In Part 1 of “Adult Child Living at Home?” Debbie Pincus talked about the things you can—and can’t—control when your older kids move home—or when they’ve never left. In Part 2 of this hands-on series, Debbie advises parents on what to do before your child moves home, and how to handle it when the living situation isn’t working out.

What’s the golden rule of living with an adult child in the home? Clarify your expectations. This requires honest communication. Represent yourself honestly and openly as a parent. Do you expect your child to do housework, contribute to groceries and bills, and pay rent while he stays with you? How long are you willing to let him live in your home? Will he have access to your car? And what do you need to see him do in terms of job hunting, if he’s unemployed? Really think through what you want and what you’re willing to put up with, and then talk it through. If your child is to have the gift of living back home, so to speak, he also has a responsibility in the areas of courtesy, housework and possibly finances. Those are things that need to be discussed openly and honestly with your child.

Related content: Rules, Boundaries, and Older Children: How to Cope with an Adult Child Living at Home

In turn, it’s important to listen to your child openly and respectfully. You have the final word as the parent but you should try to be open to your adult kid’s input. Again, your role as the parent of older kids is to be a consultant, not a manager of their lives. Listen to your child’s expectations as well. Most likely, he will feel a bit guilty or inadequate in some way. He may also feel like he’s still being treated like a child. There are all sorts of things that come up for your kids that make living with their parents uncomfortable for them.

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Here are 9 rules that can guide you through this time with your adult child:

1. Before your child moves back in:

If your child is about to move back in with you, I think you need to sit down and hammer out some guidelines. Having a plan ahead of time is always good because everyone will know what to expect. Part of the conversation you’ll have with your child is, “Let’s talk about what each of us needs. What’s going to make this work the best?” Make sure everything is clear, because the living situation is all new now.

Remember, your adult kids are not coming back in as children. In a sense, they are coming home as guests. And don’t go in with the assumption that it won’t work; you’re ideally working towards collaboration. You want to be very respectful of your adult child as a participant in making decisions, but ultimately, you are the head of the house. In The Total Transformation, James Lehman talks about the four questions you should ask your child when you are anticipating some kind of change. The questions to ask (with some examples of answers you might give) are:

How will we know this is working?

“We’ll know because everyone will be doing their fair share. We’ll be respectful of each other.”

How will we know it isn’t working?

We’ll know if someone isn’t pulling their weight or starts overstepping boundaries.”

What will we do if it’s not working?

“You will make plans to leave within a month.”

What will we do if it is working?

“We’ll continue with our original plan of six months.”

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You might also ask, “What’s the goal?” Is the goal just to make a certain amount of money so your child has a cushion before he goes out on his own? Or is the goal to help him learn how to live on his own? These are all important things to establish before your child moves in. If he’s already living with you, you can still use these questions and “start fresh.” Sit down with your child and say, “Things haven’t been working out quite the way we planned. Let’s start over.”

Don’t forget to keep revisiting those conversations. From time to time, sit down and talk it through. Be sure to listen to what your child has to say and also tell him how you think things are going. You might have all the best intentions when your older child first moves in and then realize that it’s not working out the way you thought it would. Some kids don’t feel like they’re guests in their parents’ home, and that’s often where the problems start. They may have a sense of entitlement about what you should do for them and what they deserve. I think having those little conversations can be helpful. Just be clear and tell your child what your expectations are.

2. Set limits:

Be sure to set time limits and parameters on your adult child’s stay. These can be readdressed or changed around; there can be some flexibility, but be clear about the plan. And that plan might be, “You’ll stay until you get a job,” or “You’re going to stay until you get your first paycheck.” If your child is going to stay until he makes a certain amount of money, be clear and in agreement about that.

Basically what you’re helping to do is create motivation. If there’s no guide and no set time limit, there’s no motivation. You might say, “What we expect is that after six months, you’re going to have your own place.” You’re not telling them what to do; you’re making clear what you’re going to live with.

3. Have a plan of action:

Understand that helping your child get on his feet financially doesn’t mean providing everything that he needs and wants. Rather, it’s having a plan that in three months, six months, or a year, you’ll help him get an apartment, for example. You might even start out by paying a portion of his rent, but let him know that after a certain amount of time you’re going to reduce the amount you put in. That way, his responsibility grows while yours diminishes. He is working towards a goal with your help, but not relying on you completely. This is a gradual way of helping someone get on their feet. You might also tell your child that he needs to pay rent at your home. James Lehman suggests that you could consider keeping this money in a special account and then use it to help your child pay his deposit on an apartment.

Questions around finances can get complicated. Your child needs money, but how much are you willing to give? Are you giving it as a loan and expecting them to pay it back? How long do they have to do that? I don’t think there’s one right answer; I just think it has to be right for you. Consider what your finances are and what’s going to stress you too much. I think people have to figure what’s really okay with them and what’s not.

Overall, the message has to be,“To live in this house, you need to show us that you are working towards independence. We need to see that—and you need to help yourself make that happen.”

4. Consider your own needs:

Always come from a clear sense of yourself. How will you consider your needs as the adult parent who didn’t expect to have somebody back home? How can you make it work, and what are you willing to put up with? State your needs clearly and firmly to your child. As a parent, really think about what you can and can’t live with. What are your bottom lines? What are your values? What do you expect your child to adhere to if they’re living under your roof? Do you need them to pick up after themselves? Are you willing to let them have friends over and drink in your home, or not? Make sure your child knows those things and respects your rules. If he doesn’t, there’s too much room for resentments to build. You can say, “We’re going to keep open and honest communication where we both listen to each other and hear each other. There are certain responsibilities that come with the opportunity of getting to live here. I expect the house to be kept in a certain order and that if you’re coming home late you have the courtesy to call because otherwise I’ll stay up all night worrying.”

5. Don’t get pulled into guilt:

If you’ve always done everything for your child and now you’re asking him to be responsible and contribute to the household, understand that you are changing a system. You will likely get resistance and what’s called “pushback.” Your child might get very angry and say things like, “I can’t believe my own parents are doing this to me!” Don’t get pulled back in and start to feel guilty. As long as you’ve thought it through and considered your own needs and principles, you’ll be able to hold onto yourself through that anger as you insist that your child gets on his own feet.

Anytime you start to feel resentment, you have a responsibility to ask yourself, “How am I not addressing this issue and how am I stepping over my own boundaries here?” In honoring your relationships, you want to make sure that you take responsibility for what you need and what you are asking for. Otherwise you’re going to be saying “yes” to something you really want to be saying “no” to—and that’s not good for any relationship.

6. Try not to react to your child’s anger:

Try to be kind but firm and work toward being thoughtful. So rather than responding when your child says something you disagree with or that pushes your buttons, say, “You know what, let me think about what you’re saying and let’s talk later.” Don’t get pulled into that struggle. You can also say something like, “I hear you’re not happy with this and you feel like you can’t find work. I hear you saying that you don’t want to leave. Mom and Dad need some time to think about this. We’re going to discuss this and sit down and talk about this with you later.” This is one way of not getting into a battle with your child—because often times, that’s what it becomes.

I know some parents who are afraid to talk frankly with their adult kids because they don’t want to upset them or make them angry. But remember, if you’re afraid of someone’s anger, you’re never going to be willing to do what it takes. If you’re too careful because you don’t want anybody to be upset, then you won’t come across strongly enough. On the other hand, when you stop being afraid of your child’s anger, you’ll be able to stand up for yourself and let them know you mean business.

7. When you’re feeling controlled by your child:

When an older child is living at home, the situation is usually emotionally charged for everyone. Again, if you’re letting somebody control you, you’d better look at how you’re letting that happen. Ask yourself, “Am I not making clear enough boundaries? Am I not making my expectations known? Am I not making clear how long my child is allowed to stay here or how much money I’m going to give him?” If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you need to address those issues with your child right away.

8. When the relationship becomes abusive:

I’ve worked with parents who have been verbally or even physically abused by their adult kids. When that happens, the question you need to ask yourself is, “What am I willing to live with?” Remember, as James Lehman says, “There is no excuse for abuse”—and this includes abuse from an adult child living in your home. If you feel like you’re in a dangerous situation and the abuse is scaring you in some way, seriously ask yourself, “Is it time for my child to leave altogether?” Another thing to ask is this: “If somebody’s being abusive to me, in what way am I allowing them to do that? Where am I being too passive?” You may need to say to your child, “If I’m feeling endangered here, I will need to call the police. I don’t want to do it, but I may have to.”

Again, keep your own needs—including those for respect and safety—in mind. If the verbal abuse is continuous, the discussion with your child might be, “You need to make other arrangements because it’s no longer working here. What I expect in my own home is peace and calm. If you can respect that, you’re welcome to stay. Otherwise, this is no longer going to work.”

A word of caution: don’t contribute to the problem by reacting to your child’s reactivity—this will only make things escalate. If every time you respond to your child’s anger by getting angry yourself, tuning them out, having shouting matches or getting physically abusive yourself, then you are contributing to the problem. It’s not only about what your child is doing to you—it’s also about how you’re reacting that may be adding to what’s going on. But if things have devolved into a dangerous or intolerable situation, you might decide to say, “No more. You’re out the door and you’ve got to figure it out.”

9. When it’s time for your adult child to leave the nest:

I think there are many reasons why you might decide it’s time for your child to leave. You might feel that it’s just not working or that you can’t take it anymore. Maybe your health or finances are too stressed by the situation, or perhaps you just want to be with your spouse and have that time in your life. I think it’s up to you; there’s no right answer. But the bottom line is this: When you feel that you’ve done your part responsibly, or that your child is not living up to his part of the bargain and is taking advantage of you, it may be time for him to move out.

Related content: Ask Parent Coaching: When Is It Time for Your Child to Leave Home?

Sit down and talk with your son or daughter if you feel things are not working out. You can say, “If you are going to stay here, I expect certain respectful behavior; otherwise you’re not welcome here. There are certain respectful ways that you live in a house with others and if that’s not possible for you, then maybe it’s time for you to leave.”

Before you ask them to leave, I think it’s very important to think about how you as the parent might be contributing to the escalation of frustration or arguments. If your child says something that makes you angry, how do you handle that anger? Do you handle it in a way that makes things worse, or better? Remember, you’re the parent. No matter how immature your child is being, you need to stay grounded; don’t go to that place. Instead, stay connected to the principles that you want to live by as a parent. And that may be to simply come back later in a mature way and say, “Look, you’re having some problems here and this is what your dad and I think.”

A final word: If your adult child is living with you or planning to move home, it might not necessarily be a bad thing. For some families, it can be a time where the relationship grows and deepens between parent and child, because you’re getting some extra time with your kids. You might be able to work out some of the difficulties that have plagued your relationships for years. So it’s not always a bad thing for adult kids to live at home. I believe the key is for everybody to understand expectations and try to work together in a cooperative, collaborative way. Be cognizant of what’s realistic on both ends. Remember, you’re not there to indulge your adult children and over-function for them. Rather, you’re helping them move towards independence and maturity. And even if there are difficulties, there is still an opportunity for the relationship to grow.

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For more than 25 years, Debbie has offered compassionate and effective therapy and coaching, helping individuals, couples and parents to heal themselves and their relationships. Debbie is the creator of the Calm Parent AM & PM™ program and is also the author of numerous books for young people on interpersonal relations.

Comments (104)
  • Silent Stepmom
    My 22 year old stepson has been living with us since he was 17. The set expectations were when he graduated he would get a job, his first job I might add, and discuss his future goals. Job 1 lasted maybe 1 week then let go because of lack ofMore motivation, job 2 lasted 2 months and let go bc he was too slow. Mind this young man is very fit and strong. So now he has his current job and it’s been 2 years. Yay! So it’s part time at minimum wage. Not advancing at all. His father and I have talked to him multiple times about future goals( college, full time work, better pay) conversation seems to go well or we thinks so but then nothing happens and we revisit the conversation 1 month later. Same results. This has been going on for year. It’s like he doesn’t take us seriously. He sleeps all day to work a 5 hours shift. Gets up at 1 pm for work at 3. Lives in his room when he is not working, doesn’t go out, well on occasion. His father checked in with him the other day about a possible job for advancement. He came up with excuses and said he would apply…..I have my doubts. If he ever applies to better jobs we would never know except for him being in the same job. Dead end job. I’m so tired now him sleeping all day while his father and I work 9 hour days 5 days a week while he is in bed. Comes out to eat. No longer makes his food bc he has to clean up after himself so he buys fast food. This is nuts in my opinion. I don’t know what to do. I want to given him 6;months to either make a decision to go to college or get a full time job then move out.
  • Stuck in the middle
    I'm a mom of 6. I have one special needs daughter at home age 25 and all the others are out on their own. My 23 year old daughter wants to come back home to "catch her breath" she's been out on her own for 4 years and has doneMore well. She says it's hard (I get it) and everyone of her siblings has someone else to help split the bills but she doesn't. (I get that too) She says she feels like she's in "survival mode". I can't tell her that she can't come back home, or any of my kids for that matter. In fact my oldest daughter came home for what was supposed to be 6 months and it ended up being 2 years. This time, I've told my youngest daughter there will have to be a plan and goal set in place. It's so difficult though because my husband, her step dad, is not liking this at all. Yes he loves her very much but it's "our time". (and I get that too)
  • Nikshim
    I had to force my 18 year old out of the house-get mental help and go to a program or you can't live here. His estranged father undermined intervention efforts to get him help and picked him up from the hospital. Situation is not working out there and heMore has been working with me and a therapist to come home and seek help, get a job etc before he goes to college next year. He has agreed to sign a contract but can you create a lease type of agreement so if he doesn't comply I could evict him or help him get a place of his own. I saw the template contact on this site and will use that as well. No substance abuse but struggles with executive functioning, excessive gaming and depression and anxiety
  • Erin

    You said, You can say, “If you are going to stay here, I expect certain respectful behavior; otherwise you’re not welcome here. There are certain respectful ways that you live in a house with others and if that’s not possible for you, then maybe it’s time for you to leave.”

    When I have tried to say that, the response of my 20 year old son is to say that he feels unheard and invalidated because I am not listening to his content but picking on his delivery, and that I'm not respecting that he is unable to express himself in any other way (but ways that I find disrespectful). If I say that his aggressive, hostile tone is hurtful, he says that he is sick of me making everything about me.

