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.

Questions & Answers

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    • profile image

      Nurse T 

      9 hours 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 

      13 days 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 

      13 days 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 

      3 weeks 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 

      3 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      5 weeks 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 

      5 weeks 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 

      5 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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.

    • profile image

      martha 

      6 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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 

      7 weeks 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.

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      CyndyLou 

      7 weeks 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 

      7 weeks 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 

      7 weeks 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 

      8 weeks 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 

      8 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Silver Lining 

      8 weeks 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 

      2 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.

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      Renea 

      2 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 

      2 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 

      2 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 

      2 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 

      2 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 

      3 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 

      3 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 

      3 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

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 months ago from Western United States

      Alan,

      Sit down with your son and tell him, he has six months to save up to move out. Put it in writing. Let him know that in six months he will be out of the house or paying $500 a month to stay. It doen't matter what he thinks you should do, you are his parent and you do not have to care for him indefinitely. Cut the cord. Be direct and serious. If you see that he isn't moving forward with looking for a job, bring home some boxes and start packing his stuff. He will get the hint. Play time is over. Additionally, I would change your wifi password and not give it to him unless he is looking for a job. Also, while he is in your home he needs to be doing chores. Yardwork, housework ect.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 months ago from Western United States

      Unfortunately this is her life, she gets to make her own decisions. The first thing you need to do is charge them a real rent. You wouldn't let a random stranger live there without paying. You don't have to get mad. Look at what apartments that size are renting for and give them a $100 break for being family. No more freebies. It doesn't matter if you don't need the money, start a college fund for your granddaughter, or save it until you have an emergency. You need to get them on a lease in writing. If they don't pay, evict them. Don't concern yourself with how they will pay, tell your daughter that if she wants to stay with this man, she is going to have to have a job that will support them. If not they can find somewhere else to live. Once your daughter has to work hard to pay bills something will happen, she will insist on him getting a job, she will throw him out, or she will continue to work hard and let him lounge. The first thing you have to do is establish the rent situation, and then let her figure out how to solve her financial problems. Stay out of her relationship with the boyfriend. She has to decide on her own to kick him to the curb.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 months ago from Western United States

      You cannot change your son. He has chosen this life for himself. I will tell you that a lot of people choose this path out of a lack of confidence in themselves. They never thought they were worth anything so they do stupid things to sabotage their own lives. I can't say that is the case with your son, however if they let him out you might want to consider counseling for him. Find someone who can mentor him.

    • profile image

      Allan 

      3 months ago

      my son is 21 turning 22 soon livez at home never moved single no gf still a virgin and we argue he and says parents have to look after there children till they die and does nothing at home at all and says i stuffed his life up from when he was younger by straying away from home a few times

    • profile image

      Brenda 

      3 months ago

      My 41 year old daughter is with a dead beat. He has brainwashed her and they are living in a little apartment beside us. They have been here for 10 months, this time. My husband and I are both disabled. They give us $200 a month on the light bill, period. We have spent thousands of dollars in the past helping. This has been going on for 7 years.. Last weekend I lost it and told him he needed to get his s. and go. They have a little girl who will be 6 soon. He said I will never see her if he leaves. I said if that's the way it has to be. He immediately started cursing me and my husband and even went so far as to threaten to whip my husband and that it would be worth going to jail. On top of this my daughter was married to another man when she got pregnant and she has a son who has aspbergers and she walked away from him for this deadbeat. What can I do to help her open her eyes besides praying?

    • profile image

      Maria 

      3 months ago

      My son started smoking weed at age of 16. We worked with school, counselling(he didn't cooperate). It affected his education, he only completed high school. When I refused giving him cash (he was buying weed) he stared selling drugs. I found in my house and give him a warning, saying I will call police. And I did. I went to the court and ask judge for assistance. My son was on probation 1 year. (curfew, school reports, drug counselling). Unfortunately after probation ended and later he turned 18 he went back to his old ways. At 19 I had no choice but put him out. He became violent and we were afraid of him. But I always keep in touch with him through texts or meeting for lunch. I was always for him when he started new jobs to provide him with new clothes and lunch money. Jobs never lasted long. For the last year things went really bad, weed, Xanax, alcohol. Right now he is in jail for possession of guns. I refused to bail him out. I write letters, send him money orders. I'm planning to visit him this week. My question is what else can I do to show him I love him, I will be for him if he wants to change for better.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      3 months ago from Western United States

      @Blue

      Your child is experiencing her first time out of your home. She is doing things to test her new environment. Unfortunately that may mean she is going to stray from what you have taught her. You are worried for her because she is not behaving in the manner your would like. It sounds like you are ready to take her life over for her. If she is not asking for your help then do not offer it. She is going to make mistakes in life. That is reality. You do not have to be ready to catch her. She may move back in or she may never move back in. You cannot prepare for an unknown. Many a person who stocked up on canned goods, later realized they actually should have bought a boat. The point is stop worrying about her in this manner. If she is healthy and happy, let it go.

    • profile image

      Blue 

      3 months ago

      Our almost 19 yo daughter moved out b/c she does not want to live with the house rules and has a new boyfriend. She rents a room w/ her best friend whose father only charges her a couple hundred dollars a month. She was approved for a govt student loan & is now spending out-of-control for her boyfriend's gas, allowance, and food. She now wants to introduce him to us. When she was young, we taught her how to budget/save. Now, she's in the process of creating a mountain of debt. What shall we do? Shall we keep quiet and wait for her to fail? What if she comes back to us beggigng to take her in? What if she asks us for help with her debt? When she comes home, we will charge her rent and if she wants help, we will have to ask her to give her pay cheque to us to control her spending and give her allowance instead until she fully pays her debt. Please advise.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      There are not a lot of options for someone in your situation. However, you can try spending time away from the house. Possibly go to the library and volunteer during the day. I wouldn't even tell them where you are going. Even at 80 there is life to be lived. Being at someones disposal all the time creates a dynamic that you are always going to be there. By volunteering somewhere you get the opportunity to meet new people in an environment where you are not being taken for granted. Having the time away from the home, will give you some space from them. I hope this helps.

