Adult Children—When to Help and When to Let Them Learn

Updated on June 27, 2018
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M. D. Jackson is a college psychology professor, family counselor, and a mother of nine adult children.

Knowing When to Help Adult Children

We have a standing joke in our home: When I was working toward a doctoral degree, my sons occasionally started spending money in their heads. In other words, they liked to plan what they were going to do with the money I was going to make. I always tell them that I am leaving all my money to the dolphins, so they will have to make their own ways in the world.

On some level, like all jokes, there is some truth to what I say. I expect them to have jobs, work hard, and support themselves in life. The phrase "tough love" comes to mind, but I as a college psychology professor, family counselor, and former personal loan writer, I have met many parents who spent their life savings bailing their children out of predicaments. This article is for those parents.

The first thing to do is figure out the difference between help that will actually help and help that will only hurt your kids. Below, you'll find sections that answer these main questions:

  1. What can you do when your grown kids are making bad decisions and end up in trouble—romantically, financially, emotionally, or with the law?
  2. How can you help your adult child become financially independent?
  3. When is it time to cut the apron strings and close your checkbook?
  4. When is it okay to step in and help?

Adult Children Who Make Bad Choices

When Your Grown Kid Makes Bad Decisions

There is a big difference between trying to fix your adult child's ongoing, self-created problems and helping a kid face a life crisis. An adult child who makes a poor decision—like a daughter who buys a Coach purse instead of paying her bills, or a son who gambles with his rent money—should learn from that decision. But then there are real family crises—auto accidents, illnesses, layoffs, house fires, the list goes on—when families should work together.

When Your Adult Child Does Not Listen to Your Good Advice

You're saying all the right things to your adult child, but for some reason, they just don't listen. What can you do? Well, the answer depends on whether or not you are supporting your child financially.

  • If you're not giving them money, then you're not entitled to them advice unless they ask for it or to try to prevent a serious mistake. This will allow you to save your breath for when the advice might be heard and make a difference.
  • If you are financially supporting your adult child, then you still have a say in how their time and money is spent. Spend that money and advice wisely. For example, if you want your child to go to college, then offer to continue funding them while they do so (and if you don't want them to drop out of college, then make it clear that your financial support will end if they don't attend).

So unless you're paying the bills, you don't get any say in how your adult child conducts their life.

What to Do When an Adult Child Calls From Jail

You get a call at 1 a.m. that your adult child is in jail. After hearing the sob story about drunken driving, drug possession, or some other involvement in illegal activity, many parents will rush to bail their child out of jail. Many parents go as far as taking out loans to get adult children out of jail. Why? A friend of mine repeatedly hocked his vehicles to keep his son out of jail for possession of an illegal substance. Even though he knows he is enabling this child, he refuses to stop and let his son feel the consequences of his actions.

In our family, I have made it clear that if one of my children does something illegal, they better not call me. They know I will not bail them out.

Your child is an adult. They should be responsible for their actions. If you bail them out of jail and put yourself in financial dire straits, you are teaching them that you will always be there to fix their problems and willingly suffer for their mistakes.

There is another very good reason to NOT hock the farm for bail: Chances are that adult child is going to continue the behavior that put them in jail. They swear it will never happen again, and you want to believe. Every parent wants to believe the best about their child, but it's your job to know the difference between fantasy and reality.

If your child is headed down a dark path, you can be a light and an example, but do not save them from their consequences. Protecting a child from their own mistakes means that you do not think they can handle the situation on their own. If that is what you believe, then you need to admit how you participated in creating the problem.

To learn about how to set appropriate boundaries for adult kids who live at home, read How to Create House Rules for Adult Children.

Adult Children Who Are Still Dependent on You

What to Do When an Adult Child Asks for Money

Many young adults today seem to have the idea that mom and dad are made of money, so they can spend carelessly. This is the child who gets a new tattoo or a new phone, splurges on a fancy part for a vehicle, buys new clothes, purchases frivolous items for their apartment (or worse—gets a brand new vehicle), then asks you to pay their rent.

Learning to handle money never killed anyone. If your daughter's vehicle gets repossessed because she cannot pay, it will only hurt her credit. This type of lesson is important. If you protect your children from these lessons, they will never learn how money works, and they will continue to lean on you for help.

Case in point:

My oldest son earned his first vehicle. He learned to fix the old Bronco himself and he took care of it (you could have eaten off the floors in that thing). I was very proud of him. Eventually, the Bronco needed work that would be too costly so he decided to trade it in for something newer. He needed a co-signer, so he called me. My deal with him was that I would co-sign, but if I had to start making payments, I was going to take the vehicle. When he lost his job, he called me to say he could no longer make the payments, so I came and got the vehicle. It doesn’t matter that I don’t drive a stick shift or that I did not like the car, I took it on principle. He was not mad because I made it clear from the beginning that I was not going to buy him a car. (He has a car and a job now, by the way.)

Too many parents base their relationships with their kids on money, out of fear that if they don't, their child will not have anything to do with them. That’s right, your actions are not driven by love but by fear. This is a trap for everyone involved. If you have been a good and loving parent, you need not worry about your adult children never calling. As they grow up, they will drift away for short spells. This is a natural part of becoming adults. They will call, and you will have great conversations about their kids and life.

Questions to Ask Before You Give Money to Your Adult Child

  1. Ask yourself: Can I afford it? This should always be your first consideration. If you have plenty of money, you might want to help them out, then continue to question #2. But if you can't afford to help them without damage to your own financial health, then just say no.
  2. Ask yourself: Will this money actually help? Is this a short-term crisis or a chronic condition? Is it a temporary or a permanent need? If your financial assistance will solve the problem now, then move on to question #3, but if it won't, consider helping them find other solutions.
  3. Ask yourself: Will this money be used responsibly? Will help pay for something important or will it be used on frivolous items? Is it for something they need or do they just want it? Is your child following a budget? If your help will not be spent responsibly, then don't give it.
  4. Ask yourself: Is there something else I could do to help? Sometimes, you can offer another kind of help instead of giving money. Maybe you can offer to watch your grandkids while your adult child looks for a job.
  5. Ask yourself: Will it help them gain future independence? Some gifts are money well spent. Investments in furthering education and funding business ventures are smarter than helping your child take a nice vacation, no matter how desperately that vacation is needed.
  6. Ask yourself: Is this a pattern? If you have gotten into a habit of funding your adult child, or if you perhaps even pride yourself on continuing to pay for them, it's probably not healthy or sustainable. It may be time for both you and your adult child to grow up, break the cycle of dependence, and find other ways to maintain your relationship.
  7. Ask your adult child: Is this a gift or is it a loan? It's important that both of you get your expectations straight. You may expect to be repaid while your adult child is secretly hoping you'll forget all about it. Transparency is key.
  8. Ask your kid: When will you pay me back? Part of being an adult is keeping promises. Discuss a repayment schedule and make plans for what will happen if those dates are broken.
  9. Ask your kid: Are you going to ask me for money again? Don't get into an unspoken ongoing financial agreement. Have explicit discussions about your financial expectations.

Note: If you want your kid to stop asking you for handouts, the biggest mistake is to say "no" and then let them whine and cry and guilt you into it. This is precisely why people play slot machines: there's always a chance it will pay off! Better to say "no" and stick to it. Saying "no" clearly and firmly is sometimes the best thing you can do for your child.

"Emerging Adulthood" Happens Between Ages 18-30

Pew Research conducted a recent study that found that almost a quarter of 25-34-year-olds are still living with their parents.

But What if Parents Have the Money to Help?

What happens when you have money and your children never have to work for anything? They become useless, incapable, entitled adults who have no concept of real work. When a wealthy, enabling parent dies, their kids waste their inheritance on stupid things until it's gone and then they have no idea how to function.

Part of being an adult is paying your own way in life. Let your children have their own dreams and let them work to accomplish them. Make your children work for something. When you prevent your child from working, then they never learn to make it on their own. Let them help the homeless and do charity work even if—especially if—you have money.

Case in point:

A 44-year-old woman came into my personal loan office one day. She was beside herself in tears. Her father, a famous heart surgeon, had so much money that even until the day he died he was sending her checks. After he died, all the money went to his 28-year-old trophy wife. His daughter admitted that her father ruined her. She said “He never made me do anything, so I never learned to live.”

Why Shouldn't a Parent Help Their Child Financially?

When a person works hard for something, they appreciate it, but when something is given, they do not feel a sense of responsibility for it. This is even true with college, where I currently teach. Most of the students who work hard in part-time jobs and for scholarships will appreciate their education, whereas those whose parents pay for their school are much more likely to drop out.

Some parents say they want their children to have things easier than they had. Well why would you want that when you turned out so well? Children need to experience hardships, they need to know the world is not fair, and sometimes life sucks. Why?

Until you know pain you do not appreciate health,

until you know poverty you can not appreciate wealth,

until you know failure you can not appreciate an accomplishment,

and until you work for something you can not take pride in owning it.

Do not rob your kids of these experiences. Be there for them with love and moral support, not to fix their mistakes and/or hand them your checkbook.

Case in point:

Years ago, I had an employee who was extremely emotional. She would cry uncontrollably over dogs that had died 20 years ago, and publicly share intimate details of her relationships without solicitation. Her whole life, her parents had taken care of her every need. At the age of 45, she moved back in with her parents. I can't tell you what happened to her, but I can tell you that I had to let her go from a part-time job.


These days, the biggest danger facing retirees, the one thing they haven't planned for, is having to support adult children and grandchildren.

How You Can Help an Adult Child Without Spoiling Them

  • When your adult child calls with a problem, talk them through it. Discuss their resources and options.
  • Reinforce your child's intelligence with affirming statements such as "You are smart, and I'm sure you will figure this out," or "You are strong enough to handle this."
  • Help them think logically. Let them decide what their best option is based on the resources available.
  • It's tempting to send money. Who doesn't want to help the people around them? But you are not here to fix the lives of your children, you are here to teach them to stand on their own and think for themselves.

What if You Always Help Them?

When an adult child is dependent, it creates a negative relationship between the child and parent. The child resents the parent rather than respecting the parent. If you had to rely on someone else for everything, you might start to resent them as well. The adult child starts to expect the parent to fix their life, thus creating stress for the parent. Eventually life situations implode from this scenario.

Case in point:

Years ago I knew a family where the daughter was constantly in and out of the parents house. The adult daughter wasn't on drugs but, she refused to take responsibility for herself or her own children. The adult daughter left her kids for days at a time with her parents until she finally stopped coming home. By taking on the daughters responsibilities the parents took over all the responsibilities for the grand kids.

Case in point:

An elderly couple is currently in a court battle with the husbands adult children who want half of everything the man worked during his life. Essentially, these adult children are trying to take their inheritance before their father has passed away. All their lives the father has given them everything, now they believe they are entitled to more. The man is having to fight a costly legal battle to keep his own money. There's a fine but crucial line between parenting and over-parenting.

Adults Who Still Act Like Children

When Does a Child Become an Adult?

When is it time to cut the strings, close your checkbook, and back away? Take all of these things into account when you decide exactly when your child should transition from child to adult:

  • There are many different expectations, not only across cultures but from one family to the next. Every family has its own culture which influences every family member's expectations. In some families, multiple generations all pitch in to live under one roof—in others, kids are expected to move out at 18 to start their own families. So there is no universal cut-off age: You'll have to look at your family's explicit and implicit assumptions and patterns for guidance.
  • Another thing to consider is the changing times. We used to consider all 18-year-olds adult, but recently, a new term has been added to our vocabulary for what happens between graduation from high school and eventual independence: "Emerging adulthood" is what we now call that transition period between 18-30.
  • Pew Research conducted a recent study that found that almost a quarter of 25-34-year-olds are still living with their parents.
  • "Failing to launch" is another new term that describes the inability of millions of young people—even those with jobs—to fully transition into independent adults.
  • Due to a difficult economic climate (the increasing cost of tuition, the stagnant minimum wage, etc.) we have a rapidly growing problem in which many young people are having a hard time gaining the self-sufficiency of adulthood.


