Guidance for a 21 yr old son

texasoneJanuary 2, 2012

My husband and i need some guidance on parenting our 21 yr old son. He went to college because he had a high act score and never went to classes...slept all day. He wanted to come home so we let him. He went back to his restaurant job and finally got a $400 apt but couldn't afford it so he moved home. Now he

comes and goes and works pt and sleeps until time for work.

He gets angry and frustrated when we try to talk to him so we don't. Now he's mad because we won't pay for him to go to jr college and too late for financial aid. We don't think he would get up for classes.

My husband thinks he needs counseling and is going to tell him if he doesn't make an appt for himself and go he has to move out. We think he might be depressed. Our household is on eggshells w him around. What should we expect of him and what should we do?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Parents should be for helping, not enabling. You're making it possible for him to dawdle.

At 21 years old with the history you described, I'd give him 30 days regardless of what he's doing or failing to do -- then out of your house. Him; his stuff; matter what he says. Time to get on with his life. Feeling bad about that? OK, 45 days.

And between now and then, forget the eggshells. Your house = your rules. If he doesn't like it, he can go tomorrow instead of next month. He doesn't get to hold you hostage in your own house while he's diddling around trying to figure things out. Your kid has to shape up sometime. Why not now? Tell him you love him and then boot him out.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 5:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I couldnt boot him out,he doesnt sound too bad,at least he works and wants to go to college.There are alot that dont.Why do you think he is so tired?is he out drinking or doing drugs?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 4:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"He gets angry and frustrated when we try to talk to him so we don't. Now he's mad because we won't pay for him to go to jr college and too late for financial aid. We don't think he would get up for classes."

He is using emotional blackmail to make you both be quiet so he can live as he likes until one of you get fed up.

I completely agree with what Asolo and your husband say. It is time to stop letting your son make the rules for YOUR house. I think counseling is a good idea. If he is depressed, he can do something about it. If he doesn't want to, then he should move out and get a taste of the real world.

If you think he is using drugs, buy a drug test at the drug store and make him use it.

The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to make changes. If this were me, I'd lock up any valuables you cherish until this matter is cleared up.

Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agree with the others, you are totally enabling him. If he is not in school, he must be out of the house. I'd probably give him a month or two to be out...then literally if he is not out, the stuff goes on the lawn and the locks get changed.

As for school, I would make a deal with him on this...maybe something like if he moves out and gets his stuff together a little, if he were to take some classes at a community college and DO WELL, not just pass them, then maybe I would consider footing the bill for him to go to school again...hey, people to "wise up" after a bad start sometime. Actually, I have worked for the last 15 years for a good friend of mine from college...his freshman year he was a lazy sh*t and got below 2.0 both semesters (at a very good private college). Then he got his act in gear, got 3.5+ the remaining 3 years, got a great job after school and has had his own company for over 20 years. Just because he got off to a bad start at college does not mean all hope is lost, hell my friend/boss has an 8000 sq. ft. home with 7 fireplaces in an exclusive NYC suburb! But he has to get his act in shape soon.....and your enabling his is NOT gonna help him do this...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Supposedly he doesn't make enough $ to pay for an apt after he pays for his car ins and cell phone and food. Of course I have a picture of him living in the streets...Hubbie told him this am to make an appointment to see a counselor and we will pay for it and he can stay since he would be getting help or if the answer is no then he's out...As soon as he shows us an ok from the counselor he thinks he doesn't need then we will talk to him about going to jr college. We think he might be smoking some weed. If he is...then he's out of the house asap right?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 5:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Most of the time 21 year old boys are only half baked.

If your DH thinks he needs counseling then there is a lot more to the story, so beyond the previous statement, I have nothing to offer.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

21 years old without a pot to *** in; history of loafing and deceiving; no prospects and no serious intentions; missed the financial aid bus because he was too lazy to act on it; antagonistic toward his parents/hosts but still expects them to pick up all his tabs. This is a serious jerk. Somebody needs to pack this kid up against the wall and explain a few things to him.

