This article is the first in a 3-part series by Kim Abraham, LMSW and Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW on the growing problem of adult children living at home.

Are you one of the millions of frustrated, exhausted parents whose unmotivated adult child still lives at home with you?

Like many in this situation, you might be feeling resentful that your adult son seems to think he’s entitled to meals, laundry, and gas money when he does nothing but sleep and party.

Or you might get frustrated and angry when your 20-year-old daughter doesn’t help around the house or even take the time to thank you for what you’re doing for her.

When your kids were little, you probably expected them to live on their own one day. So why does your child seem incapable of moving out? And how do you handle it when they don’t?

Failing to Launch is an Epidemic

So many Empowering Parents readers have written in asking questions about the challenges they face with their adult child who is still living at home. We’ve heard from parents whose kids are verbally abusive, disrespectful, and entitled. The parents often ask, “Wasn’t this supposed to end at age 18? Why is he still acting like a surly teenager?”

Often, parents who’ve counted the days to a child’s 18th birthday, looking forward to their own freedom, find themselves wondering just when that countdown will end. Twenty? Twenty–five? Thirty?

Adult kids living at home is called the “failure to launch” problem, and it’s an epidemic these days. Before we can look at how to help an adult child move on toward independence, it’s important to understand how our society got here in the first place.

Parenting According to the 1970s

In 1974, a quaint little show called Little House on the Prairie began its run on network television in the United States. It followed the life of a family and a young girl named Laura, who grew up on the American frontier in the 1800s. The show was immensely popular.

Each week, Laura encountered a new situation that offered opportunities for her to learn about life, develop values and morals, and take responsibility.

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Often, she had conflicts with the local bully, a mean girl named Nellie. Laura experienced heartache—she fell in love with a boy who didn’t love her back. And, Laura’s family struggled just to survive. A pair of new shoes and a piece of chalk for school were luxuries to be celebrated.

Laura always respected her parents. And, most importantly, each child had an important purpose and a role in the family. Laura helped her mother care for the younger children. Laura’s older sister was the seamstress. And everyone pitched in to help with the farm and animals.

At this time, no law required children to attend school, and school was considered a luxury and a privilege. Laura did her homework nightly because she wanted to learn, and because it was expected.

Throughout the show, Laura’s parents allowed her to experience struggles. As a result, Laura learned how to overcome adversity on her own. Laura learned how to handle mean girls without getting her parents involved. “Work it out,” was the message Laura received consistently from her parents.

Parenting According to the 1980s and 1990s

Fast forward to the 1980s and 1990s. Many of today’s parents grew up during this time. A movie called Parenthood was popular. It was a film about the joys, anxieties, and ups and downs of parenthood. It was also a movie that subtly showed how society had begun to change its views regarding the roles of parents and children.

One of the characters, Larry, is an adult child who has returned to his parents’ home. He returns with thousands of dollars in gambling debt and a small child to raise. Larry is offended when his father suggests he get a regular job, with no potential for a quick payoff and riches. “I’m better than that,” Larry says.

The end of the film shows Larry’s father, a man in his sixties, putting off retirement so that he can pay off his son’s debts and raise his new grandchild that Larry has neglected and left with him. Meanwhile, Larry embarks on another fruitless get–rich–quick scheme.

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In the movie, Larry was never forced to take responsibility for his mistakes. As a result, he never learned from his mistakes either. Larry’s father, in one scene, describes his view of parenthood to another of his sons: “It’s not like it all ends when your child is eighteen or twenty–one or forty–one or sixty–one. It never ends.”

This theme wasn’t just part of a movie. It was a reflection of how times were starting to change in our society. Larry was 33 years old, and his father still believed it was his job to fix his son’s mistakes.

The 2000s: Failure to Launch

The parenting movie of the 2000s was a romantic comedy called Failure to Launch. The film depicts the life of a man in his thirties who is the modern version of Peter Pan—he never grows up. He has no idea how to commit to a real relationship and is perfectly comfortable living with his parents. His parents are not at all pleased with the arrangement, though.

To help their son, the parents hire a beautiful woman who makes her living doing guess what? Building a man’s self–confidence by creating a crisis that he can successfully resolve, thus gaining the skills he needs to make it on his own.

Her job is to help grown men accomplish what they never did in adolescence or early adulthood, which is to live independently. Again, our society’s view of family life is depicted through the media and shows us finally reaping what we’ve been sowing—the long–term results of doing too much for our children, rather than letting them do for themselves.

While the movie is funny and has a happy ending, in real–life, there’s nothing funny about your adult child living in your home because they’re unable or unwilling to live on their own.

Life Lessons Lost

Think back to when you were a child. If you grew up a generation ago, you probably played outside until the street lights came on. All the adults in the neighborhood had the authority to reprimand you, and you truly cared if you heard the words, “I’m going to have to tell your parents about your behavior.”

In those days, if you experienced conflict with other kids and complained to your parents, you heard something like, “Well, work it out.” And that’s what you did—you learned how to resolve conflict.

You also learned that life isn’t always fair, and it isn’t always comfortable. You learned to deal with anger and anxiety. Often, you were disappointed and frustrated. And sometimes you were bored. Nevertheless, you learned to cope and survive these emotions, as painful as they were.

And you also learned about natural consequences. If you didn’t do your homework, you likely failed, because that’s a consequence of not completing your work. Some kids passed to the next grade. Some kids didn’t.

You had chores, and you didn’t necessarily get an allowance. You couldn’t wait to grow up so you could make your own rules and have your own place. Living with your parent’s rules made you uncomfortable enough that you wanted to leave someday.

Every day of your childhood and adolescence took you a step closer to having the skills you needed to do just that—leave home. Childhood and adolescence were a time of gradually gaining independence so you could one day live as a productive, independent adult.

Today’s Generation — No One Can Be Uncomfortable

Since the 1990s, we’ve seen a boom in technology: smartphones, computers, gaming, and social media. It’s a whole new world, one that doesn’t require much imagination. There’s no need to invent games now, just turn on the Xbox. Instant gratification has taken on a whole new meaning. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable in today’s world. And there’s no reason to be bored.

As we’ve become more comfortable with technology, our society has also shifted to the extreme of simply not wanting to be uncomfortable at all. And we’ve passed that on to our children. Many of us want our children to have better lives than we had, even if we had it pretty good. We hate to see our kids suffer.

If you ask any parent, their wish for their child is almost always for them to be happy. Unfortunately, we spend too much of our time trying to make that happen for our kids. We involve them in activities. We get involved in their academics. If our child gets a teacher he doesn’t like, what’s our first instinct? Call the school and get his room changed.

We even get involved in their peer relationships. Indeed, many parents today will not hesitate to call the school if a child has a conflict with a peer. Sometimes this is warranted, especially in a bullying situation. But many times, it’s parents stepping in to solve a problem better left to their child.

These things can be helpful in moderation. And an involved parent is generally a good thing. But as a society, we’ve gone to the extreme. And the increasing number of adult children living at home is the consequence.

We’ve Become the Caretakers of Our Kids

Over time, our kids stopped learning to solve problems for themselves. They stopped learning how to entertain themselves. And they look to adults to fix things for them. Parents may help their kids out of love and with the best of intentions, but over time we’ve gone from caring for our children, to caretaking.