  • Nicole
    Hello there, so i have a 20 yr. Old son and his 18 yr old girlfriend that live at home with me and they just had a baby, which is 6 month old now. I have been trying to help them with what i can on top of taking careMore of my other 4 children. My son is currently working, but not his g/f. They don’t help out around the house or even offer to help with any bills. Me and my fiancé have sat down talked to them about what needs to go in at home and what they need to take care of as growing adults, but nothing seems like it is progressing. It’s starting to cause conflict between me and my significant other. I don’t know what to do anymore.. any suggestions???
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. It would be in everyone's best interest for you to develop a living agreement with your son and his girlfriend that clearly outlines what the expectations are for them if they continue living in your home. We have a great articles that includes a template for a living agreement. You can find that here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/. Another article you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/failure-to-launch-part-2-how-adult-children-work-the-parent-system/.

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents family and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.

  • Lovemylife
    I love giving our adult children the opportunity to come back home to pay off debt and create a more stable financial situation for their families. However, we did not make our expectations clear enough when our son and his family moved in. He has a wife and two children.More He works very hard and his wife stays home. I love that she is able to do this; however, she doesn’t do much all day. The kids nap for several hours each day, and they also go to bed early. She doesn’t pick up after the kids. I do it. She doesn’t help with household chores at all. I do it all. She spends most of her time sitting on the couch looking at her phone. I love her, but I need advice on how to encourage her to pitch in. I feel like I get pushback for even suggesting small things such as cleaning off the table. I clean off the table where one of my grandkids sits daily. The high chair doesn’t get cleaned well or the floor around it unless I do it. If the dishwasher is clean and needing emptied, she will simply put the dirty ones in the sink. Why is it my job to always empty it? The kids rarely play outside, and stay in pajamas a lot of the time. They get up for 4 hours and play with toys and watch tv. They eat lunch and go down for nap for another 3 hours. How do I encourage better engagement and active play with the kids. She leaves most jobs like washing the kids clothes and cleaning their space for our son when he is off work. I want to talk to her about contributing to the house, and engaging the kiddos, but how do I do this without being met with resistance? I actually do love having them with us, but I want her living experience to resemble reality. I want her to be a good mom and wife who can tackle the daily running of a household. Help!!
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out with what sounds like a distressing situation. First, it would be beneficial to start setting some expectations for your son and his wife in regard to what they're responsible for while living in your home. We have a great article that includes a living agreement you may find useful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/. You may also find these articles about how to handle parent/grandparent disagreements helpful as well: https://www.empoweringparents.com/search/grandparents.

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community and wish you all the best moving forward.s Take care.

  • CT
    Great article, sound advise, thanks so much.
  • Katy
    Alot of parents in the comments seem to want to control their adult chidlren, and i see that being the main issue. Treat them as roommates, let them pay rent until they find a stable job or income, and have their lives. THey smoke pot? So does everyone theirMore age, and its not your business as long as its not in the house. Come home late? They are 20, not in highschool. Advise them, but do not control them as if they are kids.
  • Tina

    Our son is almost 40, back at home with me and his step father. He have 8 children with 7 women ages ranging from 16 to 6 months old. The expectations of me as a Grandmother is overwhelming especially regarding summer & spring breaks, their mothers vacations, mini breaks, when my son is working and when he wants to go out on the town.

    We adopted a child with special needs 18 years ago. A child believed to be my son’s but paternity testing revealed a few months after birth he was not. We adopted him because his mother and grandmother didn’t want him and the mother didn’t know who the father was. We were already taking care of him and didn’t want him to go to Foster Care so we adopted him.

    It is overwhelming dealing with the expectations of my son, my parents and siblings (who do not have any children) regarding my grandchildren visiting. Most often it’s the 3 toddlers visiting mostly. The teenagers don’t visit anymore. They have teenage things to do now🙃 the toddlers, and our 7 year old are mostly here.

    When the eldest were born, we were very involved, vacations, buying clothing for school, birthdays, Christmas, summer visits. Then they kept coming, grand children. The more that we’re born, the less I was able and wanted to do. Did I mention we’re 65 years old now?

    During the last visit, my son would yell and shout at our adopted son who is mentally delayed and have physical disabilities. My husband at that time told him to make other arrangements when the grands come to visit for now on. I told him it’s time for him to find a place of his own.

    Now, I’m back to hearing repeatedly from my parents and siblings especially after shutting down how they are MY grandchildren I have No love for them. I only care for my adopted child. Why am I taking care of someone else’s responsibility? What are our plans with him when we’re elderly? Who’s going to care for him.

    Did I mention we’re 65 years old?

  • Cowgirlsassy
    My daughter and her three children moved in with us about five years ago due to her being in an unsafe environment so we took them in we moved out of our apartment, got a house together buy her a car, all the stuff for the kids going all theMore furniture etc. and I’ve been paying the rent since my husband died recently and I’m trying to change this because it’s not right to take advantage of people on a fixed income or and loving and giving . However, I realize I am in enabling this, so it’s very hard to change what has become a habit, but I’m determined to make it happen.Z
  • Celeste65

    I need help communicating with my adult daughter. (20)

    I'm engaged to a wonderful man. We've been together over 5 years. We currently live in separate houses. I was waiting for my daughter to graduate from high school before moving in with him.

    Our relationship as a couple has been strained because he is tired of us not being together. I am tired as well. I need to make the move in with him or else we need to break up. How do I bring up the subject of me needing to move out whether or not she moves with me?

    If I move out and leave her behind I will still have to pay for the house and all of the expenses because she is a student. I desperately need help and I have no one to help me please advise me.

  • Jenny
    My 21 year old daughter and her 2 children are living with me and have been. My daughter has no respect for me and my home. I need help
  • Elizabeth
    My 30 year-old daughter is getting ready to move home after a disastrous, protracted attempt at college in a field she hated. After dropping out senior year, she floated from one minimum wage job to another. Now, she wants to get serious and finish school. But she had always hadMore difficulty with the executive functioning element of her brain. I want to help her but I dread falling back into trying to drag her out of bed so she doesn't miss class, etc etc. I want her to have a concrete game plan before she moves. I was so much for her to succeed, but I also don't want to be miserable. I suggested she make a spread sheet of tasks/timeline of what she needs to do to prepare. Please advise.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Hi, Elatasa. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. We have several articles on adult children living at home you may find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/ages-and-stages/adult-children/. It would be prudent to also develop a living agreement prior to her moving back home. You can find a template for on in this article: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Take care.

  • Sara
    My 20 year old son and his girlfriend are back home from college and living with my husband, daughter and I for the summer. We’re not charging rent but asking for them to help us with household projects and chores, contribute to tuition and also paying back money our sonMore owes us. They both got jobs at the same place and I had high hopes but our son is a disaster. In one week he dumped fishing hooks all over the floor and they were almost stepped on, he flooded our laundry room, and he backed into our snowblower in the garage while backing up his boat. Everywhere he goes he leaves a mess. He yells at us, and yells at the dogs for making messes, complains about having to participate in things like his sisters birthday. No sincere apologies or remorse given. Meanwhile his girlfriend is just a delight- helping around the house, doing more than her fair share and offering to clean up his messes. He wants to stay here and pay rent and do online schooling in the fall. We’re at our wits end. Any advice? Our ultimatum at this point is that he does a 180 and starts contributing and caring or they both need to be out by the end of summer.
  • Kerry
    I am still taken in all I read! It’s so overwhelming to read ur whole entire experience &existence in an article u were not even looking for. Especially cuz o don’t believe in coincidences and I am at the end of my rope literally. I have two girls home andMore I have definitely alllwed them to gain control of this home and myself and yet I can’t let them go. I just love how u said fix ur reactions and maybe theirs will? I am just afraid of them when I first start to change:(! I am so excited to have found this and will continue to follow and read and learn what I can and thank God for this and u❤️
  • Helping or hurting?

    My daughter is 24, & graduated with Latin honors from a major university's honors college in 2019. She worked for about 1.5 years in the city where she attended college, but was not accepted at any post-grad programs in the field she wanted. She had no friends or relatives in the city where she was living on her own, and had to do something, so she moved in with my wife (not her mother) and me. We also have a 9 y.o. daughter, and they adore each other.

    24 y.o. is re-taking a class and working part-time. I'm introducing her to folks who can help her get experience in the career field she's interested in, and she plans to get a F/T job once the class is over, possibly before.

    I set some expectations before she moved in--help out with her sister when needed, clean up after herself, help with family meal prep/cleanup--but did not ask for rent money. She's been good about that so far. She has her own car and pays for gas and insurance and any groceries I wouldn't ordinarily buy.

    The issue is my wife. She's always gotten along with my daughter, and my daughter is a lot like me--very laid back, easygoing, not too confrontational--so there's no tension like that. Yet my wife is stressed beyond belief. She thinks my daughter is lazy and unmotivated (she sits upstairs in our house and does schoolwork and her P/T work while we both work from home). We did not set other boundaries, such as an amount of time she'd stay with us, although it's early enough in the game that we can. I can't get a handle on why my wife is stressed, and all she can say is that having another adult in the house is stressful. I see a kid who needs help taking the next step in her career/life. My wife sees a couch potato leech.


  • Carly
    My 18-year-old ASD son refuses the help that comes with having ASD. He's asked us to treat him like a typical adult. He failed the first semester of an automotive program in Junior College. He practices avoidance. He does delivery pizza, pays for his own car, car insurance, cell phoneMore and pays $62 per week in rent. He vapes nicotine and pot in his room, agrees to do things and never follows through, refuses to help around the house, and lies about everything. We've kicked him out twice, have drawn several contracts, he admits that he just tells us what we want to hear so it keeps us from bothering him. Every once in a while he is really great to be around. Because he gets his sleep schedule correct, meds taken on a regular basis, and is eating regularly and well. Instead, he stays up until four in the morning takes his meds, and sleeps through life. He has the IQ of a genius but is easily overwhelmed and refused to ask or take any help. When he is home my husband is very grumpy. When he is out of the house my husband's demeanor is nice. I am about to have major surgery and can't handle both of them or the stress of waiting for natural consequences to occur. Help?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      We have had many parents of children with Spectrum Disorders use the tools and techniques found in our articles and programs with much success. We do recommend working closely with your child's treatment team when determining which tool to use. We are not experts on Spectrum Disorders and we don't know your child. So, we would not be able to make any specific recommendations.

      We appreciate you being part of the Empowering Parents community and wish you all the best moving forward.

  • Daniel
    My son is 19 is that a good age for him to have company a girlfriend in my house
  • SChurchwell
    Hello thank you for this article. So currently my 29 yr old is livng at home after bein ghomeless for over a year almost 2. He did not reach out to me in that time at all then this Feb. he sent me a text asking if iMore could come get him. Of course I went. Gothim a shower, clean set of clothes & shoes. he is currently not working (hmm Covid?) has no car or job possiblities. being a nurse I have asked him if he would like to watch his youner sisters (9&7) while i am at work to earn and svae money for a car. I did let him know that I escpect him to have money enough for a car by June 1. I m pretty sure that is not goin to happen. He is also drinking at my house and smoking, he smokes outside, but drinks in outside and out. he is an alcoholic and I have told him he ca not drink at my home. I have found empty bottles and confrunted him, he continues to drink. I will be sitting down with him and having a ceriouse conversation in 2 days. ut I know hes going to just tell me what I want to hear. I don't know what to do or ho to to do it?!!! Im so frusterated with him and yet I dont want him to leave and not hear from him again. this is the second time we have gone through this with him. please help!! he has NO/ZERO motivation to help himslef!
  • Mother wants her own space back!

    Thank you for taking time to read and respond to my entry. My son is 26 (almost 27) graduated from college last year and in November landed a job in his area of study. He is making about 40k per year to start (not enough money he always says) and cannot move out of the house because we live in the Bay Area of California where his new job is located. Studio apartments are $2,600 per month where he works. Instead, he commutes back forth to work 45 minutes each way, living here with me, in our family home, so as not have to pay rent.

    Granted, rent for him to live away from home would take up his entire monthly paycheck.. so he lives with me. Luckily, I, his single mother, have paid the majority of his 6 year college degree ($150,000.00 for him to start with a salary of 40k with a STEM major from a highly respected university in the Silicon Valley?) The problem here is not necessarily our kids but the job and housing market in California Bay Area and LA. How can these kids live on their own if they are not paid a decent wage? So, the result is a child who is highly trained, working for low wages and cannot live on his own. How do we expect our kids to be happy and adjusted living at home after spending so much time at the university and then 6 months looking for a job? (200 applications and 30 interviews to get his low paying position) 35k is poverty level.. .. then having to move back where they started.

    My son gets very bitter and that bitterness is targeted back at me. I would love to have my house back to myself and he'd love to have his own space. He is neat and tidy.. works, commutes, makes and buys his own food, but I am his target for all of the frustration he feels. He complains about my 'unmatched' furniture, old carpet, etc.. (well, I've been paying cash for his college, how can I afford anything?).. I feel as cheated as he.

    I am a college professor, Ph.D. and higher ed. worked for me. But, my son tells me day in-and day-out that his college degree was not worth the sacrifice we both made.. and I am beginning to agree with him.

    There are very limited possibilities in the world of work for our kids. They can't afford to live on their own, with or without a college education. My elder sons are working, have college degrees, but that was 8-10 years ago when there were no unpaid-underpaid slave-like internships and our kids had more opportunities.

    Granted, I am not happy with my son's disrespectful attitude toward me, his complaining about everything I do and say... it's borderline abuse. But, I also have to look at what he has done in his life and his current low paying job... and I need to put myself in his shoes. I have laid down the law, that if he continues to abuse me with his poor attitude and personal attacks it will be time for him to leave. He will not appreciate everything I do for him unless I am no longer doing it.

    Currently my live-in son is saving to purchase a car before he moves out, his car is on it's last leg and is a hazard for his 3 hour per day commute. So, I'm trying to be patient and let him stay until he saves enough to buy the car and move out. He has no debt.. no student debt either and is saving for a car and then to move out. He is excellent with the money he earns. He has actually influenced me to save, become debt free and live a more minimalist lifestyle.

    I'm trying to be patient, but it is hard. He drinks at night (3 to 4 beers) mostly every night, simply, I believe, out of depression. There are many factors here.. I see a global problem, professional, social and family based.. I hope some of you have ideas for me.

    Maybe I just need another 5 months of patience... until he purchases his car and moves. Thank you for reading.

