Ask Parent Coaching: My 19 Year Old is Living at Home — And Lying to Me!

By

Empowering Parents logo
8
Shares

Dear Coaches:

I am at my wit’s end. I have been trying to get my 19 year old son to get a job for months now. He says he’s trying, but I can’t be sure, as I am not home during the day to supervise him. I also just found out that he has been lying to me about finishing his high school diploma online. I try to motivate him to get a job, but he just doesn’t seem to care. He’s not a bad kid. I just find that I am starting to resent working so hard to put a roof over his head when he is doing nothing all day, and then lying to me about it. What can I do to make him care?

—Pulling My Hair Out

Dear “Pulling My Hair Out”:

It may be small comfort, but you are certainly not alone — we hear from so many parents in similar situations through parent coaching. You have worked hard to provide for your child, and expect him to take some responsibility for himself, and to care about becoming independent. But the truth is, most teens don’t think that way — they aren’t yet motivated by the same things adults are. As James Lehman said in his article on Motivating the Unmotivated Child, your teen is motivated — he’s just motivated to do what he wants, not what you want. If you think about it, why should your older child follow through with work or school? If he can live at home, be warm and fed, and have no adult responsibilities, why would he want to change that? With that ideal situation at home, there is no reason to face the challenges and anxieties of becoming an adult.

Instead of trying to get your child to care about work or school, you may have more success if you focus on the rules and expectations for him continuing to live in your home. Spend some time thinking about your expectations, and what the consequences will be for not following those expectations. Choose consequences you will adhere to — it will not be effective if you tell your child he can’t live in your home without a job and he is still there, jobless, 3 months later. Sit down with your teen and let him know what you expect; be clear and direct with your expectations, such as: “You have two weeks to find work; if you do not find work within those two weeks, I will find you a volunteer job. Either way, you need to be working — either volunteer or get for pay — 15 hours a week in order to continue to live here.” Remember, if there is no consequence for not following your expectations, your teen is unlikely to change his behaviors — it’s too easy and too comfortable where he is. Your consequences should make him uncomfortable enough to change his actions. Holding him accountable lets him learn the skills he needs to become an independent adult.

As James mentions in his 3 part series Rules, Boundaries, and Older Children, many teens lack the practical skills to assume adult responsibilities. Their anxieties about becoming independent may keep them from making an effort to find, or keep, a job. For many teens, putting up with mom or dad’s constant pressure is easier to handle than actually putting themselves out into the world. Rather than lecture your child about the benefits of working, focus on the skills your child will need to become a successful, independent adult. Use daily consequences and privileges to help your teen practice those skills.

Offer for FREE Empowering Parents Personal Parenting Plan

Don’t assume your child knows what steps need to be taken — break it down with him: “Given that you have two weeks to find work, we need to come up with a daily schedule — you will need to get up in the morning, get the paper (or look online), and put in three applications a day. When I see evidence of those three applications when I get home in the evening, you can have your computer. If you have no evidence, you don’t get the computer, and you can try again the next day.” Breaking the larger task of finding a job into manageable, daily steps increases his practical knowledge, and it can help to keep both you and your child from coming up on the deadline with no effort made. Combining daily requirements and longer term goals can help your child successfully follow the rules in your home — and be on their way to independence. And, as James says — don’t hold your breath waiting for your teen to appreciate your efforts, or for him to suddenly want to work. These things come with age and with time. Keep your focus on tangible, practical skills and goals, use privileges your child values, and follow through with your consequences.

For more on helping your teen transition from child to independent adult,? be sure to check out the three part series Rules, Boundaries and Older Children.

About

Megan Devine is a licensed clinical therapist, former Empowering Parents Parent Coach, speaker and writer. She is also the bonus-parent to a successfully launched young man. You can find more of her work at refugeingrief.com, where she advocates for new ways to live with grief.

Comments (35)
  • Fiona
    Hmmm, needs computer to apply. What other consequences can be suggested?
  • Finding Freedom

    Most, if not all, of these comments here are missing one key aspect that if you would take a few moments makes sense. Stop forcing your child to be something you think they can be, especially the ones that are 17+. You are doing nothing but making your life harder and more difficult trying to change a person.

    Every one of us has an idea, or an image of what we THINK our child should be or could be. That image almost never will align with how our child sees themselves or views where they are in life.