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      @momincrisis 

      4 months ago

      Your son needs to be shaken. Who is his idol? You need an adult male that has been there to speak with him. We get an idea in our head of what our dream is and how it’s going to happen. When it doesn’t work, it breaks people. They don’t realize that the people who make it are people who don’t give up. He could transfer to state after he completes community college. We have to fight for the life we want, it’s never handed to us. Speak to him from a place of love, not anger. He’s still your son.

    • profile image

      v. johnson 

      4 months ago

      my grandson is twenty one, my son is 62 and I just turned 80. I feel fine don't need assistance or anything. all their lives I have tried hard to help them in any way, but they talk bad about me behind my back and make me feel like I am a terrible person. all I do is try to help, but still that is not enough. It keeps me upset most of the time. We all live together to help with expenses all thru school I was the one to take and pick him up from school, buy him whatever he needed, take him to sports, now he has a minimum wage job, but it seems like I did nothing. his mother died when he was 15 yrs old and at that time his parents were separated, his father had custody since he was around 8 yrs old. on a fixed income it will be hard for me to venture out on my own, but I can't continue to go thru this much longer, my days on this earth are getting slim. nothing I can do is right to them.

    • profile image

      MomInCrisis 

      4 months ago

      My son is 18 and will "hopefully" graduate high school in two weeks. He has always been a very good student, a leader at school, and excelled at his sport earning several accolades. He has worked hard since he was 7 years old to earn a college scholarship for football. Trained 6 days a week (by choice) year round so he would be the best. He had an awesome senior season and got all the accolades one would expect. Unfortunately he is about 2 inches short of what an average collegiate athlete in his position should be. He had hoped that his skill would force coaches to oversee that, but it didn't. He got several scholarships, but none to the big schools that he had dreamed of. He then decided to go to the local community college that has an excellent football program that is highly recruited. He said he was going to show the big schools he could play at the next level regardless of the two inches he was missing (this was in January). I then began to notice significant changes in his demeanor and attitude. His grades started to fall, he was sneaking out, he was smoking marijuana...all things totally out of his character. It has only gone downhill. He has become very resentful and defiant, staying out all night, coming and going when he pleases, and skipping school. It has gotten so bad that he may not graduate, which is hard for me to fathom as he has maintained above a 3.0 all through high school until January. This morning I went into his room to speak to him, and I noticed his cell phone on his dresser was unlocked. I have never gone through his phone, but my gut told me to pick it up. I found out that he is selling drugs, has broken into cars, and the list goes on. I work him up screaming, and promptly told him that he needed to leave our house. He has been lying and putting me through hell, and I don't know what to do or how this even happened. This kid was a top college bound athlete 6 months ago and now he may or may not graduate high school and has completely done a 180. I told him that when he is ready to get his life together, that he could come home, but I could not support him while he lives his current lifestyle. I am completely devastated, hurt, shocked, and just overall sickened by the situation. Everyone says "let him bump his head", and that is so hard for me to accept. He told me today that he worked hard all his life for something and it didn't work out, but kids who didn't put in half the work he did are now living his dream. I told him that success comes from failure, and that when you fail you get back up stronger. He has totally given up and I don't even know him anymore. Any advice is appreciated.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      Your daughter is at a tough age where she is not coping well with becoming an adult. These boys are a distraction to what should be her focus, college. Let her go live her life and make her mistakes.

      As for how this will affect you later, it shouldn't these are her choices. She's out of your house because she couldn't follow rules. She wants to take care of herself, let her. She may not finish college but, it sounds like that wasn't her thing anyway. Let her go for a while.

    • profile image

      Blue 

      4 months ago

      our 18 yr old daughter moved out because she felt restricted. She complains that our curfew does not work with her activities, she complains helping with the chores because of lack of sleep, and she frequently lies. She ran away twice already last year because she was involved in a boy-crazy-toxic-relationship, did not get any awards or scholarships. She came back to us because the parent of her friend where she stayed for more than a month realized that she was minor at that time and thought that she would only stay for a week. When she came back, she wanted to work and study full time in the university, then she failed all her courses. Last semester, we arranged that we will help pay her tuition and she works 2 days a week during school and full time during breaks to save. Now, she met another guy. She had been sneaking again. She comes and leaves home late, so we ended up locking the door and did not open it twice, and we ended up asking for a rent and she pays 100% of her tuition. She moved out and is living in her best friend's place, they're only charing her $200. She is the one who spends for her new boyfriend and instead of paying towards her tuition, they go out and she pays for both. When she left, we apologized that we were running a tight ship and that we should have shown that we love her unconditionally. Is this going to boomerang on us?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      Hello Dee,

      Since you didn’t say I am going to assume you are in the United States. To the best of my knowledge attempting suicide is illegal throughout the US, your grandsons dad was going to find out about this anyway and he did the right thing in filing for custody. What your daughter needs to know is that CPS is probably going to get involved as well. Your grandchildren have probably been traumatized by what she did. While your daughter will now be forced to seek attention for her mental illness there will be lasting consequences from what she tried to do that may include losing her children. You shouldn’t feel guilty, nor would I allow her to guilt you into paying for a lawyer. A person who is depressed enough to take their own life, is a danger to themselves and others. You are lucky she didn’t try to take the kids with her. If you want to help, pay for a good therapist. She is unstable, she shouldn’t have her kids. Depending on her actions this may have been a play for attention from her husband, in which case she is still mentally ill and needs help. Either way she shouldn’t be around children.

