Should I force him?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by A dad, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Hello I have a 21 years old child my youngest of 2 who does not have a job or goes to college the problem is I was the same as him at his age and was I supported by my parents in spite of my immaturity and eventually I got my life in order. I got a job and I got married and had 2 beautiful children.
    One of them is a successful engineer and the other one is me in my young adult years, a person who only wanted to hang out with friends and watch movies and his case playing video games.
    And now its new years eve and another year had passed and my youngest had not managed anything.
    I want to force him to make something of himself but I was not I fell in love and got ambitious to impress her and I was 27 then.Actually my career and my job was because I wanted to impress her.
    What should I do he is only 21 now and it kinda makes me a hypocrite if I force him to make something of him but he disappoints me so much.
    What goes around comes around I guess this is my punishment for my younger years.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This isn't about you. He wasn't alive to see it. Don't feel bad or beat yourself up. He is making a decision to be irresponsible, independent of you and he's doing it mostly because he can. And also because he lacks the natural drive most older teens and young twenties have to become independent. You know how THAT feels. You did it. You were allowed to do it.

    Your son isn't only 21. He's 21. Most young adults his age have completed or are completing college, or work full time and many have moved out and are independent, or they are fighting for our country. I was married!!! I realize that is young, but the point is your son is a man not a teenager in high school. Did he graduate?

    I don't believe parents of adults can force their children to do anything, but you can set boundaries, if you feel your kid is a failture-to-launch kid. He is too old in my opinion to be just hanging around with his friends and going to parties, maybe doing drugs and drinking, not paying rent, and sitting around. You may have been allowed to do it, but do you think it was good parenting? What if you hadn't decided to get your life in order?

    You can, if you are so inclined, tell him that he has six months to get a full time job and pay rent and start paying for his own cell phone, car insurance, gas, health insurance, food, and give you $250 a month for rent (which is cheaper than it is out there). If he refuses, you can wish him good luck and force him to leave. Many of us have done that. If you don't want to, your other alternative is to let him do what he is doing, which is nothing with no motivation to change. My house was different. My kids worked part-time by age sixteen and the money train cut off at eighteen if you were not in college. You worked or you were bored out of your skull with no car, no toys, and you shopped for clothes at garage sales. That's how I felt so there is no way your son would still be at home doing nothing if he had me for a parent so I guess he's With us, the harder you try, the more we help. If you don't try, you are bored. My kids all paid their own part of the car insurance, gas, and for their own name brand clothes by sixteen. We weren't rich and if they wanted to shop upscale, they had no choice but to earn it and they did it with pretty good nature, even my difficult child.

    It worked though. I have had problems, but all of my adult kids are hard working and independent. One has autism and still works part time, gets disability, and has his own apartment where he pays his own rent and electric and cable and netflix. He doesn't drive. He takes cabs all over, as he allowed to do because of his autism.

    You have to think hard and make good choices that are things you can live with. I would have felt negligent if I had a man your son's age doing the things kids do in middle school. It just wouldn't be allowed under my roof. We are all different.

    Good luck and keep posting. Others will come along.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yikes, I didn't notice at first, bu you are on General Parenting which is a forum for parents of struggling minor children. You may want to post or have this post moved over to Parent Emeritus, where we deal with our adult children. It is different, dealing with minors and dealing with adult children. Many there don't want to launch. Some smart, caring parents there.
  4. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Yes he did graduate with average grades but he did. He even went to college for one year but he only partied and never went to classes and exams or even payed for the college after the first payment. And then he went another year at a different college and did the same thing.
    The problem is I hate being put in such a position I want my son to have it better then me to offer him things that I was not offered but thinking about it that is something hard to top. And yes I know how that, feels hell after all the only reason I managed was for a girl and in the end I was left with skills for job that payed well and a place of my own but without the girl. I did not had the drive even then I had other motivations and the job and place to live were just means for a end I did not reach. And when I discussed with my wife and my oldest son when I found out what he did in his first year of his second college and that I wanted to kick him out of my house my wife did not let me and my oldest said he will take him in as he does not want his brother being on the street. They also pointed my hypocrisy a thing that hit a soft spot.

