godsend to all the parents of adult children who find themselves in a living Hell every day of their lives.

      • Catherine
        Catherine says:

        Thank You All! I have allowed my adult daughter 48 yrs and my 20 year old granddaughter move back in for several times and every time it was hell! Disrespectful, they scream and call each other names, my daughter is spending her money on something cause she has moved been evicted last 15 years about 15 times. I cannot take it anymore or I will end up in the hospital cause it has caused so much stress. They are basically homeless right now & begging me literally to let them stay until they find another place.
        This has helped me immensely to read what your all going through and it helps me stay strong.

      • Janey
        Janey says:

        Phil, I am so sorry you and your wife are going through this! Now is the time for you and your wife to be enjoying your time. Maybe you could think about putting him in a group home. I don’t know the ins and outs on how you can do this but I would definitely get him some place where you can live out your life in harmony. Good Luck to you both!

      • Lala
        Lala says:

        Sorry but that’s all on you! You made him this way now you are paying th price into your old age
        And your son never had a real life of his own
        You are enablers

      • Lisa
        Lisa says:

        I live with my fiance and his 50 year old stepson. His stepson does work and does give his dad money. But if his dad asks him for help such as the decorating he just tells him no and whatever his dad does is fine it will see him out. His stepson has never changed a lightbulb he proudly told me this. His dad asked him to empty the vacuum cleaner out when he has finished using it once and he accused his dad of having a go and making a big deal out of it. He never helps his dad in the garden or helps with any housework. When he is off work he sits in his room all day watching his TV. Myself and my fiance work also I am 52 and my fiance is 70 this year. I am seriously wondering what the future is going to be like. Only recently with the cost of living crisis our electricity has gone up. If I am off work I keep the TV off. My fiance said he is going to have a shower every other day and his son can start doing the same. His son just told him he can’t do that. My fiance wouldn’t stand up to him and jokingly told him he needs to spend less time in the shower. Instead of putting his foot down my fiance backed down. His son even told me once he has no intention of leaving home because he is here and doesn’t have to pay rent or a mortgage, worry about buying furniture, washing machine, cooker, paying for his gas and electric bill, water,. Council tax and all the other responsibilities of having a home. I did mention this to my fiance and he said nothing at all. There is no way I would of been like this when I was living at home I left home at 18 and stood on my own two feet through thick and thin even on my own with two daughters who have lived independently for a long time now. I am getting frustrated with the situation now and starting to wonder what things are going to be like in the future but my patience is wearing thin.

  2. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    This article gave me strength when I felt like I was falling apart. Trying to deal with an adult child with addictive behaviors is so painful but your advice gave me guidance and support.

      • Leticia vasquez
        Leticia vasquez says:

        For the past seven years my son who is 36 years old about to be 37 in Jan has a mental problem along with anger issues . He does live alone I live one state he lives in another. But I am the one who suffers he refuses help I have gone to him try to get him help doesn’t work he lashes out to I and my husband and his sisters now even to his grandmother when he is upset thru the phone . I even started to question myself what did I do wrong . But I am extremely mentally exhausted . This morning I woke up and google a question and this came up and I have to say it does help because I can’t live at peace I am always worried about him he is consuming my life . When ever I do something for me I feel guilty that I feel happy but he isn’t . I wish there was a place I can go to just to talk get advice besides a counselor which I tried already just to get my mental health back so I can be at peace . Thank you but this really helps

  3. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    I am very grateful to be affirmed in my decisions to deal with my feelings about my adult daughter. I have been advised by friends of very long -standing to ‘step back’ and accept she must be responsible for her life choices. It is hard for me to maintain my own principles and identity because I felt guilty in withdrawing help, especially financially. I had to acknowledge that it was not helpful in the long run and would be counterproductive if I got into financial difficulty too. Bit by bit I have clawed back giving my time, money, loaning my car and providing food. I can still do these things but when it suits me. I feel better about myself, setting boundaries. You are spot on.

  4. Becky
    Becky says:

    Thank you so much for your advice. As adoptive parents of a 12 year old who is now 34, we have done everything you mentioned here. In our family’s case, helping has never helped. He’s just got to figure it out. I believe we are also dealing with some childhood baggage he brought in from parental abandonment & foster care. Our faith and family have sustained my husband and me, yet there are still times we want to just run away and hide under a rock. BUT GOD brought this child into our life and He will continue to give wisdom to us as we guide our son.