    Start treating them like the adult they need to be, set boundaries (we all suck at this mostly), set rules and guidelines (they all seem harsh, and are hard to enforce with our kids because, love) and above all give them the runway to fail. You want them to fail, and fail a lot, as this will be the only way at this developmental stage they understand how to succeed.

    Yes, there will be that ONE special child that is just motivated and learns from talking, and has the ability to see perspective...but why are you on this site if that is the case.

    Understand our children learn based on there own single , narrow minded, hyper focused agenda...so force with actions directly or indirectly for that agenda to be either "I want out of this place, I cannot stand all these rules" or "I need this or that and I have no money or things because living here I do not get those.

  • zone65
    I feel defeated. I have 29 year old with mental illness and 20 year old lacking motivation and plans for future. I am single mum and at this point of time my emotional state is terrible. I am afraid to pressure either of them fearing making things worse. Financially IMore am losing capacity to provide for all of us. Tried to talk to 20 years old about this.  He seems to understand the difficulties but does not know how to change anything. I wish I can let go, but I cant. Any advice appreciated
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      zone65 

      It can be really difficult to feel like you are stuck, and

      do not know how to make changes to move forward.  It’s understandable that

      you would be feeling overwhelmed right now.  Something that can be helpful

      is figuring out specific ways that your kids can start contributing to the

      household.  After all, there’s a difference between telling your kids,

      “You have to help out more”, and “You need to pay $200 a month toward bills

      starting on the first of next month.”  You might also consider writing

      down these guidelines in a http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-adult-children.php, so that you and your kids all know what the expectations

      are.  I realize how challenging this can be, and I hope you will let us

      know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

  • worried mom

    I have a 19 yrs old son who just graduated high school. He had part time job and wet to college during high school .but after finished high school he does not want to go back to college,he quit his job because the boss wasn't fair on work scheduled. Now he is straying home play game all night and sleep all day. To day he told me he want to go out with a friend and want to stay over night .I don't like the ideal stay over .last week his dad told him he have 2 week to find himself a job or back to school if he can't get 1 he have to move out of the house. Yesterday he went to the mall to look for job but he got no job yet. last moth I got him a labor work job but he doesn't like it he wasn't even go for an interview.

    What do I need to do to get him in the right direction.

    pleas help.

    worried mom.

  • Aora Smith
    I had to kick out my 18yr old. She has ODD. She did not go back to her therapist. She started smoking pot, drinking and hanging out with bad people and bringing them to my home. Things started disappearing from my house. Then she was caught shoplifting at a groceryMore store. She lies, defied rules and purposely called the police on me to get me in trouble when I kicked her out claiming I stole her clothes from the front porch. Then I see her on facebook wearing her clothes. I raised all my children the same but for some reason this one turned out bad, the other one joined the Navy and is doing great. I feel guilty for kicking her out but scared to take her back home because I live alone and have no one to check up on me. Plus I found out she is living with one of her friends and has a job now. Not sure if I should ask her to come back home or even take her back in the future.
  • D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

    To " Letypadialla": Thank you for writing in. It sounds like you are dealing with some challenging behaviors from your adult son. I am sorry you are going through this. Parenting adult children can offer some unique challenges, such as what, if any, limits and boundaries should be in place. Sometimes, that can be difficult to determine. One of the suggestions Debbie Pincus makes in her article Adult Children Living at Home?

    How to Manage without Going Crazy is to ask yourself the question “What am I ultimately responsible for?” You're not responsible for your son's choices or his behavior, regardless of how you may have parented him when he was younger. We all make mistakes as parents and don't always parent as effectively as we would like to. You did the best you could with the tools you had. It's not going to be beneficial for either of you to continue feeling guilty for choices you made years ago. At this point, your son is an adult and what he decides to do with his life is ultimately up to him. Because he is an adult, any support you give him, financial or otherwise, is your choice. We would suggest deciding what your expectations are for him to continue to live in your home. You can then develop a Living Agreement with your son, as outlined in James Lehman's article Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement? Something to keep in mind is you don't have to continue to provide for him if he is not meeting the rules and expectations of your house. Good luck to you and your family as you continue to address these challenging behaviors. Take care.

