Here's a question for you, do you want to have your children act like adults or continue to act like children? I'm going to bet that you want your kids to act like adults.
If that's true for you, then read on.
What sort of expectations do you have for your children?
This is where we should start. Too often you're not clear about what your expectations are for your kids. Too often this starts when your children are young.
I want you to sit down with your children and have clear expectations about what their responsibilities are in the family. If your kids are young, have them do age-appropriate activities. As they get older, make sure your expectations are more around then developing personal responsibility for the actions they take.
After all, without personal responsibility, it's pretty hard to become a successful adult.
If your children are young enough what are you doing to make sure they grow up to be responsible?
Do you have chores your children have to do? Are you consistent with making sure those chores are done? If not, it's time for you to change your behavior.
When I look at my children, and I look at other people's children, I find that those who have requirements for how they act tend to have offspring who are more responsible. I want you to make sure your kids are the type that makes you proud.
The path towards personal responsibility needs to start when your children are young. It's going to be difficult if you wait till your children are in their teens before you start teaching personal responsibility.
What about if your children are adults but keep coming back for help?
This is a tough one. On the one hand, you don't want to become an enabler, and on the other, you don't want to shut them out if they have a gigantic problem.
The real problem starts if your children continually come back and ask for financial assistance when you know it is because of poor choices they keep making. It could be your child has a drug problem, gambling problem or has just made poor relationship choices. The key here is knowing whether your kids are taking responsibility for their mistakes and learning from them.
I think that it's important for our children to be responsible and learn from the mistakes they make. Otherwise, the only thing that's going to happen is your children will keep returning over and over again which can put you in the very tough financial situation.
Is tough love the way to go?
Some commentators would tell you that you need to cut your children off. That might be where you end up. First, I think you need to think about using mistakes as learning opportunities and always to ask when a mistake is made what did you learn?
You might have to get to tough love at some point, but first I want you to consider asking questions, helping your children recognize mistakes and then learn from them.
There's more at stake than how your children grow up.
The reason I'm so concerned about children growing up and being a drain on your resources is that it puts your retirement at risk. A story I always tell business owners when their children are joining the business is you don't have time for your children to screw up your business. They have time to learn from and correct financial mistakes.
I would say the same is true for you if you have a business or not. Adult children need to become adults. That starts when they're very young and continues through their teens and in many cases into their 20's.
So what you think? Are you willing to make sure your children are personally responsible? Why don't you leave a comment below and let me know what you think.