Rules, Boundaries, and Older Children: Parents’ Top 25 Concerns Addressed


Angry adult child in a hoodie staring away

The phenomenon of adult children living at home and dependent on their parents has become a national problem. Indeed, more and more kids are living at home with their parents well into their 20s and beyond. And, most concerning, more and more of those kids are idle and going nowhere fast.

Unfortunately, today’s kids don’t like making sacrifices and parents don’t like making their kids make sacrifices. And the sad irony of this situation is that the misery of being an unmotivated adult child is far worse than the misery of getting a job and learning to live independently. In the end, we need to teach our kids that accepting life’s responsibilities is much easier than trying to avoid them.

What I will do here (and what I believe will be helpful for most readers) is to discuss several of the important issues that come up when dealing with an adult child.

Editors note: This article has generated over one hundred comments from parents sharing their own experiences. Consider reading and leaving a comment below about your own story as well.

1. Verbal Abuse and Property Destruction

The parents we work with at Empowering Parents often report a tremendous amount of verbal abuse, cursing, and property destruction by their adult children. Indeed, these kids are often angry and resentful.

Related content: Is Your Defiant Child Damaging or Destroying Your Home?

This may sound harsh, but I think it’s amazing how people will make excuses for older kids who exhibit that type of behavior. It’s perhaps understandable that parents make excuses for younger kids who are abusive, hoping they’ll grow out of it. But a 20 year-old who destroys your property? There’s just no excuse for that.

I really think once kids are adolescents and adults, their behavior patterns are very set. As a result, you need to know that adult children won’t take the time and trouble to learn new behavior patterns unless they’re forced to.

2. Adult Kids Who Blame Their Parents

Adult children who use verbal abuse, aggression, and destruction of property to deal with their parents are basically using intimidation and force to solve complex problems. When you’re 18, 19, or 20 and all the things your parents told you are coming true—that you’re not prepared for the work force, that you should have studied harder, that you need to push yourself—it is easy to get resentful and blame and intimidate your parents.

Your child will blame and intimidate you because that’s easier at that moment than getting a job and working. That’s easier than learning how to live with a roommate because you can’t afford your own apartment and a car at the same time.

One thing we know about human beings is that they will, by their nature, take the easy way out. In this case, the easy way out is being oppressive to your parents so that you don’t feel any stress.

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But don’t get me wrong, I think that parents also have to take some of the responsibility for this behavior. In particular, I think that too many parents do everything they can to ensure that their kids don’t feel discomfort because they believe that discomfort is a bad thing.

I know this because I’ve dealt with so many of these parents. They fight with the schools over their child’s grades and conduct. They protect their kids from consequences. In many cases, they let things slide that they know are wrong. They make excuses for their kids. And what they end up with is a kid who is not prepared to deal with the injustice, stress, and discomfort of life.

3. The Transition to Adulthood is Stressful—That’s Normal

Making a transition from adolescence to adulthood is very stressful, uncomfortable, and difficult. It involves solving some very complex problems about how you’re going to live, where you’re going to live, who you’re going to live with, and what you’re going to do with your life.

Although many kids solve those problems in a non-destructive way, there is a sub-group of kids who still make it their parent’s problem and society’s problem and everybody else’s problem. If you’re dealing with one of these adult children, it will take all the strength and commitment you can muster to force this child to become independent.

4. To the Parents Who Fear Sending Their Kids out Into the World

I’m not saying that you have to throw your kids out of the house—I’m not saying that at all. But I am saying that your kids won’t change until you do something drastic. And making them leave the home is one of those things that may have to be done.

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As a parent, I understand the difficulty, fear, and anxiety of sending your child out into the world. But, also as a parent, I know that the best personality characteristic that you can give a child is independence. And the best knowledge you can give them is how to solve life’s problems.

But if they’re still at home cursing at you, abusing you, not getting a job, sleeping until noon, and playing video games all day, then they are not independent and they are not solving their problems.

There’s no gray area here. Therefore, parents have to be very strong in demanding that their kids start to face their situation in life before it gets worse.

5. Our Adult Kids Are Too Comfortable

Let’s be clear: from an adult child’s point of view, this seems like a great life. Just think about it, somebody’s paying the rent, there’s food in the refrigerator, they get to party with their friends, and they don’t have to be anywhere at any time. They get to avoid all stress, and if their parents give them a hard time, they bully them. Nice life.

If parents are willing to live that way, you don’t have to read any more of my articles. You’ve found the solution that works for you. But if you’re determined not to live that way, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have a lot of choices. You need to make a drastic change.

6. What Real Change Looks Like

Here is my recommendation on what that drastic change looks like. Number one, you set some simple structure and some rules for your child. Rules like:

  • You need to get up at a certain time.
  • You need to go out and look for a job.
  • You can’t sit around and play video games all day.

Be very specific. Tell your child:

“I want you to put in three applications a day.”

“I want you making three follow-up phone calls a day.”

“And if you verbally abuse me, the consequence is that you’re out of my house for 24 hours.”

And if they are kicked out of the house for 24 hours, you don’t care where they go. Let them go to their aunt’s house or their friend’s house. Let them figure out where they’ll stay. Just enforce the consequence that they’re out of your house for 24 hours.

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

7. Use Real Consequences

To be clear, kicking your child out of the house for 24 hours is a consequence. It’s not preparation for life. If they’re verbally abusive a second time or destroy property, they’re out of the house for three days or a week. You don’t care where they go. All that matters is that you apply a real consequence, and do so consistently.

They’ll tell you they’re partying at their friend’s house. Let them party. All you know is that they can’t stay in your house.

This is the consequence for disrespecting your home and your values. This is not a preparation for independence. This is used strictly to get some control in your house.

If you have adult children who are verbally abusing you and breaking things, your house is not in your control. And if your house is not in your control, it might as well not be your house.

8. Call the Police if Necessary

Use the police if you need to. Put his bags out on the sidewalk, call the cops, and say:

“He doesn’t live here anymore.”

Don’t play games or you’re not going to own your own home. I’ve worked with plenty of parents who had to do this. They were all afraid to do it. I understood that. They got into their situation because they were mortally afraid their kid would face discomfort—or worse, because they were afraid their kid would hurt them. But when all other efforts failed, they had to call the cops to get the kid to change.

Related content: When to Call the Police on Your Child

9. Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Kids learn best when parents use effective parenting roles such as teaching, problem solving, and limit setting. In contrast, parents who are martyrs and excuse-makers wind up with children who won’t or don’t know how to respond to the demands of adult life. And nothing changes if nothing changes. For your sake and the sake of your child, demand change now.

Let me be straight with you and offer you some empowerment. You’ve raised this kid. You’ve invested everything in him, and now you have to tiptoe around the house? That is unacceptable. To the parents who are willing to live this way, I tip my hat to you. But I personally could not live like that, and I’m not willing to.

10. How to Help Your Adult Child To Be Independent and Move Out

Once you’ve established that they can’t abuse, intimidate, and control you with their behaviors, then you have to help them prepare themselves for adulthood, even though they’re already young adults.

First, you have to force them to find work, no matter how menial they think that work is. The way that you force them is to establish a time when they get up in the morning. Then they go out and they put in job applications.

On weeknights, they can’t stay out past a certain time. They have to live as if they have a job. If they’re not willing to do that, you fall back on the consequence structure that I outlined for you earlier.

11. When They Get a Job

Once they get a job, they have to pay room and board—not to add to the money of the household, but so you can put it away and have enough money for them to talk about moving out.

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They have to sit down once they have a job and work with you on doing a budget. For example, the kid should have so much money for recreation, so much money for room and board, so much money for his savings, even if it’s only ten dollars a week.

And he gives the money to the parents to hold. He doesn’t put it in his drawer. Ultimately he has to live on that budget that gets him to financial independence.

You should not rescue him. You’re already providing a safe place to live. These mundane and basic skills make the difference between the kids who learn how to be independent and those who don’t.

12. Too Harsh?

If this seems too harsh to you, think about it this way. If this kid gets a job and spends all his money and can live at home, why would he ever move out?

If you have a job at $12 an hour and you’re living at home for free, that’s like having a job for $25 an hour. Kids will continue to live that way unless you make them uncomfortable. You have to demand change and they must be uncomfortable if change doesn’t happen.

13. Think of Your Child’s Future, Not His Today

I want parents to stop thinking about what they need to do for their child of today. Instead, think about what they need to do for their child of tomorrow. If you’re supporting him today and making excuses for him today and buying his excuses, then what you’re doing to your child of tomorrow is enabling his helplessness.

When it comes to getting a job, your child will say “I can’t do it because…”

  • “they don’t pay enough”
  • “they don’t like me”
  • “I don’t like doing that kind of work”
  • “I won’t work in fast food”
  • “they never called me back”

The excuses are endless and not the real problem. If you accept the excuses, you hurt your child of tomorrow. Instead, demand change. Force him to prepare to learn how to be independent. Force him to learn how to support himself.

14. Don’t Act as if Your Child is a Loser

Make no mistake about it: if you tell a kid he has to work and he doesn’t, and you tolerate and accept that, you’re saying to him, in a non-verbal way, that he’s a loser and you know it.

You’re saying to him he’s not as good as the other kids, and you know it. You’re saying you’re willing to put up with this because you know that there’s something wrong with him. That’s the message he’s getting. So, he thinks there’s something wrong with him because he doesn’t know how to deal with discomfort and stress.

Instead, when you push him, when you make demands of him, when you hold him accountable, and when you give him consequences, you are really saying, “You can do it and I expect you to. In fact, I demand you to.”

15. It’s Never Too Late

It’s never too late to deal with children in a teaching, limit-setting, and coaching way. Parents can start anytime, as long as they’re willing to deal with the discomfort of demanding that their child changes. And as long as they have the courage to hold their child accountable. It may feel like the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. But it could save your child’s life.

I’ve had to push my son and I know how hard it can be. But it had to be done. In particular, your child needs to know that if he doesn’t work hard, he will fall behind. Equally important, he has to learn how to solve problems and deal with discomfort and stress. And if he can’t do those things, he’s going to have a hard time making it. In the end, that’s the reality for adult children.

16. What to Do If Your Adult Child Is Stealing from You

Many parents have told me of their struggles with an adult child who steals from them, be it credit card theft, stealing money from the house, or forging checks. Stealing is absolutely intolerable. Whether it’s stealing from parents or siblings, it’s a crime.

Know this: the laws don’t change inside the walls of your house. If I steal $100 from you on the street, that’s stealing. And if somebody steals $100 from you in your home, that’s stealing. And if it’s an adult, it’s a crime. It’s called larceny.

If your adult child steals from you, first of all, you should tell him:

“Go upstairs, pack a bag, and come back downstairs in five minutes.”

When he comes back downstairs, say:

“Here’s the deal. You’re out of here for a week, and if you don’t stop stealing, you’re not coming back.”

Don’t be afraid to call the police. In fact, you can pack their bag, put it on the curb, call the police, and say:

“He doesn’t live here anymore. He stole from us.”

I’ve worked with many parents whose kids broke back into the house and they pressed charges for burglary. You have to be really clear with the police and tell them that he doesn’t live there anymore and you have to put his stuff out on the sidewalk.

It’s going to cause a scene. You’re going to be embarrassed. But your choice is that you can live in a little prison where you’re being abused and where there’s a predator stealing from you, or you can break out of that prison. It will take some noise, but you can break out.

17. Refuse to be a Victim

Parents need support and help, and I understand what they’re going through because I came from this kind of family and I’ve worked with these families for three decades. But you also need to understand, you didn’t work like a dog all your life just to be a prisoner in your own home.

Ask yourself: is this what we worked for all our lives? We dealt with discomfort. We dealt with stress. We dealt with unhappiness. And above all, we humbled ourselves and took whatever job we could to get started. After all that work, is this what we want? Do we want our adult son living with us, stealing from us, abusing us, and making our lives miserable?

If the answer is yes, that’s up to you. I’m not here to contradict that. But if your answer is no, then you need to make some changes, and you need to make them now. It begins with getting him out of bed tomorrow morning and calling the authorities if he gets abusive.

Parents are supposed to have a certain amount of power in our society just by virtue of being a parent. Sadly, in many cases, that is not the case. If you’re living with an abusive adult child who is committing crimes against you and your home, he obviously does not respect your power as a parent. So, you need the help of the authorities. Don’t hesitate to use them.

Let him share some of your pain and discomfort and see how he likes it. This is important: if you’re willing to do something about it, he will become willing to do something about it. But if you’re not willing, he won’t be either.

18. Fear of Responsibility: Adult Children Who Hide out Playing Video Games and Sleeping

In adolescence, kids want to be independent and free. They can’t wait to get out of their parent’s house and tell them what a pain in the neck they are.

But the fact is that many kids act out and show some anxiety or depression because they’re terrified of the future. They’ve been safe in grade school, middle school, high school, and in their families all their lives. But life on their own does not seem safe and forces them to solve problems on their own.

Many kids are able to deal with these problems and they successfully grow into the next stage of life. But there are those kids who, for whatever reason, resist growing, and it shows in their behavior.

The kids who resist growing become angry, resentful, and irresponsible. They’re terrified of change, and they’ll do anything to avoid it, including partying all night, sleeping until 2 pm, and doing nothing but playing video games when they are awake.

These are the kids who have to be pushed the most.

19. Coach Your Child to Confront His Fears

I’ve dealt with many adult children in my office who had this fear, and I empathize with them. I tell them that fear is a part of life and that they have to face it.

How do you face a fear of making it in the adult world? You get a job. And you do that job. You take a job for three months and you say to yourself:

“I won’t quit. I’ll deal with all the craziness and I won’t quit. And at the end of three months, I’ll have some experience and then I’ll decide what I want to do next. And what I want to do next may be to stay at McDonald’s or to go someplace else. But, I won’t leave my job until I have a new one.”

Eight months out of high school that kid is going to have some skills, experience, and independence. Each day at work is a day dealing with adult stress without mommy holding his hand. That will prepare him for the next stage of growth, which may be a more responsible job or going back to school. That is the real value of a job.