  • D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

    To "i give up": Thank you for sharing your story with us. How frustrating it can be for a parent when their child doesn't seem motivated to do anything on their own. I can hear how much you want to help your daughter develop the skills to be a successful adult. We would recommend first taking a step back and allowing her to take on some of those responsibilities for herself. Ultimately, the things you are doing for your daughter are her responsibility and your daughter will have a difficult time doing things for herself if you always step in and do it for her. It can be difficult for a parent to let go of some of the responsibility they feel for whether or not their child is successful because they are afraid their child will fail. This is a fear many parents have. Allowing your child to fail, or be successful, based on their own accomplishments is actually one of the best things a parent can do towards helping their child develop the skills needed to be successful as an adult. James Lehman discusses the benefits of natural consequences in his article Why You Should Let Your Child Fail The Benefits of Natural Consequences.

    As for the disrespect your daughter is showing you, we would suggest setting the limit in the moment and then disengaging. You can follow up after things have calmed down with a task-oriented consequence. For example, the next time your daughter calls you a name or talks disrespectfully to you, you can say something like "It's not OK to talk to me that way" and then turn around and walk away. A little while later, you can implement a task-oriented consequence by saying to her "It's not OK to talk to me disrespectfully. When you show me you can talk to me respectfully for 24 hours, then I will turn your cell phone back on." This is just an example of a consequence; if there is another privilege that may motivate your daughter more, you could use that. We hope this has been beneficial for you and wish you and your family the best. Take care.

  • Letypadialla
    I have a 19 year old son I had him when I was 16 I was young and I lived with my parents I was out all the time with friends I didn't really take care of him for his first 5 years when he was 5 I got marryMore so I move out of my home and I took him with me. When he was 14 the problems at school were very bad he was expeld and start drinking and smoking pot. Then for hi next 4 years till 18 in and out of juvenile detention .now he has not finish high school had a part time job do not pay rent,food or else he goes out mostly every day drink smoke pot he doesn't care what I say I bought a car for him to go to school and work but He goes out and sometimes he doesn't come home to sleep now I take the car keys he doesnt talk to me. I need help
  • i give up
    i have a 17 year old daughter. She works and has a 3.9 gpa plus is in dual enrollment in college. Thats not the problem the problem is that i have to beg and plead for her to get things done such as her homework her documents forMore school. She calls me stupid tells me to shut up and treats me very badly. She lacks motivation in everyway. I have to remind her daily to even put on deodorant and to top it all offf....she is a model and absollutely beautiful....the potential she possess is endless but if i were to fall over dead right now she would truely fail!!! I write her papers do her homework pick out her clothes and even fix her hair. Yes i know this is all my fault i have enabled her in so many ways...but plz help me establish at least some respect from her.
  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

    To Irene: A lot of parents are saddened and frustrated by their young adult child’s behavior. It can be tough to find that balance of “adult” and “child”; that is, figuring out how much responsibility to expect and what is the right amount of help to give. It may be helpful for you to figure out what your own boundaries are, and what your goal is for your son. Is your goal to have him move out on his own? Is it to have him contribute financially to the household? Is it simply having him stop asking you for money? Once you determine your goal, it is easier to figure out the steps to get there. We do advise letting your son experience the natural consequences of his actions. While it is hard to watch your child struggle, these types of consequences can be the best teachers and motivators for change. For example, if he runs out of money before his next paycheck, let him experience the discomfort of not having any money. If he knows that you will always be there to give him more money, he has no motivation to learn how to manage his money more effectively. I am including links to an article series I think you might find helpful:
    Failure to Launch, Part 1: Why So Many Adult Kids Still Live with Their Parents
    Failure to Launch, Part 2: How Adult Children Work the "Parent System"
    Failure to Launch, Part 3: Six Steps to Help Your Adult Child Move Out
    Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this.

  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor
    To 'ma8802': It can be so frustrating to feel like you are a warden rather than a mom. Many times, young adult children feel overwhelmed by the prospect of leaving a parent’s home and going out into the “real world”. It is much easier to stay at homeMore and play video games than search for a job, and possibly gain more responsibility. In this electronic age, your son may not know the steps of applying for a job in person. He may need guidance and some help in problem solving around that. You may also want to tighten your requirements for him around his daily or weekly job search. For example, you may want to require that he apply for a certain number of jobs each week in person, or ask about job-seeking assistance at your local Career Center or job bank periodically. I am including links to an article series I think you might find helpful:
    Failure to Launch, Part 1: Why So Many Adult Kids Still Live with Their Parents
    Failure to Launch, Part 2: How Adult Children Work the "Parent System"
    Failure to Launch, Part 3: Six Steps to Help Your Adult Child Move Out.
    Good luck to you and your son as you continue to work through this.
  • ma8802