I suspect he'll continue to play you as long as you allow it. If you sign on for whatever his "college plan" may be, be sure to send the money directly to the school -- NOT to the boy. From what you've described, I'd personally recommend the military.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My own kids are ages 22 and 19, and in my job I work with underachieving young adults, so I am around this 21 year old age group a good bit. Although my own kids are definitely not underachievers, they both get a lot less happy when they're not productive and actively engaged in enough activities. I find the young people I meet though my job to be the same.

I can definitely see where a young man who is 21 years old, employed in a low wage job working part time, living at home, etc. would get depressed and discouraged. A lot of his friends probably went on to college, graduated, may be dating seriously, and are better situated for the future. Many young people are much more successful going to community college later than they were at a university right out of high school, and your son may be one of them.

If this was my son, the first thing I would do would be to evaluate what he'd need to do in order for me to pay (or help pay) for his community college. Then I'd outline those conditions to him and promise that if he met them, I'd pay for his community college. I'd make sure it wasn't something that looks practically insurmountable to him.

The next thing I'd do would be to tell him that I was wrong, I made a mistake in not recognizing that he was a young man, not a boy, and that we need to treat him as one. 21 year old men don't need to sleep all day with no responsibilities other than a part time job. I would assign household responsibilities, whatever you think is fair. Cook dinner 2 nights a week? Do part of the yard work? Clean his bathroom, vacuum, etc.? Whatever you think is a good division of labor in your household. If he had followed the normal path of college, he would likely be living in an apartment with roommates, sharing cleaning and cooking duties, etc. He needs to do that now, no matter whether his household is college roommates or family members. Pulling your own weight in a household is part of being a man, not a boy.

I would also explain that part of being a mature young man of 21 is recognizing that we don't get to be unpleasant and difficult to people like bosses, professors, and parents who support us financially. So be civil to your parents or get out. That is part of being 21.

Next, I'd try to address the depression. Counseling is good. I don't see any mention of going out with friends or other activities besides sleeping, and that would concern me a lot as the parent of young adults. Many of the young people I know feel much better if they exercise regularly. Is there some form of exercise your husband and son might enjoy doing together, like tennis, racquetball, going to the gym, swimming, mountain biking, etc.? I subsidize my kids' athletic activities, because they are happier and more productive when they're exercising.

If he is not going to college, I'd require that he pay rent. I think I'd save it up for use helping him later with college expenses, but I wouldn't let him know that just yet. If he goes to college and I paid for it, I would insist that a condition of that payment be that I get his college account number so I can log on and see his grades. I'd have a minimum grade requirement he'd have to make each semester before I'd pay for the next semester. And I would go ahead just this once and pay for his application fees so he could enroll in the next semester of college that he's eligible for.

So bottom line for me is that 21 year olds who live in my home need to 1) be civil and somewhat pleasant to me, 2) do household chores, 3) either be in school or pay rent.

I very, very much dislike having young people sleeping the day away. I guess that's a pet peeve of mine. For most of my kids' lives I had a no-sleeping-past-9a.m. rule. I've relaxed that rule now, and they sleep as late as they want to when they're home. However, they both live away at college and are ultra responsible with their grades, their money, their employment, they participate in household chores and are wonderful to be around when they're home. So I don't enforce my no-late-sleeping rule. But if they were sleeping the day away and not getting anything productive done with their lives, I'd absolutely be enforcing that rule.

I wish you the best with your son. I see many young people who messed up in their younger days, but pull their lives together later. Community college is a wonderful idea, and I'm so glad your son wants to go. Our local community college has an assessment program that can help students determine what they're good at. You might want to make an appointment and tour the campus with your son, or look on the web site and find what clubs or student activities they have and suggest to your son. Please, please present going back to school as a positive goal that you know your son can achieve. You might require that he save up half the tuition, or that he get up at 9:00 a.m. every day for a month, or whatever conditions you think are best, but going back to school is a wonderful thing, and your son may be much more ready now.