  5. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    My son 36 we haven’t seen him in 5 years . He chose his wife. Now divorced. My son is alcoholic . Bad family fight his wife was hitting me my husband stop it . Our when to rehab for short time . Don’t know where he at . So now I’m trying to find him . After 5 years
    How do I get my husband from being so angry? What should he read to help with anger?

  6. ELVA Gaytan
    ELVA Gaytan says:

    Thank you for this article. It has helped my husband and myself. We have 30 year old adult son, Daughter 19 yr old and an 11yr son. Our daughter is the one making so many mistakes. Our son never did a quarter of what she has done in our home and to us.
    If you have never experienced an adult child making poor choices. You do not know how it feels.


  7. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    My wife and I are now dealing with a 30+ year old Son who is now without a home after spending the previous 18 months living at his girlfriend at her dad’s place in a trailer… Receiving government assistance, working odd jobs on the side etc… You would think it allowed them to save some money…No ! Not a dime…Now he’s putting the lean on us ! He doesn’t seem to understand he should be self sufficient ! He will spend a buck as fast as it comes in …treating himself to sandwiches and coffee for example when he should be more thrifty… I’m not even getting half into the story…WTF

  8. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Wow I just did the very thing that I have been warned in this article not to do and that’s enable my adult daughter by bailing her out of a financial situation again I have been looking online for help seeking some good advice and this article was exactly what I needed to hear I know it is not healthy to continue to bail someone out of something that’s their own responsibility you know it they know it but she has a lot of struggles in more areas than just money I will be seeking additional help like maybe a support group thank you so much and I hope everyone can move forward and find someone who understands who can help you through when you feel tempted to enable again May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our lord amen

  9. George
    George says:

    I’m dealing with my 21 year old daughter doing this to our family right now. I feel everything that I’m reading and everything that others are saying. She gave marijuana to our 16 year old and then tried to excuse it away as “I started when I was 16, so why not?” She’s in college and doing ok, but this past year of the ‘rona seems like it’s been an extremely tough time for her… sorry if this is all over the place, that’s how my mind is. The college year ended (she was living on campus). She moved back in with us for less than a month and all this stuff came about. Then we went to counseling and more came out. Currently, she’s out of the house living with friends because of the bad decisions and “threat” she said that “we’ll see if the 16 year old will be nice to us” It was a real eye opening statement. I don’t know how to cope with what we’re doing. I understand that it’s for the best, but my parents are trying to get involved and are making me feel guilty and making it my wife’s fault and how can their perfect princess be wrong. They’ve never made it easy to parent her because any issue was always someone else’s fault… I mean a big “DUH” on the whole lack of accountability thing that’s going on with her now. Again, I apologize for the craziness of this post. I know you said to manage it, but how can I do all this without letting it consume me? It’s definitely how I feel…

  10. Diane
    Diane says:

    I’m glad I found this website. My situation is my 31 yr old son is living at home with me, he is an addict and he’s never lived on his own, worked a job or been sober more than 6 months. he’s been to treatment numerous times, comes back home and the cycle starts again. I am obviously the one making the decision to let him come back each time, can’t put him in the street, at this point he has no friends and although we have family, he has stolen from everyone and cannot be trusted. What I think is help has turned into enabling at its worst.

    Our agreement was if he uses drugs he must go to rehab or leave. We are waiting for admission.

    Thank you for your advise and comments.

    • April Thompson
      April Thompson says:

      I can completely relate to your situation and feel your pain. I have a 20 year old son who acts and treats out family the same as you described. He’s been in 3 drug/alcohol rehab centers, NUMEROUS jail visits, 3 and a half years in prison….and is in jail AGAIN. We are waiting on a court date right now. He is facing 10 years in TDC AGAIN. My heart hurts, broken and TIRED. I’m at my wits end….My health is deteriorating daily. I can’t keep living this lifestyle. It isn’t healthy!