A lot of the work that I did in my office was coaching and teaching these kids on what they had to do. I literally had kids fill out three job applications a day then call me in my office to say that they had done it. And they would, because I gave them the clear message that accountability matters.

20. Have Empathy But Don’t Accept Excuses

While I empathized with struggling adult kids, I didn’t accept their excuses as to “why” they were stuck in life. Because “why” didn’t matter. Everyone has to be independent, no matter how afraid they are and what challenges they have in their lives.

I worked with adults with developmental disabilities in my practice who lived in group homes with staff. They had to learn how to have a job if they wanted money because the state paid for their group home but did not give them any spending money. They had to learn how to have a supervised job if they wanted money. They had to learn how to talk nicely to people if they wanted to go out and do things and have privileges. They had to clean their rooms and make their beds every single day. They took turns cooking at night with staff support. They did these things because they had to acquire independence, despite having significant disabilities.

So don’t tell me kids can’t do it. Not only can a kid do it, he has to do it.

Yes, these kids are afraid. They have a false sense of entitlement. They don’t know how to be independent. And they haven’t learned how to solve problems. But if they don’t start learning to solve them today, it’s not going to happen.

So parents have to draw the line because the adult child won’t draw the line. He’s having too much fun and he’s too afraid. If the parents can’t draw the line and the child’s out of control, then eventually the police have to draw the line. It’s that simple.

21. Adult Children with Children: When You Have to Parent Both

I’ve worked with quite a few grandparents who were living with 17, 18, 19 and 20 year-olds kids who had their own children. The adult child can’t make it or the marriage falls apart and they move back in with their parents. This is a really tough situation, and I don’t want to minimize the emotional pressure everyone is under. After all, these are innocent grandchildren.

The role of parents and grandparents is very different. A parent sets limits, goals, and gets the kid to meet objectives and be productive. In contrast, a grandparent is benign and indulging. Grandparents also set limits, but not in a full-time, around-the-clock manner. Overall, it’s a very difficult situation and I just want to make some observations that may be helpful.

22. Grandparents Should Help But Not Enable

Grandparents should do what they can to help out with child care. But only with the goal that their adult child pays room and board and that the money is put away until the adult child can move out.

The adult child has to have a job and needs to find daycare. Parents everywhere go back to work when their kids are six months old. So you have to demand that your adult child do something to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in, and not just jump into the hole with them. Too many grandparents jump into the hole that their adult child has dug and stay there. And that doesn’t make any sense.

23. The Adult Child Has to Be Responsible

Your adult child who has a toddler can’t run around and party all night. She has to maintain a responsible work schedule. If she wants to go out at night, she has to get her own babysitter. Grandparents should not be babysitters for adult children living in their home. Let her pay for that. Have her live on a budget and let her pay.

She is not going to like it, but you have to draw the line. Grandparents are not here to raise the grandchildren. We may help out while you work, but you’re going to have to pay for it.

24. Grandparents May Have to Get Family Services Involved

And there’s one more very hard thing that grandparents have to do. If the adult child is not taking responsibility for their own child and putting that child at risk, you have to call the state. Call the Department of Children and Family Services or whatever it’s called in your state.

If the state comes in and does an investigation and finds the mother is not fit, they’ll first turn to the grandparents or another family member to see if they’ll take custody. They will offer the mother supportive training and help. They don’t remove kids that easily.

Grandparents are terrified that the state will take their grandchildren. They don’t want your grandchild unless the mother’s strung out on drugs or committing crimes. They want the child with the mother because that’s where the child should be by nature and that’s the least expensive way to deal with the situation. The state does not want to take on the cost of raising your grandchild.

I’ve worked in states where state agencies have taken kids and they’ve needed to take those kids because they were in danger. But as soon as they take the child, they come up with a plan on how the parent can get the child back, whether it’s substance abuse treatment, career counseling, or parent training.

Just as you need to turn to the authorities if your adult child is abusing you, you need to turn to the authorities if your adult child is not caring for his or her own child. Understand this: you’re doing it for the welfare of your grandchild.

25. Responsible Love

You may read my suggestions here and call it “tough love.” But that’s not what this is. There’s nothing tough about love. This is responsible love. It’s saying to your adult child:

“I love you, and I’m going to be responsible. You can love me, but you have to be responsible too.”

Responsible love means demanding that your adult child learn how to solve his problems. Responsible love means demanding change. Now.

Related Content

This article is part 2 of a 3-part series. See below for the links to the other articles in this series.

Part I: How to Cope With an Adult Child Living at Home

Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement?

Empowering Parents Podcast:
Apple, Spotify


James Lehman, who dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth, created The Total Transformation®, The Complete Guide to Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™, from a place of professional and personal experience. Having had severe behavioral problems himself as a child, he was inspired to focus on behavioral management professionally. Together with his wife, Janet Lehman, he developed an approach to managing children and teens that challenges them to solve their own problems without hiding behind disrespectful, obnoxious or abusive behavior. Empowering Parents now brings this insightful and impactful program directly to homes around the globe.

Comments (143)
  • BB
    What do you do when your 20 year old lives at home and doesn't work or go to school because they are too anxious? My child hasn't left the house alone in over a year and says they can't work because of their anxiety.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      That's a great question. From our perspective, the approach would be the same. While it's important to take things like anxiety and depression into account, having a diagnosis is not an excuse for not meeting expectations. I recommend developing a living agreement with your daughter that outlines what expectations you have for her while she is living at home as an adult. You can find a template for a living agreement in this article:

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Kt
    How does a parent confirm that three applications per day have been submitted when most of them are online? I know we've been lied to about this.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. One possible solution is to have them take a screenshot of the completed application/submitted app page. Most businesses will also send an automated email when the application is submitted to show that it has been received. Either of these could serve asMore possible proof. We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
  • Mira

    I’ve been dealing with my 33-year-old son for years. He’s been in and out of the house multiple times, he has two kids by different mothers. He’s been in and out of a lot of relationships. He can’t hold down a job. He has custody of one of his two children. And he’s back living with me with my granddaughter.

    It’s been a constant battle my home, my home is a War-zone because of my adult son.

    I work, and my son has tried to force me to quit my job. He is also tried to sabotage me and stop me from going to work because he refuses to get up take care of his daughter, to get her up and ready and to take her to school. He’s trying to force me to do these things I’ve refused. He wakes me up 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM in the morning, yelling, shouting, drunk, stoned out of his mind, abusive and threatening

    He stolen from me, he destroys my home, and my property. he’s stolen not only money from me, but my bank and credit cards and used them. I had to get rid of the tap on my bank cards because of this. I had to cancel my credit cards because of this I don’t keep money in the house because he steals it. He goes through my bedroom, he goes through my purse. He goes through all my drawers, my closet anywhere he thinks I would hide money and he’s stolen my jewellery and electronics and pawned them

    He manipulative and uses intimidation and threats of violence, and has been violent with me He’s broken into my home. He’s threaten to kill my dogs.

    Between this site and another site on how to deal with adult children like my son I’ve been getting a lot of information and it’s been really helping me face and accept that I have to deal with this and how to deal with this

    and step-by-step I have been following the advice that has been given. I have been putting boundaries in place with him. I have been laying down rules. I have next steps are calling CAS and the police.

    I am done being frustrated, emotionally and financially drained and overwhelmed and terrified to deal with this abusive adult child who will not be responsible for himself.

    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I can only imagine how stressful this has been for you. Good on you for deciding to set boundaries and not take this abuse from your adult son anymore. It will be a slow process and it also may be helpfulMore to see what types of local support services are available to help you and your family. Please check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
  • Stephanie
    Good advice except for the police part. That doesn’t work in most places bc parents have to go through the formal eviction process. Probably need to update the article with that process/advice. Once the adult child knows the parents have to do that, itMore makes the situation worse.
  • Btrue36
    I have tried everything and finally did the police thing which totally made things completely worse as they informed my daughter she couldn't be kicked out unless I went to court even though she has never paid one cent towards bills in her 23 years and I'm also supporting herMore daughter. On top of that I was told I have to let her abusive boyfriend in my home who threatened me because of their daughter. So much for the police!
  • Momoftwins
    This article gave me some great ideas to start with. I do have a question for all. I have 20year old twins... my daughter is in college and her brother is finally working(over a year) and I wanted to let me son go with out paying rent until his sisterMore is done school. Since I am not only paying her way but for everything she needs during school. My new husband is always complaining. Am I wrong to wait? My son pays his own car insurance each month, but that is currently the only bill I enforce. He is also a slob which causes a lot of issues between my husband and I. I feel like I am making excuses for him and don't want to enable him to become dependent adult.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out. We hear from other parents in blended families who have shared similar concerns, so you are not alone. We have a few articles that offer tips for how to manage some of the common issues blended families face. You can find those here:

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • btt
    I feel like what's the point in trying anymore. My daughter is 25. She was raised in a Christian home, same as her brother (he is married and productive). She left home at 19 and did a 360. Moved in with boyfriend and starting using pot. Next boyfriend 2 yearsMore later. Arrested for pot then for shoplifting; got pregnant but lost the baby; pregnant again and then boy kicked her out. Came one with 3 dogs. We supported her as she could find job bc she was pregnant. Next boyfriend at least works and is respectful. She is rude, disrespectful, manipulative, tries to make us feel guiltly. Grandfather babysits because he is retired. I work 40 hrs a week and then have 2 year old rest of evening. She works but wont help do anything. She's spends very little time with child as she stays out after work shopping or spending time with boyfriend then sleeps till work the next day. If I kick her out, grandchild will suffer. I can't stand to be around her hateful attitude the little time I am around her.
  • Spring
    I have a mouthful I could write on here but what it boils down to is no matter how many rules and boundaries I put out there my 18 yr old does not care. I've called the police numerous times and when the officer told my son he had aMore choice to leave or not because legally I couldn't kick him out everything that just made everything worse. He really doesn't care about doing anything or fighting with me because everytime I call the police they come calm him down and a day later everything goes back to the same as before. I'm poor so there's limited internet use and TV use. No cable here. Nothing has worked and the law just made matters worse for me so until I can get money to evict my son well myself and my younger son suffer.
  • Empowering Journey

    What do you say to, or how do you converse with the stranger-adult/parent who you discover your thrill seeking risk taking 16 year old girl along with her boyfriend has 'run-to' when they say "shes 16 she can make up her own mind, she can do what she likes ,you cant tell her what to do" or "im giving her a safe place to stay you should be grateful" or "I will ask her what she wants" cutting you out of the space and proceeds to enable her propelling alienation, that they dont seem to understand begins to occur? Has anyone experienced this? This has been our peculiar experience of late with female parents of boys, which has got us thinking, usually the boyfriends mates parents only, who dont have teen girls/daughters. Weve experienced adversarial attitudes when locating our teen in their homes from these adults.

    Why? & how best is it to connect with other parents who allow your teen in & not contact you as soon as possible, letting them loiter ('the village'?) and help them understand that you dont stop being a parent when your child turns 16 and your own child is your own responsibility and should be under parents supervision not theirs? And that their interference and enabling doesnt help?

    But also hurts & undermines.

    What do you do?

  • Lisa

    So what do you do when the police tell you, he is established at this address and I have to legally evict him?

    This after he kicked my door in, stole from my purse not only cash but took my debit card without permission.

    I mean, how much do I have to endure ?

    I have made it miserable. Every boundary I put down is met with instant gaslighting and yelling.

    The threat to kill me is sitting in a box with 6 other boxes at the courthouse due to pandemic lack of staffing.

    I am lost. As I feel most of this is NOT from me pampering him. I have 5 children altogether and this is the only one that is doing this.

  • Stevie1111

    This article is very empowering. I have read through the comments, and I can relate and empathize with so many parents struggling with this epidemic of xbox poisoned 20 year old unmotivated spoiled brats, and who's to blame?

    We are. My children were well behaved and enjoyable when they were little. Every three months we were taking them on getaways. If it wasn't an amusement park, it was Florida for a week or camping, not to mention absolutely everything handed to them on a silver platter. Drive thurs, drinks and snacks on demand. A DVD player with unlimited kid shows in their face and then the video games started; every year the latest system and games. One year we spent $1,000 on video game crap.(3 boys)

    Christmas was over the top. And I remember the last present being opened, and my 7 year old said, "is that it?" That should have been my wake up call.

    I resonate with not wanting to cause any discomfort to my children. I spent every minute trying to appease my kids,to a fault.

    I was not raised this way, and looking back I realized I was trying to compensate, because even though I had everything I needed when I grew up, my parents raised me to be independent and didn't put up with any b.s. I was out of the house working 2 jobs, my own place and college by the time I was 20. (Ahh...The 80's)

    Lots of 20 year olds in this thread...must be the magic number. I have 20 year old twins struggling to get out into the world, one has finally started to work consistently.

    The other one doesn't want to work and they both game all night if I don't intervene.

    They are maturing slowly and it's like they are 15, not 20.

    Several arguments and uprising to gain respect and as they get older, it is harder to put up boundaries and rules. They've been kicked out several times and had to sleep in their car.

    All I can say is if you have young children, first thing i would do is get rid of the video games unless you want an unmotivated loser living in your house when they are in their teens and older shooting zombies and day and becoming one themself.

    Smoking pot became a habit several times a day as well, and I have banned the use of it, they became unmotivated teens with the munchies, up all night, making a mess; and when they weren't high they were miserable.

    Many parents are single, working full time, and these things start out and gradually get worse, but we're so busy in the rat race of life, we let things go, we pay their way because it's easier, we look the other way because we are exhausted. We do everything for them, it saves time; and here we are.

    And on top of it all, we feel guilty and ashamed that we enabled this insanity.

    I'm just grateful that I am aware of what has happened and how it can be rectified.

    I refuse to have grown men living in my house telling me what to do when I pay the bills.

