Set a firm deadline of when you'll be cutting off support to your adult kid and regularly communicate your expectations to him or her.

ŠiStockphoto.com/Brian Jackson

Help Adult Children Become Self-sufficient

Do you feel guilty about cutting your child off? Don't. Self-sufficiency is rewarding and highly desirable. Here's how you can help your grown kid achieve it:

  1. Expect your child to become self-sufficient and communicate that expectation. This will spur each of you to actively work toward the goal.
  2. Help your adult child develop a budget to live within his means, not yours.
  3. Set deadlines. Let your kid know that on X date, you'll stop paying the bills.
  4. If your child wants to move back in with you -- or is currently living with you -- make it clear you'll help for a limited time, such as three months. Stick to it, and periodically remind him of the goal date so it doesn't sneak up.
  5. Give your child duties and responsibilities while living with you. Your goal is twofold: to help him save money for a fresh start and to make him want to move out.

Getting your mooching child to live independently takes work, but it's a wonderful feeling for everyone when the grown-up kid in question realizes that he can take care of himself.

See the next page for lots more information on parenting adult children.