56 answers

19 Yr Old Son Won't Study and Won't Listen to What I Say, What Should I Do?

My son has a part time job making $8.75/hr. He stays with us so he can finish his college and so we can help him in many ways including car insurance, tel., food and shelter. However, he's rude most of the time and when he gets home from work all he cared is play games in the computer usually until 2 a.m.Even if i tell him it's time to study, he doesn't do it.He doesn't talk much and always puts on a long face. Few nights a week he goes to a computer playing place and stay there 'till 3 a.m. I work at night and can't monitor him, my husband has to stay home with our toddler at night. Recently I got tired of his stubbornness so I took away his driving privileges. Last thursday 06-18, he said he would move out, but today the 21st he's still at the house acting the same way, He did not even greet his dad a Happy father's day although he went out with us to eat at a restaurant, he was just quiet. He doesn't show any gratitude to the help we extend to
him, he's always rude and selfish. I feel bad if he leaves the house because i know he's not making enough to even rent, but i cannot tolerate his actions anymore, what should i do to make him listen to me, and to stop him for waisting so much time in computer games.
If I take the computer away from him, he will then spend time at an outside internet center to play his games and stay there all night. He hates me for nagging at him on this but, this got to stop i just don't know how,,,,,,,,,pls. help......Thanks.

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Gap year. If he isn't ready to hunker down at college then pay for him to travel abroad for a year. Nothing like a year of back-packing and staying in youth hostels to make a fellow grow up and feel excited about the world and its possibilities. He will be much more ready to study and want to make something of his life after that experience. Don't kick him out... send him out... with a hug and a wave and a "Bon Voyage!"

3 moms found this helpful

You may want to look into books on prodigy and advanced children on Amazon.com, or Indigo and Crystal children on Amazon.com.

Also, Agape International Spiritual Center does counseling - they are not religious, they are metaphysical.

Be well.


He's 19, legally an adult and now he doesn't HAVE to listen to you. It would be nice yes because it shows lack of respect for you that he doesn't, but there's no real "you live in my house you obey my rules" law.

More Answers

Print this out for him....


Charles J. Sykes offered the following words of wisdom:

Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.
Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rules No. 1 and No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking (or drug use) does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You're welcome.

4 moms found this helpful

Hi G.:
You've received some excellent responses,so I'll keep mine brief.The reason your son is acting like a child,is because you continue to treat him as such. Your argument will continue to be,that he doesn't act like an adult. Well, this will continue to be a vicious circle,until you come to the realization that he is his own man now.If he wants to succeed in college he will do so,because this is what HE wants.Not because you push or demand he makes these achievements. If he doesn't study or get passing grades,he won't be able to continue his education. You will no longer have to worry about tuition,and he can move on and find something that interests him in life. Your holding him back,by barking orders,and making him feel as though hes still a kid.Yes, if hes living in your home,there should be rules to live by,but that doesn't include telling him when to study,or in which way he can unwind and enjoy his free time.He's mature enough to make these decisions on his own. Regardless of what you think. Whether or not that road is one which you yourself would have taken, He needs to be given the opportunity to grow up,learn about responsibility,and the consequences of his own actions.Loosen up those apron strings,and permit him to be a man.He's not your little boy any more. I wish you and your (Grown son) the best. J. M

3 moms found this helpful

I would like to start this off by saying that my parents are brilliant, charming, funny, warm, loving people (these days my mum is actually one of my best friends), and that I had a charmed childhood.

The problem was that my childhood lasted YEARS beyond when it should have. By the time I was 17 I had NEVER been trusted to wake myself up in the morning, do my own laundry, set my own study hours, pay any bills, taught to research/plan/or execute goals in my life, or have any level of increasing responsibility in aaaannything. And I was a snarky, spoiled, brat. (There were a few notable exceptions, where I would physically wrest some kind of responsibility from my parents...setting up an internship without talking/discussing it with them... because I knew they'd disapprove or disallow it, but these exceptions were things that I had to either be deceitful about, or physically and verbally fight for...not things that were encouraged on their part.)