Caretaking is anything we do for our children that they can do for themselves. It means fixing or solving a problem for your child rather than teaching or showing him how to do so himself. Caretaking means doing your child’s homework for him so he won’t fail. It might mean cleaning your child’s room because it’s easier, and it will be done right if we do it.

While caring for our children is a good, positive thing, understand that when it becomes caretaking, it stunts your child’s growth. Skills he could have learned as a young child or adolescent get delayed into his twenties or thirties. Or maybe never.

Kids Who Haven’t Struggled Aren’t Prepared for Adulthood

Today, young adults struggle to find their way—both emotionally and financially. They’ve entered adulthood ill-equipped to cope with disappointment. If they get turned down for a job, they give up. They haven’t learned persistence, and they haven’t learned to deal with adversity. They can’t manage the day–to–day responsibilities and inevitable conflicts of a marriage.

Many young adults in today’s generation tend to have unreasonable expectations for employers. They wonder what their employer is going to do for them rather than the other way around. And they have little tolerance for the needs of others when those needs conflict with their own. They believe they’re entitled to material things even if they can’t afford them.

Sadly, during childhood and adolescence, the primary coping skill many kids have learned is to go to their parents when there’s a problem. But when they enter adulthood and mom or dad isn’t there to fix things, they don’t know what to do. They come back to the one coping skill they’ve learned—ask mom and dad for help. Or worse, insist that mom and dad are obligated to help them.

Many of these kids remain at home, on the couch, playing video games. Their parents step in and pay rent and utilities, buy their food, and pay their insurance. This caretaking can go on into their twenties, thirties, and even longer.

Add substance abuse to the mix, and the caretaking mode we go into shifts into high gear. No matter what age our child may be, we feel driven to save them from the risks of drinking or using drugs.

We knew a 99–year–old woman whose son continued to live with her until he was 67 years old. At the age of 96, she was out mowing her lawn while her son sat on the couch. He was her baby, and he remained so forever.

Good Intentions Don’t Always Get Good Results

Many of the questions we get from parents mention the struggles of dealing with adult children who exhibit oppositional defiant characteristics, abuse substances, or display a basic resistance to growing up. These parents are not alone.

It’s helpful to realize that this is a reflection of how our society has gone to the extreme of caretaking for others, not just our children but even for our spouses or other loved ones.

Although caretaking behavior is borne out of love, an unhealthy caretaking cycle can develop. The child experiences stress, and the parent intervenes, fixing or resolving the situation. The child learns to look outside himself for coping skills, in the form of the parent. And so the cycle goes on into adulthood.

The key to breaking this cycle is to help your child with internal coping skills. Help your child foster a sense of self–confidence. And let your child experience discomfort for himself so that he learns he can be uncomfortable and still survive.

In our next article in this series, we’ll look at how to overcome the challenges of helping launch your adult child into the real world—without having to hire an actress to help you!

Failure to Launch, Part 2: How Adult Children Work the “Parent System”

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About and

Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner are the co-creators of The ODD Lifeline® for parents of Oppositional, Defiant kids, and Life Over the Influence™, a program that helps families struggling with substance abuse issues (both programs are included in The Total Transformation® Online Package). Kimberly Abraham, LMSW, has worked with children and families for more than 25 years. She specializes in working with teens with behavioral disorders, and has also raised a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, is the mother of four and has been a therapist for 15 years. She works with children and families and has in-depth training in the area of substance abuse. Kim and Marney are also the co-creators of their first children's book, Daisy: The True Story of an Amazing 3-Legged Chinchilla, which teaches the value of embracing differences and was the winner of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Children's Storybook Cover Design Award.

Comments (92)
  • Nate

    Ugh...I am fearing our son might be on the same path. He has always been behind his peers "emotionally", so I am hoping he grows out of this soon. He is 19. He is currently enrolled in college, at the local junior college, but he has failed the previous 3 semesters. He did not do well in high school at all, though he is incredibly bright. It was like pulling teeth to get him to graduate. There seems to be nothing that interests him. He says the military, but he blames us for not letting him join when he graduated high school (which he was 17). We sent him away to college, paid for entirely for the first year by us, then he failed every single class. He came home, we found out he has dabbled with weed and smoking. (He uses this as his reasons he is angry - because of nicotine withdrawals, because he is trying to quit). He does not know what he wants to do, everything seems to be an excuse. The silver lining is he can work, and has, but he claims to have anxiety (he has a hard time talking to people). He has not had a girlfriend. His friends are online through his games, etc. He has 2 solid friends in our neighborhood - one appears to be going down the same path, the other friend is away at college. Then my son gets bitter about it being our fault that he failed because he was so far away from us when he went to another state for college. The other silver lining is he has zero problem helping around the house, he is respectful 90% of the time, and a sweet kid. He will just not make a choice to make a decision. He makes goals, but does not see them to fruition.

    I feel for the parents on this blog, and it sounds like our stories are the same. I often ponder what have we done to our society of boys?

  • Bluenile0516
    My 23yrs old son is going to school and have a part time job after he discharged from the 3yrs of service. I have been supporting him for last 2 and half yrs but he just will not leave home or do anything to contribute around the house. If IMore said something he become defensive and give bunch of excuses meanwhile I work 2jobs to support him. I want to downsize house and move on:(
  • Sharon
    My eldest did what she needed to do (college degree, job and all that), but she still lives at home which I wouldn’t mind so much if she didn’t take the entitlement position. After she finished her BA and almost finished her Master’s AND when she was making a significantMore amount of money, I told her that she needed to contribute to the household expenses. A very modest sum that is nothing compared to what she would spend if she were on her own or even sharing an apartment. While she does pony up, she thinks we are being unreasonable and nobody else she knows has to pay rent to their parents and is constantly suggesting that we are overcharging her. Of course, my first suggestion was to move in with her friends’ parents since they don’t mind having a freeloader around. The next thing I did was create a value list of monthly household expenses—-which I modestly estimated. Then I showed her that she is paying less than half of that. She KNOWS what she’s getting here but she’s not grateful and that’s what I don’t like. And she also complains about the few chores she’s asked to do and constantly complains about what her younger brother is doing or not doing as if that matters. Empowering parents has given me the tools to figure this out and deal with it. I love my kid dearly and love having her around, but the sense of entitlement absolutely repels me. This is a great article BTW.
  • Wesley

    Thank you so much for creating this place for parents. It’s a great article. I guess my two cents is this: we did not raise our son to be a freeloader. When Covid happened. I believe part blame goes to the schools and the state mandates. Telling our students to stay home and go to school through online sources virtual classrooms. It made them very lazy. And then when they come back to school they have all this entitlement and privileges coddling of them as though they are children when they are really of adult age. The other problem is I believe now that I have a four year university degree, I will just wait for that brass ring and the golden ticket to come to me. I’m not going to get a JOB because that is beneath me. I deserve something better I want to school for four years I want my reward. At least that’s the mentality I see. They will not go out and get a job. Instead they pick up small opportunities that are in relation to their degree. I support the pursuit of the degree and do what you love but in the meantime thinking that you cannot get a job because greater things are awaiting you because you have a four year degree? In the meantime are you not going to work and bring home any income? If you can’t afford to move out isn’t that a red flag you might need to go out and actually work hard. Here’s one kicker for you my son tells me when I move out of here I’m gonna move in with my girlfriends parents. My question is did you go to university to end up like this? If any of you have watched failure to lunch with Matthew McConaughey, I am living it. My nickname for my son is Tripp.