In my experience, 21 year olds who sleep most of the day away don't feel good about themselves. They know that many young people are graduating college, starting careers, participating in hobbies and athletics, etc., and they get into a hole and just don't want to crawl out of it. I hope you find something that works for your son.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 8:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thank you so much for your answers and concern...he doesn't feel good about himself and he's not sure what to do about it so he sleeps. I think he is unhappy because he goofed up big time at the university....and sometimes dad won't let him live it down. He's disappointed in himself.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dad needs to forgive your son and let go of his anger about your son's first year of college. Lots of young people flub their first year of college, skip classes, drink too much, make bad grades. Many people mess up, then go back to school later when they've realized how hard it is to make it as a self-supporting adult without a higher education.

One of my kids messed up some during her high school years. It was very frustrating because she is so talented and intelligent and had so many opportunities and potential. My advice based on what worked best for us is this - your son knows he messed up. There's no need to rehash it or keep throwing it in his face. Keep his past mistakes and tendencies in mind when you decide what to do, but don't keep mentioning it to him. To him, focus on the positive goals you and he both want to achieve and the steps you both need to get there. Decide on the consequences if he messes up and make that clear, but don't rake up the past while you're doing that. Whenever he follows through on doing something good, make sure your response is positive. Don't be all emotional when you're discussing your goals or consequences, be matter of fact and direct. Over and over I told my kids, "Yes, we are in a bad place now, but it doesn't have to stay that way. People can grow and change and make things better."

I see people his age all the time who have a much bigger hole to climb out of than your son - past alcohol/drug abuse, few to no job skills, poor high school grades and needing remedial work before they can do college level material, unstable home life, and some are teenage parents as well. It sounds like your son is academically prepared for college (high ACT score) and it sounds like he has gotten and kept a steady job, so he must go to work on time and perform his duties reasonably well and responsibly. With some support from you and dad, your son may be ready to tackle community college, and he may do quite well there.

If your son is sleeping all the time because he doesn't know what to do about his situation, then he needs hope, encouragement, help planning, and clear and consistently enforced consequences if he doesn't follow through.

A wise elementary school teacher told me when my kids were much, much younger, "When your child makes a mistake, discuss it, enforce the consequences, then let it go. Don't keep bringing it up. Make sure they know that just because they messed up doesn't mean things have to remain that way forever. They have the power to change things." That was some of the best advice I've ever gotten from a teacher.

My kid who messed up in high school is doing wonderfully now. We are so very proud of her. I've messed up plenty of times as a mother, and I'm so glad she forgave me and doesn't constantly remind me. I try to do the same for her.

Good luck with your son. It hurts so much to see them throw their amazing potential away.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 11:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like daisyinga's approach better than mine.

However, I have a very short fuse with grown-ups (I regard 21 as grown up) who refuse to make more effort than has been described. Professed "inability" to even attain consciousness in order to go to work or class is waaay up there on the loser-meter. How can one talk about duties, ambitions, expectations, and goals with someone who won't even wake up? I just hope the boy doesn't use your love to hone his slacker-skills. Seen too much of that in my own extended family.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My first thought was, he was smoking weed,if he is ,I think thats the main problem,it will cause depression,lack of motivation,irritable and moodyness,if he can somehow kick this ,which probably he wont because he is still very immature,then I think you will see a different son.If you find out he is for sure then I would seriously think about booting him out.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 2:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"If he is not going to college, I'd require that he pay rent. I think I'd save it up for use helping him later with college expenses."

I agree with both Asolo and Daisyinga, though I'm more of the persuasion of Asolo.

The kid is 21. He is not stupid, he likes living with accommodating adults who will allow him to have all the benefits of living well without any of the responsibility that goes with it. He needs to take a singles' survival class so he can see how the real world works. Let him see how much rent, utilities, insurance, etc cost other folks. Buy him a copy of the book "Nickel and Dimed". That will give him a wake up call like no other....

He is going to have to man up at some point. He needs to know that other people aren't going to enable him. You and your DH can do it kindly. Others won't be so inclined...especially employers.

I'd definitely make him pay rent. That way you can save money for him. Especially if you suspect he's using drugs (pot). If that is the case then he is not serious about his future. I've talked to my nephews (similar age) and their friends say its very expensive. If he can afford to buy pot, he can afford to pay ALL of his bills.

