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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Has Her Hands Full Raising Two Kids

DEAR ABBY: When I had my two children in my 40s, I had zero idea of how hard it would be. One has autism; the other has ADHD. My child with ADHD is very self-confident and refuses to do what we ask him to do. He's 15 and very smart, but he's not able to take care of himself.

When do you stop being "the parent" and let them take care of themselves? Parenting is much harder than anything I've ever done. -- DIFFICULT IN TEXAS

DEAR DIFFICULT: Some parents start teaching their children to be independent well before their teens by giving them responsibilities. Others do it as their children mature and feel that by age 18 or 21 their supervision is no longer necessary. There are also parents who feel their job is never over and encourage their adult children to remain dependent into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Unfortunately, parenthood doesn't come with a rule book, so the decision about when and how to step back is up to you and their father, if he is present in their lives.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens