18 Year Old Driving Me Nuts! (Long Vent! LOL)

Updated on January 23, 2012
K.K. asks from Traverse City, MI
14 answers

my son is driving me crazy! there are ssssoooo many things that I seem to be at the end of my rope with him about and just need to vent.

1.) he doesn't have his drivers license. he is totally capable...he just doesn't want it. its nice that I don't have to pay higher insurance, but I tell ya what....there was supposed to be a time when I could catch a break, and send the teenager (that is usually not doing anything but playing video games) to the store for milk, or to take his sister somewhere. not to mention...he just needs to become an adult! people without licenses don't get hired, people wihtout licenses have no independance. We all adjust our days to help him with rides to work and back if the weather is bad and he shouldn't be riding his bike....but i just don't think he appreciates it, i think he takes it for granted that someone will get him to work if its snowing bad. there have even been a few times that I made him take and pay for a cab, or made him ride his bike in the weather...and he had the nerve to give me a little flack about it? (he didn't get far of course with the attitude...but what was he even thinking about trying?)
2.) he DOES have a job. a little part time 20 - 30 hour a week job. however...he feels he has the right to complain about said job! he complains that someone else got a raise and he didn't. he complains that he usually works days on saturdays and this week his boss "thinks he can schedule me at night" (I swear...i'd fire his little behind if he was my employee and thought he could act that way) I told him that he better shape it up, and take all the hours he can get and during whatever shifts they give him! there are 25 people willing to do it if he's not.
3.) video games and computers. they are litrally his life!!! I can't handle it! its all he does in his spare time. its where almost every dime of his money goes. $800 worht of computer equipment showed up one day at the house! I was livid, I told him it can sit in a corner of the living room until he gets a drivers license and starts college. (he started college, but still no license) we went to bed saturday night, and got up at 6am to find that he hadn't even gone to sleep....just still sitting there in front of his computer! i was so angry!
4.) he has to be TOLD to do anything around the house. he'll do it...and without any argument. but I can't believe that i literally have to tell him to take the garbage out when he walks by it and sees it's full. or I have to remind him to to the litter boxes or feed the cat....when he KNOWS its his chore. isn't he capable of looking out the window and thinking "hmmm, it snowed, maybe i should shovel the walk?" nope....has to wait until I get home and TELL him to do it! I swear there are too many times that I even have to remind him to take a shower or brush his teeth??!?!?! seriously? he's 18....not 5!

ok......now i understand that he is an adult. and i'm so grateful that my post is not something about him drinking/doing drugs/smoking or getting someone pregnant....because I know it easily could be at his age.
And he did get his job and is holding it on his own.
He is taking 1 college class and doing well in it. (he will be full time in the fall, we just didn't fill out the FAFSA in time for this semester, so he is at least doing 1, so he can get back in the swing of schoolwork)
but wow.....I'm having a very hard time with him in general. i know it could be worse....but that doesn't make it better. I'd like him to want to go out with friends, not just "chat them up" on the computer. I'd like him to realize that he's lucky he's got a job at all, and wish he would appreciate it more. I'd like it if he had some kind of ambition to do something other than go to work, go to his one college class, and play video games. I'm losing patience fast. any advice?

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answers from Columbia on

You're enabling this behavior. Stop.

Stop driving him.

Tell him that he is required to get a license so he can go to work. Also, tell him he's required to pay rent or get a place of his own, since he doesn't feel the need to contribute to the household in any other way.

Tell him all the stuff you've said above. He's an adult now and needs to learn about responsibility...even if he learns the hard way.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Honey, your son is acting this way because you allow him to. It's called enabling. I'm sure it's not what you want to hear... but if you held him to a higher standard, he would not be acting like this.

Sit him down and tell him that he needs to get his license, he needs to start paying rent, and he needs to do his chores without you reminding him. Basically what I'm saying is that you need to start treating him like an adult before he will start acting like one.

Discuss with him when he will get his license and tell him that as of x date, you will no longer drive him around. I would suggest that it's perfectly reasonable for him to get his drivers license in two months. So you give him two months to schedule the test himself, practice driving, etc. and then if he doesn't achieve the goal, he needs to be responsible for figuring out how to get to/from work - not you!

