As a parent, you clearly want the very best for your child. However, when your children navigate into adulthood, the waters of parenting become murkier. Perhaps your adult child is still living at home and you fear they lack the drive you think they should have. How do you navigate these unfamiliar tides?

I want to assure you that you are not alone in your feelings. There are plenty of parents out there that are going through the same thing. With the current state of the world, finding motivation in the “adult world” can be difficult for those new to it, such as your child. I am here to help you figure out steps you can take if you have found yourself in a situation such as this.

Point out the positives

When you are worried and anxious about your child, it is natural to want to fixate on the negatives. In situations like this, however, it is vital to make sure that you are speaking from a positive place.

As a parent, your words and opinions mean a great deal to your child. If they are already in a fragile state, receiving criticism may make them shut down. Be sure you are being gentle with your child and let them know you are coming from a place of love.

Additionally, positive reinforcement is proven to be more effective than negative. When you begin highlighting the good things they are doing through praise and rewards, you will see much better and faster results.

Let them make their own choices

Once your child becomes an adult, your relationship will likely change from how it was when they were a child. No adult will respond well to being treated and controlled like a child. You can be firm and set boundaries with your child without being controlling.

For example, if your adult child lives at home without contributing to the household, try implementing ways they can add to the family. Maybe they will cook dinner for everyone twice a week or pay rent.

Be an example to your child

Just because you are a parent does not mean that your life stops. If you want your child to be highly motivated or to go after their goals, then you should set an example. Be sure that you are growing and learning throughout your life. It will inspire your child to do the same whether you realize it or not.

What is not helpful…

While there are plenty of things that are helpful in learning to motivate your adult child, there are also dozens of things that are not helpful. To reiterate the fact above, negative reinforcement does not work. To avoid this, try to not do any of the following to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with your child.

  • Forcing guilt: Guilt is not an effective motivation tool. Even if your adult child does not do everything just as you would, it does not make their actions wrong or bad.
  • Lecturing: Again, no adult wants to be treated like a child. As an adult, your child is beyond receiving stern, parental lectures.
  • Ignoring their feelings: You should never ignore or deny your child’s feelings. Becoming an adult is hard! Regardless of how you feel about their lifestyle, you should never ignore how they feel.

When it comes to parenting, there is no one right or wrong answer. As long as you are coming from a place of love and respect, your child will reciprocate. Family or individual therapy may also be a viable option for helping with your situation. I specialize in areas like this and would love to get to know you. Schedule an appointment with my office today!