Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement)

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You put in the work: you raised your child, got them through school, and prepared them as best you could for living on their own as an adult. You were looking forward to having the house to yourselves again. Finally, a little peace and quiet!

For many parents, the peace and quiet of a child-free home is short lived, if it even happens at all. At Empowering Parents, we hear from so many parents whose children either never left home or returned after a brief experiment with the adult world. And we’ve talked quite a bit about the challenges of living with adult children. Kim and Marney recently wrote about mutual living agreements, and how clarifying rules and expectations can make things much more peaceful in the multi-generational home.

While it may be currently true that your adult child is not able to live independently, you can still hold him or her accountable for following basic ground rules.

But, the truth is that it’s really hard to transition from parenting a child to parenting an adult. The parameters have shifted from homework and curfew to new issues, running the gamut from how to handle overnight guests to finding a job. Not only are the logistics tricky, you’re also worried about their future. What kind of life will they have? How will they make it out there? What if they never find a good job?

Related: Free Downloadable Mutual Living Agreement to Use with Adult Children

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As normal as these fears are—after all, no matter how old they are, they’re always your child—the tough truth is that adult children need to take responsibility for their own future at some point. They need to find ways to build an independent, successful life outside of your home. And believe it or not, a mutual living agreement can help make that happen.

But you know what? Most parents don’t have a mutual living agreement with their adult children, even though they think it’s a great idea. Let’s face it, it can feel a little awkward to broach the subject. And you might have some concerns about why such an agreement wouldn’t work for your family.

So, let’s look at some of the most common concerns parents have when considering a mutual living agreement. We’ve taken these examples from the many comments Empowering Parents’ readers have sent us. See if you recognize yourself in any of these situations.

“Anytime I try to enforce something, my child responds with: ‘I’m an adult. You can’t tell me what to do.'” Yes, your child may be an adult, and therefore legally able to make his own decisions, but your home is your home. You have the right to enforce the rules of your home. If you’re not sure where his rights end and yours begin, a good guideline to follow is: “Would I allow a houseguest to treat me this way?”

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“I can tell my child to find a job, or follow the rules, or get to class all day long, but she doesn’t listen. You’d think she’d move out just to get me off her back, but she doesn’t seem to care how much I pester her.” One reason your child won’t move out or find a job is because the current situation is working for her: she has room and board, internet access, maybe a car. And even though she complains about living with you, she still takes no action. Why? Because not only are her needs being met, but change can be scary; and we tend to avoid scary things. The discomfort of having mom or dad on her all the time is better than the discomfort of moving out into the world. Until staying at home is more uncomfortable than learning to live independently, it’s unlikely your child will take any concrete actions towards changing the situation. I’m not saying you should purposely make the situation uncomfortable for your child, just that it helps to understand that she may be trying to put off facing those scary, big steps towards independence as long as possible.

“My child is depressed (or has anxiety issues, etc.). I can’t just put him out on the street; he’s not capable of living alone.” While it may be currently true that your child is not able to live independently, you can still hold him accountable for following basic ground rules. You can even help him learn skills to manage or improve his emotional or mental state by requiring therapy or other skill-building activities as part of your living agreement. And you don’t have to put up with poor behavior just because your child has depression or anxiety. As James Lehman tells us over and over again in The Total Transformation Program, there’s no excuse for abuse. That includes depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue.

“My adult child isn’t the problem, but his children are. I can’t enforce my house rules on my grandchildren, and my son won’t do it either.” With more adult children moving back home due to financial or medical reasons, parents are faced not just with their own children, but their grandchildren too. Even if you love having your grandchildren around, enforcing house rules can feel quite complicated. You don’t want to undermine your child’s parental authority, but your child has very different ways of enforcing—or not enforcing—the house rules. Remember, you have the right to a calm and peaceful household. If your adult child is unwilling to enforce your rules with his children, please sit down and talk this through; it will not get better on its own. Discuss with your child your rules and expectations for the grandchildren’s behavior while living at your house. It helps to acknowledge that you have different views, so that it doesn’t become an argument about who is “right.” See if you can find a couple of behaviors that you agree on, such as no name-calling or cleaning up the common areas of the house. Get in the habit of working together on these one or two issues. That can be the start of more changes in the future.

“I’d be happy to enforce rules and consequences, but my spouse would let our adult child live here forever; so there’s no point in having a living agreement.” If you and your partner aren’t on the same page, begin by finding one or two things you both can agree on. Do you both agree that your adult child has to clean up after himself? Do you both agree that no drugs or alcohol be used in your home? If your partner is unwilling to tell your child that they must permanently move out, can you agree ahead of time on what the consequences will be if your child breaks a major house rule? By starting on common ground, even a tiny scrap of common ground, you and your partner can begin to present a united front to your adult child.

“It’s just not easy out there anymore. Most people I know are unemployed or struggling. What chance does my kid have?” Look, we all know the world is a very different place from even just ten years ago when James Lehman first started addressing issues around boundaries and older children. The job market has dramatically changed, and you might really feel for your child, trying to start her life in such a tough environment. But just because it’s tough, it doesn’t mean she shouldn’t try. For example, require that she make positive steps towards employment or education, such as submitting applications or scheduling informational interviews. Or require her to do volunteer work if finding a paying job proves difficult. The point is to require positive effort rather than focusing on a final outcome, because without effort, the situation will not change. As James writes, wishing things were different does not change behavior, and it won’t help your child find a job or build a life.

So, if you love the idea of a mutual living agreement, but just aren’t sure if it will make a difference, we at Empowering Parents encourage you to take one small step at a time.

Start by opening the Living Agreement for Adult Children. Take some time to read through it. Before discussing it, spend some time finding and understanding your concerns and fears. Acknowledge how these worries have perhaps contributed to a feeling of helplessness, of being defeated before you’ve even begun.  Remember that the way to transform helplessness is through action: repeated, focused action towards the life you want for yourself and for your adult child. See if you can find something that seems doable, even something small, and take positive action in that direction.

Related: Six steps to help your adult child move out

While it’s true that you won’t be able to solve all of your family’s challenges with this one document, don’t give up on your dream of a more peaceful, orderly home. Don’t give up on encouraging your adult child to have a meaningful, productive life. You can do this, and we’re here to help.

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 (91)
  • Sarahlou
    Hi my 20 year old son still lives at home. Due to his social anxiety he spends most of his days in his bedroom playing computer games and on vr chat. He only goes out to walk the dog on the field at the back of us and to theMore corner shop. The problem we have with him is he spends over 14 hours a day on his computer. We have recently had to put a rule in where his computer disconnects from the Internet at 2.30am in the morning. But he still has access to his phone. A few days I asked him to come of vr chat at 12pm as I could still here him. He said he would but last night I heard him again upto 2.30 in the morning on vr. Allthough he was taking quietly. Iv told him again today I want him off chat at 12. Too much he wasn't happy about. He then said he helps out with house ect which he does alittle but it's desterbing my sleep. Not to mension I have to young daughters asleep aswell. Am I being unreasonable asking him to come off chat at a reasonable time? Also his personal hygiene isn't the best. Had to tell him that he needs to have more frequent washes other wise would have to cut the Internet down. Am I OK to do this? He does pay towards it from his universal credit. Which he gets for his anxiety.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      Hi, Sarah. Your expectations for your adult son are not unreasonable. You may find it helpful to develop a formal living agreement with his, as described in this article: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/. Thank you for reaching out. Take care.
  • Alexi
    I can find all kinds of information about contracts, rules and expectations one can set with adult children, but what I really need are ideas for consequences when they aren't followed or done. For my own sake, I cannot keep micromanaging my 22 yr old son. He does his chores,More when reminded and asked, but I don't want to keep reminding, nagging and asking anymore. I don't want to be on his case every day to apply for jobs, to not sleep in and to do stuff around the house. How do I enforce rules and expectations for an adult child? He lost his car privileges, cell data usage and internet usage already, but I would love other ideas since that doesn't seem to be enough to encourage him to find a job. Thanks
  • Sallyann
    Our 38 yr old son moved home 10 months ago while in the middle of a difficult divorce and has custody of his 7 yr daughter 50% of the time. My problem is he expects us (Oma and Gramps) to meet all of her needs so he can be freeMore to focus on his girlfriend while not at work. He thinks I should be responsible for her care (bathing, laundry, etc), school work and anything else his ex-wife dictates as well. He actually gives me a list to complete with her before he arrives home. It came to a head when I ended up in the E.R. last week. I'm a cancer patient and had an extremely painful issue come up but knowing I was ill didn't concern him at all. When I ignored his detailed list on my worst day, I got scolded as if I were a child that had defied him. I love him and our granddaughter dearly but already have one hubby and don't want two. Grandparents are supposed to spoil our grand's, not to be the warden in charge. Are we expected to be full time parental figures for our grand's just because they live half of the time with us?
  • daddysan

    My 19 year old did not get accepted into school and has continuously applied for jobs. He has slight Aspergers and he does not interview well but is capable of manual labour roles. He is emphatic about not working fast food again. He continues to apply on-line and in person without success. Our problem is that the rest of the day he is playing video games to occupy his time. He says he has looked for work, went to the gym, (with eyes rolling or grunts of annoyance) helps with any chores we need and that he is filling his time. We think the excessive game time is harmful psychologically and a waste of other activities he can do. We get the counter that he goes to church and spends time with his girlfriend and respects our rules.

    I don't think it is uncomfortable enough for him to really just take any work (seems selective still), even part-time. The agreement was helpful but we are stuck that he is doing what we ask in word but we have no proof (applying for many jobs) and he spends forever on his technology.

    • Rebecca
      I wish I had this problem. If he’s, following your house rules and cleaning up behind himself, and you’re not worried about him out all night Heck, I say be happy. The job market is not like days of old. Look, if work outside of home is that hardMore for him and he’s really good at his video games and technology. Have him set up a twitch sight and play his games all day and earn him some money while he’s doing it. He can start a twitch channel and freaking end up making more than his parents. Just needs to go with his strengths.
  • Ess Alex

    I have a 27 year old daughter and 6 year old grandson living with me and I need her to move out for my sanity and her own growth. The problem is my grandson; she is not financially solvent and I worry about his life if I force her to leave but she is physically making me ill.

    I had my daughter at 17 and had my own challenges raising her as a single mom. I did not get us our own place til I was 39 (lived with various siblings because couldnt afford it soley). She was very spoiled by family members and because they helped me their presence somewhat diluted the parenting I would have provided had we lived alone. Since 15, she has been a problem with grades, respect, responsibility, and group of friends, etc. Even though I've been in her shoes she will take everyones advice but mine while continually asking me to bail her out financially with these poor decisions. I admit i'm critical of her decisions and this is something she uses to blame me for her emotional state and actions. She refuses to take responsibility for anything she does usually because of this. She acts entitled to me supporting her and babysitting because "I'm her mother" and does nothing around the home except destroy it.

    The moving into my own space was an occasion for us. A celebration. A month later my security was forfeit due to damages. She will not clean up after herself or son and, even though she does not pay rent, isnt respectful each time I approach her about it. She also does not like me setting rules for her son because she is his mom, however, I only set rules to protect my belongings or for his safety when she doesnt.

    I have trouble controlling my temper but have been trying to communicate effectively with her by watching tone and approaching it differently. She has made improvements; finally a decent job (finances still problematic if she had own place), not evading my space nor stealing change jars (hundreds $) and stuff. However, her attitude and my quality of life with her here is so bad that I just cant anymore.

    She is filthy...and im not a clean freak. Whats more is its a destructive filth. I personallly cannot entertain because of it or must spend hours cleaning it myself when having gatherings. The main bathroom is a pig sty continually. Her bedroom has two closets that are under utilized while her bed and floor are covered with garbage and clothes (her son stays in her room as I only have a 2-bedroom). The garbage is mixed with toiletries that marr every surface and used feminine products and important documents and bills. When I babysit, unless she leaves his things out, he cannot find pjs or anything he needs. I have had to replace most of my furniture twice within 5 years and each time I cook, I have to wash her dishes thats she leaves filled with clogging, solid foods. It is unhealthy for her son and her. She seems incapable of keeping it decent for more than 3-4 days.