    I don't them to become adults that cannot cope when life isn't perfect or things get uncomfortable. Every job they get,

    something or someone is to blame for them quitting after a few weeks. Trying to make them responsible after enabling them for years is more difficult then setting boundaries and limits as they grow. Don't get me wrong, my children were disciplined, but there's so many things I didn't know or I would change if I could do it again.

    Besides,they will be much better humans when they become independent, paying their own way and having their own space, appreciating the little things that life has to offer, something a lot of young people seem to overlook...but I guess that comes with experience and age.

  • Cath

    Hi there, we have a 20yo son living at home, he works full time, so earns an ok wage. We charge both our kids $50 pweek board, he never pays on time, sometimes it takes a month to get out money. He keeps his room in a disgusting state, dirty dishes everywhere, leftover food acrapa/rubbish, never washes his clothes, the rooms stinks and is putrid. Our new house is only 3 years old. We nag and nag with no success. He is disrespectful most of the time and is only nice when he wants something.

    I have said to my husband it is time he moved out to live in the real world and be an adult. I feel we are doing him no favours in enabling him to behave like it does.

    My husband feels by asking him to move out we will run any chance of having a good relationship in the future and if we stick it out he will grow up and mature.

    Would love people's opinions on best approach.

  • stressedout
    All I can say is that I only wish I had found this advice so much earlier. This I so empowering
  • Lia
    A great article. I am doing more and more of these things. My son, 20, has been a terror for the last 4 years. I have tried to understand, to help, to encourage, to promise, to bargain. Now I am down to more drastic measures. He broke doors, he threatenedMore all kinds of things, I have felt unsafe, and worried about him, so I had to take him out of the house with the police. Sadly, he did not receive psychiatric treatment. Right now I don't know where he lives, he isn't working, plays music on the streets, but goes hungry a lot. I am very worried, but I can't bear his behavior anymore, and he can't be living here. I pray and hope nothing irreparable happens to him.
  • Frustrated Fiance

    I really LOVE this article about setting boundaries with your adult children living at home!

    I have had arguments with my fiance about him not setting healthy boundaries with his 24 and 18 year old children living at home. They walk all over him. He doesn't seem to be the head of his household.

    He wants me to tell his daughter that she is disrespectful when she talks back to her dad. I told him that that is not my child or my responsibility. In fact, I put off getting married to him if his children would be moving in with us. I wouldn't put up with any of the disrespect. There would be rules, she wouldn't talk back to me, she would have to do chores around the house, and get a job. Right now, this is his monkey and his circus.

    Thank you again for these articles!

  • Edgy04
    We have a somewhat similar situation in our family, but not as bad as the ones described here. Actually, it was that bad, but we sent our son to wilderness therapy when he was 17, and that resolved many of the issues. Now he has a job asMore a plumber and makes more than $30K/yr., but still lives at home. He IS pleasant and is responsible, even fixes some plumbing and handyman problems. But he is not paying as agreed. In lieu of rent, he is supposed to be paying for the Internet and the water. He pays for the Internet but not for the water. I stupidly [sic] loaned him money to buy a car, and he has not paid it back. He traded in the car for a newer one and got a loan from a finance company. He pays the finance company, but not his parents. Overall, he is probably about $8K behind on his bills. I have mentioned it to him occasionally, but need advice and/or a support group to help me enforce it effectively.
  • NoWayOut
    Thank you for all the great articles! I’ve tried many things you’ve suggested and all have failed. I blame myself and feel so lost! My son is 18 1/2 has depression, anxiety and ADD. Based on his abusive behavior and property destruction I believe he mayMore have something more like a borderline personality disorder or psychosis. I’ve tried to get help but can’t force it because he’s over 18. I tried the living agreement and he just doesn’t care. I’m dealing with all the things you write about but I’m afraid to take harsh action because I’m not sure he can survive on his own. I can’t reason with him because I’m the problem and he hates the sound so my voice. Anything I say is wrong and I’m to blame for all his problems. He isn’t trying to hard to get a job but thinks he is. He doesn’t understand why I won’t stock the house with all his desired junk foods or why I won’t be his personal taxi service. If I’m being honest, I would do more for him but he’s vicious and mean and I’m not rewarding that behavior. I’m at a loss because I don’t know how harsh I can be with his mental instability but I can’t live with this emotional terrorist for much longer! The mental health system is so broken and I feel like this isn’t going to end well!
    • Sedrick
      What did you ever do to resolve this?
    • Just Me
      Oh my word. This is my life May 2021..I don’t know when this article written or your reply written.
  • Care4life
    Wonderful article I'm so glad I found this site I really really need help! My adult son has some mental issues you would not know what to look at him he refuses to work or do anything around the house he will watch me work 25 hours a day andMore not care he does not get a Gold Wing destroys my property buttons to hurt me or himself. I am guilty of that following through when I tell him he has to leave or I tell him I'm not going to give him money or whatever because I'm fearful or I worry about something happening to him and I know this is not helping him at all. Please tell me how to get him out of the house he protected by the law the law says I have to evict him in the law says he can do anything he wants here
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Hi, Carolyn. Thank you for reaching out. I can hear how frustrated you are. We're not able to answer questions regarding legal matters such as eviction. I encourage you to speak with a legal professional regarding what steps you will need to take to have your adult son leave your home.

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

  • Jenn
    Hi, I read most of this article and some comments situation is that I have a 19 year old daughter who has her boyfriend living with us. He has been here a year now since covid began and he had nowhere to stay ...well he hasn't worked because ifMore I get Covid I lay not make it and since we know a bit more I've let them get jobs ..they haven't yet but my 16 year old has. Well her boyfriend got a 600 dollar stimulus check and I mentioned to my daughter that he could have offered twenty bucks or so to help some that we are struggling...she got very upset and said he was going to buy them groceries..well I wouldn't have taken the money if he had offered because they need to save it but I thought my daughter knew enough from the way I raised her to understand that his offering or not in his case was the point. She doesn't seem to understand that I just wanted him to offer because I do not have to do all that I do for him.. she said want me to offer too then? She doesn't seem to get that it would just mean a lot to me that they care... Am I wrong to have wanted him to offer? She seems to think that because I said I wouldn't have taken it then it was just a pointless comment...idk ..she's my first adult child and I'm scared that she hasn't learned the things I do and teach her ..I was honestly shocked that she thought I was being mean. Thanks for your time and I wish everyone well!
  • Mom guilt

    Thank you for this article, it made me feel like maybe I’m not at fault for my sons behavior.

    My 19 yr old son is home from college on Christmas vacation and he has absolutely no respect for me. He does what he wants when he wants to do it. He doesn’t listen to me or clean up after himself. We argued the other day about it and he called me a bunch of names and I called some back. I took his brand new Xbox that I just bought him and have not given it back.

    He is now treating me like I owe him. He won’t do anything in the house unless I give him his Xbox back. He won’t clean unless I give him his Xbox back. Now we’re loving this weekend and he said he won’t help one but with moving if he doesn’t get his Xbox back. Sad thing is that he won’t. He is extremely defiant, stubborn and has many narcissistic personalities.

    The only way to get him out of my house is by calling the police and I am so scared to do that. I need help. Thank you for this forum.

  • Renae
    I enforced the rules with my daughters, 22 and 19, and they both moved out at the same time and told everyone my husband and I were emotionally abusive “toxic” narcissistic parents who’ve caused them ptsd. My youngest brought a 2 month old kitten home, never cared for her properlyMore and put it all on me. Vet bills, food, etc. my oldest defended all her bs. They both told me I was “abnormal.” Later i found both of their TikTok accounts and lets just say. They are not upstanding, respectable young women they made themselves out to be. I was used for money. For years. Feels sickening....
  • The Struggle is Real
    Excellent article, with a lot of great take-aways! I have been and still currently struggle with feeling okay about setting and enforcing boundaries with my 18-year old daughter. The past several years have been pretty rough, and I've turned to this site numerous times to gain perspective. I appreciateMore all you do!
  • Jessica
    This is by far one of the best articles I’ve read to date! I’ve struggled with my now 18 year old adult daughter for years regarding verbal abuse, property destruction, and blatant disrespect. She’s still in high school so I’ve been trying to hang on until she’s graduates. She hasMore depression and anxiety, however, refuses help and has made a living hell for the others (my 3 other children) that live here with me. She appreciates nothing, acts out of anger, and tells me and the others what her rules of operation are. I’m not even sure I can put her out being as she hasn’t yet graduated, but I will be counting down the days. The term “responsible love” sounds alot better. I’m tired of beating myself up about the way things are. Any comments are appreciated.
  • 25 yr old daughter
    I have a 25yr old daughter. She went to college and finished. I cosigned the student loan and the balance is 100,000 to date. She had legal issues and I paid the attorney and other debts at the time. During her younger years I opened a bank acct as theMore primary. Throughout the years she has bounced checks which affects me since I am the primary. I called to talk about it and she started complaining that I am the only mom that don't support their kid trying to grow. I told her it is time. I called back and no answer or response with text. I sent a message thru text/ and different emails and v/mail to let her know to change her banking business and her direct deposit. I gave 3 weeks. As a mother it is hard to just do it, but I will close the account the date I stated. She is determined to overpower me but I can't get ding for bad banking business. Any suggestions?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      Hi, Tammie. It sounds like you've given your adult daughter a clear consequence. So, now it's just a matter of following through and closing the account. We have other adult child articles you may find helpful here: Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. Take care.
  • 19 yr daughter

    I have 19 1/2 yo daughter, she was sweat, smart girl, perfectionist, introvert, she has very high expectations on education or career. She completed 1st yr of university, came back home last May, planed to take online course, looking for part time job for the summer. it was about two weeks later, she started to isolated herself, didn’t talk to us, did not go out, or contact any friends, sleep until afternoon and awake during nights, spent most of time on her phone or iPad. We thought she was depressed and offered therapy treatment but she refused to go. She refused to tell us what happened even we tried many times. We were assuming something wrong with school, she did not get the mark what she expected so she could not get in the program for 2nd yr. I took her to Europe for vacation last August and we had wonderful time there.

    My husband and I saw a psychologist in September since my daughter refused to go, and we told every details about my daughter and school, her personality, academic expectation, our trip......the psychologist thought my daughter was not depressed, she was social withdrawals, she lost on the way to transit to adulthood due to lack of failure experience in the past. The psychologist told me not giving my daughter pressure and let her be for a while, see if she can go out by herself. We did what psychologist told us to do but nothing changed. We went to see the psychologist again, she recommended we make unpleasant environment at home to push her get out of the house in the morning and come back in PM. We tried many times, still didn’t work. My husband tried to talk with her one day about home boundaries, and she was told she has to find a place to live if she refused to change, but ended up she yelled, cried, slammed the door and blamed on us for everything. She came to me with tears and I said mom can help if you accepted, I can book appointment to see a therapist if you want, she didn’t say no for the first time, then I started arrange the appointment, unfortunately, she refused to see therapist again right before the appointment. I was mad honestly which I shouldn’t, she became more aggressive, disrespectful and abusive when my husband grabbed her phone one day, she became angry and tore up our files and books. We decided to call the police cuz her abuse, zero tolerance of abuse at home, so we asked her to leave the house for one day, she left and stayed at inn for three days and came back home before Christmas. She cried and said she wants to go back to school but doesn’t like the program what she did. I offered help for choosing another program and helping her make daily life back on track, get up in AM, go out to exercise and she agreed.everything looked better until Jan, the students went back to school, she started to refuse go out again, and back to the terrible sleeping pattern again. My husband and I realized she was avoiding to see anybody who are familiar, such as my neighbor, the daughter was classmate of my daughter. We saw psychologist around Christmas, after discuss, we thought it’s better to move my daughter out of the house, we pay the rent and set up with basic furniture help her to be independent. We told her look for job and keep the job for six months then welcome her back home. We moved my daughter out last week, and went to see her during weekend, she was not there, but from the stuff she bought after moving, we can tell she went out at least twice in 4days. I felt a little bit release. The problem is she blocked all contact with me, I am not able to call her or text her, the only way I can check on her is visiting her during weekend, bring some homemade food and write a note to encourage her. I knew I would miss her and worry about her before I moved her out and I do now when I open up my eyes every morning. I know she hates us now, and maybe won’t contact me in years, but this is what I can do now as the article mentions she is the one need to be pushed the most.

  • Adulting as a single parent

    Wow. I am not alone. Reading this article and the comments assisted me in giving my son a 2 week notice to move out of my home.

    I have a 20y/o spoiled brat that thinks the world owes him and that I owe him. He was so rude and disrespectful to me in my own home that I stopped talking. I was hiding in my bedroom to avoid confrontation and hearing I do everything wrong.

    He tried college, did well his first semester, then got lazy in the second, played video games, partied and failed out. He tried working very part time and upgrading some courses(part time), but ran out of money so I was covering all his bills. He was breaking down emotionally so I suggested he move home and just work for a year and figure some issues out, so he moved home.

    I sold the house he grew up in and purchased a very nice condo as it was time to downsize for me and his brother; whom will graduate from high school this June.

    My 20y/o had to share a bedroom with his brother, as the condo is only a two bedroom. Of course he did not like this. (I would like to say- each bedroom has it's own walk out huge deck, ensuite, and tv), so it was not like he was living in a small closet. I told him room and board would be $500.00/month. Which I thought was reasonable. This way he could save money.

    Well, after a few days of him sleeping all day, playing video games(which I despise), and partying, I told him get a job as rent is due!! I also set rules for him living in my house-cook dinner twice a week, do your own laundry, clean your bedroom, deck, and bathroom once a week, and take out the garbage. My other son cleans the main floor(the living room, dining room, and kitchen). he agreed. However since he has lived with me, he cooked dinner ONCE!

    My friend got him a job and when he got his first paycheck, told me that $500.00 is too much and he will only pay $300.00 as he does not have his own bedroom and has to share a bathroom, oh and he does not have his own parking stall. (He actually does have his own stall as I asked my condo neighbour if he could use it during the winter months. However my son did not like where the spot was so he refused to park there.) He also proceed to tell me, that I should not have sold the house and why did I chose this condo. As to him its a small condo. Oh and that the condo is not located close to amenities. (The condo overlooks a beautiful coulee)and he has to drive 10 minutes to his work or a convenience store.

