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TheStreet Open House

When to Stop Financially Supporting Your Adult Child -- Ask Noah

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- An honest and heartfelt conversation becomes essential when you think it's time to stop financially supporting your capable son or daughter.

Q: I'm a successful financial analyst with a challenging 25-year old son, pursuing a career as a painter. He's a brilliant kid who went to an excellent school, but has had meager job opportunities since graduating. It's evident that pursuing any jobs, even a supplemental part-time job, has taken a backseat to his art. While I've always encouraged him to follow his obvious artistic talent, his disdain for pursuing his own income upsets me greatly. I love him very much, but at present I'm fully supporting him. Please help me to navigate my frustration!

How much longer are you willing to be your son's complete financial provider?

I can fully appreciate the frustration of feeling taken for granted. You must be asking yourself why you aren't feeling appreciated or respected. You may also feel a need to convince him or change his thinking. However, you owe it to yourself to remember that you cannot control your son's choices, actions or beliefs. You can only make every effort to manage your own feelings around his choices.

If you're willing to open these new lines of communication through real dialogue and careful listening, you may discover fresh perspectives on one another's views. Perhaps you will also find you possess similarities you hadn't thought you had.

Communication is key and having a productive conversation, with the goal being the development of a newfound respect and trust for both parties involved, becomes the most essential component.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for this conversation:

1. Find common ground that you can connect on. We sometimes bond over the simplest of things. Avoid antagonistic topics or hot button issues (you know what they are!)

2. Acknowledge that you love your son and wish him to be very successful in his life!

3. Ask yourself the following questions:

a. How much longer are you willing to be your son's complete financial provider? What scares you about continuing as is? What scares you about discontinuing?

b. What would your ideal relationship with your son look like? Is that ideal possible? What are some steps you can take?

c. What are your true feelings about his chosen profession? Are you comfortable expressing it to him? If not, why not?

4. At some point it will be necessary to cease supporting your son. Recognize that this does not make you unsupportive of his artistic aspirations. Communicate to him that losing financial support is not an invitation to give up his desire to paint.

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