    I am in my tough love phase and dont fund her at all unless a real emergency and she has made progress as I've stated but its not soon enough. Each argument is destroying our relationship and is affecting my own health physically. I am unable to enjoy my own home spend most of my time in my Master suite when I am home. I can work with her on her other issues but cannot on the disrespect and filth. She was NOT raised like this.

    A calm attempt to talk and say I will not be able to babysit her son if she cannot be more dutiful in their bedroom and the kitchen was what has me writing this. Her response "I wont be able to clean it by the time you babysit tomorrow because I'm tired. I got a lot on my mind and I hate that you talk to me like a little kid".

    Any advice on what to do? I want out.

    • Frustrated

      I have the exact same situation. My 28 yr old daughter moved back 7 months ago after a stint in a mental health facility following a split from her husband. She has 1 child with him and another son that she had in high school. All 3 of them are staying with us - with the boys going to her ex a few days a week.

      Since she came out of the mental health facility, she has not worked a full week. Always finding a way or reason to not go in. Honestly have no idea how she is still employed with a Fortune 500 company! Her room is EXACTLY as you described as well as the kids. Crazy thing is the oldest grandson who is 11, is more responsible than her. Gets up by himself @ 6 everyday. Takes a bath. Makes his and his brothers lunch.

      I am starting to get calls from collection companies looking for her. Her car loan company calls. I'm waiting for the day I go outside and the car is repo'd.

      She is so mentally detached - and uses it as an excuse all the time. It breaks my heart to see her at the dinner table with the kids as she sits there with her phone watching a tv show while they are eating.

      We are moving into a new house in a few weeks. It's supposed to be our "last home". It's out a ways from most of our friends, but we bought it because of the space so our friends can come for a weekend and not have to worry about driving back so far. Now those rooms are filled with her and the grandkids. It sounds so selfish but I don't see an end in sight.

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. We speak with many parents of young adults who are hesitant to implement “tough love” for fear of how that might impact a grandchild. You are not alone in feeling this way. In the end, you are the best judge of what boundaries youMore are willing to set and enforce with your daughter. If you are willing to follow through on having your daughter leave your apartment, then I recommend setting a firm date by which she needs to move out, and following through on enforcing that. In some communities, you need to file a formal eviction notice in order to have your young adult leave your home; your local court clerk would have information on what is required in your area. If you are not willing to put your daughter out because of how that might impact your grandson, then it is more about focusing on how you can make her uncomfortable, such as not providing free childcare if she is not following through on cleaning the apartment. You might find some helpful information on setting boundaries in our Failure to Launch series; the first article is Failure to Launch, Part 1: Why So Many Adult Kids Still Live with Their Parents. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • cathysunshine
    I have a 21 year old daughter that lives here with us. She is doing very well in many ways, but in others, she is driving me nuts! She moved out the day she turned 18, thinking she had all the answers. We had had some problemsMore with her in high school, caught her smoking dope and she was doing I don't know what else, sneaking out of the house, etc. We had her arrested at that point, because she was physically destroying our house, shredding books, cursing and attacking us. We kept her grounded for months and got her graduated and she got a good job from a friend of my husband. She performed well in her work, and was able to get her own apartment at 18. She was attending community college and got good grades. Then she started sending all these weird texts to me and at work they said she was out of it for several days. She kept calling and texting that someone was after her, and all these screwy things, and she said she was scared and I should call the cops. I did, and they called me and said come take her to the ER, she had taken something bad. My husband didn't want to go, so because he would just have been a pain on top of everything else, I told him to stay home, and I went and got her. I still don't know what she took. She didn't know where anyone was, what day or year it was, and she started telling me everything she had done over the years that I never knew about. she ended up in the psych ward for 10 days. My older daughter picked her up from there, but she had a very medically compromised baby at that time and it didn't end well. My younger daughter went back to the hospital and tried to get readmitted to the psych ward. She was better but still not all there. We had meanwhile spoken with friends about what to do, and had decided Teen Challenge would be good for her. The hospital would not readmit her. She called us repeatedly to come pick her up. We had all her stuff because we'd had to clean out her apartment. We told her she could come home only if she'd agree to go to Teen Challenge. It took until 11 pm and many phone calls for her to agree. Within a week we had her headed down there, but she swore up and down she would remain an atheist. (we're Christian) She did the program, and the re-entry,where she worked a job. She came back home, because we didn't know what else to do with her. We had her cat, who doesn't know how to use a litter box that whole time. It was a year with her gone, during which time my older daughter's baby passed. My son was also deployed to Kuwait during that time. My husband didn't really want her to move back in and he constantly complained then and now about her cat. Since moving back in my daughter had gotten her old job back, which her boss said she could come back if she would graduate from Teen Challenge, which she did. Then she wanted a more meaningful job, so she underwent training and got a job as a caregiver, and she is really wonderful at that. She is about to complete her associate's degree in Music/arts, and received an academic award for highest grades in her department. She pays her own gas for her car, her own insurance, does her own laundry. She has been vegetarian for many years, but since returning from Teen Challenge, she decided to become vegan, and won't eat anything processed. She constantly wipes out all the fruits in the house, leaving us with nothing for the rest of the week. She borrows all my stuff without asking, and daily leaves messes in the kitchen, claiming she was in too much of a hurry to clean up. She has her boyfriend over till all hours, and though she has done better on that, it's still one more thing. I am proud of her, and hopefully soon we will hear from the college she wants to transfer to, and she will be moving out! I can't afford to feed her the way she wants to eat, but when she buys her own groceries, then she doesn't have enough to make payments on the loan we made her for car repairs. I guess I should be thankful she's alive and doing well, but sometimes it is all so frustrating! Thoughts?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you have been through quite a bit over the past few years with your youngest daughter’s behavior, your son’s deployment, and the death of your grandchild. Although you have seen a lot of improvement in your youngest daughter’s behavior sinceMore her return from Teen Challenge, it can still be frustrating when it feels like your boundaries are not being respected and rules are not being followed. At this point, it could be useful to re-evaluate the boundaries you have in place with your daughter while she is living with you. As James Lehman states in Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I, it can be useful to think of your daughter as a tenant or a long-term houseguest when you’re determining your house rules. Once you have developed your rules, I recommend writing a living agreement with your daughter as explained in the article above. I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.
  • Sharon M

    I hAve a 35 year old divorced daughter. She has struggle to pay student loan, apartment and car payment and meds. She either overeats or overspends on junk and constantly asks for money.

    I don't know what to do with her anxiety, depression etc . I am trying very hard not to give her money. Trying to make her live on her income. She constantly calls me or comes over. All her friends are married or in relationships , I seem to be her only companion. I am nearing retirement and won't be able to help her then. Tried to get her into activities or exercise , but they cost money.my hubby and her sister constantly tell me she is making it all up, not depressed no anxiety but they are never around her. I am stressed because they won't support her or me . I am trying to help her battle this .

  • Fed up on their behalf

    I'm one of these children. However, I follow the rules. I do not work for health reasons (depression, anxiety, underweight). I am working on getting my health taken care of. My husband and I pay rent, $200, as we are trying to get back on our feet. I am 27 and my husband is 43.

    However, my brother, who is 31, is working. His wife, who also lives here as well as their 1 year old daughter, recently started working. She occasionally cleans peoples houses. My brother has been living with our parents his whole life. With a minor few months while he was chasing after a girl. He got married in 2014 and their daughter was born in 2015. They've been here the whole time. They constantly allow their child to run amok. Flipping over ash trays, pulling the cats and dogs around by their tails, pulling their ears. All the while her mom sits at the dining room table playing on her phone while the rest of us have to discipline her. Which she doesn't like because we don't discipline the same way she does. She just stands their near her daughter saying "no no", "you mean girl" or something along those lines. It is chaotic. My parents are fed up. They feel they have no control in their own house. They have to ask, repeatedly, to get any money from them. They eat food that both my parents and my husband and I buy. They never buy groceries for the house as the rest of us do. They buy things they like and that no one else eats, despite eating the kinds of food we like. They do not help out around the house unless it pertains to their room, their two dogs or their child. Often which everyone else is also cleaning up after. The dogs were suppose to be here for a few months tops. They have been here for 7 months. We already had two dogs and they would only eat canned food. Because of their two dogs however, we can not give our dogs the canned food because one of their two dogs will eat it all. My sister in law started out saying that they would only eat one specific food, which they bought the first bag of and ever since my parents have been having to buy it. Otherwise the dogs wouldn't eat because my brother and sister in law never get any food for them.

    My brother constantly leaves his dishes on the counter, next to the sink. But somehow can't manage to put them IN the sink. He leaves soda cans on the counter. In our house we save the tabs and are recycling the cans. We take the tab off, empty the can and put it in a small plastic bag. He somehow can't manage to do that either. This happens on a regular basis. Normally for dinner we have hamburger helper (2 boxes), beans and biscuits. My mom usually does the cooking. My husband and I have told her she shouldn't cook, we are all grown and can cook for ourselves. But because of my brother and sister in law she feels she has to otherwise they wouldn't eat and would complain that she didn't cook. Anyways, one day my dad was home (he is usually only here for 2 and a half days due to work) and he decided to buy an $18 pot roast, potatoes, carrots, etc. My mom told everyone it was ready and my sister in law got to the kitchen first to make her and my brothers plates. My dad went to get some after her and realized she had gotten half of the pot roast for the two of them! Mean while 4 more adults hadn't gotten any yet. This happen regularly. Just the other night the two of them ended up sharing 2 boxes of hamburger helper. My mom and I got minuscule amounts in comparison, not even a small saucer would've been filled with what we got. And my husband was at work so when he got home there wasn't any left for him. These things I've mentioned happen a LOT. It is annoying, aggravating and it is getting old. It is at the point that my husband and I feel we have to stay in our room when we are here just to avoid dealing with these people.

    Just another little story. My mom was in the hospital about 7 years ago, what we all thought was her death bed. We all thought we were going to lose her. My brother showed up once, he was there to introduce his new girlfriend to her... Then when she got out of the hospital. He was out of work and did nothing. My mom had to be given antibiotics through a line going to her heart, she had a tube going to her lung to drain fluid, it was really bad. My husband and I were the ones taking care of her and taking her to doctors appointments, as well as cleaning the house and taking care of all the animals. That's the kind of thing that happens all the time. When something needs to be done we do it. But my brother doesn't, he just avoids doing anything that shows any kind of common sense, common courtesy, respect or responsibility. He has a family and he can't even support them.