    Universities have told our kids work smart not hard don’t lower your standards and have a trivial job. That is a bunch of BS. They can work hard and they can work smart at the same time. But they need to have a reason to work hard and get out. This is a generation that does not hold the values that the previous generations have had. Period I think it’s hard on our marriage. There are double standards, and for some reason our 23-year-old seems to feel he is exempt from everything else except that he can do what makes him happy. This is definitely a wedge between my wife and I.

    • Polo

      Hi Wesley. I'm your son's age. Your son is actually ahead of the game by having 1. a college degree and 2. a girlfriend. I have neither. See, could be worse.

      Your observations about modern society are pretty accurate but I don't understand why parents are always BLAMING US for that. We hate it more than you do. We can't afford to live independently. Where I am, working minimum wage, you have to work 145 hours to afford one month's rent. It's no wonder that we'd rather just try to enjoy our youth.

  • Alibongo
    Thankyou thankyou thankyou at last I have found you
  • Debwb
    After years of drugs and partying and not holding a job for long, my 35 year old daughter is now bed bound due to several health issues and left her job as a nurse over 12 months ago. She has a lovely rented apartment which she now hates, and spendsMore time with me because her place is " too hot and sunny". When specialists I pay for can't diagnose a particular health problem, she pouts and sulks for days and refuses to get her tests done. We are currently looking for another place for her and her dog as she wants her own space, but I will be helping her financially for quite some time and need to be patient because of the outbursts and tears if I say something she doesn't want to hear. My other 34 year old has also had a life of fun, parties and drugs. She has an 8 year old son who I love very much and want to see do well in life and get a great education, just like I did with my girls. But I am constantly harassed to buy her a home and help her financially, when I have done this her entire life. Her stepfather and I help with rent and bills, and recently bought her a new car- she is still not happy with the car or where she lives. I have reached a point where I don't look forward to seeing them anymore- I'm constantly barraged with complaints and demands and start to feel anxious and physically ill when they visit. I'm 66 now and we want to enjoy our lives and be free of all these demands, which have gone on since they were teenagers. I decided today I will not put myself through this anymore- enough is enough! Let them block my calls,not speak to me or refuse to visit- all this sounds like a blessing! I tried to bring up my family to be kind, respectful and responsible- I did my very best and now it's up to them to sort out their own lives.
  • Chris
    This all sounds really familiar to me. I'm 35 and have lived all over the US and world. But my brother is 32 and never left my parents house. He has never had a full time job, just works part time at an ice rink for last 14 years. HeMore does nothing, just lays in the basement all day. Doesn't exercise, has no friends, no connections, hasn't had a girlfriend since high school. My parents have money and he knows it. He sees no reason to get a job and be an adult when he can live in the basement and survive off of my parents money and the future inheritance money. He says he's depressed and has social anxiety, but he's never been diagnosed. Even though my parents have offered to pay for counseling he doesn't want to go. My parents are getting old and I don't want him to be my problem in the future. We have no other family, so it's just me. He thinks he's entitled to all the inheritance money because I can support myself. He sees no reason to get a job or do anything. I've tried to talk to my mom about this but she can't bear the thought of kicking him out. My dad agrees with me that they have to cut him off financially. But my mom worries that if they kick him out he will become suicidal. We really don't know what to do. If there are other parents/brothers going through a similar situation we would love to speak with you and share thoughts and ideas!
  • Over it MOM
    My 20yr daughter lives at home, doesn't drive, no school, part time job (that she hasn't been to in over a month) lives in a very messy room, doesn't listen to directions, sleeps until the afternoon(even though I've told her she needs to wake up at 9am)is always in PJs.More She has no motivation and waits for everyone else to do things for her. I've given her 2 years to either go to school or get a full time job. I got her a therapist that she doesn't go to. Paid half of driving school. She has a car only when she's licensed and insured). I tell her to do things and either she takes all day to do 1 thing, does a half assed job or ignores it completely. while attending her brothers navy boot camp graduation,she "fell" down the stairs and has a hairline fracture on her leg. The kicker is, later that day I went on her snap chat and she's having a great time with her friend dancing in my living room. Pretending to get high smoking a vape. Of course she did the same "I'm sorry routine" and cried. I'm at the end of my rope. I turned her internet and date off today. We hid all TV remotes and put a lock on the fridge. I'm afraid that I kick her out she goes to her alcoholic dad and becomes what he is. That's my worst fear.
    Another thing-most jobs require more education than ever, so kids are staying home for those extra years. But university doesn't always prepare students for real life. When school starts at noon or you can skip classes that doesn't prepare one for a full time job, and many studentsMore graduate with lots of debt. Also, parents and teachers always encouraged kids to go to university instead of trade school. Trade jobs pay well and require discipline. Frankly, we were told that if we didn't go to university we would end up as nothing, and now many return to college for hands-on training. University is good if you plan on being a professional, not just for the sake of having a degree. Many graduate without the skills required for everyday living.
  • Monsoon
    This is a great piece of writing and I am so glad it is being spoken about openly. Adult men and women still living with their parents at 40 years and beyond is unheard of in other cultures. In UK its an unhealthy trend.... That ruins lives!!!! In Asia andMore India joint families were only built around "business families". These were large homes with every male son living in the home "contributing Equally" to the running of the family home. Even that trend has moved on. Here in the UK adult men living with their mother or parents means exactly as is described. The man expects the same treatment from his partner or wife.... Fights happen and the son moves back with the parent. There's something very wrong when you are an adult and can't stand on your own two feet and provide for yourself.
  • Emma
    I didn't realize that this problem is as old as the 80's! I didn't see it growing up, and I thought that surely my son must be the only one who refused to move out of my basement and start his life. I have since learned that there are manyMore others like him. It's very comforting to not be alone, because at first I thought that I had utterly failed him as a parent there was nothing we could do for him (that was false too, we sent him to Forte Strong, a program where they helped him overcome this). Thank you for sharing this. It's a real problem that more people need to know about.
    • From Mary for Emma

      I have read about Forte Strong - did it work for your son? It is very expensive $70,000 if I remember correctly and not covered by insurance and they require payment UPFRONT.

      I would really Ike your feedback. Thank you.

  • Mack K
    Just not helpful. Just paragraph after paragraph of Captain Obvious. Sigh. On to the next link...
  • Kennedy

    Hello! I'm 19, just graduated high school this month and hope to get a learners permit and a job soon. I actually know two places near me that are hiring. (Got the paper applications today.)

    I really don't want to end up like that, what this article is talking about. I just have quite bit of anxiety and I'd hate to be a failure to my parents. I've heard of stories of other people moving out way earlier than me and yet I still live with mine. I know I shouldn't compare my journey to others as everyone's path is different, but I can't help but feel guilty. Especially if something happens when I DO end up living on my own and then I end up losing the apartment or something. That makes me really scared.

