How Do I Get My 19-Year Old Son to Get a Job?

Updated on September 17, 2008
L.G. asks from Redwood City, CA
4 answers

Hello there mamas,
I am writing to get advice for a friend of mine who has a 19-year old son living at home and is not trying hard to get a job. My friend is so frustrated because he is not trying hard enough to look for a job and he is hanging around with a bunch of loser friends who don't have jobs either! This situation doesn't help at all. He does go to junior college part time. My friend wants her son to grow up and be a responsible man, but he is not trying and it's causing problems between her son's step father and her. His step father came into the picture when the boy was 13 years old, but the step dad is a very responsible indiviudal and is having a hard time understanding why the stepson isn't responsible. The son is causing problems in the marriage of my friend. They took away the cell phone because he doesn't have a job to pay for the bill and currently doesn't have a car so the stepdad is letting him borrow his to go to school only. I told my friend that as soon as he gets a job to have him move out so he can grow up, but she is afraid that he won't be able to hold the job and end up coming back home. I would really appreciate you wonderful mamas with this type of experience for any helpful advice. How do you make your adult son living at home get a job? Thank you!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi Rose,
I have not been through this myself, but am a family therapist specializing in adolescents and have helped many families in similar situations. Your friend needs to get tough with her son-- he is an adult and needs to live his own life. He should be paying her some rent, wich will encourage him to get s job and move out-- who wants to pay rent to live with his parents, after all? As for him moving back once he moves out, that's really her decision-- he can't move back if she won't let him.
I do sympathize with your friend-- it's hard when kids don't turn out the way parents hoped-- but she's doing him no favors letting him mooch off her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There are many unknowns about this particular family. There could be things that have been going on for years that may be causing, guilt, depression, indifference for all three and perhaps entitlement on the 19 year old’s part. (We see this a lot with adult children. It is usually the fault of the parents for doing and giving too much too soon.)

The mother and step-dad will have to sit down and decide what they are going to do. Clearly it is sit down time with the boy.

Here are some suggestions:


· Purchase a student bus pass for one-month, this will also allow the student to ride the train. (He can bike or walk if he doesn’t have a job and can't buy the next one.)

· Take the car away immediately – he can take the bus to school or get a ride from one of his “friends”. (When he can afford his own insurance, car privileges may be discussed,)

· Starting October 1st you have one month to get a job (which means they are giving him some free days in September to start getting his act together.)

· If he is not helping around the house, make a list of chores that he is responsible for.

· Set a curfew.

· I am anti-war and have great concern about the condition of our country, so this would be my last alternative. Since the parents aren’t having any luck making a man out of this boy, the service might be a solution. (Unless he has a criminal record and is not eligible.) Room, board, clothing, discipline, and no choice, he WILL follow their rules. Have some brochures to show him when you sit down for the talk. <;, <;, <;, (Trust me this will get his attention.)

Yes, this is tough love and if they stick to it, it will work. If their son isn’t willing to be a cooperating member of the family and household, he needs to move on. If they don’t stick to it, the mother could possibly find herself alone in her old age, still catering to a 40 year old jobless, mooch! I sure hope that doesn’t happen.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi Rose -

Have your friend call or email me. I am a neurodiversity/career counselor who works primarily with teens who are having a hard time launching for one reason or another. My contact info is on my website: One of my past clients has written a referral here on MS about my services...


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sorry... but im looking at this as he is ONLY 19 years old! He is going to school. I would never make my son move out at that age. Encourage him to get a part time job of course. Also set some standards on grade expectations... it's not like he's a 30 year old man living at home...

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