  • ASLAWSON
    My 23 year old daughter currently lives in our home with her 3 year old son.  I also work from home.  I have set rules expectations  and requirements . She constantly has excuse after excuse.  I have a set time for my work schedule in which I must follow .More She's to have her son dressed and ready by 7:00am to be dropped off at day care. Afterwards she's to began her day with job hunting, follow up call etc. She completed the medical assistant program at Everest however she has failed the certification examine twice.  She's currently scheduled next week to take it again.  I have asked her does she need help with study etc.  The answer is always no.  The disrespect that she shows is horrible . The agreement is not followed.  Finally I just told her that she must find somewhere else to live. Her response to me was that she's not going anywhere without a place for her son.  As I told her your son is your responsibility not mine.  My husband just does nothing, he's her step father.  So what I have done is removed the cable box for direct tv from her room and the DVD player.  She doesn't currently pay anything because we we're trying to help her along the way so that she could get things in order.  She has been with us ever since she found out she was pregnant . I have done all I can do.  The disrespect is horrible and I'm  tired.  Please advise
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      ASLAWSON I hear you.  It can be so challenging when you have a young adult living with you who is not following your rules, nor living up to her end of the agreement you have written.  Since your daughter is an adult, anything you choose to provide to her isMore considered a privilege, not a right.  This includes things like a cable box or DVD player, as well as the ability to continue living with you.  If you want to enforce the limit you set with her that she is no longer welcome to live with you, I recommend setting a move-out date with her, and enforcing that with her.  In some communities, it’s also necessary to follow a formal eviction process if you want your adult child to leave your home.  You can contact your local court clerk for more information about the process in your area.  I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Ghoy
    I have a 20 year old step son living at home that seems to have no directions in his life. My son is a year younger and left our home about 6 months ago because we were pressuring him to get a job or go to school. He is livingMore in another state now closer to his mom. He is working and saving to get his own place. Initially it was hard to let go but i knew that he would be better off if i let him figure it out on his own. So far its seems that he is doing well. Now back to the step son. After he graduated high school 2 years ago he enrolled in a Community college near our home and he was working so I was all for helping him out as much as I could. I decided we should let him use our car to help him out and we would lease a second vehicle. The agreement was that he would pay 200.00 per month towards the 463.00 month car note. He didn't make it through the 1st semester before he quit. Since then I made him start paying the insurance on top of the 200.00. Things have gradually just gotten out of hand and it is causing great strain on his mom and I relationship. He is the only child and I am tired of watching her coddling. He works full time and waste his money. Then asks to borrow money for lunch throughout the week until he gets paid again. He takes out the garbage only after being told numerous times but other than that he does absolutely nothing around the house to help out. He won't even clean up after himself. We came home New years Day and the whole house was filthy, reeked of marijuana blunts and the windows were wide open with the heat on. A huge fight erupted between his mom and I . I was to the point that one of us are going to have to go. He pays nothing towards the house and pays less than half for a car that he drives as if it it his. His mom wants to give him the car now and let him take over the payments. We have been paying for this car for almost 5 years now with 1 year remaining. Call me crazy but the math doesn't add up to me for him to just walk away with a fairly new car and we return our current lease and walk away with nothing. I refused to allow that to happen. Now his mom wants to give her income tax return to him and co sign for him to get a car of his own. I am out of that one. This still didn't resolve our problems inside the house so after reading from your I approached her with a living agreement that we filled out together but now she is getting cold feet and is scared to give it to him. I don't know what else to do.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Ghoy I hear you.  It can be so frustrating when you are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/ and your parenting differences are impacting your marital relationship.  I’m glad to see that you were able to come together to develop the living agreement for your stepson while he remains in your home.  You make aMore great point, though, that simply writing the living agreement will not make any changes if it is not implemented and enforced.  At this point, it could be useful to work with a neutral third party, such as a marriage/family therapist, who can help you to find common ground, and work together to develop a plan you can both agree to enforce.  If you need assistance locating someone in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.org at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which connects people with resources available in their community.  I recognize how challenging this must be for you right now, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • PAIN IN THE BUTT
    My son joined the Army Reserves right out of high school.  When he came home after boot camp he started going to college and living in a dorm.  The following semester he was supposed to be deployed so he didnt go to school and ended up living at home andMore not being deployed.  He worked a little bit but complained about it every day.  He did start back to school this past fall and I've co signed on his loan once again and he is living in an apartment off of campus.  He does have to go to the Army for drill once a month and earns maybe $200 a month.  This is not enough to cover his living expenses and his car payment.  When he comes home for break he refuses to work.  He blames me for wanting him to get a dead end job just like me.  (I am an inside sales rep and feel pretty good about what I do).  He stays out all night and comes home at 6 or 7 am and sleeps until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  His car needs inspected and needs fixed first.  I bought the new tires and brakes but then he found out he need some part that will cost about $500 and refuses to get it fixed.  He just recently got a ticket for speeding and another for no inspection (which I paid).  Then the following he week he got in trouble for underage drinking.  He will be 21 in a week.  When I tell him that I will not co sign any more loans he tells me he is going to go active duty for the army or that he will leave and I will never see him again.  I know this is just him acting out but it makes me feel awful.  Last night he had a girl stay over, even though he has been told that isn't acceptable in our home.  So when we tried to talk to him he told my husband and I to "F" off!  My husband told him to pack his things and get out.  I fought with him last week and he said he was leaving and I told him good.  He left for a few days and came home Christmas Eve.  School is supposed to start January 23rd.  I haven't signed any loans yet and I know he can't get one on his own.  I'm not sure what to do.  I told him before this last fight last night that I would get him a loan only if he shows me he is responsible and gets his car fixed/inspected.  Not sure what to do now.  We currently pay his car insurance and cell phone bill too.  My name is on his apartment at school so if I don't sign another loan that will also pay his rent for the semester they will be taking me to court to pay the rent.  Just at a loss!
  • poodle mom
    Before I post I need to know that this does not go out on social medica and its private. Thanks
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      poodle mom I hear your concerns.  While you can link your comments with your social media accounts, this is an option you need to turn on.  Otherwise, your comments will not be posted to social media.  Your comments are not completely private, however, as other readers are able to viewMore them once they are published.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions about this.  Take care.
  • Sadmama3030
    I have a 25 year old son living with us who has had a learning disability since birth due to a uterine rupture. His disability affects problem solving, spatial and cognitive issues to name a few. My late husband and I have gone through traumatic things with him. Mostly peopleMore taking advantage of him, bullying in school and him trying to live with the fact he has disability. He has turned to alcohol to dull his pain which has made his life all the more difficult. He is not dealing with the loss of his dad 3 years ago and not dealing with his step dad well either. We have set a few rules, no drinking in the home and no smoking weed in our home. He was functioning well with a job and getting his license finally and buying a vehicle. but still refuses to stop drinking and smoking weed. He desperately needs counseling to learn how to deal with his hurt instead of drinking. We even offered to pay the counselor. He refuses to go. He ended up totaling his truck and losing his job plus now has a DUI. His step dad is livid because now we are back to square one. He was paying rent but can't now. My husband is insistent about kicking him out but I can't agree to turning out my son who has so many problems, no vehicle and no job. His disability will be with him the rest of his life. I am not against trying to help him get out on his own. He's not a freeloader. He wants to be on his own also but he needs to adhere to our house rules. I am hoping someone out there has suggestions for consequences other than kicking him out.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Sadmama3030 I hear what a difficult situation this is for you right now, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  Many parents are reluctant to kick out their adult child, so you are not alone.  While this is a common consequence for not following the house rules,More it’s not the only one.  The truth is, because your son is an adult, anything you choose to provide to him is considered a privilege, such as a phone, financial assistance, clothing, internet access, and so on.  I also want to point out that if you decide to tell him to leave, it doesn’t have to be forever.  As James Lehman points out in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/rules-boundaries-and-older-children-part-i/, it could be that if he is not following your rules around substance use, he needs to leave the house for 24 hours for example.  At this point, I recommend filling out the living agreement attached to this article, and determining how you will hold him accountable if he is not meeting these expectations.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • reneedi
    Ok here is my situation, I am a 44 year old single mother. 7 years ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury, my boys were 8 and 5. After about a 11 month recovery I was on my own raising my then 13 year old and 10 year old. MyMore older son was rapidly becoming verbally and physically abusive. Never really having a relationship with his father, who I divorced when he was 6, it was clear that he needed him in his life. He is now turning 16 and seems to have a good head on his shoulders although his living conditions are not ideal. My youngest who will be turning 13 has gone back and forth between me and his father. He is currently living with me and just like his brother at this age is rapidly becoming defiant and abusive to me. I have attempted to home school him which simply isnt working out. He blatantly lies to me, refuses to do the worksheets I provide to him, he has no responsiblities as I cater to his every need. We are renting a room in a not so nice area where I have given my notice and will be moving mid-month with my parents where I can get more support. He is extremely upset by this, not wanting to move, going so far as destroying the moving boxes and unpacking his things that I had already packed .I feel my only choice is to send him back to live with his father where he can implement boundaries much better than I can and I can work on myself as I have been told by many people this is what I need to foucs on. I'm having a very hard time with this thinking it is selfish, that I should be able to care for my own child.  Any suggestions anyone might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated, as I want our remaining time together to be positive and loving not abusive and argumentative.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      reneedi I hear you.  It can be so hard when it seems like all your child wants to do is argue and push back against your rules.  I’m glad that you are getting support, both here as well as from others around you.  I understand your desire to have peacefulMore time with your son before he leaves to stay with his father.  Part of this will be a balance of choosing your battles, as well as setting clear boundaries for yourself.  You might find our article series on power struggles and defiant children helpful as you move forward.  Here is the first article in the series: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/power-struggles-part-i-are-you-at-war-with-a-defiant-child/  I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • MistyCrawford
    I am on the opposite side of this issue. I am a Grandchild, raised by these Grandparents, who is once again living with them and an Uncle because of divorce, finances, the needs of these significantly aged elders. However, I pay to live here and I see to chores thatMore they can't do or whatever as needed and provide transportation for them. They are still able to certain degrees, one often beyond her actual abilities. I love them but living with my Grandmother is quite difficult. She sees things the way this article seems to layout. I see things differently. I feel that we should be more like roommates considering that I pay and contribute as I would with a roommate and more. Unfortunately, it's HER house, HER way, I have no rights except what she thinks I should have right then, she interferes with correcting my daughter, I have no space that she doesn't feel free to invade and mess with like when I was a child. How do you talk to someone who doesn't listen? How do you show respect in dealing with issues that she doesn't see and who thinks you deserve no more respect than a child? Can this situation be improved or should I just work to move out since I am not the only family that she has to help her? I just don't see any resolution and things get harder as Grandma and my daughter get older.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      MistyCrawford We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your story. I hear the challenges you are facing right now in your relationship and interactions with your Grandma.  Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice andMore suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help you look at your options and develop a plan moving forward. The http://www.211.org is a referral service available 24 hours a day, nationwide. They can give you information on the types of support services available in your area such as counselors, support groups, caregiver services as well as various other resources. You can reach the Helpline by calling 1-800-273-6222. We wish you the best going forward. Take care.
  • Dana810
    My 23 year old son lives at home. He graduated college in 2015 and is now in the police academy. He is getting his full pay while in the academy. He decided he would like to buy a home instead of renting an apartment. So he is saving for aMore down payment. He has a small car loan, car insurance and a large school loan that is still in deferment. However he said he wants to start to paying it back next month. His payment will be about $350mth. I currently have him on our cell phone plan. He does do some chores around the house. We would like for him to start paying rent. I would like to know if there is a suggested amount should charge. Is there a formula that is used based on pay? He has his own room. He does buy some of his own food. He does eat with us on occasion. Any advice on an amount would be appreciated.
    • RyanCarson1
      Dana810 Since he has a job you should work a deal about paying the bills like electric, water, sewage, property taxes, house insurance and groceries. I have been in and out of my parents house many times in the last 16 years. One thing I learned when I was onMore my own never let someone stay with you for free. I agree rent is a good idea, but make sure it covers his portion of all the bills that apply to him. I will give you an example. I have Netflix and my parents almost never watch it. So I do not charge them for it. I also got it myself because I wanted it. If you get something like Netflix or a movie pay per view that your son does not use it is your payment, same on his side too. This will teach him responsibility, help him learn budgeting his money, and making decisions. I have not left my parents house yet due to find a decent home. Also be encouraging for him. Always speak positive or he will not see leaving your house as positive. Good luck to you and him both. May God be with him
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Dana810 Thank you for your question.  I hear that you want to be fair to your son, while still teaching him to be financially responsible by paying rent while living at home.  Because there are many factors which play into the decision of how much to charge, there isn’t aMore standard recommended amount.  Some of the factors to consider might include local housing costs in your area, utility costs, his cell phone costs, how much your son is bringing home each paycheck, and so on.  We appreciate your reaching out, and hope that this has been helpful.  Take care.
  • JennH0831

    Hi,

    I have 3 step kids, 22, 20 ,19 and 2 are home still. I have major problems with them much of the above mentioned things, laziness, disrespect not doing chores or things requested such as stealing my young daughters school snacks but my question is what can I do as consequences for the adult kids not following rules? I printed the living arrangement form we are going to do which is great! Thank you for that resource, but is there a step or a few before we just say ok you have to get out now? Also one kid has no intention of getting a job or career that will support himself (he works 20hr/week @ Walmart), let alone a driver's license at 19! My husband works a lot and I'm stuck with this brat! He won't even take a shower when I tell him he stinks! I feel no end in sight and the movie step-brothers in my future! 40 years old in a bunkbed in my basement...

