Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Are You an Enabling Parent?

"An enabler is a person who recognizes that a negative circumstance is occurring on a regular basis and yet continues to enable the person with the problem to persist with his detrimental behaviors. Simply, enabling creates an atmosphere in which our adult children can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior?"  Allison Botke - "Setting Boundaries with your Adult Children"

Because I regularly deal with enabling parents I thought some of you would find this author's information helpful. Here are a few questions from the author's book that might help you determine if you are an enabling parent.

1. Have you loaned him money repeatedly, seldom (if ever) being repaid?

2. Have you paid for education and/or job training in more than one field?

3. Have you finished a job or project that he failed to complete himself because it was easier than arguing with him?

4. Have you paid bills he was supposed to have paid himself?

5. Have you accepted part of the blame for his addictions or behavior?

6. Have you avoided talking about negative issues because you feared his response?

7. Have you bailed him out of jail or paid for his legal fees?

8. Have you given him "one more chance" and then another and another?

9. Have you ever returned home at lunchtime (or called) and found him still in bed sleeping?

10. Have you wondered how he gets money to buy cigarettes, video games, new clothes, and such but can't afford to pay his own bills?

11. Have you ever "called in sick" for your child, lying about his symptoms to his boss?

12. Have you threatened to throw him out and didn't?

13. Have you begun to feel that you've reached the end of your rope?

14. Have you begun to hate both your child and yourself for the state in which you live?

15. Have you begun to worry that the financial burden is more than you can bear?

16. Have you begun to feel that your marriage is in jeopardy because of this situation?

17. Have you noticed growing resentment in other family members regarding this issue?

18. Have you noticed that others are uncomfortable around you when this issue arises?

19. Have you noticed an increase in profanity, violence, and/or other unacceptable behavior?

20. Have you noticed that things are missing from your home, including money, valuables, and other personal property?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are at some point in time you have enabled your adult child to avoid his own responsibilities—to escape the consequences of his actions. Rather than help your child grow into a productive and responsible adult, you have made it easier for him to get worse.

Click here to buy Allison Botke’s book.