    • profile image

      Dee-698 

      4 months ago

      My 29 yr old daughter attempted suicide while her 3 yr old son and 13 ye old daughter was in the apartment. Her hisband had left after they had an extremly out of control argument. I was informed by my son in law and my nephew (my daughter called her cousin to come to the apartment) that she was in the hospital and had attempted suicide. I was extremly concerned about my grandchildren and arranged for my grandsons father to come get him and for my granddaughter to stay with my sister. I did not tell my gtandson's father what happened, just stated she was sick. We learned today that he filed fir ex parte custody. My daughter blames me for losing custody because i should never have called him and my current son in law wants me to pay for an attorney for her. I am at a loss right now.. i never in a million years imagined that my grandsons father would have filed, as i never told him anything and I don't understand why this is my fault. Yet, i feel guilty.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      Your husband is not learning from his mistakes with your step-son. If he is going to help him, the first step will be to get him off drugs. I would make that a condition of helping. By that I mean AA meetings, drug testing, and counseling. His son isn't getting a job because most places drug test and he knows he won't pass. He's not going to get a job until he's clean. If your husband is willing to take on the responsibility of his sons rent, utilities, and damage he may do to the apartment, then he should be willing to pay to put his son in a facility to get him clean. Somewhere inside your husband he doesn't want to believe his son is a druggie. He doesn't want to believe his son is a drain on society. The reality is that nothing the two of you do for him at this point is going to work in your favor. Your husband is a nice guy and that is working against you. If his son wants help get him into rehab. If he refuses to go, then I would say you are done. People don't think weed is a problem, if it keeps you from functioning and supporting yourself, it's a problem. As for your husband, men tend to be logical about numbers. Sit down and write out what it is going to cost to pay his son's way every month. Show him. Let him see the money he is throwing away. Check into the rehab facilities it's the only thing that will help.

    • profile image

      SE33 

      4 months ago

      My stepson is 25y/o, doesn't work, is living in his car that is being paid by my husband to avoid repossession and using drugs. He says he only uses weed and Xanax. He got fired in December and hasn't found work since. I'm afraid he really isn't looking. My husband gives him money here and there as well. Now my husband wants to rent Apt for him on short term lease with condition of him getting a job to help pay living expenses and eventually take over rent and quit using drugs. He has agreed to this. My fear is that this agreement won't last long. He has been fired from multiple jobs because of his lifestyle with using and partying. I'm afraid we'll be on the hook for the entire term of the lease including supporting him. My husband is enabling him and I don't know how to make him understand that. He says it's his responsibility as a father to help his son get on his feet. Problem is he's done this before. We've helped him move 500 miles away, set him up in an apt for a job and he was fired from there as well and ended up coming back to live with us. He continued using and not working the entire time. We finally had to ask him to leave. What can I do now to convince my husband I think he's making another mistake?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      4 months ago from Western United States

      You are right there is legally nothing you can do. Unfortunately, this situation may be out of your hands. Here are a few idea to think about.

      Option one: If you are letting her back into you home, have her sign a contract. If she is not going to finish school she has one week to get a job and start paying rent. If she wants to make adult decisions, then treat her as an adult.

      Option 2: Talk your mother into pressing charges for the money she stole, let her judge know she is using drugs. More than likely they will put her on probation and make her drug test.

      Option 3: Don't move her back in.

      Option 4: Move. Get her out of that town and away from her druggie friends.

      If she is seriously using drugs, nothing you do is going to help accept rehab. You could force her into rehab by threatening to turn her in over for the theft. You still have options because she obviously can't support herself. The big quest you need to ask is why is she doing this? What caused her to start this spiral. Figure that out and you might be able to get your daughter back.

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      Colleen Dumag 

      4 months ago

      Please help my 18 year old daughter is completely out of control , she refuses to finish her senior year which she only has a few weeks left she has moved out of my home and moved in with her grandmother since she could not follow the rules with sneaking out all hours of the night doing drugs etc . My mother ( where my daughter has been living) just called me and said she is done . My daughter took my mother’s car in the middle of the night also stole my mother wallet and took several hundred dollars from my mom and also several thousand dollars on my mother credit card and my mother is now kicked her out . Please help me I am so scared for my daughter. Now she’s is 18 I have no say so ! What do I do ?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      If you feel you were genuinely affected by taking those drugs as a child then accept the settlement and better your situation. everyone can do a job, not everyone can work eight hours or lift 25 pounds but there are jobs for all skill levels. As for the child that is not excelling but is artistic, that is a characteristic of artistic people. They are a little moody and antisocial. I am and know a lot of artists they all are more social around other artists. Now a days there are community classes for artists and children's classes. I would get her involved in the art community. As for taking attention from your girlfriends kids, that is probably happening. If they have a good mom, let her handle it. If she tells you she can't see you because of something with the kids, be understanding. If you want to stay with this woman, you have to accept that she has these other responsibilities. You sound like a good person, you will make the right decisions.

    • profile image

      Tk 

      5 months ago

      Hey I am reading this article for two reasons you see when I was younger, I was placed on psychotropic medication it messed with my drive in life also robbed me of motivation but I was placed on social security since age 13. My question is I never claimed my settlement from about 3 lawsuits and my problems exist to this day, Now I am an adult living on disability trying to make it in this world but my gf has kids two angels good kids they are but the one kind of reminds me of myself very bright but lacks social skills and probably is depressed she is an amazing artist long story short I know before I can accept a settlement in good conscious i have to value money... Get a Job and earn my own way for a moment but I do not think I can make enough money to help my gf's one child out by the time she needs it my gf has already taken out one loan and I feel a little guilty about being spoiled and competing for there mothers affection the first time i met them. What do I do?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      It sounds like she is just using this guy to leave home. I would let her get her personal stuff (clothes, make up, ect). Life is about to teach her a valuable lesson. She is leaving because she thinks that this guy is going to get her out of your house and she will be free, in reality it's just going to live by someone else's rules. Also it's scary because there are a lot of creeps out there. I would let her know she has a month to start paying for her cell phone and you are taking her off your insurance. If she wants to be an adult, let her or let this guy pay her way, he is going to learn that it's not cheap to have a child.