    Ok I read through this entire page (article and comments). There is a lot of great stuff in here. However, I have a 19 year old son who fills out between 3 and 15 applications a week online. He refuses to follow up on jobs and when he says he has followed up on a job, every response is exactly the same. I have heard the same thing from him for 8 months now. All he does is sit around and play video games. I write up chores for him every day and he is not allowed to touch my electronics unless they are done. His daily list includes following up on jobs he has applied for and applying for new jobs. But he does not leave the house. I am at my wits end. He is driving me crazy. I have stuck to guns about him getting through the steps of finding a job or there are consequences and yet he is still sitting at home playing video games 20 hours a day. He has his own computer. At 19 years old, I can't take that away from him. I've taken everything else away...car, internet access, etc but he will still sit at his computer and play games all day. He does not take care of himself, his acne is horrible....ugh. It feels like I am running a prison instead of a home. How can I help motivate him to take care of himself, to go out and be an active young man in the world and to find a job? Please help me.

    Thank you,

    Lost Mom

  • Irene

    I have a son aged 20. He's working but still financially depending on me because no matter how much he earns, he will spend it all before the next pay. He used to go out with his friends every night and comes back at 2-3am and as a result of that he skipped work on and off due to not enough sleep. I always advised him not to mix with this group of friends(he has many friends) coz by coming back late every night will affect his work and thus may cause him to be fired but he always turned a deaf ear on me.

    When he was a student he used to skip school, ran away from home 3 times and I managed to find him back. I had a lot of stress at that time from my son as well as from my husband. He always want me to control our son. Now he is an adult child and he will be very happy to stay out even though he's not financially independent but the problem is that my husband will not agree to it.

    My son really has a disciplinary problem and I do not know what to do.

    Please help.

    Please help.

  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor
    To 'yiya2t': It can be so frustrating to have young adults living with you when they appear to be unmotivated and unwilling to do things like getting a job. What we recommend when you have an adult child living with you is developing what James Lehman called a livingMore agreement. Basically, this is a document which outlines what your expectations are for his behavior while he is living in your home. You could include things such as filling out a specific number of job applications each day in order to earn a privilege such as using the car, or access to a cell phone. We also advise that in blended families, the biological parent take the lead in enforcing house rules, and the stepparent take on more of a supporting role. What this means is that you would enforce the agreement that outlines your son’s behavior, and your husband would take more of a backseat in terms of discipline. I am including links to some articles I think you might find helpful:
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III
    Blended Family? The 5 Secrets of Effective Stepparenting
    Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this.
  • yiya2t
    We are a blended family of six and my husband is a police officer and my son is 19 years old and doesn't like him due to him policing the home and being hard on him about everything. this is causing problems for the other four of us in theMore house. My husband helped get him a job and he was doing great unless two weeks ago they fired him. Now trying to get him a job is torture. He cannot stay anywhere until he gets a job and has to be in earlier than normal until he gets a job. When he gets a job, he can stay out over nite with longer curfew. You would think that he would jump on it but instead he's lazy and not willing to do anything. I am really ready to pull my hair out, help.
  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor
    To Mike: It sounds like the situation with your son is really frustrating to you and your wife. It also sounds like you are doing a lot of things that we recommend, for example setting out a timeline for when he will be expected to move out. WeMore recommend setting up what James Lehman calls a “living agreement”, which is basically your expectations of his behavior while he is staying in your home. You do have the right to set up rules for your household, such as requiring that he fill out a certain number of job applications each day in order to earn a privilege that you provide as parents (such as use of a car). If he is working currently, then he might take on the responsibility of paying for his phone, or paying you a set amount each paycheck for food and lodging. You may also consider requiring him to do certain chores around the house as a condition of staying there. As laws vary from location to location, you may want to do some research on what may be required to remove your son from your home, should it come to that point. I am including a link to the article series that James wrote about adult children living at home:
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II: In Response to Questions about Older Children Living at Home
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement?
    Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this.
  • Mike

    I have been married for over 30 years and have lived in my home for 25 years.

    THE PROBLEM:

    Our son has moved back because of the recession and job laybacks. There are several problems this has caused:

    1) Cost - basically the costs for his food, lodging, bills to keep his phone on so he can get a better job that his current part time min wage job, plus many other cost is mounting and becoming a noticable HARDSHIP.