    I do definitely help out around the house and I don't feel like things should just be handed to me. I am EXTREMELY grateful for all that my parents have done for me. Seriously, they're amazing. I also pay for my own phone bill with the money I've saved up from babysitting. (I'm no longer needed in that role though because it's summer.) I also don't mind starting from the bottom and getting my first job as a waitress or something. You have to start somewhere, right? I guess this is just how it is when you first start transitioning.. I do know i still have a lot to learn. I just have a big fear about messing up and disappointing my parents. Any advice?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your story. Many young adults feel anxious and fearful when they think about venturing out on their own, so you’re not alone. Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limitedMore in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. Another resource which might be more useful to you is the Boys Town National Hotline, which you can reach by calling 1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained counselors who talk with kids, teens and young adults everyday about issues they are facing, and they can help you to look at your options and come up with a plan. They also have options to communicate via text, email, and live chat which you can find on their website. We wish you the best going forward. Take care.
    • Kennedy
      Is there something wrong with me?
      • Adam
        Do you have alot of friends your age?
  • John

    Please send more info.

    Need help in Ohio!


  • Nancy
    Is anyone aware of an online support group for parents? I could certainly use some help with my situation, and just don't know where to turn.
    • Deb
      Yes. I’d like an online support group as well.
    • From Mary to Nancy

      I agree. Everything written here is like I’m reading a book of my life. I’m 72 and so tired to turmoil in life with 2 sons who can’t launch themselves—33 and 36 years old.

      Need actual steps to turn this situation around which we’ve done by loving too much.

    • Concerned & Hoping to Help
      This is a huge struggle for so many.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Thank you for your question. We hear from many parents who feel alone and unsupported in their struggles with their children, so you are not alone. I hope that some of our readers might be able to share some online resources which might be useful for you. More If you might be interested in getting some support locally, one resource might be the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people with available local supports, such as counselors, support groups, housing assistance, and so on. I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Cathy
    I hope my son will find a way to support himself that makes him happy. He is paying for his phone and car insurance, is 22. He dropped out of college and works full time at a box store on the night shift.
  • GuyRademacher

    We can't necessarily fix all the wrongs of the past but hopefully we can learn and do different.  Rethink how your children are educated.  Sir Ken Robinson unfolded the American educational institution in a TED talk in 2006...it's and industrial assembly line.  I know, I was a teacher for twelve years and left after I had my three sons to take a path less traveled. 

    Why not diversify your high school campuses to represent the reality of diversified jobs (rather then just STEM) and demonstrate to students that the world offers a full range of job opportunities rather than causing the students to compete for those 20% of jobs that STEM is representing.  Darwin was right on his observation of the animal kingdom...but just maybe he was not to far off on how we as humans are really behaving....

  • Tough Love Mom

    I absolutely agree with this article.

    My family and I recently moved in with my mother to help care for her during the final stages of cancer. My husband has an adult son (20) who has tried to bounce back to us several times, but I do not allow it. At 19, he stayed briefly with us since his mother kicked him out because she was fed up with his leaching off of her and he had to move across the country to be with us. It was a temporary situation and we gave him a timeline for a job, rent payments and his responsibilities around the house. I caught a woman in the bed with him (he shared a room with my son (13)), we found drugs on him, and he refused to pay any of his expenses, so he was out on his ear and is not welcome in my home until he learns respect. My husband is not as tough as I am, though. My husband pays his son's bills, causing his bills to get paid late at times. I've always chipped in my share of our bills on time and he's had to suffer the late fees (we have separate finances), but it worries me at my mother's house. In the agreement with my mom, we would cover 100% of the household bills and get the home when she dies in return. This will allow her to use her money to live her life to the best ability she can while she still has time. My husband gave his son an ultimatum over Christmas, saying that he had to join the military or move back to their home country to live with his grandmother and attend college. However, my husband has a soft spot for his son and believes the lies that he tells... he claims he is going into the army, but he probably can't pass a drug test to save his life. I worry that my husband will continue believing his son and support his son financially, to our detriment. I don't want to have my mother worrying about finances during her few remaining months. I'm not one to give ultimatums to my husband, but perhaps it's time to say he needs to choose the financial drain that is his son or the wife who is here to help him accomplish his goals in life. Before you judge me as heartless towards my stepson, my husband and I have been married for 7 years now and his son lived with us from 13-17 and only left to live with his mother because I was trying to teach him responsibility and he whined about it and wanted to smoke weed. I am the only one who actually TRIES to get that kid on the right path, but he is so disrespectful and a pathological liar that I have had to let go of him and focus on my biological teenager.  I couldn't have my son seeing the entitlement, arrogance and blatant disrespect for the family, the rules of our house, and the laws of our country (my stepson once told me that it was the parents' job to make the kids happy and he thinks he's entitled to use drugs).  

    My son, on the other hand, has chores around the house that he does with minimal groaning. He is excited to turn 14 soon and start working part time at the grocery store as a bag boy. It's not like my son is perfect, he does backtalk and can be lazy, but it is nowhere near the struggle with my stepson. 

    Parents, please stop rescuing your babies from every little thing that goes wrong. Struggle teaches valuable lessons.

  • Angue
    I'm new, but incredibly frustrated.  My 19 yr old son won't leave.  We have offered to pay his first, last and deposit for an apartment.  He always comes up with excuses, usually his gaming buddies are having problems.  We bought him a brand new car, we are paying his insurance.More  We have told him we would help with expenses.  He has a job working at Target, which he has had since 16.  He does not drink, smoke, or drugs.  He just won't go.
    • Anne
      This is a huge struggle for so many.
    • Tough Love Mom
      Angue If he won't willingly go, your only option is to use the eviction process. It sounds like you are being more than accommodating, but he is taking you for granted. Mother birds will toss their babies out of the nest to teach them to fly...
      • Icantbelievethis is happening2
        I did this last year and he refused to speak to me since. Of course his "lovely" girlfriend (who he tried to move into my house) is a wonderful influence with his responses- including threatening to contact the police if I contact him again. I do not recognize this youngMore man. I really don't.
  • Guest for a day
    My wife is the middle child.  Her two brothers, ages 55 and 51 still live at home.  They both appear to be deathly allergic to work.  My in-laws provide a home, meals, expense money, cable, flat screens, internet, clothing, cleaning service, cell phone, etc, you get the idea.  We wereMore at dinner a couple of weeks ago, and my MIL ran into an old friend, and told her pointblank that the "boys" still live at home because they are "so helpful".  I was so afraid God was going to miss with a lightening bolt, over such a lie.  The in-laws hand it out over there no questions asked.  If my wife picks up an item for her mother, she has to show a receipt to be reimbursed.  We have spent thousands of dollars on vacations, that include my MIL, because as she always tells her friends she "has no life".   Most of the time if we do something without her, we have to lie about it, to cut off a case of the raging jealousy.  My wife has actually had to drive over to their house numerous times to fix their internet or tv remote, because my MIL or FIL did not want to bother "the boys".  My wife and I have layed out $20,000 recently to cover medical bills, and not even an offer of any help.  The in-laws have cash on hand, of over a million dollars, and we certainly understand that they should spend it as they wish to, and they do.
    • Chris Grey
      Guest for a day My step-son, is 25, still lives at home, pays in absolutely nothing, lies in bed all day, AND all night playing his XBox, goes to sleep, just leaves TV, XBox, and lights switched on 24/7, even on the rare occasion he goes out. When he doesMore he takes the car ( ours) and always leaves it back EMPTY of gas. I'm at breaking point with my wife over this. I've told her as he is her son, she must demand he pays into the house, His response? I'll start when I get a job, Hard job finding a job when all you do is play Xbox all day, His bedroom is an absolute pig sty, dirty laundry all over the floor, weeks old dirty dishes stacked under his bed. His room stinks. Sadly she accepts his excuse, to which I argue that "what if he NEVER gets a job" does that mean that in my 60's and still working the clock round, I'm gonna have to support this lazy man for the rest of my life ??
      • Adam
        How do you approach your wife with your concerns and try to avoid her blowing up in your face trying to protect her son?
      • flower50
        Chris Grey Guest for a day no you don't have to do anything that you don't want to do, as simple as that.
      • RLG