    I explained to him that $500.00 for room and board is very cheap and that he eats more that $300.00 worth of food in a month. He completely disagreed and refused to pay more than $300.00. This is when the fun began- every time I spoke, he talked back. I would ask him to cook dinner on his days off, I was told; "I am busy, I have stuff to do and just need to rest." I would ask him to take the dog out and was told "Why you are already up, you do it." One night I was exhausted from working 12 hours, coming home and cooking supper, so I just let the dishes in the sink(my other son was out of town playing sports.) I laid on the couch, my 20y/o came home and was so mad that he had to do the dishes after a 4 hour work day.

    Finally I told him he has to pay more for room and board, needs to follow my rules and respect me. He told me I don't respect him and I treat him like a child. He than questioned me where I spend my money and reminded me that I went on a holiday and spent money and that I was only charging him $500.00 so I could make money off of him. I was also told he does not have time to make dinner as he sometimes works until 9:30pm. I told him get up in the morning and prep the meal; again I was told I don't understand his schedule, silly me.

    I finished the talk with this "I love you, always will. I care for you and always will. I am here for you to offer guidance and emotional support but you have two weeks to move out. The best thing I can do is let you see and experience the world and life."

    He told me fine and now is moving in with his father(whom had nothing to do with either of his sons for close to 12years.) He said I only have to pay $200.00 once in a while.

    I told him good luck.

    This was very hard to do but I can not adult for him, he needs to see for himself. Will he hit rock bottom, yes, will he eventually say "mom, I am sorry", yes. We will have a relationship, yes. As a parent I ensured my boys experienced the world, had great health and dental care, trips aboard, tons of sports, and a top notch education. They both have all the tools they need they just need the tool box to put them all in, that is one item I can buy or make for them.

    Good luck my son and good luck to all the other parents adulting. Always here if someone needs to talk or cry.

    • Elle Gee
      I need to talk and cry. ☹️ It is very, very hard to let go of a 20 year old that never takes responsibility and blames me for everything. How is it going?
  • Brian B

    Great write up. The day your child turns 18, you as a parent no longer have to care for him. Anything you provide is a privilege, not a right. It's now up to the child to be independent, get a job, and rise up to meet the demands and responsibilities of the adult world.

    A lot of students mistakenly believe that college is just like what they see in TV or the movies. In the world of Hollywood, college students join fraternities, party, get drunk, hang out on the beach, play video games, and do nothing all summer, all while winging their classes and avoiding their professors. But in the end, they magically graduate and land jobs.

    But that's not what happens in reality. The college years should be the time where the child takes steps to gain employment and independence (they are 18 after all). That's the purpose of college. The child should be building relationships with classmates, professors, and employers. He should be partaking in internships and volunteer projects.

    • Adult child mom

      You hit the nail right on the head. Of course parents know their son doing nothing but sitting around playing video games is unacceptable. But another mistake that parents make is accepting too little effort in their child's job search. They see the child looking at random job posts online and assume that someone will hire him eventually. But that's really not the case. Many employers use ATS systems and if his resume doesn't make it past the system and falls into the infamous black hole, it's as if he never applied at all. The child really needs to get out there and talk to people face to face. He should be setting up meetings for coffee, going to networking events and job fairs. I've heard of people who have gotten hired without any sort of interview just because they had strong connections who could vouch for them, talking to people is that powerful. Networking, making connections, and building professional relationships is definitely as much a life skill as budgeting, cooking, cleaning, etc.

      And the adage "any job is better than no job" rings true. Any job, even low level ones such as working in fast food, folding clothes in retail, or pumping gas (I live in Oregon) still gives a child experience and teaches him to be responsible. That experience and responsibility will help him transition into independence.

      I think an article explaining what effective job searching looks like would be useful here as it would give parents whose child is struggling to find a job some suggestions to try.

  • Confused
    I don't know what to do in my situation anymore. My son is 20 and is in the National Guard. He came to live with me about a year ago after not seeing me for almost 7 years. He has had 4 jobs during this past yearMore and never kept one for more than just a few days. He now says he can't find a job. He's been "looking" for a job for 4 months and claims he just can't find one. I feel like that's a lie. I know he could find a job somewhere! He is wanting to start school but I think it's just an excuse to continue to slack off and do nothing but play video games. He constantly lies to me and me husband (his step-father). Any money he gets from the military, he blows. I am so tired of letting him use us. What do I do in this situation? My husband wants to kick him out. I don't know if I agree with that or not really. I mean, yeah, he's lied to us about jobs and such but he's not a drug addict or an alcoholic. He just doesn't do ANYTHING! He never goes anywhere at all. All he does is sit in his room and play video games on his phone. We have taken his XBOX so now he just plays on his phone. Somebody please help. I just want him to be responsible and act like an adult.
    • Angel
      I dont know what to do. I have talked to my 20 year old son till I was almost blue in the face. He moved in with me in march. He got a job, lasted maybe a month, then quit. Got a really good job and was fired. Lasted aboutMore two weeks. Then got another good job and says he quit cause he didnt like it.He sleeps all day, and stays up all night playing xbox games online, using headphones with mic and is so loud, keeps waking everyone up. When asked to keep it quite, he doesnt. When told to help keep house clean, he doesnt, he dont want to do anything. I dont want to kick him out with no where to go. I want him to get a job, get a car, and get his own place. He always says he is trying, but he isnt. Now the last 3 months I have had to stay in a different state, just 2 hours away, for other reasons. I pay all the Bill's. Provide him with food. But when I tell him that I and his brother, and my sister in law will be coming in on such and such day to stay a few nights and ask him to make sure that the house is clean, and the dishes are done, which is all him no one else is there. He says ok mom, stop treating me like a kid. I keep the place clean. Then I show up, to it being dirty, and two sticks full of dirty dishes. That I had to clean cause he left, said he didnt have time he had stuff to do. It smelled horrible, I had to take out the trash. I cant keep doing this. What can I do.
  • Aubrey
    The police in my town won't ler me kick my daughter out unless I formally evict her. She is on the rental agreement. The law clerk told me I have to get the property management company to evict hee. It will take 4 months. I wish I could just putMore her stuff outside.
  • Mom whos had it
    I’m so far past this list of things to do to fix this issue. Our sons turns 20 next month and has taken things so far that he’s had us believing he has a serious mental illness. To the point he was in a psych ward for 5 days. WhenMore he got out he told us he did it on purpose because he thought it was funny. We have had him on anti psychotics and in therapy and have questioned if there’s actually an illness or if he’s just trying to get away with the verbal abuse and not having to work. He faked an alien abduction, destroyed the place he works in, scared a bunch of people, and said it was all an act because it’s funny. He complains about the things he’s been through. His dad and I have him a privileged life and we made so many mistakes to accommodate him just so he wouldn’t ruin our day when he was growing up. We would do things his way just to keep peace. We aren’t going through this list. We told him last night that he has 4 months to move out. I am so far past baby stepping him into adulthood. I’ve tried that. This kid is extreme and that means we have to be extreme. I’ve had it.
  • Edie

    This was great!!! Thank you 🙏🏻 I already kicked out my 21 year old who has two kids and I needed help on not feeling guilty because I do watch the kids and she isn’t allowed in the house. Needed direction bad!! It’s so hard but yes not putting up

    With abuse .

  • Marie

    My 22 year old son lives at home while going to community college. He is in his last semester. He is dating the neighbor girl for a year now.

    He has become verbally abusive to me and his father(foul language included) We have tried to talk with him and it always ends in an argument. We get accused of pushing his buttons and picking on him because we ask him not to trash our home and pick up his things.

    The last argument he became very verbally abusive and we told he had to move out. Well he threw himself out our storm door and broke it and screamed while looking at his girlfriends(who lives with parents also) home you pushed me.

    Since then he has been staying with her and only coming home to shower and change clothes and doesn't talk other then hey.

    I have cut off his cell phone for non payment and was told to never do that again and turn it back on. I have not. I stated to him I would when he pays his share. I was then told he will not pay it ans I am stupid because he can use anywhere there is wi-fi (which is everywhere). So I had his number transferred to a different phone that I have. I would cancel but his line is user a contract with hi fees.

    He wanted to use tools that we have to lock up because he freely lends them out and we don't get them back. So we were talked nice to for a day.

    He still just comes and goes to shower and change.

    I recently just changed our wi-fi password. So now he doesn't even say hello.

    He has never apologized for the hateful name he called both of us at individual times but we are to apologize to his girlfriend because my niece ask our neighbor if the girlfriend was pregnant and if she was it is none of our business.

    He does have a job working 25 to 30 hours a week at 8.25 and goes to college for 1 class and still has another semester to do 1 more class. I feel he did this to prolong school so he has an excuse of not working full time.

    He recently listed his bed for sale because he needs the money. I feel it was more of a threat to us that he is not going to sleep here anymore but still use are bath facilities.

    We told him since he is living next door with his girlfriend to do all his business there and we are told he doesn't want to put that burden on her parents.

    He ask me what type of parents throw their child out. We informed I am not throwing him out we are requesting that he moves out. We told him he was being disrespectful to us and in turn was told that we crossed the line with him.

    Our siblings and parents tell us to pack his stuff put it on the porch and change the locks. We are not wanting to go to that extreme.

    Not sure how to handle the staying elsewhere but using home for bathroom and storage of clothes basically without him flipping out on us. He also informed me he records all conversations he has with us. (I'm sure to replay for girlfriend)

  • RJB

    Well, after reading this series of articles, as well as a few of the others, began to follow Mr. Lehman's advice and put together an agreement with our 18-year old daughter. The abuse from her did not stop. Kicked her out a couple of times. Was seeing some progress until one particular flare-up. My wife was forced to call the police. They were kind enough to inform us, and my daughter, that we CANNOT kick her out. She has to be formally evicted. That is the Law. If we lock her out, she can legally break a window to get back in. If we pack her belongings, we can be arrested for stealing. So if you live in California, be aware.

    Now that our legs have been cut-out on us, it is back to square one.

  • Caroline

    Ex Co-Parent Won't Help

    Help please... I have attempted to do all you have explained to do, by natural instinct. However, my children's father will not instill the same rules/guidelines. Subsequently, now my children refuse to come to my home and he does absolutely nothing about it.

    What am I to do? I am really worried about my children. They can come and go and do as they wish at their father's home. They are 18, 18 and 14, and none are done with high school yet. I miss them, and am very distraught. The most recent times they have come back and I instilled my rules and guidelines, they leave when I abide by them and they don't want to. What is a mother to do? Please help!

  • SJ77
    My ex-husband and I divorced 9 years ago after 10 years of marriage. He is an ex-pat contractor and has been in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa for the past 11 years. Needless to say he has had very little interaction with our children for the past 11 years and almostMore disappeared completely 10 years ago when he remarried and started a new family. 5 years ago my 4 children and I financially lost everything and had to move back with my parents. 11 days after a 7 day drive from Florida to California my dad crashed his plane and died. My son has never been the same. He has been arrested for possession of marijuana, kicked out of 3 different schools multiple times and his anger got more and more out of control to the point where he was breaking walls, doors, things and has physically assaulted me as well as his assistant principal. We have tried to get him involved in ADP and counseling and he walks out every time. He eventually stole his grandmother's credit card and spent over $9000 dollars on producing his music, along with stealing thousands of dollars worth of my mother's heirlooms. Including my father's wedding ring and my grandmother's diamond necklace. We pressed charges and he was facing 2 felonies. My mother asked to get them down to misdemeanors and he only had 1 yr of probation which he just unsatisfactorily completed. He dropped out of school and refuses to get a job on the premise of he doesn't want his days to be spent that way. 4 days ago he snuck his girlfriend into our home overnight and when he was caught he did nothing. I repeatedly told him and her that she had to leave and this led to him pushing me so hard I almost fell down a flight of stairs. He is no longer allowed in our home but it so hard. Every minute of every day I miss my son. Who he used to be, who he could've been, and even who he is now. I am mourning my child even though he is still walking around fully alive. I'm so worried about him, but I have 3 other children and my elderly mother to worry about. We have literally been living in a prison like you described in your article and while it's awful to have had to kick him out our home life has become very different in just 4 days. My oldest daughter who is 19 is interacting with us again. We no longer have to lock our bedroom doors ( all of our doors have keyed locks except his at this point) when we leave. We are thinking about turning off the security cameras we have in every common area in our home because things are no longer disappearing. My mother can leave her purse out and not fear another credit card being taken. We don't have to worry about damage to our home or belongings any more. While I am miserable and just want my son home, I know I am doing the right thing for him and for everyone else in my family. Thank you for your article. It has helped me stay on this path and I hope he comes around and when he does I'll be here. Even if he doesn't I'll still be here, he just can't live with me anymore.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      I am so sorry you are going through this. I can only imagine how distressing this must be for you, even though you know you have made the right decision. Hang in there.
  • CB
    What advice can you give a single mom with two kids whose dad passed away when they were young. I’ve invested my whole life into these kids. My 18 yr old daughter wants her own apartment but won’t help with her insurance and cell phone. I haveMore no other parent to help with input, etc. I’m at a loss with all kinds of things these days.
  • manipulated stepson

    my stepson is 17, ADHD diagnosed since he's 7. his parents divorced since he's 3. I came into the family picture 10 years ago. I have a daughter of my own, blended into a family. My stepson has a lot of dark side i suppose he's the classic both parents are guilty of owe him something, he has a huge false sense of entitlement and disrespectful to me for years. i walked the fine line to even feel i need to protect his dad being bully by his manipulation. we have very structure household, his father and mine principles are very alike in parenting. However, his mom is the force that remain untamed, constantly creating issues, we knew this child is identical to his mom in every single way. Due to multiple school incidents, his dad felt he completely bankrupt his trust. There's nothing left to amend a good relationship. he's doing poorly in school, try to always bypass the system, never do a day of honest work, as we lead him with our roles early on his life, he just remain deviant. he's failing school, might not graduate on time. he's in therapy but even that he refuse certain responsibilities to himself just remain a menace in our house. I told my husband, the only to do at this point, is to make a contract for him because he'll never leave w/o try to work on his dad. this kid is into to deep to be straight. I think both of us are already given up on good hope he'll ever turn around and be the kid his father be proud of. I just hate this temporarily sinking feelings because i had an adult son with autism, i forced him to move out when he's 18 and graduate from high school. He refused my guidance, so I request social service to find him housing and declare his independence. he's been off my list all these years. i made peace within myself since.

    i encourage anyone out there, if you want your own happiness, and not being a prisoner of your own home, treat the adult troubled kids like guests, and fight your co-dependency, and start to live your own life , with happiness.