Pick a reasonable amount he can pay for rent, with discounts for chores. Explain that his chores are part of his rent, and if he doesn't do them without reminders, he will not be eligible for the rental discount. Write out the chores and the rent amount and make him sign a contract with you. For example, if he empties the garbage daily, shovels snow whenever it snows more than 2", and feeds the cat daily he pays $200 in rent. If he misses chores 2-5 days during the month, he pays $300. If he misses more than 5 days of chores, he pays $400 a month in rent.

Good luck... and really... stick to it. Right now he doesn't have to act like an adult because you're letting him behave like a child. Start treating him like an adult and you might be pleasantly surprised when he learns how to behave like one!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with below only because you describe a relative of mine that never stopped living at home and still lives on the computer. He has forgotten the enjoyment from going out with other people. Id rather my kid party a little then not live at all. Or go on a few bad dates then never go on any? Maybe find some groups for him to join?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Ok its time to get serious- sit with him, outline his responsibilities and don’t “expect” him to know what to do just because you think its obvious. Men, unfortunately, are not wired this way. Expectations set you up for failure, not saying you shouldn’t have standards. I can relate so just remember just because he turned 18 doesn’t mean you can stop being the parent

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I will only comment on the driving thing. Have you ever thought that maybe
he is just not ready to drive. My daughter did not get her license until
she was 19 1/2. She just was not ready. I was fine with that. I did not
want her out there is she did not want to be there. That is a recipe for
disaster. I very willingly drove her where she needed to be.

As far as the other stuff goes, I guess give him some ultamatums (sp). He
needs to take more college courses or get a full time job. Sometimes you
will find plumbers, electricians, heating and AC companies that are willing
to take young guys iin an teach them. He can learn so much and it would do wonders for his self esteem. Be pushy and supportive. No one put all
this in the parenting book!!!!!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I'm with you. It's a HARD age. You still feel the apron strings tugging. It's hard, if not impossible, to just boot them out of the nest. And yet, you have no authority over him. He CAN stay up all night. He CAN spend his money on computers and play videos all day.

Pray, Pray, and Pray some more. I do believe it's still important to find something he does right and praise him for it. He's a little boy in the body of a man. 18 is nothing. And yet, you have no rights and again, ZERO authority.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Well I've got two teenaged boys, the elder is 19 and a second year computer engineering student at a college 4 hrs away. The second is 17, a senior in HS, has just decided on a college close to his brother. Both have pt jobs. Both have permits,. but really have no interest in driving. I have to MAKE them. And of course I haven't MADE them often, so neither is anywhere NEAR passing a driving test.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to MAKE a kid drive who doesn't want to.

I also have a nearly 15 yo daughter who CANNOT WAIT TO DRIVE THAT CAR. So I will not entirely escape that awful worry you have when your inexperienced driver is out and about, nor will I entirely escape the GIANT insurance increase.

It's a murky line between childhood and adulthood. I am pleased with my boys' focus on school and good grades and their pt jobs. For me, THAT is their job, they're not REALLY adults yet.

I should also mention, after merit scholarships, they will be paying for the majority of their own education.

They WILL eventually HAVE to drive a car themselves, of course. I'm thinking they will spring for their own private driving school, possibly this summer. They even HAVE a car, in the driveway, all registered and inspected and in good working condition.

I guess if I had an 18 yo who graduated hs last year, only taking ONE class, and only working PT, I might feel like you do. I might require rent, etc. Is there a reason why he's NOT a ft student?

So, yeah, some things have got to change. I agree.

Why not ask him, what's your plan? What do you want to be? What would you like to do? Let's take steps to GET you there, you could say. Sounds like he needs a little motivation.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I can't help you about I am LOL. I know how you feel but there are days I wish I had those annoying young adults at home. Both mine are away at college and it funny how much you miss those annoying things when they are gone. Now that is not to say after having them home for the holidays for a month that I wasn't ready to send them back. But now it has only been a couple weeks and I want them back home again. It is a horrible circle!!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Since he's only taking one college class, I'd be charging rent. If you want him to appreciate what he has, you have to take it away! So, I would sit him down and tell him there are new house rules.

1. If you are not taking full time college courses, then you pay rent. Since you know about how much he makes, charge approximately 1/3 of his income. If he can afford $800 worth of electronics, he can certainly pay rent.

