Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

What to Do When an Adult Child Calls From Jail

You get a call at 1 a.m. that your adult child is in jail. After hearing the sob story about drunken driving, drug possession, or some other involvement in illegal activity, many parents will rush to bail their child out of jail. Many parents go as far as taking out loans to get adult children out of jail. Why? A friend of mine repeatedly hocked his vehicles to keep his son out of jail for possession of an illegal substance. Even though he knows he is enabling this child, he refuses to stop and let his son feel the consequences of his actions.

In our family, I have made it clear that if one of my children does something illegal, they better not call me. They know I will not bail them out.

Your child is an adult. They should be responsible for their actions. If you bail them out of jail and put yourself in financial dire straits, you are teaching them that you will always be there to fix their problems and willingly suffer for their mistakes.

There is another very good reason to NOT hock the farm for bail: Chances are that adult child is going to continue the behavior that put them in jail. They swear it will never happen again, and you want to believe. Every parent wants to believe the best about their child, but it’s your job to know the difference between fantasy and reality.

If your child is headed down a dark path, you can be a light and an example, but do not save them from their consequences. Protecting a child from their own mistakes means that you do not think they can handle the situation on their own. If that is what you believe, then you need to admit how you participated in creating the problem.

Continue reading “What to Do When an Adult Child Calls From Jail”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

When Your Adult Child Does Not Listen to Your Good Advice

The first thing to do is figure out the difference between help that will actually help and help that will only hurt your kids. Below, you’ll find sections that answer these main questions:

  1. What can you do when your grown kids are making bad decisions and end up in trouble—romantically, financially, emotionally, or with the law?
  2. How can you help your adult child become financially independent?
  3. When is it time to cut the apron strings and close your checkbook?
  4. When is it okay to step in and help?
  5. When Your Adult Child Does Not Listen to Your Good Advice

    You’re saying all the right things to your adult child, but for some reason, they just don’t listen. What can you do? Well, the answer depends on whether or not you are supporting your child financially.

    • If you’re not giving them money, then you’re not entitled to them advice unless they ask for it or to try to prevent a serious mistake. This will allow you to save your breath for when the advice might be heard and make a difference.
    • If you are financially supporting your adult child, then you still have a say in how their time and money is spent. Spend that money and advice wisely. For example, if you want your child to go to college, then offer to continue funding them while they do so (and if you don’t want them to drop out of college, then make it clear that your financial support will end if they don’t attend).

    So unless you’re paying the bills, you don’t get any say in how your adult child conducts their life.

Continue reading “When Your Adult Child Does Not Listen to Your Good Advice”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Watching Adult Children Stumble & Fall

A HuffPost article, “The 6 Things You Shouldn’t Say To Your Adult Child” highlighted that “Any tension between parents and adult children can often be felt more strongly by a parent, as parents are often more emotionally invested.”

How often do you hear a parent say, “You won’t understand until you have children of your own.”

Ruth Nemzoff, author of “Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships With Your Adult Children,” makes the point that:

“We fantasize that we can say anything we want to our kids, but the truth is, we never could.”

A good rule of thumb is: If you would not say the comment to the person you admire the most in the world, as you would not wish to offend or upset them, then DO NOT make this comment to your adult child. Continue reading “Watching Adult Children Stumble & Fall”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

What to Do When Your Adult Child Is Messing Up

The what-ifs can paralyze our souls and wreak havoc on our confidence as parents. One of the greatest heartbreaks for a parent is watching a child waste his or her life, potential, or opportunities with poor choices.

One woman said to me, “I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life, but I’ve never felt heartbreak like I have through the poor choices of my kids.” A friend of mine whose son struggled with drug and sex addictions put it this way: “It feels like a death. Or at least the death of a dream. No doubt about it, ‘big children bring on bigger problems.’”

When your young-adult kids have serious adult-sized problems, the kind that can derail a healthy and productive life, your heart may break, but your child’s choices don’t have to break you. Your child’s regrettable decisions do not make you a bad parent. Even good parents have children who make poor choices. It may be too late for prevention, but it’s never too late for redemption. 

Miracles do happen. Sometimes they take the form of a rapid change, but most times they are a slow climb toward a better life.

Author C.S. Lewis wrote, “Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” Your child’s failures may well become the foundation for a whole new life. This is the power of redemption.


No one said parenting a child who violates your values would be easy, but the best chance for success is when there is good communication and understanding between you. Here are some strategies that work.

Offer your adult child tough love.

Continue reading “What to Do When Your Adult Child Is Messing Up”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder


As children grow into adulthood, the role of a parent changes. This leads to one of the great joys of parenting—being the friend of an adult child.

Yet it leads to one of the great frustrations of parenting—having to mind your own business.

When it comes to parenting an adult child, a parent no longer has the authority or responsibility to make decisions for a child, ensure they experience the negative consequences of their bad choices, or to prevent them from making bad choices.

A parent of an adult child does not even have the guaranteed right of giving their opinion without being asked.