    • Darlene EP

      JennH0831 

      I am glad you found the living

      agreement useful. Many families have found that is helps to get everyone on the

      same page and clearly defines your expectations for living in your home. James

      Lehman wrote a 3 part series on adult children living at home that you may also

      find helpful. The first article in the series is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/rules-boundaries-and-older-children-part-i/.  In this series he talks about

      how you can hold your children accountable in a gradual way, rather than just

      kicking them out if they do not follow a house rule. Thank you for your

      question. Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Susie59 

    I hear how concerned and worried you are about your son now

    that he has moved in with his father, and I’m glad that you are reaching out

    for support.  When a child becomes an adult, the role of a parent changes

    and becomes more about setting one’s own boundaries around a child’s

    behavior.  It sounds like you did that when you told him that he needed to

    either work or attend college in order to remain in your home.  The other

    part of this is that your son is now an adult, and so he has the power to make

    his own decisions, even those that you do not agree with or understand. 

    At this point, it will be most effective to focus on your own responses, rather

    than trying to make your son change his mind or move back in with you. 

    For example, you might call, text or email him, and let him know that you are

    thinking of him, and care for him.  Even if he is not responding to you,

    you are doing what you can to keep the lines of communication open between you. 

    I also encourage you to take steps to make sure that you are taking care of

    yourself right now.  Your self-care plan can include anything you like,

    from engaging in an activity you enjoy to using more structured support, such

    as a counselor or support group.  For information on available supports in

    your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/

    at 1-800-273-6222.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you right

    now, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.  Take

    care.

  • KatieWerner
    I am not sure where to turn to ask questions or get some advise for me to work thru a HUGE decision!! Today I received a phone call from my 23 daughter who when she was 17 jumped out of my window to live with her dad and since thenMore have not had much of an relationship.  I have physically seen her 3 times since and in 2 years we have talked a handful of times.  She has been struggling to live since she moved out of her dads at 18.  Now she has NO place else to go and wants to live with me (she lives in another state).  My husband is very supportive and he has expressed the same concerns as I have so we are on the same page.  I want to help but not sure having her move in in a good choice! I feel that a stranger is moving in.  I don't know anything about my adult daughter.  I know we need to work on our relationship which I have been trying for years but not much from her. Any good resources??
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      KatieWerner 

      I hear how conflicted you are about this decision regarding

      your daughter, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support. 

      Something we often recommend in this type of situation is to apply the

      “neighbor test”; that is, what would you do if it were someone other than your

      daughter asking to live with you?  If you decide that you will allow her

      to move in, I encourage you to write up a living agreement with her beforehand

      which will outline your expectations, as well as how you will hold her

      accountable if she is not following the rules.  If you decide that you do

      not want her to move in with you, you might refer her to the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a

      service which refers people to available supports in their community, such as

      housing assistance and employment services.  I recognize what a tough

      choice this is for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving

      forward.  Take care.

      • KatieWerner
        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport KatieWerner  We are in Illinois and she is in Ohio is there any resources that you can recommend?  Thanks
        • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

          KatieWerner RebeccaW_ParentalSupport 

          Thank you for getting back to me.  As I mentioned

          previously, the 211 Helpline could be a great resource to help you get

          started.  If you call 1-800-273-6222, or if your daughter calls, you will

          be connected with the phone bank closest to you, which will detail the

          resources available in that community.  If you visit their website, http://www.211.org/, you can look up resources by ZIP code,

          or city and state, to see what might be available.  Thank you for your

          question; keep in touch!

  • Jennifer_Keller
    Help! I have a son that will be 15 in November and he wakes up with a disrespectful attitude towards me and his sister everyday for no reason at all. Discipline means nothing to him and when he gets mad because he is being told to stop being disrespectful heMore slams doors and punches holes in the wall. I'll repeat discipline means nothing to him. Getting him up in the morning is just as challenging as getting him to have his room clean and in the bed at his scheduled bedtime everyday. Nothing gets through to him. Many people say whip his behind. It doesn't matter if you whip him or not, he will only get madder, so there's no point. You can take away all of his privileges. It doesn't matter he will just harass us and abuse us either verbally or physically as well as beat more holes in the walls. I'm so ready for him to get through high school and out of my home.
    • Buffy030550
      Jennifer_Keller if he is willing, take him to see his physician about his feeling angry all the time. Our daughter was angry all the time just getting up in the morning. Come to find out she has bipolar. Now on meds and counseling she is a happy person.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Jennifer_Keller 

      I can hear how

      upset you are with your son’s behavior, and I’m glad that you are reaching out

      for support.  It’s understandable that you might feel frustrated and

      overwhelmed at this point with everything going on.  While it’s normal to

      want to address everything, it tends to be more effective if you instead https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/in-over-your-head-how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent/ at a time.  Based on what you have

      written, I encourage you to begin with the verbal and physical abuse, as well

      as his destructive behavior.  Here are some articles you might find

      helpful to read next: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-odd-child-is-physically-abusive-to-siblings-and-parents-help/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-defiant-child-damaging-or-destroying-property/  Please let us

      know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

  • Tired in Texas
    I am at a loss. My grown daughter and her kids live with us following a divorce. She's sick a lot. She has depression and PTSD. She has found a job after 8 months but the salary will not enable her to live on her own. The problem is theMore constant blow ups. I feel like I do everything from going to the market to preparing meals to doing laundry. I am retired but my husband still works. I'm frustrated and want to find a way for things to be better. I feel this would be beneficial to her children as well as the rest of us. The problem is the constant blow ups. I get so aggravated with the never ending sickness. But also I'm tired of working hard in this house with little or no help. So I need to find a positive way to change things while they live here. We need a better way to relate to each other when there's a conflict. And I need to feel respected in my home.
  • tiredmom
    I'm in a difficult situation and not sure what to do.  Two years ago I divorced my husband, who financially ruined me.  I have two sons, ages 18 & 20.  My youngest son left the marital home and came to live with me, as my older son stayed with hisMore dad.  For two years I rented a 3-bedroom condo in case my older son wanted to move in.  During this time I met someone and just recently moved into my BF home with my younger son, who will be attending college next month.  Now, that the marital home is going into foreclosure and my ex-husband must leave the home, he has no intentions on finding a place with two bedrooms so that my 20-year-old can live with him.  The problem is...my 20-year-old has a violent temper, he lies and repeatedly steals money out of my pocketbook when he comes around.  He is totally disrespectful to me and I do not want him living with me.  He was attending community college (even though I've never seen any grades or know how he is doing) and has a part-time job.  Whenever I ask him questions about school or his finances, I'm told "it's non of my business."  Now, the other day he asked me if he can move in with me.... how do I tell him no?  He's my child.  Yes, he's 20 years old, but he is extremely immature and is not able to support himself on a part-time minimum wage job.  Any suggestions???
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @tiredmom 

      I can understand

      your conflict in this situation.  On one hand, your son displays some pretty

      challenging behavior whenever he is around which makes you feel as though you

      do not want him to live with you.  On the other side, he is your son and

      if you do not allow him to live with you, you do not know where he will go

      after his dad finds another place to live.  I encourage you to keep in

      mind that your son is an adult, and so, anything you decide to provide to him

      is a choice for you and a privilege for him, including a place to live. 

      Sometimes, it can be useful to think of your adult child as a house guest, as

      James Lehman describes in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/rules-boundaries-and-older-children-part-i/.  If someone else other than your

      son was engaging in these behaviors (stealing from you, being disrespectful,

      becoming violent) and asked to move in, would you allow it?  If not, it’s

      OK to set that limit with your son as well.  If you do decide to let him

      move in, I encourage you to discuss the rules and expectations beforehand, and

      to write up a living agreement as noted in the article above.  I recognize

      how difficult this must be for you and I wish you all the best moving forward.

  • DeannaLynn
    So I am kinda at a stand still with my fiance concerning his 21 year old son who moved in with us at the begining of the year. When I agreed for him move in he was to get a job and save money so he could pay off $1,000More he owed to a college he attended in other state, save for going to a paramedic school here (also $1000) and start saving towards getting his own place. All the while pitching in the bare minimum for living expenses. ($300 a month) I thought it was going as planned he got a job right away bring home over $1000 a month until i found that he hasn't saved anything. Hasn't went and got his driver's licence or done anything toward becoming independent. When I brought this up to his Dad and said something has to change (we are struggling financially to be able to support him and our 2 small children who actually need us to) he flipped out and said that he would do whatever he needed to do to make sure his "baby" was taken care of. And that he would do it for all his kids. It has gotten to the point that I have considered taking our kids and leaving cause I just cant take the stress of it anymore. I have even tried talking to the 21 year old himself and all I get in return is, "well my dad said this or my dad said that" (and most of the time when i ask his dad about that he says that he didnt say those things) I am just at the end of my rope with the whole thing. I feel like the 21 year old is taking from the 2 small children because he doesnt want to support himself. I just dont know how to go about dealing with this anymore
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      DeannaLynn 

      It can be very frustrating when you discover that a young

      adult is not meeting the expectations laid out when he moved in.  It’s

      even more challenging when it is your partner’s child, and you and your partner

      do not agree on what to do next.  Ultimately, the choice of whether to

      stay or to leave with your two small children is up to you.  Something

      that can be helpful is to bring in a neutral third-party, such a

      marriage/family therapist with experience working with blended families, to

      help you and your fiancée to develop a plan which both of you agree to

      follow.  For assistance locating this type of support, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I

      recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I wish you and your family

      all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • pink07
    Daughter is 32 is in an abusive marriage has 2 children 3 and 1 and now expecting baby no. 3.  She left him in Oct. and returned to him in mid April which is a pretty common pattern.  When she comes here she never cleans up after the children orMore herself.  She says we treat her like she is 12; but she doesn't respect our house, our requests and the fact she is working us to death.  We keep the children when she works even if her husband (their father) is at home.  We don't want to turn them away because we would rather have the grandchildren with us than with him. Everytime I say something to her about cleaning up her mess she gets very defensive and tells me she will, but she doesn't .  She does act like she is 12 when it comes to this! HELP!!! We are so very tired of this, going on 9 years of back and forth! She filed for divorce 2 1/2 years ago, but then found out she was pregnant so she felt she needed to give it another try.  Everyone in her circle of influence and mine has adviced her to leave.  I believe she suffers from relationship addiction, nothing else makes no sense in why she keeps going back.
  • scoobie doo
    my husband died a few years ago I have been dating this man I am 46 have two grown children independent college grads ages 25 and 22 he has one child a daughter that is just 20. I believe since he has one child is the reason she is spoiledMore and also girls are close to their dads. I do think he has great intents for her as a father. they both live with me in my home that I own. he has a house but rents it out. I have noticed she gets to do what ever she wants.. at 20. she has more male friends than girls to hang out with. Its not uncommon for her to come home with a male-- friend.. they go to her room and change and then go out for the night.. I don't agree with it.. I have said something he says they are friends. I dont' know if she changes in front of them.. or she uses the upstairs bathroom.. but... I don't think its right. she does have a boyfriend but he is out of town, and only sees on weekends. She does have a part time job and does go to college locally, thus that is why she lives here. my problem is, she doesn't do anything around here. she seldom socializes with us. she eats and washes HER plate. leaves everything else in sink.. if there are 2 cups in the sink she will just leave them. they aren't hers is what she thinks I don't know. she cant even keep her room neat and tidy. laundry everywhere nothing hung up just as you would think it was a 13 year olds room. she washes her laundry doesn't fold it lives out of the basket.since its my house she is living in I finally broke down and cleaned her room with the notion the two of them will have to get over it if they are mad I did. I made her room did her laundry and showed her how I wanted that room kept. in the mitz of it all I found alcohol in her closet. I have yet to mention it to my boyfriend... as I think he thinks he has a goodie goodie daughter... I think she plays him. she has had multiple speeding tickets.. now she can only have state insurance he does make her pay on her own... well how do I tell him .. she has to clean up the room take on some responsibility around here or both of you can get the hell out.. I really like him.. but its not worth all this for me. can someone give me some tips on what to do or say.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @scoobie doo

      I can hear your frustration. It may help to know the

      behavior you describe is quite normal for a 20 year old. The fact that she

      takes the time to wash her own dishes and does her own laundry is actually a

      plus. Blending two families can be tough, especially when you and the

      biological parent don’t agree. Your situation is a little bit different,

      however, because everyone involved is an adult, which needs to be taken into

      consideration. I understand the three of you are living in the house you own

      and it can be upsetting to see someone not take care of their room to the same

      standards as you would. It is her space, though, at least as long as she is

      living there. Unless there is some issue of safety, I would refrain from going

      in her room to clean it or for any other reason.  Moving forward, it would

      probably be beneficial if the three of you sat down and talked about the

      expectations you each have in regards to the current living arrangement. You could

      then develop a living agreement, as suggested in the above

      article and also https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement/. It would be helpful to clarify house rules

      around underage drinking as well. Best of luck moving forward. Take care.

