What is Enabling?

What is Enabling?
You enable your adult child when you do something for them that they are capable of doing for themselves and should be doing for themselves. As a parent, it is natural to protect and care for your child. However, there is a transition that should take place beginning in your child's pre-teen years that allows your child to become gradually less dependent on you.

Drug use during adolescence negatively impacts brain development, causing delayed emotional growth. Adults that have used drugs or alcohol during their formative years can behave much more like a young teen in terms of emotional control and decision-making.

When your adult child behaves like a pre-teen or teen, it is a natural parenting instinct to try to protect them, care for them, and make decisions for them. When you do for your adult child things that they should be doing for themselves, you rob them of the opportunity to learn and grow. Even though they are behaving like a child, they don't like being treated like a child and may become resentful towards you for treating them that way.

Shame, Guilt, and Worry 
Parents of children suffering from drug addiction live in constant worry about what could happen to their child. You may also feel that somehow their addiction is your fault.  These emotions can lead you to enable your child.  
There is often a fine line between making wise decisions regarding your child and falling into unhealthy enabling behaviors. That's why you may need to see a therapist. They can help you sort through your feelings and recognize inappropriate enabling behaviors. A family recovery coach can also help you navigate some of the difficult decisions you face.
How to Stop Enabling
To stop enabling, you have to first become aware of the signs. Has your adult child been living with you for an extended period of time? Do you pay their bills and make excuses for them when they miss appointments? Have you ever bailed them out of jail? These are enabling behaviors.
Self-care, along with support from a family recovery coach and peer support group will go a long way in helping you to find the strength to stop enabling your addicted child.

Are you stuck in enabling behaviors that are contributing to your child's substance use disorder? Don't feel guilty if you are. This is a problem that most parents struggle with. To learn more about enabling behaviors and how you can conquer them, subscribe to my newsletter today.

Author: John Smith
Darryl Rodgers is a family recovery coach, speaker, and author.

You can find out more about Darryl Rodgers here:


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