    2) Rules - often when adults move back they have their lifestyles and we, as parents have ours (we use to be empty nesters), house rules is a full time conflict. My wife and I struggle with how much care is too much, and how to keep the kid from playing one parent off the other in order to get the most out of a situation.

    3) Social problems: my son like to have friends, play video games and live a lifestyle that many young adults have --- I want him to set social life aside (or atleast reduce it) and focus on getting a higher job and making more money so I don't pay for the majority of cost. I can only provide care for a set amount of time and HE NEEDS to make the most of that time and stop wasting time.

    4) Getting him to move -- he has been at my home for 9 months, I have said that he has to fix his life and move at or before he turns 30 which is 9 months away (sept 2012). Setting a timeline is important - I can not afford to offer more than 18 months of care because of cost and because having a guest for more than 18 months is more than we can endure. I know now, that he will be upset if he has to move, all the care and cost I provide, will be drowned out because I will not let him stay for as long as "HE WANTS".... I can not do that - he must be self reliant sometime in the near future. He has suggested that he will stay as long as he wants and we would have to evict him -- I wish we wouldn't have to do that but -- we can not provide lifetime entitlements.

    MANY YOUTH are feeling like the government, society or families owe them and they are willing to protest to get what they want (LOOK AT THE 99% park protestors!)

    How do I keep the peace. not be wiped out financially or disrupt my marriage while he lives with us?

    This is situation hard on us. We want to help him up NOT hold him up from moving on and sometimes I feel the aid and care is doing more harm than good.

    Actually, I feel that the care we offer will never be enough!

    ANY ADVISE IS APPRECIATED.

  • Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor
    To ‘JennieMom’: I can tell you are very frustrated with the decisions your daughter has been making, and I’m glad to hear that she works and pays rent—that’s a really good start and demonstrates that she does have some ability to be responsible. At this point you might set someMore clear expectations regarding what she needs to be doing around your home to help out. If there are any privileges you provide, you can use those to hold her accountable. If not, James Lehman does suggest that one consequence you can use with this age group is having them leave your home for 24-48 hours. Here is a series of articles in which James gives many helpful ideas and suggestions for adult children. We wish you luck as you continue to work through this.
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement?
  • JennieMom
    My 19 year old daughter came to live with me after years of living with her Father. In the Last few years of highschool a once good student barely graduated high school and I had to intervine in the last few weeks just to make that happen. I went upMore to go get her spent time talking to her, and we worked on her projects the school generously gave her in order for her to complete high school. After that weekend she muddled through and stayed put and finished school. She was going to quit and move in with FRIENDS. After graduation, we moved her here, set her up with college, gave her a basic room, gave her some rules, she broke rules, lied habitually, flunked out of 2 semesters of community collge, lied more, chased more boys, got pregnant, etc. I made up a agreement again, she signed it, she got a job, pays rent, does nothing else unless prompted or asked. Still lies, still has to be in love with a boy, has no ambition besides movies and internet and boys. I am so afraid for her, for her future if she continues like this. She seems to enjoy living beyond reality, she does not seem to get it at all. WHAT CAN I DO BESISDES PUT HER OUT??? SHE did go to a therapist we cannot afford it anymore neither can she.
  • Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor
    Hi Brian: It sounds to me like you have really been frustrated with your son and that you have been very clear with him about your expectations. You even established a very clear structure for him to follow in order to help him be successful in meeting your expectations thatMore he get a job. The program that you describe sounds like it might be really helpful. Ultimately, whether or not you drop him off there is up to you. We do often recommend that parents look for support and resources in their local area, and this is an example of a resource you have found that just might help. The only other thing you could try is to continue with your clear expectations and have a weekly check-in with your son. At the weekly check-in you discuss how he did in meeting the goal for the week. If he did well, you talk about the next week. If he didn’t, he’s out for 24-48 hours and must have a discussion about what he will do differently next week in order to accomplish the goal and be allowed back in your home. James Lehman talks about living agreements in his 3-part series on adult children, included below. It could be helpful to review if your son is still at home now. We know this is hard, and we wish you luck as you continue to work through this. Take care.
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III
  • Brian
    see my above perdiciment and give me some advice please
  • Brian
    i am a 50 yr old parent of a 19 yr old ,as I have been reading I am finding myself more irratated with my son than ever. I have tried the job thing he was fired in less than two months. We my Wife ,his step mother and IMore have had several talks about the mistakes we as adults make and that mistakes are an opportunity to learn. I have given Him money twice in the last three weeks and each time I have explained to Him this money is for the things you may need while job searching.Our rule is out by nolater than 10am and home after 4hrs of job searchibg putting in aplications. After two months this kid still has not found one single job, He says he's been to every fast food place to the malls which are abundnt around our home, at least 5 with at least 25 to 50 stores and fast food restaraunts, today was the final straw I had given him some money and again my exact words are this is money for things you need not just want, Not two hrs later I get a call from my step son saying he wants to give me all the rest of the money you gave him for a ride home from a family members house when I will be picking them up in the morning aroud eight when I get off work work, I then had His Step Mother get my money back from him and at the end of the weekend I am going to take him to a homless shelter where they have a work program and a place to stay that is warm and clean and feed you all your meals as long as you get in one of the programs they offer, I am doing thid because I love him and for the last six months he has been doing just the bare minimum to get by at our home and I feel like after this last instance with the money again He needs to learn how to save money and this homeless shelter actually gives you back the money you pay them in the work program when you have complted it oe untill you have enough money to get your own place car and help with all of those needs. I will help him if he can do this program and save his money and will help him find a nice car apartment whatever He needs as long as He is willing to put forth some effort on his part. This is how I learned about life and being responsiable for myself as I was spoiled rotten and like him had no value on money and it has taken me 15yrs to learn how to live and be happy as a responsiable adult. I truely hope this is the right thing to do because we to are at our wits end and have set him down with the rules and expectations of what we ask of him and he just dosen't seem to care. And continues to ignore every thing we sugest to him or when we give consequences he just dosen't care and we are done being disrespected and used in our own home. Thanks for any feed back and any is more then welcome six months of talks and patience and rules has gotten os 0 results.no hair left to pull out
  • thishelps
    My experience is that I would wear down after awhile because the kids work their program constantly. This is a good mentoring tool to keep us on task.
  • thishelps
    These suggestions work and we all need to keep on top of it.
  • I don't speak boy!

