• 17 Feb - 23 Feb, 2024
  • Mag The Weekly

Transformative strategies for supporting your adult child through challenges.
Witnessing your adult children face challenges in areas such as college failures, employment problems, relationship instability, or mental health issues can evoke a deep sense of helplessness and frustration. Parents' desire to provide support and guidance clashes with the realisation that their adult children must navigate their paths, making it difficult for parents to strike a balance between offering assistance and allowing independence. Parents are not puppeteers who can pull their adult children's strings to control their choices. Yet, they can engage their adult children with a healthier mindset to increase self-care while providing positive guidance.

Constructively helping your struggling adult child requires a nuanced and multifaceted approach. It's crucial to balance emotional support, encouragement for seeking professional help, and practical assistance. Amongst the suggestions below, open communication, understanding, and reducing the stigma around mental health is particularly important.
The five strategies below form the foundation of becoming that all-important calm, firm, and non-controlling emotion regulation coach for your struggling adult child. It would be helpful to consider the following suggestions as a supportive mindset versus a strict formula or script.

1. Promote self-empowerment and independence
Encourage your adult child to take an active role in addressing her challenges and finding solutions. Helped them identify their strengths and capabilities, fostering a sense of empowerment. This may involve setting small, achievable goals and celebrating their successes, no matter how minor.
Encouraging self-empowerment can boost their confidence and motivation.

2. Establish boundaries and self-care
While providing support, it's essential to maintain healthy boundaries. Recognise that you cannot solve all of your adult child's problems or carry the entire burden for them. Encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Additionally, emphasise the importance of self-care for both, you and your chil

3. Connect with support networks
Encourage your adult child to build and maintain a support network outside of the family. Friends, support groups, or mentors can provide different perspectives and additional emotional support. For example, you can help arrange for someone to help your child explore options for a specific career. This will help the adult child to feel part of a potential new community. This can also help reduce feelings of isolation.

4. Monitor progress and adjust strategies
Regularly check in with your adult child to assess their progress and adjust your support strategies accordingly. Due to how our brains are wired with a negativity bias to quickly see threats, we tend to overlook those all-important personal victories. Recognise that overcoming challenges is a dynamic process, and what works at one point may need modification as circumstances change. Stay flexible and adaptive in your approach, considering the evolving nature of progress over their struggles.

5. Educate yourself on relevant issues
If you become aware of your child struggling with an issue, take the time to educate themselves on those issues. This will help you understand the nature of the child’s struggles. The knowledge you will gain would also reduce your misconceptions and contribute to creating a more supportive environment for your child.