    I do not know what to say here I do not have any bad feeling about that I know it was late but I am not sad it was that late and I remember with fondness those days and I had a very good relationship with my parents until they died. I do not think you can not get your life on order its just my opinion of course because I take me as a example.
    But I wonder if I have the patience my own parents had.
    I do not know about being negligent as my oldest is a independent adult is just as you said my youngest lacks the drive a thing I understand perfectly also I do not think it reflect bad on me as a parent since he has other qualities that make me proud like the fact that he is so patient and sly and always offers to help around the house. And also I do not think a middle schooler should do what my son does and I am certain none of kids did such a think when they were in middle school. My wife and I made a strict set of rules when they where in school they can not go out and/or play video games during the work part of the week that being from monday to friday and they can go out in the weekend only until 22:00 and only 2 hours of video game per day. It worked well for my oldest who got great grades and got in to college with a scholarship and now works as a engineer. My youngest no matter how much we tried only got average grades. Of course I know it was because school bored him as it did me but unlike me where nobody cared how I did in school I thought taking a interest and pushing him more towards school will benefit him. I did not expect that after finishing high school he would want only want to have fun.
    I can say this do not be proud that your child is you in your younger years as least in my case as we do not realize how big of a pain we were to our parents and to their patience and how their hard work to educate us in respected adults amounted to nothing for quite some time.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, if you are ok with it, let him go at his own pace and see what happens (shrug). I do not know that he will get motivation without a push. You were lucky you fell in love and that did it. There is no guarantee this will happen for your son.

    Funny thing is, my kids did the normal stuff in middle school and played lots of videogames (smile). I didn't care about that as long as the grades were ok and a few struggled and I felt like I was at school enough to fight for my kids who were Learning Disability (LD). In high school, though, that's when I up my level of expectations and the closer they get to eighteen, the more priveledges they get, as long as they are also responsible.That means they can drive (no new cars though), but they pay their part of the insurance. They put in the gas.

    My family had no rules at all. We could do what we wanted. I thought it was a negative thing for me. I was definitely not ready to be an adult, but they expected me to do it young. I wanted my kids to be able to survive without me. We don't know how much time we have.Once your son's brother gets a wife and family he is less likely to want your son to move in with him, especially if all he does is watch movies and play videogames. Time marches on and there is only one person you can definitely depend on in the longrun...yourself. Or t hat's how I thought anyhow :)

    We all want our kids to have more than we did. I just think they should do it themselves or they will have trouble as they hit their later twenties and go into thirty. I believe you are an exception, and that parents are not obligated to financially support their children forever. If your son would take in his brother, that would not bother me. My son took his sister in too when she wa actively doing drugs. But in no way was he going to support her and let her sit around. He was tougher on her than us! And she quit using drugs and grew up fast! Today she is a mother with her own house, went back to school on her own dime (loan) and paid it off. Her SO of eleven years is great. But she didn't, say, launch late. She quit drugs at nineteen and began her path to growing up then.She got no money from us so she got a job. We have a great relationship. She is not angry about it. She thinks it was a good thing or she may have stayed a drug addict (her opinion). Now she even quit smoking cigarettes and doesn't even like to take an aspirin. She has come far.

    Welcome to our board :) In the end, you asked for an opinion. I gave you mine. It is one opinion. Has your son ever been in therapy? You and wife? Sounds like at least your son is not causing you trouble, even if he is in Peter Pan mode.

    In the end, we can give our own feedback and you have to make the decision. Good luck!
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  6. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Well since your son is still acting like an adolescent, why not go back to treating him like one. What you are talking about here is called "failure to launch".
    For the life of me I will never understand parents with adult children who indulge them by allowing them to stay home all day playing video games while the parents go off to work. I would tell your son that he is now locked out of the house during your working hours. As Dr Phil says, looking for a job is a full time job.
    You say you feel Hypocritical, so what? What you really want is MORE from your son than you required of yourself and that is OK. You aren't doing yourself, your family or your son any favors by allowing him to continue to hide out from life at home engrossed in video games or the internet when he should be out looking for work.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is JMO... take it for what it's worth.