A link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I ordered the book "Nickel and Dimed" and my son did try to make an appt today to get some counseling....they have to call him back with the date. so we will see. His younger brother at 19 is seriously thinking of joining the airforce and I'm sure that probably doesn't set well with my 21 yr old pt worker.
Maybe he can't get up cause he does smoke pot after work...
Drug test time???Husband and I are getting serious about this now. Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Excellent advise from Daisy.

I wish you well texas, I hope it works out well with your son.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 8:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If he's smoking a lot of pot, then I agree with tracystoke. That's probably causing a lot of problems, and I'd be afraid he'll have trouble with school.

I'd give him a choice - stop using drugs and submit to drug testing or move out. The carrot I would dangle is clean up your act and be a productive, pleasant member of the household and we'll help you pay for school.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 9:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I ordered the book "Nickel and Dimed" and my son did try to make an appt today to get some counseling...."

Thats great! Please give the book to your son after you read it. It will help him to appreciate how helpful you and your husband have been. It might also be all the impetus he needs to get his life on track (college/trade school) while he is still young and able bodied. Nobody wants to end up working at Walmart making $8.00 an hour, living with three other people in a motel room when they are 45.

Its good that he is willing to get counseling. I think it would be helpful if he got tested to see what type of job/work he has an aptitude for. What type of work does your husband do? If he is self employed, is your son interested in learning the business?The military might not be a bad idea. They teach self discipline like no other employer. I know a single woman who was having a real tough time with her son (similar age). He joined the service and is doing great now. He has a girlfriend but has told his mother that they may not stay together because she has no goals!

Another book worth reading is "The Millionaire next door". It is surprising how wealthy you can become running an average, middle class business. I know a lady who had a pizza restaurant. She and her husband raised 5 children with the income from this business. He passed from a heart attack, but she was able to retire from what they had saved. Here is a bit from the book:

"Who is the prototypical American millionaire? What would he tell you about himself?

* Many of the types of businesses we are in could be classified as dullnormal. We are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors.

* We live well below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile. Only a minority ever lease our motor vehicles."

Interesting to see how people who don't look like they have anything, can actually be rolling in the dough!

A link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well my son decided that he wouldn't go to counseling because he wasn't "crazy". He said he had no desire to work a 40 hr week-what about when you have a family? not doing that he said.Told us we ruined his desire to go to jr college last semester. His brother (19) is seriously thinking of the air force. My 21 yr old is the one who needs the airforce but not interested at all. No motivation but to stay in his pt restaurant job. He lacks self confidence and motivation but told us everything he has tried has bombed.
Said even we didn't think he could do jr college-we didnt think he would get up and go to classes. He hasn't proved much to us so we didn't shell out the $ like we did last time. Guess its time he leaves our house and somehow learns how to get by--on what I don't know. We tried to tell him today he needs to get something new rolling this year and he didn't want to discuss it. I hate the throw out senario but
what else is there?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"He said he had no desire to work a 40 hr week"...

UHMM...good luck with that one, dude!

Seriously, he needs to be out of your house or you will blink and he will be 30 and in the same place in life...whether he will "discuss it" or not is not important since YOU and only you have the legal right to make that decision. I feel bad for you, but he really does need some "tough love" at this point in his life.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Doctors are for "crazy" people. Counselors (including career counselors) are for people who aren't living successfully. Your son qualifies.

I think your son is playing you. Short-term he wins, staying in your house and sleeping his life away. Long-term it's a disaster for him.

Whether he has a "desire" to work a 40-hour week or not, it will be necessary, so he may as well get used to it. Lots of people would rather not work full-time, but they like regular meals and a roof over their head. In fact, there are lots of people out there without any job at all who'd consider it a privilege to work regular hours. He needs to get with the program; as long as he's insulated at home it won't happen.

I know this is very hard but these situations don't spontaneously resolve themselves. He has to go.

You can offer him specific time-sensitive assistance so that you don't feel you're just dumping him out on the street.

1. A medical check-up to rule out any physical cause for his lethargy and sleep issues. A doctor can also diagnose depression.

2. Counseling/therapy. That can be something as pragmatic as career counseling and financial counseling at the local community college.

You may also want to consult someone who can assist you in strategies for dealing with this issue.