        Chris Grey Guest for a day

        The truth is simple to understand but complex to deal with.  Parents, in most cases mothers, have enabled these children (most cases boys) to depend on other people to take care of their needs. These children have learned since childhood that they are not responsible for anything. They expect others to take on their responsibilities and get very upset with any conversation challenging that view. And, in the case of step children, their mothers will get very defensive when challenged regarding the need to have their sons grow up and shoulder the normal responsibilities of adulthood.

        • Tough Love Mom
          RLG Chris Grey Guest for a day Fathers are guilty too... read my post about my husband. It's like he feels guilty because he divorced the party-girl mother. Now that we are creating a life together, the son feels like he is entitled to what we have. These adults need to goMore earn their own lives! I'm still young (35), but my husband is 50 and works at a physically demanding job... he needs to consider his retirement will be shortly around the corner and he needs to take care of his financial business.
      • Pierre s
        Yes that's what they expect you married their mother so now you owe them but don't ask for anything.. it's family but it only works in one direction. be glad it's not a girl they usually drop a neglected grand kid or two on you to keep when theyMore decide that a child isn't what they wanted after all. Usually the wife isn't any help because she loves her kids they will always be 8 years old to her.
  • SpiceEclectic
    Your evidence for kicking kids out are TWO MOVIES. lol. Real estate sector, car sales, etc benefit when we kick kids out. My children and I will build community for ourselves, nurture and support each other.
    • Tough Love Mom
      SpiceEclectic From your post, I think you misunderstood the article. The movies were not evidence, but a display in the cultural shift that has happened in this country. This shift is detrimental to the future of our country. Look at the posts from parents... they can't get their adult childrenMore to be functioning, productive adults. That is not good for the economy. It would be a completely different story if the children were contributing to the household (like I care for my dying mother), but the problems we face today is a sense of entitlement, that the world owes something to these adult children and their parents should always pay for their expenses.
  • sunnydey
    I have a sibling who is over 50 years old and has never lived on their own. This sibling has worked in the past, but now claims to be disabled. Even though they can pack and load a moving truck without any physical pain. Our mother discourages him from doingMore any housework, because she claims he doesn't do it correctly. They pay for everything, his health insurance, medicines, clothing, his tv went out and they bought him a brand new bigger tv bigger than their own for him to go in his room where he stays all day, watching tv. Our parents income is their social security check, so they are struggling to make ends meet. I have on several occasions tried to talk to our mother about getting him to move out. She doesn't seem to think they problem. She is going to get a job, she is in her 70's, to supplement their income  so that he can have all his wants. This situation infuriates me, because he doesn't appreciate them or what they are doing for him. He is constantly complaining to me how terrible it is to live with them! No, he isn't coming to live with me either!
  • Karen916
    I am 34 and I still live with my parents, so does my twin sister. We have the "basement apartment" and we contribute as much as we can. We are NOT freeloaders who don't work. We both have full time jobs.  We want to move out yesterday, but it isMore impossible right now. We graduated college during a time when the economy was at it absolute worst and it was very difficult to find jobs. I have an education degree and all I could find in New York was a substitute teaching position for 4 years.  I went for my masters at 27 and I'm paying $640 a month in student loans. Still could not get a permanent teaching job. I gave up and got another full time job that I hate. It's more money but I still have that loan. That makes it IMPOSSIBLE to afford an apartment, especially on Long Island. I can't even get a place with friends because the majority of my friends are married or living with partners.  It is very embarrassing and makes me feel like a complete failure. I'm in a severe depression right now and nothing feels like it will ever work out.   I'm embarrassed to post this but I did it to make the point that money is a BIG factor in the rise of adult children still living with parents. Some just can't afford to live on their own.
    • Tough Love Mom
      Karen916 The article was not about adult children like you or me (I live with my mother, but we pay all of the bills since my mother has cancer). It was about the ones who have consistently failed to grow up and take on responsibilities... which you seemed to haveMore done.
    • flower50

      Karen916 don't be silly don't be embarrassed, we learn from experience. Can you move out with your sister? both renting a place for the 2 of you? Have you think about moving to a different city? area? state?  anywhere were you can get a job in your field that  fulfill you.Sure it won't be easy but probably it would be better than what you have right now. Some of us have left our countries and our families for a better future, you won't have to leave your country maybe just your state, I don't know maybe I'm wrong but what do you have to loose?? You are still young, don't have kids, yes you have your loan but don't let that determined the curse of our live. 

      I came from another country and lived 15 years in California, I wanted a house so bad when I used to live in there, and I never stop dreaming, one day we did something drastic, moved to 2,300 miles away, got my house, a job in the field that I wanted and my kids grew up in a small city where they call it home now. 

      Please don't stop dreaming, look another places, go out of the country to get a new perspective if you have to, put on hold your loans if that's what it takes, Be proud of yourself  you have accomplished a lot already. 

      Don't let the economy determined your life, there's still plenty of people with money who do very well regardless the economy and they will be ready to hire you.

      Keep searching but only with the feeling that whatever its best for you will be given. Try very hard to have this feeling every night before you go to bed, and trust me something will come up, and very soon. You are young, smart and you have to be a beautiful person to wanted to be a teacher, there is no reason in this world why you won't accomplish your dream,  just don't stop dreaming, and don't worry about what people say or think, it's your life, they don't have to go to a job that they hate, you do, and you are the only one who can change that.

  • Pierre s
    The challenge with these kinds of articles is that they are preaching to the choir. it's the teens in high school that should be approached and told that while running around when your 10 trying to avoid doing the dishes is one thing your parents view it totally different whenMore at 18 -19 years old you play games with them it hurts their feelings they feel used.
    • bridgeciaj

      Pierre s SPOT ON SIR!