  • Torn
    I know I'm an enabler but my 21 year old is in college, works, and is very respectful. Problem is he's not saving money. Owns nothing but a Playstation. Not a car. He's licensed but catches Ubers or walks. Check goes to Ubering to work, eating, cell phone, and oneMore credit card. He's worked since he was a sophomore in high school. I have never had a day's problem with him. I just wish he was a little more on top of things I guess. My husband (his stepdad is extreme... says get out and go live with other family members) to learn life's lessons but he can come back if necessary. He's known him half his life so he cares for him. My husband was kicked out at a young age but he was a problem child. It's causing a terrible problem and resentment. He is a good "kid" and has always been respectful. Might not clean his room perfectly or whatever but in comparison to some of the stories I heard and read on here, he's a perfect "kid." I do want him responsible and ready for the world but I don't think he needs the extreme treatment.
  • reneegavin


    Our 21 year old daughter left college this past December due to roommate issues and not liking dorming at school in general. She is now working about 30 hours a week and figuring out what she wants to do (VERY slowly). She has applied to a local school, but very casually and isn't really sure what she wants to go for. She has always had anxiety and difficulty making friends. We moved to a new area after she graduated, and she hasn't met anyone here yet. We are pretty much her entertainment when she isn't working. Right now, she pays her cell phone, portion of car insurance, and school loan. However, she still spends money frivolously on things, and I really don't think this small amount of bills (which equals about 1/6 of her pay) is showing her what the real world is like).

    She is a really good kid. She never comes home late (never really goes out), does chores if I ask, gives no issues. However, I think by us constantly entertaining her, paying for everything except those 3 things, letting her boyfriend come stay twice a month, etc.. it is making it too comfortable. If she was definitely going back to school, I would be fine with this arrangement, but no real decisions seem to be being made. Any suggestions on how to approach this with her? It is at the point where if hubby and I want to go out to eat, she is asking "Without me"? and then sits here all depressed by herself. She is going to go to counseling for the social anxiety, but has before without much luck.

  • A
    What if our adult children both are suffering from clinical depression, following emotional breakdowns due to unsuccessful attempts to build a relationship? Not only this, but we also have a 12 yr old son, and the adult children seem to expect themselves to be treated just like their youngMore brother?
  • Maria

    I have a son with learning and anger problems. I noticed them at the age of 12. He started to not want to go to school and run the street with the wrong crowd.

    For years I have tried to talk and reason with him about things he do that are wrong and the consequences down the road. I even had In-Home Consultation once a week but he only sat in once for the entire 24 Week Segments. When I could bribe him I even took him to other In-Office sessions and doctors. Which was maybe once or twice because he refuse to go. He has to have things his way or no way. I have had to call the police on him since the age of 15. He went to live with other relatives who sent him back quickly. He got in trouble with the law and did 5 years now he is out, 35 years of age and I don't want to start over. He wants to stay with me but I don't want to live with him by myself any longer. We have argued and he still acts as if I should baby him and come to his terms. He doesn't contribute anything to the house-hold and never has. He will not speak nor show respect when things don't go his way. He has a part-time job and I asked him to leave. Was I wrong ? He left and came back twice with excuses and even brought his girlfriend with him, who works Full-Time and they have a child together. The 3rd time I made sure he took all his things with him and I changed my locks on the doors. I have been to hell and back with him and I feel I have done all I can and I no longer will be ignored, disrespected and made to feel like a child in my own home. He feels he has no problem and for me to just shut the hell up. I did after I asked him to leave this last time and I never want to live with him again. I want peace, because I sure earned it. I don't want to negotiate any thing. I'm I wrong to feel this way?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      I hear you. It can be difficult for many parents to set limits with their adult child, especially when the relationship has been rocky, and it’s normal to second-guess your boundaries. As Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner outline in When They Don’t Leave at 18: Parenting anMore Adult Child with ODD, the fact that he is your son doesn’t mean that you are obligated to have him in your home. As an adult, anything you decide to provide to him is a choice on your part, and a privilege for him. I recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Ellen
    My daughter, her 18 month old baby and the baby's father live with my husband and I. This came about because at the time she became pregnant she lived at home. The pregnancy was rough on her and she was forced to stop working her part time jobMore as a waitress at a club. Her boyfriend was going to school (college). Their original plan was that she would stay with us and he would live with his parents until school was finished. We agreed to help my daughter and the plan was that she and the baby live with us for 3 years. His parents did not agree with this and we learned that they were pressuring him to leave school to get a job to support my daughter and her baby. On the day we were bringing the baby home from the hospital, his parents came to the hospital and helped out. We all got home and his mother asked me her son could move in with us because she believes that the best thing for the baby is to have both parents present. I was so emotional at that time and of course wanted to see them together too and I believed that he was still in school and so I agreed. Well, first off their relationship is not good they fight constantly and they swear to each other. My husband and I put a stop to this by putting our foot down. No swearing or arguing in the house. Second, they were not helping out financially or otherwise around the house it got to the point that when I sat down to set boundaries etc. they refused and my daughter believed that there was nothing I could do. I ended up calling the police to have them removed from the premises. My husband reneged on that while the police were here and they ended up staying for a couple of hours, but then we could not find common ground and they walked out. They lived with his parents for all of 3 days when they came back half heartedly apologized and asked if they could move back in. We allowed them to, partly because we wanted to mend fences, and partly because they agreed to change their ways. They agreed to pay a small amount each month towards bills and they agreed to help out around the house. They begrudgingly pay 400 dollars a month and they do very little around the house. I help care for my elderly mother who lives in long term care and also suffers from Alzheimers, I was attending school full time and working part time. While attending school and then during my placement I felt that I could not address the issues of them not helping out around the house. Then, my husband was hospitallized for a week at Christmas time and last Wednesday underwent major surgery. He is home from hospital now and will be off of work for 3 months. I am finished my 2 year college course and I am now looking for full time work to help with finances. So, now that I am finished school and my husband has had his surgery I now want to address things at home. The baby's father works full time two weeks days, two weeks afternoons. My daughter works part time afternoons. I agreed to watch my grandchild on the nights that they are both working and help care for my grandchild on the nights he works so that he can get to sleep for work the next morning. I find that I help out more than that which is natural as we all live together. What I take issue with is that my daughter spends a lot of time in her room sleeping and leaves the baby with me. And, my daughter does very little in the way of helping out around the house, in fact at the most she tends to her baby but does not tidy up after the baby or caring for the baby. The downstairs is a total mess. They leave garbage and food and food containers all around, they have clothes lying all around. If laundry is done, he does it and then he just puts it in the hampers instead of folding them and putting them away, including the baby's clothes. Her room is a complete pig sty. I do all the cleaning including the baby's room. He is beyond frustrated with her as well. I want my daughter to see her doctor to rule out a medical reason for her behaviour and to see a counsellor for her anxiety before I address any issues about her helping out more around the house. Mistakenly, I had told him about this and he told her that I planned to talk to her about her sleeping so much and not helping around the house so the talkhow didn't happen. In fact, what did happen is that we got into an argument over me moving some of her stuff and misplacing something. I started to help her search for the missing items, as I was looking she stood there with her hand on her hips just watching as I searched through the mess downstairs. So I told her that she needed to take some responsibility for these items getting misplaced, she started in on me about how I had no right to move her stuff and that it was my fault the stuff go lost and she was not responsible so I stopped looking for the items. One thing led to the other and we started arguing over why I moved stuff etc. and I told her she needed to take responsibility etc. and words were exchanged. She was yelling, I was arguing back but in control. She said that I hardly looked after her baby, when I actually look after the baby the majority of the time. Well, this pissed me off so I said you know what, from now on I will only mind the child while both of you are working and that's it. So, she picked up the baby and put the baby into it's playpen while she got ready to go out. We continued having words and then she called me a b-tch, which I took offense to, then she said to me f-ck off. Well, I firmly told her that she had no right talking to me that way and she stated she didn't care and again blamed me for this that and the other thing. So, I said to her that she should think about moving out, if fact, I said, why don't you move on back to his parents house etc. So, they left to go to a planned trip to see friends and who knows when they are coming back. I don't understand why she would swear at me and say the things she says to me. I am my wits end with her. I truly believe that she has mental problems of some sort. She was labled an explosive child and had oppositional defiant disorder along with social anxiety growing up. She also had 3 operations in the span of a year. A C-section, gallbladder removal, and appendix removal. I don't know what to do.
  • Jim
    I have a 32 year old step son going on 33. He moved back home after 2 years in the Army he was 21 then. He went to college and got a BS degree is 3-1/2 years (did not work) but we let him quit his job so he couldMore concentrate on college and he did great. He took out 3 school loans, 1 Federal which he has not begun to pay back yet and 2 private loans for which I would not co-sign for but his mother did. So far we paid one loan off and have almost completely paid the second one off to. Since his mother is on the loan and he is not paying it she is required to. So it has been 10 years living at home now, and I am at my wits end. He has a Nice cell phone and I Pad all paid for by his father, On Demand TV, all his personal expenses are paid for and was given a 2005 Honda Civic like new. He pays for nothing, does his laundry and not much more. I figure either I will have to leave or he will by the end of the summer. I love my wife but I am trying to save for retirement and I spend all my extra money and many sleepless nights on him. He needs to get out into the world. Am I wrong? Any helpful suggestions would be great. Thanks
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m sorry to hear about the struggles you are experiencing with your stepson right now. Parenting an adult child can be quite challenging, and can become even more difficult when it is in a blended family. At this point, I encourage you to talk with your wife privatelyMore during a calm time, and try to get on the same page with expectations for your stepson. If you’re having difficulty coming to an agreement on next steps for your stepson, it can be helpful to involve a neutral third-party, such as a marriage-family counselor, who can help you to look at your options and create a plan to move forward. If you’re interested in locating this type of support in your area, try the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people with resources available in their community. I hear what a tough situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Vicki
    my 19 and 20 year old son both still live with me after moving out and living with their dad for a short period. One son has ASD and has trouble with his anger. He lived with his dad for a short time in high school to giveMore the older brother an myself a break. After leaving school and getting a job, his father and him had an altercation and his father put a DVO on him. He came and resided with me. I have now a new partner and we have been supporting the two boys for the past year - recently we have had the police called to the house for various reasons involving both boys and their anger and property damage. I spoke to both boys before christmas and stated I can not keep doing this. I spoke clearly of my expectations of them living in my house with my partner. My partner and I have tried to help with jobs and supporting with cars for an income. Both boys broke up with their girlfriends of a year before xmas. Both had ended up in hospital for mental health reasons which we supported and got them help. They both think they are well enough and dont follow through with the counselling. The continue to break our rules on the house with regards to new girlfriends staying over and my partner and myself have been verbally abused and recently my partner was punched by the older son. My older son came back home a year ago as he broke up from his girlfriend and was emotionally unstable. I set down ground rules with him that have not been followed through...eg rent of a small amount, helping around the home and looking for work. A year later and nothing has changed. He continually had his new girlfriend stay over when I made it clear that was not to happen. He sleeps all day and has no interest in finding a job while she is here. On occassions the new girlfriend has her three year old daughter with her and keeps her in the room with them. I have very different family values as to the way I am exposed to her parenting her child. I have spoken to my son about this and he and I seemed on the same page. However it continued to happen and I asked him to leave as I was not going to be part of that. He has continued to come back home and sometimes with her and the daughter. His younger brother, who has a job and pays me rent, did not think kicking him out was fair and kept picking him up and bringing him home as he was concerned about him on the streets. In the last week, my older son punched my partner and police removed him for the night but he returned here the next day. Last night the younger son was pulled over by the police as he was driving after curfew. He was abusive to the police and was put in lock up for the night. The next morning he came home as asked me (over the phone) if his brother could come back home. I stood my ground and said no. He will not respect my rules. So my younger son snapped and smashed both my partners car windows and my partners work companys ute. The neighbours rang the police as I was not home. He has been taken to the watch house for the weekend. My other son is angry at this and has been making threats towards my partner.We are both in fear for our safety when he is let out on Monday. we have been to the police station and expressed our concerns but there is nothing we can do until either boys actually do something, the police have suggested we stay somewhere else. we domt have $$$ for this. dont know what to do.....
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the conflict, violence and property destruction you are facing from both of your sons, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support. I see that you have used local supports, like the police, to help you enforce your boundaries withMore your sons, and communicate to them that their abusive, destructive behavior will not be tolerated, and I encourage you to continue to do so. You might find additional tips and information in our article, Signs of Parental Abuse: What to Do When Your Child or Teen Hits You. I can only imagine how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • ReneeBenee
    My 17 year old son who is still in high school, has a 19 year old girlfriend who graduated last year. Anyway, she said when she first graduated that she was "taking a break" before she started working. Well then, around July or so, she got a job at HardeesMore for all of two weeks, quit, and hasn't worked since, AND IS NOW trying to move into mine and my husbands house to live with our son. NEITHER ONE OF THEM have a job OR A DRIVERS LICENSE, and so ANYTIME they want to go somewhere, GUESS WHO HAS TO STOP WHAT SHE'S DOING AND TAKE THEM, and even then, IT'S USUALLY for those two to go hang out at their friends house.  I keep saying, "NO" about her spending the night AND moving in, but they ignore me on the spending the night thing and just do it anyway. My husband won't say anything on the subject, and it's irritating me! I love her like a daughter but I can't let her move in here, all the while when she IS here, she don't clean up after herself, she don't even clean her hair out of our shower after she showers over here. But she LOVES to make messes doing artsy things, and again, won't lift a finger to clean it up. My son gets mad when I won't let her spend the night, let alone move in, but I have another son younger than that one and it'll be snowing in hell before I allow A YOUNG ADULT to spend the night at my house when she don't even pick up THE FIRST THING after herself. It's not fair TO ME! I mean GEEZ, I have a 25 year old daughter who hasn't lived at home in years, and I"m suppose to just let my son's unemployed, out of school girlfriend, who don't clean up after herself MOVE IN? I've tried talking to HER about it, but when I do, she usually EITHER just says what she THINKS I want to hear, like, "oh, I forgot to tell you, I got a job", ONLY FOR ME TO REALIZE WHEN SHE'S STILL showing up at my house every morning for two weeks, that she was full of it when she told me that TWICE, OR she'll just straight up get mad, and stomp upstairs, at which point, she goes upstairs picking a fight with my son BECAUSE I won't let her move in or spend the night. Like I said though, they ignore me on the spending the night thing and do it anyway. They don't care if I get mad. They just act like nothings wrong and ignore my anger. I really DO NOT KNOW what to do when they blatantly just DO WHAT THEY WANT TO ANYWAY IN MINE AND MY HUSBANDS HOUSE. I NEVER went against something as serious as letting my boyfriend spend the night AFTER BOTH my parents had told me he couldn't, but also, I had a job at 18, AND my own apartment, drivers license, car, etc... in other words, EVERYTHING they don't have. Oh, and my husband had bought our son a car when he turned 16. He's just not made a move to get us to take him for his license. When I ask him, he says,"I don't want to get my license", AND WHY WOULD EITHER OF THEM WANT TO when they have a built in taxi service? Kids today don't have the motivation OR the WANT TO, to get a job and GET OUT of the parents house. I don't understand it. All they want to do is hang out at their friends houses DOING NOTHING until they call and tell me to come and get them, at which point I ALWAYS have to drive his girlfriend home. No one in her family EVER takes them around like I do. They MIGHT bring her over here once in a while but for the most part, I HAVE to go get her, and if I don't, world war III begins and then their manipulation tactics come full force UNTIL I DO go and get her, AND THEN I HAVE TO TAKE her home later that night as well. UGH... At this rate, and the rate these kids are going, I DO FEAR for the future of this country. I know some of you will say, "YOU'RE THE PARENT!" Yeah, that would be right! And I'm usually arguing with them EVERY DOG GONE DAY over the BS they EXPECT me to jump to when they holler! Heck, the fight usually begins EVERYDAY, the second I SEE that they've once again, ignored our rules and just did what they wanted to anyway with no regards to what I told them. Also, my son's NINETEEN year old girlfriend ALSO has been telling all her friends that my husband has a crush on her BECAUSE HE WON'T COME OUT AND BE THE ONE to MAKE her go home! I always HAVE TO BE THE ONE to do it! She even told my son that she thinks I just won't let her spend the night or especially move in, because I'm jealous of her BECAUSE MY HUSBAND HAS A CRUSH ON HER!
  • Tired Grandma
    I have a 24 year old daughter who married young and on July 7th, soon after learning that she was pregnant with her 3 rd child, was told by her husband that he had a new girlfriend. This landed my pregnant daughter and 2 little grandsons back in my house.More My daughter does do a lot around the house, she picks up after the kids, but her tone and ongoing yelling at the kids and at me and then saying that she is stressed and has a lot to do, is her excuse for rude behavior. I feel pushed around by her and I feel caught between dealing with her rude behavior; she can't ask me politely to get a bottle of milk for the youngest, she asks if I am retarded, why didn't I move faster. I do understand that she has a lot on her plate, but by her rudeness and yelling at me and the kids for every little thing. is keeping her stress level elevated and it is still not a reason to treat me or the kids the way that she does.How do I set boundaries around a demanding and pregnant daughter without putting at risk the needs of the other children?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Tired Grandma 

