20 yo at home, no job

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hilli, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    I'm new to the site and will try and keep this short. Any advice or guidance is much appreciated!

    My son will be 21 in February. He has had a few jobs but nothing long term or stable. He's been let go of at least one and has quit others. He suffers from anxiety and has been previously diagnosed with ADD. He struggled in school but graduated. Last February I gave him a deadline to get a job or he'd have to move out. He didn't get a job so left and moved in with my mother (a problem, I know.) A few months later he got a job so I let him move home. He has subsequently lost the job and has not worked for months. I told him he needed to see a doctor about the anxiety and go to a counselor or move out. He's done both and is on medications for anxiety. I loaned him money which Ihe understands has to be paid back by Dec 10 or move out. $170.

    Yesterday I discovered that he stole $15 off my nightstand. I confronted him and he admitted and said it was for gas money and he was going to tell me and pay me back. Later last night as I'm questioning his statement, I discovered he also stole $75 cash I had put in my change jar. Needless to say, I'm devastated.

    It'll be no surprise to you all that he is constantly lying about looking for a job, working, etc. I don't feel like I can believe what he says and now I don't trust him in my home. All that being said, he's still my son and I want to do everything I can to help him be successful. So, here's my plan. Please let me know your thoughts or advice. Am I being too much of a push over/enabler or am I realistically trying to do what I can to help him?

    Must do these things or will need to move out:
    1. All assigned chores (regular stuff like take out garbage, clean his bathroom, etc). He's doing this stuff now but with a ton of reminders.
    2. Continue to take medications and see doctor.
    3. Continue to go to counseling.
    4. Never steal again! Immediate eviction.
    5. Do not plug in wifi unless approved. (I unplug the wifi when I leave for work so he can't play video games all day. Which he has snuck and plugged back in.)
    6. Pay money owed by Dec 10. $170

    Here's where it gets tough for me:
    7. Pay money stolen by Jan 7. $90
    8. Pay monthly rent of $50 starting in Feb due 10th of each month.
    9. By April 1 get own car insurance, probably $200/mo. My mother paid his car insurance for the year. Ends in March.
    10. Get full time job by July 1.
    11. Rent increases to $100/mo effective July 10.

    My mother, who has also enabled him, is now on board and will not give him money, pay for his car insurance, let him move back in, or otherwise enable him.

    Please give me advice! What am I missing? Thank you all in advance!! And, could someone please send me the link to the detachment paper I saw mentioned in other posts?
  2. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Welcome to the board. Sorry you had to find us.

    I don't have complete experience in add...but get the anxiety. So happy he is medication compliant. Do you know why he won't keep his jobs.

    As my signature says, our adult son is home on contract also. He too sees the doctor, takes medications, has to respect us and the home. We do not charge rent, he has no car...has to buy one, he did and does work full-time. He goes to group once a week...sure to work and me being transport....does not get to his recovery mtgs....he has never stolen from us.

    I would make the contract very clear...we even had a whiteboard with what need to be completed daily...he now doesn't need that. Exp...6 applications a day....

    Not one thing will work for everyone...what does he use the money for? No job..wheres he going? No drugs involved???

    Our line is drug testing...work does it, we do it...he looked for a job that did to work in a safer place.

    More will be along with greater wisdom...sick with us...it helps
  3. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I think it would help his anxiety to occupy his mind on something interesting. Does he want to go to college or get a welding certificate, culinary certification, etc.? It sounds like he doesn't have any goals that would help him financially or emotionally.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To me, it sounds like he may be using drugs. Stealing and lying is s big red flag. Also not working. Has this ever been an issue?

    It is not okay to steal no matter what. You are tight in my opinion to expect him to pay you back.

    Hugs. We are here for you. All of us struggled.
  5. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    Using pot on a regular basis. He doesn't have any definitive goals...that is part of the problem. He's stuck in limbo. Says he doesn't want to go to college. Doesn't know what he wants to do. Doesn't want to just to "any" job.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, pot kills motivation. I suspect he may use more than just pot, although maybe pot is expensive enough to steal for. You can't force him to stop pot, but you don't have to support him. If pot makes him lazy, then in my opinion it's not your problem. It is his. in my opinion you can't keep him in your house while he smokes weed, freeloads and steals. in my opinion your home should be your sanctuary. He already assaulted your other child. I am so sorry...it is never easy to admit an adult child us not a nice person. Tnis is something I have had to face do my heart goes out to you.
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  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have to know you cannot trust him. Hasn't he proven this to you already? What will it take to prove this to you? He breaks your rules with impunity, steals from you, and goes behind your back to do things that you have asked him not to do in your home. He knows you feel he needs a job but he feels no urge to get one, or to support himself. Why would he? He has you and Grandma and he clearly knows that he won 't be homeless for long if he is homeless ever.