  • Lin
    If I make a list of rules and my son ignores them your suggestion is asking him to move on. How do I enforce this?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      Hi, Thesanti. That's a great question. The answer may depend on where you live. In some areas, it may be possible to contact your local police department and ask them to help. In other areas, it may be necessary to go through a formal eviction in order for you toMore enforce your son moving out. You can contact your local clerk of courts to find out what steps are necessary where you live. You may also want to review our other articles on adult children living at home that can be found here: Adult Children. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.
  • Catharine S
    I have a daughter who is 29 she is verbally and at times physically abusive. She seems to especially become verbally abusive more to me when I have a health issue. I recently had to go and have heart tests done and she caused me so much stress afterwards yellingMore at me calling me stupid and worse things than that she made my heart go into AFIB. I feel like she literally wants me to die. I do believe she does this on purpose. She has me to the point where I can't talk or say a word. I have to sit quiet in my own home when she is around. Life is hell for me! She lives in my home part time and I dream about her going away for good! When other people are around she still challenge me trying to argue with me over trivial things just to upset me. Its like she likes to show off to others how she bullies me. If I say anything to her she turns my words around back at me. I have learned to just be quiet and do nothing. I can't wait till her four days here in my house are over an she leaves! Then I have four days of freedom till she comes back again.
    • Kimb

      Dear Catharine S,

      Sigh. Your life sounds almost exactly like mine. My daughter is 29 as well and has been living with her dad and I for 2 years in a small 1400 sq ft. home. Before that she lived on her own, off and on for 9 or so years but would always end up back at home with her ever-present eating disorder and bipolar disorder. She has been a challenge since high school (I even ended up being arrested 5 years ago while we lived in the house she grew up in for shoving her after she grabbed my keys from me on the way out the door to care for my mom because I wouldn't allow her to drive my car-she had just totaled her 3rd car. Subsequently she had a restraining order put on me so I had to move out for 3 months-and my husband went along with it! That was bad enough). But in the two years she's lived here with us in our new, small house have truly been a living hell. As you describe, the verbal abuse she unleashes on me and her dad is truly unbearable. I'm having an endoscopy in 2 weeks because of my GI symptoms-a possible ulcer. Gee, I wonder how this came to be??? I do the same as you, I hide in my bedroom. I cry, I cover my ears. She screams, yells and swears. I can't use the kitchen when she's there bc she needs to have a special routine when she eats-which takes up most of the day! And when I put up a defense when I need to prepare food she unleashes her wrath. I can't even relax in my own living room most of the time. She rants and raves and blames me for being who I am-whatever that means. Mostly she makes up stuff. She did finally re-enroll in college but all her classes are online so she doesn't need to leave the house. Just the way she likes it. My husband enables her ("I'll fill up your car with gas so you can go to your therapy appt.") and is building her a basement apartment at our older daughter and her husband's house where she will move to in April. Halleluiah!!! I just pray that she doesn't cause the same emotional upheaval there as she has in our home. It's bad enough for us. I don't want my other adult child in emotional hell too. She's the only one who keeps me sane! I hope you find a way out of your hell, Catharine. I'll be holding you close in my heart when I'm going through mine.

  • Mrs. Alvarez

    I have an adult daughter living part time at home and in her own apartment while attending college. I've recently found opioids and narcatics in her room at home. This isn't the firs time but it's progressed. Initially it was marijuana and now the pills.

    We talked about the first time it occurred and she said to was holding it for someone from high school. I see a progression and don't know what to do. She been my easiest child and never had given me a reason not to trust her, what should I do?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. Many parents struggle with how to respond effectively when they discover substances among a child’s things, so you are not alone. At this point, I encourage you to have a conversation with her in which you clearly communicate your rules and boundaries around substances beingMore brought into your home. I also recommend taking some time to think about how you will hold her accountable for this behavior, now and moving forward. You might find some helpful tips in My Child Is Using Drugs or Drinking Alcohol—What Should I Do? I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Joanne
    Ive been very familiar with you and your Wife over the years !!I I tip my Hat off to you both and i feel privileged and some what joyed to get the chance to say ""Much obliged ""...just this hello for now..Thank you!
  • As
    My fiance has a 20 Year old daughter that came to live with us a few months ago with the stipulations that she hold a job and pay us $50 per week . I think July will make 1 year that I have provided her food. Shelter clothes internet cableMore electric water sewer all of that plus did her Landry while she slept all day and she will not help clean up at all now she has started to treat her disabled father and myself like carp cussing and yelling at him slamming doors all because she's lazy and jealous of me says she gets no daddy time alone ok I work 8-10 hours a day but she won't do anything
  • Sonam W
    My daughter is 27 years old and her husband is 2 years younger. I have an adorable 11 months old granddaughter. My daughter has drinking problem. When she is sober she is a very caring mother but when she drinks she neglects the baby. They live with me. My daughterMore and her husband have frequent fights and screaming including destruction to property. She also becomes very Anu's I've verbally and physically. She has hit me many times. How should I deal with this problem? I am very concerned about my granddaughter who has to witness screaming and shouting so often.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear how concerned you are about your granddaughter’s well being, given your daughter’s alcohol use and her abusive and neglectful behavior when she is drinking. I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support, because you have the right to be safe in your home. AtMore this point, it could be useful to determine your boundaries, and what limits you are willing to enforce with your daughter. Then, I encourage you to have a discussion about this with your daughter when she is sober, and write up a living agreement which outlines your expectations. It could also be useful to have some local support for yourself during this time, such as a counselor or a support group. For information about available resources in your area, you might consider checking with your doctor or faith community leader as a starting point. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.
  • lost
    I need help, I feel lost and disappointed. I am questioning every decision we have made as parents. We thought we worked hard to help and encourage our daughter to go to college, live a Christian life and be a productive member of society. Growing upMore we had rules but perhaps they were too strict, she still was allowed to do most things kids her age would do but with moderation (sleep overs at home only, not too reveling outfits but still on "style", a boyfriend in 10th grade that we met first and had to follow our rules - he did, curfews, etc). We did argue from time to time over the rules but we also modified them according to age and other needs. Well she went off to college. We told her we would help her as much as we could but she also needed a pt job. We said our support comes with the expectations that she continues to make good choices and finish school. Well, in nine months she has had two boyfriend whom I have no doubt she has been sexually active, stopped going to Church and got into an argument with one of the boyfriends and got arrested for pushing each other (like domestic violence). We did get a lawyer for her and told her that she needed to pay it back slowly. We had a conversation - more like an argument about it. Now she wants to drop college and come back home. We told her that if she comes back home is to go to a community college and to follow our rules. She acted as if we had said no altogether to her moving back home. That she is going to live under a bridge, that she is 18 and do what she wants, etc. We gave her a choice #1. home with our rules and community college or #2. get a job and live on your own. She keeps saying she is 18 that we cant make her go to college and that we can not have her prisoner on our house (this is because I said my house is not a hotel that she can come and go as she pleases - if she is living at home she is expected to sleep on her bed). Her answer to the choices was "I will tell you later", school is not over until May. I am not sure of what she is going to do but I am terribly afraid that when and if she comes back we would be living in a battle ground. I cant do it, I don't know how to do it. I feel like a horrible parent for putting this ultimatum but every time she is home from college it is a fight. She gets mean, I am no saint I get mean back. I do loose my patience with her immature comments, her entitlement and open disrespect. She calls me by my name instead of mom and with an attitude when she gets angry and tells me what I can and can not do in my house when it comes to her. I am thinking of writing a contract where we all come to a compromise and sign but pessimist me don't think it really is going to work. It is not a matter of controlling her but a matter of keeping peace at home while holding our values. I am so lost. I don't know where we went wrong and I don't know how to fix it. It is hard on all of us. My husband is so sad, my 17 y/o son keeps quiet around her - loves to see her - but also is aware that she can get mean at any time things don't go her way and then we start fighting so he tip toes around us. It is not fair for anyone. I have told my daughter that we want her to be happy but there is a responsible happy and an irresponsible happy. I worry that she is too lonely because she cant keep friends for a long time. And now our relationship with her is at risk. What is going to happen to her? I have offered for her to see a counselor but she wont do it.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be so heartbreaking when you have done everything you can to teach your values to your child, and yet she appears to reject them as soon as she leaves the home. While your daughter has the right to make her own choices atMore this point, you can control how you respond to these choices, and how much support you are willing to provide to her. Writing up a contract with her before she comes back home makes a lot of sense, and you can find a free template to download by clicking HERE. You make a good point, though, that simply writing down your expectations is not likely to change anything. So, I also encourage you to think about how you will hold her accountable if she is not following your rules. Because your daughter is an adult, anything you choose to provide to her at this point is considered a privilege. This includes things like internet access, a cell phone, a car, financial support, as well as things like clothing, shelter and food. I recognize how difficult this must be for you and your family right now, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
  • Lisa
    We have an adult boy 22 y/o we just found out he's been stealing out of my bank account. He also is a compulsive lier. He has 2 children 3 and 1. He works full time. Kids in daycare. Lives with us past year. Divorced due to wife cheatingMore and left him. We love these grandkids.
  • Roxanne
    We are having many of these issues with our 21 year old son. He can't keep a job and is in the army reserves but isn't showing up to drill and is in danger of being discharged. We have kicked him out of the house for being disrespectful, stealing, andMore refusing to obey our rules. He failed out of college and claims he plans to go back but past behaviors tell us otherwise. We are trying to do some of the things you suggested but have an issue. He has three younger siblings and takes advantage of them while we are at work. He asks them to let him in the house to "get something" then takes a shower, eats, gets clean clothes and leaves. We are angry that he is taking advantage of his siblings and we are trying not to make any of this their problem.
  • Myia G
    My 22 year old son stole my car.He has blocked me on social media and he is not answering any of ny calls or texts.I am so tired of him.He has stolen money from me in the past and also has stolen fed up and i do not knowMore what to do.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. Many parents struggle with figuring out how to effectively respond to challenging behavior such as stealing, so you are not alone. Something to keep in mind is that your son is an adult at this point, and so, anything you choose to provide to himMore is considered a privilege, not a right. This includes things like clothing, a phone, financial support as well as a place to live and food to eat. In addition, because your son is an adult, he is responsible for his choices, as well as the possible consequences of these choices. As James Lehman points out in the article above, because your son has been stealing from you, you might have the option of using the police to hold him accountable as well. I recognize that this can be a difficult decision for most families, and if it’s something you are considering, it can be helpful to call the police on the non-emergency line to get information on what you could expect if you decided to report your items as stolen. We have a free downloadable template which you can use to guide this conversation; you can get a copy by clicking HERE. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Heather Murray

    Only problem between my 21yr old daughter and I is that she stays at her boyfriends(he lives at home) til 3 or 4 am. She works as a visitation aid for foster children, has a weekly chore so she can do it on her own time, is there if I need her help or to babysit once in awhile, pays $250 room/board. She works and go to school full time. Her and the boyfriend do NOT drink or do drugs, don't go out partying . She lets me know when she gets to his house after work or school. He lives 5 minutes away. They have been together for 3 1/2

    yrs, we've had pool parties with his family so I know his folks. I have a 17 yr old at home and two little foster girls. I'm a single adoptive mom.

  • Lesley Cox
    Our 18 year old daughter has a very spoilt BF who has absolutely no idea about respect in our home - He is continuously touching her in front of her whole family ( parents & younger siblings 15 & 13) - WHen they sit in our lounge to watch TVMore he sits either with his head on her lap or her shoulder - We find this very uncomfortable -  He often arrives with love bites on his neck, when I speak to my daughter about this, she feels that it is ok because it isn't on her neck & he LIKES it - We have already given in to some boundaries, we have agreed that they can sleep together in our guest cottage ( not the main house) Now he seems to think it is ok to arrive at our house at 5pm & change into his Pj's - This is really driving us insane that he really thinks this is acceptable !!! he doesn't even care if we have guest over !!!  when i speak to my daughter about this she feels that this is fine & we are over reacting - We feel that it is definitely NOT ok - so she now feels that she would rather stay at his house because they don't have these issues there - He does come from a very nice family & he is actually a great guy.... but has NO idea about basic respect for other peoples home rules.... We are at our wits end with this guy... but do not want to push our daughter away
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    S Blackfox I hear you.  It can be so scary when you have a child who is rapidly approaching adulthood, yet doesn’t seem to make a connection between her actions and the consequences, despite involvement with police, counselors, child services and other local supports.  While this behavior pattern can beMore quite frightening for parents, it’s also pretty normal.  Most teens and young adults in this stage of development tend to have an attitude of invincibility and invulnerability, or thinking along the lines of “Bad things happen in the world, but not to me.”  At this point, with your daughter’s 18th birthday approaching, it’s going to be more effective to start thinking about how you can set boundaries with your daughter and respond effectively to her choices, rather than trying to make her see things from your perspective or make different choices.  You might find some helpful information on this in  I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Layla ortiz
    My son is turning 18 tomorrow doesn't have a job doesn't want to get a job he lives with my mother he doesn't respect her or the house we both have tried setting rules for him but he doesn't follow goes out we give him a time to be homeMore he doesn't come home at the time we say he curses at my mother he talks to her like she some random person off the street or like one of his friends he's suppose to graduate this year and go off to college I don't know if that's going to happen I need help don't know what to do my mother can't deal with it cause sickly and she a 73 year old women I need some advice please I would really really appreciate boys are so hard to deal with
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Layla ortiz I’m so sorry to hear about the struggles you are facing with your son, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  Something to keep in mind is that once your son is 18, anything you or your mother choose to provide to him is consideredMore a privilege.  This includes having a place to live.  As pointed out in the article above, you might consider setting a limit that if he is verbally abusive, he is not allowed back in the house for 24 hours.  At this point, it could be useful to figure out the rules you and your mother are willing to set and enforce with your son.  You might also find it helpful to him which outlines these rules, as well as how he will be held accountable if he is not following them.  I recognize how difficult this must be right now, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • BrandyK

    I unfortunately have to live with my adult daughter who is a mother to a almost 9 month old baby boy. We were homeless for almost 2 yrs and she had gotten a place in her name because my credit is messed up and I have an eviction on my record.