      It can feel very difficult to set appropriate limits when

      your adult child is back in your home with her own children and expecting

      another.  At the same time, as you noted in your comment, her stress

      levels are not an excuse to treat you or others rudely or

      disrespectfully.  Something that can be helpful is to talk with your

      daughter during a calm time about the way that you expect to be treated in your

      home.  You might consider https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ and specifically defining respectful

      behavior so that you are clear on the expectations.  I recognize what a

      challenging situation this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back

      and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • Worried mom33


    I have a soon to be 20 year old daughter. She graduated high school 2 years ago and has not decided what she wants to do regarding school. We have not pressured her in anyway as we know it's a big decision.  We have a school account that we have contributed to for years, not enough to pay for everything but a nice start. She has been working part time at a local store and has always been a good kid. She was never into the partying scene, stayed home most nights and never got in trouble. As for school she didn't much care for ding the wrk part and would frequently lie about handing in assignments and doing her school work.  However she graduated a scholar and recieved a high skills major award.

    This past spring we fund out she has been smoking pot with her new group of friends. This is a huge issue with my husband and I as addiction runs in both of our families and I lost one brother to drug addiction and another is dying frm it. My children have seen what I have gone through with my brothers and I have always taljed to them about the dangers of drugs.

    When we first found out we gave her an ultimatum the drugs and her new friends or us. I'm sure you can guess which one she chose. I recieved two emails from her new friends one in particular was very hurtful. He said I was not a nice person and needed to stop contolling my daughter and that I still treat her like a child. When I replied and ased how I was treating her like a child he said by telling her what time she had to be in t night, now choosing her friends and that I make her cry daily.

    She lives in our house, my husband and I get up early for work so we ask that she is in by eleven on weeknights as I am a very light sleeper. I explained to him about my concerns regarding the drugs and my brothers. He said it's just pot and that he has heard my story regarding my brothers and he doesn't care.

    I text my daughter daily while she was out of our home. Mothers day she sent me a short text but chose not to come by but instead visited her friends mothers and took them flowers. 

    She showed up at home a few days later with all her stuff and said she felt pressured by the people (family and friends) I had taljed to that were reaching out to her.

    I asked her about what her friend had said about me controlling her and making her cry and she denied it all.

    She is still living at home, still hanging with those friends and smoking pot. She spends almost all of her free time with these people and works with the one guy. When we text her at night to find out when she's coming home it takes a while fir her to respond and it's always a time later than we like during te week. We toom her key away when she first left and never gave it back because we don't want her friends in our home. 

    Her sisters feel they have lost her, her little brother that she absolutely adored has been somewhat forgotten.  When she des decide to come home she stays in her room.

    We decided that since she is working, not going to school, has no responsibilities and is just blowing her money that she should have to oay for at leadt one bill. We asked her to pay for her health insurance which is $130 a month.  It's like pulling teeth to get this payment. We know she can afford it.

    Last year she was working two part time jobs and wasted $16 000. We aked her on what and she had no response.  When we try to tal to her about her future plans she cries and yells and says we are making her feel like s@#$ t.

    I am at my wits end, I feel like I have lost my daughter.  I worry about her constantly,  not only about the drugs but she has talked suicide in the past. She lost all he old friends and refuse s to admit there is a problem.

    She has lost a pile of weight,  which isn't a bad thing , except I don't think she's ding it very healthy. She's rarely home to eat and says she keeps alphaghetties in her locker at work.

    Please any advice would be appreciated.

    • Stephanie

      Wow does your story feel like mine almost to the T.

      I'm not going to go into detail but my heart has been just ripped out of me because I have to tell my daughter whom I've raised for 18 years alone to leave my home. As a single mom I've done it all and I'm not bragging I'm saying it's been hard and I'm ok with that I'm a survivor.. but this is all such a shock that I'm forced to ask my child to leave because she's has zero respect for me and says awful things about me behind my back.. her relationship with her sister who's 14 is just gone.... another heart breaker...

      So as of tonight I'm planning the convention of telling her to go..

      I'm sick over it ..

      I feel alone and scared to make her leave but I have no choice..

    • ToughLove mom
      Worried mom33  Wow... Worried mom33, I can so relate to this. I have an 18yr old son and we are going through pretty much the exact same thing. He doesn't want to work or go to school. just hang out with his friends and smoke pot. we've giving him many chances to change hisMore ways with no results. We are done tough love is know where we're at. We've have asked him to leave our home and tomorrow will be his last day. I'm dealing fear, guilt, sadness and anger all at the same time. I praying that I'm doing the right thing. I hope all works out for you and your family. Toughlove mom.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Worried mom33 

      I hear how

      concerned you are for your daughter, and the choices she is making, and I’m

      glad that you are reaching out for support.  As Debbie points out in the

      first article in this series, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adult-children-living-at-home-how-to-manage-without-going-crazy/, when your child

      becomes an adult, your role as a parent change from a manager to a

      consultant.  In other words, rather than trying to make your daughter

      behave in a certain way, or make certain choices, it tends to be more effective

      to set your own limits around what you will and will not tolerate, and clearly

      communicate your boundaries to her.  One way to do this is to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ with your daughter which outlines your expectations

      for her behavior while she is living in your house.  I recognize how

      difficult this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving

      forward.  Take care.

  • div3011_India


    I am from india. I have an adult brother 28 years old living with parents. The reason am writing in the public forum because my stress level has gone beyond the limit. Am a independent , earning  and married women and have everything a normal women should dream of. But only worry and stress that always dominates my all happiness is my borther. He has not left the house even once. Didnt even complete his graduation properly. My father asked him to stay in hostel while studying , but he was too damn lazy that he use to sleep in hostel and never go to college. I dont understand whats wrong with him. Everyone in my family are ready to help him , people are even willing to setup a business for him so that he can work. But it seems he doesnt want to work at all. In india its normal that adult stays with family , but most of them earn and stay as joint family. This case is totally different , I dont know what should i do. I dont like to talk to my family always there will be never ending discussion about my brother. I feel so unloved and uncared. I am become so depressed that i have started thinking of cutting of my family, but i know the guilt of feeling looser and not able to resolve the situation will be there till my death. I wish my brother was not born at first place or i was born at all. I so painful to see my parents suffer everyday , because they are helpless , they are waiting for some miracle to happen which will make my brother make a living on his own. I love my native , but i dont want to go my home because its so negative enviornment at home, my mother has stopped making food for him and my brother will be just playing games in laptop, will not get up on time, he has grown fat , he doesnt even step out for walk. I feel powerless and i when i even think about my family i get depressed and i  cant help anything but get frustrated and cry about it. I just need help may b counsellor  or someone who can sort this out. I want this to end , i want my parents to live peacefully in there old age , there are not anyone servant that they have to grow a adult child in the family. I want this to end without any one feeling guilty about anything. My life has been so painful these days. I dont enjoy my sucess , i dont want to become a mother as i feel somehow my own family has been a failure , i couldnt take responsibility of my brother how will i raise a child , i have issues in relationship with my inlaws , i dont feel connected with people especially any relatives. I have been doing medidation , nothing seems , this is the only topic which still feel my heart with so much pain ,that i cant bear it anymore. Please help me resolve this ... give me some contacts or may be some place where i can send my brother so that he can gain his confidence or watever is the issue with him and do something about his life , i need some pointer how should i proceed. I have read many artciles about it but all say make rules , do this that , but i really think we need some external person to handle this. My mom and dad are not ready to take any firm decision because for indian , your family is everything and you are responsible so they will never ask my brother to go out the house , because they worry about what people will say about my parents.

    • Iris Walters

      Hello it very important you let your parents make their choices and your adult brother

      Unfortunately you can't control everything only your own circumstances and your home and your own marriage

      Your brother may have some deep seated feelings of helplessness and he may need counseling your parents have decisions to make and it's there home and decision to make regardless how you feel about it

      You need to take deep breathe and get help for yourself so you can move forward in a positive way with your family knowing your control is limited

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

      sharing your story.  I’m so sorry to hear about the situation you are

      facing with your brother, and I hear how much it has been affecting you.

      Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents,

      we are limited in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a

      direct parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help

      you develop a plan for addressing your particular issues. You might consider talking

      with your doctor about this situation, and see if s/he has any information on

      counselors or other referrals for resources in your community.  We wish

      you the best going forward. Take care.

  • Jenny66
    My daughter is 25 years old and just came out of being in school for 7 years for her undergrad and law school degrees.  She is having a hard time finding a job especially since she will not be taking the bar exam until next February.  She recently came homeMore after graduation because she had nowhere else to live and stayed with my husband (her stepdad) and I for 5 weeks.  At first she told us she would only need to stay with us for 2 weeks which we agreed to.  My husband and she do not get along and she tends to be very disrespectful and not grateful for the things we still pay for (i.e. insurance and cell phone) and is extremely bitter that we did not fund her college education and had to take out student loans.  I understand the living agreement you have suggested to many, but how do you handle it when your only child always comes back with the comment that some day when I am old and in need of assistance, she is going to do the same thing with me, and tell me I can only stay with her a few weeks, that she is only going to pay for minimal things, it is very upsetting that she seems to forget that we have taken care of her for 25 years and that if we do not give her what she wants, she throws that in my face that she is going to toss me into a home when I am older.  She left this week to go to a new city to try to get a job across the country and has enough money to last her about 3 months (without working).  I am concerned that if that does not work out she will end up back with us for good.
    • Runner Nurse

      It sounds like extremely manipulative behavior on your daughter's part. To speak of treating you disrespectfully when you are older says a lot about her.

      I would highly recommend Melodie Beattie's book codependent no more. The above recommendations, in the article, are good too.

      You need to take back your self, your space, and not make decisions based on threats by your daughter. Once you learn to say "no", have clearly communicated boundaries, and do it in a respectful way to both you and you daughter, you will fill more empowered.

      The only thing you owe your daughter is saying things respectfully. Otherwise, you don't owe her a thing.

      Blessings :)

    • Tried mom
      I also have a daughter, she just moved back home after being away for colllege for 4 years. She only been home for 2 weeks and already driving me crazy. The same things are being said as what your daughter has commit to you. I would like to knowMore we're this kids get off thinking we owe them something. If it were me once my daughter is out with a job she better swim because Ian not taking her home again
  • Deb K69
    My new husband and I recently let my 27 year old daughter move in because of a divorce in August 2015. She has 2 cats and a dog and we have 2 cats and 2 dogs. She got a job in march, but it is only part time. My husbandMore is getting frustrated because of all of the animals and wants her to either get rid of her pets or move out. I have that motherly guilt of kicking my only daughter out when I know she can't really afford to live on her own and I also feel bad asking her to get rid of her pets because those are like her kids (just as my pets are to me). My husband doesn't see it this way. What can I do to resolve this issue without causing too much grief to my husband or my daughter?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Deb K69 

      It’s a tough spot

      when you feel torn between your husband and your daughter, and want to avoid

      conflict and hurt feelings for all involved.  These kinds of differences

      are not uncommon, especially in blended families.  After all, you and your

      husband have had different experiences and backgrounds, so it’s normal to have

      different perspectives on this situation.  Something I often recommend is

      talking through these differences in private during a calm time, and developing

      a plan together that both of you can agree on.  Debbie Pincus outlines

      more tips you can try in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-parents-disagree-10-ways-to-parent-as-a-team/.  I recognize how

      difficult this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving

      forward.  Take care.

  • DebbsSeattle

    We are dealing with this now.  Son 31, no drug or alcohol issues, college grad, decent job, 7 month marriage (we paid for the wedding and the honeymoon - $ wasted - hate that!).  He has been on his own for so many years, but now needs to move back to the family home due to impending divorce & excessive debt.  He has been here for the "short" term but now decisions have been made and he's asking for the "longer" term.  We don't know how long that will be with a divorce imminent.  We have decided that he will take the smallest room in the house, his belongings will go to paid storage except the necessities, leave no messes, do own laundry, mow the 6 acre yard throughout the growing season each week, make headway on his credit cards, incur no additional debt, pay the money he was paying in rent to us, and make dinner (& clean the mess) the two days mid week when he is off.  When he is officially divorced, we will refund him the total accumulated rent paid to go back out on his own and he may then secure an apartment, and pay off remaining credit card debt as the courts decide who owes what.

    I want the little birdies to fly and be free.  We have really enjoyed the life we have created in our empty nest.  It does not mean we don't love the kids - but after 30 years of nurturing them we know they have the skills to do this well and not dealing with this situation in a strong manner would only be a disservice to him.  Also, we live a gracious existence, and allowing him to expect that our financial standing should make his life easy is not fair to either of us.