    He isn't ready to launch. So... what does it take to help him learn the skills to launch?
    I wouldn't be providing spending money, for anything. If you think he needs time to grow up, and he isn't breaking the rules of your home (other than not moving forward with his life), then if you want, you can still provide the basics: a bed to sleep in, food to eat, clothes (of your choosing) to wear.
    If he wants to drive a car, he needs to come up with the money to buy one, pay insurance, buy gas.
    If he wants to go to movies etc., he has to pay his own way.
    If he wants to be on the computer, he has to pay his share of the cost of internet to your home.
    If he wants a cell phone, he has to pay for it... well, ok, some of us pay for that because we want to be able to reach them... your call there.
    But I think you get the picture.

    You don't have to kick him out to wake him up. You just have to start holding back on what you provide. Might not even want to do it all at once. Maybe it's spending money first, for example. Nudge him in the right direction. Force doesn't work, but giving him everything he wants doesn't work either.
  8. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Also I had this thought, maybe it is your ego but maybe, just maybe your parents didn't like having to do everything they did for you and had behind your back conversations on what in the world they were going to do with you when you were doing the same things at the same age. Just because they did it for you, doesn't make it the only right way to do it (what you allow)
  9. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Because that did not work no amount of rules made him take school more seriously or anything for that matter his grades from the beginning to the end of his school time were average and unlike now that was actually a lot of work and stress on our part and it was not happy time. To go back at those times it will be worse for me and It will make little difference for him as it did before. I like having so much freedom with not so many responsibilities I do not want to make my life harder by going back at how things were.
    Its selfish I know but that is what I think. You know what he did in his school years when I was not watching a lot of the time he took a book and stared at a single page for hours and hours and hours and hours until it was sleep time. Do you know what he will do if I do what you said, he will either wait for the working hours to finish outside the house or on a bench in the park. When I said he had patience I did not joke. And I really hate when he does that more then I hate when I see him playing video games all day. It bother me when what you do amounts to nothing but I hate it when you really do nothing. I prefer useless action then no action at all. Of course he will job search if he know I keep my eyes on him but I can not do that all the time and I do not wanna do it. He does not say no to me when I ask him to do something and I watch him but he will not take initiative on his own.
    My son tested my patience enough in his growing years that sometimes I was thinking it was not worth the effort. Trust me when I say its so much easier to let him be, disappointed I am do I have to be stressed also?
    I do get now why my own parents tolerated my lazy times and lack of initiative for so many years it was easier for them.
    He is not a bad kid but his lack of ambition annoys me.
    Do any of you wished that your child should have been a devil as a kid but a in exchange he became a responsible and respectable adult?

    I did not give him any money after he dropped out of college the second time, I decided not to give him money for anything. But the internet thing its a problem because me and my wife also use it so I do not wanna cut it, also if I make him pay half of it he will have to give me 5 dollars a month and I do not know if that will wake him up.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Different tactic here... has he ever been evaluated for mental health issues? Because, that would be a different explanation of his behaviors. In which case it's tough because he's an adult and you can't force evaluations or help. But it might explain some things. I'm thinking more along the lines of depression as a possible diagnosis.
  11. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    No he was not and this might sound strange but what is diagnosis? English is not my first language or my second and I have problems with initials for some words..
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    diagnosis stands for diagnosis.

    Okay...I have to ask because we've all clearly got our own problems with our kids or we wouldn't be here...has he ever had a job? Even McDonald's in high school? Have you always supported him completely, even spending money? You've given him a car, a house, food, clothing, everything? You paid for two years of college for nothing? Really? If he goes out with friends, do you give him the gas and beer money? What about dates? Does he not ever go out? I'm kind of shocked by that at 21. I mean, we kicked our son OUT because he stole from us...but before that we were insistent that he find a job - and when he didn't look, we dropped him to NO spending money and he was only 19.

    So you seem kind of resolved to let him just laze because you did. But at what age is that going to stop? When he turns 25? How about 30? Do you want to keep doing this for him until you die and he just inherits the house? I'm joking....but at some point he has to figure stuff out on his own.

    Because he's a good kid and you aren't reporting anything like drugs or alcohol problems and he seems to just be lazy and lack ambition from what you say...I think I'd try to ease him into it. Get a job in __ months, or you lose spending money. In another __ months, you lose the car. In __ months you are either working and paying us a small amount of rent and saving up for your own pace or out! (Let his brother take him in...he'll get tired of that pretty darn quick!)