    • profile image

      Meemous 

      5 months ago

      Hi, my 22 year old daughter left home in the middle of the night to be with a boy she met on the internet. That was 4 days ago. She left with only the clothes on her back and NOTHING else! Today she texted me that she wants to come by and get her 'stuff'. Clothes, driver's license, etc. I was shocked and stunned the first few days and now I'm in the anger stage. I told her no, but check back in a week and I might be over the anger. Seriously, when she moved out, she calmly told me that she wanted to make her own mistakes. SO I told her that her first mistake was not leaving home without thinking and leaving all her stuff at home. I'm the kind of mom that will usually start feeling guilty after a few days and forgive, but I really want her to learn this time... how do I keep my ground and tell her now without worrying about my girl practically homeless out there.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      Your problem also has to do with your husband. If your son went to rent a room he could expect to pay $500-700 a month depending on your location. He is an adult. How you should handle this depends on the outcome you are pursuing. If you want him out of the house, you need to draw up a six month contract with him. If you just want him to take on more chores then you need to have that conversation. Whatever you do, you and your husband need to be a united front in this plan. Do not act alone. Couples have to agree an execute the plan together.

    • profile image

      mayra2018 

      5 months ago

      Hi ! My step kid who's turning 21 yrs old has been living with us for free 2 yrs straight he works in construction and he only give us $40 a week that because his dad force that on him, all he does is throw the garbage doesn't help us around the house chores. he doesnt come home until late at night so he doesnt have to wash dishes. my house is a mess right now because i refuse to be somebody slave. he had a year free of no rent and he had to go to college he didn't im fed up i just cant with him he doesnt pay any bills but his car insurance and phone bill.

      please help me

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      You should only kick him out if you are opposed to drugs in your home. If so, then yes he needs to go.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      You actually have two things going on the first is the frequency of visits. Your son comes to see you three times a year, how often do you go to see him? Its a two way street. You can go visit.

      Second, your son is an adult with a wife. It is not your place to tell him where to live. If you continue to but into his adult life he will stop speaking to you because, he will get to the point where he wants to avoid your conversations. Let your adult child live his life how he wants to live it. You did not have a child to tell him what to do. It's normal to miss him but, he has his own life. Let him live it.

    • profile image

      Suzan 

      5 months ago

      My son is 28 and he moved away for college when he was 18, to a city about 3h away from ours. He graduated about 5 years ago, and he never moved back with us, despite us asking him to (he stayed on this city where he already had a job, even though I was against him getting a job, he was there for STUDY and nothing else), he started dating a girl back then and he began to lessen his visits to us.

      Now he's married and very seldom comes back (about once every 3 months), me and my husband are becoming very distant from him and I don't like this. We always hoped he would move closer to our city, it's the best for him (we live 20min away from a very big city with many more career opportunities), and we're having a hard time concincing him to move closer, he does not seem to want to, despite us showing him the opened job positions with better payment and better companies. How can I make him move closer to us?

    • profile image

      Mae 

      5 months ago

      My 25 years old son, drug addict refused to get help, refuse to work , move in my house with his girlfriend should I kick him out, and

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      This is more of an ownership issue. I doubt anyone else in your family feels the way you do about the land. It sounds like it's time to sit down with them and draw out boundaries and rules. If that doesn't work then possibly proceed to eviction.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      People blame others for their mistakes when they know they messed up and do not want to admit it. Past the age of 18 anything he did was his choices. I would reinforce to him that he has choices in life and he should look at his own history of decision making and try to make better decisions. You can tell him from me that "Either he is a child and needs someone to take care of him or he is a man and take care of his own business". There is no in between. You can be the worst parent on earth, he is still responsible for himself. Time to man up.

    • profile image

      Wayne Gill 

      5 months ago

      What do you do when you have a 33 year old son blames everything in his life on me. it my fault he's homeless. it's my fault that he gets thrown in jail. it my fault he don't see his kids it just goes on and on and on.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      5 months ago from Western United States

      The 18 year old you cannot do anything about, once they are adults they can choose to see you or not to see you. The 15 year old, you can fight for your parental rights and time. 95% of the courts in the US grant equal time to each parent unless there is an extenuating factor such as drugs or abuse. That means that neither your son or your ex can keep you from exercising your parental rights. This is where most men fall short they allow themselves to be pushed out of a child's life by the mother without a fight. Marriages end badly and the kids are the ones who end up damaged when it's over. You can see your child by court order, at which point it's up to you to rebuild a relationship with your child. That doesn't mean bad mouthing your ex. Do not rush in to set the record straight with this child. Build communication, be honest. If you made mistakes, own up to them and apologize. Trust me when I tell you that those kids love you, they are just angry because they feel abandoned. Know that they will test you and try to do things to push you away. You are their parent. Stand strong and be honest. Tell them up front they can ask you anything they want. Don't blame your ex, tell them that you should have fought harder to be with them but, you didn't know your rights. People are forgiving, and children especially want to have a relationship with their kids. Be calm with your ex, do not get angry. Simply, state that you want your time with the child. KIf you don't mess this up, one child will talk to the other and eventually you can repair both these relationships. Good Luck!

    • profile image

      jeff 

      5 months ago

      im a father of two boys one is 18 the other is 15, divorced 2006 haven’t had a relationship with boys, mother spoke negative about me throughout those years, now kids don’t respect me, return my calls etc... what do i do now?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      When it comes to divorce, children (kids or adults) feel like its about them. They go through a morning period. Your children are older and as you stated may have been a tad spoiled. Relationships are based on emotion, connections, and time. They are not about money. It sounds like your oldest used money as an excuse to stop speaking to you. All you can do is tell your kids that you love them, let them be mad, eventually something more important will bring you back together. I would go to the graduation, take a few pictures and don't tell the oldest you are there. Don't miss it, go even if you don't get invited. Be there for your kids emotionally. It will eventually work out.

    • profile image

      Viorica6004 

      6 months ago

      In 2013 my husband left suddenly after 27 years of marriage.

      He lived for one year with a woman (still partners today) in a rented apartment, then filed for divorce. The divorce was costly and two years long, but in the end, I am happy with the way it ended.

      When my then husband left, one of our children was half way through Medical school, for which we paid.

      I stopped contributing for the expense when the ex left.

      The other child was in 8th grade.

      The older child stopped talking to me because I stopped paying for the Med School.Today is completing residency in a different state.

      One year after my ex left, I met someone with whom I am still having a relationship today and he moved in with me recently.

      My younger child refused to meet him, cried when he came over to meet her AFTER the divorce was finalized, mid 2017.

      After he moved in with me , my younger child (now about to graduate high school) refused to come back to my house and see me- instead living with my ex.

