Adult children living at home.....

loladoonJune 15, 2008

I am not actually remarried, but I have been with my partner for almost 4 years. His adult son graduated from high school a couple of years ago and has done nothing since then, except sleep all day and stay up all night playing video games, etc. He tried one semester of college and quit going half-way through and lied about it. We only found out that he didn't complete the semester by checking with the school. He has refused to get a driver's license. The BM is out of the picture completely. There is no other place for this man-child to live.

I do not want to live with him. It's one thing if the adult child lives at home and has a job. He's not "bad" in the sense that he does not do drugs and does not drink alchohol, but he has zero ambiition and blames everyone else for his lack of a job, lack of education, lack of a driver's license.

My partner thinks that his son will one day wake up from this inertia and get a life. I do not. This feels like a deal-breaker to me, even though I do love my partner and there are no other issues between us.

I guess I need to set a deadline to get out of this relationship and stick with it, even though I do love my partner.

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I think you solved the problem yourself, good solution.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:05PM
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your partner needs to realize that kids don't 'wake up'. I have two sons and the older one has 'failed to launch' and I finally had to push him out of the nest. My other son is going to be 19 and had started to take that path of staying up late, sleeping all day, he took a semester off to save money but hasn't. He has a deadline of his 19th birthday to get back on track. It's up to the parent to put the pressure on the kid to 'grow up'. Some kids will do nothing if they are allowed to. Others don't have to be told and push themselves. (my daughter is like that)

If you feel it is a dealbreaker, you need to discuss that and give him the opportunity to do something. You don't have to live with him, you can move out and get your own place without ending the relationship. His son may leave in a year or two anyways so it would be sad if you gave up an otherwise great guy. I'd suggest your partner read on parenting techniques or take a class. It's hard to understand how a kid can be like that when you are the type that didn't have to be told. My husband and I were both self motivators and it drives us crazy that my sons have to be pushed every step of the way. His daughter is 9 and she is they type that wants us to tell her what to do all the time. She will not take the initiative herself to do anything. We're working on it now, but I didn't recognize that my boys were doing that growing up. I did too much for them and it does backfire.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:11PM
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This has been a topic of discussion between us for almost 2 years. My partner is nonconfrontational and in denial about the whole thing. My partner will talk a lot of sense about putting a plan together to deal with his son and then nothing happens. He has no follow-through, which is ironic because I would describe my partner as an Alpha male when it comes to work.

We do not currently live together, but I would like to share my life with someone again. I enjoyed being married and having someone around.

How did you push your oldest son out of the nest? My partner's son is an odd one. The kid doesn't have any friends, not any that he sees in real life. He only has internet friends and no close family ties with his father or sibling. I can't see him living with anyone. He is a basement dweller. He avoids the people in his own house.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:34PM
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he needs therapy, he has more problems than not having a job..possibly depressed. yeap, suggest therapy.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 4:01PM
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My BF is the same way with his adult D's. He told his 19 year old back in May that she had until the end of the month to clean her room or he was going in and tossing everything. She started to clean it right before the end of the month and barely made a dent. Yesterday, two weeks after his deadline, he accused her of not taking him seriously. She started to cry. He felt guilty. He ended up spending a few hours helping her clean her room. There were 7 bags of garbage and she walked out smiling and laughing. She immediately left our house to see friends, and then work. She somehow forgot to do her chore from the night before and left us with a sink full of dishes.

I almost left BF for over these same issues, but like you I love him. I think that other posters are right. Don't end your relationship over a lazy kid. Perhaps if your BF realizes that you were ready to move or end the relationship he will jump into action. The kid's in both of these cases are not going to change - their dad's will have to make the changes.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 4:03PM
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I agree. I suspect something else might be going on. Every one thinks the same thing too. The son will not go to therapy and he no longer has insurance since he is not a full-time student and does not work.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 4:34PM
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If anyone thinks they have all the answers for teens or young adults, all I would say is every child is different and it isnt always easy. I have one friend, intact family, always on top of child, and they are having failure to launch issues. I think it might be even harder for SMs because they are to some extent detached and see the situation more from outside. Also, me, as a custodial mom, have had the opportunity all through high school to guide child toward the right chioces.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 4:44PM
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Thanks Gerina. Your situation sounds familiar to me.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 4:45PM
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I wonder where do young people get money if they do not work. Since they do not work and do not go to school (and are not disabled) I assume parents do not give them money. Of course they feed the kid and provide him a room in the house but what about clothes? who buys that?