    It's not hypocrisy to expect your 21 year old son to start acting like an adult.
  13. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Well he did worked as a construction worker for a summer when he was 17 but he got screwed and never got any money for that so no he never had a job, I did not give him a car but we have a very good public transportation system, I payed the rent for the dorms for 2 years of college not the actual college since he payed only the first of the rates for college, no I do not give him any beer money but does get some from his brother but rarely goes out with friends like 2 times a month, I do not know if he dated in his 2 wasted years in college but he never dated before and after and he is home for 6 months. I doubt my son will ever steal from us he does not even ask for money anymore because he knows we will not give him any.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sorry about the acronym. This forum has a lot of "tech-heads" for members, and we like short-forms. diagnosis, tx, psychiatrist, therapist are some of the common ones... There's a list somewhere on the forum of the most common ones. Stick around a bit and you'll start catching on.

    We don't need to know exactly where you are - this is a confidential forum, and we guard each other's privacy to the best of our ability. But if English isn't your first language, then your culture isn't American/Canadian, either. If you could give us a hint as to what part of the world you are in, it would help us understand you better. For example, "Europe", or "South-east Asia" or whatever... even a continent helps.
  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Forgive me if I gave any insult...I did not intend to imply he'd steal from you. I was really just trying to get a picture of his social life.

    So he isn't getting any spending money from you now? Then he isn't spending on things like video games and clothes and music and such?

    I still think yes, he should be working. I thought mine should be working. Unfortunately, he had more problems than being lazy.
  16. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    A country in the Balkan peninsula.

    Well he pirates them so not he doesn't spends any money and I know its illegal in most countries but honestly that is something I do not wanna argue with him and I have no right because of something that is not my most proudest parenting moment.
  17. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Why not turn off the internet modem and take it with you when you are not at home?
    And from what I am hearing from you, you want change to happen, but are making a lot of excuses for why he can't change up to and including, you don't want the hassle of having to do anything that would motivate him to want to start pulling his life together. So it is you that has to do something to change if you really want him to change, know what I mean?
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sounds like your culture is different than ours. The majority of us are American and we have a few Canadians. It is important in our culture that our grown children work. It is sort of embarassing when they don't and others know about it.

    I don't know if you will find anyone on the same page as you here. For me, after reading your third post, I thought, "No way. I'd make him leave rather than risk mayhem at home just because a grown man doesn't want to work. Nobody that age throws a tantrum in my house at his age. Bye-bye." If his brother wants that stress, I'd let his brother deal with it. I do care about myself and the others I love too. In the culture I was raised in and with the values I grew up with and continue to have, your grown child is no longer a child at eighteen and at that point he either gets a full time job and pays rent or goes full time to college or packs his bags and finds somewhere else to live so that he can learn to fend for himself. I'm not saying everyone agrees with me, but that is sort of what the expectation is in the U.S. I have never met a parent who was ok with a non-working, non-college student grown child who just sat around the house. Met a few, but eventually their kids got thrown out. Most were on drugs, but even without drugs, it is not accepted here. That doesn't mean anyone has to follow the crowd, but it IS what most of us are taught from a youngster. I can not imagine what a man that age is learning about life and being the adult he is by acting like a little boy who has no responsibility. So my vote, which does not have to be yours, is to let him leave and live with his brother and see how long his brother likes it.

    Not knowing your customs, it is hard for us to think about a parent willingly allowing a young adult to boss us around or sit at home all day with videogames and movies.

    You have very good English.

    Take care and good luck :)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  19. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Our culture is a well family orientated the best example I can think of but not exact is Italy. We are with the mindset that one of the children usually the oldest with his own family has to move back to his parents home and take care of his parents. It hard to explain my country's culture lets just put it that we do not value independence as much as anglo-saxon cultures. It might be a overstatement but we are laid back culture more calm I guess. If you went to Greece or Italy or Poland or Hungary you will understand what I mean.
  20. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    That does put things in a different perspective and makes this a whole different question. If he's doing things around the house, helping out, being a good kid, not getting in trouble, maybe you should encourage...but not push?

    Really, it's kind of hard for us to judge. Here, we expect them to get a job or go to college, start supporting themselves.