    I am the mother of a 15-year-old boy. He wants to call me by my first name. I protest and yet he still does. He wears his pants hanging off his butt. I protest. He still does. He told me he needs the space. The more I complain the lower he wears them.

    He has always been very smart and in all the advanced classes at school. He started High School this year and he has been getting C’s and actually came close to failing some classes. He still has his old group of friends from all the advanced classes, but he has found himself with new friends, older friends who smoke pot, drink and hang out at the mall.

    He thinks I am wrong to ask him if he has done his homework and demand it get done before he goes out. He goes into his room and closes his door. I have asked him to do his homework in the kitchen so I can see him do it. The report card indicates he is missing assignments in every class. He will not allow me to see the homework.

    He thinks his Facebook page is none of my business. He blocked me. I have taken away his laptop and phone only to return it when the behavior got better. Then it gets really bad and we are back to square one.

    That was 3 months ago. Things have gotten worse!

    He has become violent, destructive, withdrew even more. Stays out late and won’t abide by rules or boundaries.

    We have been with 3 different therapists for the past 3 months; one in School, one in the house, and one that we go to see. He hates it and feels they are useless (he is right). His behavior has worsened. The only reason he is not repeating 9th grade is because he did so well in the beginning of the year and his grades get averaged.

    I am investing a lot in “The Total Transformation” because this is the first time I am hearing why my son is behaving this way, what I have been doing to perpetuate and even help to worsen the situation. I am only on the 3rd CD at this point but already I feel a sense of relief that I will gain the tools to rescue my son and our family!

    I wish I could have met James in person! Clearly his work will continue to help families, and that is a great legacy!

  • Megan, PSL Advisor
    Marrying into a whole family presents such challenges at times. Unfortunately, there is no "magic" answer to your question. Money and parenting are big issues in many relationships. It sounds like you have discussed your feelings with your husband, and have not come to a mutually satisfying decision. While weMore cannot get into specific marital issues here on EP, you might consider discussing your financial situation with the help of a couples' counselor. When all of the finances are shared, and you disagree on how those finances are used, resentment can creep into your relationship. You might also check out another program offered by James Lehman called "Two Parents, One Plan". Here is the link: https://store.empoweringparents.com/two-parents-one-plan.html
  • nrkc52
    My husband and I married 4 years ago (both of us previously married with grown children). I moved from Texas to Georgia where is family is located. My children remained in Texas & Nevada (son is in Air Force). My children are 25 & 30. HisMore are 24 & 27. We have spent over $7000 in the last 4 years bailing one out of jail, attorney fees, setting the other up after a divorce, her divorce fees, medical bills, car repairs, the list goes on. My children are independent. They don't make alot of money, but they can pay their bills. I love my husband, but he makes excuses for every situation his children get in. His oldest & her 7 yr old have just moved in with us. Although we agreed to this move (because she will then be forced to pay for her expenses that she has not been able to accomplish), it's still a distressing situation for me. I resent his children now; however I know he is enabling them to behave in this way. Yes, we have talked alot about it & have had counselling sessions over it. Nothing has changed & will probably never change. How do I change so that I can be at peace and continue to love my husband?
  • sstretch