as about driving...DD has no "falure to launch issue", she is full time in college and works and is well adjusted socially. She does not drive. When she was in high school i went to school psychologist to discuss if it is normal. School psycholigist also has her private practice, so she told me that it is known to her when people refuse to drive. Where DD lives now she does not need to drive but when she comes home it is very difficult for her to get around and yet she would not drive. I have hard time expaling it to people because they think there is soemthing wrong wiht her.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 6:17PM
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I got my 21 year old out the same way I'm probably going to get the 19 year old out. I make them as uncomfortable as possible. I gave them rules... no using the kitchen after dinner mess is cleaned up. Lights out at 11. Keep room clean. House is locked at 11, unless they are working, if they are going to be out later than that, they have to stay at the friends (I took away the house key) and basically told them that it's MY house, I pay the bills, and if they don't like it, they can leave. My older son didn't like it and as soon as he could get a place, he did. Now, he is still calling me to give him a ride to work or complaining that he might not be able to pay his rent this month. I tell him "sorry, you have to figure it out. You didn't want to live under my rules when you didn't have to pay rent and I was giving you rides. Sorry." It's tough love but he has to learn the hard way because when I was trying to show him my way, he said I was too controlling. Well, my way consisted of the rules and expectation that he is either in school or working & paying $50 a week to live here. (I didn't even charge the $50 the last time, hoping he'd save up money because he wanted to get a car and move out)


(I am sorry that was in all caps but I wanted to stress that step parents that are criticized for 'overstepping bounds' are wrongfully attacked on this board. I'm a bio parent that can admit that if my husband were not supporting me 100%, I would cave when I get stressed out. and believe me, my kids know how to stress me out and what buttons to push. The key is that the bio parent has to want the help and support of the stepparent. If the stepparent tries to set rules or make changes and the bioparent doesn't think it's necessary, it won't work.)

You can't help someone that won't help themselves. If you do, it's not really help, it's enabling.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 12:32AM
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I LOVE having my adult children at home. I enjoy their company immensely, I love knowing they are safe, it's convenient having another adult in the house to take care of/chauffeur the younger ones, the younger kids love having their older siblings around to hang out with - there is absolutely no downside.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 12:59AM
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Thanks so much for sharing your story. My partner has a hard time staying consistent. (i'm also a bioparent to a disabled child and i have consistent expectations for my own, it's difficult for me to see an able-bodied young man refusing to work or go to school when he has everything going for him).

To any of the posters who enjoy having their adult children live at home, I'm not opposed to adult children living at home as long as they are a productive member of society. Any parent does their child a disservice if the provide a safe haven from work and responsibilities. We are raising the next generation of mortgage holders, etc... I would feel like I had failed my own child if he couldn't eek out a life for himself apart from my mothering.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 7:49AM
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TOS your grown children do go to school and work, right? I doubt they lay around doing nothing. However I have to say that if my grown kid would do that I would blame myself and no one else. Kids do what they learn.

I also would not mind DD living at home, i actually wanted her to go to a local university (we have pretty decent schools not far away) and stay at home. But she wanted to explore the world. I am in my 40s, but my parents would love me to live with them:) But then again, we are productive members of society. It makes a difference.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 7:56AM
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My 18 yr old son sometimes gets into the habit of staying up all night and sleeping all day, (he's a teenager!!) but when he works he works hard and he is responsible. If he decided to sleep all day and not do anything with his life then I would have a problem with that.

Sometimes teenagers need some time to figure things out, and I think that's okay. There are far too many unreasonable expectations put on young adults today to choose a career, find a study path, etc. when they are just too young to know what they are going to do with their life.

At the same time, though, while they are getting themselves together, there is nothing wrong with having a job, even a part time one, and making a contribution to the household. If not in monetary terms, then by doing some housework, garden work, cooking dinner, etc. Even when my son wasn't working, he would cook dinner, clean the pool, babysit the younger kids, etc.

loladoon, this kid may have zero ambition and he may also just not know what he wants to do. The longer he has left it, the harder it has become to actually step out of the house and become a meaningful, contributing member of society. Perhaps his mother needs to have a chat with him and try give him some guidance, and if that fails, a good 3 month mini-ultimatum plan would probably do the trick.

By the way, my husband (my son's stepfather) gave him a job once and fired him for laziness. It wasn't done in an ugly way but out of necessity and love. It worked and my son can now look back and say he deserved it and he learned a lot from it. Now he is brilliant at his job, and is a phenomenally talented and dedicated young man. Parents don't do their children any favours by not teaching them responsibility.