  • Papichulo1
    This is a major problem my parents have to deal with. I’m 20 now and i help out around the house work and school.but its not enough. i dont drive yet and i dont always act like I’m ready to go out the streets yet or move out. sometimes iMore concern them with the way i do things like printing this article out for them to read. I know there mad they just want change and these articles are helpful for me to understand the dilemma these parents face. Life is hard but you have to earn everything nothing comes to you! I am mad because i want my parents to enjoy there lives but i dont even know where to start to fix the problem.
    • Tough Love Mom
      Papichulo1 What are parents doing to make your generation want to stay so much?? I was so ready to get out as soon as I could that I graduated high school a year early to run away to college at 17. No, it's not easy, but it's worth being on yourMore own! You can do anything you set your mind to... you have your whole life ahead of you to experience and grow. You aren't going to do that sitting at your parents' house. And definitely hold off on the starting a family of your own... experience life so you can use that experience to teach your future children.
    • flower50

      Papichulo1 Live is hard??? you are 20 you live with your parents, meaning they provide for you, you live in a free country, you are healthy, you are going to school and have a job.

      what you mean nothing comes to you?? Gratefulness for what you have is a good way to start, and then how about some driving classes, don't you think is time for you to have a driver license? 

      Seems like you are on your way to become independent, don't be so hard on yourself, just get a driver license and after that worry about whats next, maybe moving out, 

      Did you know that the human brain is not fully developed until 25, that is the reason why young man your age sometimes are the way they are, we call it immature, but it's just a nature. Take it easy, keep helping around the house pull your own weight, an enjoy live.

      • Papichulo1
        flower50 Papichulo1 Yes it is hard because you never know what coming to you. Living with your parents makes life easy tho like you said. I have my license but dont own a car yet. Thanks for the advice i just can’t stand all these entitled knowitall kids I deal withMore at school and in my generation. I keep thinking i need move out get a girl start a family now. But its not realistic unless I can pull my own. Thanks again
  • Concerned
    My husband and I are so grateful for your articles.  Thank you so much.  Do you have a closed facebook support groups for parents where we can discuss strategy and results with other parents going through the same thing?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for your comment.We are so glad to hear that you have found our articles helpful.At this time, we do not have private online

      support groups available.This might be

      an option we offer in the future, though.In the meantime, many parents have found support from other parents

      experiencing similar issues in our comments section.Please let us know if you have any additional

      questions.Take care.

  • H
    This article has hit the nail right on the head for me. My wife and I have a 23 year old son who has changed college twice, and his major three times and sleeps till noon, does not help at home with chores, and does not have a job, andMore now his girlfriend sleeps over and spends more time in my home than in hers, and every time we talk to him about finishing school and getting a job he acts out a panic attack and says that we stress him out. As the article mentions we have created this behavior. As a young kid my wife and I lovingly did everything for him, I even carried his baseball bag on occasions, and now we feel it is to late to change the living conditions. I hate to compare him with me but at 16 I already worked 50 hours a week, mostly on weekends and went to school, and hard labor, construction and body shop. So to the young man who complained about his parents generation, get up get a job and live in a little efficiency and struggle in life like i did, it will help you appreciate your parents better.
  • DB Detroit
    At 33 those transitions have passed. Only professional help u can give him is tough love. 33 will soon become 50
  • V
    This website is insulting to the millions of adult millennials that have to live at home because our parents generation f-ed up the economy and don't seem to appreciate how much harder we have it. Do you think we want to still be living at home as adults?! We're adultsMore and should be treated as such. For example, it's ridiculous that a 28 year old living at home should be expected not to have a significant other stay over. I think that's totally unreasonable.
    • KB
      There is nothing insulting about this website. No one generation alone has managed to f up the economy making it so hard for you. You get treated like an adult when you actually become an adult...attaining a certain age alone does not mean you deserve to be treatedMore and respected as an adult. Seems each generation thinks they have it rougher and tougher than the one before them. Not true. It's just different. Easier in some ways and harder in other ways. It's up to you to figure out how to live in the world you have become an adult in. I think some choose to live at home because they don't wish to have any discomfort. You have to be willing to deal with being uncomfortable and doing without until you can afford, on your own, the level of comfort you seek. Parents do not "owe" anything to their children after they attain the age of 18yr. If you don't like the rules where you are living then you have the option to move. Where and how you survive is up to you, after all you are the adult. If you can't afford that option or are unwilling to live with less than you will learn to be uncomfortable with their rules until you can afford to do something. It's not easy for you but it wasn't easy for us either and won't be easy for the generation after you. We didn't have cell phones, computers, internet, cable tv and some of us didn't even have tv. Sometimes no electricity. As dad would say "suck it up buttercup" sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you gotta struggle and fight for it.
    • Melanie
      I dont understand why this is so difficult. This happened to me with a brother. He was 40, lived at home with my mother for years, paid no rent, only worked occasionally part time. My mother passed away suddenly. He moved in with me and tried the same thing, wouldMore not contribute, or work. I gave him six months. He came up with every excuse. In month seven, hubbie and I leased a tiny apartment , put home up for lease fully furnished. He had to go. He left our home, we moved back in two months. He got a job, apartment and has been on his iwn since.
    • Tough Love Mom
      @V I'm 35 and have managed to live on my own since 17, even in this economy. I couldn't find a job in my hometown, so I moved 11 hours away to get a new job to pay all my bills. Blaming the economy for your generation's failure to thriveMore is not taking personal responsibility for your life and is EXACTLY what the article highlights. As far as not being allowed to have a SO overnight... it's not about what you think is reasonable, it's about respect for your family. As a parent myself, I would not want to know when my son was having sex and that's exactly what you do with your overnight guest.
    • MarianBris
      Ok, then help out at home. Do some dishes, laundry, grab a broom, mow the lawn.. that is where the frustration comes from. The economy sucks, there are no jobs, ok..so help where you can and be a "part" of the family. And for goodness sake, be grateful that youMore have a roof over your head and food on the table. My son can stay as long as he needs or wants to...but I don't think asking him to integrate instead of just being taken care of is too much to ask.
      • MamaO
        MarianBris I agree!
    • fed up parent 53
      @V The economy has nothing to do with it. The depression was in the 1920's and 1930's, and their was World War II. Doesn't get harder than that, but My parents and millions of People came out it and didn't blame their parents or the economy. As for having people over,More No way. After the age of 18 you are a guest in your parents home and you abide by their rules or get out. Your parents did their job now its time for you to do yours and get your own place to live.Also, stop feeling entitled to sponge off of them for life.
    • Raquel
      Grow up and be independent....that's the true meaning of being an "adult" ! Wow! Your the perfect example of why this website was created!!!
      • azerettyuoi
        @Raquel america is the only country where if you don't live away from your parents as a young adult you're a loser , you're the one who should grow up ..
        • john2point0
          azerettyuoi  You are free to move to your preferred country.  As a heads up, people are expected to leave home after their University education in places outside the US.  Even those that have a different tradition expect their children to be employed full time in their profession.  My Indian friends have childrenMore that are doctors, lawyers, professors, commodities brokers, real estate investors, etc.  The stay at home SO's are also degreed professionals.
        • fed up parent 53
          azerettyuoi No one said anything about being a loser, choose your words better. The Goal in any Country is to get an Education and become self sufficient. Also, lashing out and telling someone to grow up is very Immature.
  • Paula71
    Where is Part II of this article??
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thanks for

      your question.  Here are the other articles in this series: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/failure-to-launch-part-2-how-adult-children-work-the-parent-system/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/failure-to-launch-part-3-six-steps-to-help-your-adult-child-move-out/.Please let us know if you have any additional

      questions.Take care.