  11. Jill
    Jill says:

    Our situation is that our 26 years old daughter – straight A student, college graduate, professional – who has never given us cause for worry, has told us she has fallen out of love with her husband of less than 3 years (but boyfriend for 5 years before marriage), and has began an online affair with a man she recently met in person, she wants to leave her husband and their 1 1/2 year old to pursue the new relationship (believing the new boyfriend will leave his wife and kids and move many states away to be with her. Crazy, we know.). Her husband is a saint, nobody will ever understand why she is doing this and she has told him this is her intent and he is willing to forgive her. However, she cannot afford to move out of her marital home and take on her own house payment or rent. We have refused to allow her, along with her baby half the time, to move back in with us because we are not going to endorse this terrible choice and make it easy for her. If she is going to leave her husband, she has to be able to leave her husband. Your article has helped immensely. After many weeks of tears and trying to convince her this will likely be the worst decision of her life (which I see now I should not have done), I have given up and accepted that she and her husband are adults and need to make their own decisions and live with the consequences. And this is not my fault, we raised her well.

  12. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    We are so grateful for this information. Our 23-year-old son recently came out as transgender. He has never in his life shown female tendencies so we were shocked and heartbroken by this announcement. It has nothing to do with our own beliefs, just that we saw no evidence of it growing up and fear that he is making a misguided decision. The politically correct answer right now is to support all transgendered youth and of course I would not condone any mistreatment of them. However, we have been unable to find support for our own heartbreak and confusion simply because we disagree with his decision. This article is good advice and we are passing it along to other family members who are struggling as we are.

    • H
      H says:

      Contact pflag, an organization for the parents of gay and transgender people. You should find a lot of support there. Good luck.

  13. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    I have a 23yr old daughter who was always quiet suffered with depression but was always so caring and close with her family and never asked for anything. She got involved with a guy who apparently never wanted a relationship with her just use her. The guy had charges while he was with my daughter for raping another girl. Everyone told my daughter how bad this guy was but she believes everything he says. She eventually moved out of our home without a warning just so this guy could stop by at his convenience and she didn’t like how we hassled her about how bad he was. Her personality slowly started changing, he was awaiting his sentence and decided to hide at her place making her feel bad saying he was going to kill himself if he went to jail. My daughter is a very empathetic person and seemed to take on this caretaker role because she was obsessed with him. She completely pulled away from family and friends and wouldn’t let anyone in her apartment. Her family tried everything to help her get out of the situation which her friends told us turned abusive and his heavy drinking and went through all her money, lost both her jobs, she didn’t leave her apartment for over a month and a half, her friends were extremely concerned. The cops were called and the guy jumped out the window and after a fight and a chase they arrested him. The condition we found my daughters apartment in and mental condition were devastating to us. Her friends had multiple texts from her saying how she wanted to kill herself, although she’s defended him! She was admitted for the first time to the mental health unit , lost everything including her apartment. He clearly has brainwashed her against the family . She living back at home and he’s in jail. She hasn’t made one healthy change since she’s been home, barely works hasn’t paid her car lease , very disrespectful, blames her family, lies to family to borrow money to send him and to talk to him. The problem is the car lease is in my name she hasn’t paid the payments , insurance, has $150 in ezpass violations, and parking tickets and I found out she lied and drove 5 hours one way to visit him in jail despite all the money she owes to family members. She continues to drive the car and says she’s 23 yr and it’s her car I can’t take it from her. I just need some advice how to handle this , she does go to counseling clearly not helping.I’m so devastated this isn’t who she is even her friends say she’s not the same person. My heart is so broken I tried to give her such a good life, I’m so physically ill over it. It hurts to because we use to be so close I feel like every decision I’ve made so far isn’t a good one. I want to take the car which her sister has been paying the bills on it but I’m so scared she’ll move out and end up on a worse path.🥲😞

    • Jane
      Jane says:

      YOU need to get a counselor to help you see that you are not and can not help her until she is ready. Take the car. She will probably move out but staying there is only hurting her anyway.

