22 answers

19-Year-old Won't Work

I'm so thankful to have stumbled across this site. I realize it's probably for kids under 18, but I'm at a loss and I wondered if there was anybody else out there with the same problems. I have a 19-year-old on who simply won't get a job. He still lives at home. His car got totaled about 3 years ago and I let him drive mine off and on for the last 3 years, but I have to stop. He has had 2 accidents with my car and our insurance rates have gone through the roof, so I took him off of our insurance. I stopped him from driving for a while, but he always had some type of excuse why he needed the car, and I always give in. He has quit 2 jobs because they expected him to work when it was "cold outside" or when he had put in to be off due to something going on with his friends and they wouldn't let him off. He has had a free ride up until now. I finally cut off his money, because I just simply couldn't afford it. Now, he has started pawning stuff off to get money. He only comes home about once or twice a week. He stays at a house with a bunch of other teenagers and I don't know what's going on there. He always tries to "butter me up" when he is at home, hoping I'll give in to him again. I worry about him so much. I wonder if he's eating (he's losing weight). He doesn't take a shower half the time, doesn't have clean clothes. I've been taking clean clothes to him every other day or so and taking him soap and towels and, if I have any money for him to eat on, I give him that too. I know I'm enabling him, but how do you get over the guilt? He manipulates me and I let him get away with it. Where do you find the strength to be stern? Any advice you can give will be appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everybody for all your good advice. We had a long talk. He denies the drugs completely. He states he just wants to stay in town because it's closer to all his friends (which we do live out in the middle of nowhere). He is no longer allowed to drive my car at this time and won't be given money. If he is hungry, we will be glad to pick him up and bring him home, or he can have a friend drop him off at his grandma's house to eat, take a shower, etc. He says he has been trying to lose weight and he has been more athletic, playing basketball, etc. IDK. We'll see how it goes. I just have to pray daily for God to give me the strength to say no. Thanks again guys!

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Something about this screams that he is experimenting with drugs.....I'm sorry and I could be totally wrong, but it just seems to me that the losing weight, living with a bunch of teens, not caring about appearance, pawning things or "buttering" you up for money and not holding down a job screams possible drug issue. I would definitely intervene and quickly.....if he is just experiencing "growing pains" then at least you will have been there for him and if it is something worse you can know you did what you could. Good luck!

I remember a story Danny Bonaduce told. He was using drugs a lot, not eating, etc. His mom came to visit. She said that she loved him and she came to say good-bye because she thought he might die soon. That made him wake up. He kicked his habit and moved back in with his mom while he looked for a job. I just thought you might find that interesting.

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This website is for ALL moms!!!

It is time for Tough Love. It's not easy. But it HAS to be done.

1. Type up a contract for your son to sign. He will have pay rent and utilities. He's an adult now and will be treated as such.
a. rent is X. and due X. there will be a X late fee for late payments (just like real life).
b. he is expected to do:
1. his own laundry and his day to use the washer/dryer is X.
2. keep his room clean and tidy.
3. take out the trash - trash pick up is on X day and it is expected to be taken out by x the previous night.
4. replenish food he uses in the house. If he uses the last of the milk, he is expected to buy a new one.

2. If he has chosen not to go to school (university/college) full time, then he has to support himself. If he is going to school then rent will be a portion as you might expect him to work part time.

3. DO NOT allow him to drive your car. PERIOD. If he needs to go somewhere he can call a taxi. If he "needs" you to do - then you will charge him a fare for driving him. NO MORE CODDLING HIM!!

4. DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO treat you this way. PERIOD. You have basically trained/taught him and now, the hard part - untraining/unlearning this behavior. This means saying no and meaning it - NO MEANS NO! PERIOD. END OF STORY!
In my home, if my boys ask me more than once for something - I take something away of theirs - whether it be computer or TV time - or their DS. NO MEANS NO. DO NOT ASK TWICE - DO NOT WHINE, DO NOT YELL, DO NOT SCREAM - PERIOD. You WILL treat me with respect and respect my answer.

I have a 24 year old daughter. She quit college her sophomore year. She wanted to come live with me - I said FINE - rent is X, etc. she didn't like that - she called her dad - he said the same thing (I Love his new wife!! When they let our daughter come back home to live - they took the money that she paid in rent to them and put it in a savings account for her. She does NOT know about this money. They plan on giving it to her when she graduates college and buys a home).

If she wanted to continue with school - fine, she would work part time and rent wouldn't be as much. She tried living with her dad for about a year - she wasn't happy and decided to move out on her own. She is still going to school part-time and is NOT happy about her wages or hours. ONLY SHE CAN CHANGE THAT.

how do I find the strength to be stern? I love my children enough to show them HOW to be a capable adult. My kids learned at 5 how to toast bread, make their own L'eggo waffles, make their own beds, separate laundry, fold it and put it away. My kids can fix scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast for themselves. They are learning how to use an iron too. They each have their own savings account as well. They each know EXACTLY how much money is it. They need to put money from their allowance into the savings account and they can donate money as well. To me - these are ESSENTIAL life skills.

You have already stated that you ALLOW him to do this. It is up to you to stop it. It will NOT be easy - but he MUST learn to care for himself.

next - you need to call the parents of the teen he appears to be staying with and find out what they are telling him. Tell them that you are TRYING to get him to become a productive citizen. Oh heck - I might even ask her to charge him rent!!! So he knows he can't "free load" off ANYONE.