I tell my son that I would love to keep him wrapped up in my arms forever and always take care of him, but as a parent that would mean I had failed because my job is to raise my children to leave. I believe that is every parents job. Maybe not at any set age that people say they should leave, but raising children to be productive and responsible young adults means raising them to be independent as well, and that means preparing them to live their own lives with all the responsibility that comes with that.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 10:22AM
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I would want my DD to live with me -- She has said my home will be her "home base" till she is out of graduate/professional school (we are talking about age 25). If she hits some bumps in the road, I want to help her. I agree there is a difference between helping and enabling, but that doesnt mean not to help. One of my friends had a son who was taking a few courses at the local community college, dropped some, etc. worked at a restaruatent, late nights etc. My friend accepted that his son might not be college material, loved him, worked with him. Had son sit for civil service exams, son is to be started as police officer in September, and has agreed with his dad that he doesnt have to pay rent as long as he takes one course at night.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 10:59AM
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That's really the only way it can work, kkny, and it's wonderful that your daughter feels that way. Clearly you have made your home a comfortable and welcoming one :)

And you are right - there is a HUGE difference between helping and enabling. We have told all our children that they will always have a soft place to land in our family and home, and I feel sad for my DH who was kicked out of the house at age 16 with nowhere to go because he was 'old enough to leave'.

I guess the problem comes when some parents just take it to extremes - either way.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 11:23AM
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I would be well-satisfied if he had some kind of a steady job. (he steals money and possessions from family members who live in the home with him and this is also why I do not want to combine households).

My own child might not be able to go to college due to his disability, but I see all kinds of special needs young adults holding down jobs. I know one 20-yr-old man who works at McDonald's, in addition, to Super Target. If that's my son someday, I would be beaming with pride.

My partner's son is exceedingly bright and can miss days of school and still pull off "A's". Why work if you can play video games and get fed for free????

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 1:29PM
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there are plenty of options besides college. Community college, voacational school etc If DD would not go to college, she would be expected to have some kind of plan and I would guide her through. Just sitting home doing nothing would not fly. But this is something we teach children as they are growing up. It does not happen in one day.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 4:33PM
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You need to run, not just walk away from this relationship.
Setting a deadline for your partner is not going to work when he hasn't set any deadlines for his adult son.

The son will not suddenly wake up one day from his inertia.
Even if he agrees to get a job and a drivers license he will be back to the same state he is in now over and over.
Since he is not serious about it, school is a complete waste of time and money right now. He will be living with your partner for many more years while he continues to sleep in and play video games. You can count on it.

Your partner is complicit in his son's lack of motivation.
This says more about him than his son, and points to a serious problem for your relationship. The son has obviously manipulated your partner for many years and will continue to do so.

The son has a video game addiction. This is not easily changed by any quick promise of a change in behavior. He needs professional help. Your partner's inability to diagnose and deal with this speaks volumes.

You may have no other issues with your partner right now, but after you marry his son's behavior would permeate across all other areas of your relationship. Trust me.

You have already witnessed the son's behavior for almost four years. How much longer do you need to do an evaluation?

Your partner has failed to deal appropriately and effectively with his son who is an adult. If you really came first in your partners life, this enabling would have ended at least two years ago. Please don't de-value yourself by continuing to let your partner put you second in his life.

Your partner needs to grow up, be a Dad, and stop enabling his son. If you marry him, you will be the lone adult in the house. Do you really want that?

There are other good, available, single men out there who won't bring this kind of baggage into a relationship. What is holding you back?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 3:44PM
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what athlete said.

You're the mother of a child who, sounds like, will need your strength & your presence in his life forever.

No one has the resources to do that plus take the dead weight of a grown man living off his father...who denies that his son has or is a problem.

The stronger relationship here is between the 2 of them, & it'll be this way their entire lives;
let it be, & get on with your good life.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 4:29PM
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Yes, silvia brings up a great point about your child. If you marry again, you will need a strong husband to work with you in helping your son/daughter. This man is too weak to do that. In terms of children, your son/daughter should come first - not his "adult" son.

Saying you "love your partner and there are no other issues between us," is kind of like saying that the Titanic was a great ship except for that big gash on the starboard side. You need to grab a lifeboat and tell him goodbye (and why) today before it's too late.

By doing so now, you can leave with some dignity and self-respect. He will also respect you more as well.

Don't make any conditional demands that can be met and then broken down the road. Be firm that it's over!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 5:27PM
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My DH was forced out of his home when he was 19. I think he actually had a job, but he was still pissing his money away partying all the time. He parents told him, "You need to leave. You're too old to live here now." And that was it. My DH made it on his own. We all do. It's hard being young, broke, and trying to find your way. But you make it. Your SS will make it, too. He won't die. He'll be forced to think on his feet, get a job, etc. You partner has to cut the umbilical cord, so to speak. Your SS needs to become a man. Period.

Now if you give your partner an ultimatum and he doesn't take it seriously, I recommend a counselor for both of you. The counselor can act as a mediator. The counselor will likely see your point, too, and try and make your partner understand it.