    I had a 20+ that returned home after breaking up with

    boyfriend and going to school at ITT Tech. She had to

    repeat several expensive courses to finish degree because

    she got depressed. Then I found out she had quit job

    too. Luckily she finally got motivated and joined the

    Marine Corps and now they keep her motivated. The thing

    that seemed to work a little for me --- make being home

    as UNCOMFORTABLE as you can. Wake them up early, if they

    don't do the "chores" you have set up --- cleaning or

    dishes --- be firm --- I took dirty dishes up and put

    them in her bed. Next time she was told to do them, they

    got done. Don't give them money without first setting

    up what they have to COMPLETE BEFORE you hand

    over the money. If you charge them rent and they are

    paying it ---- I was able to put this in a separate

    account and when she left home --- I gave her this in

    a lump sum to help establish herself. This is very hard

    to deal with.

    I have a 16 year old step-son that can

    only learn things the hard way and he is much more

    bull headed than my daughter was. It does not help that

    the emotional parent/child love bond is not present

    either. When you join someone's life at 13 and they

    give you the bad teenage attitude, it is very hard to

    see the good side of this person. I try most times to

    deal with his father and then I become the enforcer when

    Dad is at work. Not ideal, but seems to be working for

    us. He will be one to quit school soon and what do we do

    from there???? We will keep at it and try to help until

    he turns 18 and then he may have to continue to learn

    life's lessons on his own the hard way --- living some

    where else.

  • megan

    Thanks for commenting everyone. Helping our older teens to develop grown up skills is not an easy job!

    Neena - I'm sorry the situation turned out to have such lasting effects, especially as that wasn't your intention. The truth is though, it is not your fault your grandson has a misdemeanor on his record; the choices he made created the situation, and he is solely responsible for the consequences. You might encourage him to seek job counseling or coaching - these professionals help people with criminal records to find employment. No matter what happened in the past, he has a choice as to how he lives his life now.

  • Neena
    My then 21 year old grandson used my debit card without my permission on several occasions to the tune of $900,at the coaching of his"friends". I had made the card available to him in order for him to do errands for me. so it was not stolen. In order toMore teach him a lesson, I reported it to the police who referred it to the A.G. Even though I asked that he not be prosecuted, they did and he now has a misdemeanor on his record. This was almost two and a half years ago. He is now 25 and has not been able to get a job. My intent was to teach him a lesson. So, be careful because the punishment may not fit the crime.
  • lessons learned

    I have found that until kids (or we for that matter) have done "it" for ourselves it's difficult for us to appreciate "it" being done for us.

    When necessary we all tend to rise to the occasion. I think if our kids see that their skill or income etc. is truly necessary they get motivated and receive personal satisfaction in contributing.

    Satisfaction raises their self esteem and increases their desire to contribute. Interestingly enough their devotion to what or whoever they are contributing to increases as well.

  • Susan Engel
    Wow -- what a predicament! My heart goes out to the parent who submitted this situation, as well as to those who are in a similar boat. The recommendations here are pointed and sound quite appropriate. Of course, sometimes these are frequently easier said than done ...More Tough love is ... well ... tough! I wish the utmost in courage and strength to parents confronted with this predicament!
  • JC
    This is a very good response and I needed these pointers; this sounds very similar to my 20-year old; and it seems like the more they are at home, the more they get more comfortable and lazy.
  • Christina
    There's some great advice here -- I hope you take it heart, and that you can work everything out with your son.
Advertisement for Empowering Parents Total Transformation Online Package
Like What You're Reading?
Sign up for our newsletter and get immediate access to a FREE eBook, 5 Ways to Fix Disrespectful Behavior Now
We will not share your information with anyone. Terms of Use
×