What Kind of Help Is Actually Helpful?

When You Should Help Your Adult Child

Most adult children will move back home with you at least once. Usually, this happens after college. By that time, the kid should be behaving as a roommate instead of a child—cooking, cleaning, doing chores, and contributing to the household.

Our deal with our kids was they got one year after graduation before they had to start paying rent to us. In that year, they were also expected to save money for an apartment and a car. I would never let my children starve but, short of that, all life experience (easy and hard) is for their own good.

If for any reason your kids need permanent assistance (like if they have a disability or a chronic illness) and if you are their only means of support, then of course, you'll need to have other plans in place and will need to make arrangements for after you die. A financial adviser might suggest smarter ways for you to help in a way that doesn't disqualify them from social services.

Let your adult child live their own life. Do not try to save them: Let them save themselves. I guarantee when your children are older, they will appreciate the values you taught them and be better people.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • I decided to do the tough love thing and not enable my son by giving him money when he asks. We have been trying to place him on the right path for too many years. I know it’s time to step back and let him fail and hope he finally finds the right path. How do we stop the worry that he will do something terrible to himself or others?

    As parents, worrying is probably one of the toughest things to overcome. I will tell you this, if you raised your child to be self-sufficient and strong, they will be ok. It doesn't mean that they won't have hardship. Hardships teach us empathy. When a person has never had hardships, they tend to have a very one-sided view of the world. Hardships build character and strength. What I want you to remember as a mom is that you want your child to experience life, part of that is hardships. The greatest people throughout history were built on hardships they overcame. While it doesn't make it any easier, maybe realizing that this is part of molding people into empathetic human beings will help you to think about this differently.

  • We had our 24-year-old son sign a roommate agreement. We gave him three months to help out around the house, pay us his rent of $200 a month, and to either go to school or get a job, or he has to move out. Now there is almost no communication. Did we do the right thing?

    Your son is 24, not 12. I don't know your son, is he capable of all the things you asked of him? Is he able to get a job? If the answer is yes, then you did the right thing. When kids first gain independence communication may be light for a while. Also, I don't know how you presented this to your son. If it was presented as "you are 24 and a loser who needs to get it together," he may be mad at you. If you presented it as "we love you, but you have to learn to survive on your own" then he has no reason to be upset. Growing pains apply to maturity and emotion as well. Your child is not your friend. You can have a close relationship with your child that is not based on your financial support.

  • I have a twenty-eight-year-old son. He has been clean and sober for six years. He lives at home and hasn't worked in five years. He is depressed but won't get help. It is very sad. As his parent, I am heartbroken. How can I help?

    I would start by giving him a reason to work, such as "starting next month you will be paying $450 a month in rent." No matter who I am talking to, if they are not engaged in physical activity (working out) or a sport, they should be. Exercise is the best cure for depression, it ups the serotonin levels in the brain. While this doesn't work for everyone, it does work for most people. Sun is also useful for depression. Many people who were career drug addicts crash into depression when they are sober. It's the inability to deal with life's challenges that spur the drug use, to begin with. At 28 he has most of his life ahead of him, it's time to live again. If you are in good physical condition, start taking him hiking, tell him you want to go but don't want to go alone. Get him moving.

  • My 42-year-old son is homeless living on my property in a tent. I've tried to help him many times but can't. Should I just let all the worry and anxiety go?

    Is having anxiety and worrying fixing the problem? If it's fixing the problem then by all means continue to feel that way. If it's not fixing the problem then it may be time to get a new perspective. Your son is 42, tent living is his choice. Maybe you should just accept his choice, let him know that you accept his choice. Then stop worrying, let him do his own thing.

  • I have an eighteen-year-old son who has been in and out of jail since age 15. Our son was adopted from foster care at age two and diagnosed with fetal alcohol effects. He is now in jail again and is looking at a 2-7 year prison sentence. How do you help the kid who doesn't learn from his mistakes? We have never bailed him out before, but this time I want to. How do I help him get a fair trial?

    Ask yourself what he is going to do when you bail him out of this mess? Is he going to walk the line or do drugs again? You can get him an attorney but chances are he will end up back in prison, and you will have wasted your money. Love your son, but realize that this is who he is. This is the life he has chosen for himself. You can be supportive without monetary compensation. Unless you believe he is completely innocent, I would leave it alone.

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    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      2 weeks ago from Western United States

      The first thing is that you already established that if he was going to school you were not going to charge him rent. He is telling you that he is intentionally not going to finish school. This means it is time you let him know that you are going to charge him the going rate for the space he is now "Renting" plus his cell payment. If your guest house is 600sft, find an apartment that size and figure out his rent from that. Rent is due on the first of every month. The reason you are doing this is that he needs to be responsible for himself. If he wants to quit school that is up to him but this is the consequence. You are not here to tell him what to do. He has the choice to quit or continue. If he quits, he has to pay rent starting this month. You can love your son and not enable him.

    • profile image

      Christina 

      2 weeks ago

      My son is 19. He has moved out at 17 to his dads because he stated he needed to get out of this city and the people in them, and he also was failing school. He had like 1 month of school left in which he did go to an adult school and finish. I moved and ended up with a guest house in back. He moved back but I said he could live here with no rent if he went to school and work. He is now only 3 weeks away from finishing his fire academy prerequisites and is dropping out. He does work part time and he helps pay $50 for his cell phone bill which is never on time. I know I can’t tell him what to do but I don’t want him to drop out. I do understand that he doesn’t want to do school anymore but I said maybe he can finish his classes and then have that to fall back on if he needs. But he refuses. I don’t know what I should ask of him. He doesn’t open up to me I only found out he was dropping out because the teacher called me. I don’t know what to tell him or what I should expect from him at this point. Should I let him drop out and tell him that he has to start paying rent ?He also is a heavy weed smoker and a very bright kid, I think the weed is getting in the way but I don’t know how to get him to stop.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 weeks ago from Western United States

      Leases have a time limit and you are only liable for that time period. The second that time is up, remove yourself from her lease. Limp the situation along until then. As for what she is doing with her money, who knows. Most of these kids have thousands of dollars in tattoos yet are behind on their car payments. You can sit down with her and teach her to budget. I see budgeting as the skill that most of us are not taught growing up. During her budget discussion let her know you are teaching her this because you are not taking her back in. Be honest with her about the reasons you won't let her move back in. I would wait to tell her about the lease situation until after you've done it. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      steven collins48 

      3 weeks ago

      Hello,

      Co signed an apartment for my daughter. Shes an adult 33 years old. She doesn't pay her rent on time has gone to almost eviction notice. I ask her what she does with her money? Always the same. I have tried to give her groceries ect...turned on the light was they turned it off. But the question again where is her money going. I can't do this anymore. Please help I appreciate your imput. If she goes into eviction I will be liable for over twelve thousand dollars not to mention my credit. She only calls me when she needs money. And often says if she gets evicted she will move in with me and my wife and other two kids. I say no I will because she is extremely verbal and emotionally abusive toward her parents. Thanks for your help

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 weeks ago from Western United States

      When you are in a relationship with someone who has kids there is a dynamic you will never be able to control. Your significant other needs to learn the difference between teaching a life skill and enabling. It's the old adage: give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for life. As to if you should issue an ultimatum , I guess that depends on what your goal is in this relationship. Even if your significant other agreed to your ultimatum, he would be miserable. He would feel like he abandoned his children. In this situation your can only attain happiness through teaching his children the life skills they need to survive. Then the pride of seeing his children self sufficient will bring happiness. There isn't a magic wand and if you serve an ultimatum you should be ready to pack. No one is perfect, if your significant other's worse flaw is loving his kids too much, maybe he's not such a bad guy.

    • profile image

      MV 

      4 weeks ago

      My significant other of 2 years and I just moved in together. I have two young children and I work a good job full time. He works full time and has an exceptionally well paying career. We have talked about buying a house in the next 5 years however his adult children, all 3 roughly in their 30's, seem to continue to get themselves in financial binds in which they do not try to resolve it. They turn to him for loans and help and he seems to feel guilty and obligated to help them. This continues and now he is not sure if we will be able to buy a house in 5 years or even retire in the expected time he wanted to because of all of the reoccurring debt and loans. I want to tell him I am not ok with this and it needs to stop at some point, not because I want his money for myself, but because it's not right that he isn't able to live his life how he wishes due to his kid's poor financial management. I have nothing against his children just the fact that they are all working yet cant support themselves when it comes to buying a car, affording to move, or other critically related situations. Am I wrong to tell him this? Should I give him an ultimatum if it continues? It's really wearing on him which wares at our relationship in the background.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 weeks ago from Western United States

      Your son has been given a plethora of chances to get his act together. You are well within your rights to refuse assistance to him. He can get a part time job and work for what he wants. My rule with my kids is that I will help them when they are doing everything they can to help themselves.

    • profile image

      Susan Pearson 

      8 weeks ago

      I don't know if anyone will read this now but it might help me anyway just to type it out! I live in the UK so I know education etc is different. I raised my son alone more or less from him being born. He is now 21. I have no other family, he sees his father occasionally but he isn't involved. My son left school at 16 started a college course, dropped out, started another college course, just about passed it after nearly being thrown off a few times for poor attendance. He has had a couple of casual jobs but never made much effort. He started uni last year an hour away from home, he had to do a foundation year as his college results weren't good enough to go straight onto the degree. He failed the foundation year as he didn't go to uni or do the assignments. He had a student loan and a £1000 overdraft, all this was spent after 2 months on clothes and takeaways. I foolishly helped him out with money as I was worried sick about him, he also was homesick last year. He came home in April and uni said if he did all the work he had missed in 5 weeks and got an overall pass he could go onto year 1 of the degree. His girlfriend did most of the work for him and he passed! He is now back at uni, I have refused to help him financially this year, I set him up with basic food and toiletries then said that was it. So far I have stuck to this but I think he is running out of money again and although he hasn't asked me for any I'm worried sick. He has no respect for me whatsoever and can be very verbally abusive. I have always worked hard and still do so I don't understand why he has no work ethic. I'm wracked with guilt as I feel I have not taught him to be self sufficient and I feel I have failed as a parent. He has good qualities, he is intelligent, funny and can be very caring.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 months ago from Western United States

      Our life lessons are best learned by living. Leave her alone. She may be in a relationship with this man and not willing to tell you. I've never heard of an arrangement with this type of age difference. Know that anything you say is just going to make her more defiant and hold on tighter to this man. Leave it alone. If they are in a relationship then she didn't trust you enough with her emotions to tell you the truth. Be a good mom, leave it alone.

    • profile image

      Molly Straust 

      3 months ago

      I have a daughter who is 19 and she is going to college. Suddenly, she found a roommate with a daughter. She is happy to pay 400 rent and babysit whenever she is not going to school. why I am so worry about this?, First, roommate with a daughter (he is 35 yrs old), secondly, been around kids is not a good environment to study and do homework.

      I just don't like the whole idea of this situation but since she is financially independent she doesn't listen to my concerns.

      Am l bad parent because I am constantly bugging her with my concerns?