My parents claimed they couldn't trust me to do any of these things, because I consistently showed them that any trust they put in me would be broken. Essentially that I was utterly incapable...yet I would be given the "You have so much potential" talk over and over and over.


Well when I was 17 I manipulated my father (not very nice, i know, but I was an overgrown child...& manipulation is the only way a child has of gaining anything), into signing an early entry release into the USMC.

Wow. Overnight, not a single demand, pure honest to god simple expectation. Clear, concise, adult responsibility.

My parents were stunned. Their daughter (who they literally had DRUG out of bed, sheets and all), not only in the military, but with 3 meritorious promotions under my belt in less than a year. Low and behold I was capable of all the things they thought I wasn't. Yes I made a LOT of mistakes (that, quite frankly would have been better off made before I had people's lives -including my own- in my hands), but I was, finally, being given increasing levels of responsibility...and the utter freedom to do whatever the heck I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted in my freetime. It's amazing how people can flourish with that. Like the inner-city kids who start doing shakespear/physics/calculus/literary analysis when all someone does is ask it of them, give them the tools to do it, and simply expect success.

My parents re-evaluated how they were raising my siblings. It was too late for my sister (sadly), but for my other siblings it's amazing to see how they've flourished in their lives.

I don't have a simple answer for you, just my story. At 19 the snarky, disrespecting, untrusted teenager I had been was long gone...but I had to move 3000 miles away & enter a different universe that placed no demands on me, in order to accomplish it.

3 moms found this helpful

Gap year. If he isn't ready to hunker down at college then pay for him to travel abroad for a year. Nothing like a year of back-packing and staying in youth hostels to make a fellow grow up and feel excited about the world and its possibilities. He will be much more ready to study and want to make something of his life after that experience. Don't kick him out... send him out... with a hug and a wave and a "Bon Voyage!"

3 moms found this helpful

Hello G.. you have already received a lot of great advice, so there's nothing more to say, but I wanted to tell you that I empathize with you. My daughter is 17 and works my nerves. She will be 18 in September. She can't wait to grow up. She has been on independent studies for about a year now, which allows her to be at home ALL day, and go to school one day a week for about 20 minutes - she turns in her work and gets new assignments. She is a complete pig, and often rude and disrespectful. On the flip side, she can be extremely considerate and gracious, as well as charming. LOL I have talked to her soooo many times about her future, asking her what she wants to do with her life. She doesn't know, although she is interested in forensic science, and wants to go into something like that. I have told her over the years that once she turns 18 and finishes high school (she'll be done in December) that it's either college or the military. She told me she can't join the military because she doesn't like to be told what to do and doesn't want to wear a uniform, and wants to be able to keep her hair and nails done. Fine, i said, then college it is. My friend had to pull me aside a few weeks ago and really give me a does of reality. We talked about my daughter, and although I don't like some of her ideas, per se, I am heeding her advice, because it is sound. She said that I have to make sure my daughter knows that once she turns 18 she has to start contributing to the household, by wither paying "rent", buying some groceries, or paying a bill or two. Sounds great but my daughter doesn't have a job. I told her she is going to need a job before then, so she can start saving. Her answer to everything is "I KNOW!!!". My friend says I have to put her out if she doesn't contribute, which breaks my heart, but I have come to realize that I am her enabler. I haven't worked in over a year now, and am "living" (if you can call it that) off of unemployment. I was still giving her money for her cell phone, clothes, hair and nails, plus extracurricular activities. I realized she is NEVER going to grow up and become a responsible adult if I continue to treat her this way. I'm saying all of this because I think you need to cut the apron strings. Good for him for going to school, but make sure he is getting good grades. I don't tolerate my daughter's mood swings and disrespect, which believe me, come often. She knows enough to leave when she can't control herself - she'll go for a walk or something, and 9 times out of 10 she'll come back and apologize and we'll end up talking all night. You can't control a lot of things that he is doing, but you can control some. As long as he is living in your household, he HAS to abide by the rules, whatever you make them to be. It is not fair to you or the rest of your family to tolerate his rude ways. Tell him just that, and tell him like my father told me, "if you don't like my rules, you cn leave". I left, and was back two years later! lol It's tough love, but it really does work. Sometimes when you are in a situation, you can't see the damage you are doing, until someone points it out to you. I am not saying ANY of this to chastise you in any way, shape or form, I empathize with you strongly, and want you to have a happy home :)