      The younger child never met the other women since is totally against meeting the new partners.

      Is there anything I should do to get back the relationship with my kids? I know they are spoiled brats....

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      @Bee G

      Your son is married and doesn't live with you, but you are worried about his employment situation? If he is married, and doesn't live in your home it's not your business. Why would you be worried about this? It's between him and his wife. If his wife is ok with him writing then leave him alone. He's an adult, treat him like an adult. Also your husband is your help mate in this life, listen to him. By not listening to your husband you are being dismissive. Fine a new hobby to occupy your time and stop worrying about your son.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      Jose,

      It sounds like you have a lot going on. With five kids social services should be able to help you find child care. As for your son, I do not understand the situation, however social services may help with that as well.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      Debbie,

      I understand your need to help for the sake of the grand-kids, however early on in this situation you established with your daughter that you were there to bail her out. Every situation you wrote about you bailed her out. She has learned that she can lead a shady lifestyle and you will be there to fix it for her. Blaming yourself at this point won't fix it. She is an adult she could have chosen to straighten herself out at any point in time. You and I both know she is going to lose the kids again. When that happens take the kids and fight for custody. Other than that I would not help her. It sounds like drugs are involved and you cannot reason with people using drugs. While I'm not shocked the system gave her the kids back, it is upsetting that she has those boys. I hope this is over quickly. I wish you all the best.

    • profile image

      Debbie Micke 

      6 months ago

      Hi, I need some good advice. My daughter is going to be 29 next month. When she was 18 she moved in with a boy who sold pot for money, I stayed out of it, it was her life. I bought her everything, dishes, towels, furniture, cookware, vacuum, everything to get her started. She cheated on him, they split, she moved home, still stalking him, going to his house breaking in and breaking things, yet left all my stuff I bought there. He called me multiple times asking me to get her to leave him alone. This is the first time I said to myself, yes she has some mental health issues. Needless to say at 20 I kicked her out of my house, there were many drunken night, her verbally abusive and trying to be physically abusive with me, but I stopped it the night she pulled a knife on my husband because he told her to stop talking to her mother the way she was. So, where she went I do not know, I know she was living in a hotel with some people. Then I get a call, she is jail, arrested for prostitution. Went through the whole court thing with her, me and her step father paid the 800 some dollar fine and she was out. She moved into her step fathers house, started sleeping with the man next door, who by the way was in a relationship with someone else. Got pregnant by him. He is a loser. He went to jail, I supported her through pregnancy, was there when my grandson was born and love him to no end. My daughter did fine until her baby daddy got out of jail, then she lost her job, was drinking all the time, was calling me to buy food etc. I flat out told her as long as he is there, I can not help her because that is his job. So it went to lying, saying he wasnt there, but I knew he was because my daughter is a pig and her house was clean. When he was in jail I had to go clean her house so my grandson didnt have to live with the rotten bottles of formula and junk and food laying around. When my grandson was 3 months old my daughter lost custody, I was taking care of him in my house because they had left him home alone. She was to have no contact with this man, and my daughter ended up pregnant yet again. She had now had custody of her fist son back because like an idiot I lied about knowing if her bf was there or not. Again he was in jail and I was there for the birth of my second grandson. Again he got out, my daughter lost her place to live, I let her and grandsons live with me, but ended up telling her she had to leave, my grandsons could stay but she had to go. She was such a pig, I would come home from work and have to clean up the dishes and everything she left and pick up all the kids stuff every night, every night, I couldnt take it. Again she moved to her step dads with the two boys. All of them living in two bedrooms. She was there for five years, my ex had only his bedroom to sit in. The place was so trashed you would walk on food and garbage when you walked in. She didnt care, you can say stuff all you like. Her time was spent sitting on her phone, stalking her baby daddy and just being mean. Her time should have been spent with the kids. During this time she again went to jail for four months and I took care of the two boys. Their father moved back to Milwaukee he told me to get away from my daughter. I have tried to tell many people that I feel my daughter has some kind of mental illness no one would do anything about it. Her babys father got murdered in Milwaukee trying to purchase a gun, I was not saddened, I know it sounds bad, but this man lived, leeched off my daughter, never bout one single thing for his kids all their life, not one diaper, on tiny little anything. I thought maybe my daughter would now get help from social security to raise these boys. I was wrong, the man never worked a day in his life. He does have three other children also he never paid a dime for. So now here we are today, in Feb. my daughter moved out and finally got her own place, three days later there is a man from Kenosha living with her, my grandsons tell me all kinds of stuff. Anyway, her and this man showed up at her step fathers house, stole from him and then the man beat him so bad I am surprised he is still alive. Upon learning this I called the police to check on the welfare of my grandchildren. Of course this man was picked up and arrested. He is now in prison until 2026. It turns out he was just released from prison three months before this for doing the exact same thing. So my daughter must have been writing prisoners, probably planning this out who knows. Anyway its my fault he is in prison because I told police that another police department would have his name because I called in a welfare check. Doesn't matter, since she has been 18 everything in her life is my fault, I never do anything for her, no one helps her. Truth, I have had them children living with me multiple times because shes been in jail or unable to have them, I have bought those kids just about every piece of clothing they have, toys, I do things with them all the time, they spend just about every weekend with me. I can't do any more. I cut her off, she was asking me for money constantly, I went through my savings and everything buying mattresses and beds and furniture. Everything with her is a big secret, if you ask her a question she goes nuts. She cant hold a job, the boys tell me she is mean to them and does not spend time with them, she just wants to sit in the house all the time and they want to go out and play. They have told me many times they want to come and live with me, they are now 7 and 6. I tell them they can not come and live with me unless mommy says its okay. She told them her new boyfriend is in jail because they make to much noise in the apartment they live. I told them that is not true and do not ever believe that. She uses them against me, after he was arrested I was not allowed to see them for three months, when I finally did my youngest grandson told me his mommy told him I was in jail and that they did not have a grandma anymore. She is abusive mentally, verbally and I do believe at times physically. they have told me she hits them with belts and phone chargers. I have called social services three times, they have done nothing, not even visit. I was told by a person in the office that unless some kind of sexual abuse is going on in the home they are not quick to respond. So today, she tells me the SUV i bought her five years ago is going to die and shes buying a new car, I asked where she was getting a new car from and she got angry and started telling me off. Whatever, I do not care anymore at this point. My only care is my grandchildren. Kids tell me mommy tells them they cant talk to me about stuff, She hides everything, everything is a secret with her. This tells me she is doing all kinds of things she shouldnt be doing. She tells my grandkids to call that man in prison their father, she takes them to prisons to visit him, why they do not even know him. He was there for a whole three weeks before he was arrested. The whole defense was I was helping to railroad him because I hate my daughter so much that I do not want her to be happy. All I want is for her to be happy, live a normal life, get the help she needs. I have two other children who are doing fine. I have been going to therapy because of all this and my therapist has finally gotten me to believe that I cant be doing everything wrong or have done everything wrong because my other two children are productive and happy. I wish I could force her to get mental therapy, but I can't and no one seems to want to help me get her some. As the boys get older they are going to test her more and I worry about that. I worry about the people she brings around those kids. They have seen her beaten up by their father, by her supposed friends, they have sat in jail waiting for me with her. When they were 3 and 2 she got busted for drunk driving with them in the car, I had to go get them. She was so drunk she was starting fights with people at a gas station. Any man she picks is always one without a job, a home, a vehicle nothing. More no space