  14. Ellie
    Ellie says:

    There is a lot of pain and grief when a son or daughter grows up and refuses to live life on life’s terms. The Alanon Family Groups is a fellowship of relatives and friends who have been profoundly affected by the common problems of drug and alcohol or mental challenges that can devastate the family system.. Please visit your local Alanon websites for a meeting near you…it has changed my life in so many great ways💕

  15. Ann
    Ann says:

    This article was extremely helpful to me and seems if it was written for me. I was a single mother who raised a daughter. She’s now 31 and decided she doesn’t want to be married anymore and will likely need to move back home. I am sure that I parented out of guilt because her dad was not in her life and I know I enabled her into early adult life. Whenever she got into financial issues, I would be there to help and fix. She’s been married a few years and she was doing good with saving and paying bills but decided to go back to college. She cut back her working hours to part time, but she also had some savings and her spouse was supportive. Being in college with 20-year-olds, has not been a good influence on her because her spending has gotten out of control. These young people are living with your parents and don’t have a lot of responsibility. I’m sure that my daughter is treating them because she has (well had) the money. I’ve never she’s also been spending a lot more money on clothing, getting her hair done nails done, tanning, etc. She has depleted her savings. Her bank account is still under my accounts so if I see it in the negative, I’m going to have to transfer money because I don’t want it to be reflective of me. I’m very disappointed in her decision making at this point in her life. I plan to sit down with her and set some guidelines for her moving back home temporarily. I will refuse to financially support her. I know that I have been an enabler because I’ve always been there to fix things for her. The best lessons I learned in life, I learned the hard way and I need to let her learn that way as well. I am also planning to tell her that she needs to pay me rent. She’s likely going to balk at this but my agreement will be that the rent will be used to pay back money that she has borrowed from me and then I will set it aside and if she follows through on paying her bills and saving, I will give that money to her when she is ready to move out. Neither of us want this to be a permanent situation. so I am not going to make it too comfortable for her to remain there by supporting her and allowing her to be irresponsible. I think that worrying about how she is going to react or perceive me has caused me to enable her. She is the one person who can hurt me more than anyone else with words and she will do so by attacking my parenting. I did not have a great childhood and I did everything to be a good parent to her. Was I perfect? Of course not, but it was the most important job to me so nothing else hurts the way it hurts when she says things to me. But I need to not take it personally, and demand respect when she’s in my home. Thank you for writing this because letting your child fail is the hardest thing to do no matter how old they get. But, I understand that it will also be the best lesson that I can give her.

  16. Itsme
    Itsme says:

    My 36 year old son is going through a divorce and custody case. I feel like I am experiencing PTSD as I help him through this, since I went through the same events with his mother. It was one of the most traumatic experiences I suffered through. My parents were divorced as well, and their parents before them.

    I don’t blame my parent’s for my poor adult decisions, but I do blame myself for my children’s poor decisions, and they blame me too.

    If I learned anything growing up, it was that I had to take responsibility for my own poor decisions. But, there was no choice, because my parents did not have the means to bail me out. I learned that hard lesson when I left home at 17, however, I continue to bail my adult children out, and so I can’t help feeling responsible for their poor decisions because I enabled them, I taught them not to take responsibility for their decisions. So isn’t their sufferings and truly my fault? I failed. I don’t think their is a book that convince me otherwise. I’m simply a case study for what happens when you don’t find resources like this, earlier. Me and my children are just a sad story. And now, my only motivation to stop enabling my son, is to protect my grandchild from learning the same and then repeating the cycle.

    I think my son has to suffer loss, because of my decisions, and I have to suffer watching it happen. “Sons pay for the sins of their fathers.” I hate myself for being me and how my poor decisions I affected others. All I can do now is learn to change and find a reason to ask for redemption I don’t deserve. I just think everyone would be better off without me and that I should suffer more instead of seeking an escape from it.

    I can only hope that continued suffering and admitting my sin earns forgiveness and a path to Gods good grace.

    I pray, anyone seeking out these resources, are finding it early enough so they and their loved ones have a happy life.

    • Jessica
      Jessica says:

      Re-read the article. It’s not your fault. You might see it that way but your son is an adult and can’t use you as an excuse anymore. We all make mistakes but your adult kid doesn’t get to use claim your actions as as reason for making poor choices. You know better now and can make a change. Focus on that. Don’t spend any more energy on feeling bad. It’s not helping anything. Turn the page. What can you do now and in the future. All the best to you.