    I am certain the absence of grand-babies makes this much easier for us to point blank lay down the laws.  I do not envy that situation that many of you have to deal with.

    If any of his adherence to the plan does not meet our expectations and the agreement, it will make it a lot easier to open the door and point him out since we are holding his money "hostage".  Furthermore, the time needed to actually pack and vacate will be quite short.  It will really only be his personal items, clothing and his television & computer...it will all fit in the back seat of his car :-)

    Not every parent would agree with this plan or be strong enough to be so "demanding" of the terms.  Perhaps though, our plan will offer some ideas to other parents of adult children returning home.

  • GerryL

    I have a 41 yrs old step son,w/ a wife & a 4 yr old kid who recently lost his job..Even during his employment,he always ask for a hand out from his mother who is 68 yr old,retired hairdresser..Now,he is moving in our apartment, w/ nothing but prolems!

    His wife can not stay on any job for more than a week..No degree nor skill.

    I made it known that they are not welcome in my house.My wife,being the mother has different ideas..she said mostly because of the baby...I would like to give my wife a good retirement life..but now,because of the situation,she's working again to help her son/ family.I tried to help them too because of the baby so I gave him a credit card for emergency only.After 4 days,he already spent $400+all charged I confronted him about it.He's blaming the card company,he said,the activities in his card were wrong!So,I stopped him from ever using the card again!

    Now,they will be moving in tomorrow w/ no end in sight.I am upset.My wife is too!But what can we do?THE BABY IS OUR MAIN CONCERN..

    We do not really know how to handle the situation..Please,if there's someone who can advise us that we can do or be apart of our options,we'll truly appreciate it..Thanks for your times..


    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up a tough situation. I’ve spoken with other

      parents of adult children who are in similar situations. There really isn’t an

      easy answer here. When parenting adult children, the focus becomes establishing

      clear rules and boundaries in regards to what you will and will not support

      because, once your child becomes and adult, any type of support you give is a

      choice you make. After a child reaches the age of majority, the parent is no

      longer obligated to offer any support, financial or otherwise. I do understand

      how the situation can become complicated when grandchildren enter the picture.

      Ultimately, only you and your wife can determine where your limits and

      boundaries are. You may decide that you’re willing to deal with certain inconveniences

      as long as you know that your grandchild is safe and taken care of. Or, you may

      decide that you’re willing to offer support for your grandchild from a

      distance. Either way, I think it’s going to be very important to establish

      clear guidelines around expectations and length of stay, if possible. We have a

      couple of articles that offer tips for developing a living agreement you may

      find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement/. Best of luck to

      you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Ezil
    My 22 year old stepdaughter has always lived with us, however the past 3 years she has been in residence at university and have now moved back home permanently while completing her final year of her degree.  We always use to get on well, but since she has come backMore from living pretty much on her own for 3 years, things have changed, she has changed.  She became vegan 2 years ago, which has caused many arguments in our household as she tries to push her beliefs off on everyone around her and is extremely opinionated, to the point that even her 17 year old brother tries to avoid her.  She and her father doesn't see eye to eye on pretty much anything either and it just causes so much tension in our household. On top of everything my husband and I have a 7 month old of our own and the last thing I want is for our child to be affected by the constant fighting and tension in the house.  My stepdaughter pretty much comes and goes as she wants, I got her a part time job and we still give her pocket money, which covers her petrol, toiletries and vegan food (as she is never satisfied with what I bought her - we increased her pocket money, so she could buy her own food).  We bought her a brand new car when she was 18 so she has transport.  The problem is that she doesn't respect anyone in our household, she never cleans up after herself and when you ask her to do something, she will either ignore you or have a snotty comment or laugh at you.  I was 7 months pregnant when we had our house in the market, so we constantly had show days and the one day I was down on my hands and knees washing the floor, when she walked past me and just laughed at me and didn't even offer to help.  We have created rules and set boundaries, but she just doesn't stick to it.  We made a rule of only playing her guitar between 8am and 8pm, but she still plays some mornings at 6am, when we have had a rough night with the baby.  She comes home from work at night when everyone is already in bed, opening and slamming doors constantly and waking everyone up.  We don't know what to do anymore, her mother stays in a different state and she is not willing to take her own daughter in.  What should we do?  How do we handle this?  I don't see her changing her ways and this is a concern as we can't continue living under these circumstances.  She is still studying, so can't get a full time job and support herself and also can't afford other accommodation. Please help with advise?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      The transition between child and adult can be a rocky one,

      for both parents and their adult children. It’s not uncommon for an adult child

      to want the luxuries of living at home while also maintaining the freedom of being an adult. It

      can’t work both ways and this situation often ends up causing problems for

      everyone involved. The important thing to keep in mind is that your

      stepdaughter is an adult and you are no longer required to provide anything for

      her. This is true whether she is capable of providing for herself or not. If

      you have set limits that she’s refusing to follow, it might be time to start

      taking a look at making changes in regards to what you provide for her. It

      could be possible to have her earn the extra money you give her by doing what’s

      expected of her. You might also consider developing a mutual living agreement

      with her, as outlined in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/. Good

      luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • SadandHopeless

    I am in my second marriage. I have 2 grown daughters, 23 and 20. My daughters do not live with us. Husband has 2 kids, a son 12 and daughter 10. They live with us half time (4 days on, 4 off). My 20 year old was hell on wheels. My husband forced me to kick her out at 18 because she was drinking, smoking pot, etc..and running the house with her attitude. It needed to happen, but it crushed me inside. Fast forward to today. She gave birth to my grandson almost 3 weeks ago. Her boyfriend, the baby's father, is a drunk whose family supports him being absent and encourages him to stay out with them away from her. At times he is the "hard worker and supportive dad" and others he is just a big baby. They have been together for 4 years, so we know him well, but he and his family are not changing. My daughter needs me, my grandson needs me. I work full-time, but could barely support myself. I don't want to leave my husband, but I fear that my daughter and grandson need me and I am going to be forced to choose to stay with my husband, or move out and find a place to help my daughter and grandson.

    My entire life I have lived to support my daughters with an addict for an ex husband, and now I have someone who loves me, and is genuinely a wonderful man. I don't want to lose my marriage. But my daughter and grand baby need me. I'm only 44 and I feel my life is over. I am desperate.

    My husband is lucky; his kids have a wealthy family on their mother's side and will never want for anything. He knows they will never know the struggle my daughters have known. That is half my rage and anger. God, I just don't know what to do.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport



      can be incredibly challenging when you feel as though you are forced to choose

      between people that you love and care about.  Ultimately, it is going to

      be your judgment call to decide what you want to do moving forward.  In

      the meantime, I encourage you to get some support for yourself so you can make

      the best possible choice.  A helpful resource for you might be the 211

      Helpline, which is an information and referral service which connects people to

      resources in their community, such as marriage/family counselors, support

      groups, housing and childcare services.  You can reach them by visiting

      their website at http://www.211.org, or by calling 1-800-273-6222.  I

      recognize what a difficult situation this is for you, and I wish you and your

      family all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • Tightlycurld1

    My 22 year old son lives with my husband and I. He has left and returned over half a dozen since the age of eighteen. A few days ago the car my husband purchase for him stopped working. He frequently called the car a piece of s!#>. He didn't do any regular maintenance and never paid for any repair. I have driven him to and from his job these past three days. I told him tonight that he's to begin searching for an apartment; he said he wouldn't and that I couldn't make him leave. The entire time while calling me stupid and a b!£¥# in my car. He frequently call me profane names. I told him that I will take him to work on tomorrow and that he is not to return. It's a constant struggle having him here. He doesn't clean after him self, eats what he wants, doesn't clean his room, spends his earnings indiscriminately on video games, fast food and candy. He said that he will speak to me in any manner he wants and call me whatever name he wants. I decided to visit the local police on tomorrow for help to have him remove. My husband feels that I am over reacting. I reminded him of the incident where my son took a baseball bat to my car and cost nearly $4,000 in damages and bit me on my arm thus landing my son in jail for two months. My son frequently tells me how I ruined his life, how I never done anything for him, and how since I'm not employed I don't do anything.

    I'm at my wits end nothing seems to work. I'm glad this forum exist so that parents can have an outlet.

    • Daisy

      Tightlycurld1 Wow, I can't believe that your husband is being so passive, and in essence a co-contributor to your son's abusive behaviors!

      Tough love is DIFFICULT to implement, but it is the best thing that you can do for your son!  Otherwise, he remains in a constant state of perpetual childhood, in his case, arrested

      adolescence!    The GOAL of every parent should be to raise independent, respectful children who are self-sufficient and pleasant to be around!

      If your husband can't put your needs before your son's DEMANDS, then maybe it is time to seek marital counseling!   I know that I could not stand for 1 minute, let alone 1 day, the

      verbal/physical abuse that you have had to deal with!!!!!

  • What Todo
    Our 38yr old son lost his job a few months ago. He has moved back home with us once again. He is currently unemployed and has been trying for 5 months to find employment, with no success to date. We asked him to seek out an employment agency toMore help find a job. A few years ago he was living in his own apartment but no longer. Our deceased parents' homes were empty so he took up residence in one home for a few years, and then the other for another few years. Long story short he has moved back home. He has no income coming in at all. Therefore we are paying for his car, car insurance and phone and occasionally a credit card bil (which was supposed to be used for emergencies only). We feel we have bent over backwards to help him but he doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with his life, nor do we think he is being aggressive enough in trying to find employment, or take responsibility for his bills. Any advice would be most appreciated. Thank you.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      What Todo

      I hear you. It can be so distressing when it seems like

      you’ve gone above and beyond trying to help your adult child get back on his

      feet yet he doesn’t seem motivated to move forward. Generally speaking, most

      people don’t change until they are uncomfortable with their current situation.

      In your son’s situation, all of his needs are being taken care of so, why would

      he want to find a job and move out on his own?  In order to motivate your

      son to change, you may need to take a step back from doing so much for your son

      so he can feel the discomfort of his own choices. I know it can be worrisome to

      think he may lose his car, cell phone, or get a poor credit score, but, these

      really are his responsibilities. You don’t have to do these things for him. I

      encourage you to check out James Lehman’s 3 part series on adult children

      living at home. The first article in the series is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/rules-boundaries-and-older-children-part-i/. We appreciate you writing in and wish

      you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Stressful
    My 20 year old son still lives at home.  He works part-time and goes to school but financially dependent upon us.  Lately he doesn't want to come home - wants to stay with his girlfriend.  I'm ok with the occasional overnight thing but not every night.  We haven't established anyMore rules or boundaries because there wasn't a need but i'm starting to think that was a mistake.  When we talk it doesn't go well and ends up in a power struggle and him leaving.   I've asked him if he is planning to move out and he said no for financial reasons but he doesn't want to be home anymore. He tells me I can't make him do anything like come home because he's an adult and doesn't have to listen to us.   How do I address this? should I just let him come and go as he pleases or is it ok to say I want you home most days of the week ?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up a scenario many parents with adult children

      living at home have had to face. There really isn’t any one answer that is

      going to fit for every family. Truthfully, your son is an adult and as such,

      can make the choice to spend the night with his girlfriend. I can hear how much

      this option bothers you. While you can’t really control the choices your son

      makes, you can control how you respond to them. In the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement/,  Kim

      Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner suggest sitting down and talking with your

      son about what expectations you have while he’s living at home. One suggestion

      they make is asking your son to call you by a certain time to let you know if

      he’s planning on staying the night somewhere else. I encourage you to check out

      that article as well as the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ for more

      ideas on how to address this tough situation. We appreciate you writing in and

      wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • LimitedSpace

    My 4 Bedroom House Is Filled With 4 Adult Children.  

    My 23 year old has always lived with my wife and I.  My 25 year old moved back with us a year ago after living with 4 friends in a rented house for a year and a half, but it was sold.  My 2 nephews 27 and 22 just moved in 3 months ago.  The 22 year old expected to get an apartment within two weeks but I guess he did not expect the rent to be so high.  The 22 year old keeps looking for an apartment but doesn't actively pursue the offers.  He sleeps in the basement living room on a twin bed next to his 23 year old cousins bedroom.  He has no closets or chest of Drawers. He is paid the most because he does 10-25 hours overtime. he recently brought home his work van so now his personal truck just sits in the driveway.  Snow country so all vehicles have to be off the Road when it snows.  The 23 year old is always with his Girlfriend works full time and goes to evening community college with 4 classes per semester.  He has high insurance costs due to 3 crashes within the last 2 years.   My 25 year old son who moved back is in his bedroom across from my wife and I . So is my 27 year old nephew.  My son has a good Job and is being paid pretty good 1200 every 2 months.  He also goes to Community college and is getting his Associates.  My oldest Nephew is working full time at his 3 month old Job.  Has lots of bills and student loans ands is the lowest paid of all of them. He was only supposed to stay here 2 months.  I recently (November) started charged them 100.00 per month for rent  The youngest Nephew (Jokingly?) said he should pay less due to his non bedroom arrangements.  I reminded him of his "I will only be there for 2 weeks" statement.  Now I'm thinking of charging all of them 200.00 a month starting in January.  Is this amount Just and Fair for all of them with their current living arrangements and take home pay?  When should I say that's it and kick them all out of the house?    None of them want to get an apartment together.   With my current situation (Wife recently got laid off) I will & do appreciate the extra money.  The problem is space is getting pretty tight.  Nothing I can't live with for another couple months.  BUT......

  • crazynuts02
    my sister just passed away and her daughter has a 2 year old and a new born. she has been a problem kid and now adult. she sleeps all day doesnt take care of kids and doesnt work. her father and her fight and it gets bad where hitting isMore going on. he has asked her to leave and she wont and he really is scaed  for her children not being taking care of but its a bad place for all of them to be. so how do we help them. she was on drugs but isnt any more but not sure of that. he cant grieve for his loss and she seems to make him feel worse every time saying stuff about her mom and then they fight. can he make he leave or not because of the kids.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I am so sorry to hear about

      the loss of your sister, and the current situation between your niece and her

      father.  Because laws vary so much among communities, it is difficult to

      answer your question about evicting her from his home.  It could be useful

      to contact local law enforcement on a nonemergency line, or a local district

      court to get more information for your community.  If you or her father is

      concerned for the well-being of your niece’s children, I also encourage you to

      contact http://www.childhelp.org/, the national child

      abuse hotline.  When you call, you are connected with a trained counselor

      who can listen to your concerns, and outline next steps to take.  You can

      reach them by calling 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453).  In addition, the http://www.211.org/, a national information and

      referral service, could be a good resource for information about additional

      supports in your community.  You can reach them by calling

      1-800-273-6222.  I recognize how difficult this must be for all of you,

      and I wish you and your family all the best as you continue to move

      forward.  Take care.