    • profile image

      Bee G 

      6 months ago

      My 27 yr old, married son, has been out of work for a year. He's only ever had a part time job and wants to be a writer. He is very good at writing but making money at that is very difficult. I'm afraid he just doesn't want to work, he's very comfortable with his wife supporting him and us supporting them too. This has really come between my husband and I an now our relationship is suffering because I'm enabling our sons behavior. I know I am but it's hard not to want to fix all of this for him.

      In the past he's had some real anxiety over working, has had to take meds, etc. but I believe now he's used that as a crutch to not work and to manipulate me.

      How to I let him go and make his own way?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      I know that you want to save your daughter. However, the only way to help her if she has become an addict is rehab. Anything else you do for her is going to end in her using you to get drugs. The house is probably gone, the daughter you knew before the drugs is gone. All you can do to help is help her get clean. There isn't anything else.

    • profile image

      Jenny 

      6 months ago

      Hi. My 27yr old daughter is just about at rock bottom and about to lose her house. She had a bf who turned her to drugs and the wrong crowd and she lost her job and then he went to jail and left here there. I offered to help her give the house back to the bank and move home and get back on her feet, but i refuse to give her money. I'm waiting for her to ask for help, she says she'll ask when she needs it, am i doing the right thing waiting for her to crash?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      If it's your home I'm not sure how your son could kick you out. At 26 he is old enough to move out. That should fix any other issues you are having. If necessary get a restraining order. He can pay his own bills.

    • profile image

      Mother of ungrateful kid 

      6 months ago

      What do I do when my adult son age 26 is mentally abusive and turns my younger kids against me he thinks everyone owes him something and now he says I using drug and lying and even kicked me out the house I went with my motherinlaw. I pay his cell phone car insurance and give him my room and and buy his kid food and do everything for him

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      Spend time with your child. It has been my experience that other mothers step in when you are lax in your relationship with that child. If your bond with this child is weak enough for another mom to move in, then you need to work on that relationship. There shoudln't be a reason for another mom to even have a relationship with your child. Having raised other people's kids I can tell you that kids came to me because they no longer trusted their parents. You may not think you have done anything to cause this, but in most cases this comes from a weak or nonexistent relationship.

    • profile image

      TripleIII 

      6 months ago

      What do you do when your adult child will not reach out to you but you know another adult mom is enabling him, and has even said she will make the decision as to whether or not my son is in crisis enough for me to be notified.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      I agree that at this particular point in time it would be a waste to give them the stocks. Hold onto them and wait this out. Your father's loyalty is misguided, he should be listening to his wife (who I am sure does not want your sister in the house). I hope your dad realizes what he is doing before he ends up getting a divorce. If I were his wife, I would make living there tough for the daughter so she moves out on her own.

    • profile image

      Dr. Charles 

      6 months ago

      I forgot to add a tid bit where your advice would be helpful. Both of my folks are retired now, and have everything paid off and have small pensions. I have done well for myself and wanted to gift them some stock I own that pays pretty good yearly dividends.

      However, part of me doesn't want to give it to my dad because he enables my sisters bad behavior by bailing her out all the time. My step-mom has told me she's contemplating leaving if things don't change, so I figure this would be a waste.

      Part of me just wants to hold onto this stock for my folks and give it to them at a later time because I don't want to be a part of the contributing factor for my bum of a sister.

      Thoughts?

    • profile image

      Dr. Charles 

      6 months ago

      Thanks for giving me some more perspective on my sister and my parents. The manipulative part of them feeling needed makes alot of sense. I spend a majority of my time overseas, and haven't had time to even visit in the last five years. She's the only daughter who always needs them as all us other kids are on our own, out of the state or out of the country.

      It sounds like a lot of co-dependancy in a way. However, I know that my own grandmother always bailed out my dad when he got into trouble, so the cycle continues. I've told my dad this, but he tends to ignore me.

      You're right about nothing changing; I don't forsee her leaving the house any time soon. I am happy she has a job, but she's more like a 16 year old teenager blowing money on a good time then trying to save up and get out of the house. Of course there is no pressure from the folks to get her out, no encouragement for savings, no budget planning, no nothing. So this crap cycle will continue.

      I do thank you on your input, as you had some additional points that were true eye openers on the situation. I guess I just ignore the drama, and take it as the norm that they will never truly escape till they act like real parents and put the foot down.

      I'm so happy I never got the same treatment.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      It's your home, your rules. If you allow your son back into the house, write up a contract. NO marijuana in your home, he has to have a job in the first month, and save his money for six months to move out. List any other rules you think need to be outlined. What chores is he going to do? How much will he pay in rent each month?

      If you write up this contract, that lets him know you are serious about the rules and the length of time in which he can stay. If he is still there after six months the rent goes to $500 a month.