    • profile image

      Kelly and Shawn 8216 

      4 months ago

      I have a 24 yr old son still living at home. He's had three jobs in the past 5 years, all of which he's been fired. He lost his most recent job around June 1st this year and we told him he had 60 days to get another job. He's famous for "smoke screens". He tells us he's going into the military, waiting to hear back from the recruiter, waiting to have an interview, etc. But he's never had more than a part time gig and never with any benefits. At one time I considered putting him out of the house, but decided he needed more guidance and higher expectations before I go in that direction. Our biggest challenge is his grandparents. My parents (my mother) spoil and coddle him. I won't cook for him so he just goes to Grandma's to get fed or for money or for them to fill out his job applications. It's infuriating and undermines everything we're trying to teach him. But, alas, nothing ever changes. Aside from taking his laptop, tv, gaming consoles and such, do you have any advice on how I can better handle him, my parents and this situation? I'm so frustrated!

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      If your name is on the house, have him served with eviction paperwork. Shut off any utilities that are in your name. Once he leaves the house, sell it and recoup some of your losses. Don’t give him money and don’t help him. When he asks for money tell him you know he is capable and smart enough to support himself. You don’t have to be mean, just don’t give in. You can’t buy love but, you can go broke trying.

    • profile image

      Jmccollo 

      4 months ago

      My son is 42 and and hasn’t held a job for the last 9 months. He has addiction problems, both alcohol and drugs which landed him in jail repeatedly and finally prison for 18months. He was released 8 years ago and moved to our town. He got a pt job and rented an apt after living with us for a month. He refused the recommended mental health counseling (for B-P and addictions) but did start taking his meds regularly. All went well for a couple of years with only a few regressions. I decided to buy a house for him to rent from me and he faithfully paid the rent until 9 months ago when he quit his job. I had suspected he was using drugs again due to his moodiness and anger to everyone but I had no proof. He has only paid one month’s rent since Dec and has constantly been hounding me for money for food, utilities, gas and cigarettes. I have paid some of those bills directly or taken him to grocery but rarely give him cash as I think he spends it on drugs. He picked up a girlfriend along the way and she’s moved into the house. Neither of them work but I suspect sell drugs and I know she has stolen from stores resell items. My son denies this. For the last 10 days he has begged me constantly to pop 1000 to bail her out and I wont. I have asked him to stop calling me about it but he gets angry and sends horrible texts and messages to my phone. This has been his pattern for 20+ years. I know a lot of his behavior is my fault as I have enabled this pattern of behavior due to fear and guilt on my part. His older sister was killed in a car accident when he was 14. His father and I divorced within a year of the accident. His father was also physically abusive to me and emotionally abusive to my son. I just wanted to be sure my son didn’t suffer anymore so gave in to him and bailed him out for years whenever things got rough. I have remarried and my husband is done with my son. Husband gave him his job and a truck and had been super supportive and loving to him since release from prison. Son in return quit the job and totaled the truck. We also suspect that son was involved in break-in at our business but have no proof that he is the one who stole money and checks. I am done. I have been seeing a therapist who tells me to just not talk to him, answer his texts or phone calls. I tried that but it escalated his behavior and he threatened us in our home. Police were called and that charge is pending. Please tell me how to extricate myself and my husband from this nightmare. I need advice!

      Sent from my iPad

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      @Claire3177

      Good or bad the examples we set for our children often come back to haunt us. Be honest with your daughter about your negative experience with drugs and alcohol. Her behavior is a result of self esteem issues. People with low self esteem are easy targets for drug dealers and "party" friends. Right now your daughter feels important because she thinks she belongs with these people. It has not occurred to her that these people do not bring quality into her life. Truthfully, she is not likely to care. The question is how long are you prepared to support her current life style? Chances are good that your money is funding her drinking and partying. If she isn't going back in school, it may be time to cut support. The best option is to relocate her to another place and get her back in school. It sounds like she needs a good counselor or to attend a self esteem building retreat. Either way staying where she is, is a bad idea.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      @17337

      As you have probably suspected your wife is enabling her son. It sounds like the house is too expensive for him. Since this is the second year in a row where you are bailing him out, maybe he should consider a less expensive housing option. That said your wife is using money to make herself feel needed in her son's life. The more self sufficient he is, the higher his self esteem will be. Running to mommy is not going to make him feel good about himself. If he is not under care for the depression, get him help. Men need strong male relationships, mentor him. Take a more active roll in his life. It is the time we spend with people that helps with depression not the money we spend.

    • profile image

      Claire3177 

      4 months ago

      I have a 19 year old daughter who lives away from home. We live on an island and she lives in a city on the mainland 100s of miles away. She originally left home to study and we have supported her financially. She made the decision to leave her studies a few months ago. I have told her that if she wants to continue to live away she needs to find a job and support herself. I have given her a few months grace to get a job and get an income. I have given her the end of August as a cut off date.

      She left home at 17 and for the first year was a model student, played lots of sports and worked as well. Since turning 18 she has taken to the party lifestyle, drinking, taking drugs, and left her studies. She has a part time job in a club at the moment but it is not enough to survive on. She says she is looking for jobs and had an interview for today. Only problem is she went out last night, got drunk, picked a fight with someone and lost her phone.

      I have replaced her phone 3 times already but told her I am not doing it this time. She has a lovely black eye so is not going to the interview. I am at my wits end with her. I don't want to enable her and simply can't afford to continue supporting her financially.

      I have tried to be fair and I feel she just throws it back in my face. I suppose my real worry is that she turns to illegal means to fund her lifestyle. I end up feeling responsible for her behaviour as I feel she didn't have the best upbringing by me. I myself was into drink and drugs and was a single parent until she was 9. I met a man who is now my husband and we have an 8 year old son. I am not who I was when my daughter was younger and we have a very stable life and have done for some time. I still carry a lot of guilt that she had such a different upbringing to her brother. Her real dad has never really been in her life or taken a genuine interest in her. None of his family bother with her either. She also had a bit of a shit time going through high school and didn't have great friends. She seems to have lots of friends now and they all have the shared interest of being gay. She came out last year and all her friends are gay.

      I understand a lot of her acting out but how do I balance understanding and support without enabling her or causing more damage?

    • profile image

      l7337 

      5 months ago

      I have been married for about 20 years and my wife has a 32 year old adult child. He has a 9 month old child with a former girl friend, but does not take care of him. He is continuously getting in financial issues and cannot keep a decent job.

      We currently buy diapers for his child & pay his medical insurance in case something goes wrong. A few times a year, he has emergencies because he either doesn't work or doesn't budget. Last year, we paid $1000 for car repairs and $2500 to catch his mortgage back up.

      This year, we paid another $1000 for car issues and my wife now says we have to pay $4000 to keep is house from being sold due to foreclosure. He is constantly depressed and refuses to get help or follow advice.

      When I tell my wife NOT to give him money, she says she is doing it to save his life. He will not have anywhere to go and might commit suicide due to his depression. She says she will spend ANY amount to keep him alive.

      What do you think?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      It depends on the purpose of the trip. If you wanted to spend time with him, then by all means go on the trip. If the trip was a celebration of his responsibility or a reward, then you might want to cancel the trip.

    • profile image

      Tyisha 

      5 months ago

      My son will be turning 21 this month. I had planned to take him on a trip. He moved out 3 months ago, still has not found or job or signed up for school. He is living off his savings. Which is practically at 0. He has not asked me for help. Should I continue with the trip?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      Sandra,

      You have two options, you can either email me or post your question here.

      Thank you,

      M.D. Jackson MSIOP

    • profile image

      sandra 

      5 months ago

      i have questions about my child

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      Life skills should be taught to every person. Show him how to do the following:

      1. Check his oil/water in a car and change a tire

      2. Look for a job on indeed, have him apply to see what its like, how to match experience

      3. Find an apartment (have him look up what it will cost for utilities ect.With this he should know the sates rental laws or at least where to find them.

      4. Have him build a budget in excel

      5. Teach him about debt contracts

      6. He should be able to read a map without GPS

      7. Teach him how credit works,Debt to income, credit scores ect.

      8. how to use basic hand tools around the house (Screw driver, wrench, hammer)

      9. Common sense training (Write down a list of things that happened to you in your life and ask him how he would handle it.

      10. Street smarts; don't drink with people you don't know, lock your doors ect.

      Its a lot but you can do this and get them ready for life.

    • profile image

      StellarG 

      5 months ago

      I am not a parent, but I am an aunt looking for ways to best help prepare my nieces and nephews to be able to fend for themselves and be productive, responsible humans while they have adults around that can help them. At the base of things, they are homeschooled by their parents and that is the general rule of thumb when it comes to teaching them things, but I can see where there are gaps where teaching has slacked off and I feel that could lead to issues down the road if the basics are not learned as well. For example, my oldest nephew is now 17 and in speaking with him about life skills and basics he should know, I can clearly tell he does not and that makes me concerned for his future. I don't know everything that goes on in the household, but I know if he had to move out today on his own, it would be a disaster. He doesn't know how to look for a job, fill out a resume, conduct an interview etc and I recently found out that he stopped doing the Penn Foster HS program in Jan. because he stated "he could not focus". Luckily, I had several talks with him and convinced him to start back with this program and complete it because without these basics he would not be able to begin to get a job. I am looking for advice or resources on how I can best help him directly in my role as his aunt.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      I'm not sure if this person is living with you or not. Here is the thing, if he makes good money yet never pays his bills, he has issues with budgeting. People with bipolar can learn budgeting. Sit down with him and teach him to budget and save. Then let him know that you are no longer going to pay his bills. If he screws up he won't have a cell phone. You can't learn his lessons for him. Also he needs to get involved with some form of physical activity to channel his energy. Teach him independence, not dependence. Lastly, his bipolar may be hormonal, have his testosterone levels checked. The brain keeps growing until 25 and he may just be experiencing brain growth.

    • profile image

      Denise Cmar 

      6 months ago

      25 year old who is bi polar. Has had numerous acting out behavior episodes. Been on meds and had therapy

      Works making good money but when gets paid no money many times to pay for his bills. Then have to help him out to pay car insurance , gas money etc. Pay for his car tolls and cell phone. I know enabling

      What can my husband and i do? What ultimatum ? Send him out on street? Need help please!

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      Hello Cindy,

      Your best option is to stop bringing this up to your husband. Instead, start getting your lazy stepson to help around the house. Anytime you are doing anything ask him to come and help you. Floors, dishes, yard work, all of it. Continue to ask him to help in front of his dad. One of two things will happen, either the son will start helping in which case at least he is pulling his weight or the son won't help and your husband will see that the son is a lazy moocher. This constant asking him to do things will also bother the son. He is only there for a free ride, he doesn't want to do anything. Once he realizes the free ride is over, he will move on.

    • profile image

      cindy 

      6 months ago

      I've been married for 25 years my husband has a 42 year old son that is living with us for 8 months now i told my husband i didn't want no one living with us he replied he has no were to go in the 8 months he's applied for disability he was turned down he is lazy we get paper in the mail that his lawer still trying to get it, he has lived with his mother, his brother, and friends this is taking a toll on are

      Our marriage i told him he has 2 weeks to get out, he reck his car, will not look for work, what can i do to save my marriage?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      You are welcome!

    • profile image

      C Lee 

      7 months ago

      I really like these comments here. I need help with my adult daughter and don't know where to turn. So glad I stumbled on this blog. Thank you!,

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      7 months ago from Western United States

      If your children will not have a relationship with you when you are no longer funding them, they you do not have a relationship with your children. Being an ATM does not make a relationship, it creates codependency. If you are living paycheck to paycheck then you certainly should not be funding them. Start empowering your kids to handle their own business.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      7 months ago from Western United States

      Your son is not ready to quit the behaviors that caused you to ask him to leave. As a mom I would worry as well. I would offer him food or put gas in his tank, instead of money. Paying you back is not the issue, it's what he is doing with the money. You may be funding his habit. Buy him things he needs to survive, things that he can't sell or return.