2 moms found this helpful

Children learn what they live. Even at 19. There are a few questions to ask yourself:
What are you teacing him?
What are you "not saying" to him about responsibility?
What messges are you sending him by allowing to be a part of the famly on his terms not with the family in mind?
What are you teaching him about relationships?
What are you modeling for him about how to be a good parent?
What are you inspiring in your son right now?
What are you inspiring in your toddler?

You get to be the parent. Parent him.

Family Wellness Coach

2 moms found this helpful

Dear G.,

Been there, done that. The best advice I can give you is to loosen the apron strings and let HIM figure out how to hold on. Remember, at 19 years old, he is now a legal adult and should be treated as such....even when it's hard to do so. He is FAR past the age of being grounded (as with taking his computer or driving privileges), but you can still (and should) hold him accountable for his actions.

Be honest with him. Speak to him and treat him like the adult that he is, no matter how hard that may be (and no matter how great the temptation to treat him like a child when he acts like one). Let him know that as his parent you don't want to see him struggle by having to do it on his own, but as an adult who has EARNED his respect, you will no longer tolerate his behavior towards you. You mentioned you have a younger child at home as well. That child will be watching (yes, even as a toddler) to see how this plays out. My daughter is 10 years younger than her brothers and she still remembers taking "mental note" though that's not what she calls it.

Remind your son that all adults are faced with tough choices, and offer him some options:

1) He can move out. If he does, he pays for everything on his own. Period. (This one is always hardest on us as parents.)

2) You could agree on a roommate situation. In this case, you should write up a contract between you, your husband, and him. He pays rent, his share of the utilities, and his own food and extras. In returne, you and your husband treat him like he's any other adult who makes his own rules (within reason since there is another child around). House rules should be included in the contract (such as no smoking in the house, no underage drinking, no parties without consent of all adult members, etc and so forth). You could also choose to offer continued educational assistance but your financial help should stop there.

In either of these two situations, he has to be told that the car, cell phones, house phones, computers, and internet usage are no longer "free" to him. If he wants it, he has to pay for it.

OR 3) He can decide to continue living rent free with the understanding that he MUST abide by your rules, maintain his GPA, and help out around the house. (If this is his decision, I would recommend that you and your husband reevaluate the rules you have for him because he is not a kid anymore. If you don't TREAT him like an adult, then he will never BECOME one.)

If he chooses #2 or #3, be clear with him about your expectations and that you will treat him as an adult. He is much too old to be "grounded", but he needs to understand that every decision we make comes with a consequence. Sometimes we have good consequences and sometimes we have the bad.

No matter which one of the choices he makes, he will have the satisfaction that it was HIS choice and the rest of your family will finally gain some peace. Good luck to you all.

2 moms found this helpful

Not trying to be mean when I say this, but your son is 19, he is considered an adult and taking away his ability to drive is something parents should do for a 16 year old. It sounds like you are treating him like a little kid and not like an adult and that is how he is responding. Lay down some ground rules, such as rent is $50 month, pay part of his insurance and phone bill. Instead of criticizing him about his computer game time ask him about his day. Maybe he is going to school for the wrong reasons and his interests are more in computers? Talk to him like an adult. Im sure he is probably a little embarrased that he is in college, has a low paying job, lives at home and his mother critques his every move. Yes he is being ungrateful, but at this point in his life he doesnt exactly know what to do. Maybe its better for him to get a full time job and quite school. Maybe you are pushing him into something he is not ready for. Take him out to dinner, just you and him and have a real conversation about what HE wants.

2 moms found this helpful

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