When Do You Let Your Parents Stop Helping?

Posted by Thursday, February 11, 2016 1 1

As far as I can tell from what I’ve seen in my 25 years on this earth, you will never stop needing your parents. That seems like a clear-cut fact. The question I’ve been pondering recently though is this: When do you stop letting your parents take care of you?

There are a lot of ways that a parent can “take care of you”: financially, emotionally, physically, etc. But none of those are what I’m struggling with. Because I think you will probably need your parents to take care of you in at least one of those ways at some point in your adult life, and that is completely fine.

What I’m struggling with is allowing your parents to take on the day-to-day handling of things that you could, and probably should, handle yourself.

A few months ago I had to have some routine blood work done, and following that appointment my dad (whose insurance I’m still covered under) received a ridiculously large bill for said appointment. I had it done at my usual doctor’s office, which is covered under our insurance, and the blood work should have only required a copay. But there was some sort of issue where they sent it out to be tested by a third party and they were out of network … long story short, my dad wasn’t happy.

But he wasn’t mad at me. He was mad at them. And, even though he lives across the country, even though I was the one who was legally stuck with the bill, even though I’m over 18 and he required my consent to even be involved in the matter, he took on the task of straightening out the whole mess.

He’s now been working on untangling this mess over the phone for two months and has really made no progress. Would it sort itself out sooner if I handled it myself? Maybe. Should I be handling it myself? Probably. Am I going to? Probably not.

It is, after all, his insurance, and he does have a better understanding of how it works than I do. But even if that wasn’t the case, if he was still willing to do it for me, I would let him.

Now here is where I start to feel ashamed, because that thinking is childish and this entire blog is devoted to being a “grown-up.” I am all about taking charge in so many aspects of my adult life, but there are certain things, this situation being one of them, that make me run to daddy.

So does that make me less of a grown-up? Should I call up my dad right now and tell him, “Don’t worry dad, I’ll handle it myself,”? I don’t know. I really don’t.

I don’t know when you stop letting your parents do these kinds of things for you. These technically small things you are totally capable of handling, but that you’d just rather not deal with or feel will take too much effort to complete.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite by spouting my two cents on adulthood every day while avoiding my rightful grown-up duties. But to be completely honest, I want my dad to handle these things for as long as he’s willing too.

The adult world is messy and confusing and hard to navigate. And if my dad can make it easier by taking on one task of mine for me then I will let him. But not forever. Just for now.

I do get kicked off his health insurance next year so…

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1 Comment
  • eclecticallymeagan
    February 26, 2016

    This is a great read. I’ve always wondered is there a “certain age” to let go of parents, but I guess in a way I’ll always need them. Thanks for the reminder.

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