Human beings appear to have more trouble with the transition of their young into adult behavior than other species. It is common for humans to struggle with a great deal of distress in the process of getting their adult children to behave like adults. Most parents, as well of their off spring, do not understand why it is so difficult.

We want our adult children to be independent, but we don’t want them to do their own thinking. We want our adult children to clean up after themselves, but we ultimately do it for them. We want them to be financially wise, but we are quick to see that they don’t experience the consequences of their own financial choices. We want our adult children to be responsible, but we keep right on handling their responsibilities for them, (often as we remind them of their short comings and lack of capacity).

Many parents are a perfect example of confusion, they speak one reality they say they want and they act out another reality, they say they don’t want, never seeming to realize that actions always speak louder than words. This leaves one to wonder, do they want the adult child to be independent as they claim, or do they want them to be somewhat dependant so they can keep them near or control their life? Could it be that they want both and just don’t know how to get it?

As an adult child holds onto their parent with one hand for security and pushes away from them with the other hand, for independence, he is as equally confuses, yet he has learned well that if he waits, complains and acts wounded or helpless long enough, his parents will respond by taking care of his needs and or responsibilities. If he gets dramatic enough, desperate enough or embarrassing enough, his parents will put a stop to it by taking him into their safe keeping and all he has to do is put up with their disapproval and complaining attitude and evaluation of him. Something inside go him feels justified, after all he is living up to exactly what they have expected of him.

He believes they don’t trust his judgment and he can keep getting services by proving them right. They believe he is incapable of making the right choices, taking care of himself or handling his life, so now all he has to do is act the part he believes they see him, as not necessarily in their words, but in their well meaning actions.

The confusion between love, caring, responsible and independence is blurred as emotional pain and discord in the family increases. The concept that “family” comes before anything else, before personal responsibility, before reason, and before logic, becomes the bondage that binds the players from recognizing that independence is not a loss of love, but a necessary requirement for a loving, joyful and healthy relationship.

Most parents want to know that their children are capable without them and will be fine if they are no longer in the picture, but they don’t know how to make that a reality.

Parenting is not easy. Children don’t arrive with an instruction manual. Millions of parents have this same challenge. You are not alone. You can ease the stress and confusion by getting some guidance to help the entire family. If you are self oriented, you can get it from a book. Parenting Teenagers by Don Dinkmeyer and Gary D. McKay, teaches the steps to adult behavior no matter what age the participants are.

Al-Anon meetings also teach about codependency. If you need more, there are great family council people, referred by Humboldt Co. Mental Health. You can get help and freedom, for you and your adult child.

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Kimbel, MsCD DTM, is a motivational expert, author, renowned public speaker and writer for several newspapers. To learn more about drug prevention, protecting your family and your way of life, visit