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Old 01-09-2008, 12:19 PM
12 posts, read 45,952 times
Reputation: 32


My son is 18, we have constantly been in battle with him, since he was 5. He hated school, but he did graduate. He is now a lazy, unmotivated slug. Over the holidays he got kicked out of our home, he came back after a week, promising to change, and for a couple of weeks, things went well. Last night he stayed out all night again. One of our rules is to find a job and come home Sunday through Thursday. He chose not to. I know the right thing is to throw him out and stick with it, but my heart is breaking and I feel like I am dying. I don't want to do it. My husband says if we don't, I am enabling his behavior, I know he is right. How do I be okay with myself after it is done? I know he has nowhere to go, we live in a very cold climate, he has no job, his cars heater doesn't work and people do freeze to death here. How can I do it? I love him, but I am sick of being treated like this by him. Please give me advice, I need strength. I know it needs to be done if I ever want him to be an adult. Although he is consistent in saying "I am 18 Mom, I can do what I want". Help me, I need advice on how to be strong and do the right thing.

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Old 01-09-2008, 12:30 PM
Location: Chicago
2,467 posts, read 11,119,300 times
Reputation: 851
Here are some choices-

Choice 1- let him go as he is going; however, he won't get a job and won't respect you (so yes, you are enabling him). this will continue as long as you let it

Choice 2- Give him 1 week. Say if he does not have a job within one week and doesn't get in on time, etc during this week, he's out. Then follow through (he's not going to freeze to death! He'll go stay with friends and then may get his act together and come back). Also tell him if he comes home late, the house will be locked and bolted and he can't come in.
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:35 PM
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 8,696,279 times
Reputation: 1368
Here's what I'd do:

1: Sit him down and tell him that since he's 18 and can do what he wants, that it comes at the cost of his free ride. If you want to be a man, you have to man up and pay like a man.

2: Give him one week to find a job, any job, and start paying you room and board. If he's driving one of your cars, he has to pay for that too, including his insurance/gas/maintenance.

3: Tell him in no uncertain terms that if these criteria are not met, then he's on his own.

4: STICK TO IT. Up to now, he knows he can get you to capitulate just by giving you a guilt trip. You are doing him NO GOOD by letting him be a bum.
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:50 PM
Location: makin' bacon
3,340 posts, read 2,552,641 times
Reputation: 1483
I agree with the previous posts. It is a tough situation, but you have to stand your ground and enabling just makes it worse. I would feel some guilt in your shoes, but would take comfort in the fact I would be doing my job as a parent in helping my son become a man.
One week sounds fair to me and plenty of time to get his act together. If he isn't planning on going to college, then he should be working and paying his way.
Hang in there and good luck!
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:14 PM
3,031 posts, read 8,150,473 times
Reputation: 830
I agree with the previous posters. I have a cousin who dropped out of college midway through his first year. Instead of his parents telling him --ok, get a job, you're on your own now, they secured and paid the rent on a (nice) apt and continued to support him financially in his futile efforts to be an actor. He thought he was too good to wait tables, etc.

This went on in some form or fashion for years . He's now in his late 40's, suffers from depression and low self esteem, never finished college, can't hold a job, drove his mother into bankruptcy and still lives with her in her condo.

If they'd only made the right decision 30 some years ago, I think he'd be a LOT better off today.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:45 AM
Location: Central Kentucky
850 posts, read 2,848,267 times
Reputation: 498
From what you have written it sounds like he is acting out fear of being grown and responsible. Have you talked to him about this? How did he get to this point? You say he has been tough since he was 5 - what consequences did he recieve for bad behaviour as a child?

Regardless of the answers to the above - you must stick with whatever you decide. Not backing up statements with firm action will let him know he can keep pushing you around. I wouldn't kick him out - just me - I would tighten the reigns and treat him like the child he is being. Punish him, set rules and enforce them, put him on a small limited allowance only for gas to and from work (if he gets a job) otherwise let him sit flat broke.