  17. didi mcadams
    didi mcadams says:

    I am a single mom. I have some child support and make $28 per hour. I have some retirement and some child support until next year when my youngest moves out. I have 4 amazing children. Three of my 4 children have made wise college choices. One received an athletic scholarship, one naval academy and one still in the house is trying to get an associates degree while in high school for free before even starting college. The other is extremely smart and received some scholarship but chose a private school. I told her she may qualify for aid her first year but that is because that is when I first went through divorce and was only making 19k per year. Now that I cashed 70k out of my retirement to pay for a down payment on a house and pay all my divorce debt. And I got a certifcation to make more salary, I warned her that she he is not qualifying for much aid. I told her she will have to transfer to a state school after sophomore year. I also told her I am not going to fill out Fasfa because my situation is so complicated with Seperation/divorce, qdro, child support, three jobs, move and home purchase I told her I don’t have the mental energy to complete FASFA. I completed one form wrong and they contact IRS and said I had wrong income listed. I told them I filled that form out at 1 in the morning and was estimates from my attorney on what I was requesting from ex spouse. It was not an accurate amount of spending. This caused me so much time reconciling. I told her I don’t have energy to complete FASFA I spend all my time taking care of all 4 kids as best i can, trying to make a career change and trying to have a home for all to come home to. She refuses and now I am filling out FASFA and going through 8 million forms again. I love all my kids but dont know what to do. I know the college process is broken but it seems she is feeling entitled to go to a private school when it doesn’t make sense and causes me tons of stress and grief. Plus anything I am able to save they want me to give to her for college. I don’t want to do this because I have an unsteady future and can barely hold the three jobs i have. please give any advice you have. ty

  18. didi mcadams
    didi mcadams says:

    I am a single mom. I have some child support and make $28 per hour. I have some retirement and some child support until next year when my youngest moves out. I have 4 amazing children. Three of my 4 children have made wise college choices. One received an athletic scholarship, one naval academy and one still in the house is trying to get an associates degree while in high school for free before even starting college. The other is extremely smart and received some scholarship but chose a private school. I told her she may qualify for aid her first year but that is because that is when I first went through divorce and was only making 19k per year. Now that I cashed 70k out of my retirement to pay for a down payment on a house and pay all my divorce debt. And I got a certifcation to make more salary, I warned her that she he is not qualifying for much aid. I told her she will have to transfer to a state school after sophomore year. I also told her I am not going to fill out Fasfa because my situation is so complicated with Seperation/divorce, qdro, child support, three jobs, move and home purchase I told her I don’t have the mental energy to complete FASFA. I completed one form wrong and they contact IRS and said I had wrong income listed. I told them I filled that form out at 1 in the morning and was estimates from my attorney on what I was requesting from ex spouse. It was not an accurate amount of spending. This caused me so much time reconciling. I told her I don’t have energy to complete FASFA I spend all my time taking care of all 4 kids as best i can, trying to make a career change and trying to have a home for all to come home to. She refuses and now I am filling out FASFA and going through 8 million forms again. I love all my kids but dont know what to do. I know the college process is broken but it seems she is feeling entitled to go to a private school when it doesn’t make sense and causes me tons of stress and grief. Plus anything I am able to save they want me to give to her for college. I don’t want to do this because I have an unsteady future and can barely hold the three jobs i have. please give any advice you have. ty. Ohh and the reason I have probably enabled this selfishness is because she has severe anxiety so I tend to accommodate more than I normally would be cause she is frail

  19. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    Hi! My name is catherine and i am a 22 year old who just graduated from college and moved back in with my parents and i can completely say with self awareness that I have been a adult child to them and have definitely put my parents through a lot. Granted I did try to get my own independence by moving down to florida starting my masters and working at a diner to make some extra cash, however, I was living in my grandparents house, where sadly my grand-dad passed away recently so my parents moved into the florida house with me and it was insane amounts of stress. I feel like I understand being an adult child and i’m doing my best to break away, i’m looking for jobs, learning to stand on my own, but I hate feeling like im a burden and partially the reasons that I’ve made so many poor decisions and going back on what I want to do is because I’ve been trying to please them and not myself. I wish it didn’t feel like a house divided, supporting each other during that time is what we needed, but we didn’t know how to and so i can firmly say being an adult child is a no go.

  20. Grady Cummings
    Grady Cummings says:

    I’m sorry, my child we adopted we took him out of the hell he was from. We supported him and gave him everything now he’s turning against us and treating us like shit disrespectful stealing lying. He doesn’t tell the truth at all. He doesn’t do his chores he lies. He talks under his breath. He is a self-centered, liar. We need desperate help with tried counseling and mental health. In fact, he was in mental health when we first adopted him, and that sure the hell didn’t work at all if anything it made him worse.