    When my daughter goes to work, I watch my grandson but lately, she is becoming more verbally abusive to me when she is running late for work or gets angry with me if I don't wake her up on time. She is running my van to the ground and that is the only valuable thing I have left. I'm becoming afraid of her. She's always going out and I'm stuck watching my grandson. I get tired. No matter what I say even I have threatened to leave, she always says that I don't have no where to go. She's right about that. I'm sick and tired of paying almost all the bills because she doesn't know how to budget herself even though I have taught her repeatedly. I have no one to turn to for advice. Trust me, the minute you become homeless, you lose friends in 2.5 sconds. Please give me advice and honestly, please. Yes, it's hard for me if I decide to leave because I love my grandson to the moon and back.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      BrandyK I hear how difficult this situation is for you right now, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  The decision of whether to remain in your current living situation or not can be a hard one under the best of circumstances, not to mention theMore additional challenges you face in securing your own housing as well as your concern for your grandson.  In the end, this is a choice only you can make for yourself.  If you decide to stay, you might consider setting some boundaries with your daughter, which you are willing and able to enforce, around issues such as using your van, childcare for your grandson, and/or how much you are each contributing to household bills.  You might find it helpful to which outlines these boundaries.  If you decide that you need to leave, you might consider contacting the at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which provides information on resources available in your community, such as housing assistance, credit counseling, and others.  I realize what a difficult choice this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    Narnia nanny I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you have faced with your daughter.  No parent envisions having to deal with issues such as substance abuse, abusive behavior or trying to get custody of a grandchild.  You might consider consulting with local supports about your options for yourMore daughter.  If you are currently working with a lawyer on your custody case, this might be one source of information for you.  Another resource might be  They have resources available on their site, such as a Family Advice Line as well as links to the Family Relationship Centre near you.  I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Cacarregui

    My husband has 7 kids and 3 of them are abusive to themselves and their parents. The parents have continued to cover up for the kids and " protect" (enable) the adult kids despite the drug addiction, lies, vulgarity and pure disrespect. One might suspect different behaviors from a "Morman Family" but that is not the case with this family. One of his sons (age 27) recently was buying my 16 year old son alcohol and weed. It wasn't until this failure to launch supplied my son with xanex and alcohol, and they both nearly died from an overdose, that my husband finally asked his son to leave our home.

    I am so grateful to empowering parents. It has helped me maintain my own boundaries and speak very clear regarding right and wrong behavior and expectations. Thank you for the great advice.

  • Gnan
    Very eye opening article for parents.  In our tradition, there use to be a phrase/proverb it means "If you don't bend while it is a plant, its impossible when it becomes tree.".  Now a days homes and schools nurturing kids with more sofisticated and over-caring environment where most children hardlyMore learn respect or responsibility but getting spoilt with freedom without responsibility, misconduct, selfish thinking and recklessness towards others. This eventually contributing towards more violent society.  Children must be made to learn from beginning that freedom only comes with responsibility and respect comes with only caring others. We must made them to understand properly aht worldly pleasures are more disruptive than the pains in disciplinary life.
    • Kimb

      To Gnan-

      The wisdom in your words is undeniable. Thank you.

  • Ruffled Granny
    I have an adult grandson that is miserable about life. He is moody, disrespectful , rude, and can be verbally abusive. He refuses to pay his rent in that "this month he is unhappy, his mother annoys him, and he has better things to spend his money on.".More My response was you haven't paid this month's rent, you have no intention of paying next month's rent so consider this your thrity day notice and move out. Was that the right thing to do? I feel it was.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Ruffled Granny I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are experiencing with your grandson, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  Because he is an adult, anything you choose to provide to him at this point is considered a privilege, including a place to live.  InMore addition, part of our role as parents and grandparents is to prepare kids for the greater world and independence.  In the adult world, the natural consequence of not paying rent is eviction.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.
  • Andor_2001

    My daughter is 46, and she is a drug addict. I'm 75.  She relapses, loses her job, and spends months on the streets prostituting herself for crack.  This time she had a job, but no car.  I allowed her to use my car, and she disappeared.  My second car was wrecked in accident. So, here I am with no transportation.. I understand I can't declared it stolen since I gave her permission to use it.  I'm terrified.  I have to walk two miles to buy grocery.. Why allowing her to take car to work is considered blank check to use it for as long as she wants?  

    I want her dead.  It sounds cruel, but I will cry, grieve, and live the rest of my life in peace..

  • RudyNMichelle
    I tried setting rules, I tried locking them out after telling them to leave, I have even tried calling the police and telling them they don't live here anymore. The police told me I had to legally evict my own children. Omg! Long story short I have two boys agesMore 21 and 20. Both are struggling with drug addiction and both do not want to get jobs or make anything if thier lives. I have thrown them out several times but now they know I can't just throw them out...they don't obey rules, they don't pick up up after themselves, and they basically took over my home and my life. So now what? They don't fight with me, don't destroy my property they are just there being leeches. Smh. I'm very unhappy... very broke... and starving. I can't afford to keep them there and I wish they would just leave. ?
  • sonmoon40

    My son will be turning 20, lives at home and has no desire to work. He games on line and makes some money that way but it all goes back into the gaming.

    He was so interested in going into the military after barely graduating HS went through the recruiters and is now just spinning his wheels.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      sonmoon40 We hear from many parents who describe similar situations with young adults living at home, so you are not alone.  Something to keep in mind is that people generally do not change unless they are uncomfortable.  If your son is able to have his needs met while still beingMore able to do what he wants all day, it sounds like this is working out pretty well for him overall.  Thus, while you cannot “make” him get a job, you can look at ways that you can make him uncomfortable by setting some limits for him while he is staying with you.  For example, you might require that he start paying certain bills, or that he must work a certain number of hours.  I also encourage you to with your son which outlines these expectations for his behavior while he is living in your home.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    Heart Broken123 We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your story.  I’m so sorry to hear about this situation you are in right now with your partner, his children and his ex-wife. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help you develop a planMore for addressing your particular issues. The http://www.211.cais 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, legal assistance, financial services as well as various other resources. You can reach the Helpline by calling 1-800-836-3238. We wish you the best going forward. Take care.
  • Paulashollay

    I have an adult daughter 38 who has a son 9 they live with me and my husband because she is seperated from her husband.

    She doesnt have a job and doesnt help with housework. I dont want to kick her out because of my grandson. What do I do!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Paulashollay We hear from many parents who are struggling with an adult child’s behavior, yet feel powerless to enforce the limits because of possible impact on grandchildren.  This is a tough situation for sure, with no easy answers.  Ultimately, it’s going to be your judgment call of whether you canMore tolerate your daughter’s behavior for the sake of your grandson, or not.  If you decide to allow your daughter to stay in your home, I encourage you to her, which outlines your expectations for her while she is living in your home.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • blueblue
    Our adult son lives on his own, but he has been verbally abusive to myself and his sister for over 6 years.  He blames all of his problems on me and I am not exaggerating.  I have offered repeatedly to go to a therapist with him because I feel heMore is stuck with his anger.  Obviously he has issues with me, his mother, but he frankly had a pretty great childhood and the full support of his father and I.  We have a history of mental illness on both sides of our family and I am sure he is suffering.  When he does come to visit, it is like walking on eggshells with his snarky remarks and swearing and excessive drinking.  I have just told him I think it best he does not come home for the holidays because it is so stressful to all of us...again offering to seek professional help together.  I don't know what else I can do.  I think for now we just have to be apart, although it is heart breaking.
  • S
    I'm an adult child living with a parent I have a turbulent relationship with. This article helped me develop a more empathetic perspective toward my parent even though we are constantly at each other's throats. Thank you for taking the time to write about different "types" of adult children, IMore definitely identified myself in there and it makes me want to try harder to get my act together. The boundaries you hashed out are perfectly reasonable.
  • Rpinhim1961
    My adopted son is now 15 years old. He is verbal abusive, steals money, breaks into our house. Disrespectful to teachers. Refuses to go to therapy, smokes marijuana. Threatens to runaway again if we try to place him in another residential treatment center. His father wants to have him arrestedMore and not allow him into the house finite.  School called today and said they can no longer serve our son.  We've been in family and individual therapy for over 3 years with out improvements. Son has gotten worse.  What can we do? Please.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing

      with your son, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.If your son is breaking the law, calling the

      police could be an option for you.If

      you are considering this, it can be helpful to call on the non-emergency line

      during a calm time to get more information on how they might be able to assist

      you with your son.We have a which can help guide this conversation as well.Another option for you might be looking into

      a program commonly called CHINS/PINS (child/person in need of supervision or

      services), or something along those lines.In these programs, you petition the juvenile court to assist you in

      holding your child accountable to meeting his responsibilities.For more information about this program,

      contact your local juvenile or family court clerk.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.

  • JanePepper
    My 21 year old daughter is rude and verbally abusive. She's finished university successfully but I have no idea if she's trying to get a job or not because if I ask her, she says, "I don't want to talk about it". She's broken up with her boyfriend of 3More years, she also won't talk about it. Last time they broke up, after refusing to talk to me, she screamed at me for "not being there for her". She treats me, my friends, anything that's important to me, with utter contempt. I feel like I've spent her entire life crying. I don't know how to keep going.
    • MJD
      I understand. My son graduated successfully from university and is behaving exactly like your daughter.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I am so sorry to hear about all that you have experienced

    from your son and his girlfriend while they were living in your house. 

    You and your other family members have the right to be safe from abuse from

    your son.  I also understand your concern that if you do not allow your

    son back into your home, he might not have another place to live. 

    Something I encourage you to keep in mind is that your son is an adult, and

    thus anything you choose to provide to him is considered a privilege. 

    This includes having a place to live.  As James points out in the article

    above, nothing changes if nothing changes.  Setting and enforcing clear

    limits that abusive behavior is not tolerated in your home is one way of

    changing this pattern with your son.  I recognize how difficult this

    situation must be for you right now, and I wish you and your family all the

    best moving forward.

  • Desperate for Answer

    Does anyone know of an article or have advice on how to help exact change in the following situation? It relates to the above article on grown children living at home with their child. She's 32 and the Grand baby is almost 2 years old. ...

    The mother is lazy and uninvolved in raising her own child, leaving the responsibility to the grandparents. She's not working, sleeps till noon, takes on zero responsibility for anything, including a job, house duties, her child, financial...anything. She shares temporary custody with the father who's remarried to his ex wife. ..who he's told us of her horrible temper and violent alcohol abuse. They are still in a custody battle that's been going nowhere for over a year now and has cost the grandparents around $20,000 that they put off retirement to pay.

    On top of the mother's sense of entitlement to do absolutely nothing and have absolutely everything taken care of for her, she's become an intimidating bully to her parents. I mean, it's BAD. She refuses to get a job, excusing everything with some bs reason, and verbally attacking them if they suggest it. They're living as prisoners in their home and feel blackmailed with losing this child to the father and step mom that has an alcoholic violent history. What can they do to get back respect and take back their home? How can they address this spoiled, entitled brat issue and keep the child safe from the threat of being given full custody to the father? Please help. ..

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Desperate for Answer 

      I hear you. It can be quite difficult to address entitlement

      and lack of responsibility in an adult child, and it can become even more

      complicated when grandchildren are involved.  Sometimes, grandparents end

      up tolerating more inappropriate behavior from an adult child because they want

      to protect their grandchild.  On the other hand, change typically doesn’t

      happen if a person is comfortable with the way things currently stand.  Ultimately,

      it is going to be a personal judgment call for each family about the

      appropriate limits to set and follow through on.  It could be useful to about behavior expectations while she is living in

      the home, along with enforceable consequences.  It might also be

      beneficial to contact the at

      1-800-273-6222 to get information about available resources in the community,

      such as support groups, employment services or legal assistance.  I

      recognize how challenging this situation must be, and I wish you all the best

      moving forward.  Take care.