      • scoobie doo
        DeniseR_ParentalSupport thank you for the advice. I think i will sit down and have a talk. where do I come into play about the drinking in my house? do I have any say? as you said its her space in her room and not to clean it.. but.. IMore feel it takes away from how I feel about my house.. having it so messy when its just lazyness. would you go to him first about the alcohol or just her.. or spring it on both of them at the same time? I used to have the door open so spring breezes would blow threw the upstairs, its so messy now I don't even want the door open. I also have a dog.. and well I don't want him into her stuff since its everywhere...I am just frustrated.. im feeling taken advantage of..
        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          @scoobie doo DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          That’s a great question. It would probably be most effective

          if you and her dad sit down and talk about what stance you would like to take

          on underage drinking in your home before having the conversation with her. It

          is going to be easier to maintain expectations if you are both on the same page

          in regards to her drinking. I hope this helps. Take care.

  • CeeDee1963
    I am totally torn about a decision I have had to make concerning my son.  He came to live with me and my fiancee about 2 months ago.  We told him that there were very specific rules that he needed to follow, and he broke every one of them.  HeMore knew that the consequence of his actions was that he would have to leave, but he broke the rules anyway.  I felt that it was important for him to feel the consequences of his actions, but his father stepped in as usual, questioned my parenting skills, told me that I was heartless and that I wanted my son to be homeless, which is very far from the truth on all counts.  This is a young man who dropped out of college and didn't tell anyone for 6 months, constantly late for work, constantly late getting home from work, and completely obsessed with precisely measuring everything he cooks so that he takes forever to make anything.  He knew that, if he was going to stay here, he would need to find a job asap, preferably full time.  Then, after he got a part-time job, he stopped looking for a full time job.  He has had problems with his eating and his finances, and we have tried to help him with both, but he just resists us at every turn.  It has caused a great deal of stress in my home, and I have been literally ill because of the stress.  I have worked for a long time on myself, trying to get stronger and more confident, but this situation has done a job on all of that.  I am trying to hold fast to my decision, but it's been very difficult - I want to just cave and let him stay an extra week, when he'll be going back to NYC to live with his brother.  I've had discussions with several relatives of my ex-husband, including his aunt.  Our original idea when he first came here was that my son would stay with my ex-husband's aunt and he would find work near where she lives (we live in a small town, and jobs have been pretty scarce).  That fell through originally, but now my ex has arranged for my son to stay with her for a week and then go back to NYC.  My ex will not have my son back before then under no uncertain terms - when he moved out originally, his stepmom told him that he could never come back, and my ex is sticking with that.  I feel bad about my son going to stay with my ex's aunt because she is an older lady and she's had some losses lately of family members, but of course my ex is her nephew and she would never refuse him anything.  My fiancee and I have tried to stand as a team, but it's been difficult with my son's father butting in and deciding everything for everybody.  Am I doing the right thing by letting my son stay with his aunt for a week?  Any advice would be appreciated.
    • aprilmaybe
      CeeDee1963 Funny how your ex is fierce in judging you and trying to guilt you into enabling your son when he won't have him in his home...  It is very difficult to develop intentional and effective consequences to violated boundaries let alone enforce them (although I am convinced that whenMore I figure out ones that are appropriate that they will be effective and I will be confident in enforcing them).  I too struggle with the opinions of others and separating myself from what is right for me from what others think I "should" do.  I have read many articles on this site, and they all make sense, logically, but still-easier said than done.  My advice is stick to your plan (given the date of your post and my reply, this comes too little to late).  I would be interested in hearing how it went.  I have just literally enforced a consequence that was a long time coming. My son, too, is recently out of college.  He saw it through to the end but didn't complete his courses (he did his time, so to speak).  He is now being held accountable for finding a job, being helpful around the house and contributing commensurate to his available time (so, if he is not treating job searching as his full time job, he needs to be filling in the rest of the time doing things to help out around the house and in the very least to clean up after himself).  Anyhow, in the month he has been home from college he has applied to maybe 5 jobs, and has done the dishes once, washed his own dishes (from his midnight food raid) after they sat for a week, cleaned the toilets he soiled only when his friend was coming over, violated the no friends over on a work night rule, violated not smoking pot at home, and violated respect when called on his violations. He uses his phone for connecting socially with both people he knows and strangers.  He watches video on his phone.  When I changed the wifi password, he used up all our data and then some, despite my telling him to cut it out. So, now, I have cut off his phone altogether.  He can use the family computer for his job search, and the land line for his contact, and he can hit the pavement and look for work.  Don't get me wrong-cutting off his phone was something that took me a long time to be comfortable enforcing.  I relate to "but he has anxiety and depression".  But regardless, if he is able to watch videos and hang out with friends smoking pot, then he can't be that depressed that he can't also put in an earnest effort looking for work.  It is difficult, indeed, but I am hoping and trusting that it will be to everyone's benefit in the long wrong.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      CeeDee1963

      I understand where you’re coming from. On one hand, you want

      your son to have the opportunity to get back on his feet and living with his

      aunt could give him that opportunity. On the other hand, you don’t want to

      enable him by continuing to allow him to make the choices he’s been making

      without consequences. From what you have shared, it sounds like your son is an

      adult. In this situation, you’ve set limits around what you will and will not

      provide for your son. That’s really all you can do. If other people in his life

      are making the choice to let him stay with them, there really isn’t anything

      you can do about that. I know it’s hard to watch your adult child make poor

      choices. You’ve done what you can to help him. Hopefully, he will take

      advantage of the opportunities provided to him by getting a job and making

      healthier decisions in the future. We appreciate you writing in and wish you

      all the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    M J G

    This sounds like a very challenging situation. I can only

    imagine how distressing this must be for you. Unfortunately, we’re not able to

    offer you any specific suggestions for how to move out on your own. Our website

    is aimed at helping people who are in a direct parenting role learn more

    effective ways of addressing problems they may face while raising their

    children. It might be beneficial to talk with legal counsel to find out what

    options are available for you. The 211 Helpline, a national non-profit referral

    service, would be able to give you information on legal services in your area.

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

    visiting them online at http://www.211.org/. We wish you

    the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Sharon
    Hi,  I have three children.  My middle son (23) has moved out for a year now and my daughter (18) is in her first year at University.  My oldest son just turned 26 and is still living at home.  He has anxiety, although not diagnosed as he won't go toMore the doctor or get any therapy.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Geography in 2014 and has a pizza delivery job (20 hours) a week and has been doing this since high school which was 9 years ago.  He has no other experience.  He has applied for no jobs since he graduated from university, he hasn't been out with friends for six months, he basically sits in his room on his computer all day and works 5 evenings a week.  He uses alcohol to ease his anxiety.  I cannot stand another day of this.  I get irritated every time he is around. I hate having him home all day.  I want to kick him out and I tried and he said he has no where to go.  He pays $300 rent and owns his own car.  Not sure what to do. He can't seem to get his life started and frankly I give up.  My husband works away from home and has a stressful job so I can't really explain to him how bad it really is.
  • LauraArt
    My 24 year old son is difficult to live with.  Long story, short:  Husband died unexpectedly almost two years ago.  Son has been angry and disrespectful to me and his teen sister.  He works part time and attends college part time.  Struggles with his college courses and has a lowMore GPA.  He has Aspherger's, is creative artistically but often misdirected in his goals.  I requested that he attend counseling at least 3 times a month.  He only went once and continues to make appointments and then cancel, rescheduling the appoint for a month later!  I am tired of his behavior.  My family tries to help but my brothers (male role models) live hours away.  My husband's family has been of no help even though my son is in constant contact with them.  They have not spoken to me for over a year.  I believe they think I am responsible for my husband's death.  I  am in the process of drafting a Living Arrangement for the the two of us to sign.  If he refuses to sign or does not follow the arrangement, I will tell him to leave.  I want peace in my home.
  • JC
    Hi, there is an age difference of 12 years between myself and my husband - him being 12 years older than I am.  we have completely different views of how to treat our children - who are now all adults. 22, 24 , 26. Yesterday we fought about duties at homeMore - they are all at home over weekends so I expect them to help with duties, dishes, etc - especially clean up after themselves.. My husband's opinion is that they are our "children" and we should do things for them. I am not able to convince him otherwise. please assist in letting me know how to handle this?
  • rjtrent12
    I have a 21 year old granddaughter that her grandfather and I raised from 18 month old.  She has had much love, opportunity and advantages.  She now chooses to live the life she was taken from.  While she was in her teen age years and on she refused to doMore anything.  She doesn't clean a room, do any chores, it was like pulling teeth to even convince her to get a drivers license which now has been suspended due to not paying outstanding tickets. She is living with her boyfriend and does nothing.  She will not hold a job.. Seems her only ambition is to get up each morning and search for pot and now alcohol.   We have had many disagreements even to violence.  I am not my wits end as to how to get through to her or motivate her.  One of the main problems is I can not accept such behavior.  Because of my attitude and hers it just creates havoc constantly.  Now that she has moved I have very little contact with her and it is literally killing me.  PLEASE HELP!!!
    • Buffy030550
      rjtrent12 find the nearest chapter of Alanon and attend the meetings. It's for families of addicted loved ones . You can only do for yourself you cannot chAnge her. There you will learn how to behave towards her. I did just that when my sister was an active alcoholic
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      rjtrent12

      I am sorry your granddaughter is making such poor choices.

      It can be tough to watch someone you love behave in ways that can have a

      negative impact on her future. The unfortunate truth is there may not be much

      you can do to influence the choices she is making. At 21, she is an adult. She

      can make whatever choices she wants to, good or bad, whether you agree with

      those choices or not. It’s going to be most effective to focus on things you do

      have control over, namely how you respond to those choices. You don’t have to

      accept her behavior and don’t have to offer support of any kind for her current

      lifestyle. She, in turn, can decide how much, or how little, contact she will

      have with you. I can hear how distressed you are about the current situation.

      It may be helpful to develop a self care plan to help you deal with this

      distress. A self care plan can include anything you’d like, from talking with a

      friend, going for a walk, or do other activities you enjoy. You may also find

      solace in more structured supports, such as a counselor, therapist, or support

      group. I encourage you to look in your community to see what types of services

      are available. You might consider contacting the 211 Helpline, a nationwide

      referral service, for information. You can find them online at http://www.211.org/. You can also call them at

      1-800-273-6222. Your granddaughter has been very lucky to have you in her life.

