Your child is an adult now. You have supported him until he has graduated from university. How far should you continue to support him? Parents are not doing their adult child a favor by supporting him continuously with no limits in sight. Your adult child may end up being dependent on you and may put off taking full responsibility for his own life or future.
Personally, I think that it is fine to support my adult child and he is welcome to stay at home within certain conditions or parameters. One of the ground rules I would insist upon is that my adult child helps with the household chores and if he is working, he should contribute towards the household expenses as well. One day, I would expect him to move out and build a family of his own. However, I would not kick him out of the house when family support is still needed.

Money concerns

One of the main concerns when an adult child lives with the parents is on money matters. I would not want to jeopardize my own financial future to support my adult child continuously. Your adult child has to understand that you are not going to sponsor his leisure pursuits or other hobbies while staying with you. You are not his banker unless he is committed to repaying the money. I would love to help my adult child once in awhile (if I can afford it) but it will be my decision whether to do so or not.

Educate him quickly!

Your adult child needs to be taught to live within his means, start to build a nest egg as soon as possible and not to fall victim to money traps like credit cards. An important priority is finding a source of income (not the parents) like getting a good paying job or jobs (it does not hurt to work hard especially when you are still young). It is imperative that your child loves his work and finds it fulfilling. Teach him how to budget and to pay his bills on time. If he has trouble paying his bills, do not rush in immediately to bail him out. He has to figure out how to solve his money problems with your advice and guidance.

In short, the goal is getting your adult child to be independent and take control of his own life. You would not want him still dependent on you especially during your retirement period, right?

Read other articles by Jacquelyn at on parenting matters and on solving marriage problems.

    13 replies to "Should You Support Your Adult Child?"

    • Yumay

      Nowadays it is very common to see adult children not only staying with their parents but asking for financial help as well. I can’t blame them because the cost of living in KL is so high. Imagine a graduate earning RM2,000 pm and has to pay for his car instalment, petrol, hp bill, food and not to mention some self-indulgence like going out with friends, entertainment. It is simply not enough! I came across even the parents help out in raising the grandchildren! I think it is because the children know that their parents are always there helping them if they have trouble, so they are not too worry! Unlike those days when our parents are living from hand to mounth, we not only have to give our parents monthly allowance when we started to work but also support ourselves and raise our own family!

    • Dom

      Wow i feel so guilty rite now after reading this. I’m the eldest son, recently resigned from my job and just started to build my own business. It is tough but satisfying for me. However, financially it is very challenging and i need all the support from my family members especially my parents. To save cost, I still stay in my parent’s house and even sometimes have to resort to some financial assistance when things aren’t going so well for my business. However, I’m determined that this will not continue for long and I promised to myself and my family that I will repay all everything that they have done to me. I will show them, that i am the best thing that they have invested on. God Bless, take care and take charge of our life..

    • firdausprudential

      i like your comment Victorino. im a parent myself, i dont want my children asking help from others when he need help. in the same time, i dont want to make him so dependent on me.

      back to the topic Should You Support Your Adult Child?. My answer is YES.

    • Victorino

      It is always fine to support anyone especially your child, regardless of he/she is still a minor or already an adult one. But the most important thing is, we should always see to it that we give the best thing that we can give. We dont make them so dependent and weakened. We dont give them fish, but we give them boat, fish net, and the guidance to make them fishermen.

    • Jacquelyn

      Hi Seam,

      Thank you for sharing your experience, opinion and advice! I believe your parents always had your best interest at heart and still do. You sound like a very responsible parent yourself. All the best.

    • Seam

      Dear Jacquelyn,

      Your article is very much agreeable, but it also pinched me a little bit. I moved out from my parents’ house ever since I was enrolled into a boarding school. At age of 16, I was accepted into another boarding school at Peninsular (my hometown is Kota Kinabalu). I could say that was really the turning point for me because I never stayed with my parents permanently since then until 11 years later, during which I completed my remaining secondary and tertiary studies and worked for 3 years and a half. Overall it was psychologically challenging. I shall explain as I relate my experience to your article.