3. A finite rent subsidy, say 3 months, so he can get on his feet. If he decides he wants to stick with the current PT job and is willing to live with 5 other people in one room to do that, so be it.

4. Perhaps a dollar-for-dollar deal for college tuition. For every dollar HE invests, you'll match as long as he maintains a 2.5 GPA or better. (Or whatever level you feel is appropriate commensurate with his abilities.)

He is 21. Hard as it is, he is responsible for his education and his life, not you. He may need to get throughly sick of living the low-rent life before he makes that move.

I had a good friend whose son came home with a college degree, got a job, didn't like it and moved home. He was jobless and home-bound for the next 8 years, living in a room like a pigsty and crawling in and out of the bedroom window to avoid confrontations.

The problem wasn't resolved until mom died and step-dad offered him three months' rent assistance. He got a job (fast-food, but it's a job) and is in an apartment with his sister.

Regardless of what your son says, he has to leave, even if you must change the locks to achieve it.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It sounds like you may have to ask him to leave and find his own place to live.

However, you asked what else is there, and there is another time-honored parental tactic. The whole time I raised my kids, I used the tactic of ensuring that it was more pleasant and easy for my kids to do things my way rather than theirs. I'm talking about teenagers and kids here, not 21 year olds.

For example, suppose my 16 year old hadn't wanted to look for a summer job. It's a pain to have to force a kid to fill out applications, and you can't force them to do a good job if they're hired. Solution - first, don't give them any money to go to the movies, no money for gas in the car, don't subsidize any fun things they want to do. Next, make them do chores for free at home. Not just unloading the dishwasher, but ordering a truckload of mulch and making them shovel and wheelbarrow it around back and spread it. Any fairly heavy hard work you'd like to have the Georgia summer...when they don't want to get up until later in the day. If you can't find enough unpleasant tasks at home, then make them volunteer to do yard work for an elderly neighbor. Find some way to work it into the conversation that if they were working at a paid job, of course they wouldn't have time to do all that stuff at home for free.

For a 21 year old with an embedded habit of staying at home, you might have to go to extremes. Make your home an uncomfortable place to be. Cut off the cable and internet. No easy to eat food in the house, just salad stuff or things like roasts or whole chickens that have to be cooked. Don't fix his meals, make him fix his own. Eat some meals out with your husband and don't have anything there at home he can eat, so he'll have to buy his own food. Do whichever is most effective - make him pay rent, or make him do a huge chore like paint the outside of the house in exchange for board, or both - a little rent and some big chores done.

Don't present these things as punishment, because they're not. This is what ADULTS do, they pull their own weight. If they can't do it by paying for themselves, then they work, either at a paid job or they barter their labor for a place to live. Decide what you want from him in order for him to continue living there, then present it calmly and in a positive way, i.e. you're an adult and responsible for your own self. Here's what we expect from adults who share our home. If you decide to go that route, look at it as positively as you can. If he's going to work part time and live in your home, there's no reason why you should ever do a chore in your house you don't like, he can do it for you in return for living there. What do you hate to do? Clean the garage? Scrub the bathrooms? Clean the ovens? Well, you've got a ready-made maid, cook and yard man living right there with you, all for free.

Don't let him guilt trip you about destroying his desire to go to community college. Don't get sucked into that discussion. Tell him calmly and positively that every day is a new day, and people can change their lives if they want to. Whenever he complains, just be calm and let him know he has the power to change his life if he wants to. Make sure that if he's working paid part time, that he's also working unpaid part time in your home. Sooner or later he'll catch on that he'd be better off working full time paid than doing 4 or 5 hours of unpaid chores every day.

That tactic will be such a hassle for you to do it effectively. It would be so much easier if he'd just go in the military, or if you could just ask him to leave and support himself somewhere else. But if you decide to let him stay, be pleasant and calm, don't yell and constantly nag, and realize that was your choice to let him stay. Lay out the terms you want in order for him to stay, be consistent, and follow through by enforcing your terms. Don't lay down any terms you're not willing to enforce.

