Don't Know What to Do About Soon to Be 18 Year Old Son

Updated on September 20, 2011
K.R. asks from Montgomery Village, MD
17 answers

My son will turn 18 in November and I really don't know if I want him to stay in my house anymore. He decided he did not want to go to college but is working about 30 hours per week. Outside of work, he does nothing to help around the house, is very disrespectful, rude, arrogant, nasty and thinks he can do whatever he pleases when he pleases. I have two younger boys and my older son does not show the type of behavior I want them to see. He has his own car, which was my old car we kept for when he started driving and we still pay his car insurance since he is not 18 yet.

Today, I just got a call from our insurance company that he was in a fender bender a week ago. This is the second time I got a call from the insurance company about him being in a minor accident that he did not tell me about it. Our insurance didn't go up last time, but I'm pretty sure it will now. I told him when he turns 18 he will start paying $200/month rent and another $100/month towards his car insurance. He snorted and said, "Yeah right, you'll get $200 and that's it." I want him to be more responsible and respectful, but I don't think that is going to happen.

His father has not been involved in his life very much, has rarely ever paid child support and it's my husband who has been supporting my son for the past 7 years. My son shows him no respect and has even physically fought him. We have been dealing with this type of behavior for about two years now and my main goal was to get him through high school. I just don't know what to do now. I don't want him in the house the way he is behaving, but I don't know if it's right to just kick him out. I told him if he does not shape up, that's where he is headed. Any advice from those who have been through this?

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I decided to make a month-to-month lease, will have him sign it tonight, start enforcing it on October 1st so he has a month before he turns 18 to try and get it together. If he does not, he will then have one month after he turns 18 to find another place to live. I also decided to just make the rent $300 instead of having him pay two separate fees of $200 rent and $100 towards insurance. I am also going to put in the lease that he is to buy his own food, or pay me for the food he eats that we buy, be respectful and clean up after himself. Normal things you would expect from a tenant in your home. We'll see how it goes, but I'm not too optimistic.

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

Ah, yes, the grass is always greener on the other side. As a person who moved out of her parents home at age 18 because I no longer wanted to live by their rules (and they were incessant and overly strict; I can honestly say I still feel the same way) -- "allow" him to be free of your house rules of respect and positive contributions to the family dynamic. You are doing him a favor, right? Of course I'm speaking tongue-in-cheek here, but it's your house and your rules. If he doesn't want to live by them, that's ok. Let him know it's ok because it truly is. However, he must move out and give him a date to do so by. Keep it simple and keep it matter-of-fact. When one starts fending for themselves, the real adult is born.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

You answered your own question.

He will be 18, he works, he will be an adult. It is time to tell him to man up or move out.

If he does not want to pay for the car insurance, then take the keys away - it is your car - it is his privilege to use it, not his right.

Charge him rent, have him sign a lease agreement - he rents a room in your house with bathroom and kitchen privileges, and three prepared meals a week. He contributes $ to rent, $ to groceries. Reserve fridge and freezer space for his food that he will have to buy with his own money. Give him a schedule of when he is able to use the kitchen that doesn't interfere with your meal prep time. If he doesn't clean up, charge him a surcharge for house keeping that week. Keep a ledger account of his charges. If he doesn't pay, you can evict him - hence the reason for the lease. Sounds harsh doesn't it? Would I do this to my son? Yes, if he was as out of control as yours, I would have already have put him out. But mine knows this, he knows his options once he graduates high school and none of them include being a rude slacker in my home.

What was the punishment the first time he got in a car accident? If nothing, then of course, he doesn't expect punishment now, and didn't think it was important to tell you about. And why are you paying his insurance? As soon as he started driving *your car* he should have been contributing to the insurance cost.

The problem is, your son's attitude and general behavior did not happen over night - so he doesn't see why he should have to change. He has been getting a free ride, with no consequences for ugliness, for a very long time. You have obviously been putting up with the disrespect and violence for some time now. You have a set a precedent that he can walk all over you. The only way to change that is to put a plan in place, present it to him, then stick to it. And that is the hard part - you have to be hard and fast with your decisions, no waffling involved - if you make a plan, then don't stick to it, he will continue to walk over you and cause dissension in your home. Your younger boys will then begin acting the same way to you when they see no consequences for behaving badly.