      Hopefully she will learn from the mistakes she is making now and will be able

      to turn things around for the better. Good luck to you and your family moving

      forward. Take care.

  • Mike
    About a month ago my 22 year old son went into a rage over a relatively minor consequence that I imposed over the use of his window air conditioner. He was cursing yelling and slamming doors. I warned him to stop behaving like that in my house. The next dayMore his mother and I were arguing in front of him about the situation and he slammed his bedroom door because we were disturbing him. I burst into his room and scolded him never to slam his door in my face again. He said "why don't you hit me so I can call the police and get you arrested". The next day I sent him an email telling him that because of his threats and trying to provoke me, he has until the end of this year to find another place to live. I also withdrew from his saving account the value of my car that I have been letting him drive and told him to take the title and transfer the car to his name. I also withdrew $1000 I had recently given him toward his final college tuition payment. In addition I told him he would now pay $200/month in rent until he leaves and I withdrew $800 in advance. The next day he packed a few clothes and has been staying with friends ever since. Its been over a month now and he refuses to tell us where he is staying. My wife has had a few short text messages from him but we are not sure what to do. Should we reach out to him or wait for him to come back to us.
    • Marissa EP

      @Mike 

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I’m sorry

      to hear about the argument you had with your adult son. It sounds like it was a

      pretty emotional and heated argument. At 22, your son can make the choice to

      leave and not tell you where he is staying, and you also have the right to

      reach out to him. You might let him know you are thinking about him and

      available if he wants to talk, but keep in mind, you can’t make him respond to

      you. Good luck to you and your family. I hope you are able to work things out

      with your son. Take care.

      • Mike

        Marissa EP Thank you for your response. Was it wrong to give him a time limit to move out and to make him pay for the car he was using? My wife thinks that if I give him his money back he will be more likely to respond.

        Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-adult-children.php#ixzz3nA661qWe

        • Marissa EP

          @Mike 

          There is nothing wrong with giving your son a time limit to

          move out, and is often something we encourage parents to do. After all, the

          goal with most adult child is to help them successfully transition to the adult

          world, which includes living on their own and dealing with challenges that come

          with it. I think that giving your son choices can also be helpful in a situation

          like yours. For example, with the car, if you have allowed him to use your car

          in the past without cost, I wouldn’t suggest having him pay for back-use,

          however, you can let him know that going forward, if he wants to continue to

          use the car, or take it with him when he leaves, he will need to pay for it. If

          he chooses to do that, then he can pay you from his bank account. He might

          choose to not take the car, in which case I wouldn’t recommend taking the money

          out of his bank account. The same goes for rent. You certainly can have an

          expectation that he pays rent monthly, and he can choose to not live with you.

          I wouldn’t recommend taking out several month’s rent in advance, especially

          since he is not currently living there. If your son does choose to return home,

          I would recommend meeting with him  and setting up a http://www.empoweringparents.com/Rules-Boundaries-and-Older-Children-Late-To-Set-Up-Living-Agreement.php before he comes back. This would be a list of rules and

          expectations that he agrees to follow in order to return home, as well as what

          will happen if he doesn’t follow them. We have a downloadable living agreement http://cdn.empoweringparents.com/EP/Living-Agreement-Adult-Children-Template.pdf,

          that you can use as a guide with your own son. I hope this helps. Let us know

          if you have anymore questions.

  • EllaT
    Hi there! I'm going to begin by a little of my background, I'm from Central America, immigrated 15 years ago after my brother was murdered, I have a 24 year old daughter, had her at 16 my parents are really strict Christians, they were ashamed and I had toMore leave my baby in the care of my Aunt who was the only one willing to help me while I work, then she was living with her full time, meet my husband and emigrated, we were able to get a green card for her too and she came whe she was 17 year old, angry and treating me like a enemy who left her, true is my aunt love her like her own(never married or had children) sadly she died months after my brother and leave her at 11 year old, we carried a lot of emotional baggage but been able to survive, even when she's angry, snap at me really easy I always encourage her to study and have a title while we both work to provide for her now 6 years after college and a Master in Legal and Ethical Studies she never left home and now just sleeps until noon, don't help with chores, don't clean her room or after herself goes from 1 to a 100 at me yelling me at public and the last serious fight she throw a cup with some ice cream at me, I snapped and told her that next time that she raise her hand at me she was out of my house, she doesn't paid a dime for anything, I went to work 3 weeks after knee surgery and really ruined my health to the point to have to quit 1 year after, now I'm home trying to recover, I feel guilty and feel like I haven't done anything right with her I tried to reinforce the rules but everything is a big fight and no results the last thing she stole some money (coins) guess a couple of hundreds, my husband is a good provider and he doesn't want anything to do with her, now we are both home and this is war, I don't know what to do anymore and I'm afraid she start cutting .. She did it in the past(she went to a professional), in a couple of steps.. 1. She's 24.. 2. She doesn't work or ever pay anything no for her car insurance, cell, food..Etc.. 3. She's agresive to me.. 4. She stole(pay for her credit cards) .. 5. She doesn't help around the house.. 6. She doesn't respect me.. And it's my fault for let her walk all over me but I been trying to reinforce rules, talking with her heart to heart and no matter what she doesn't appreciate anything and I'm bulgar, don't know how to act (I have my college degree from my country.) I'm just 40 and at top of everything she's ashamed of me..I don't know what to do anymore and I don't have the tools or skills to fix it... Help.. Please .. Thank you
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @EllaT

      What a tough situation. Many parents of adult children

      express similar concerns, so, you’re not alone. The important thing to keep in

      mind is your daughter is an adult. You’re no longer required to continue

      providing for her and, anything you do provide for her is a choice you are making.

      If it’s no longer working for you, you can make a different choice. This

      doesn’t mean you have to make your daughter move out tomorrow. As explained in

      the above article,  one thing you can do is set up a living agreement with

      your daughter that includes a specific move out date as well as the necessary

      steps she needs to make in order to move out by that date. From what you

      describe, your daughter seems pretty comfortable with how things are.  She

      probably isn’t going to change on her own – most people don’t change until they

      are uncomfortable with their current circumstances, as James Lehman explains in

      his article http://www.empoweringparents.com/In-Response-to-Questions-about-Older-Children-Living-at-Home-by-James-Lehman.php#ixzz3mTkfdtK2. In order to help motivate your daughter to make

      these changes, you will need to start establishing clear limits and boundaries

      around what you will and won’t support and then stick to them. For example, you

      might consider contacting the police the next time money or credit cards go

      missing. I understand that isn’t an easy decision to make. However, stealing is

      stealing, whether a person steals from a stranger or a family member. We

      appreciate you writing in. Good luck to you and your family moving forward.

      Take care.

  • alsinn

    Hello,

    I am a single mother of my now nineteen year old son who seems to disregard or respond to all and every limit I have ever tried to and still try to enforce. At his age of 14, I needed to work full time therefore was no longer able to be the hands on parent he required In terms of getting him up and to school, fighting abut going to school, eat properly, take care of himself physically or mentally or remain in his sport activities. This was required the whole time, every single day which I did and he did ok. Since then he quit and got kicked out of almost every school, engages in antisocial behaviour and done nothing but isolate and do drugs, play video games and breaks many of our basic house rules. He has previous diagnosis of ADHD, ODD, anxiety and depression, learning disabilities among others which were exacerbated shortly after his father died requiring some phyciatric intervention and supports all in which his participation was superficial ang guarded. After more challenges, I reluctantly tried pharmaceuticals with some good effect however he does not follow through with anything including being medication compliant or therapy. He has zero motivation, is underweight, still does not feed himself sufficiently and refuses to job seek, exercise or seemingly anything that will impact his life positively. Often he does not even tend to his basic ADL's like showering or even brushing his teeth. Financially and mentally I am getting burned out. He lies, cheats and steals from me frequently and feel I have become an "enabler" despite my u respected limits and best intentions. When confronted he denies everything including the obvious. His temper is verbally abusive and often intimidating or violent. I have allowed myself to because socially isolated and live in shame for some of his behaviours that others have discovered. I love him dearly however he has no insight or accountability. I feel my situation is hopeless

  • Shakti61

    I'm having some challenges with my 25 year old daughter.  I posted about this a few months ago as well.  I'll be a brief as possible.  She left home at 18 to attend university and has not lived with us consistently since then.  The most she has been home is 1-2 months.  I'm divorced from her father whom I have a good relationship with and I remarried 4 years ago.  She is polite to my husband, but it is obvious that she wishes he wasn't around.  We decided to rent out her room via airbnb to provide an additional income and help us pay off our mortgage.  We informed her of this more than 1 year ago and starting in July.  She  went back to school in July and has moved away again.  She was very unclear about dates for her summer break. I explained to her that she could stay with us for a week and that we wanted to make the room available for airbnb because of the busy summer season. Her response:  'that's it".  It turns out that her break is for 1 moth. 

    There was lots of back and forth emails with me trying to state my case and her stating that she felt shame and abandoned, not welcome and that she doesn't belong.  We finally agreed to disagree and move forward. This last week she stayed with us and it was ok.  We did a few things together, but mostly she was quite dismissive.   I tried  to remind  her on Sunday that she had to leave yesterday because a guest was checking in.  She snapped at me a few times and refused to talk to about it.  I sent her an email to remind her when she had to be out and also mentioned in the email dates that were available  to her at the end of her month off and that she can have the room for 3 weeks at X-mas.

    After she received this email she has barely spoken to me and has been very rude.   I sent her a text wishing her a good camping trip, no response. 

    I know she is acting out and that it is important for us to keep the boundary firm.  I just don't know what else to do and I'm trying to understand what is going on with her?   She is not interested in talking about this.  I was planning on visiting  her in  October for a few days and was going to send her a bit of money each month to help with food.  I now feel that both are  a really bad idea since there is so much tension.  My husband things that I will just be rewarding bad behaviour.

    I'm so stressed out; can't sleep etc.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Thank-you!!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Shakti61 

      Thank you for writing back with this update, and I’m sorry

      to hear that communication with your daughter continues to be strained. 

      The truth is, you cannot make your daughter talk with you or understand your

      perspective; you can only control your responses and actions.  I

      understand the difficulty with trying to decide whether to send your daughter

      money to help with living expenses and/or visit her in October. 

      Sometimes, it can be helpful to think about this in a different way, outside of

      the parent-child relationship.  What would you do if it were someone other

      than your daughter treating you this way, such as a neighbor or a friend? 

      Would you send money to help out?  Would you go ahead with plans to visit

      and make arrangements to stay in other accommodations, wait to visit, or make

      other plans during that time?  Ultimately, this is going to be your

      judgment call; there isn’t one right or wrong answer.  I hope this has

      been helpful to you.  Please continue to check in and let us know how

      things are going; take care!

      • Juno
        If I was your daughter, I'd feel rejected. There should always be a place for your child to stay with you. You can't compare her to a neighbour, she's your daughter. However at 25 years of age, she could contribute to the housekeeping or rent. GoMore out for a meal with her and find out how she feels. Take an interest in her future. You don't say if she's your only child. That would make a difference as they don't have a sibling to support them. If you have a brother or sister she coult turn to that would also help.
  • Jana
    I have a 22 y.o. son who suffers from depression and possible borderline personality disorder. At age 19 he moved to the city to go to school. It was a bit of a disaster as I had to go every month to clean up his mess and make sureMore he had food and such. His grandfather paid his living expenses while he was in school. He finished his course and moved back home a year ago. He has not made ANY serious attempts to find employment. He has never been employed. He inherited a lump sum when he turned 21 and is living comfortably off that - but eventually it will be gone. A few months ago we began charging him rent which he is paying from his inheritance. He now seems to feel that since he is paying rent he can do whatever he wants. He sleeps until 12 every day. He goes canoeing, hangs out with friends, and spends the rest of the time locked away in his room on the computer. He refuses to do anything around the house. He even eats in his room just avoid being with us. He is incredibly messy and sometimes after giving him fair warning, I go in and clean because the smell gets bad! He leaves messes in the kitchen every day. He says he cleans, but it's not clean to our standards! The tension and resentment is becoming very intense. My husband and I feel so trapped and stuck - we are near the breaking point. I will try this agreement but generally he will go along with it for a while just to appease us, but nothing ever changes. I know that his depression really affects his ability to move forward - but at some point we can't take it anymore. I really don't know what to do...
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Jana 

      When adult children move back home, it can put a strain on

      relationships and cause issues even under the best of circumstances.  When

      the young adult is not meeting expectations or following the rules, it is

      likely that there will be conflict.  I understand your concern for your

      son, and his ability to take care of himself and move forward due to his

      diagnosis.  It may be useful to think about what the goal is for your son

      while he is living at home.  Is it practicing life skills, such as

      budgeting, cleaning and time management, in order to live independently? 