As to his pawing items - you need to make sure that he's not taking your stuff to pawn. Also let this other parent know that he has been pawing stuff and ensure that he is NOT taking from her as well.

I would also go to your local pharmacy and get one of the at home drug test kits and when he gets home - make him pee in the cup and YOU test it. If he doesn't like it or doesn't want to do it - find out what he's hiding. If he is doing drugs - get him help with the caveat that he MUST remain clean in order to live under your roof.

I don't have guilt from telling my children NO. I might feel bad that they are NOT getting what they "want" but there is a difference between "want" and "need". You NEED food to survive, you WANT steak to eat.

If you feel like you can't say NO to him because he "needs" food money - this WILL be hard - tell him to go get a job. Or come home to eat a meal with the family. Otherwise the answer is NO.

If you need strength - in box me. YOU CAN AND MUST do this - not just for your sanity but for your son!!!

4 moms found this helpful

Hi P.,

You have been helping him because you love him. Problem is, it's the worst thing for him. He manipulates you. That means he doesn't respect you. He's pawning things, I'd worry about him stealing your things to get money. Sounds like this money is going toward drugs. I am concerned about your safety. I would change the locks on the doors and not give him a key. I'd meet him in a public place, tell him that you're sorry he didn't grow up to be a responsible adult. But he's an adult now and time to leave the nest. If he needs advice, you'll be happy to give it but you aren't giving anymore handouts. If he's hungry, he can go to a soup kitchen. If he needs clothes, he can go to the Salvation Army. If he needs a ride, he can walk. If he needs a place to sleep, he can try the homeless shelter. He did not take advantage of preparing himself for life while living with you. Time and patience are up. He's out.

Good luck and hugs to you,
M. D.

4 moms found this helpful

It is time for some tough love. You are enabling him...and I know exactly how hard it is to stop it!!
Your job right now is to help him learn how to be a responsible adult...and your "help" that you have been giving him is actually crippling him.
No more money...no more hand outs...no more car....and if he won't abide by the rules of your home...no more free room and board!!!
I am not telling you it is going to be easy....you need to find someone there who can help you by giving you "pep talks" when you start to waiver!!!
He is going to pile on the "guilt"...make you feel like the worst person you can imagine...but you have to look at the goal that you are moving towards...making him independent and responsible and capable of not only surviving but thriving in our society!!!
If he gets a job...charge him "rent" to live at home...and then save that money ( without telling him) to give him a "nest egg" when he eventually gets ready to move out on his own.
Treat him like you would a total stranger who is trying to become part of your life. Would you let ME come into your home and treat you the way your son is treating you?? Of course you wouldnt.....think of what you would expect of me...and have the same expectations for your son!!
Good luck to you!!! God Bless

2 moms found this helpful

When my oldest turned 18 he could have gone to college on scholarships but didnt want to go. He got a good paying job, bought a car, and did fine. He met a girl and they decided to go to Disneyworld for a vacation. He took 2 weeks off of work flew to Florida, blew all the money he had saved and pretty much lost his job by the time he got back. I told him he either had to work or go back to school or join the army. He joined the army. He got tons of money for college while doing his time, he spent 6 years and is now making 6 figures. It made a very good man out of him. You are crippling your son right now, seriously.... and it will only get worse... he's still young, you need to make some harsh decisions, his future is at stake.

2 moms found this helpful

You are enabling him because you "feel guilty" and you wonder why he is playing you? You need to change your thinking because he won't change until you do. You've always bailed him out... That has to stop.
Sit him down and tell him in no uncertain terms that he is not a child. He is an adult. He needs to realize that he is responsible for his own actions. Then - Cut him off completely. He is up to no good - I agree with the others - Drugs...
Change the locks. Don't give him access to the house at all.
Don't give him money for food. You can always give him a plate of leftovers if you think he needs it.
You can offer to put him into a treatment program if you think he'll go, but until he hits rock bottom, he'll probably not be interested.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

get him out of your house! he is using you and you are enabling this by babying him. am sorry but the best love is tough love when it comes to a man child. am sorry for you but not for him. it your house your rules and if he can't follow the rules he is out! he must learn this now or life in the real world is going to be real hard. my father always said you work 10% of your income goes to the family. and when your 18 you have to be going to school or you can't live here. and we turned out just fine. 2 went to college and 2 got jobs but at 15 we all had jobs! stop giving in... that's not love.

1 mom found this helpful

I was thinking the same thing as Diane, drugs. You need to put your foot down. No more free ride. Give him a certain amount of time to clean his act up and if he doesn't he needs to move out.

1 mom found this helpful

You must get the strength by knowing that you have not and are not preparing him for the real world and how to take care of himself. He is reliant upon you b/c you let him be. If you suddenly get sick or pass away, who will take care of him? It is a sad thought but truth. I dated a guy that was 25 and exactly that way b/c his mom 'saved' him no matter what he chose not to do. You sit him down now and give him a list of things you expect out of him as an adult. 1. get a job 2. bathe 3. be responsible and if you can think of any others that are just the norm for being an adult. Anything other than that you have no control over since he is an adult. You tell him that for his own good and b/c you love him, you have got to cut him off. Then stick to it. He can either live in your home and have a job or he can move out but he cannot come home when he needs money. good luck, you know it is best for him so you must stick to it.

1 mom found this helpful

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