If I could afford it, I'd make drug testing a requirement for staying in my home if I had a kid smoking a lot of pot. Remember that it's your home and you can make any conditions you want in return for him staying - you can make him be up before you leave for work, make him go to counseling, drug testing, etc. As long as you're willing to enforce the terms, you can make them.

You can't afford not to make changes. You don't want to be in this same position 10 years down the road. Whatever you choose is going to be hard, but you have to do something. I'm not saying that to preach at you or slap your hand, but to bolster your confidence and give you faith and encouragement that you're doing the right thing by drawing the line in the sand. I know from being a mom myself that when we have confidence and faith that we're doing the right thing for our kids, we can summon up the courage and strength to do what we need to do.

I hope you find something that works. You're not alone, plenty of people find themselves in this situation. Today is a new day, not just for your son but for you. You have the power to change things, have confidence that you're doing the best thing for your son by drawing the line and not letting him continue down this destructive path. Kudos to your younger son for choosing the military. That's a great choice for a lot of young people.

Hang in there, mom. It's not easy, but you can do it.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you knew for a fact that your son was smoking pot after work before he comes home would you kick him out of the house no questions asked?

When he knows we are against this.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you knew for a fact that your son was smoking pot after work before he comes home would you kick him out of the house no questions asked?

I think different parents would answer that question different ways. Some parents would kick their kid out for smoking pot, others wouldn't.

I don't know what I would do if the issue was strictly smoking pot. When I read your posts, what leaps out at me as the biggest problem is that your son is not on a path to becoming self-supporting, responsible, reasonably happy and out of your home. What is keeping him from doing that? Does he have a physical problem, is he depressed, is the problem too much pot?

If my kids were 21 years old, living at home, but going to school (successfully, with good grades and a reasonable major) and working and on a clear, consistent path to independence, and I knew they were smoking some weed, I don't know if I'd ask them to leave or not. I might, because chances are they'd have it stashed somewhere in my house or in a car I owned, and that's not acceptable to me. But I know plenty of parents who know their kids are away at college smoking pot and drinking, and they let it go as long as the kids get decent grades and stay in school.

Also, on this forum we don't know what goes on in people's lives. Your son didn't get this way in a vacuum overnight. I know families where mom is battling cancer that will probably be terminal, caring for grandma with the onset of Alzheimer's, facing bankruptcy and foreclosure, etc. Only you and your husband know if there are special circumstances that led to your son's problems. I know our family had special circumstances - one of us was badly hurt with a long and difficult recovery. It took almost all I had to be the caregiver, and I wasn't a good parent to my youngest child during that time. I was the best parent I could be under the circumstances, but I let a lot of things slide that I wouldn't normally have let go. It would have been very unfair once I was able to become a mom again to expect my youngest to straighten up overnight. So I hesitate to always say kick them out; there might be special circumstances.

So, would I kick my child out simply for smoking pot after work? I don't know. Would I kick my able-bodied, healthy child out at the age of 21 for not being willing to go to school, not being willing to work full time, not being willing to address his issues by going to counseling, and having every appearance of not being self-supporting in the foreseeable future? Yes, I would. For his own sake, and for mine.

It's hard to know what to do. I wish our kids were born with an instruction manual, but they aren't.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Even the shrinks had this nailed decades ago. Not sure they still call it "malingering" but I'm sure they have plenty of euphemisms for you....such as the "reality therapy" idea linked below. No, it's not a joke. Your boy isn't the first instance of this kind of thing. If you've got the money, they've got the time.
Sorry for your trouble. You've got a real slug on your hands there.

Here is a link that might be useful: reality therapy

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I skimmed over the link in asolo's post, and it's a great link. I love the Principles section, it is so very true.

If your son's problem is substance abuse, some type of mental illness like bipolar disorder or depression, or there's some physical illness, then you might have to get professional help. But the article asolo listed has so many good points about just dealing with teenage and adult kids who don't have their lives on track.

Reality therapy stresses one major point - people are in control of what they are currently doing in their lives whether or not it is working in their favor toward meeting their basic psychological needs for power, belonging, fun and freedom. And it is through an individual's choices that he or she makes change happen for the better or worse.[7]

That whole Principles section, I saw the best of my kids' teachers use this in their classrooms and it worked so well.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For 21-year-olds who don't want to work or apparently do anything that interferes with their amusements while living on the largesse of others, we used to call it "a kick in the ass" rather than "reality therapy." But who am I to argue with professionals?