    • profile image

      Christina76 

      7 months ago

      Separate question: I also have a 22-year-old daughter. She moved out at the age of 19. After a year out of high school and still supporting her, she wasn’t going to school. She was working part time and not even saving. So I told her it’s been a year and I’m done supporting her. She needs to pay her own way. Half of everything. So she moved out. Over the course of 3 years, she’s moved back home 3 times. The first time she moved back, was for about 4-6 months. Then she and my son decided to roommate. After 9 months, she decided she didn’t like living with him. She told him she was moving with mom. He made arrangements for a friend to take her room and pay her half. When I was finally given the courtesy of knowing, I told her no, it’s not ok to just assume. So she moved in with a different roommates; a couple she found on Craigslist. I was terrified every night. She was there for 3 weeks, they told her they were moving to LA in a week. So she moved back home anyway. This time she brought a friend/coworker. Someone she had decided to roommate with. She asked if they could both stay for a month to save up for a deposit. So I said yes. It’s been almost a year and she’s back. At the beginning of April, I gave her $900 to help her buy a car. Her’s was broken and too expensive to repair. Two weeks later, she had dental surgery and asked if I could take her. So I took time off work to do so. When we got there, her share of cost was $1200. She asked if I could help pay. I told her no. I was highly upset. I live paycheck to paycheck. I make a decent living but live paycheck to paycheck because I’m always helping my adult children. But unlike my son, she doesn’t even pay back and expects it as well. We left the dental office and I asked her why she didn’t find out the cost before hand. She said “Well I didn’t think it would be that much. I have $300 and if it was more than that, I thought you could pay.” So again, she expects. Now she’s back paying nothing but only for a month again. I’m tired of feeling like a hotel, an open ATM and always being broke because of my children. I’m also afraid to lose them and I’m just afraid for them overall. It’s just us 3. We have zero family and their father has never been around. They have no where else to go. But at the same time, I know I’m enabling them.

    • profile image

      Christina76 

      7 months ago

      My 25-year-old son has/had a drinking and drug addiction. I tried helping by doing things HIS way. Meaning, he said he didn’t need professional help, just... It was always something different. Recently, he asked to move back home because being at home makes him happy and he wouldn’t need to drink or do drugs. He also asked if he could live rent free in order to get himself out of debt from this problem. So I said yes to both. But I wanted him to seek professional help. He still would not do it. But I was still willing to give him a chance. After 3 days, he said he was going to a baseball game with a friend. I casually told him “Don’t be drinking.” He asked “Why not?” We went back and forth for a few minutes until I finally told him “I’m sorry son, but this is not going to work.” So he left. He’s not mad and still comes around to visit. But I worry if I made the right choice. What if he only gets deeper? And he’s also always borrowing money. He always pays it back when he says he will and it’s never large amounts. Between $30-$60 at a time. But it’s all the time. At least 3-6 times a month. I continue to loan it to him but I also don’t know if I should be?

    • profile image

      Barbara 

      7 months ago

      MY Husbands son is 46 and basically lives out of a suitcase. I am married to his father for 8 years , we have been involved for 21. I moved into his home when we married, it is the home his son grew up in. However he never had anything to do with this house all those years. I moved my belon tings from my apartment to the rooms upstairs.they were empty and neglected. I took care of this house , all of my clothing are in the room upstairs. I work full time, I am 62 . My children are grown and independent.

      Without discussing anything with me his son now stays here at least once a week. I have to re arrange my things so as not to disturb him when I am up early to excessive and get ready for my day! I feel so resentful !

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      7 months ago from Western United States

      The first thing I want to address is the enabling behavior. Unlike your previous situation, your fiance has a long history with her children. To have two people from the same home come out with chemical dependency you have to have either a genetic disposition or an environmental factor. It sounds like your fiance is holding onto guilt over a situation with her daughter. She needs to resolve the guilt. Also take your fiance to the Al-non meetings, let her see for herself that this is patterned behavior. When it's your child you tend to think that the situation is very specific to you and your relationship. Addicts all sound the same. She has to learn that for herself.

      Stop fighting with her over the daughter. What has happened is that your fiance no longer feels she can trust you with her feelings and thoughts because you will disapprove, so now she's hiding things from you to avoid judgement. She is doing this to protect herself. Is it the right thing for her to do? No, it also is not fair for you to dictate her relationship with her children. Her daughter is using emotional blackmail to get what she wants. You can't combat that with arguing. Be calm and honest with your fiance about the fact that you do not like seeing what her kids put her through. Your not a bad guy in this, don't let yourself become the bad guy.

      As for your decision to marry or not, I have another article about that decision. There are two times that I do not talk myself into things, one is when I am hiring an employee, and two is when I pick a spouse. If there is one decision that carries weight in your life it should be who you marry.

      That said there is another option for you. Keep your money separate and have a prenuptial agreement. If she wants to use her money to bail out her kids, then that's her decision provided it does not impede on your households survival. Hopefully, the Al-non meetings will help her see that she is enabling and she will take corrective action. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      md202019 

      7 months ago

      I hope you can share some guidance and insight.

      My fiancé is enabling her daughter and it’s spilling into/affecting our relationship. Some background: We live together – have dated 4.5 years, both in our mid-50s, plan to get married in 3 months.

      She has 2 adult children (both early 20s). Son is a recovering drug addict, lives with girlfriend and he’s clean/sober and in a 12 step. Daughter (reason I’m writing today) hasn’t worked in nearly 2 years, dropped out of college, smokes weed and drinks, got a DUI last summer/lost her car and has shacked up with abusive guys. She stopped talking to my fiancé last summer and then last month resurfaced looking for help….probably because the Sheriff came looking for her with a warrant because she didn’t finish her DUI classes. She is somewhere between homeless and couch surfing with various friends. She has no job, no money, and no visible means of obtaining food, etc., and isn’t highly motivated to find a job or make money and gives us lip service when we suggest how to get her life on track.

      About me….I don’t have children. I did have a relationship 20 years ago with a “drinker” and I was her enabler…until I ended the relationship and got into Al-Anon and learned to take my power back.

      My fiancé has enabled her children for many years, until I showed up and helped her understand how it only makes the problem worse. She followed my advice with her son (essentially: don’t do for someone what they can/should do for themselves) and he’s since done great! With her daughter she is resisting, continuing to enable her because she believes her daughter is not a strong/street-wise as the son.

      Why is her enabling a problem for me/us?

      1) Fiancé knows enabling is wrong (but “can’t help herself”), agreed to stop last month and also share with me her daughter’s many requests for assistance (so we can address it together as a team), and yet despite our “agreement” I learned that last week she paid off her daughter’s 6 month delinquent cell phone bill and bought her a new phone/plan ($600!)….so she could presumably look for work (which she hasn’t). The phone and the money are not the main issue…the issue is my fiancé hid this from me and in so doing broke our agreement / understanding and continues to enable…so, now I have some trust issues….not good 3 months before our wedding.

      2) Her daughter hasn’t explicitly asked to live with us (she did live with us 3 years ago and we kicked her out for smoking pot in the house), but she does lay the guilt trip on her mom, e.g., “don’t worry about me, maybe I’ll find a place to sleep tonight,” “maybe I’ll eat today,” etc. So, my fiancé’s motherly instinct kicks in and she ends up doing for her daughter what she can/should do for herself. I’ve suggested she cut her off financially and remain in her life as a non-monetary support resource to which my fiancé responds with “I’m not going to let my daughter starve or live on the street” and so the enabling continues. This is causing a major issue for us and threatens to end our relationship.

      We’ve discussed this many times and she fully agrees enabling her daughter is bad for her, us and her daughter as it doesn’t solve the problem it only prolongs it and in fact makes it worse. She said “after we’re married in 3 months I will cut my daughter off for good,” however, her track record and actions to date would lead me to believe otherwise. Saying she’ll cut her off in 3 months to me is simply pushing the goal posts further back to avoid the inevitable.

      Because of the diminished trust in my fiancé (to follow our agreement/be transparent with me and not enable her daughter) I am now considering ending the relationship / marriage and moving out as the stress and drama and fighting with my fiancé is wearing me down and affecting my health and sanity. I’m at my wits end…..any advice would be gratefully welcomed. Thank you in advance.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      8 months ago from Western United States

      Finishing something you start is part of having charecter. Some people simply do not have the fortitude to finish what they start, they never learned the value of hard work. The same is true in relationships, your daughter may not see the value in staying or working through tough situations. Along those lines there are people who always take the route that looks easy... in this case calling mom.

    • profile image

      henry 

      8 months ago

      We have a 42 year old daughter that's been married twice, (divorced both times) with 2 children, one conceived while going thru divorce by one husband and 1 by the other, she's been and out of college since 17 never graduated but made good grades with no degree except an AA can't finish anything she starts including jobs and calls her mom with

      every problem she has, what can her state of mind be or her problem b?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      8 months ago from Western United States

      I'm sorry you and your wife are having to deal with your son's addiction. Many people do not stop until they hit rock bottom. When a parent keeps bailing an adult child out, they never have to deal with their consequences. I hope your son gets help.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      8 months ago from Western United States

      What is your question Rita? Do you want to know how to stop him from smoking weed? Or do you want to kick him out? The anger issues are probably not going away. Young men experiencing testosterone highs and lows while they are developing. He needs his testosterone checked. But also a lot of men outgrow these behaviors by 25 when their brain stops growing and things level out. If you don't want him living with you, then it's time to discuss his exit plan. You raised this child, you should not be afraid of him, if you are afraid that is another issue. Lastly, Marijuana does by itself does not cause violent outbursts. Marijuana laced with other drugs might.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      8 months ago from Western United States

      The first thing is that you need to get your own car. Save, sell something, work a second job, but get your own car. It probably will not be the most reliable vehicle, but do it. Then once you have your own car, start saving to move out of their house. You don't need much starting out, a studio, a small trailer. But get out on your own. I cannot tell you what your mom was thinking. I can only tell you how to be more independent and take responsibility for yourself. I know it can be difficult, things don't always work out, that is part of life. Do what you have to, to be independent of your parents. You can do this.

    • profile image

      Emma Grace 

      8 months ago

      Hi, my name is Emma I’m not a mother, but i am a 25 year old daughter and would appreciate for yours and anyone’s opinion on what I’ve been confused about towards my mom. I currently live at her house and working a part time job.

      Here is my confusion, in June of 2017 I had turned 24 worked a full time job out of town so my mom took me to a car dealership because she was going to help me get a car. I was surprised because she had been annoyed with me in general for a while and was always so mad at me for anything and everything, but I still chose the car I wanted. At the dealer we test drove the car and she ended up being the only person on the contract because my credit was going to effect my car payments. On the way home I asked her “is this really my car?” She said yes. Then I asked “your not gunna one day get mad at me then take the car away cause you feel like it?” (The Honda I drove to work at that time gave her and her husband power over me when it came to drivin the car) so I had to make sure i wasn’t going to be dealing with anything like that anymore.. so Anyways she said “no, as long as u make ur payments to me on time that’s all that matters. This ur car!” Well I’m 25 now, i made payments on it religiously up until January of 2018. I lost my job so my mom took it from me. I got another job in February and so she gave it back to me. In May 2018 My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I became so depressed that I ended up getting fired from my job in July. The day the car payment was supposed to be paid to my mom, she took the car from me and has kept it ever since. I’m not sure if it’s the cancer that has her being so cold to me, but am i wrong for thinking and feeling so betrayed by her? I have a job again and still won’t let me make payments again. The rest of 2018 we had argued big arguments because I was confused as to why she wouldn’t give me back the payments I made for MY car. And she just laughs and says “sorry but this is my car, you owe me for getting it for you so that’s that!” I’m just hurt. I still live with her help her out with cleaning, buy my own stuff and she said I should feel ashamed for still living here at the age that I am.. as much as I want to move out, i can’t. She took the privilege I had to drive her husbands Honda to work away from me yesterday. I’m just so confused as to why?! What do you mothers think?

      Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to give some advice.