  • Cookie Anderson

    How do you respond to a daughter that metaphorically throws darts at her mother when her life is not working and now wants to come live with me.  I seriously would rather find an additional job to assist her in paying rent because I would hate the peacefulness of my residence to be disrupted - she claims she will not, but her pattern of abuse and history and poor choices has proven to me to know better.  I read the answer of all of these brave and patient parents, and I feel guilty - but I do not want this child back in my home because for the last 7 years she literally only calls me when she needs me.  It starts off with her agreeing that she needs to change and wants to change and become a better person - then a few days later a request for a loan or money follows.  I do not mind helping her, but when I told her "I feel like you are using me, because you only contact me when you need me" - she stop calling and saturated herself in anger - once she found a way to secure what she needs - her aunts or brothers or other siblings might help her.  Then she returns to give me a verbal lashing - actually, she is too coward to call or speak to me in person - so I get a text or e-mail - going back to how horrible a person I am and how I degrade her and have never helped her.  

    I decided that the only way we could think about living together is that "WE" and "SHE" seek therapy - because I consider her behavior unstable - and her Aunts and relative on her deceased father's side dislike me greatly - so she swings on both side of fence when convenient - we are not talking about a teenager - she is in her early 40's but our age difference are close since I had her as a teen.  I have had to advise her on a few occasions that we are not girlfriends or equals as far as our roles and parenting is my obligation - however, she has attempted to speak to me as if I were one of her street friends.  

    The rules and standards given by the author are very reasonable and I will use - but I think a 3rd party - requirement is necessary - i.e., a therapist experienced in family dynamics - I fear for not only my life but my sanity!

    • FrustratedParent

      Cookie Anderson

      My son recently moved back with me and it has been a nightmare! Before he moved back in, he told me that he had changed. It did not last long, he is back to his old self, abusive, lazy, manipulative - he sleeps all day and parties all night. His room is always dirty with rubbish and clothes all over the floor. After only two months, I have asked him to leave. He refuses to leave, calling me all sorts of names and threatening language. He told me that I am useless, have never done anything in my life.

      I wished that I had read this article before allowing him back into my home. Leopard do not change its spots!

    • Still Learning Mum

      Cookie Anderson 

      My heart goes out to you.  First thing that comes to mind is what a therapist would often get me to do:

      Think of 3 things that challenge or are different to a painful belief I held.  So, one thought I had is, to explain that you are not prepared to be the target of her anger and criticism, and that you would like HER to think of 3 things you have done that have been helpful and supportive, over the years.  I would also say that you are willing to consider "constructive criticism" as we all can keep learning, but if she continues to blame you and direct all her anger at you, you don't feel she is taking any responsibility for her part in things.  Until she actually demonstrates some appreciation for you, responsibility for her own actions and willingness to "work together" or to "abide by your home rules", you feel it would be too destructive for you to have her move back in.  You would like to help her, but not at the sake of your own mental health.  And if you did come up with some "home rules" that you feel would work for you, make it very clear before she moves back in, that if she breaks any of them she is to leave the home in x days.  She then has to try and respect and abide by your needs.

      Without knowing you both, that may not be appropriate but hope it helps a bit.

  • Still Learning Mum

    Firstly, thanks so much for this article (and others).  It has helped me feel less alone and has some brilliant ideas and suggestions that I am going to start using. 

    I may just be using this as a means to get stuff off my chest, so hope people don't mind.

    My son is 21 almost 22.  I also have a 24 year old daughter.  I separated 10 years ago.  Both my children tried to kill themselves around the time of having to move out of the marital home.  I come from a family with each immediate family member (parents and both brothers) have been diagnosed as bipolar.  I have kept a close eye on myself, and had professionals also help, and have not had an episode or been diagnosed with bipolar.  Before and after the marriage breakup I had a total of 7 years very helpful psychotherapy.  I STILL know there is lots for me to learn and can see how I have not always parented in the best way.  My ex tried to kill himself 6 times during his adolescent years, and my maternal grandfather killed himself, so you can imagine I am quite 'aware' of the influences and possibilities of suicide, and am very mindful of trying to support my children as they've become emotionally stronger since their suicide attempts (5 and a half years ago).  My daughter has always been the outgoing, adventurous one, and moved out of home just over a year ago, completed a University course and now has a full-time job.  She is also in a wonderful relationship with a lovely young man (after some quite worrying ones).

    My son, is much more introspective, has had many quite serious illnesses throughout his 21 years, some requiring major surgery, has a lifelong pattern of not always 'fitting in', and does not socialize with any 'face to face' friends, but has quite a few in the online gaming world, where he is held in quite high regard. He IS quite intelligent, but has always hated school, and it was only after consulting with a vocational psychologist, that we realized he needed a different type of educational approach.  He 'blossomed' in the brief 1 and a quarter years in the alternative type school we found, before finishing his secondary schooling.  About 8 years back, he was a VERY angry young man and was very verbally abusive, and at times almost physically abusive.  I felt I had to lock him outside on one occasion.  I got as much advice as I could and advised him I would call the police if I had to, but didn't want to do this.  I had lots of help and advice from my therapist at the time, and somehow managed to keep putting up boundaries and let him know his behavior wasn't OK, and even asked and had him stay with his father for a few months.  Slowly but surely over the next few years, (and with the help of his own therapist) he has settled down, become happier within himself, calmer and shows more and more gratitude, appreciation and consideration.  He does, still keep to himself, does not regularly socialize with others (just the very rare invitation) plays XBoxONE for many hours a day, and keeps very "night shift" type hours.  He has very low self-esteem I suspect, and like his father, doesn't feel at all comfortable focusing on his abilities (apart from gaming) or seem to feel he has anything to offer workwise.  I am embarrassed to say, that mostly because of my poor parenting (from guilt, and probably over-functioning) and partly because of some debilitating major surgeries (4 in the past few years) he has not done anything work-wise since finishing school late 2012.  I now wonder if volunteering would help get him into a 'routine', start some social interactions, and give him a sense of 'contributing' and being 'useful'?  I realize my small attempts at teaching him some "life skills" has not been enough, and I am wondering if maybe, 6 months of volunteering AS WELL AS much more around the house (own laundry, cleaning, some cooking and shopping) would be enough/wise before starting to make a plan to expect him to find a job????  Or does it still sound or feel like I am still treating him with kid gloves????

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Still Learning Mum 

      You ask a great question.  It is typically more

      effective to make small, incremental changes, rather than trying to change

      everything drastically all at once.  Thus, if your son is becoming more

      independent with his tasks around the house, one next step could be doing

      volunteer work or starting to apply for entry level positions.  For

      assistance finding volunteer positions in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-877-273-6222.  211 can

      inform you of other available resources in your area as well, such as career

      counseling.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

      • Still Learning Mum

        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Still Learning Mum 

        Thanks, Rebecca.  It REALLY helped just to write it all down, and I felt better about what we've been through and where he is heading.  I appreciated your reply and will pursue the volunteering path with him, by "making a plan" and being careful to be more a "consultant" than the "manager" type I have probably been doing.  (We are in Australia so I think your phone numbers are for the U.S. but we have already found some websites etc here).  Thanks again SO MUCH.  I feel like I've got direction now, rather than floundering, putting my head in the sand sometimes and just worrying.  I am going to check this website regularly - it looks awesome.

  • WendyfromUK
    Hi, I have 2 daughters of 30 and 27 and a son of 23 all living at home and I am feeling very crowded.  My eldest daughter is a particular problem for me.  She went to university from 18 to 22 and trained as a teacher.  During her first yearMore of teaching she had a messy break up with her boyfriend and was struggling to teach as the school that she was working in was having bad leadership problems.  Six months later she had a bit of a breakdown and walked away from her job.  We allowed her to live at home and take a year out, during which time she did some volunteering.  Since then she has gradually built up a business of one to one tutoring in a couple of schools and some private pupils.  My problem is that she doesn't earn enough to live independently and she complains of feeling tired and stressed most of the time.  My mother suffered from depression and because of that I am terrified of upsetting my daughter as I can't cope with other people's negative moods.  Sometimes I think that she is taking us for a ride because she is quite comfortable at home, but then I feel that maybe she is very distressed and needs to take things slowly.  I have suggested to my husband that we ask all the children to give us a weekend to ourselves once every 2 months hoping that we can emphasize to the kids that we need our own space as a couple.  Thanks for listening.
  • Bradley
    I have a 22 year old daughter who moved back in with us 8 months ago. I wish that I had read your article before allowing her to do so. It was an excellent article. I do make her pay a very small amount ($200) for rent and told herMore she had to take care of the room and bathroom she would be using. We also told her since she was an adult that she could come and goes as she wished but make sure she locks the door and keeps noise to a minimum to respect others in the household. She's been really good about that. Lately, she has been backsliding. Her room and bathroom are not meeting the expectations. When she moved into our house she brought with her a cat which she knew I didn't like and I told her okay, but it has to stay in her room and that I didn't want the cat smell in the rest of the house. Lately, she has been getting on my nerves. She works long hours, comes home to change, then goes right back out. Most nights she doesn't ever come home and the next morning says that she spent the night at her friends house. I think she is sleeping over at the boyfriend's house and is just not telling us. Regardless, I feel the cat is being neglected because it's not getting any attention. It has clawed the corner of her bed to shreds and clawed the carpeting by her door. She sometimes neglects to replace the litter in time and it smells up my house. My biggest concern is with my wife. My daugher has been disrestful to her lately, as she has been many a times since childhood. My daughter does not do it to me because she knows I will not stand for it. At first, we try and talk nicely to her but she has a tounge like a sword and can make you easily react. As I've grown older, I recognize what she is doing and I don't let her act that way to me. My concern is with my wife telling me that she has had conversations with my daughter where my wife tells me, "please don't tell her I've told you what she said." I told my wife that should not be happening because we are husband and wife and that we should always be communicating what takes place under our roof. My wife is worried that my daughter will get mad if I know what was said and make our daughter more angry towards my wife. I told my wife that I am not going to let our daughter manipulate us in that way. Am I correct for thinking this way? My concern is that if I give in to my wife, there will no longer be the openess which I think is necessary to maintain healthy relationships inside my household. I feel that it's my wife's hopes she can always be a friend as well as a parent to our daughter. As it is, my daughter hardly ever talks to us anyway. She has very little patience for my wife. Personally, I feel like my daughter is using all of us like a door mat and my wife is preventing me from taliking to her how I think our daughter needs to be talked to. Bottom line, my daughter has many issues and she admits she needs to see a professional. I told my wife that when my daughter was younger but she thought she was normal and would grow out of it. Now, I think it's best to tell her nicely that I think it best if she moves out on her own again. I just don't know if I should bring up all of the underlying issues as to why I'm suggesting she move out, or keep it simple and say it's just one thing. What do you suggest?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for writing in with your kind words.  I’m

      glad that you found this article informative and helpful for your

      situation.  Many parents struggle with setting and enforcing boundaries

      with adult children moving back home, so you are not alone.  It is also

      not uncommon for http://www.empoweringparents.com/when-parents-disagree-10-ways-to-parent-as-a-team.php about how to handle conflict with an adult child.  It’s

      going to be important for you and your wife to discuss what is going on with

      your daughter, and to come to an agreement about what the next steps should

      be.  If you and your wife are not on the same page, it’s going to have an

      impact on how effectively you are able to enforce your house rules. 

      Ultimately, whether you decide to have your daughter remain in your home or

      move out is a personal judgment call.  If you decide to allow her to

      remain in your home, you might find it helpful to write a http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-adult-children.php with her which would outline the expectations you have for her

      behavior while she is living with you.  If you decide to have her move

      out, I recommend keeping your communication simple and straightforward, as well

      as providing her with a moving deadline you and your wife are both willing to

      enforce.  I realize how challenging this can be, and I hope that you will

      write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. 

      Take care.

  • SarahJean


    Honestly, I don't think it's appropriate to ask this of a 21 year old. 

    By asking this, you are treating them as if they are an underage child

    (even if they act like one) and this will only cause further friction.  We had a similar issue with the parent provided phone, instead of confronting her, we went this route. The phone was constantly

    being used during college hours (which we were paying for as well). 

    The way we handled it - thru your cell provider, you can actually put

    blocks on his phone for a small monthly fee.  We did this.  We blocked

    out our daughters phone during school hours so she was unable to make

    calls or receive and send texts to anyone but us, this way, if there is

    an emergency, she still could use the phone, just not every 2 minutes to

    her boyfriend.  She wasn't happy when she noticed she couldn't make

    calls, but there was not much she could do, since we were paying for it.

    (phone, room and board and college).  I suggest you go this route

    instead.... you aren't "telling" him it's bedtime and time to put the

    phone down (or out of the room).  Just let nature takes it course.... we

    did and it did not escalate into an argument.  If he doesn't like it,

    he can pay for his own phone.  Good Luck :)

  • DB
    Is it too much to ask a recent 21 year old still living at home and going to college and being 80% supported financially to put their phone(parent provided) up outside their room after bed time because you can tell that they are not getting enough sleep, and they don't do their chores. Mainly becauseMore they cant be disconnected from their "relationship" for any length of time. Just curious.
    • AmandaJones1
      You are spoiling that adult brat. Make them pay rent like my family did. If I wanted a phone, clothes etc. I had to pay for it out of my own money. That meant I had to get a part-time job while going to college. If you don't, the littleMore brat could end up like some of my friends, age 44, 50 and 55, who still live with their parents. If you don't mind creating a financially dependent kid, then keep on allowing him to freeload off of you. You know, my family is very wealthy. Back then they made what is the equivalent to $24,000 a MONTH. Yes, that's right. It's not a typo. They taught me that you have to work HARD and how to be financially independent. When I moved out, they saved up all the money and gave it back to me so I could use at as a down payment for a home. They never told me they were going to give me back the rent money. They just charged me rent, and when I was ready to move out, they surprised me and gave me back all the rent money I gave them. Actually, their 4,000 square foot home was paid for in cash. But they wanted me to learn how to take care of myself. Obviously, if you don't have much money, you should keep the rent money. Back then, I was pretty upset that my very wealthy family made me pay them rent when I turned 18. But I appreciate it so much now because A) I didn't turn out like a spoiled brat and B) I didn't turn out like my freeloading friends, in their 40s and 50s, who still live with their parent(s).
      • AmandaJones1
        Oh, yeah, I also had to cook, and clean and do chores. What kind of lazy brat do you have here? When I was 21 I was pretty much told to leave. I had to leave because they felt I was an adult at age 21. I left on goodMore terms! They gave me all the rent money back, wished me the best and hoped I would turn out well. I did end up saving the money, moving away, getting various jobs, and finding a builder at age 24 to help me build a home. I moved into my brand new 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home a few weeks after my 25th birthday. Then I went back to finish up college, which I paid for. I took in roommates and they paid the mortgage payment for me. What I've learned in life is that I don't want to be dependent upon others financially. I know that once you have to rely on someone to take care of you financially, you open yourself up to being manipulated. Teach your kid how to take care of himself. I moved out at age 21 and I'm doing fine!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I can understand your dilemma. One the one hand, you’re

      concerned your child isn’t getting enough sleep due to being up late using

      his/her phone. On the other hand, your child is an adult and probably too old

      to have an expectation of handing over his/her electronics at night.