My husband left home (or was kicked out) when he was 16, and he never really recovered. He was missing something at that young age and never got it, and it has taken him til 37 to become a functioning hard-working adult. No lie - he started his current job, in which he is finally stable, just last March. I think had he been punished and given consequences as a child things would have been different - but he wasn't.

All kids are different, enabling is a problem, and knowing what is enabling and what is salvaging self-esteem is a hard question to answer. I think I would resort to rules and treating him like a 10 year old for a week before you give him a week to get it together and throw him out. What could it hurt? If he doesn't respond you still have the option of sending him out the door.

Just a thought.

Oh, and a response to "I'm 18 and can do what I want" - reply "not as long as you act like a child and live in this house." I almost guarantee you he has no desire to be out on his own, or he would have done it already with steps to make his own way. He is being a spoiled brat and knows what buttons to push to shut you up. No matter how old they get, basic things never change.

My prayers are with you.

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Old 01-10-2008, 09:21 AM
Location: Florida
278 posts, read 818,547 times
Reputation: 170
I soooo feel for you and understand what you are going thru! It's hard as a mom to let your baby go out in a world where you know there is danger and problems. No matter how old he is....he's still YOUR little boy. However, you probably aren't doing him any favors by letting him assume life is an easy gravy train while he takes advantage of you.

Maybe you could come up with a compromise situation with him PAYING RENT to live with another family member or even turning your own garage into an 'apartment' for him. Let him come and go as an adult...as long as he pays his rent. Get him a microwave and a little fridge and make him responsible for his own cleaning and cooking. That way he can get a taste of being on his own...while grasping how expensive it is to survive out there. It can also give you peace of mind that he is safe and warm.

When my daughter got pregnant last year, she too tried it out on her own. After she was being evicted with no electricity, she moved back home with a whole new attitude and sense of responsibilty to contribute to the household.

There really aren't any clear easy answers or solutions. It's so hard being a parent to teens these days. 'Letting go' sounds simple until you are lying in bed awake every night worrying about them. You will always be a mom....but your husband is probably right on this one. You'll have to put him out or find a compromise.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:17 PM
12,408 posts, read 13,084,552 times
Reputation: 8886
You already know what you need to do and what is the best for all of you. You can receive a lot of practical support for your decision and all its aspects at an Al-Anon meeting, listed in the white pages or online for your area. It is the best how-to not enable method I've run across
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:09 PM
Location: Between Here and There
3,684 posts, read 10,840,329 times
Reputation: 1650
I have a mixed response...

He is 18 and if he is acting responsibly in all aspects of his life (meaning having a job, paying you some rent/expenses, and whatever else he is supposed to do) that he should be able to come and go as he pleases. Not to say that it's a hotel, he should call you and let you know if he is coming home or not and where he is staying at a predetermined hour so you don't have to wonder or worry about him. I say this because at 18 most of us were away at school and our parents hadn't a clue what we did or when....as long as we got good grades we were ok. So I think kids that are at home at that age should have the same deal. I do agree that there needs to be concrete consequences for not meeting his responsiblities all outlined in advance and followed through on as well, even if that means he has to leave.

That's my two cents, hope it works out for you all.
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:52 PM
16,487 posts, read 20,332,656 times
Reputation: 16136
His is 18 but as long as he lives in YOUR home, he cannot do as he wants. I would not just kick him out as he has no place to go and it is winter. I would though give him a certain amount of time, like 2-3 mos. Make it REALLY clear to him he has this time to find a place to live, get a job, whatever, BUT when that date arrives he is gone and you will not be letting him come back to live. By then it will be spring and he will have had enough time to arrange things. IF HE chooses to not take advantage of that time and pack up, get a job, find a place to live etc., that was HIS CHOICE. He then will have to suffer the consequences, but you should feel no guit as you gave him time to prepare.
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