      • Paula71
        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Thank you. I actually found it by Googling it yesterday, but I appreciate your response that shows a Part 3, too. :-)
  • Annoyed

    My sister is 45 and has lived with my parents for 7 years now. She also hasnt had a paying job in 7 years. She did volunteer work and goes to school, takes classes upon classes, but still- no job with an income.

    I think she is pathetic. She has no friends, she has no love interests and she blames my mom for most of her failures in life but continues to freeload. I want nothing to do with her.

    I see that she is trying to learn new skills, but refuses to get even a part time job becAuse she thinks she is either over or under qualified and wont stoop to take a waitress job or something like that.

    She also likes and wants to live with my parents as she doesnt like living alone and rents are pricey. I dont think roomates would tolerate her b.s.

    I personally think she must be on the spectrum. She has NO LIFE. Other than school and I dont ever see her really making plans or socializing. I think she is strange and immature and Im mad as hell that she continues to live like this - rent free- with my 86 year old father and 76 year old mother.

    • Tough Love Mom
      @Annoyed My brother is a 40-year old drunk who hasn't worked in 7 years. It's pathetic, I agree. I have an MBA and couldn't find work in my small hometown, so I moved 11 hours away to a bigger city. My first job down here was selling cars. I'm nowMore working as a temp in an accounting position (for less than what people with my degree and experience should be earning), but I'm doing what I have to do. He has an associate's and thinks he should be earning $80,000 per year in a state with a median income of $25,000. It's odd how siblings can grow up to be polar opposites. Maybe it's not all parenting.
    • Ghostrider2016
      I can see why you are annoyed by your sister. I am also over 40, living with my parents and disabled sibling. I was always taking college courses and changing my major in my twenties. Your sister may need some direction. If my other siblings had offered adviceMore rather than lecture me on bad habits, I would have made better choices. I eventually finished my BA degree. However, with more guidance at an earlier age, I would have been more independent. BTW I don't have a disability, but I did procrastinate. Maybe you should talk with your sister. Ask if she needs guidance or advice without talking down to her.I am in a situation where my elderly parents and disabled sibling depend on me so much. It makes it difficult to move out now. I plan to, but there are many safety concerns for my family. Hope this helps you or someone. Not all of us at home enjoy our situation.
  • bridgeciaj
    KMLxx That is called growing up!  Been there.  No fridge, only a cooler, one car, taking the bus (in So Cal where the bus takes 2+ hours to get anywhere).  Only way we initially afforded a 2nd car is someone GAVE us a 20 year old car.  I was soMore happy to have that car I can't even tell you!!!  Hard work and gratitude.  One of my kids gets it, the other... not so much.
  • bridgeciaj
    @Tina Rose So sorry you're going through all this.  Wish I had advice.  You just need to really learn how the system works.  I'm sure there are websites to help you navigate it all.  There are some agencies that can help you navigate it all too.  You just have toMore find the right person to care and walk you through it.  And have your doctors help you fight the battle.
  • bridgeciaj
    JanayWilson you just are not the target audience for this issue!! :)  Well done for you working so hard.
  • bridgeciaj
    @Erin Don't give up.  Keep trying, something will catch and you'll be on your way!!
  • bridgeciaj
    @sarah How did you come across this article?  You sound like this is not an issue for you at all.  Trust me Sarah... a lot of us parents are victims, a lot of us have made some poor parenting choices in one area or another, but are otherwise good parents.More  Some of us just didn't parent well because we didn't have the skill set to problem solve and thus did not teach our kids well.  You sound like you've managed to grow up regardless of which type of parents you had.  Bravo!  Being on your own and paying for everything etc. is hard these days.  Just work work work!
  • Oenone
    I just want to say, as a person who suffers with Asperger's, that it's never too late to get out there on your own and learn to look after yourself. I was one of those kids whose parents wanted to do everything for them, out of a protective instinct. EvenMore with my supremely independent attitude, I still ended up relying on them more than I should have. Parental coddling can be like octopus arms! But after 3 tries, I finally managed to move out of home for good and start building a life for myself. I cannot believe how much I've learned in the 2 years I've been truly going it alone, in a place where the only support I have is myself and God above. I have learnt more than I ever thought I could, have completely overhauled my way of thinking and bad attitudes which were passed down to me from forebears, learned to take care of my health - through many blunders, injuries and illnesses - and most importantly, have learned that I CAN DO ANYTHING if I apply myself. This knowledge is worth millions, in my opinion. I can't put a price on it because it's changed my whole life. All I can say is it is SO much better to be out there struggling and feeling the universe on your side, as you cook up that rice, work that grotty job, deal with that annoying neighbour by yourself, or hunt for loose change to get by, than to live as a parasite off the people you most love, while all your friends secretly despise you because you're a spoiled brat and can't see it. I have developed more strong friendships in the time I've been truly independent than ever in my life. People actually want to be with me and respect me, and it feels freaking awesome. I know I can handle myself in any situation and that's bloody marvellous! *Self-confidence* is priceless! And it's the only thing that will get you to where you want to go in life. It doesn't matter how smart or dumb you are, or what your background is. It's all ON YOU! So my word of inspiration for the day is this: If an overprotected, hopelessly dependent woman with Asperger's in her 30s can do it, so can you!
    • Concerned
      Oenone Wow.  You give us all hope.  I agree, as a parent, I have made too many mistakes and now have to try and change things. Well done and wishing you all of the best.
  • Michael
    I was like this as a younger man. Leaving aside the traumas of my childhood as I cannot blame all on that, I can say that I also suffered from shame and depression. Life was very bleak to me. It took going to therapy to deal withMore my issues and discovering resources to help me with employment that I was finally able to "launch". So my advice would be to insist your child speak to a counselor as payment for all you are doing for them. Get to the heart of the matter. Mental illness can be recovered from.
    • bridgeciaj
      @Michael I like that.  Thank you for speaking about this from the other side of the equation.
  • bmadmad23

    I think this should be updated with an exception:

    "But kids of bad parents can cripple their children from becoming independent adults, a danger any parent should be aware of".

    I admit, I can understand when someone is actually a good for nothing freeloader. And they need every kick in the butt possible.

    But painting everyone living with their parents as subhuman garbage is very crass to say the least.

    What about the children who's parents provided no support whatsoever as they grew up, leaving them unemotionally and financially crippled?

    What about the children who's parents ignorance of their natural skills lead them to being pressured to do things that they could find rather loathsome, like joining the military out of family tradition instead of taking something more practical like vocational work?

    What about parents who live in economic hole for their children but work elsewhere and are ignorant to the fact? To the point where the option of moving is beyond their children's means and even the prospect of part time low paying work is fought tooth and nail by 30+ people per position (yes i'm talking about California).

    What about parents who refuse to help pay for school, even for just vocational training, because they are too lazy to care to realizing investing in their children would be a better for all of them?

    What about parents who squandered their finances at a casino?

    Etc, etc, etc.

    You can't always blame the children when they don't exceed YOUR expectations or even met them. After all.

    "Blaming the child is a lie and a shame.

    You know exactly who to blame!

    The mother and the father."