    • profile image

      Marty travis 

      9 months ago

      My son is 28 years old and on meth he was arrested again yesterday and called us last night to bail him out we said no he was arrested 3 years ago and we got him out and he went to rehab for 3 months we paid 2500 for that he didn’t stay sober long had a job for about 6 months and lost that we laid done rules to him if he was going to stay here and he didn’t listen so we made him leave I told him if he got arrested don’t call me his mother has Parkinson’s and is stresssed so much with him it is heartbreaking to think of him in jail but he is the one who has done this to hisself we have done so much to try and help him

    • profile image

      Rita nang 

      9 months ago

      My 21 year old son has anger issues. Has broken items in my home, crashed cars, a week in mental health instution due to major depression from weed smooking, attacked family members due to anger.

      Finished high school, bearly. Has a full time job after many different jobs. Smokes weed every day.

    • profile image

      9 months ago

      I am living with my fiance who has a 40+ year old stepson living with us. He has never left home but works. He is happy as he is because he has no responsibility of rent or mortgage and other bills. Pays the gas and electric and the rest of the money is his. I have been told by my fiance that his step-son and I will be living in the house if anything happens to him. When I tell my fiance his step-son should be able to stand on his own two feet at 40+ I get accused of trying to make him make a choice between his step-son and me. I am concerned about my future as his step-son just is not responsible at all.

    • profile image

      Crystal 

      9 months ago

      I have a 23 yr old son who was living at home until he started dating a young lady with a child who is separated from her husband. She has been separated for 4 weeks and my son has been seeing her for 3 wks. I woke up one morning to her in my son room and I asked him to take her home. He and I had an argument over the fact that she is still married and he has only known her for 3 wks. and there was a child involved in this mess and no one was thinking of the child. I said he could not bring her back to our home and if he wanted to continue living here he would have to stop seeing her. He chose to leave and continue to see this young woman and I am heart broken. We haven't spoken to each other in 3 wks now and I am at a loss on what to do or what to say. He was raised in a Christian home and knows that there are boundaries that should not be crossed but he chose to anyway. How do I move forward from here.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      9 months ago from Western United States

      The first thing you have to decide is what your goal is as her parent. If the goal is to teach her to be sufficient then you need to do that. It starts with teaching her to budget. She should be saving money for her own place. If your goal is just for her to pay rent in your home, then you draw up a contract and go over her budget situation. Scary enough two rooms will run a person $200-500 a month depending on the area. you should look at the current craigslist ads to determine price. Here is the issue most parents have with their children, they are worried they will alienate their child because they are no longer supporting them financially. If you have a good relationship with your child, they will eventually see that your decision was for them. If you have always had a horrible relationship then obviously this is not going to mend a fence. Your daughter may not be able to afford life on her own, but she can contribute. It's up to you to show her the way.

    • profile image

      MA USA 

      9 months ago from Midwest

      My 27 year old daughter still lives at home with her 5 year old daughter. She does not contribute to the house. She does work and buys her and her daughters personal stuff. However, we can’t get her to pay rent or anything. She always says she can’t afford it. She owes us money already for helping her previously. Every time we bring it up she says she can’t afford it, no she isn’t paying or you are kicking your granddaughter out on the street. She fights with her 21 year old brother who still lives at home. She can’t afford to pay rent, but she doesn’t have a problem spending money on things she doesn’t need and it upsets us. We give her 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and our family room to store her stuff. We have enabled her for so long, how do we stop without feeling guilty?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      9 months ago from Western United States

      @Salina166

      Sit down with your son and look at his choices and options with him. What are his life goals? Does he just want to co-rent his entire life? What excites him? Young people get caught in the rat race and forget they have time to move toward a good future. Jobs that include travel may be a good option, working on a plane, cruise ship, ect. There is a lot of jobs that are great for single people. He needs a goal that he can move toward.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      9 months ago from Western United States

      Parenting is tough, it's tougher when you are unsure of yourself and people are telling you that you are screwing up. Always approach advice from a place of love. We do not listen to people when they get in our face. Be loving toward the person and find out what they think about the issue first. Maybe the person is not focused on the situation at all.Discuss life skills and self-sufficiency. Tell your own struggles and see if that person can relate.

    • profile image

      Susie 

      9 months ago

      As an outsider (not mom or kid) how do or can you even bring these points up? Is it a spouses place to inform the parties of the negative effect of moms actions of enabling, how it effects our relationship?

    • profile image

      Salina166 

      9 months ago

      My son is 24 and living on his own 5 years now,at home he was lazy but when he moved i was very impressed with the way he kept his place....over the years i have helped him out with rent a few times,he moved 2 years ago to share an apartment with another couple but that too has gone sour,same story not doing his share of work.Apart from that he has changed jobs a few times and did not leave on the best of terms,now he has to move and may lose his current job,I have no place here for him to stay and cant help him much financially,but I decided to pay of his debts and worked out a payment plan for him to pay me back.He is depressed over his situation as am I,and Iam not sure how to help or how to proceed

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      10 months ago from Western United States

      This situation is a little vague. Therapy can be expensive. If you feel it is appropriate to pay for part of the cost, my suggestion is that you arrange the payment directly to the therapist. I would not begin a practice of handing money to your son.

    • profile image

      gigi 

      10 months ago

      My son has asked that I pay for his therapy. He is going to be 26 this summer and says he can't afford to go unless I help out. Initially, I was happy to help with this, but he is asking for money for frequently and I feel like he should help pay if he is truly invested in the process.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      10 months ago from Western United States

      What I can tell you is that if you pay his way he is not going to appreciate his education. You need to stand your ground. Make him earn it. He may resent you but he is never going to take it for granted.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      10 months ago from Western United States

      Teach them to budget. I am finding that a lot of the younger generations have lost this skill despite having computer programs that will assist them.

    • profile image

      Henry 

      11 months ago

      Our 20 year old son took a sem off to change career path (didn't do well on his 1st yr uni), took a FT job, pays his house share & spends $$ on entertainment. He's now back in uni, works PT. He resents us b/c we won't give in on his demands to pay his tuition 100% while he keeps his pay cheques all to himself. We told him he can live rent-free, but we keep his base pay net of his bills, & he can keep his $$ tips so that we set it aside towards his next tuition and whatever difference we will top it up and he does not need to work anymore. He threatens to move out.

    • profile image

      miriam 

      11 months ago

      what can I do for not only my kids 29 ,32 and there friends to become better people for them selves and to raise more awareness to the community

    • profile image

      Cathy 

      11 months ago

      Mt 40 year old son loss his job Last week. He is now facing losing his home to. He has as operation for kidney stone and stents and unfortunately missed to many days, He has a wife and two children. They are struggling. He is doing side jobs to make a little money. His wife is a pre k teacher, My question should I let then temporarily stay with me, Until they can get on their feet again

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      12 months ago from Western United States

      Your actions depend on what you want out of this situation. If you want your son to be a decent human being and support himself then there are things you can do to make that happen. This man child is running your life. I'm not sure at what point he got control but, he did. Probably because you are not living on your own. He knows that technically you are not in charge, it is not your house.

      If you son is threatening you, you can get a restraining order against him. However that will not solve your problem. You need to make him want to move out. You can evict someone in most states in 30 days. Start charging him rent, get him under contract. Put in writing that he will pay $300.00 a month and have a chore list.

      If he doesn't agree, then pack up a bunch of his stuff and take over half his room. Throw a reading chair in there and hang out. Just because you can't evict him immediately, doesn't mean you have to provide "comfortable" accommodations. The other thing is that if he threatening to kill himself then he needs help. This may just be part of his manipulation tactics however, if he's threatening then you should be able to call the authorities and have him removed to a facility.

      If your goal is to have your son become a productive citizen then you need to change how you deal with him. It's your house , your rules. If he can't follow the rules, pack his stuff. You are letting him get away with acting like a child when he is a grown man. Stop making it fun/easy for him to be there.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      12 months ago from Western United States

      I would go see him and see what he is thinking now. You casually mentioned that he was arrested for drugs, when someone is using drugs you cannot trust them. He's been in jail for two weeks and this may have sobered him. My suggestion to you is that if you allow him to come home, it is contingent on employment and that he only stays temporarily until he can get enough money to get his own place.

    • profile image

      AEH11 

      12 months ago

      My 24 year old son will be released from jail in 2 weeks. His incarceration was due to violating parole and having some drugs on him. Prior to his arrest, he voluntarily went homeless and also quit his job. He said he was tired of working to pay his rent. We knew this was a bad choice, but it was his decision. The homelessness lasted a month before he was picked up. We didn't bail him out because he needed to know that it was his choice that led him to this and that he was entirely responsible for it. We have helped him out over the years sending him to rehabs, therapy and assisted with rent and/or food. But, now he's going to be released and he still doesn't have a plan,has nowhere to go and is 1800 miles away. We thought the time in jail would be a time for self reflection and figuring out what he wants to do with his life. There was none of that. So now I'm wondering if I should go out there on his release date and try to figure something out with him or should I just let him be released into the streets again. My gut is telling me to go ....should I?

    • profile image

      Venusdmo 

      12 months ago

      I have a 20yo son. He smokes pot daily, sleeps all day, out all night, keeps losing his jobs, but keeping them long enough to pay his car insurance, gas and weed smoking habit, he doesn't pay anything to live in our home, he has unpaid fines from driving tickets and constables keep showing up at my house, his driver's license will be suspended at the end of the month if he doesn't pay $150 in fines, his car needs tires/oil change/tail light and basic mechanics, his bank account is in the negative and climbing, his bedroom is a disaster, he showers 1-2x week and only does his laundry every few months. He says he's depressed and threatened suicide so I had him involuntarily committed 2x, won't take any meds or talk to a professional. Has threatened me that he'll take his life if I kick him out. His dad and I haven't been together since my son was a year old. His dad has said to me, "it's your problem now, I have a family and I don't want the bullchit disrupting me, my wife, and 2 other kids' life anymore".

      I am married also, no other kids, and we (me, my husband, my son, and mother in law) all live in my mother in laws house because there is no one else to take care of her declining health issues, all family has passed away or doesn't exist. I am freakin lost. I don't know what to do with my child. He has even threatened to deflate my tires if I make him leave our home. I don't give him money and I stopped buying food he likes to force him to feed himself. The only support he has from me is a bed to sleep in. He refuses to help around the house and is so lazy qnd irresponsible that he left the stove top on 2x because he was so high on marijuana that he forgot to turn off the cooktop burner. Of course he ONLY cooks food when everyone is asleep. ANY ADVICE on ANY of this? We've had the police at our house and we were told that I literally have to go through the landlord/tenant eviction process to have him removed legally, which could take years. I visited the local judge and that info was confirmed. I'm soooo out of options of what to do.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      12 months ago from Western United States

      The first thing you and your husband need to realize is that your stepson is a MAN. He is not a child. You are correct it is time for him to move out on his own. He sounds spoiled and entitled. You and your husband need to come up with a plan. The two of you need to sit down with his grown son and give him three months to find a job and save the money to move out. During that time he will not bring his friends to your home and he will not smoke weed at your home. Once you have discussed this with the son, he is going to ignore everything you said, pack his stuff into boxes. when he asks what's going on, tell him, "we gave you the rules, you are not following them, so you can leave". This is an action, not words. You do not have to get angry in fact do not raise your voice. Speak in low tones. If he begs you to let him stay, then tell him he has whatever is remaining in the three months to get himself a job and get out, so he better get on it. Your husband needs to be strong and support the plan. If the son gets a job, then he can save for a couple of months to get a studio apartment or move in with his pot friends, either way at the end of threes months he's out. If he does nothing in that three months, have him pack clothes and drop him off at the homeless shelter. This man child has to learn to take care of himself. Your husband is not helping his son by being complacent.