  • Mother5
    My 26 yr old son, defied me and was married during his senior year in high school.  His wife has left him due to his drug use.  They have three kids.  He is living with me.  His work is erratic, he drinks, he smokes weed (not legal in our state),More he's funny, he is nice, everyone loves him, he is great with his kids, he's a hard worker.  The grandkids come stay at my house every Friday evening until Sunday evening.  I clean, cook and mother them.  I babysit so he can work on Saturday.  Last night (Sunday) he left and didn't come home.  He had committed to working with his stepdad.  He didn't show up.  He didn't call.  Finally he answered a text from me.  I told him he needed to make other living arrangements.  I pray to God I can follow through...   I feel like he is on the bubble and whatever choice he makes, it has to be his.  My giving him a free place to stay isn't making any difference in his selfish behavior.  He hasn't given his wife money for the kids, etc.  he uses on his entertainment.  I want to help.  Our other kids have lived with us and after a few months, they paid us rent, were cordial and let us know if they would be home or not.  We both want to help.  But you can't help someone who doesn't want to change.
  • Worried and fed up

    I have a son who os going to be 19, graduated from hs, he has clinically ad/hd, aniexty/panic disorder, is disowned by his father, my husband and I are at our witts end because he's depressed, won't go enroll at community college, can't hold job, getting him to apply is luke pulling teeth. We take internet cord away he finds another. We are on verge of kicking him out but I worry because he's depressed but won't get u elp, he asked for help but I can't get hom help cause he's over 18. HELP

    Fed up and worried mom

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Worried and fed up 

      I hear how

      concerned you are for your son and his future, and I’m glad that you’re

      reaching out for support.  I also understand your reluctance to tell him

      to leave with his diagnoses, and your worry that he won’t be able to support

      himself or find help if needed.  As Megan Devine points out, this is a

      natural concern when your adult child has a diagnosis which impacts the way he

      can function in the world.  It is also not an excuse to continue working

      on these skills to live independently.  You might find more helpful

      information, as well as a free living agreement template, in her article,  I

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

      all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • DKWTDINflorida


    I have a similar situation. I took in my nephew. He is verbally abusive and physically abusive. Cops are saying that they believe he is mentally handicapped. Even though never being diagnosed as such. They say I can't just kick him out even though he is destroying property and being verbally abusive. What agencies do I go to for help? I'm fed up!!!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I’m so sorry to hear about the living situation you are in

      with your nephew.  You deserve to be safe in your home, and I’m sorry that

      you do not feel supported by the police.  Something that can be helpful is

      to call the police on the non-emergency line during a calm time, and talk about

      what is going on, and what your options are with your nephew’s behavior. 

      We have a free downloadable worksheet which can help to guide this

      conversation; you can get a copy by clicking 

      In addition, you can reach other agencies which might be able to assist you by

      calling the at

      1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which connects people with available

      resources in their community.  I recognize how frustrating this must be

      for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Mary Mom
    My son is 29 years old, and was a lawyer.  I said was because he left the profession for a yoga teacher (girlfriend), who is anti-establishment.  He travelled the world with her because her job sent  her to other countries to teach "yoga teachers" for certification.  He was her groupie.More  In order to do this he lost his job, gave away his cat, gave up his apartment, left his furniture, household items, bicycle behind.  And, he gave up his car.  And, went to Costa Rica.  He came back and is living with me.  And, is still in a relationship with her.  She is trying to get him back all day everyday, and he is falling for it.  I thought he was home to reinvent himself, but he hasn't been working and has no money, no nothing, for that matter, and a load of credit card debt now.  He is thinking about going with her overseas again.  What should I do? The relationship with her is sheer manipulation.  Help!!
    • Anonymous
      Mary, when the 'honeymoon" is over with this yoga gal, he will come to his senses. Sometimes men dont think with their brain, to put it mildly. He has found someone soo different and "challenging" Prayers for him to realize what he has given up, instead of what he thinksMore he has found. ?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Mary Mom 

      I hear you.  It can

      be so difficult when your adult child is making drastic life choices which are

      having a big impact on his quality of life.  Ultimately, though, your son

      is an adult, and so, he can make his own decisions about his work, his

      relationships, his finances and so on-even those you might not agree

      with.  You, in turn, are in control of how you respond to his

      choices.  For example, you might let him experience the natural

      consequences of being unemployed and carrying a lot of debt, and choose not to

      help him financially.  You might also consider with him about your expectations for his behavior

      while he is living with you.  In terms of his relationship with his

      girlfriend, it’s going to be more beneficial to step back and allow him to

      figure this out, rather than trying to get him to see their relationship from

      your perspective as advised in I wish you all the

      best moving forward; take care.

      • Mary Mom
        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Mary Mom Thank you so much for the good advice.  I have found out that he intends to return to Costa Rica with her and he teach yoga for a month (October).  After feeling as though this will turn into a boomerang situation, I told him if he does go,More he will need to find another place to live after coming back from there.  He still won't have a job.  I didn't mind helping him (not financially though) with a place to live, until I heard this.  I hope I did the right thing, but I do think that he needs to be responsible for his actions and not just land at my place when he is in the USA.
  • simplyaustin
    how about you look at this from a young adults point of view. We live in a very different world then what you guys grew up in. College debt is at an all time high, to the point where i have had multiple friends move out of the country toMore avoid there crippling debt. Also, you have to realize that the world you grew up in no longer exists, the generation before us screwed it up for us, so mostly its the parents fault that were not moving out of the house till were 25. When you people were growing up, you could go to a top of the line college and pay it off in five years, but for us that is a lifetime of debt put there as soon as you start your adult life, you try living with that?! One day when you people take a step in our shoes you will understand.
    • Susan
      I am 70 and don't recognise your version of my life when young. When I was young it was impossible to go to College in the UK unless you came from a wealthy middle class family - there simply were not that many universities or university places - plus youMore had to get into a grammar school at age 11 after an exam - again only 20% of working class kids got into a grammar school - not because they were stupid, but because their parents just did not know how to work the system and therefore had not taught their kids how to. So most kids I know school at 16 and got a job. Sometimes they got 2 jobs. They had maybe 2 pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of trousers or dresses. they didn't have a phone or a tv or a car. they saved all the money they could. they worked from 8-6. Maybe they went to the pub or a dance at the weekend. they worked really really hard all their life. I look at young people and think they have no idea what it means to be responsible or hard working. They take for granted everything will be handed to them on a plate. I agree its totally wrong to get so much in debt from going to College. Don't go then. Many successful people have not been to college. Get a job, then start your own business.
    • Anonymous
      It's about respect Respect that grown children should have for their parents. Until you're a parent and walk a step in our shoes, you will never understand.
    • Mother5
      @simplyaustin As a 46 year old adult still paying on collegedebt  from my 20's, please note:  Life is Hard.  It's messy & complicated & difficult for EVERYONE.
    • Anonymous
      Simply.....grow up dude.
    • Deb
      You are right this is not the same as the generation before, however it is better than your grandparents. And in some cases your parents. Don't whine, it is immature to blame others for your decisions.
      • Kitana

        This guy is right you know. The job market is terrible. The worst is yet to come. So what do you suggest for us young people? I agree that yes adult children should move out and get they're own home as suggested however facts are facts about the job market and economy. If everyone is so ticked off because grown kids are stuck under they're parents roof then why don't the old school generation as well as the young generation raise some serious cain together on captial hill until something is done about this economy? Wait, I almost forgot....this was done three years ago and yet still nothing was done about the terrible economy.

        Perhaps if our jobs were kept here in America we would not have this problem today. You can't blame us young people completely. These rich bankers are shipping our jobs to china and other lands. We young folks would love jobs that are in plenty for all of us to choose from. That way no one can complain about there being little to no jobs out here. This also would mean everyone who is a young adult does not have to live in they're parents basement and under they're rule.

        Here is my story based on true facts: I have looked long and hard for a "real job" that actually pays good money for two years. Only now have I obtained a job that will pay me to make it out here on my own and it was not easy obtaining it just so you are aware. Not to mention I hated living from home to home out of bags but I could not to fathom the thought of living with my parents. As crazy as this sounds I would have rather been homeless for a while. Freedom for me and my parents but more freedom mainly for me. My mother later gave me hell after finding out I was on the streets but I would had rather took my chances living out of bags from home to home, paying what I could to get by.

        I don't need my parents for anything like some others out here that I know. It was all cute when I was a small child but now I can't picture dealing with my folks any longer then I would have to. I'm not a freeloader or a clingy child nor do I like my folks very much to stick around them for the rest of my life. Now that have my own place I have my own life to consider and put first before anyone else. It's not that I never respected my parents but I just never cared for them as much and frankly I can live without them.

        Anyway back to details. Working in fast food jobs won't cut it because it does not pay much. I worked in fast food for those two years and still could not get by with what little bills I had and a student loan. People who have real jobs get paid $28.00 to $65.00 an hour. With that kind of money you can pay for a $200,000.00 to $400,000.00 home depending on the area you pay less for mortgage or more. $874.00 a month for my $210,000.00 home in Virginia.

        I now work as a Armed security officer now making $29.13 an hour with overtime pay so that's a big difference and a heavy load off my problems. I believe that my new well paying job will keep that roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back and a car with fuel in the tank for me to drive.

        Trust me when I tell you that a job paying only $9.87 an hour is "not" real money nor is it real income. You cannot buy a home in today's market with such poor income. If I even dared try to obtain a home loan while working at Burger King I would be the laughing stock of the loan agency I applied to get a home from.

        • Susan
          Well you sound like a responsible, intelligent and hard working young person and you are not the irresponsible and spoilt kind of kid that parents are writing about here. I agree about the economy. It's a terrible mess and it's only going to get worse. But you are planning forMore that and will be ok.
  • Randy999999

    I dont know where you live ,but in Florida you can't put your adult child's stuff to the curb and tell the police that he doesn't live here anymore.

    They will force you to allow them back in the house. You have to go through the eviction/ejection process. Long and drawn out. Not to mention one empowered, pissed off abusive kid in your house.

    Now what?

    • iampab
      Randy999999  I have this same problem. I am so tired of my son walking all over me and cursing me. I told him to leave. He tells me to evict him. I have no funds for this and no idea where to begin. I have friends and neighbors all tiredMore of his abuse which is mostly verbally and threatening. I am sick, on oxygen and can't deal with this anymore. It's to the point I am ready to move out of my home for some peace. I too live in Florida and need advise/help some kind of guidance.
      • DKWTDINflorida
        You can call adult protective services they can expedite and eviction for you!
      • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

        iampab Randy999999 

        Thank you for your question.  Because the eviction

        process varies so much among communities, it is difficult to specifically

        answer your question of how it works where you live.  If you would like

        more information on this process, you can call your local police department on

        their non-emergency line, or your local clerk of courts.  Another resource

        you might try is the, which

        could provide you with referrals to additional resources such as free/low-cost

        legal assistance.  You can reach them by calling 1-800-273-6222. 

        Take care.

  • Ikerunnels
    Wife has always not agreed with anything when it came to our son. He's 29yrs oldlives n Iowa an divorced. Had his 3 grandaughters going on 3yrs.Doesn't call me by my name when speaking or call on any holidays. His mother always defends him.
  • Shell
    Good advice "And I would I would pack a bag, put it on the curb, call the police and say, “He doesn’t live here anymore."  However, legally, it is your adult child's home and according the the Butte County Sheriff's Department I have no right to throw him out.  MyMore son was verbally threatening to kill me along with calling me every vile name in the book.  The police did arrest him, after he spit in the officers face, but i am told I will have to file a restraining order and notice of immediate eviction to protect myself (hopefully all is approved before he talks to his parole officer and she lets him out of jail).
  • AnotherColorado

    have a friend who is being victimized by adult children - seems the laws are either for partner domestic violence or you have to be over 70 for elder abuse (she is 60 )

    adult children that will not leave the parent's home - who intimidate-threaten- destroy/dispose of  things - run up utilities bills - 

     before you mention the legal system think of how much destruction can be done to a person their home (she has been told that they will make the house unlivable if she tries to evict them) their belongings before something like an eviction can be done

     you cant call the police because its their word against yours so the police can not assist

    you cant just toss them and their things out as the police / legal system will protect them against you doing that and they know it / amazing how well versed they are in the legal system (& since they do not work can obtain free legal advice/services)

     the legal process also costs money and when you are among the working poor - barely making ends meet but making too much for any assistance - that is not an option

  • Lisa
    I live in Fl and the Police will not remove anyone from your home. You must go through the eviction process which can be exspensive.
    • AnotherColorado
      @Lisa sadly I think that is true in many states    I know of one instance here in Colorado where an adult child claimed to be a squatter
  • Shelllara
    My son is 26 and feels that everyone needs to leave him alone. He has lost 2 brothers very young and says no one understands what he's going thru. He also suffers from severe anxiety and cannot use public restrooms along with many other phobias. He is verbally abusive andMore breaks dishes and hits walls. The brothers he lost are my precious 15 year old and very recently my equally precious 29 year old son. I deal with my grief every minute of every day and I do it without abusing anyone, breaking things or getting drunk every day and without stealing medications from family members, grandparents, etc. . Now he is threatening to break all of our things when we leave the house. He says if I put him in jail then I don't love him and he will die too. He says he knows his rights and I can't kick him out.
    • Susan
      I am so very sorry to read this Shelllara. I am sending you love and peace.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    krisis kris

    I understand your distress. It can be extremely frightening

    when someone makes such threats. If you don’t feel that calling the police is

    an option for you, it may be helpful to contact your local crisis response

    service. You can speak with someone there who would be able to help you develop

    a safety plan you can implement when your son’s behavior is escalating. The 211

    Helpline can give you information on crisis response and other support services

    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

    I encourage you to reach out to local support services for help with this very

    distressing situation. Best of luck as you work through this issue. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Margaret T

    I am sorry you are facing these challenges with your adult

    son. I can hear how overwhelmed you are right now. It may be helpful to find

    someone in your area you can speak to about these issues who may also be able

    to give you information on support services in your community. There is a great

    program available in the UK called Family Lives. You can find them online at . You can also

    reach them by phone on their hotline 0808 800 2222. Another great support is

    The Samaritans (

    ). You can contact them by phone at 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI), by email at , or by regular post at

    Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA. I’m sure one of these

    excellent services will be able to put you in contact with people in your

    community who can offer you the help and support you are looking for. We

    appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • Joann
    Also he can't keep a job. He quits or gets fired. He has tried counseling and medication but stopped both. He says it doesn't help.
  • Joann
    Our son is 23. He is very angry and verbally abusive to my husband and me. He kicks and bangs and has broken things. We called police . We were told we have to evict him since he has lived at the house all his life.More We feel we have To do it for peace. He obviously has mental issues. We feel bad and worry what will become of him. He will be homeless and has no where to go.
  • Jeanne

    Great article..but my daughters working ..starting paying rent and refuses to communicate with me.

    Im working on movibg to my own apartment n she can live where we did.