      The pot smoking thing seems to take all initiative out of people. The less he does it the better.

      Hope this helps.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      If your parents are refusing to see their part in her continued irresponsible behavior, then nothing you say to them is going to change it. They shouldn't have helped her get her car back and they certainly shouldn't be helping her fight a DUI. Even if your sister loses her license she is still going to drive. Rules do not mean anything to her because, she has parents that have taught her that she doesn't have consequences. Honestly, they should sell her car and use the money to pay themselves back for the money she cost them. Then they should give her three months to get a job or they should throw her out. Obviously any job should be within walking distance. I'm going to tell you that none of this is going to happen. I'm always surprised at parents who think they are helping their child but, make them dependent for life. They are not treating your sister like an adult. They are treating her like a third grader who can't handle her own life. Guess how she is going to act? Ask yourself "what is in it for my parents?" what are they getting out of helping her? Have you figured it out? She needs them, they get to feel needed. Well there is a difference between your kids wanting you around and needing you. Somewhere inside one of them there is a fear that if your sister becomes self sufficient that she won't be around anymore. The only other trade off is being able to tell people what great parents they are for helping their messed up daughter. You know them, which is it? Either way nothing is going to change until they see how destructive their behavior is for your sister.

    • profile image

      ihavekids 

      6 months ago

      Love this article. I am having a hard time justifying and validating if I am making the right decision to not have my adult son come live with me. His dad and I got divorced almost 2 years ago and he chose to go live with his dad. At this time neither of them are employed and on the verge of eviction. I am having a hard time justifying and validating if I am making the right decision to not have my adult son live with me. His dad and I got divorced almost 2 years ago and he chose to go live with his dad. At this time neither of them are employed and will be in the eviction process within 30 days. My son is a very respectful person however does not like to be told what to do but doesn’t do anything unless pushed. He also smokes pot. I live in my home with my 11-year-old daughter his sister. I don’t want him to live with me but like I said I’m torn if feeling that way is OK. I feel like it should be ok for me to just be there for advise and direction.

    • profile image

      Dr. Charles 

      6 months ago

      Loved the article as it has alot of valid points. My sister, unfortunately is an adult child, and I really feel bad for my step-om. My dad has enabled my sister in a lot of different ways. I get why he helped her at first as she was comming out of a nasty abusive marriage and lost a baby, so there are elements of depression and alcohol abuse mixed in.

      However, this was always the case growing up. I was the first born, so I was treated differently; I'm happy my folks made me do everything and pay for everything myself, as I wouldn't be were I am otherwise. My sister, however, had everything handed to her, from cars to places to live.

      She's been living with my folks again for about a year, and my step-mom is at her breaking point as she doesn't like how my father just forks over money to her becken call, always bailing her out of trouble. He just bailed her out of a DUI and getting her car out of impound. The best part here is she's prob going to lose her license, so I'm happy she won't kill herself or others on the road. My folks are trying to get her into an apartment, but is acting like a princess and nothing is good enough at the price point she wants.

      I won't help her, because tough love is what I learned and unless its a real emergency then not to get ahold of my folks. My dad is always believing what my sister dishes out, but I know its been trying on their marriage.

      Any other advice I can pass along to get them?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      If an adult child is willing to go to college and take it seriously, I would not expect them to work. It is not easy to get a degree, it takes long hours of study and writing. There are people who do both. Having done that myself, I can tell you it is rough. So I would say you are on the right track. Your daughter is likely to get discouraged at times over the social issues she will face in college. It's important that you remind her of what she has already overcome. Also I would consider having a brain scan, she may have over activity in her prefrontal lobe causing the anxiety. There are treatments for this that may help her.

    • profile image

      TM 

      6 months ago

      My 19 year old daughter has earned a full ride to college, even getting money back. She has social anxiety, extremely bright, and a tad bit delayed in some things. Like she was afraid to drive until senior year in high school, would freeze up when ordering food at a restaurant, etc... She has come a long way. The university university is 30 miles from our home and she commutes(drives) She can do her own shopping and has learned to handle a lot of situations. I'm willing to give her time based on her making her own progress, but I am making school her JOB. As long as she does her job (over 20k a year in scholarships) she can live here, I gave her my old but reliable car and just added her to our insurance. Her scholarship requirements are pretty tough and she carries a full load. I don't want her to get bogged down with work or debt and lose this opportunity. I don't have to pay a dime for her education so the insurance is a drop in the bucket compared. BUT we have an agreement, if she doesn't take school seriously, she has to work for me, either at our business or doing ANYTHING a busy working mom of 2 needs done. If she can't do that, she's on her own. I will loan her 3 months expenses so she can get an apartment and begin looking for a job. This seems reasonable? I am always trying to balance giving too much or too little and expecting what is reasonable depending on circumstances.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      Yes, sit him down and tell him he is responsible for himself. You are not his maid, he can do his own laundry, make his own food, and set an alarm. He is too old to be coddled. You need to stop enabling him. and he needs to start paying you back even if its a small amount each month. You raised him to be a man, not a giant child who throws a tantrum when you don't wait on him. Time to grow up.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      In most states the dealership has to put his name on the title if he is on the loan. That whole situation doesn't make sense, what I can tell you is that either way, if he stops paying the car is going to get repossessed. Let him figure it out.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      This is a difficult situation because, you see the opportunist in these people and your son is emotionally attached to this girl. You cannot fix this for him. He is never going to see this situation through your eyes. A couple of things, first get him off your cell phone plan. He is an adult, if he can't pay the bill he needs to get his own cell. Second and this is the most important thing, stay out of his business. I mean it. If he doesn't want to pay his bills, then that is on him. Do not talk badly about this girl or her family to him. It will only make him hate you. Let it go. If he burns his bridge with his brothers, he will learn how to mend a fence later. With all that said, I am going to tell you what is going to happen, at some point either he will not be able to provide what this girl wants or he will realize he is being used. It takes a while, be patient. In the mean time if he brings up his money situation tell him "well it seem like you have this all under control, you are an adult" and let it go. He is screwing up and he is the one who will have to fix it later. Do not talk badly about this girl or he will rebel and marry her. Reinforce these words to him "I just want you to be happy" Why? because he is not happy and the more you say it the more he will realize he is not happy. As for the lawyer idea, his brothers could come after him for the money he owes, other than that a judge is not going to do anything to her parents for being opportunists.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      Why should he work when you are giving him money? If someone were giving me free money I wouldn't work. He is learning from you that he doesn't have to become anything or take care of himself. One day you won't be there and then what? If he wants money from you, make him work for it, and don't make it easy. Make him wash windows, clean up your yard, make him clean up your neighbors yard. Have him paint your house clean out your rain gutters. Anything that you do not want to do, if he won't do at least that, cut him off. If does start helping you to earn money, the end goal is to lead him to a job.

