Enabling your grown child is something that many parents unwittingly do, often through well-meaning gestures that simply have gone too far for too long. Breaking the cycle of enabling, a common occurrence in substance addiction recovery, involves encouraging or allowing an individual to meet their own needs.1 In order to stop enabling your grown child, a parent must remove oneself from the cycle of fixing or helping.

What Is Enabling?

Enabling is a set of behaviors that serves to protect the person who is being enabled from bearing the full weight of their decisions. It includes making excuses for the person being protected, intervening to buffer them, or avoiding discussion of problematic behaviors.2 Enabling is common in families or dynamics where there are other codependent behaviors.

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