Healthy boundaries: Why we don’t have to own the problems of others

Healthy boundaries: Why we don’t have to own the problems of others

Nope. It’s not. Even if you love them.

Moms in particular seem to have trouble with healthy boundaries: both their own and those of their grown children.

Once a child is grown and out of school, their life is their responsibility. It’s not a parent’s job to take responsibility for them. Or to anticipate their needs. They must learn to stand on their own two feet.

I get it. We don’t want our kids to struggle. But many times, the struggle is what matures a young person. Smooth sailing never made a good sailor, the saying goes.

In my circle, many parents are dealing with grown children who have real issues. Big issues. In those cases, there’s a fine line between providing healthy support and taking responsibility for the grown child. Because sometimes, the grown child’s issues prevent them from making good decisions and parents must step in.  I can’t say I know how to advise parents in this situation except to say that professional help of the right kind can be a life-saver.

And let’s remember: just struggling with life is not an issue. Not all children have issues. Some are just doing what’s necessary to mature.

This is also something to consider when grown children are still living at home well into their 20s. This is certainly a common scenario where I live in the San Francisco Bay area, where housing is exceptionally unaffordable. At the same time, there are other manageable options, such as having roommates. Living away from the parents is an important step in maturation and parents who do not insist on this are not doing their kids any favors.

The big thing to remember is that each time we take responsibility for someone else, we take away a little of their adulthood. If they don’t see you setting healthy boundaries, they’ll never set them, either.

It is not my job to take responsibility for others is a mantra worth reminding ourselves us.

I’m always happy to have your thoughts in the Comments section.