15 Signs Your Adult Child Is Taking Advantage Of You

15 Signs Your Adult Child Is Taking Advantage Of You

Being a parent is a lifelong gig, and sometimes the challenges evolve as your kids grow up. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes your adult child might be taking advantage of your love and generosity. We all want the best for our kids, but it’s important to recognize when a healthy parent-child dynamic has turned into something a little unbalanced. Here are some signs that might indicate your adult child is taking advantage of you.

1. They constantly ask for money without a clear plan for financial independence.

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It’s natural to help your kids out financially, especially when they’re just starting out. However, if the requests for money become frequent and seem to have no end in sight, it might be a sign that they’re relying on you too much. A healthy adult relationship involves both parties striving for financial independence, Forbes notes.

2. They expect you to provide for their basic needs, even if they’re capable of working.

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Helping your adult child with rent or groceries during a tough time is understandable. But if they’ve made it a habit to rely on you for basic necessities without actively seeking employment or other means of support, it’s a red flag. They need to learn to stand on their own two feet.

3. They guilt-trip you when you try to set boundaries or say no.

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Healthy relationships have boundaries. If your adult child throws a tantrum or makes you feel guilty every time you try to set limits on your help or say no to their requests, it’s a sign they’re not respecting your needs. It’s important to stand firm and not let guilt control your decisions.

4. They show a lack of gratitude or appreciation for your help.

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A simple “thank you” goes a long way. If your adult child takes your help for granted and never expresses gratitude, it can leave you feeling used and unappreciated. A healthy relationship involves mutual respect and appreciation.

5. They manipulate your emotions to get what they want.

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Some adult children might resort to emotional manipulation tactics, like playing the victim or threatening to cut you off if you don’t comply with their demands. This is unhealthy and manipulative behavior that should not be tolerated. Remember, you have the right to set boundaries and make your own decisions.

6. They have a sense of entitlement, believing you owe them everything.

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While you love your child unconditionally, it’s not your responsibility to cater to their every whim and fancy. If they act entitled and believe you owe them a certain lifestyle or level of support, it’s time to have a serious conversation about expectations and personal responsibility.

7. They make promises they don’t keep, especially regarding repayment of loans or debts.

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Trust is a crucial element in any relationship. If your adult child consistently makes promises to repay borrowed money or fulfill commitments but fails to follow through, it’s a sign that they’re not taking their responsibilities seriously. It’s important to hold them accountable and not let empty promises continue.

8. They prioritize their own wants and needs over yours, disregarding your feelings or well-being.

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Healthy relationships involve mutual consideration and respect. If your adult child consistently puts their own desires first, disregarding your feelings or needs, it can create an unhealthy imbalance in the relationship. It’s important to communicate your needs and not let yourself be walked all over.

9. They are always in a crisis, expecting you to bail them out.

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Life throws curveballs, and it’s natural to lean on family for support during tough times. However, if your adult child seems to perpetually be in a state of crisis, always expecting you to rescue them financially or emotionally, it’s a sign of an unhealthy dependency. It’s important for them to develop their own coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills.

10. They rarely initiate contact unless they need something from you.

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A healthy parent-child relationship involves communication and connection, not just transactional interactions. If your adult child only reaches out when they need a favor, a loan, or a place to crash, it might indicate that they’re more interested in what you can do for them than in maintaining a meaningful relationship.

11. They don’t respect your time or personal space.

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Whether it’s showing up unannounced, staying for extended periods without contributing, or expecting you to be available at their beck and call, a lack of respect for your time and personal space is a major red flag. Healthy relationships involve mutual respect and consideration for each other’s boundaries.

12. They treat your home like a hotel, expecting you to provide all the amenities and services.

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If your adult child treats your home like a free hotel, expecting you to cook, clean, do their laundry, and cater to their every need, it’s a sign they’re not taking responsibility for their own life. As Dr. Kevin Leman points out, they need to learn to be self-sufficient and contribute to the household if they’re living with you.

13. They dismiss your advice or concerns, believing they know better.

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Experience comes with age, and as a parent, you likely have valuable insights to offer. If your adult child constantly dismisses your advice or concerns, believing they know everything, it can be frustrating and disrespectful. While they need to make their own choices, a healthy relationship involves being open to hearing different perspectives.

14. They compare your support to that of other parents, complaining that you’re not doing enough.

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Every family is different, and comparing your level of support to that of other parents is unfair and unhelpful. If your adult child constantly complains that you’re not doing enough for them compared to their friends’ parents, it’s a sign of entitlement and a lack of appreciation for your efforts.

15. They make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them, afraid to upset or disappoint them.

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If you constantly worry about saying or doing the wrong thing around your adult child, fearing their reaction or disapproval, it’s a sign of an unhealthy dynamic. You should feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and feelings without fear of being manipulated or punished. A healthy relationship involves open communication and mutual respect.

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.