    • profile image

      Martha 

      6 months ago

      Hi there, I have a 18 year old who is currently working full time. He lives with my husband and my 15 yearl old and me. I do everything for him laundry,cooking, I wake up early and make and pack his food so he can take it to work. The thing is that he has not help at all at home. He has to pay his student loan and money he borrowed from us but I have to basically be behind him telling him how to do it. When stuff is not available and he can’t find something he starts swearing and demanding why there is no food done etc. I just do not know what to do.He has no responsibilities and expect everything done for him. At the most ment he is not helping at all with money as he owes us like 8000 and is paying in stallments. Any advice

      Thank you

    • profile image

      winterwestfield 

      6 months ago

      Also, we spoke with our son yesterday about telling the girlfriends dad that he needs to put the car in HIS name only and have my sons name taken off. The loan officer agreed he would do that IF the girlfriends dad agreed. Apparently the girlfriends dad told my son that he would be building credit up. We explained to our son that he did not need to build his credit up by committing to purchase a 1016 car for his girlfriends parents and paying 6 years on the loan. The title is in the dad's name, but my son is making the payments. My son had no credit( but had the finances) and the dad doesn't have the money, but had the credit...and the dad needed the car. My son said he will not ask the dad to put the car in his name. We told him that he owes way too much debt to buy this car. We explained that if he decides to start a family, he is stuck with this and you wont even own this car. We also tried to tell him, "what if things don't work out with this girl? We told him he is again stuck with this bill for the car. There is so much wrong with all this. He just reassures us, at 21 now, that his relationships solid and nothing is going to go wrong. HELP

    • profile image

      winterwestfield 

      6 months ago

      My sons all moved in together at the same time in July. In August, my youngest, 20 at the time, started dating a girl right before Christmas. He had been "getting to know" her several months before then, but she would never call their get together's dating even though he was taking her out to lunches, dinners, taking her parents out for lunches with her, many days spent hanging out at her parent's house, he took vacation time off to spend with the girl's dad( 58 years old) while the mom and my son's NOT "girlfriend at the time took a long weekend trip out of state. My son's "Not" girlfriend at the time said he had separation anxiety and they could not leave him alone for that long. Needless to say, our whole family saw many red flags from the beginning. Although he reassured us that all was fine and the communication seemed fine at first with all of us about the relationship, the more we saw him not paying his bills and using the money for her and her parents, we warned him of the way they were using him and taking advantage of him. He started to completely shut down and not talk with us about things going on in his life and ignoring me (mom)the most because i would try to help him understand that I know they all like him, but they are not treating him right. He needs to stop buying this girl and her parents lots of stuff and pay his bills. He needs to be responsible. When the end of November rolled around, she decided to be his girlfriend. Shortly into December, my son decided he wanted to move in with her and her parents to "help them out". I know he has a big heart and he cares a great deal for these people and not that foolish to think that he just wants to help them out. He obviously thought it would be great to live with his now girlfriend especially with HER parents approval and all in the same house. Her parents are on Government Health Insurance and refuse to work more hours so they can stay on the State Government Health Insurance. My son pays THEM rent and hasn't paid his brothers since November for rent, has not paid for his horse board for 4 months, has not paid the cell phone bill to us(mom and dad for 4 months(my husband refuses to turn his cell phone off). So with all that being said, the families van broke and even though my son has a truck and a camaro( both old and need work), he went a purchased a 20,000 car for them!!!!! I am at a loss at what to do. I know these people manipulated him to do it. I know he is 21 and is reponsible for his own choices but these people are really abusing his kindness. He makes 14.00 an hour. He owes over 10,000 in debt. The dad told my son he would cosign for the car, but my son didn't need a car! THEY did. I feel like I should get a lawyer involved. PLEASE HELP

    • profile image

      Mecico17 

      6 months ago

      My 28 year old son is homeless because he won't work. I have been giving him money for years and don't know how to stop. He has used heroin in the past.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      @Rich S

      What is happening here? well your son has realized that you are going to bail him out every time he overspends. He know you are right there so instead of becoming more responsible he is getting worse. So tell him the bank of mom and dad is closed. Then let him know what he currently owes you for the past rest and bank fixes. It's important to stress to him that you still love him but, he is a man and needs to handle his own business. Be prepared for him to call you on this and tank that account. He needs to learn to handle his money, right now all he knows how to do is handle your money.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      6 months ago from Western United States

      First of all it will not hurt your daughters to live poor with you. Poverty teaches us empathy. If you can feed them, then they should be with you. They are not your other daughters responsibility. Three people in a one bedroom apartment is tight but, it is not going to kill them to live through adversity. Unless there is another reason for them living with your daughter, they need to come home. Of course they don't want to live with you. They don't want parents, no teen does. They want to feel like they are in charge and can do what they want, which is too much responsibility for most teens. There is no shame in poverty there is shame in being dirty. You can have a small place and keep it clean and respectable. Life is not going to give your daughters an out when it comes to poverty, they better learn to survive now. You are in charge, you are their mom.

    • profile image

      RichS 

      6 months ago

      My 23 year old who has a decent job but his spending habits are out of control. He incurs bank charges of hundreds of dollars for insufficient funds. We are bailing him out every 2 weeks..what to do?

      We are subsidizing his apartment too.

      Is there a financial consultant we can talk to manage his spending.

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