    • profile image

      JC 

      13 months ago

      Maybe a lot of people will hate me when I say this, but I don’t like my stepson, I cannot get along with him at all. He’s 20 years old now, 2 years ago, he moved in our house after got in a fight with his mom. Reason of the fight is, he didn’t help her to move to new house (he came my house and ignored helping his mom to move) so she given the biggest room in the house for the younger son, who now is 16 and helped her a lot to move and he got the smaller room, and he was mad at her and fight with her about that. Then he moved to our house, and then refuse to leave.

      At first year, I tried to be nice, closer, and understanding to him. I cooked for him and his friends when they come over, let them have fun time (that’s our mistakes), and after that, he just keep taken advantage on us. He always party with like 10 friends everyday, smoke weeds in the house all the time even I kept say they need go back yard because I have 1 kid is 6 years old & 1 is 1 years old & I was pregnant at that time. But he ignored me. He and his friends came to my kitchen, steal all the food for their party in basement, even kid’s food. I just moved in the city at that time & was pregnant so I don’t have the job, only my husband is working to support for the family with 4 members (and 5 members now). So at that time like all our foods for a week always done for less 2 days because his friends. They even do laundry, shower at my house so you can imagine how the bills gone. We had the very bad time with our credit because cannot pay bills, mortgage & cover foods in our house for that much people (we now still deep in debt, even I give my husband like 10k to fix it, that’s all my saving money too). But he past my limit when we needed go the doctor to check for my pregnancy and we asked him look after my kids for me in 2 - 3 hours (we didn’t pay him babysitting fee, but we think that fair when he live in our house rent free, foods free, bills free) and then he locked my kids in the crib alone and let the house to go the party with his friends, even didn’t call or text us telling that he is leaving. So I decided enough is enough and put my feet down, put rules in the house and ban his friends from party and sleepover. And that time was a time our relationship went down.

      When I told him that he cannot have 3 girls sleepover in the house, he was so mean to me, he called me mental woman and kind of that things, even saying he won’t respect me because I didn’t respect his “freedom”. We got in a fight and I asked him move out but he refuse because he doesn’t want to paying bills and rent and foods on his own. Well, maybe you are wonder “Where’s her husband when all this crazy happening?” My husband stand up for me, but in very weakly way and honestly, I don’t think he has any voice with his son. He wanted his son move out too, but too scare to tell him and he always feel bad because he said his son has nowhere to go. We fought and fought over his son’s problem a lot and never in same page. I want he must ask his son move out, he doesn’t want it before he find anyone accept for his son live there (and his ex is a BIG NO, she even told me kick her son out, because she know how ungrateful her son is, grandparents are a BIG NO NO too). He’s 20 now and refuse go to school, or go to work (I even asked my husband’s friends to take him for a job but after 1 week work, no one can handle him), and we still need clean up after him, we & his mom still need pay for his clothes even underwear, haircut, coffee, personal needs... He even wanted us to let his friend share room to him then the friends paying for the room and he will keep that money for himself, and ask us that he will apply welfare money and then of course still live at our house to get free rent and free foods, free bills. I said NO.

      Today I & my husband is fighting again because I asked him to ask his son move out, I even told him we can help him find a cheap room to rent, buy furniture for him but that’s all. Enough is enough. He needs get a life and live on his own. And then my husband called me evil because want to put “a kid” has nowhere to go in the street. I just get enough with him and his son. I want to take my 3 kids move out for a while until my husband found out who is important to him, his son or us. But then I got scared. I have 3 kids, 1 just 4 months, jobless, I have a little save money but that will not enough to cover for us for couple months. I don’t know what to do. I left my family and friends hoping can have a happy life with the man I love. Now I realize he isn’t the man of his words (with his son problem), he promised and promised will solve a situation then when the deadline come in, he find more bs excuses to change or ignored it. I don’t feel I can trust him anymore.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      13 months ago from Western United States

      Sit down with her and go over her budget. You are right the fines are expensive. I would teach her to budget. You may find out that she doesn’t have extra money, or you may find out that she is just bad at having a budget. Also, getting angry isn’t helping. Keep that in mind. Negotiations have never been solved in anger. When you get angry you both loose. Work as team to solve the problem, be on the same side.

    • profile image

      Rv65dvb1 

      13 months ago

      Hello, I hope I can get some advice please . I have a 32 year old daughter who has been released from prison following a three and a half year sentence for intent to supply drugs.

      She has two children who initially lived with me when she was sentenced who then moved to their dads at his request . I continued close contact with the children and weekly over night stays with me throughout her sentence and did what I could to help them through the situation.

      When my daughter was arrested her and her sister , my other daughter, wanted me to put my whole house up as security to request bail. It’s a small house, not worth much , but all I have . I. A single mom who has always worked , still do and I’m in my late 50, s. I explained at the time I was too old to risk taking on another mortgage if I lost the house, which meant non of us would have a home .Both my daughters hold this against me to this day.

      My daughter has now been released from prison and said she hD to stay at mine as she had nowhere to go where the kids could be with her. This is difficult, as she has been abusive re the refusal to bail throughout the sentence. However, I agreed as we all make mistakes and I do hope she gets back on her feet with the children.

      She has now been here theee months. I have now asked if she could contribute something towards the rising utility bills as I’m semi retired and simply cannot afford this long term, she has refused saying I’ll struggle wehether she’s here or not. I’ve asked to help With house hood chores , she says she doesn’t have time due to going to work and looking after the kids. She does buy most of the food.

      I know she is looking to get a place and I know buying is out of the question and renting so expensive , she’s saving a deposit and house items.

      Due the bail refusal issue and other things mentioned, the tension and stress and arguments are hard to cope with. I do admit I get angry too, maybe too quickly at times ! I’m so exhausted and I guess she’s fed up too. I don’t know what to do as I want to help but feel she’s being unreasonable ? Opinions gratefully received please

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      14 months ago from Western United States

      The first thing I want to do is give you a greater understanding of what your son is dealing with in terms of ADHD. His brain is working over time all the time. A good analogy would be like sitting down to watch a television show and the television channels change every three seconds. Just like the TV you sons brain is flitting from one thing to another. That is why he has a tough time completing tasks. On a brain scan your son's brain would show as overactive.His brain is not producing the Dopamine needed to function properly. Marijuana has been been loosely connected to dopamine production in the brain. Your assumption that he is self medicating may be right on. Personally I'm not an advocate of Marijuana. However, drugs such as Ritalin have dangerous side effects. Your son has five more years of brain growth (the brain stops growing around 25). There is a good chance since this seems to have onset during puberty that your son's issue is hormonal. We tend to think of girls as emotional teens, yet boys are the ones who will fist fight over something ridiculous. Since your son has the anger as well, chances are good he is experiencing hormones. My advice is to find a doctor that specializes in male hormonal development (Endocrinologist). Have his hormone levels tested. If that turns out to be the problem, hormone therapy should fix it. If his hormone levels are good, then I would look into medical options that do not involve Ritalin based drugs. It's been my experience that many young people outgrow ADHD by the age of 25. Contrary to popular belief ADHD in adults is only present in about 9% of the population. I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Nurse T 

      14 months ago

      Hi. My son who is now 20 years old was diagnosed with ADHD in high school. At first I thought he was just the typical forgetful, irresponsible, lazy teenager but when it started interfering with his grades, I sought help and discovered his diagnosis. He began taking meds, but soon stopped them because he didn't like the way they made him feel. He refused to take any other meds or began therapy. He barely made it across the stage. When he finished school, he did not want to attend college. He just wanted to get a job. I had no problem with that because it was a real struggle with high school and I don't believe college is for everyone and I did not want him to waste my money with him not being focused with his disability. Well since then, he has had about 8 jobs. Working one month, not the next. Willing to assist financially when he has brought in the income, but not too consistent because he is so quick to leave a job without the second on in place. His ADHD is really interfering with his adult life and the household. He has left the stove on, the grill still plugged in after use, the house doors open after he leaves. He loses his license and bank card every month, runs out of gas twice a month, locks his keys in the car once a month. He sometimes abruptly leaves the house in the middle of the night out of boredom. Falls asleep in his car in front of the house and I know he smokes weed. It's like he's self treating. He sometimes engages in risky behavior like driving too fast, running read lights (tickets proved this coming in mail). Hangs out with not the best company. Although he is very creative (art major), he is impulsive, argumentative, extremely disorganized, He has angry outburst, an addictive personality (smoking weed), gets bored easily, rebellious, trouble prioritizing and chronically late. . Every space he occupies is a complete mess. I don't think he has a pair of matching socks. When he washes, his clean clothes get mixed back in with his dirty clothes. His car recently broke and is parked in front of the house. He just can't seem to get ahead to get it fixed. i want to help him, but he's too unstable for me. If he had a consistent job, I would feel better about it but I am worn out. Here recently, he met a girl older and has been staying at her house every night because it's not far from the place he works. My concern is that she has 3 kids and lives in a not so good neighborhood. I am worried about him self destructing without my guidance. He has anger issues too. Although my house is peaceful without him being there, I am also worried. His ADHD seems to be more troublesome as life's responsibilities manifests. I want to let him go, but I am truly concerned about his disability that he will not address. I pray constantly! Help!

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      15 months ago from Western United States

      At some point your adult kids have to get their own cell phone and insurance. This is a given. If she uses this as an excuse to not see your husband then that’s what she always planned to do. Relationships are not predicated on money, or at least they shouldn’t be. My advice to you is to not do these things all at once. Of the two the car insurance is the highest, so take her off the cell plan. Now a days the track phones are cheaper than having a plan and she can pay the $20 a month or whatever for the track phone. Once you take her off the cell plan you might no longer have an issue with her paying the insurance because she will see where this is going. Also I would actually make the statement to her that relationships are not about money. Her father is not a bank he’s her dad. We do not pay to keep people in our lives.

    • profile image

      Teri 

      15 months ago

      My husbands adult daughter 27 with a college degree was put on our car insurance and our phone plan while she was in college since we paid her bills. She has now been out of college for over 2 years. Has not been gainfully employed since. I have told her when the bills are due and she always has an excuse why she cant pay them on time. However, the bills in her name such as her car payment or her credit cards (which she has maxed out) always get paid on time. I want to put her on her own phone plan and move her to her own car insurance policy which will obviously make them go up. I feel as long as she is on our plan she knows it will be paid on time even if she does not pay her portion on time. I feel like we were doing her a favor and saving her money so the least she can do is pay them on time. Once it is on her and she does not pay, the consequences will be all hers. Am I wrong for thinking this is what needs to happen? She is going to get mad and tells her father that she wont see him anymore. He actually thinks that will happen.

