Transcribed from my video at www.youtube.com/askvictoria.
Parents of adult children so often have a hard time letting go. Their expectations are dashed and they feel that they need to get in there and either save their adult kid or control the choices they make. The reality is that all this worry and control is making the parent lose site of their own life that they need to take care of.
I’d like to speak about parents being overly involved in their adult children’s relationships and in their lives. I get a lot of letters about parents concerned about their children who are no longer children but a man of 35 or a woman of 38. I letter about a woman of 30-something, addicted to drugs, and the writer didn’t want to see her on the street, asking what should I do? Or a gentleman emailed me a question about his son, and his wife is keeping him away from the family. Both extremely painful concepts. Number one, in both cases, the parents have no control over what their adult children are doing. Addiction is a terrible thing, and it is like a poison: anyone who touches it will be affected, so I know how hard it must be to imagine your daughter on the street. But I’m going to tell you, if you don’t put her on the street, you’re simply enabling her, and you’re giving her a place to use, and you are avoiding or staving off the bottom that she needs to hit in order for her to really wake up, on her own accord, whether she would like to be alive, on the planet, negotiating life, or not. And there’s nothing you can do, parent–hard as this is for me to say–to save her. You cannot save your addicted daughter. She has to save herself. The time for saving her was 0-10, 15 years old. She no longer needs saving. She needs to stand up and decide, I would like to be alive. I would like to be on the planet. I would like to experience life’s everythings.
(2:14) The other gentleman who emailed me, whose son does not have a relationship with his family because apparently his wife is pulling him away from his family. Well hello! Isn’t he deciding to agree with this woman? Isn’t he saying, OK, I am not going to be in a relationship with my family because you, partner, have asked me. Father, you can’t change that. You can say, “Please have a relationship with me. Please do not stay away from me.” But there must be an agreement there, and there’s nothing you can do to control. And you can be as concerned as you want, but that concern and that worry are hurting you. So, parents who are overly concerned about their adult children, what they are doing is not taking care of their own lives. And they’re using their children as a way to avoid dealing with their own lives. I want you to deal with your own life.
(3:05) I want you to deal with your own life. I want you to get busy in your life, and then that will probably create less of a worry in your system, and when that worry is lower, you’re going to be happier in life. And you know, you don’t own those kids. You gave birth to them, you brought them to the planet, you gave them what you could, and the various things that you gave them they are now taking and making their own lives. So I’m stating the obvious, but I cannot tell you how many letters I’ve gotten about concerns over adult children, and I just want to say, you’re compromising your own ability to live and grow and experience your latter years. Take responsibility for your own life; let your adult kid do their thing. If it doesn’t measure up to your expectations, oh well. You don’t have a right to have expectations over anyone but yourself. I’m being harsh but I’m being absolutely in line with what I believe to be healthy and good.
Victoria Lorient-Faibish MEd, CCC, RPP, RPE
Masters in Educational Psychology
Canadian Certified Counsellor
Registered Polarity Practitioner
Registered Polarity Educator
New Decision Therapy