  • Debbiea
    We just had the police at our house today and they said we cannot legally make him leave without 30 days notice, even if he is being abusive. Now what?? They said that because he is 18 (even though he is still in high school) we have no "parental authorityMore and he is a legal resident of the home and we can't even ask him to take a walk to cool down. Now he is using that and spitting at me cuz the police said at 18 "He can do whatever he wants and we can't do anything without 30 days notice" Help :(
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      There are some areas where it’s necessary for the parent to

      go through a formal eviction process in order to get their child to move out.

      If this is the course of action you want to take, it may be helpful to speak

      with legal counsel about what the necessary steps are. The 211 Helpline 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 going online to In the meantime, it might be productive

      to disconnect and walk away when your son starts to disrespect or verbally

      abuse you. You could say to him something like “It’s not OK to talk to me that

      way. I don’t like it” and then leave the room. I would continue to contact the

      police or your local crisis response whenever a safety issue arises. You could

      also ask the police to fill out a report whenever they are called to your

      house. This will help to create a paper trail should you need support for the

      eviction process. You can check out the article for more

      information on ways of addressing your son’s behavior. Best of luck to you and

      your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, I am actually not a parent nor a grandparent, I am just a young teenager who is quite busy with school. I am the younger brother in my family, and I have an older brother who is almost 26 and lives at home with my parents and me. He can sometimes be a great brother, but most of the time, he is what I would consider an "adult-child".  He works a part-time job (only 4 to 5 hours on a weekday), and other than that, he just stays at home enjoying himself. 

             Here is some background. My brother has had difficulties as a newborn and a child. My parents have told me that there were some problems with his birth, and as a child, he couldn't learn (couldn't stay focused on work), he sometimes would wet his bed at an age of 5 and 6, and even wet himself in the classroom. When my parents moved to the United States, my brother was in 3rd or 4th grade. He didn't receive enough attention and would sometimes stay home alone at a young age because my parents were so busy finding jobs and dealing with other business. He struggled and was even pushed around in school by other students. He grew more violent as he grew older, but now he is a little more calm as he has became an "adult". On the other hand, I was brought up well and my parents focus most of their attention on me because they believe I am the only chance for success in the family. 

               Currently, my brother acts fairly normal, but has social problems, no immediate sense of responsibility, and all the bad traits you would associate with a person. I don't believe he has grown up yet although there might be health problems associated with this but not yet diagnosed. He only has a sense of responsibility after we have told him that he needs to do something or grow up. After a day or two, he returns back to his selfish and irresponsible old self. He stays up really late, wakes up late, doesn't have the sense of finding a better job, spends all of his free time watching live streams like gambling and video games, plays video games excessively on his computer, enjoys staying at this house with food and things I don't believe he fully deserves. My parents make dinner and he eats it and goes back to his laptop doing unnecessary things at his desk. My parents try many things and really want to help, but it seems like they have run out of options. He has taken 3 real estate tests and failed every single one. We push him to study, but he studies barely anything and goes back to doing other things (is this a disorder?). He has done good things like buy us gifts (not very often) and refuse to take drugs from a friend. He can be friendly and has some passions like chess. He can listen to my parents and understand that my parents encourage him to change. He can become responsible and genuinely more caring after he is told he has to change or correct something, but I don't believe the positives match the negatives.

               This perpetuating problem affects the whole house-hold and it has caused arguments to start and tears to fall. It sometimes affects my school work and it has even pushed my father to being seemingly depressed. My parents work so hard to try and make me successful and help my brother have a better life, but my brother basically stays the same. My parents have even asked me to help them in solving this problem, but I'm not sure what to do so I am asking for help. This is not only my brother's fault for this situation and he has struggled and cried. My parents and I have struggled and cried, There almost seems like there is no solution. Is there something that can be done?

  • patty A
    thank you. you talk as though you know my 20 yr old son. What you advise will be hard. I know what I must do. Im a single mom and at 58 yrs old Im not willing to be bullied in my own home. Here goes!
  • Deborah Thorp
    Thank-you for your very helpful advise Responsible parenting for adult children who move back home. Confirmation as I have prayed alot about this issue, given same advice to my sister and God used this article to confirm this counsel I gave her.
  • Suzanne

    I did not read this article but stopped when the suggestion was made to request the violent or verbally abusive adult child leave for one night or three nights.  If only I was so lucky.  I have called the police numerous times to no avail.  Each time I am told by the police that my adult child has been in the home more than thirty days I will have to get a restraining order or go through the eviction process that takes thirty to sixty days.  To think someone who has been abused and doesn't have the police supporting them would somehow be able to get a abusive adult to leave their home for a night as a consequence is unrealistic. My case is different than normal due to the fact that my twenty-five year old daughter was in a severe , traumatic car accident her first year of college.  She wasn't at home because she was lazy and played video games.  Before the accident she worked two jobs.  However, she displayed behavioural issues before the car accident  and was very demanding within the household.

    What developed was a nightmare.  From day one in the hospital I requested help from the staff psychiatrist, social worker etc.  Received none.  I was told because she was an adult they could not share her problems with me.  While she had been working before her accident she had an extremely abusive boyfriend.  Her therapist said I should let him in the house to visit her since she was bedridden.  Against my intuition I followed the therapists advice and he became  abusive to her while she was bedridden and I had to request he leave.  Her therapists was a nationally recognized doctor who wrote a book on dealing with difficult adolescents.

     For five years she had twenty-six reconstructive surgeries and now she is disabled for life.  She is finished all of her hospital time and back in school part-time.  However, she became addicted to drugs during those five years.  I 've sent her to rehab nine times.   We are OUT of funds for anymore help.  She sees a private addiction therapist.  Whenever she relapses she becomes extremely violent.   When I call the police they will NOT TAKE HER unless they see clear visible marks on my body.    A mark that disappears in a few minutes doesn't count.

    I went to the courthouse to ask for help with evicting her and the lawyer who I spoke to asked me if I believed in Jesus Christ.  I said yes.  He told me to pray.  True story.  He told me if I got any sleep at night I had it better than his mother who had to take care of a violent parent with Alzheimers.   His mother couldn't sleep at night so he told me I had at least the ability to sleep and should pray regarding my daughter's problems. 

    I attend a support group for families and friends of addicts, I see a private addiction therapist to help with ideas on benefiting my daughter, I've contacted the mobile crisis team in my area, I've contacted Nami and taken their classes.  I've called several domestic violence shelters.  They are very nice people but only help people suffering from spousal abuse.  My daughter has had the best medical care available to heal from her accident.  She is disabled but ambulatory.  She attends school part -time.  She is a good student.  However, when she relapses she is violent.   I need help breaking the cycle and I have not got it from the police, mobile crisis team or the community.  I am ostracized in my neighborhood.  I am alone.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences.  I

      hear how difficult these past few years have been for you, and how much you

      want to help your daughter.  I see that you have used numerous supports in

      your community as well, even though the assistance they were able to offer

      isn’t what you might have hoped for.  I encourage you to continue working

      with the resources you have available to help you develop a plan to stay safe

      when your daughter relapses if you choose to continue allowing her to stay with

      you in your home.  You might also contact the at 1-800-273-6222 for any additional resources which might be

      available to you.  I recognize what a troubling situation this is for you,

      and that you have faced challenges which no parent ever imagines for their

      child.  I wish you all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take


  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    What an upsetting situation. It’s understandable you

    would be hesitant to involve the authorities when your son made such disturbing statements.

    Truthfully, it’s not always possible to tell how serious a person is when they

    make suicidal threats. For this reason, we would recommend taking any threats

    of suicide or self harm seriously. If your son makes similar statements in the

    future, we would recommend either contacting your local crisis response or

    calling 911 to have him taken to the hospital to be evaluated. You might also

    find it helpful to contact the at 1-800-273-8255 to talk with a specially trained counselor about

    your situation as well. Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Take


  • Morfie

    Hi....I have a nineteen year old granddaughter that lives with me.  She was my first out of seven, so she's always been somewhat of the favorite.  She was always very close to me & my ex( her grandfather, not biological). She was raised by my daughter & her stepfather whom was ,I think, too strict.  He was verbally and somewhat physically abusive sometimes.  Anyways, she found out he wasn't her biological father when she was twelve & I think that's when she totally changed.

    The older she got, the worse it got & she's always turned to me for comfort & advice until I had my accident & had to stay for 6 months with my daughter.  That's when her verbal abuse with me started, everytime she got angry with me, she would disrespect me etc.

    When I moved up close to where they lived is really when everything got worse, that was a huge mistake.  She got into a huge argument at her mothers & then came to stay with me.  I thought things where going to be better for her, since we got along, so I thought.

    It was ok for the first couple of weeks & that's when it started, she got a boyfriend, then she was in her room all the time & any little thing that I said to her she would blow up.  Eventually her boyfriend started hanging out at the house with us & everything was fine as long as she was ok. She was the child that always had everything she wanted 'cause she was the first, so everyone spoiled her.  I'm just as guilty of that, I always thought that as she grew up, she would appreciate everything that we did for her.....I was very wrong!!.  Things have gotten totally out of control, she verbally abuses me, disrespects me & turns into a monster when she gets upset, with everyone, she's like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.  I don't know what else to do, whe just got into an argument again & now I told her she had to leave.  I'm disabled & I have alot of medical issues & I can't do this anymore.  I don't feel well after each argument & I'm afraid something is going to happen to me.  She lies, she's deceitful, she takes what you say & turns it completely around & makes you look like the bad guy.  Everything she says & does is really hurtful 'cause all I've ever done is stand up for & be there for her, I can't believe she treats me like this.  She works on & off & is going to beauty school , she's a good girl when she wants to be.  I've tried to talk her into getiing some counseling but right away she tells me I think she's crazy.  She's an adult , so I can't force her into anything,  I feel really guilty for telling her to go, but I really can't do this anymore.  I feel ad 'cause I know she has her emotional issues & I wish I could help her.

    Please advice me on what I can do...thank you!

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I can hear how distraught you are about having to ask your

      granddaughter to leave. It’s understandable. You love her and want to do

      whatever you can to help her out. Unfortunately, it sounds like she wasn’t in a

      place where she could either appreciate the help you were offering nor use it

      in a way that would benefit her. I know it is a tough place to be. Truthfully,

      some people don’t change until they’re uncomfortable with their current

      circumstances. Perhaps being on her own for awhile may help your granddaughter

      learn the skills she needs to be a successful adult. You have done what you can

      to help her. Now it’s up to her to decide how she wants her life to be. We appreciate

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

  • devistated





  • worried_angry mom

    My son is a musician, he plays gigs not for a lot of money  but the money goes for the bands recording studio and production costs of recording. He is working at a minimum wage job which doesn't last him until next paycheck. He lives at home and has his own car. I know he loves his music and I would like to support him until he is able to make a living at his art...

    His dad feels he should attend a technical school and get a trade that will assure him of more than minimum wage... He has tried to get him interested in a field related to his work (engineering) but which is outdoors and involves measuring and using surveying tools. He does a little but is dead set against school. He seldom spends weekends at home. His dad's expectations of him helping  him clean the yard, take stuff to recycling for money, cleaning his bathroom and bedroom, seem like requests with no urgency... 

    He feels there is no need to have a clean bedroom or clean bathroom except if family will be staying over and might need to use his bathroom. He feels it is a manipulative and controlling request which he will do when he can/wants... He gets irate at our tone or lack of flexibility. He speaks with words that are common in his circles with his friends but feel disrespectful to me. He is a loving son but he is self absorbed and not a very good planner rather a pretty consistent procrastinator... He has left before and slept at friends houses or with aquaintances but those who have no care if he comes or goes are usually people that have no aspirations or who drink a lot or worse... I would like to be a good source of pointing him in the right direction but I seem to speak in an abrasive way that pushes him farther from us... I am not happy with myself when I see myself giving him money and he is static there is no plan for growth.

    • itmatters
      worried_angry mom I know a lot of musicians, and this is a common problem with them.  The fact is, except for the very few who "make it" in the music industry, for most of them, playing gigs with area bands at local clubs or private events is as good as it's everMore going to get - and no one can make a serious living doing that.  It's a great secondary income to have, a nice outlet in which the person can indulge their passion for music, but that's it.  Music is time consuming and can cost a lot of money for equipment as well as other related expenses, so when you factor that in, the profit margin is considerably less. In order to be able to live on his own and be truly independent, he needs to get a regular job with benefits, just like the rest of us do, and that means getting serious about developing a skill or trade that translates to the ability to get into a profession of some kind.  So yes, that means school.    When the parents have had enough of this, then they move out and find girlfriends who have professional jobs, who are starstruck by their musicianship, and are willing to support them with their jobs while the guy continues trying to "make it" in music.  If he is good enough that he can teach music, his options are better, because then at least he can play and teach, which can add up to some decent money, but that takes discipline, and the willingness to realize that he needs to step up and take responsibility for his own care and feeding, instead of manipulating others into doing it for him.  Some of these guys live their whole lives this way, refusing to ever grow up, insisting that you respect their desire to be an "artist" (while also insisting that you pay their living expenses.)  They don't want to work real jobs, and the older they get, the less employable they become, because they typically wander from one dead-end job to another and can never hold a job anywhere for very long, because of their laziness and attitude of entitlement.  Eventually as they age, no one will hire them because of their spotty and erratic work history.
      • Susan
        Wow. You just described my husband. I have supported him for 25 years while he followed his 'hobby' and never made a penny or contributed a penny to the financial costs of running a home. Now he is too old to ever get a job and is still trying toMore "make it" in music. I am realising that I am insane.
    • mom
      wow, my son is an "artist " and says I am in supportive of his art, he believes he is the next Picasso
  • Jennifer
    This was a fantastic article. It provided me with exactly the information that I needed to hear and the motivation and encouragement I needed to know that I'm on the right path. It is unbelievably hard to push your children past their comfort zone. In fact, both of us areMore being pushed out of our comfort zones in this situation, but I know it is for the best. Thank you very much for the push I needed!
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