      7 months after graduation, I got a job and posted at Peninsular again for more than 3 years, during which I got married and sired 2 children. It was financially challenging for a single income breadwinner like me because I used up all my savings for marriage and various other necessities. Luckily my father was very kind and supported me alot, as he helped me to purchase my first car, covered the bulk of our marriage expenditure and even gave us some money everytime he came to visit us in Peninsular. (He is also a single income breadwinner but with a commendable salary). Over 3 years on, I was transferred back to my hometown before our house could be completed, hence we stay with my parents temporarily. But there were many delays (typical of Malaysian housing projects) and until now we have stayed at our parents’ house for almost a year.

      I felt mixed about this because I know as a married adult I should be more independent and not be a burden to my parents anymore. But I also felt that since I left home very early and for a very long time, I want to make up for the lost times by being closer to my parents and younger siblings. However after living here for almost a year and after reading your article, I begin to feel that I will never be able to fully realize this wish of mine. Time cannot be reversed and I must move on. Living with parents at young age is not same as living with parents as an adult. When you are young parents feel strong affection towards you. However as you grow up, their expectation for maturity and responsibility will override that affection. I think it is just natural. It will happen even if you are prematurely separated from your parents.

      Thus, for parents who really want to raise independent children, I really think that they must first fully satisfy their parental obligations during the critical years of their children’s development. Please care for them affectionately and guide them closely. Never leave your childcare obligation on autopilot by simply handing it over to outside elements, be it maids, teachers, institutions, society or the merciless street. Today’s world is just so challenging and you cannot afford to let your children face it without adequate preparation.

      And this preparation is certainly not limited to sending your children to the best school or sponsoring their education to the highest level so that he or she can get a piece of paper that qualifies for a decent job. It is much broader than that. Nothing beats hands-on parenting from the day your child is born until he or she grows up. Strong affection coupled with discipline and with gradual introduction to responsibilities that matches their age is the only key to healthy development of their mind and attitude. There are no parents who are without any shortcoming, however let us just try to be as close as possible to that goal.

    • Nor

      Hi Jacquelyn, I watch sadly what my brother do to my mother. Every time that he needs money, he would just asked for it & expected to get it. When he could not pay the car installment, he just put his car at my mother’s house & asked her to continue paying for his car loan. At the same time, he will just used the car that already been paid fully as his car & add accessories ( with my mother’s money of course!! ). Yes, my brother is USELESS. That’s why he can’t keep his job,because he knows that my mother will bail him out. He has problem with credit card bill, accumulated soooo much that he cannot pay them. My brother is a good example of TOO MUCH Being given that unfortunately he became to dependent. I am learning so that I will not be like my mother in the future……Good thing is I become independent early!!

      • Jacquelyn

        Hi Nor, you are very lucky that you recognize the problem and strive hard to have a good life for yourself through your own efforts. It is true that parents should take a lot of the blame when their kids do not take control of their own lives especially when it comes to money handling. However, parents can only teach or guide to a certain extent and then it is up to their adult kids to take control and lead their own lives. For those like you, the parents do not have to worry so much and it is a relief for them. I want my kids to be independent as well and the earlier the better!

        • Nor

          Hi Jacquelyn, thank you…..yes, my mother did told me that she was grateful that I did not become a burden to them. Yes, sad at the same time but happy that they know I’ll be OK or Well financially, because I know every decision that I make today will affect my future entirely. So, I could say, this bad episode has a silver lining underneath it. :-). I do hope to those that take advantage of their parents ( eg: like my brother ) will repent someday!!!

          • Garry Khoo

            Hi Nor, one more thing you need to bear in mind. Do not give more privilege to son compare to daughter. A lot of parent do that for their son and cries when they run out of money.

            • Nor

              HI Garry,Yes thank you. Unfortunately, that is what my parents are doing especially my mother. She says that she has only one son. She thinks that her only son will take care of her when she is getting older. I hate to see the day when this dream, will become only a dream. I hope at that time, she can count on me instead.

    • Noel

      Unfortunately it’s not easy to find young generation who could be fully independent nowadays. Many of them who already in working life still depend on parent’s support.

    • KCLau

      The only way to help someone succeed is to make him independent as soon as possible.

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