2. If he wants to play on the computer for extended periods of time, then he will need to pay X amount per month towards PG&E. You probably don't realize it, but that computer being on all night does make a difference in the power bill. I he doesn't pay, you take the computer. Again, if he can fork out $800 for electronics, he can help pay for the energy to power them!

3. He must get his driver's license. You will give him 3 months to do this. After that, no more rides to work. He will have to pay a taxi, walk, ride his bike, call a friend or whatever. Not your concern.

4. If he does not do his chores, dinner is not provided for him. You are not responsible for feeding him. If he can't "remember" to do his chores, you can't "remember" to fix enough dinner for him.

Basically, mom, you are going to have to force him to grow up. Many young men don't leave home in any hurry these days because they are provided for at home. They cannot grow up while they are still being cared for like children!

Tough love, mamma!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

If he is only playing video games on his computer then the computers are a problem, but if he is learning the ins and outs of them that is a highly marketable skill. My DH, the CIO at his company, routinely hires kids your son's age IF, and only IF, they already spend a great deal of their free time and money learning about computers. And these aren't minimum wage jobs. If he plays games on them too, that's to be understood: He is an 18 year old male.

As for the rest of the things: he's 18 and trying to find his way in the world. He's legally "independant" but he's probably not all grown up yet -- I know I wasn't at that age. My little brother was having some of the same issues at 19 and so my mom took him to dinner with me (it was my birthday, so the pretense worked well). I just told him straight up "What are you going to do with your life? It's time to be a grown up now, so you have some hard questions to answer about what kind of career you want and what you want to accomplish with your life. You can't live with mom and dad forever. If you want to end up in a teeny tiny crappy apartment eating top ramen or nothing for dinner with a horrible job and no benefits, then you should keep making the kinds of decisions you are making. If you want the kind of life that mom and dad have, the kind of life that my husband and I have, and all your other brothers and sisters, then you need to put the work in to have it. And, you can forget about getting the house if mom and dad die (he had some fantasy plan that involved this) -- their will is split everything equally among all their kids and none of us are going to just give you our share of the house. So if you want it, you'll have to pay each of us for our share."
That was his wake up call. No more fantasy pretend life -- he had to decide. He has a great job now, makes more than I do, is very responsible -- and still stays up all night on the weekends to play video games with his friends. That's what he enjoys and he doesn't have any other responsibilities that interfere with it. Kids grow up eventually. Really ponder what you can do with YOUR son -- what will motivate him? He's an individual and it's gonna take an individual solution to help him.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

I would make my own facebook/skype/whatever account and send him crazy little messages such as:" Hey X, can you come over? I need to ask you something, you can find me in the kitchen", maybe, MAYBE he'll realize how ridiculous his life is at his point. After that I'll probably start a boring, yet much needed speech about how lucky he is to have time, energy, health and resources available to him so he can start to buid his future and become a fulfilled, productive man. Videogames can really turn a brain to mush AND are higly addictive. Could that be his problem? Look into that, it's real. In any case, good luck to you!



answers from Oklahoma City on

1. The not driving is irksome. But if he just isn't able to pay attention he may not need to drive. Tell him you don't want him to worry about getting a license. You think he doesn't need one...see if that makes him do the opposite.

2. I made a deal with my daughter, even when she was over 18, that I would always help her to get to work. I may not be available to pick her up but I would do what I could to get her there.

I feel like making that compromise is something I can do so that she will always be able to make the money and keep a job. Most times a co-worker will give someone a lift. Getting to work on time is something most people think is important so I would not push her carefree attitude and constant lateness off on any of them. Don't do anything for him, no cooking, no laundry, nothing unless his chores are done. Don't tell him, just forget to do them for him.

3. What he does when he is off work is his time. I would make a list of his chores and give him a limit as to when they must be done. As for me, I would give them a list then I would tell them I wanted it done if they forgot and let it go. If he doesn't do it then someone else would have to do it.

4. That's what some people are like. They are totally unaware of their environment.



answers from Houston on

After reading your post here is what my thoughts are:

1. You say you understand he is an adult but he isn't. He isn't supporting himself, you are.
2. He is working PT and only taking 1 class? Why isn't he working FT?

He is acting this way because you are allowing it.

Write a contract. Give it to him. List what you want from him i.e. chores, rent etc.

Tell him that as of "date" you will no longer be his mode of transportation. Let him know that he will need to make arrangements. Once you make yourself unavailable he might just decide that driving is in his best interest.

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