How much ‘right’ do parents have to intervene in their children’s personal life?
Most relationship and family professionals advise parents to discuss topics that are critical to bringing up with their children as they grow and mature. However, a major downhill slope that occurs frequently within households of grown children and parents is the idea of not knowing boundaries and the unspoken rules of privacy.
Many parents slip into the habit of taking on the role of control and decision making when it comes to the lives of their children, and in some aspects advice is appropriate but more so than not it is vital to understand that the only person who has control over their life is the person themselves.
A recent UK study shows that over 60% of people age 18 up felt trapped in a hypothetical box that their parents have put around them.
In many ways, this discussion can be identified as fascinating because the fact of nature is that as children grow up their interpersonal values change when it comes to their relationship with their parents.
Trin Rainne, 19 years of age, shared her personal opinion on this topic saying;
“My relationship with my parents is difficult, to say the least. I come from a background of strong-minded individuals, so my upbringing was always scheduled to their wants and wishes”
“Now I am an adult my parents still don’t understand the concept of boundaries and it frustrates me to know that still, even at the age of 19, I have to ask permission to spend the night with my boyfriend, go out to parties and even at times be home by a certain time.”
The idea is not to stop supporting your children but rather advise them through life instead of control. With research and statistics here are the top 3 things parents should NOT talk to their children about:
1. Telling your children what they can and can’t do with the only reason being that in your eyes, they are not old enough.
Factually speaking if you are 18 you are an adult. Should you want to discuss certain issues, topics and events with your children, it should be structured and produced diplomatically to their psychological development. The main factor is to not ever communicate in a way that shows the parents to be venting and telling but rather instead to inform and guide them.
Research shows that 72% of adults prevent their children from doing certain things due to the fact they believe them to be too young, and this is for children of the age 18+. It is quite easy to view your children as exactly that, as children. This is because you have never known them to be anything but your babies. Many parents struggle to come to terms with the fact that everyone grows up and personal choices and decisions in that process are absolutely vital- even if you, as the parent, do not agree with them.
Sarah Ashford, a mother of 3 shared her thoughts on this:
“All my children are over the age of 18 now and the main thing I struggle with is boundaries. My main purpose is to protect my kids no matter what and so when I see something that makes me uncomfortable, I step in. This always leads to arguments and tension between me and my children because no matter how much I think I know best; it is still their own lives at the end of the day.”
2. Your own issues and problems especially when it comes to something you do not agree with within your children’s personal life.
The main misconception that anyone tends to take on is the concept of perception being a reality. The ideas and morals you believe are right, can be seen as wrong in someone else’s life. This idea correlates when it comes to relationships with your adult children.
Your issues, situations and opinions that keep you up all night, should not be passed onto your children and feed them new-found insecurity. In an Oxford study, researchers found that 41% of adult children felt uncomfortable approaching their parents with their personal life because they were afraid of the response given in return.
3. Using your children’s vulnerability against them when you don’t agree with their choices.
Of course, it goes without saying that blatant disrespect, illegal actions and down-right unacceptable behaviour are a good enough reason to take things away from your children if they’re living under your roof or using your inheritance to get by; however, using their vulnerability situation to get what you want is by far the most wrong action you could take as a parent.
What is meant by this is taking away support you have previously given to your child because you don’t agree in a decision, that they have made which would affect only their personal life. Threatening your kid with statements such as the stereotypical saying of “I put a roof over your head” to get your own way is an ignorant action to undertake; especially over issues that do not concern you as a person in any way, shape or form.
The main advice that is given to parents when it comes to the relationship with their children is to pick which spots to communicate wisely that would support rather than go against your Childs’ wellbeing. Being careful when it comes to talking to your children about more personal ideologies is vital, especially to avoid venting and driving them away from someone.
The job as a parent is to prepare and equip your children with the skillset and knowledge to be able to tackle the world day by day, to influence them with healthy thoughts and successful influence, not letting control or personal opinions get in the way.