How to Guide Adult Children Without Being Controlling


Avoid the Money Pit
While it's tempting to want to help your child financially, she's got to learn how manage her money for herself.
While it's tempting to want to help your child financially, she's got to learn how manage her money for herself.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

If you've got grown children, chances are you grew up in an era when you didn't have a whole lot, and so now, you want to give your kids the things you didn't have. It's a nice intention, but it usually has negative consequences.

Your child needs to figure out his finances for himself. If you hear him moaning about wishing he could join his friends on a trip overseas and then promptly give him the cash to join them, he won't learn how to budget and save for a goal. It's the same thing if he doesn't deny himself anything, and then amasses a huge credit card debt that you rush in to pay off. If your child is truly facing a monetary crisis, first let her come to you for assistance, says psychotherapist Susan Ende, co-author of "How to Raise Your Adult Children: Real-life Advice for When Your Kids Don't Want to Grow Up." Then, if you'd like to help her out, come up with a legitimate financial plan together.

A lot of experts recommend that you never lend your adult kid money. After all, if he doesn't have the funds to buy something, he probably doesn't have the money to make loan payments to you, either. And with a loan, it's possible you'll feel that you have a say in how he's spending his money, which can easily lead to conflict. If you have money to share with your child but you don't want to make it a gift with no strings attached, be sure he knows all your expectations for repayment -- including interest if you choose.