As children grow, responsibilities change. Embracing the new responsibilities as a parent of an adult child is vital for the child’s development, the well-being of the parent/child relationship, and the mental health and satisfaction of the parent. (See: What Every Mother-in-Law Should Know)

When a parent fails to understand their new role and continues to parent as they always have:

  • the child may fail to mature
  • the child can be enabled to continue bad behavior
  • the child will often grow resentful of their parent
  • the child’s marriage/relationships will suffer
  • the parent/child relationship will fail to grow as it is should
  • the parent can become too enmeshed with the child
  • the parent can lose their own identity
  • the parent can miss a fulfilling season of life

So what can a parent of an adult child do? Continue reading “PARENTING ADULT CHILDREN WHO MAKE BAD CHOICES”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

10 Traits of Toxic Parents Who Ruin Their Children’s Lives Without Realizing It

How to handle a toxic parent?

It’s rather difficult to get rid of a toxic atmosphere — even for adults! Nevertheless, specialists have come up with some tips that can help us protect our personal boundaries and save a relationship. First, we have to realize the following facts:

  • We can’t change the past.
  • A toxic relationship is like a chronic disease — it’s almost impossible to cure it so you have to try to avoid any complication.

Recommendations are based on the understanding that each person has their own rights and needs that they shouldn’t be ashamed of. You have the right to:

  • Live in your own house and have your own rules.
  • Take no part in resolving issues of other relatives.
  • Limit access to your territory.
  • Gain your own experience and ignore your parents when they say “I know better.”
  • Manage your resources: money, time, and effort.
  • Choose your personal interests over those of your parents.

We have to remember: these rules are relevant for both “parties.” Children shouldn’t cut their parents out of their lives and take their help for granted.

What was it like for you when you were growing up? Share your experiences with us in the comments!


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Continue reading “10 Traits of Toxic Parents Who Ruin Their Children’s Lives Without Realizing It”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder


It’s called the Golden Rule, only it’s not quite what you have heard before. No, this Golden Rule says, “The one with the gold rules.”

It shouldn’t surprise us that narcissists want to control as many assets as possible. They want to control the money, the friendships, the time, the opportunities, and anything else that could encourage or strengthen their victims.

Over the years I have met a few people who have been so abused, so dominated, that they were afraid to try to stand on their own. They seemed to need someone to take care of them. They had gone so long without making decisions that they wanted someone to tell them what to do. There is often a vacant, waiting look in their eyes, much like the good dog waiting for the master’s notice. It’s sad.

Sometimes these people have been trained to do this. They were stripped of their confidence, self-esteem, and enthusiasm and taught to wait patiently until the narcissist decides to notice. Then they were supposed to be joyful that they got anything from their abuser. The narcissist holds the power and provisions. Gifts of attention and kindness are doled out with control and cruelty.

Continue reading “Independence”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Parent Is Toxic | Psychology Today

Toxic Behavior

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your parents’ behavior. If this conduct is chronic and persistent, it can be toxic to your self-esteem.

  1. Do they tend to overreact or create a scene?
  2. Do they use emotional blackmail?
  3. Do they make frequent or unreasonable demands?
  4. Do they try to control you? (“My way or the highway”?)
  5. Do they criticize or compare you?
  6. Do they listen to you with interest?
  7. Do they manipulate, use guilt, or play the victim?
  8. Do they blame or attack you?
  9. Do they take responsibility and apologize?
  10. Do they respect your physical and emotional boundaries?
  11. Do they disregard your feelings and needs?
  12. Do they envy or compete with you?
  1. Continue reading “Parent Is Toxic | Psychology Today”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

12 Clues a Relationship with a Parent Is Toxic | Psychology Today

Toxic relationships include relationships with toxic parents. Typically, they do not treat their children with respect as individuals. They won’t compromise, take responsibility for their behavior, or apologize. Often these parents have a mental disorder or a serious addiction. We all live with the consequences of poor parenting. However, if our childhood was traumatic, we carry wounds from abusive or dysfunctional parenting. When they haven’t healed, toxic parents can re-injure us in ways that make growth and recovery difficult. When we grow up with dysfunctional parenting, we may not recognize it as such. It feels familiar and normal. We may be in denial and not realize that we’ve been abused emotionally, particularly if our material needs were met.

Continue reading “12 Clues a Relationship with a Parent Is Toxic | Psychology Today”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Protecting Your Child From Toxic People

I wonder what those parents said to that little girl once they got away from Grandma? “Honey, we’re sorry Grandma bitched at you for an entire hour while we did nothing. We’re hoping she dies soon and leaves us all her money.” “Sweetheart, Grandma was wrong, you were perfectly well behaved in there, and daddy and I are so proud of you! It’s just that we have to put up with Grandma’s crap because she gives us money every month to help us out.” Worse, they probably said nothing at all, leaving her to believe that Grandma must be right.

I’ve got some harsh truths for you here, and you can agree or disagree – but I believe in putting the child first. A child should never be put in a position of maintaining family harmony. A child should never be used as a bribe with extended relatives. A parent does have the right to tell an obnoxious family member to curtail their foul or racist language. A parent does have the right to tell Uncle Johnny that the little girls in dresses are not to sit on his lap. An Uncle or a cousin (especially a grown up) that holds your kid down and gives them a “Noogey” or a “pink belly” or tickles them until they nearly pee their pants deserves to be called out and told no. In family situations where one set of grandkids is clearly favored, a discussion is perfectly acceptable. You do have the right to protect your babies from harm, both physical and emotional – not only the right, but the duty.

Continue reading “Protecting Your Child From Toxic People”