  21. Karen
    Karen says:

    My 20 year old daughter is dating and plans to marry a 26 year old Ex-con and meth addict.He has given her HIV and currently is trolling the internet looking for new sex partners to introduce into their relationship and with just him. She was accepted to college but won’t sign up for classes, is in a dead-end job but won’t look for anything else. The good news is she lives on her own and pays her own bills and hasn’t asked me for money in a long time. I feel helpless and am not sure how to approach this situation. I see her life going down the tubes and I want to stop it but I don’t think I can. Any advise would be appreciated.

  22. Alicia Ortego
    Alicia Ortego says:

    Some adults are terrible at making decisions. We can’t make up our minds about simple things. We stress, worry, eight all the pros and cons constantly over-thinking things. So, in order to make it better for our kids, we should start teaching them decision-making skills now. Of course, not in an obvious way, but through games and activities. I actually have a collection of those here https://aliciaortego.com/teach-decision-making-skills/

  23. Feroza Barakzai
    Feroza Barakzai says:

    This article is helpful. I am saddened by the way my first son (26 years old) is behaving regardless of how much support we have given him. I am pulling away and tonight is the first night I have refused to pay to get his car fixed because he repeatedly goes back to his bad habits without a job and a single dime in his pocket. We have given him roof over his head (outside of our home), food, car, medical help including therapy so he can find a job and a path for healthy life. Instead he sleeps and continuously asks for everything. Every day is something new with over 100 times of calls and text messages. I am hurt, tired, and disappointed.

  24. Momof2
    Momof2 says:

    We let both of our children move back after college, on the condition they quadruple up on their school loan payments. My daughter did just that. She was not required to pay rent, etc. She got her first professional job, paid for her insurances, car, phone and she was always generous with help with house and yard and even picked up a few groceries. She paid off her loan in 2.5 years, started saving for a house. She lived at home from age 22-27. She bought her first home with a full 20% down, paid all of her closing costs. She is wrapping up her MBA, has tripled her starting salary and is planning to replace her 8 yo car with a new Benz. She is thriving on all fronts. Still single, but wanting to marry and have a family. Sadly, Dating is a wasteland.

    My son did not follow the same. He chose big ticket purchases and made a lot of excuses about paying his loan. His father failed to enforce the rules and I felt like if he was not going to fulfil what he agreed to, he should move out. He was not helping and could not even keep his room clean or laundry done. I rode him for being irresponsible and he finally moved out and in with his gf who was still living at home. That got old and within 6 months they had bought a condo. He overpaid and rolled the closing costs into his mortgage. He still owes on his student loan, choosing to take advantage of the pandemic forbearance….he is now engaged, with no call to us before or after. My daughter found out after a friend saw it on Facebook. He has a good job in the wealth planning industry. (Irony) He no longer even speaks to me. My daughter and I are not fans of his fiancé. (Long story). I wonder how two people raised the same way, turned out so differently.

  25. Pammy
    Pammy says:

    After reading the many comments on this article, I am so torn. My daughter has successfully launched, has a good job and lives on her own. But her personal life is a mess and has been for almost 3 years. She jumps from one negative relationship to the next, has had mental health issues, and I’m almost positive has begun turning to marijuana and hallucinogens. Getting horrible tattoos that she would have never considered until recently. I’m concerned and confused and upset, but she is an adult (over 25) and living independently of me, asks for nothing from us, so I feel I can’t speak on her personal life. But it’s breaking my heart to see her floundering, and I tend to get passive aggressive with her because I don’t know how to process my feelings. She claims to want to get married and have kids but every choice she makes takes her farther from that path and she seems unable to stop the negative spiral. I don’t see good things in her future. And I feel very powerless

  26. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    What about a situation in which adukt child’s poor decision is impacting their child. Do I try to save the child from her mother’s bad decisions?

  27. Mike
    Mike says:

    Great article. My adult son is a good kid, has a great job, makes a good living. But every once in a while he makes poor choices and gambles away money that he doesn’t have. He still pays his bills, but I wish he’d use the money he gambles with on something smarter – like paying down debt, increasing savings. Hardest thing for me is knowing that he’s making bad choices but biting my tongue.