      Truthfully, there are going to be natural consequences for that choice and you

      may ask yourself whether or not it is going to be worth the power struggle

      trying to enforce that rule. What you might do instead is hold him/her

      accountable for not meeting the other previously defined expectations like

      doing chores. As another commenter suggested, limiting when the cell phone is

      able to be used is another option. That may not solve the problem because

      he/she could always go out and get his/her own phone. It is, however, focusing

      on something you do have control over – a privilege you provide. I hope this

      information is useful for your situation. Be sure to check back if you have any

      further questions. Take care.

  • Linda in Florida

    How interesting it is, reading parent postings in this forum - I guess I am not the only one having issues with an adult child living at home. Because my 22 year old has mental health issues (from birth), this has also caused substance abuse.  After living in the streets in Colorado for 6 months, three weeks ago he returned home at my request so I could help him.  This was an incredibly difficult decision because of domestic violence against family members (dad & daughter who is now living on her own).  Sure enough, nothing had changed and the behaviors escalated to the point of calling police for verbal & physical intimidation/threats last week.  After the police left the second time that Monday evening, my son asked me to take him to the emergency clinic for a 3-day mental health evaluation.  After being released on Wednesday, the verbal & physical altercations continued, so I filed a Marchman Act in court that Friday and have civil court Monday, at which time I am asking the Magistrate (judge) to help me understand my rights as a parent of an adult child with mental health issues.

    It is unfortunate that these situations exist, but your common theme and great advice is this: DON'T ENABLE YOUR ADULT CHILD.  You have civil rights, parents!  Take control and take any necessary measures (Marchman Act, Emancipation, etc) - and don't feel guilty.  We all have choices, and that includes the choice to make any decision that may have negative consequences.  Our Constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Thanks for this forum, Debbie - I hope parents take your advice to heart and follow through with your sound recommendations for their own sanity and peace of mind.

    A Florida educator

  • Shakti61

    Your information is so helpful.  Thank-you!!!

    My daughter just turned 25 and is moving to another city for 1 year to

    pursue another degree.  She has not lived consistently with my husband and

    I (my husband is not her father) since she left for university the 1st time

    when she was 18 years. 

    We have had our challenges over the years.  I met my now husband

    shortly after she left for university at 18.  She had a very difficult

    time accepting our relationship because she had to share me for the 1st time in

    a long time.  Her father (my ex), his wife and I paid for her entire

    undergraduate degree.  Since her graduation in 2012 she has travelled and

    has had jobs far away.  So whenever she comes home it is usually for a few


    When she is home, she is really messy, does not contribute to the home in

    anyway, starts her laundry, but never finishes etc.  This can make her

    visits unpleasant because everything seems to resolve around her.  

    I have been pulling back and setting boundaries (very hard to do).  My

    husband gives great advice and support because he is not emotionally invested

    like her parents.  She has some savings for school and has applied for a student

    loan.  She has asked me twice if I will help out, even with a loan and

    both times I said no.  She wasn't too happy about that.  

    We have decided to rent out her room through airbnb.  It is a great

    opportunity for us to earn some extra money, which will assist with our

    retirement and will help us pay off our mortgage.  Her school has a break

    in August for 2 1/2 weeks.  She might come home during that time (it is a

    2 day drive).  She didn't ask, just informed me.  August will probably

    be the busiest month for airbnb rentals and we want to make a go of it. 

    We could lose up to $1000 if she stays with us the entire time.  I sent

    her a text regarding this and suggested we chat and come up with a

    compromise.  She avoided the topic.  I told her last night that I

    booked off the last week of August for her and if she is home she will need to

    make other arrangements for the other 1.5 weeks.  Her response: 

    "That's it." 

    I couldn't believe her response!  I was hoping she would say "oh

    thanks Mom that is very nice." She expects us to make sure the room is

    available in case she happens to come home.  When she is home, she

    rarely sleeps here as she usually stays with friends.  I haven't stopped

    thinking about this and realize we have created a bit of a spoiled


     I'm going to follow up with an email in a week or so reminding her

    what week is available if she decides to come home and that I need confirmation

    of this by July 15th otherwise we will rent the room out.  

    Is this the right approach?  I'm now worried about when she finishes

    school next June and will have no job.  Do we let her stay with us and

    miss out on airbnb money during the busy season?


    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for writing

      in.  Many parents wonder if the limits they set with their adult child are

      appropriate, so you are not alone.  We actually advise parents to think of

      their adult children as houseguests, which sounds like a relatable situation

      for you!  Much in the same way that you require your renters to give you

      advance notice of when they want to stay at your house, it is reasonable to set

      limits with your daughter around when her room will be available for her and to

      confirm her plans by a reasonable date.  If she chooses not to do so, then

      we advise letting her experience the natural consequences of her actions of not

      being able to stay at your house.  I hope that this help you; please be

      sure to check back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • shel behave
    My 19 year old son wants to move back in with me. But, I've explained to him time and time again that I'm unsure about my own living situation as I'm currently sharing a place with my boyfriend of 5 years. My boyfriend doesn't hate my son but he's notMore comfortable living with him. My son was diagnosed with ODD at a young age, he droppedout of school and not motivated to find work. He currently lives with his aunt in another province. He is dead set on moving back in a month. How can I tell him he can't? I'm simply not ready to have him move back in.
    • Darlene EP

      shel behave 

      I am sorry to hear you’re facing

      such a difficult situation. It can be so hard to say no to our kids, especially

      when we know they will push back on our limits.

      However, it really sounds like

      it is the best option given the situation you have described. It’s OK to make

      the choice to not allow your adult son to come back and live in your home. It

      is going to be a matter of being upfront and direct with your son. Anticipate

      that he is not going to be happy about it and that is OK. He does not have to

      be happy about your decision he just has to accept it. Give him some time and

      space to calm down and work through it if he is not being respectful about your

      decision. He will be OK and so will you. It sounds like you are making the best

      decision for everyone involved. Thank you for your question. Take care.

  • Jocelyn Scott
    I have a daughter that is almost 31 living with me.   It has taken her 4 years to complete a 2 yr. school. She has a work study job that would not support an independent lifestyle.  I am on Disability for several reasons and share a 2 bedroom apartmentMore with her and my 28 yr. old son.   I sleep on the couch.    My son has 2 jobs and works about 70 hrs. a week and refuses to help with hold chores so my daughter has decided she won't help either.   Their father hasn't participated in raising them.    The stress from disrespect is overwhelming and I am looking for help.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Jocelyn Scott

      I imagine you would be exhausted. It sounds like you have

      been carrying the weight of the entire household’s chores. Its understandable

      you would be frustrated with your current circumstances. I wish I could suggest

      ways of turning around your children’s behavior. However, they are adults and,

      as such, have the right to behave as they see fit. This doesn’t mean you can’t

      do anything about it, though. We all have control over our own choices, as well

      as how we respond to the choices others make. You might consider responding to

      their disrespect in ways that help to clearly define where your limits and

      boundaries are. For example, if your son or daughter speaks to you

      disrespectfully, you could say to them something like “It’s not OK to talk to

      me that way. I don’t like it” and then walk away. You don’t have to be part of

      any conversation where you are being disrespected. Setting the limit and

      walking away will help to establish a boundary for respectful interactions.

      Every time your children cross that boundary, you can again set the limit and

      walk away. Another thing you might consider is developing a living agreement

      between you and your children. This will help to clarify for everyone what each

      person’s roles and responsibilities are within the home, similar to if you were

      living with room mates. You can find more information on how to develop a

      living agreement in the article Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement).

      Something to bear in mind is you aren’t really responsible for your children

      anymore. If your current living arrangement isn’t working for you any longer,

      you can make changes so that it is more suitable for you. I appreciate you

      writing in and wish you all the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Lisa71011
    Step mom to 2 grown sons. 1 coming home from college next month. The other home and supposedly looking for work but only stays home and eats all day and plays video games and never cleans up after himself in any way. Please help me. I love them.. They areMore part of my husband but I don't see this working. They are both spoiled entitled men who have never had anything expected of them.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be tough when parents aren’t on the same page when it

      comes to parenting concerns. It may be helpful to sit down with your husband

      before your stepson comes home and discuss what might be some possible

      expectations you can put in place while he is at home.  It is going to be

      more effective for the two of you to be as much on the same page as possible, which is

      probably going to require a bit of compromise on everyone’s part. You might

      consider picking one or two areas to focus on, such as what the expectations will be around

      helping out around the house and what limits will be in place around adult

      activities. You may find this article helpful when deciding what you would like

      focus on: Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement. Once the two of

      you have decided what the expectations will be, you can then sit down with your

      stepsons and develop a Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement) outlining these expectations. If you and your husband are finding

      it difficult seeing eye to eye in regards to his adult son’s living at home, it

      may be helpful to speak with a marriage or family counselor. Many parents find

      it helpful to have a neutral third party available to not only listen to their

      disagreements, but to also help develop ways of addressing these differences.

      The 211 helpline would be able to give you information on counselors in your

      area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You

      can also find them online at http://www.211.org/. Even if

      your husband chooses not to go, it may still prove beneficial for helping you

      come to terms with the current living arrangement. I appreciate you writing in

      and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Troubled Sis

    Older sister to 27 year old female who still lives at home with my parents. I am married and in my own home. My mother who has very strict values feels hugely disrespected when my sister stays out for the night. Growing up to an Indian mother, she also feels this shows no self respect. I also believe she feels some way  as this is looked upon by her siblings and family members.

    I went online today to find ways to moderate the situation for a family meeting my mother wishes to hold. I came to these great pointers on this Empowering Parents Site. While trying to draw up a Guide which will involve the goals, intentions, timeline and points from both mother and daughter on the things that bother each (to establish the rules), I asked my mother to list the things that set her off. She is most affected by my sister staying out overnight.

    Out of the household chores and cooking, this is the thing that drives her to want to put her out. Her method would be throwing all her things on the porch outside for her to find when she gets home from work. My sister has full time job in a bank where she seems to be favored by her immediate managers and had been chosen to move to higher posts, from her starting position as teller, rather quickly. She hasn't fully completed her business degree (whish she was doing at an overseas University) and does not wish to give up her position at the bank to return. Where we live the island is small and many young adults are unemployed, both professional degree holders and none. This also angers my mother as my mother feels that her and my dad's money was wasted. Speaking of my dad, even though things my sister does angers him, he could never ask her to leave.

    Re the staying out all night,  I've asked my mother to try and decide if she can accept simply the courtesy of knowing when she will be out for the night or whether she just cannot tolerate her being out at all. I explained that she is dealing with an adult now who will choose to make decisions that will unfortunately conflict with the values (of my mother) and that those decisions will occur regardless of where she lives.

    I've decided a professional might be more suited and unbiased should be the person to head this meeting.

    I just don't know what to do to help other than to establish goal for the intention of remaining in the home; a timeline for that reason; guidelines for cleaning up, cooking, financial contributions (which they already agreed on 1/3 of utilities), and a timeline to finish degree online. I'm stuck on the staying out overnight thing. When I was growing up this bothered my mother about me as well so I left (which wasn't pleasant) and then had to wait out time for relationship to heal. I'm trying to prevent the further straining of the relationship between the two but they are both such strong personality types.

  • mother of 2
    I have 2 son's ages 24 and 22 they live at home with me. They both attend Universitys and both contribute and pay rent at home.  Only problem is the 22 year old has an alcohol problem and some of the guys he has as friends seem like their noMore good. Plus the majority of his friends all drink as well.  My son's lost their father 7 years ago from pneumonia that came suddenly after surgery for a brain tumor.                       So what happened was 3 days ago I wanted him out of the house he had been drinking from Saturday night to Sunday all day with only 4 hours sleep. And he let 2 guys which are his friends come in house that I already made clear I didn't want in my house. One of them disrespected me before on another occasion came in our house with a ciggerette  and I said no smoking allowed.                 He, my son's friend mocked me, got smart with me.  So I was telling son's friend about that time and my son basically got in my face like he wanted to fight me. I couldn't believe it my son was defending his friend over his own mother and wanted to fight me !! So later one thing lead to another and me and my son argued and he had pushed me.                                                       That did it I told my older son to get him out of my house.  So my older son put him in a motel till Monday and then he found a place to stay at a friend's whom happens to be married.  He's suppose to be renting a room there and my older son said they are decent people.  It's a little hard for me that I had to tell him to leave I do miss my son. But he disrespected  the rules I had at home and pushed me.           He also binge drinks he won't drink for a few days during the week, but when he does its non stop.  I can't take it anymore I told him before he should get help, he has admitted he has a problem. It's heart breaking we haven't spoke to one another since he left but it's only been 3 days. I promised their father on his death bed I would make sure our son's would become good men have successfull futures.  My other son has never given me a hard time even since he was a teenager just the younger son. Anyone that has been through a similar experience with their adult children , please give me some advice. I could use it right now I want to do the right thing for his own benefit even if it means he has to just live else where.  But he need help with alcohol problem.     He is still going to school a University he likes school very much.  So he has some potential there.         Please help with advice it will be greatly appreciated.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @mother of 2

      It can be so tough as a mom to

      watch your child struggle with something as difficult as a substance abuse

      issue. It doesn’t matter how old your child is, your first instinct is to

      protect your child from any possible danger. That task becomes almost

      impossible to do when your child is a danger to himself because of the choices

      he makes. Truth be told, the more you try to force your son to seek help for

      his drinking, the more likely he is to push any help away. In order for

      something like that to be successful, your son has to be the one who wants to

      change. And, unfortunately, people usually don’t change until they are

      uncomfortable with their present situation. Having him move out on his own may

      be one way to spur that change since he will then have to be completely

      responsible for taking care of himself. Keep in mind, you can’t really control

      your son’s choice to drink. This doesn’t mean you have to sit by and do

      nothing, however. You may want to switch your focus to what you do have control

      over, namely, what your limits and boundaries are in relation to this behavior.