    • Tough Love Mom
      bmadmad23 Some of us grow up despite our situations. There is a point where you must take command of your own life... that's when you get to call yourself an adult.
    • DB Detroit
      Valid points. But after awhile we are all responsible for our own lives. When your parents aren't around anymore, who do you blame now. My son is twenty six, with many excuses. There will always be obstacles. Things from the past that made life seem impossible, but at a certainMore age it all falls on you. Sink or swim.
    • john2point0
      If your parents are responsible for your failures, who gets credit for your achievements?
      • KB
        on point
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    I hear you. It can be tough when you feel like your life

    could be so much more than it is. From our perspective, it’s never too late to

    change. The important thing is you know that you want to make a change. That’s

    always the first step. It might be helpful to find a counselor or therapist who

    can help you determine what the next steps would be. S/he would also be able to

    help you develop effective ways of dealing with the anxiety you are feeling.

    The 211 Helpline is a nationwide referral service that can help you find

    services and supports in your area. You can contact the Helpline 24 hours a day

    by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them online at http://www.211.org/. We appreciate you writing in and

    sharing your story. Good luck to you as you move forward through these changes.

    Take care.

  • KMS
    Update on my now 29 year old son. I moved him back to Illinois after letting him stay with us for 3 years. He stayed with a couple that put up with his doing nothing for only a few months. He lived with his father for a few more. HeMore was encouraged to put his application in at a housing project that was in a pretty good neighborhood. He took an apartment once one became available. I told him I was proud of him for getting back out on his own. But he is out there in the real world, navigating as he should be.
  • Lucy777

    I have a friend who needs some help regarding her 50 year old brother who is still living at the parent's home (he never moved out), unemployed, has a drinking and drug problem, doesn't contribute ANY rent or grocery money, and recently started stealing from their parent's bank account. HeMore is enabled by their mother who is in denial about the unhealthy situation. Do you have any information I could pass on to my friend that might help her reason with her mother? Every time her and her dad try to talk to her mother about it, she gets extremely distressed and says they are just picking on her son. Any information you could provide would be very helpful, thanks!

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      I can understand how much you would want to help your friend
      with this challenging situation. It must be very difficult indeed for her to
      watch her brother take advantage of their mother in this way. Because we are a
      website aimed at helping people who are in a direct parenting roleMore develop more
      effective ways of addressing acting out behavior in children, we are a bit
      limited in the advice we are able to offer either you or your friend. While she
      may not agree with the choices her parent or brother are making, the truth is,
      they are both adults and are free to make whatever choice they deem
      appropriate, whether that choice is good or bad and whether or not your friend
      agrees with those choices. It’s unfortunate the situation is causing
      difficulties between her parents; ultimately, that is for the two of them to
      work out. She may find it helpful to locate a support group in her area, such
      as http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ or http://www.nar-anon.org/. Many people in
      situations similar to what you describe have found these support groups very
      helpful for dealing with the fall out of having a family member who is
      struggling with addiction and/or enabling that behavior. We appreciate you
      reaching out in support for your friend. Take care.

  • iknowhowigothere

    I've been looking for some parent group or forum or something on this very topic for over a year. I guess I have not looked hard enough. I see a lot of parents here with a support system having these issues, I had thought this was an issue that would affect single parents more than a unit. I am glad to see I am wrong.

    I was asked to leave home at 16 years of age, because that is the age I was when I assumed I knew everything. I didn't move back home for longer then 6 months in all of the years since, and I enjoyed the time I spent there getting financially able to pay my bills and take care of my child. I was grateful to my parents for allowing this, because I had been in a domestically abusive relationship for a few years at that point. I would never have thought to abuse that kindness.

    I have sheltered my children, because I feared their paths would take them where I had been, and I barely survived that. I don't have that same fear now, I have had years to deal with those irrational fears and when I started to get stronger in myself , the rules I had let my children skirt around became things I started to actively enforce. As a single parent working full time, raising two children, there had to be rules but I was met with resistance. Asking until I was tired and did it myself. Taking away technology and freedoms. When my oldest turned 16 she couldn't stop telling me how excited to move she was. At 18 she did move out for about 4months. She moved in right before her 19th birthday. When she came back home the deal was that she was just here to save up money so she could get her own place. She insisted on paying her roommates rent for a month she didn't even live there, and she paid them quite well for the one bedroom they allowed her while she was there. Now she blows every dime she makes on herself and her boyfriend, while feeling comfortable asking me to continue being charitable. She only works part time and wont even consider a second job. She got and spent her entire income tax return in 3 days but has not paid her rent to me nor purchased her own food as was agreed upon. I pay the bills because this is my home and I still have a younger child here. While I am gone during the day at work she eats my food and enjoys all the benefits of owning a home. She tells me if she had a car things would be different, but I refuse to buy that car, or even help her get her license at this point because we had mutual understandings on those issues that she also couldn't stick to.

    Here is why I have not just kicked her out. At the age of 13, when her behavioral issues kicked in, we sought the help of a counselor. That woman diagnosed my daughter with PTSD and anxiety and medicated her. So every time I asked her to do something around the house or refused her anything, she would experience flair ups in her condition. I don't know how she got diagnosed with PTSD and to this day I still don't know what she had happen in her life that could have led to that. I do understand the anxiety, everyone gets anxious from time to time and I myself suffer from an undiagnosed form of social anxiety. She still uses these when something arises she does not want to deal with. I try to get her help with these issues and she chooses not to go back to counseling or take her medications. Imagine what that can do to the people that have to deal with that? It has been a long unexplained nightmare, because laws protect children of 13 and over from having to share their medical issues with their parents. (This is a ridiculous law in my opinion and I would like to meet the person who felt this was helpful)

    How, realistically, can I just get her moved out and step up to being an adult? I'm so fed up and tired. I still have a child who needs me without this adult draining me. She is talking getting married, but I don't want to be stuck with her until someone else can save her, I want her to save herself, she just doesn't seem willing to try. I thought that either 1) She would offer some help for all of the sacrifices I made to help her grow up or 2) 18 would be the date of my freedom. I have never felt so trapped as I feel at this time, and I lived with an abusive man. Getting away from him required me being strong enough to move away and sever ties, even though we had children together. Encouraging her to either move out and do it her way, or help out and follow the rules here is proving futile and I love her as an extension of myself. I really don't want to see any harm befall her. 

    I am receptive to any advice, I even had a prayer session with my mom :) Thank you

    • TamaraB_ParentalSupport


      There is such a fine line between caring about someone enough to
      offer help, and being a caretaker for that person. Your daughter and you seem to
      be in a pattern of not really knowing where that line is. That is quite
      understandable given the history of your situation and her emotional
      challenges. ItMore is very hard to see our children struggle and maybe fail,
      even when they are grown. However, it is through that struggle that learning
      will occur. Allowing that to happen is something that is challenging for a lot
      parents. To make it even more difficult, kids, even adult ones, know how to tap
      into the emotional part of a parent that makes it hard to separate from them.
      Kim and Marney talk more about this in the second part of their series http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-Adult-Childre... .
      Becoming more aware of how her behavior affects you and being more mindful
      about how you respond will help bring about the change you are seeking.
      Finally, it is always good to remember that holding a person accountable for
      honoring boundaries and being responsible for their actions sends a very strong
      message that you believe in them and their abilities to manage themselves. We
      are so glad that you reached out to Empowering Parents for support. Please keep
      in touch.

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