Retirement Life

Tue, 24 Apr, 2018Danielle McCarthy

“I still make my adult son’s packed lunch”

“I still make my adult son’s packed lunch”

Mother and business owner, Amanda, has confessed that she is still mollycoddling her son despite him being an adult.

“I know he's 23 but I still struggle to see him as properly grown up," Amanda Pampel told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“He's perfectly capable, but as soon as he came back I wanted to mollycoddle him."

Until her son Louis recently found a full time job, Amanda and her husband David supported him financially.

They still don’t charge him rent and she makes him a packed lunch every day for work.

"I know he could do it himself but it's just a nice thing to do," she said. 

Amanda knows that she is spoiling her son, but Louis is happy with the arrangement.

Clinical psychologist Dr Chirag Gorasia says that there are benefits for practising tough love as a parent rather than just giving them endless amounts of support.

"The concept of parenting has changed and both parents and children now find it difficult to let go," said Dr Gorasia.

"Financial support can often mean a better quality of life for young adults. However, it can also mean that children end up less able to cope with challenges, as they've not had much experience of resolving their issues independently."

In The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health medical journal, an opinion piece suggested that adolescence now lasts until the age of 24, increasing from the previous age of 19.

This shift coincides with high rent, fewer jobs and an increase in the median age for first marriages.

Experts agree that it is vital for parents to set boundaries if their children move back into the family home to save for their future.

"Having your children home again can be rewarding as you all develop a more adult relationship," said psychotherapist Ellie Roberts.

"But most parents know that the appropriate developmental stage is for their children to move away from the home and establish themselves in relationships and work.”

Roberts believes that the toll of modern education on children encourages helicopter parenting.

"Education has become stressful for children and parents tend to compensate by offering a kind of butler service," she said.

However, Roberts says that once their children’s education is over, parents need to learn to let go.

Roberts also suggests to not keep tabs on your children on social media.

"It has blurred the boundaries," she said.

"If parents aren't careful, their anxiety about what their children are up to can drive them into becoming voyeurs. It can also lead to parents assuming they are 'friends' when it's more developmentally healthy for children that their parents remain parents.

"Being supportive isn't the same as over-involvement," Roberts said.

What is a bad idea, she explained, is "enmeshment – when the young person finds it difficult to separate and is constantly either appeasing the parents or rebelling against them."