      Is it to find a job?  Something else?  Once you have some goals in

      mind, then you can create an action plan to meet that goal.  Using the

      living agreement template can be a great step to make sure that all of you are

      on the same page when it comes to the house rules and expectations.  It’s

      also going to be beneficial to make sure that you have a clear plan for how you

      will hold your son accountable if he is not following the rules.  After

      all, it sounds like things are working out pretty well from your son’s

      perspective, and in general, people don’t change if they are comfortable with

      the way things are going.  While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you

      have to kick him out of the house, it is helpful to keep in mind that as an

      adult, anything that you choose to provide to your son is considered a

      privilege for him, and is a choice you are making.  For more guidance on

      setting up this living agreement, you might find it helpful to review some of

      our other articles on http://www.empoweringparents.com/category-Adult-Children.php, such as http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement.php.  I

      understand how frustrating this situation can be, and I hope that you will

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

  • hair mom

    Confused an concerned mom,

    26 yr old child moved back in after 7 yr relationship went down. Since 4 weeks in she had been influence by agame called second life or something of sorts. She is on the game all the time into the night even work nights, she does work too. Just worried that this is her new life. An the old life is no more. These people are real but I know you can be what u want in this game world. just phase or what she is smart but not a go getter. Need ground rules or something.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @hair mom 

      It’s normal to feel concerned when you see your adult child

      spending all of her free time on an online game.  The unfortunate truth

      is, she is an adult and is free to choose how she spends her time, whether or

      not you agree with those choices.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t set

      ground rules, however.  As discussed in the above article, it can be

      useful to talk with your daughter about the expectations for living in your

      house.  Some of those might be paying a portion of the electric and/or

      internet bill each month, or having a house rule of electronics being turned

      off at a certain time each night.  Ultimately, your daughter doesn’t have

      to like or agree with the rules; she does need to follow them in order to

      continue receiving the privilege of living in your house.  Thank you for

      writing in; please let us know if you have any additional questions.

  • At a loss mom
    I have a 20 yr old son. He is very bright and went to college for two years. His grades were not the best and finally gave up and failed every class this last semester. While in college he struggled and my husband and I told our son we wouldMore pay for everything while he was in college and give him a stipen if his grades stayed above a 3.0. Well he lost his stipen after his first year and was able to get a job at the college working 10 hours a week. He lost his scholarship and we after his first year and we had a talk with him and agreed to pay for his college too if he maintained a 2.5. His first year he partied, drinking and using marijuana. He got several speeding tickets and a minor in possession charge. Second year transferred to a different harder, but smaller college. He scored very high on his ACT in high school. He had wanted to be an engineer. This last semester he had a tutor and I would call and ask him how he was doing and he would say his grades were good. Well when he came home after this last semester he told us he didn't want to go to college anymore, he wasn't motivated to do the work. It was too hard and he had to spend all of his free time studying and he was not willing to do that anymore. He stated he was going to join the navy and wanted to be on a submarine, and then maybe go back to school on the gi bill. We were shocked and only about 2 weeks later I found out he had lied about his grades and failed every class. When confronted he admitted he had been lying and he just couldn't keep up with the grades so he gave up about half way through the last semester. Now that he is home he is working almost 40 hours a week, plays video games the rest of the time or sleeping. We have found alcohol in his vehicle. He says he is not smoked dope for 2 months. We have suggested he check into doing to college here and living at home as an option to the navy. He has not followed through on checking with a recruiter or into taking any classes. He is just in limbo. He goes out at night, stays out all night with friends, goes to strip clubs with friends, etc. All of which he knows we do not approve. He has also got another warning ticket for speeding. We did not raise him to be this way. His dad and I have had several talks with him, he just agrees but we do not see him trying to change and do the right things for his future. We have told him he has to start paying for his car insurance and his cell phone with the money he gets from working. We are very worried and don't know what to do. It seems he does not care about his future. Suggestions. Where did we go wrong?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      At a loss mom 

      It sounds like this situation with your son is very

      challenging for you and your husband right now, and I appreciate your writing

      in to us for guidance and support.  I think it’s helpful in this type of

      situation to remember that http://www.empoweringparents.com/when-good-parents-have-difficult-children-its-not-your-fault.php for the decisions your son has made thus far.  It’s

      your responsibility to teach your son your values, and to let him know what your

      expectations are.  It’s up to your son whether he chooses to implement

      those lessons.  Your son is an adult, and as such, has the freedom to make

      his own decisions, and the responsibility to experience the outcomes associated

      with his actions.  As discussed in the above article, we recommend being

      clear and specific with your expectations for your son, and writing those down

      in a living agreement.  It’s also important to outline how you will hold

      him accountable for meeting these requirements.  In general, people become

      motivated to change when they are uncomfortable with their current course of

      behavior, and holding your son accountable is one way of making him

      uncomfortable. I recognize how tough this is for you, and I hope that you will

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

      care.

  • WearyMom12
    How exactly is the agreement enforceable? I have 23 year old daughter who will sign whatever to get us off her back, and will probably then revert to her same old negative behaviors.  Please advise, I think the idea is well intentioned, but what is in place to ensure compliance?
    • Marissa EP

      @WearyMom12 

      Thanks for writing in with your question!  When it

      comes to adult children who are living at home, we often talk about how

      everything that you provide them now becomes a privilege, including, but not

      limited to  food, cell phone, internet, car usage or insurance.  When

      setting up a living agreement with your child, you can also look at what

      privilege you are also providing. Should your daughter not meet the

      expectations in the living agreement, it is reasonable to withhold a privilege.

      For example, if your daughter is not completing the chores she agreed to do,

      you might turn her cell phone off until she starts doing them. Or, if she is

      coming home late at night, after your home is closed up for the night, you

      might withhold the car privilege until she can be home on time for several days

      in a row, or she has to find another place to stay that night. If her behavior

      becomes intolerable, it is also not unreasonable to tell her she has to find

      another place to live if she is not able to follow your house rules. I hope

      this gives you some ideas of ways to hold her accountable to following your

      living agreement. Best of luck as you continue to work on this with your

      daughter.

      • Alexi

        I had the same question and I think it is great to get more and more ideas. I have a hard time with not micromanaging my 22 yr old son. I want all the different ideas people have for “consequences” when he doesn’t do his part. He has been on trash duty for 5 years, there is no way he should need to be reminded and I need to break the habit of reminding him!! Some consequences I use are turning off data, no access to our internet and no use of the car. The issue came when he hadn’t worked all summer and missed the school sign up deadline. He had lost all these privileges and was left with “now what”? That is when my therapist reminded me "EVERYTHING, including a mattress, food, having a room and showers are privileges". They get way to comfortable and need to be reminded that all of these are not things they are intitled to anymore, they are privileges we are allowing them to have.

        Now he gets kicked out of his room at 10am until 6pm every day until he starts school or gets a job. Plus, all chores for the day must be done before he can get access again. His other privileges until he is caught up on his payments. I was not about to watch him sleep in anymore each day and continue you nagging him! No roommate or spouse will ever put up with that, and to love him means to let him feel the pains of real life.

        With that said, new creative ideas are always welcome!

  • TiredMom

    I have a 19 year old son living at home. He graduated 1 year ago from high school, and has worked part time since he graduated.  He was on hold for over 6 months waiting to hear the decision on his medical waiver for the USMC. When they denied his waiver he found another job that has better hours and pay. He is working hard and loves his new job and is working to get a full time job with the company.  (as an aside - his father passed away tragically when my son was 13 years old.)  He is also talking about starting college this fall.

    He has been angry with me off and on since his father passed away.  It is my lack of being strict enough at times that he got to the point he is at now. 

    Last week he verbally crossed some lines and found this website and took heart to what was said.  We are working on the living agreement now - but I need advice on what consequences to give an adult child that doesn't adhere to the "quiet time" rules of the house.  My boyfriend gets up at 4 every morning because he has to be at work so early. When my son comes home at midnight or later the dogs bark and it wakes my boyfriend up.  I have narcolepsy - so I go right back to sleep easily.  My boyfriend is a lite sleeper and it is hard for him to go back to sleep.

    We sat down as a family and talked with my son about "quiet time", disrespectful behavior, money responsibilities, household responsibilities, and alcohol and drugs rule. We set "quiet time" hours for 10pm Sunday - Thursday night(unless he is working later than 10pm), and midnight on Friday and Saturday.  He got off work at 11pm last night and didn't come home until after 1am. He is aware that if he is disrespectful to me again he will be told to leave the house for 24 hours.  The 2nd time will be a week out of the house. The third will be his finally strike and he will be told to move out.

    The "quiet time" rule is more of a respect the other people in the house rather than a "curfew" to control him.  But I just don't know what to do to make him realize we mean business.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. I think we are on the right track with the living agreement, he has hugged me and told me "i love you" 3 times this past week.  He stopped telling me he loved me after his father died.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @TiredMom 

      Thank you for writing in.  I’m so pleased to hear that

      you have found our resources to be helpful with your relationship with your

      son.  Many parents struggle with appropriate consequences for young adults

      being disrespectful, so you are not alone here.  Something that can be

      useful is to incorporate some http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php

      with your son during a calm time about how he will respect the “quiet time”

      hours on nights that he is scheduled to work late, or expects that he will be

      late coming home.  Effective communication and learning how to live with

      others are skills that your son will need in the “real world”, so it can be

      helpful to continue to practice these while he is still in your home.  As

      for consequences, it sounds like you have already outlined what he can expect

      if he breaks the rules.  We encourage you to stick with this plan, as that

      will help to enforce that you “mean business” and expect him to follow the

      rules.  I understand that this can be a challenging situation to navigate,

      and I hope that you will let us know if you have any additional

      questions.  Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    about to crack

    I am sorry you are having to face such a tough decision. More

    than a few parents with adult children living at home have found themselves in

    similar circumstances, so, you’re not alone. Your son is an adult and it’s OK

    for you as a parent to set boundaries around how much you are willing to

    support him now that he is an adult. Considering the information you have

    shared, it sounds like your son may be taking advantage of the situation by

    stealing from you while he is living under your roof. It would be within your

    rights to contact the police about the theft because, even though he is your

    son, it is still illegal for him to take money from you without permission.

    Having him leave the home seems like it may be a good alternative for you.

     It’s normal for a parent to worry about how their adult child will

    respond when asked to leave the home. I understand there may be some additional

    concern due to his medical diagnosis. You may find it helpful to talk with

    someone from the National Suicide Lifeline about your concerns. S/he may be

    able to help you develop a plan for addressing your worries as well as figuring

    out what steps you may be able to take to help your son stay safe. You can

    reach the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It may also be of benefit to take steps to

    take care of yourself as well. I’m sure this is a difficult transition for you,

    one that may cause you some distress and worry. Finding ways to recharge, like

    spending time with friends or doing an activity you enjoy, could be one way of

    dealing with that distress. Some people also find more structured help in the

    form of a support group or counselor to be helpful as well. If this is

    something that interests you, you could contact the 211 Helpline for

    information on resources in your community. They are available 24 hours a day

    and can be reached by calling 1-800-273-6222. We wish you and your son the best

    of luck as you work through this transition. Take care.