Don't let him, and don't let yourself, use the excuse that his father has not been in his life. My son's father is a severely poor father, and often absent, but my son does not treat me like dirt nor is he allowed to use the "no father" excuse to behave badly.

Make a decision regarding your son, and stick to it. It is not going to be easy, but he needs to grow up and take responsibility.

Good Luck
God Bless

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It is time for him, to be out on his own.
Boot him out of the nest.
Boy, he sure has an attitude of 'entitlement.'
How noxious.

He will not take you seriously, unless you stick to your boundaries.
Why have the entire household, revolve around him and his attitude?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When I turned 18 our car insurance made my parents get me my own policy that I had to pay for.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If he does not pay you the very reasonable rent and car insurance, then it's time to sit him down and discuss what is going on. He has choices, but they do not include a continuation of this behavior in your home. Is the car in your name or his? Could you take it back if he won't pay for insurance and cancel his policy through you?

Maybe make up a contract and if he won't agree, then give him x time and he's on his own.

My stepkids have been told if you live here and are not in school you will work and pay rent and support yourself and work toward moving out and being an adult eventually.

My SS was actually shocked when we reminded him of his post-grad/pre-grad school year off responsibilities toward us. I already told my DH that if SS is to live here it cannot be a repeat of this summer or someone's moving.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you have a right to voice your complaint. Mama it's time to show some tough love. If he wont' respect your rules in your household then it is time for him to live on his own in the real world. Be consistent and stick to your guns or he will continue to walk all over you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Why wait until he's 18 to start making him pay for his own insurance and paying you rent? I would go ahead and institute those policies immediately. Let him know youmay have been a little more giving if he had been a little nicer, but that you're not going tobe spoken to and treated like a free ride from a teenage boy, so he can pay up. He's not entitled to car insurance.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sorry for the anguish you are obviously experiencing, K.. I think you've answered your own dilemma several times over. Your son doesn't appreciate what you do for him, does not care to make a contribution or pay his way, and you have already warned him. Under the circumstances you describe, I would be inclined to make 18 the age of his "independence."

A few months on his own might give him a very different fix on what the world owes him. It might not; he might simply become more blaming and resentful. That would be a hard thing for a loving mother to watch, but truthfully, the way you're doing it now is not requiring him to grow up. He needs a chance to meet life on its own terms.

I wish blessings on your household.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Why not strongly suggest he enlist?
The Navy did wonders or my son.
Otherwise I had an apartment picked out for him, it was small, clean and affordable on his meager pizzaboy salary.
I would drive by every day and tell him, "this is where you will live, do you want to see it? You will not live with me when you graduate".

It's time to take him off the insurance. Have him get his own, he has a job.
He needs his own apartment, help him find some cheap furniture.
Give him a deadline and stick to it.
Put his things on the porch, change the locks.
Loving him does not make it OK for him to take advantage of you.

I seriously was ready to take out the boy. He had me in tears so many times. THen he joined the NAvy and lo and behold mama had made things pretty easy.

Good luck, 18 yo boys are not easy but they do grow up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It's time for him to go.
There's no negotiating.
If he should start paying rent, is his behavior going to get any better?
I don't think so.
He wants to be a grown up and that's fine.
It's time for him to fly without a safety net.
He needs his own apartment, his own car insurance, his own room mates - what ever, but he's not entitled to live under your roof forever.
Set a date, tell him he must be moved out on or before that date, and then change the locks when he is gone.
You can send him care packages if you want - food, toilet paper, etc (no money).
You've raised him as far as you can, now he's got to mature the rest of the way out in the real world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It may be time to show some tough love. Once he's 18 and he is refusing to go to college and he's refusing to be a healthy productive member of the family even if he is paying rent he will need to get out on his own. You have raised him, what road he chooses when he's an adult is out of your hands. My 20 year old daughter has used the statement "I am an adult I can do what I want." countless times. I said fine if that's the way you want it, then that's the way it is. She has moved out and is living with her boyfriend, works 2 jobs while going to college on her own. Call it right or wrong, I have not helped her. She has come to me a few times needing money and I've told her that she will either have to work for it or she will have to pay me back. Once your son is 18 he can get is own insurance policy. If he refuses to pay you anything towards the policy you have, then drop him. If he continues to disrespect etc, tell him it's time that he leaves and gets his own place. It's hard for us to do that but I'm telling you from experience, that it does work. If you don't, you are enabling him and teaching the young ones that it's okay to act this way. Since my dtr got on her own and got a taste of what it's like to be an "adult" she has more respect for me. Not saying that we still don't have our issues because we do but it's a bit easier. All we can do is raise our children in the best way we know how with good morals and then hope and pray that they choose the right roads. One of the hardest things for us to do is to let go. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