    • profile image

      Mary 

      15 months ago

      Hello,

      I need advise. My 22 yrs old son in 2017 have eyes surgery to permanently change his eyes color. A type of lences was insicioned in his iris. Surgery didnt go well. He was performed other surgery to take off those contacts from his iris, leaving him the iris wide open. Now he suffers from light sensitivity. He went to college but he drop out. He came back home.afters 6 monts he brought a girl from Az who he said he was leaving to Tx and share an apt with her. They left same night she came home. Once in Tx, they coudnt find apt because my son have eviction from not paying rent for an apt he WANTED and rented outside of Indiana U. They came back home. My husband told then to work hard, save as much money they could to find a place to live. Give then 4 months. I tryed to help then find a place but was impossible with the eviction. Now he is very down. Low steame, dont want go back college, barely works. If works, he works 2 or 3 day a week for 3 or 5 hrs in Uber. The girl found a job as a teacher asst. He sleep lots. I found out heand her smokes marijuana

    • profile image

      Blue 

      15 months ago

      I'm not sure if you remember our story. We love our only daughter very much and we'll do everything for her to be able to graduate in college, but at the same time want to instill responsibility as a young adult. When she was in Gr 12, age 17, she ran away twice (due to boyfriend) and moved out on the day of graduation. She ended up penniless, living at friend's place, and was forced to return home. On her 1st yr in uni, she was persistent to work full time despite of our encouragement that she just study and work max 2x/wk, then, she failed most of her courses. 2nd sem, we helped with her tuition, got better grades and all seemed to work out fine. 3rd sem, she started to lie, sneak and stay late outside, and have a new boyfriend. Since she works, she spends her money towards her boyfriend, eating out, giving gifts, etc. Her constant lying caused disagreements again at home. We told her if you don't communicate that you're coming home late, we'll lock the door, so she decided to move out. In Canada, when a young adult lives independently, they are eligible for a loan. We can't get a student loan because of our family income. When she received the lent money from the gov't and her wages, she was living like there's no tomorrow, eating out/treating friends/buying expensive gifts, using taxi for travel, pays gas for her bf's car, and did not pay rent for 5 months. She had 2 car accidents. She only have a learner's license and apparently she drove her friend's dads car and got into an accident. The other one was she was a passenger. Then, she failed all her courses. Now, she's changing career plans and took a semester break. She now owes 5 month's rent, car accident premium, and wasted over 9k tuition for the whole year. We asked her if she wants to come home and we'll find a better way to work this out. She said that the only way she can come home is if we pay her full tuition in full. We asked her, we can loan you tuition, and once she graduates, she pays us half and she keeps the rest. She also demanded that she will only work 5x a month. We asked her if she can at least contribute a little from her salary so that we don;t have to apply so much for loan. She said whatever she earns, she will deduct her phone and allowance, and whatever is left is for the tuition, AND she wants to keep her tips 100%. Her work as a server gets more tips than their base bay. Calculation wise, after she deducts the phone & allowance from her base pay, she will only end up contributing $50-100 a month while she gets $600. We asked if she can use her tips towards her allowance and she said no and would not compromise. She said that she wants to be able to buy stuff she wants and save money for car. We said how can you prioritize your wants when you can't even sustain your needs? Long story short, she's not happy and decided that she just stay with her friend. She also said that she can't commit with chores because she's busy with work during her semester off. We mentioend that we will not sign your loan if you have enough money to pay for your tuition next semester because we don't want you to end up in a mountain of debt. Is it right that as parents, we swallow finacing her tuition 100% and at the mercy of whatever she can give us? All we hope for is for her to acknowledge that we are doign this for her and if she can pool in her resources and we all decide how to best manage her needs. If she needs to replace her computer replace her broken guitar, we can understand that. We wish we can be united and she stays at home with a sense of shared responsibility, but it seems that no matter what we do, she likes to be away from us and do what she wants. Help.

      o just study and only work 2x/wk, hencewhile in 1st yr uni, failed most of her courses in the 1st sem. 2Snd

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      15 months ago from Western United States

      Stephanie,

      Let me get this straight, you thought your husband wasn't nice enough about the rules, so you took over for him and your son doesn't follow the rules? Why should your son listen to you? Your husband has been cut off at the knees by you. The first thing you should do is apologize to your husband. The two of you have to present a united front to your son. I'm not sure why your son is having parties in your home. That in of itself is disrespectful. No adult child is fearful of their mom. this is part of the issues kids have today in leaving home. Their mothers are not disciplinarians and when they are, they feel guilty about it. You need to decide what you want the outcome to be because this adult child is not going "act" the way you want. Do you want him out of the house? Are you going to start making him contribute to the household through rent and chores? You need to figure out what the goal is here. Whatever the goal, you need to present it with your husband.

    • profile image

      Stephanie 

      15 months ago

      I have an adult son who is 21. Whenever he is asked to do something like clean up his mess from a party he had and take the trash out he says he will and never does so I tell him again to do it later that day and he finally cleans but doesn't take trash out. He says fuck you to me for telling him I expect him to do what I say why he lives in my house. How do I handle this? I've taken over enforcing rules because my husband is at his wits in and I thought he was too mean but now I see what he was dealing with

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      15 months ago from Western United States

      It is not your responsibility to pay for your sons adult life. I'm not sure why you would pay their rent. Either you feel guilty because you think you were not a good mom, or you are worried your son will cut off contact if you are not giving him money. Neither of these is a healthy reason to enable him. If he calls you for money, tell him you don'r have it. Also you need to reinforce with him that he is an adult and needs to make his own decisions. This isn't play time anymore. One day you will be gone from this earth and where do think your son is going to go for money? What is he going to do then? Your actions are not helping him be an independent human being, they are creating a drain on society. So stop giving him money. No more money. If you were a horrible mom, then go get counseling to deal with yourself.

    • profile image

      KristiO68 

      16 months ago

      I have enabled my son since he was 17 and he is now 20. He smokes pot and I've bailed him out of jail, bought him cars, got him jobs that he quit, paid for his apartment and more. I tried getting him counseling. You name it, I've tried it. He is now married and once again I got them an apartment and paid the rent because they didn't hold down jobs. He was supposed to go into the Navy and then changed his mind because one of the reasons is he can't and won't give up marijuana. They finally got their own little place, which I again paid for to move in and he had a job and quit due to it being so far to drive. It is more of the same and now they can't pay their rent, but I have cut them off financially because they need to grow up and take responsibility. Normally I have always bailed them out, but I can't do it anymore. I have put myself in financial debt and can't do it. They need to grow up and take responsibility. This is the hardest thing I've ever done because they can't live here and may end up in a shelter, but they have got to learn that they have to be responsible. I've tried everything. I tried to help with $300 and they didn't use it for rent. I'm sure he bought marijuana and other things. Am I doing the right thing by cutting off the money? Why is it making me feel like I'm a bad mom for not helping anymore?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      16 months ago from Western United States

      Ask yourself why you feel guilty. Did you do something to cause him to turn to drugs? Did you abuse him, neglect him, keep him from his father, do drugs in front of him? If the answer to these questions is no, then you shouldn't feel guilty. Your guilt comes in when you create false narratives in your head, like "it's your fault for raising a drug addict". Most people do not intentionally raises a drug addict. It's poor choices on the part of the person who decided to try an illegal substance. You cant get hooked on something you never try. He has made bad choices and continues to do so. You can love your son and support him emotionally, you can't fix the habit. I would say if you want to help him, get him treatment. Don't bail him out of jail.

    • profile image

      LEarl 

      16 months ago

      My adult son was arrested recently for drugs, he has destroyed his marriage, and has pawned everything he has owned. Yet with every phone call I get from him of begging for me to bail him out and I continue to be strong enough to say NO, how do I deal with this guilt I have for not bailing him out? These are his choices he has made getting him in this situation yet as a mom, I can't stop worrying about him non stop. I am angry, I am frustrated, I am every emotion imaginable, and can't shut the guilt I have off

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      16 months ago from Western United States

      Have your husband get your son's things together, and take him to the homeless shelter. He obviously has no intentions of bettering himself. If you feel badly about this, but him a tent. You have already taken on enough. Let him go.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      16 months ago from Western United States

      We all have anxiety because your minds can create situations that do not exist. Once your son finishes high school he needs an exit plan. If he doesn't have one, now is the time to start.

    • profile image

      Verona 

      16 months ago

      This site is very helpful. I have a 19 yr old. Im lone Parent. He is just finished high school but is suffering severe anxiety. He wont work. I dont think he can. However, he is costing me more money than I can afford. I give him very little pocket money in return for very badly done housework. But I pay for his phone so I can contact him, the Gym to help his depression and clothes (just enuf), so he doesnt go without. He is ungrateful and will only wear designer stuff. Thats why I limit the amount he gets. He currently has to wear black socks so it doesnt look like hes wearing sandals to cover the holes. He has a perfectly good pair of addidas for 2 years, which were costly but he wont wear them. Thats why Im holding out on new shoes for him.

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      martha 

      16 months ago

      I have a 56 year old homeless son, I am 77 and my husband is 78. I might also add that my son's only biological son was taken away from him and his then wife at birth, They had 3 years to get him back and never did anything they were suppose to do, He was placed in our home at 2 weeks and when he was put into adoption , we loved him so much and both of us were in good health, We adopted him, He knows we are his biological grandparents, He refers to us as mom and dad, He know most of the story about why we have him, His biological mother has never even attempted to see him and my son sees him , but they do not have a relationship. My son will not do anything for himself, For years he has gone from friends house to relative to us sleeping on the couch, porch where ever he can, Recently he has been staying here, He spent the summer sleeping and eating here, We were unable to leave our home to go on a little trip. We fed him all summer and kept telling him he had to find a place to go because we could not afford it anymore and at our ages and still mom and dad to a teenager we could not take the stress that it is causing us all. He never did anything, I gave him numbers to call, my husband took him places and still he does nothing for himself, School is starting Monday and my young son and that is what he is does not need the added anxiety of him here nor do i or my husband, He waits for people to do for him, He stays up all night watching porn on his phone and sleeps all day on the porch, with people walking by looking at him, I love him of course but i am stretched thin as it is, We do not know what to do short of calling the police , and we really do not want that, Come Monday a,m, i get up at 5 am to get myself ready to take my young son to school at 6;30. I am healthy but i still need time to be moving around, I cannot stand the thought of him being on my couch or porch and me leaving and coming back and he is sleeping,My young son will not ask friends here with him sleeping on the porch snoring, Please advise us, We are lost as we we can do no more , for someone that will not help himself,

    • profile image

      Val@wolf 

      16 months ago

      My. Son. Is. 28.years. Old. Still. Lying. About. Trying. To. A. Shelter. Being. Stay here. For. Three. Months

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      16 months ago from Western United States

      I'm not sure what the situation is between you and your younger children. Obviously you are angry with them. It is not your older children's job to inform you of issues with the younger two. It is not fair to your older children to make them a go between. If your younger children are useless drains on society and you wish to cut them out of any prosperous situation, that is up to you. However, your older children are not their parents and did not sign up to play mediator.

      Your adult children are going to go through some life experiences that may change their perspective and behavior. While I am all for cutting unreasonable financial ties, you are still their parents. When our children disappoint us we forget that we still have an emotional bond with them.Not having contact is not going to stop you from thinking about them. In every relationship you should have a goal, your ideal of what that relationship should be. Maybe you back off for a while and let them handle their lives, then revisit the situation.