  • Frustrated
    Our daughter will be 23 years old next month.  She is living with us and her 19-year old brother.  She quit college about three years ago after failing all her classes and being told mom and dad would not pay for her college if she failed classes repeatedly.  Since then,More she has gotten 8 or 10 different jobs only to quit or get fired.  She spent the last year and a half coming and going, she'll disappear for days and weeks, only to find out she has a boyfriend we have never met but don't approve of based on what little we do know about him.  Three months ago, she informed us she is pregnant.  She is due 8/31/15.  She continues to live with us, has no job and has lost the privilege of the use of our vehicles due to reckless behavior and proving to be untrustworthy in the recent past.  She constantly says she can't get a job because she doesn't have a vehicle and she can't get a place of her own because she has no money.  We are paying for her doctor appointments and everything else.  She refuses counseling, which we feel she desperately needs.  We know many would say, "kick her out, let her live the adult life she says she has and she'll figure it out," but how do we do that in good conscience when a baby is involved now?  She gets government aid for health care now but chooses to go to a doctor who does not accept it, so we pay for what our employer provided insurance doesn't cover.  She does not qualify for any other government assistance because she lives with us and we make too much money.  If she were out of our house, I'm sure she would get all kinds of assistance, but we'd have to pay for her housing and/or a vehicle to get her started.  That is scary to us too.  Where do we start to get her to live independently and also to be accountable for her own choices and behavior?  Please help.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Frustrated

      You bring up a difficult dilemma

      many parents with adult children face: what can you do to hold your adult child

      responsible that isn’t also going to result in a possible negative impact for

      her child? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer for this. Most of the time,

      it comes down to you, the parent, making a judgment call on whether it’s more

      important to have your adult child take accountability for her life or if it’s more important to ensure your

      grandchild is safe and cared for. This is a question only you can answer. One

      thing to keep in mind is even if you’re not in a position where you feel

      comfortable having your daughter leave, you can still develop a living

      agreement with her around what the expectations are while she is living in your

      home. Granted, she may not always follow those expectations and you may be

      limited in what you can do to hold her accountable if she doesn’t. What you

      will be doing, however, is focusing on what you have the most control over,

      namely, the limits and boundaries you put in place in relation to your daughter

      and her choices. You can also start to outline steps she will need to take in

      order to eventually move out on her own. You may find it helpful to look into

      what types of community supports are available to help your daughter live

      independently. To that end, the 211 Helpline can give you information on

      services and supports for young adults, as well as single moms, such as job

      placement services, housing services, as well as daycare, if that should be

      needed. They may also be able to let you know if there are transportation

      services available in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by

      calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also find them online at http://www.211.org/. I hope you will

      continue to check back and let us know how things are going for you and your

      family.

  • adellmarie

    well today my spouse and I had "a talk" with my 21 yr old son & my 24yr old daughter.  We told them we (mainly me the mom) were tired of being a "a motel manager""in my home.  I do feel they are tenants and I am the manager.  The oldest works part time and the younger goes to school 2x a week (for 2 hrs).  Neither pay rent,contribute monetarily, or in any other way to help with the house expenses.  I'm retired 3 yrs now and I never expected to be a full time maid.  We assumed my kids would be out and on their way by now   My daughter moved back home after living on her own for 3-4 yrs (dorm) then married, they both moved in to "save for a place".   They divorced 6 months ago and now my daughter can't afford to live on her own.  That's fine, but, I told her I would appreciate her help with the house hold chores.  My son is a part time college student who spends 90% of his time playing games on his high tech PC.  When ever we let him know about a job, he has an excuse for not "liking" it.  He has worked part time off and on a couple of times.  But now enough to make any difference. He's been saying he's gonna get a job for the last year.  Ok. 

     I didn't retire to sweep, mop & clean after them.  She says she "always ask's me if I need anything".  Yes, and I tell her what I need.  But it doest get done until the next day sometimes and I hate walking on a sick floor or cooking on a messy counter. And why should i have to "tell her what to do" when its not that difficult to do the basics, and not all the time.  My son barelys helps out also and only when I ask him to do something.  I kinda blew it the other night when I had asked him to was the car (he uses it too) and he said OK, but never did it.  The next day I needed to use it so I washed it.   I asked him to help me by taking out the kitchen trash because it was over full.  Again he said ok, but 5 hours later it was still sitting there, smell and all.  What put me over was when he came out to get some food and saw it, but went back to his room/video game.   After I asked him what happen, why hasn't he done what I asked and he replied "whats the hurry"?    I blew it.  Yelled at him and went back to my TV and cried to myself.   My spouse goes to sleep by 7pm because he has to get up by 4am.  He does help when he can but doesn't see what I have to deal with daily.  He also feels we "have to help them".  So he's a big softy when it comes to enforcing anything.  He does support me when I complain to him, but its hard because he's always working.  I agree with the articles here that we are enabling our "kids" by letting them live off us.  Anyway, after our talk, they seemed to agree with us.  After I felt so guilty for asking what their plans were for the future (moving out, getting work).   And because my spouse had told them that they 'needed to appreciate me more".   I just felt awkward, like I was being too petty. After we had finished our "talk" I could hear them laughing.  When I questioned my son what was funny,he said "that you feel like a manager".   My daughter left to day to stay the week with her cousin, which she does every week for at least 5 days.  My son left town to take a friend back to his dorm in another city and will be gone the weekend.   My spouse feels "we got through' to them, but I know it won't last.  We've been here before many times.  Should I feel bad?  Good?  Guilty, for wanting them to "grow up"?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      adellmarie

      You bring up a grievance shared by quite a few parents with

      adult children living at home, so, you’re not alone in your dismay,  When

      an adult child moves back in with parents, the situation can easily revert back

      to how it was when s/he was a teen, with the parent bearing the brunt of both

      the financial responsibility and work load around the house. A parent in your

      situation shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting their adult child to move out on

      his/her own. That really is the natural order of things in our society. It sounds

      like you and your spouse may not be on the same page in regards to what you

      expect from your children while they continue to live at home. A probable first

      step might be for the two of you to sit down at a calm time and discuss what

      your individual expectations are in regards to what and how long you believe

      you should continue providing for your children.  Each of you may need to

      compromise a bit to find some common ground to start from. Once the two of you

      are more or less on the same page, you could then work with your son and

      daughter to develop a mutual living agreement, as discussed in the above

      article. It may even be helpful to print off a copy of the included Living

      Agreement to review beforehand. Of course, having a living agreement doesn’t

      mean your kids are going to follow it. So, you might consider having a set time

      when everyone comes back to the table to discuss whether or not things are

      working for everyone involved. If things still haven’t changed by that point,

      you could then develop a more specific timeline for steps your children would

      need to take to move out on their own. Keep in mind, http://www.empoweringparents.com/In-Response-to-Questions-about-Older-Children-Living-at-Home-by-James-Lehman.php for your kids. And, they

      may push back against moving out on their own by pointing out all the ways they

      wouldn’t be able to make it. They are adults, however, and, ultimately

      responsible for themselves. It may seem harsh, but, truthfully, if your current

      living arrangements aren’t working for you, it’s OK to have your kids leave

      your home. Wanting them to take responsibility for their own lives isn’t

      anything a parent should feel guilty about. After all, having kids become

      independent adults is one of the major goals of raising children. We appreciate

      you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving forward. I hope you will

      continue to check in to let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Frustrated in Florida
    My daughter is 20 (21 in May), she is working full time and going to school full time. With that being said, she graduated High School and went off to College to only come home for Thanksgiving and had a stroke, she has fully recovered after several surgeries etc withMore only one issue of a constant ringing in her ear.  Now 2 almost 3 years later I have given her a time frame to move out and given her conditions of living with me until she moves out. Now about a month ago she was in an auto accident (she was fine - just a ton of damage to the car). She paid for the deductible on the car and now she is broke again. I can't seem to catch a break with her.. every time we get to a place where she can save money something else happens and we have another set back, which is understandable. But now let's get into her living arrangements - all I ask is that she pay her car payment, insurance, contribute for utilities and groceries as well as keep her room clean, take care of her dogs (yes HER) and keep her bathroom clean. She keeps switching jobs and I have to pick of the slack with paying her bill and I have to constantly get after her to do the minor things let alone get any help with the remainder of the house. I am overly frustrated and have no idea what else to do. She constantly spends money on coloring her hair, going out to eat, getting her nails done, clothes etc. and wont save any money. I have written her a budget to follow and she ends up just blowing her money. I am at a point where I want to take over her bank account and save for her but doesn't that defeat the purpose of her becoming an independent adult?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Frustrated in Florida 

      Thank you for writing in.  I’m

      glad to hear that your daughter is OK, and has almost fully recovered from her

      stroke.  You describe a situation which is not uncommon for many parents

      of young adults-their child wants all of the freedom and independence of being

      an adult, and none of the responsibilities, financial or otherwise.  Given

      your daughter’s health concerns, it’s understandable that you would not want

      her to leave until she is ready.  On the other hand, it’s important to

      keep in mind that people generally don’t change if the current situation is

      working for them in some way.  If she is not feeling the consequences of

      her actions, she is not likely to feel motivated to change.  The fact is,

      disappointment and setbacks occur all the time in the real world, and you will

      be much more effective at helping your daughter to become an independent adult

      by helping her learn to solve these problems, rather than fixing them for

      her.  Thus, it might be useful to think about what you can do to make your

      daughter uncomfortable with the results of her choices, whether through

      allowing http://www.empoweringparents.com/The-Benefits-of-Natural-Consequences.php to happen, or through developing and

      enforcing consequences you can control. I understand that this

      isn’t an easy issue to deal with, and I hope that you will write back and let

      us know how things are going for you and your daughter.  Take care.

  • lucy carranza
    My daughter (32 years old) thinks that I forget about everything ( me 72years old) and she continuously steals every thing from me. She believes I don't notice. I don't ask her because she will denay it and she will be angry at me. please advise me what to do,More thanks
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      lucy carranza

      It can be hard to know how to

      respond when your child steals from you. It can leave a parent feeling hurt and

      betrayed. It can be helpful to think about how you would respond if it were

      someone other than your daughter stealing from you. Sometimes removing the

      emotions from the situation can help you determine what steps you would like to

      take. We would suggest calling the police and submitting a report every time

      you realize something is missing. Not only will this provide written

      documentation of missing items, it will also serve to show your daughter that

      you are willing to involve the police if necessary. I hope this helps you

      decide what to do. We wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • HI
    My son is 18 and never comes home during daytime hours. He lies and has stolen from us in the past although money is now monitored carefully. I don't know where he is and my main worry is where he is getting his money from to eat.He earns a smallMore wage which just about covers his journey to work and back. This accounts for only a few hours of his day .What consequences can I put in place to get him to start coming in before 11 and stop lying about everything.While i dont want to know where he is every minute ,there are currently about 8 hrs per day unnacounted for. Only time he phones me is to swear at me if he has a car problem and so i hang up. Any advice??

    Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/Rules-Boundaries-...

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @unrespected
      This sounds like a really
      difficult situation. I imagine you are probably concerned about where your son
      is and what he’s doing with his
       time. I talk with a lot of parents of adult children who share similar
      worries, so, you’re not alone. The truth of the matter is, your son is an
      adult. AsMore such, he can spend his time however he chooses. This does not mean,
      however, that you can’t establish some expectations around him continuing to
      live at home. When he became an adult, you no longer had a responsibility to
      continue providing for him. Everything you choose to provide for him, up to and
      including the roof over his head, is a privilege. If he’s not meeting the
      expectations you have in place, then any of those privileges can be withheld.
      We have several articles that offer useful tips for parents who have adult
      children living at home. A couple you may find helpful are  http://www.empoweringparents.com/adult-children-li... & http://www.empoweringparents.com/In-Response-to-Qu.... Hang in there. I know this
      is a tough time. Take care and keep in touch.

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