We went through this with our oldest child (a son) and when he graduated we had him move out. He was so sure he knew everything and that we were stupid and mean and wrong and on every side of everything but his. It took a year of him being out in the big bad world to realize we had forgotten more than he had ever learned. He moved back home with the condition that he pay $300 a month for food, cell phone and essentials. That is not including his car insurance. We call these bills. He has bills to pay and we are the collector, so there are no exceptions. None.

As a part of the agreement, he has to work at least 20 ours a week, be in school full time, save money every month and be respectful and helpful within the family. Because we showed him the door once he KNOWS we will do it again, so there isn't any more testing. Because he has been on his own, he knows how hard it is to get started in life without help so he is more respectful and appreciative.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I think the lease is a good idea but not until he is 18. Until then he IS your responsibility.



answers from St. Louis on

when our son turned 16, our insurance agent recommended that he have his own insurance. He had many reasons for recommending this & he was right:

1. to build a credit record
2. to become accustomed to monthly expenses.
3. if he's in an accident, then we are ultimately responsible if he's on our insurance.....which means we could lose our home if he's sued for damages beyond the scope of the policy.

All good reasons to secure our own future. Because of our accts with the insurance company, he does receive the multi-line discount....which is a good thing!

As for the whole attitude baloney.....been thru it & it sucks. Hope all works out for you!



answers from San Francisco on

Although he won't believe you, tell him on his 18th birthday you expect his first $200 rent payment and $100 toward insurance. If you don't get it, you will move him out. Then, on his b-day if he doesn't pay, stick to your guns. He will obviously go out that day. While he's gone, pack him up and put his things on the porch. Under no circumstances let him come back without paying his rent and insurance payment UP FRONT. Tell him any late payments will result in his being moved out again but this time, he will have to pay three months in advance to get back in. Right now he thinks he has the upper hand because he's seventeen and you are required to support him and let him live in your house. He needs to understand quick and surely that as soon as he's 18, that is not the case; he is not holding all the cards; and you will absolutely NOT put up with his behavior. This will also be a good thing for the younger two to watch. If you do this, bet you don't have these problems with the other two. I know that it will be very difficult, but take it from a mom who's been there. If you allow this to continue it will only get worse. Not to mention that your husband should not have to deal with this and it is unfair to him for you to allow your son to continue being disrespectful to a man who has taken care of him solely out of the kindness of his heart. Your son expects this to continue; he needs to be shown that it will not. Good luck!


answers from Los Angeles on

He has no incentive to change, it's gone on too long. You have your husband and younger children to think about and owe it to them to have a home filled with respect, not discord. Tell him he is moving out the first weekend after he turns 18. This way he has time to find a room somewhere and it will be no surprise when his things are packed and on the porch or in front of the house that Saturday. Anything like furniture you purchased stays, in the real world you need it, you buy it.

It will also be time to cut the cords of parental help with the car insurance, call and take him off the policy the day after he turns 18 and let him know you plan to do this.

Hard to do? Of course. Necessary? Only if you don't want him to continue to disrupt your home. Of course you love him, that's why it's called "Toughlove." It will be up to him to get his life in order, this is the best thing you can do for him as his mother.



answers from San Diego on

That's a tough one mom. I think since he thinks he's an adult you should treat him like one and tell him that he will have to move out. Unfortunately for your son it seems like there isn't a male figure in his life to show him how to move from being a child to a man. I know us moms try the best we can but it is different when there is a man in a boy's life (sometimes that isn't the case). Is there an uncle/pastor/grandfather/coach that your son respects and can talk to him about young adulthood and what it means to be a responsible, caring, respectful, law abiding man? Sometimes for our kids it takes someone else to come in and make them see things that they otherwise wouldn't see. Good luck. I hope it works out for all of you.

Next question: Should I Allow Him to Continue to Live in My Condo or Kick Him Out?