I'm satisfied with my original advice, reinforced by OP's latest follow-up posting. Get this kid into the military. He'll play games with anything else. Out of the house and away from mom & dad is where he needs to be.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

daisyinga-"For a 21 year old with an embedded habit of staying at home, you might have to go to extremes. Make your home an uncomfortable place to be. Cut off the cable and internet. No easy to eat food in the house, just salad stuff or things like roasts or whole chickens that have to be cooked. Don't fix his meals, make him fix his own. Eat some meals out with your husband and don't have anything there at home he can eat, so he'll have to buy his own food. Do whichever is most effective - make him pay rent, or make him do a huge chore like paint the outside of the house in exchange for board, or both - a little rent and some big chores done."

I wholeheartedly agree. He needs to be made a bit uncomfortable if he is ever going to learn how to take care of himself.

I'd also add that he has only has so much time to *hit or get off the pot. He either needs to pick up another part time job and pay rent, or move into his own place and learn how the 'real world' works.

Do you have any relatives that might put him up (or put up with him) while he figures his life out?!

Even if he isn't willing to get counseling, you might go even if just to learn a few tricks about how to deal with this situation.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 8:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Son finally made appt for Feb.1 because otherwise he was going to have to find another place to live asap. He told them his parents were making him go because we thought he was "crazy"
and Dad was upset because he slept all the time. I told him we wanted him to go get counseling because we love him and are concerned he is never happy and life sucks he says. Of course he told us since he is 21 he doesn't have to tell us anything.
He thinks we just want him out of the house which isn't true..I am concerned about him and want to keep an eye on him so I am glad he is here until we can figure something out. Of course his appt is at 8:30 which he hated but knows he had better go.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 9:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Something tells me there won't be any happy ending to this one until many years from now.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

He thinks we just want him out of the house . . .

I'm sure that's what he's saying. It's a perfect way to instill guilt in his parents. Your worry and fear are very useful to him.

I notice there's nothing in his comments that indicates any acceptance of personal responsibility whatsoever.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 4:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My son and his wife always slept late. My son lost a good job with paid health insurance at one of the largest A/C companies in this country because he was late every day. His 3 children have always had to get them selves up for school, no breakfast, no lunch. It's not a mental disorder it is simply pure laziness. If your son got counseling for depression he probably wouldn't take his meds. You will have to force him to take responsibility for his life or this is the kind of person he will always be. Being on the street may make him realize that.

You might try getting him a very cheap apartment, pay the rent and utilities for 3 months and tell him he takes over at the end of the 3 months. Get it in his name only not yours. No coming back home.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 11:26AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Please help me!
I have been dating my boyfriend for about 2 years....
mothers estranged from adult children
Hi Ladies. I'm new here and there was a post at the...
Adult daughter says actions speak louder than words
My Daughter and I have not had the best relationship...
Normal Behaviour?
I'll keep this short... is it normal that 10 year olds...
How do I cope?
It's been 8 weeks since my daughter has spoken to me...
Sponsored Products
Belenus Chrome Fifteen-Light 26-Inch Chandelier with Royal Cut Clear Crystal
Moooi | Farooo Medium Floor Lamp
Toureg Gold Eleven-Light 22-Inch Chandelier with Royal Cut Clear Crystal
$736.00 | Bellacor
Toureg Gold Three-Light 12-Inch Pendant with Royal Cut Clear Crystal
$252.00 | Bellacor
Mini Star Chrome Two-Light Bath Fixture with Royal Cut Golden Teak Smoky Crystal
$300.00 | Bellacor
Marseille Antique Bronze Twelve-Light 24-Inch Chandelier with Royal Cut Golden S
Maria Theresa Gold Two-Light 12-Inch Wall Sconce with Royal Cut Clear Crystal
$190.00 | Bellacor
Monarch French Gold Twelve-Light Chandelier with Golden Teak/Smoky Royal Cut Cry
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™