As far as your SS being depressed: I'm no psychologist, but he seems more like a lazy butt that is spoiled. He needs a reality check. Making it on his own will give him that.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 7:24PM
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I am not at all interested in gardening but I came here after an internet search with the words "adult children at home." This was one of the top Google responses. I have so far been unable to find any support sites just for people like me who are struggling with how to know how to deal with adult children who we would desperately love to push out of the nest. Does anyone know of any such sites? Or is this thread continuing? Or heck, I would even love to communicate privately with you, Loladoon, because it sounds like our situations are very similar although in my case, he is my actual, biological son! (Hard to believe since I moved out practically the second I turned 18 and was always ambitious and hardworking.)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 7:25PM
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You should start a new thread even if you aren't in a step family situation. Many of these posters have biological kids in addition to step kids. I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice and varying opinions from people who want their kids around to those who want them out.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 10:39PM
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Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it!

I think you need to write it out. Exactly what are the "pros vs. cons" of marrying this man. Don't sugar coat it either, this is your life here.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:52AM
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"I would want my DD to live with me -- She has said my home will be her "home base" till she is out of graduate/professional school (we are talking about age 25)."

Oh Come now KKNY! Be honest! 25 is when your Dear Daughter, Miss Givme Givme gets Daddy's house as mentioned in one of your previous posts. Whata nice thankyou for all that child support and fully paid for education! The day Givme Givme turns 25 she'll zip over to Dads on her broom, knock on the door, yell what she's heard you preface every contact with your ex-husband with all her life, "Give me! Mine!" and toss the old man out on his ass.
So she'll launch fine!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:22PM
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Naa, She will drive over in her German sports car.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:30PM
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lol kkny, I love your responces to stupid insults. Right on. hahah made my day. :)

I suspect monorail is a troll because what would be the other reason to constantly insult somebody's minor child whom she/he does not even know?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:19AM
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parent's home as "home base" while going to school is not the same as living full time at home and not going to school or working. A very different kind of picture, don't you think?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:23AM
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I agree, and I have discussions with DD as to her plans and "back-ups". What if she doesnt get into her first choice of college, et etc.

If someone isnt working or going to schoool, you need to find out why.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:34AM
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loladoon- A date needs to be set. Whether it's your move out date or your SS's deadline to have SOMETHING lined up (school, a good job, a new residence)there is a need for a deadline. It is such a huge mistake to let adult children "make theirselves at home" without any kindof gameplan or boundaries. Some people will not jump unless they are pushed and unless BOTH parties living at the residence is OK with the kids becoming a permanent fixture on the living room couch or a constant raider of the fridge, the kid needs a time to be out by.

It is TOTALLY unfair to force a roomie,friend,girlfriend,spouse or whom ever to live with a leech adult child when they don't want to. This is DOUBLED if the roomie is paying household costs to any extent. Considering this kid seems to have no plans other than bumming off of his dad for the next ten years I would consider him a leech.

P.S. Video games are the devil.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:30AM
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Athlete and Sylvia, I just read the posts you made towards the end of June. I will have to save those messages and refer to them later. I actually don't like the role I'm playing in this relationship. I keep trying to "fix it", but I'm getting nowhere and I'm feeling a lot of stress and depression. A break-up would be sad, but at least it would be a change. I feel lonely as it is. He makes me feel like I'm the problem for feeling discontent with the status-quo.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Hi loladoon,

Thanks for posting again, and I'm sorry to hear about your stress and depression over this.

Perhaps you and your child need a vacation away from your partner and his son. Spending several days or a week in a different environment might give you a fresh perspective.

As a father myself, it's hard for me to understand why your partner does not expect more from his son. The father has to deal more effectively with him and get the young man out on his own.

A few good first steps would be for the dad to get rid of the video games and enforce reasonable hours for going to bed and getting up in the morning. If he's not willing to do that soon, it's doubtful that he'll ever be able to effectively deal with this situation.

The son needs to go into therapy as well, but he won't unless his dad makes him go.

You've already been discussing this for two years and nothing has changed. You can't be the fix it person here. The dad and the son have to do that themselves.

At a minimum, I would cool things off for a while and see if anything changes. Meanwhile, you might get active with your friends again and start meeting new people.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 7:21PM
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Hi ( the son) need to be loved. You don't like him, like you say. Why? Do you have your own childeren?
You don't talk about what's hapend with his Mother.
he need help not conviction out a House..thats my opimion.
Talk to him. Do somethink whit him and his father. Include him in the family plan. Make him his faver food.
If you that not can, then you should not date a man with a sohn ... you are not the right person for that...hi is his father and hi ist his sohn and you have to respect that and if you love him, you will find the key to his sohn haert too..

Good luck,


    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 4:03AM
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This is my thought... I don't have any kids, my DH has 4 "adult" children. Unless they are studying for a Master Degree or above, and they are over 21-22 they are out. They are welcome to stay in our house for a certain amount of time if there is a REAL emergency i.e. their house burned down and it wasn't their fault, there was a tornado. They CANNOT stay with us because they got fired, don't "like what they are doing", can't "find" a job, can't afford the baby or the baby's momma. It's called your an adult now....good luck and we'll see for Sunday dinner =)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 11:22AM
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