      It could be helpful to look into local supports for you, such as Al Anon. Many

      people find groups where they can interact with people who are facing similar

      issues helpful for figuring out what they can do in the face of their loved

      one’s drinking. You can find a list of area groups by visiting them online at http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/.

      We wish you and your sons the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Lost in the Midwest

    I have a 19 yr daughter who moved in with me and my 2nd husband shortly before her son (my grandson) was born. We already had allowed her boyfriend by this time husband move in with us. We set expectation of him going back for his GED and keeping a job. Well, he failed time and time again on keeping a job and the GED we helped him register and paid the fee. He went for the 1st quarter and quit. He lived with us just shy of a year before it was decided by my daughter for him to move out. (His parents do the bare min. to stay on state aide which drives me crazy and they were going to lose the house they were in if he didn't come back to the house) So this has been going on for about 2 yrs now. Her husband comes over and 'hangs out" for a few days whenever which in our minds this is her husband regardless of what we think and feel. However, his parents make it a BIG deal if she comes over to "hang out" with their son and has even forced her to leave because they didn't have enough food or simply because her husband didn't ask first. (There is a whole lot more about that situation...) Never the less she is at our home all day taking care of her son. We can ask her to do things within the house and either she does it with an attitude or just doesn't do it period or will wait until right before I get home to start.  I am sorry I have worked all day and you got to sleep 'til noon and you did what all day?? NOTHING... I am very frustrated. We pay for everything to do with her and for our grandson. Her husband cannot keep a job and won't help support them in any way. We have tried talking to them calmly, showing them what the monthly bills are and nothing is working.

    My ultimate issue is that because of things that happened in my divorce from her father I do feel guilty, but mostly if we kick her out how will our grandson get taken care of? She won't go to her father because she hates his wife. She cannot stand to be at her in-laws home because frankly, they don't respect her as a daughter in-law nor the mother to their grandson.  She and her husband have choices, their son does not. He shouldn't have to suffer because of their lack of motivation to make a better life for themselves and ultimately him.

    We are lost and have nothing more to give... help!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Lost in the Midwest 

      It certainly sounds like you are

      struggling with the current living situation at your home, and we appreciate

      your writing in for support.  Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon

      occurrence.  We speak with many parents who are frustrated with their

      adult child’s choices, yet struggle with setting limits out of fear for how

      that might impact their grandchild.  You are not alone.  Ultimately,

      the choice about whether to have your daughter leave your house is up to

      you.  I encourage you to keep in mind that your daughter is an adult, and

      as such, anything you choose to provide to her is your decision, and a

      privilege to her.  In addition, people rarely change if the current

      situation is working for them in some way.  Most of the time, motivation

      for change comes from feeling uncomfortable with the way things are

      going.  If you decide to have your daughter continue to stay with you, you

      may find it useful to draw up a http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-adult-children.php which outlines specific expectations for

      her behavior in return for privileges you provide to her.  You may also

      think about ways that you can hold her accountable for not following the rules

      if you are not comfortable with her leaving your home.  I realize what a

      difficult situation this is, and I hope you will write back to keep us updated

      on how things are going.  Take care.

  • Prisonerinmyownhome

    I have 2 sons that live with me 31 and 27. The 31 yo move back to have surgery and pay bills, I told him it would be $300 a month. Once he recuperated from surgery and was back at work I told him to start paying me. He hemmedMore and hawed, said he didn't have it, and "NO PARENT DOES WHAT YOU DO AND CHARGES THEIR KID RENT".when I told him he would need to get his own place... He, on his own decided that I would get $50 a week. I have to ask for it EVERY week and it's never on time. I didn't mind them here at first but now it's out of hand. I allowed them to move back to save money, & pay bills. The 31 has good job. Pretty much is responsible and pays his bills. The 28 has decent job but it is seasonal. He has very high college bills, and a 5 year old he pays support to. So I told him to catch up on bills and then he can pay me a little every week. He's been here almost 6 months. Has never paid me a dime, except for the co sign college loan of $165 month that I co signed for him.( he has big loans on his own for college)His attitude is horrible, he does not read his mail, ignores phone calls from people looking for payments, etc. . He stays up all night playing xbox. Sleeps all day when not working. Well I just found out he paid over $1000 in one month to play xbox ( I had not clue you had to pay to play). So needless to say I took the xbox out, and he is furious. Like having withdrawals from it. I told him it was time for him to move out, and when he does he can have xbox or he can sign a rule paper I wrote up. He wants to sign it, but won't read the rules. My older son who is a cop, and doesn't live here, ( he did until 6 months ago then bought his own home) told him he should come to station and take out larceny charges against me, and that I would have to evict through courts to get him to move.all 3 sons are nasty to me and I'm a little afraid of son who is 28. Fear that he may hit me or worse. What can I do.
    Ps my sons where never this disrespectful to me until they returned from college. What the heck happened to them?
    Their father calls and talks to them on phone but has never been behind me or taken any responsibility for them when we split. He wouldn't even take them on weekends.. He had paid child support faithfully, but father of the year he never was,....YET THEY TALK TO HIM RESPECTFULLY.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      We hear from many parents who have allowed their adult
      children to move back home for financial reasons, and are now feeling that
      their generosity is being taken for granted.  You are not alone in your
      situation.  We encourage parents to develop a document, such as a http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-..., which outlinesMore agreed-upon house rules when an adult child is
      back living in the home, so you are on the right track there.  If you are
      concerned that your son may become violent, we strongly recommend developing a
      safety plan for yourself.  You might consider using your local police
      department, crisis response service and/or domestic violence agency as
      resources to help you come up with this plan.  You can get contact
      information for these, along with other resources, by calling the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  As for
      your older son’s advice to your younger son, it may be true that you would have
      to follow a formal eviction process to remove your son from your house. 
      Laws vary widely among communities, so it could be useful to call your local
      clerk of courts to get information on applicable laws in your area.  Thank
      you for reaching out to us for support; please be sure to write back and let us
      know how things are going.  Take care.

      • Georgia mother

        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Prisonerinmyownhome 

        My response is just to spark some creative thinking.  The house belongs to you and in your name, then you can prepare to rent it out.  Then you move out.  I know it's an extreme solution, but again; i just want to spark out of the box solutions.

  • My daughter is 22 yrs graduated with diploma in beauty works some times but most of the time she is at home stays in bed till afternoon not participating in any household duties, she uses our car to go out with friends, we have set rules for going out andMore times stay late, some times she follow the rules and some time she don't and when she comes late she is punished by taking her mobile of her and not allowing her to go out, she apologizes and promise not do it again and then as parents we give her another chance to go by the rules, and last week she went out with her friends and stayed late and didn't com e back home cos she knows that she will be interrogated and punished again, she still have my car with her and hasn't come back yet, one of her friends called and said that she will return the car but she needs all her stuff and passport and all belongings, we said no we will not give her anything and we haven't heard from her since for a week, we are not sure what to do and are we doing the right thing, we are a good family with only one boy and one girl, we have provided our kids every thing hey want, we were supporting them all the time to get graduated and encourage the to look for a good future.
    Our boy is very good but our girl is the only problem we want her to have boundaries and go by the family rules.
    could anyone give us an advice what to do? leave her to learn a lesson? or ask her to come back home????

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Parenting an adult child does offer some unique challenges.
      On the one hand, at 22,  your daughter is an adult and can make whatever
      choices she wants. On the other hand, whether or not you continue to provide
      her things like a cell phone or a place to live is your choice. BalancingMore her
      rights as an adult with your limits and boundaries can be a challenging
      endeavor. And when adult children start to make choices that go against
      established house rules and family values, such as your daughter staying out
      late or not coming home at all, it can throw that off balance. Withholding her
      passport and possessions may not be the best course of action. After all, those
      things do belong to her. Instead, you might consider sitting down and talking
      with your daughter about the choices she is making, maybe someplace neutral
      like a local coffee shop or restaurant,  You might even consider asking
      her what she would like to do. If she does want to continue living in your
      home, and if this is something you’re still OK with, it may be of benefit to
      develop a living agreement, as explained in the article Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement) This will help to ensure everyone is on the same page as far as reasonable
      expectations. If she decides she would rather live somewhere else, then you can
      set a move out date. This is a very challenging transition for many families,
      so, you’re not alone in your struggle. Hang in there and remember it will
      eventually pass. We appreciate you writing in and wish your family the best of
      luck moving forward. Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    One of the hardest things in
    parenting is watching your child struggle and hurt, and feeling helpless to do
    anything about it.  When kids become adults, that helpless feeling can
    become compounded, because they are ultimately responsible for their actions
    and choices.  It’s understandable that you would be concerned with your
    daughter’s current behavior, andMore the risky, unsafe choices she is making. 
    At this point, it may be useful to reach out to some local resources to help
    you focus on where you do have control, and what you can do to help your
    daughter stay safe.  For example, you might call your local police
    department or crisis line during a calm time to find out what they might be
    able to do to assist you if you need help.  It could also be useful to
    find some support for yourself, such as a therapist or a support group. 
    Even if your daughter is refusing to use these supports, they could still be
    helpful for you.  For assistance locating resources in your community, try
    calling the http://www.211.org/ at
    1-800-273-6222.  I understand how difficult this situation is, and I wish
    you and your family all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take

  • Melissa in Mississippi

    Not sure if it is my son or me.My son is 21 and lives with me.  He
    works, goes to school, he does not ask me for money and follows the boundaries
    I have set in my home.  He does let me know where he is so I do not worry.
     But latelyMore he has been staying at his father home. His father and I are
    divorced (have been for a long time) and every weekend he will go and stay with
    his father who lives less than a mile from my home. I feel
    the reason for this is because during the weekend and sometimes during the week
    when he does not want to follow the boundaries I have set he will go and stay
    with his dad. There are no boundaries at his father’s home, his girlfriend is
    allowed to stay the night, he is allowed to party, sleep all day etc.  I
    have recently begun feeling I am being used as hotel room; he chooses to stay
    with me when it is convenient for him to stay. I use the word stay because when
    he is at home he basically is taking a shower and headed out the door. I do not
    think he understands what the difference between living somewhere and staying
    somewhere means. I would not have a problem if he wanted to live with his dad,
    he said he does not want too and I feel it is because he feels his father would
    kick him out, due to his father doing this before. I am confused because I am
    not sure if I should be having these upsetting feeling of being used as a hotel
    room due to the fact that the person he goes to stay with is dad.Am I wrong?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Melissa in Mississippi
      It can be easy to feel taken advantage of when it seems as
      though your adult child uses your home and hospitality as a convenience. It may
      be of benefit to talk with your son about the choices he is making. There may
      be other reasons for him staying overMore his dad’s house that don’t involve your
      expectations or his relationship with you. For example, perhaps he is trying to
      maintain an agreeable relationship with his father or, perhaps he is trying to
      maintain his independence while continuing to meet your expectations. Something
      to keep in mind is your son is an adult, meaning, where he stays from one day
      to the next is his choice to make. If you are uncomfortable with the current
      arrangement, you can change it by putting limits on what you continue to provide
      for him. However, I think it’s important not to lose sight of the fact your son
      isn’t being disrespectful to you nor is he breaking your house rules. From what
      you have written, it sounds like he is very respectful of you and your home
      when he is there.  It seems as though you are more in disagreement with
      the choices he makes when he is outside your home. That’s a pretty common
      situation parents of adult children find themselves in. It can be helpful to
      develop a self-care plan for times when you start to feel upset by the choices
      your son is making. This can include anything from going for a walk, talking
      with a close friend or family member, or doing other activities you enjoy. You
      may even consider joining a support group or talking with a counselor or
      therapist for support. Hang in there. The transition from child to adult is a
      difficult one, for both the child and the parent. We appreciate you writing in
      and being part of the Empowering Parents community. Take care.

  • Bill in Florida

    Hello, this is a terrific website.  I need advice.
    My wife and I are in our 60's and retired.  We've been married 20 years.  My stepdaughter made many ill-advised decisions in the past and she (and we) are paying the price.
    After she and her boyfriend broke up, she moved in withMore us four years ago.  She is now 40 years old.  I don't mind her living here, in fact, she comes in handy as my wife is disabled.
    Here's the part I can't wrap my head around.  She is employed full time as a hair stylist, although she doesn't make enough to live by herself.  My wife and I doubt she will ever move out and we don't mind that.  However, she has become more of a house guest than a member of the family.  She pays  no rent, does no cleaning, except for the bathroom she uses.  (and I have to harp on her to do that.)  She has the following bills that she pays:  cell phone,  car insurance (no car payment), and health insurance (Obamacare $198 month).
    She used to clean our house twice a  month and her mom paid her $100 each time.  I thought this to be twisted, since she pays no rent and gets free TV, internet, ac, food and even toiletries.  She's never bought laundry detergent or paper products or any groceries for the house.  I do all the cooking and cleaning.
    In my opinion, she should be contributing to the household and should pay rent (about $200/month) and also take it upon herself to do some cleaning and cooking when she's off.
    My wife and I are at odds about this.  Neither of us ever asked our parents for anything.  I left home at 17 and joined the Navy.  
    Anytime I bring up rent, my stepdaughter starts talking about trying to move out at end of year.  Three end of years have passed.
    I'm on the verge of  going crazy.  I raised two teen age daughters myself when I was younger.  They are  both self-sufficient and successful.  
    I married my wife, but I didn't marry my step daughter.  
    Please help.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Bill in Florida
      It can be tough as a step parent when you and your spouse
      disagree as to what expectations should be put in place for an adult child
      living at home. It may be helpful to check out our articles on Living
      Agreements and talk with your wife about possible expectationsMore you may be able
      to implement with your step daughter. A couple you may find helpful are Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement & Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement). The second article has a living agreement you can download and
      print off. Perhaps you could sit down with your wife during a calm time and
      look over the living agreement. As with any other changes a parent wants to
      make, it’s probably going to be more effective to start with making one or two
      changes, instead of trying to change the current living situation completely.
      For example, perhaps you start by charging her rent/room and board, and also
      give her the option of being able to do things around the house in lieu of part
      of her rent, as outlined in the above mentioned Living Agreement. With all of
      that said, I think it is also going to be important to keep in mind that since
      your step daughter is an adult, neither you nor your wife are required to
      continue providing her with anything, necessities or privileges. Doing so is a
      choice the two of you are making. If that choice is no longer working for you,
      then it’s OK to make a different choice. That is true whether she is able to
      support herself on her own or not. One thing you might consider is enlisting
      the help of a neutral third party, such as a marriage or family counselor, who
      can work with you and your wife to help the two of you come to common ground.
      You can contact the http://www.211.org/
      (1-800-273-6222) for information on these services in your area. We appreciate
      you writing in and sharing your story. Be sure to check back and let us know
      how things are going. Take care.

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