Are You Struggling to Navigate Parenting an Adult?

  • Family Therapy for Adult Children - Hilo, HI, Stephanie Dodge, PhD

    Has your child moved away from home, and now you’re struggling to cope with an empty nest?

  • Do you feel distant from your adult child and worry about your relationship dissolving?
  • Is your adult child engaging in worrisome behaviors, such as drug use or run-ins with the law?
  • Has your adult child experienced a mental health crisis?
  • Does your adult child struggle to be independent due to autism or mental health issues?
  • Do you wish you could find a way to cope with your worry and provide effective support for your adult child?

Watching your child grow into an adult can be a confusing, lonely and stressful experience. You may feel as though you suddenly don’t have any control over your adult child’s well-being or sometimes even your own life. Maybe you feel down now that your child has moved away from home, and you wonder what you should do with the rest of your life. You may have planned on living near your child and grandchildren and feel lost now that your child is making other choices. Perhaps you can’t help but worry about your adult child, and feel shocked by how difficult it is to adjust. Or, maybe you feel guilty because you think you should be happy for him or her.

If your adult child is struggling with addiction, legal troubles or mental illness, you may feel heartbroken and overwhelmed. Maybe he or she is still living at home, and you are taking on a great deal of emotional, mental and financial strain in an effort to support him or her. You might feel helpless as you watch your child suffer or continue to make dangerous choices. Perhaps you felt settled in your life, and now you don’t know how to cope with new complications and chaos. You may be grieving the life you had hoped your child would have as an adult. Maybe it seems as though no one else understands what you are going through, and you feel isolated, exhausted and worn down.

Many Parents Struggle With Change

If you feel unnerved by your child’s transition into adulthood, you are not alone. As your child has grown up, your relationship with him or her has inevitably changed. Even if you felt prepared for your child to move away, it is very common to find adjustment challenging when faced with the reality of change. And, if your adult child is struggling with the law, addiction or mental health issues, your life may have changed in ways that you didn’t expect.

Regardless of what your child’s adult life looks like, it is very common for parents to feel lonely, confused and even a little helpless. No parent can control their child’s choices or prevent the appearance of mental illness. The good news is that you can get support. No matter what you or your child are struggling with, an experienced, compassionate therapist can help feel supported, connected and at peace with change.

Therapy for Families of Adult Children Can Help You Cope With Unexpected Challenges

If you feel lost and helpless, therapy can provide you with the support and information you need to better understand your adult child and your new life stage, especially if your child is struggling with mental health issues, the law or addiction. As a therapist who specializes in family systems, mental health issues and substance abuse counseling, I can help you learn more about what your adult child is going through and how you can help. I can also connect you to other resources for parents in similar situations. You don’t have to go through this alone.

In sessions, you can develop new communication skills that can help you connect to your adult child. While you can’t force your child to make healthy choices, I can help you feel prepared to support you child if and when he or she decides to make a change. Whether or not your adult child lives with you, I can offer you new strategies to cope with legal complications, mental health challenges or substance abuse issues. Regardless of your child’s experience, therapy for families of adult children can offer you the space you need to talk about your own thoughts, feelings and concerns without fear of judgment. I will listen with compassion and care.

With help, you can adjust to the changes in your life and come out stronger on the other side. By learning more about your challenges and taking control over your own feelings and reactions, you can create positive change for your entire family system. It is possible for you to maintain and nurture a relationship with your adult child. You can come to peace with change, let go of self-blame and begin to embrace this new stage in your life.

You may believe that therapy for families of adult children can help you adjust to a new parenting role, but still have questions or concerns…

 My adult child won’t come to counseling.

You cannot force your adult child to do anything that he or she doesn’t want to do. I often work with parents of adult children alone, without their son or daughter. Even if your child does not want to seek help for him or herself, family therapy can help you make positive changes in the way you communicate. By adjusting the way you speak and listen, you can shift your interactions and create a more supportive, calm and connected relationship dynamic.

I don’t have time for therapy for families of adult children.

If your child is struggling, you may already feel overwhelmed by legal issues or healthcare. However, as you face these unexpected challenges, it is important for you to take time to tend to your own mental, physical and emotional well-being. If you are worn down, you won’t be able to effectively support your family or your child. Therapy can help you feel more energized and empowered to move forward in your life.

I can’t afford therapy. 

I encourage you to think of therapy as an investment in your long-term well-being. I accept many different types of insurance. I also accept Quest and am a Medicare provider. We can discuss your financial situation and needs so that you don’t have to feel limited by cost concerns.

You don’t have to feel alone and lost. I invite you to call (808) 747 3445 for a free 15-20-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about therapy for families of adult children and my practice.