    • profile image

      CyndyLou 

      16 months ago

      My husband and I have 5 kids between us. The older three are fine, moving along in life. The younger two, who are both in college, are nightmares. The daughter is a very good student, but has absolutely no ambition or consideration for others. She frequently lies to us, tells us that she has no idea what she wants to do for a career, etc. My husband has recently informed her that her support ends next year, when she graduates college, and that she will need to get a job of some sort. Because of her escalating lies and disrespect, he is now planning to revise his will, eliminating any provision for her future security. The son is only in his second year of college, flunking out, and now trying to just get his grades to a 2.0 to stay in. He has until the end of this year to make that happen, or he's out, at the direction of the University. We have stopped most of his support, and are paying for most of his expenses through his educational savings account, because there's no point investing our money if he isn't holding up his end of the deal. No big deal, I had siblings who had very high IQ's that flunked out of college, partying, and later had to find ways to pay for college on their own. But, what concerns me is that he seems to think he can treat us and our home with such extreme disrespect and callus disregard. The short term plan is, this fall, when he leaves to return to what I am certain will be his last semester in college; we will throw away the rest of his belongings left here, change the locks, and let him know that he needs to find another friend or family member to stay with anytime he comes to town to visit. If that fails to relieve us of our problem, we plan to move and leave no forwarding address. I am also revising my own will, because I feel that if I leave no money to him, it's less for him to squander. I know if he was ever in a real bind that was not of his own making, his siblings would help him out, if I were dead, anyway. My husband and I are both very successful in our own careers, though that came at the same price most people pay to achieve that--- Long hours, living in poverty for many years, decades of struggle, learning to deal with the small minded people we both had to work with during the earlier years of our careers. It's a shame that these kids are too ignorant and short sighted to see what they are costing themselves now, and in their futures, with their outrageous conduct. In light of our decisions, my husband and I are looking forward to a happy retirement that doesn't include uncomfortable encounters with these two younger kids. We have already learned the value of blocking their calls/texts, and being unavailable to them when they want to abuse us or harass us. Those kids know how to reach the rest of the siblings. If there were ever a TRUE emergency, we'd hear about it, and could decide then if we wanted or needed to get involved. We gave birth to these kids, but we don't owe it to them to put up with their harassment and abuse for the rest of all our lives. If they are sleeping in their cars, the street, or whatever happens to them at some point, maybe that will motivate them to get off their duffs and do something with their lives. My husband and I did well because we didn't have any choice. These kids need to know what having no choice feels like, and what it can lead to if they apply themselves. In my opinion, that's the kindest thing we can do for them.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      16 months ago from Western United States

      I'm not sure this situation has anything to do with either of you. If there was a licensed driver in the car, then she hasn't broken the law. As for wrecking the car, I would say that will fall under the insurance of the friends dad unless she stole the car. While this will probably impact her ability to get a license, lots of people have accidents with their permit. I would tell you accidentally opened it, and give it to her. You don't have to say anything. Leave her alone unless she asks for help. In this situation I'm sure she already feels like an idiot so a lecture is not going to help her.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      16 months ago from Western United States

      The first thing is that your brother is not your responsibility. If and when something happens with your parents, you will probably taking in one of them. Your brother probably does the minimum because he can get away with it. At the same time I'm sure your brother doesn't want to be there and thinks he is helping your parents. Your parents must need him or they would take steps to push him out. Obviously at 70 no one should be doing a labor job. Once your parents have passed, your brother will have to figure out life. I would stop arguing with your mom. When she complains about your brother, tell her "he must be helping you or you would get him out of the house". Don't let her put you into the middle, it's not your place.

    • profile image

      Jen 

      16 months ago

      Sorry! I tried commenting earlier and accidentally sent it prematurely. I am the one with the brother two years older. As I was saying he doesn’t really have much of a familial bond with my parents (or I guess with me either). My dad is nearly 70 years old running a physical labor intensive business and is obviously more than ready to retire. The reason they can’t is because of my brother, who “works for” and lives with them. They are hoping he will step up and take over the business, but it doesn’t seem likely he has the capability. He refuses to go out and find his own job. My parents have asked me to look for education and work opportunities for him, which I have to try to give them a break, but I kind of feel like if he’s not even willing to look for himself, he’s not going to put any kind of effort into it. My parents, especially my mom, spends about 80% of the time complaining that he isn’t going to cut it and 20% telling me that I’m too cynical about my brother and he’s not as bad as I think. I feel like she is deluding herself at this point, taking the bare minimum that he reluctantly does as a sign that he might be stepping up. It is one of my biggest concerns in life that when it becomes clear that they will no longer be able or willing to take care of him, he’s going to latch onto me. My parents have often told me that because he’s family it doesn’t matter who’s older or younger, the capable one has to help the other out if needs be. I’m sure this is going to sound horrible, but it feels like they’re planning to pass a curse onto me and expect me to deal with it in their place. If I wanted to take care of a kid I would have had my own. I’m not really sure what I can do to wake them up and make them do something about him and every time he comes up in conversation it becomes an argument. I wish I could show them this article but English isn’t their first language. What a pain.

    • profile image

      Jen 

      16 months ago

      My brother is two years older than me and has never had much of a relationship

    • profile image

      Silver Lining 

      16 months ago

      our 18 yr old daughter moved out b/c she wants freedom. She spends her school loan towards her boyfriend and eats in restaurants almost everydat. We found out that she crashed her friend's car (she only has a Learner's DL). One day, we received an ICBC mail, thinking that it was our DL renewal, we inadvertently opened it and found out that she crashed her friend's father's car and she was at 100% at fault. She only has a Learner's DL. She has't told any of her mess ups (only the good things) when we see her occasionally. Do we talk to her about it or we'll just hand her the letter and not speak about it and let her deal with her own problem/solution?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      17 months ago from Western United States

      Drug use is a completely different situation than just irresponsibility. If you think she has a drug problem she needs help. If this is social/recreational use, then that is something different.

      Where did you go wrong? I have no idea. I'm going to guess she has a cell phone you are paying for, what else are you paying for that she should be doing? If you are paying her way then there isn't an incentive for her to get her act together.

      Also you need to figure out what skills she needs to learn in order to move out and be self-sufficient. What is she missing? For three years you have dragged along in this situation. You need to have a heart to heart with your daughter, not a fight. Listen to her, is she scared? Is she hoping you will support her forever. What is her plan? Discuss your concerns with her. Tell her you are worried that she is not making it on her own and is falling in with people who do not care about her success. Be caring and kind, apologize for saying you don't care.

      Then the two of you work together to get her back on track. Sometimes when our kids stray our first instinct is to get mad and push them away, when we really need to bring them in closer and find out what is going on.

    • profile image

      Renea 

      17 months ago

      Our daughter will turn 22 in a couple of months. After graduating she attended community college and worked for a year. She hasn’t worked or attended school for 3 years now. She’s hanging with her friends all night, sleeps all day, and is using illegal drugs. We gave her a deadline to get herself on track or we were putting her out. Which we did in August of last year. She was out the house for 2 months, moved in with a friend, then had no where to go so we let her back home. Well we are having the same issues. She’s still up to her old ways.

      I have spent many nights over the past few years up worrying, crying, talking to her trying to get through to her. I told her during a heated discussion that I did not care what did anymore, if that’s the way she wants to live her life that’s on her. She took that as me saying I don’t care about her and as a parent we should have never put her out. Where did we go wrong?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      17 months ago from Western United States

      You are right this situation doesn't make a lot of sense the way you wrote it down. Whatever choices a person makes in their life, those are their choices. I'm not telling anyone not to be there for their children. However, there has to be a point where you expect your adult child to take responsibility of their life. This article is not about loaning your child five dollars, it's about adult children who do not take responsibility for themselves. There isn't a one size fits all answer for life. People should use their own judgement in dealing with their adult children. By the time a parent gets to this page, situations are out of control. I encourage parents to expect responsibility out of their adult children, and create autonomy through ending enabling behaviors. I do this because one day your parent is not going to be there, and what are you going to do when that happens? Are you going to be homeless? Are you going to step up and take care of your own kids or are you going to make excuses for yourself? You have choices. Choosing to continue to be a victim is a choice. Choosing to take care of your kids is a choice. You cannot fix the past but sitting around reliving it to avoid life today is not a fix.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      17 months ago from Western United States

      When a person exits college they think the world will open up and bow down to their degree. The reality is that most people still have to start at the bottom and work their way up. You don't leave college with someone throwing rose petals at your feet as you are handed a wad of money to go do the thing in which you got your degree. This reality causes a failure to transition appropriately into the chosen profession.

      Every problem in life has one of two solutions: one; walk away and ignore it (this is what your son is doing) or two; LEARN A NEW SKILL. The question is what is the skill your son needs to learn? Does he need to learn to accept failure as a teaching moment and move on? Probably. We spend our whole lives telling our kids to stay close to us, then when they hit 18-25 we tell them to go away. Cut the cord. He has a degree, he's single, he can put in job applications all over the country not just in your area. He is not going to do that with you paying for everything. Figure out when he stopped paying rent, add that up, put it on paper, put on paper that he has 30 days to find a job in the US (or even abroad), until he finds a job, he needs to spend 8 hours a day looking for a full time job, put it writing. If he wants to stay in your house then he owes you for the back amount, if he moves out in 3-6 months forgive it. If you do not see an improvement in his behavior after this talk, start packing his stuff for him. What you are going to find is that he is scared to leave. He is scared to venture out and take responsibility for himself. Teach him how to do adult things, teach him that he could live anywhere. He's young and he needs to get out in the world and create a new reality. Ask him what his ideal life would be? Then show him how it's possible. You can do this with love and push.

    • profile image

      howdidwegethere 

      17 months ago

      Our 25 year old son lives at home with my husband any myself, He graduated college 3 years ago and has not had a full time job ever. His got a job when he first graduated and lost it in three weeks, we think because of an aloof attitude. He then got a part time job which seemed he seemed happy at and let him live his free spirit lifestyle. We still pay his phone, insurance and living expenses here. He had a girlfriend for 4 years whom he just broke off with. She decided she was gay, and this sent him into a tailspin. He also suffers from anxiety and depression. He worked with my husband for a little less than a year, and was paying us 100.00 a week which was for the car we helped purchase and living expenses. Now he's layed off and of course the monthly payment of 100.00 is gone. To top all of this off he has a beer habit that is verging on alcohol abuse.... in our opinion. He says he applying to jobs and has had a few interviews, but no offers yet. We're at the end of our rope. We thought of making him leave but imagining him on the street is unbearable. He is not a belligerent person, and is usually pretty thoughtful and helps when asked around the house. But his irresponsibility is killing us. Tonight, he drove to a friends party, and just texted if he was uncomfortable driving home, would we pick him up? I know its enabling to say sure, but on the other hand, I don't want him to drink and drive. He usually doesn't, his drinking is at home..... What are we doing ..... wrong.... help...

    • profile image

      Jacque Schaefer 

      17 months ago

      I have a 21 year granddaughter. Her mother has been emotionally abusive to her her whole life. i have basically raised her and been her only stability. Her mother, an alcoholic, kicked her out of her house. My new husband and i (we are both in our 70's) took her in for 2 months until she and a friend could get an apartment. My granddaughter is in Jr College, paying for it herself and has a part time job. I am now helping her with the rent on her apartment. I have no pooroblem with that. Sunday, she called me and said she needed to spend a couple days with us. She needed to regroup from a bad boyfriend breakup and a roommate who is 27 who has all of her girlfriends party on Sat and Sun every weekend until 3:00 AM while she tries to sleep. My issue is she informed me she planned on staying 5 days instead of the original 2 and then told me she was going to be here a lot to do her homework and possibly spend weekends. I tried to set boundaries and told her to leave after two nights. I told her she could only spend the night if advance notice and a real emergency, not because she didn't want to deal with "grown up" issues. She told me she liked hanging out with me! I am 71, I love my granddaughter, but i don't want to be her BFF. (she has no friends and the boyfriend was only interested in one thing!) She was devastated and I feel guilty because she looked so hurt and was crying when i told her to home and stay with her Mom and try to repair that relationship. She was finally opening up to me and talking. Now she won't answer the phone or text messages. This just happened Tuesday. How do I deal with this and let her know my boundary talk didn't come out the right way and let her know she is loved and welcome here as a safety net?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      17 months ago from Western United States

      Pam,

      Call the police have him removed and then get some help for yourself. Call the suicide hotline. I cannot counsel your suicidal thoughts in a public forum. If you file a restraining order your son can't come to your work, even as a homeless person. He will have to find another place to go.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      17 months ago from Western United States

      It sounds like you need to get a restraining order. If your son is violent, the restraining order prevents him from being around you including your place of employment. That means if he’s homeless, he can’t go there. If you are feeling suicidal, please seek help from a local psychiatrist. Do not wait.

    • profile image

      Pam king 

      17 months ago

      My adult son threatens to sleep on the streets every time he is evicted for not paying rent. The streets i work with homeless people so if I don't help him financially he will ruin my job or embarrassed me because I work with homeless. If he lives with me me he abuses me. What should I do apart from kill myself? Soon due to son is may have no job or not home myself. He also smashed up my home

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