    You are not doing him any favors by letting him stay at home under these circumstances. you would NOT let anyone else in the UNIVERSE stay in your home after stealing from you twice in under a day. You wouldn't let them get away with flagrantly not contributing to the household without explicit and tiresome nagging either. Isn't all the nagging to get him to do his chores about the equivalent of a part time job? Yes, you want what is best for him, but what you are doing is NOT best for him. He needs to learn about the real world, to learn that he has to support himself whether it is fun or not, and that he needs to work because otherwise life will NOT be enjoyable.

    Life at 20 should not have all the perks of life in middle age. It should have struggle and scrimping and not spending all day playing video games. If it doesn't, then it is a problem because you are not learning and growing. You are not developing and maturing. If life is too easy, you don't grow. When our kids were toddlers they wanted to point to things and grunt, and if we just gave in, they didn't learn to speak. We had to insist they try to speak the words for what they want, like water or juice or cracker, until they learned to speak the words properly. They fussed and even cried and had fits. But we persisted and we kept after them and eventually they learned to speak. The same goes for the other skills of life, including those of independent living.

    I would push your son to get a job much faster than you are. Have him register at temp agencies for work and push for him to take anything they offer him. PUsh him to do any training they offer.

    As for him not wanting to do a job, so what? Have you liked all the jobs you have ever done? I have downright loathed a few of mine. But I needed to pay bills, so I did them. I know LOTS of people who did jobs they didn't want because they needed the money.

    Speaking of money, how is your son getting money now? Cut off ALL funds, including his cell phone, I mean ASAP. YEs, he will be angry about it, esp at Christmas, but in the long run it will be the best gift you can give him - the gift of adulthood. Lock up every single penny you have around the house. Lock up your credit cards, and if he has EVER used them, get the numbers changed. Check your bank accounts to make sure the extent of his theft is the money from your change jar and nightstand, because I bet it isn't the entire amount. Pot can be expensive and he doesn't seem to work so how does he pay for it? Also check your jewelry to make sure you have it all.

    Once you are aware of the extent of what he has helped himself to, the amounts he has charged on your credit cards, etc... you may want to drug test him. Pot may or may not be the only drug he is using. Either way, he has to be given limits and made to either get a job and go to school or else leave home. I would not leave the wifi router at home again when I was not there.
  8. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    If he were mine...

    I would say "You choose pot, not working, and being a thief?"

    "Then I choose for you to live elsewhere. Bye Bye! Would you like a ride to the county jail? Because that is where you are heading."
  9. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    Although I know you are all trying to provide good advice....do you not believe there is a way to help guide your child to the right decisions without taking extreme steps? I would not have someone living in my house who had done these things, you are correct on that point. But anything else for my son feels like giving up on him.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can't give up or not give up on another person. Only the person himself can.

    Once our children are men and women most who are going the wrong way plain won't accept being guided. Little kids,!yes. It is, in the end, what you want to do. Some ,80 year olds still live with and support lifetime abusive alcoholic 60 year old adult senior children. I'm not saying you will ever do this for so long but this decision happens. Only you can decide what to do and when. Or not.

    Hugs to you.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  11. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    When I was 20, I didn't want to do just "any job", either. That comes after years of experience. Tell him he can't get experience without experience. When you are young, you often start doing the tasks no one else wants to do, like filing, making copies, and answering phones. After 1-2 years, you take on other responsibilities. After another 1-2 years, you get to do the fun, interesting stuff like negotiating contracts and supervising people. I remember how frustrating it was for me when I first got out of college. Older workers didn't want me there. Anyone without a degree resented me for having one. It takes time before people start taking you seriously. Now that I am 42, everyone listens to me in meetings and implements my ideas. Even if your son doesn't know what he wants to do now, tell him to pick something because his interests and career goals will constantly change as he gets older. I know people working in human resources who have degrees in biology. I know people who used to be RNs but now they are chefs. Approach him with this career idea: Professional chef for cruise line. You get to travel the world for free. Culinary school required, of course. Or, if he wants to do a 1-year certification as a CNA. It can be a rewarding job. It's not just any job to comfort someone on their death bed and hold their hand as the priest does the last rites. It sounds depressing, but it's an important job in which you can really give back to society. Downside: Salary low.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    By the way since your son is an adult you may want to switch tnis post to Parent Emeritus which is a forum for adult children. !any wise parents there. This
    General Forum is actually for kids who are still minors. It's way different!!
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    At least go through your past few months of bank and credit card statements and valuables with a fine tooth comb. Drugs, even pot, are expensive. He has to fund it somehow. If he isn't working, he has to pay for it with someone's money, and he sure as sugar isn't using his own. How often have you gotten out somewhere and not had as much money as you thought you had? Please just think about that.

    Even if you choose not to make him leave your home, know that every single penny you give to him funds his lifestyle. The more uncomfortable you make him, the more he will grow. It won't be comfortable for you either, but parenting isn't about fun. It is about making the hard choices and helping them grow up to be the best we can. I don't think guidance is really going to help at almost 21 because he is already set in his ways. You cannot really change another person. You CAN make them live with the consequences of their choices, and THAT is what parenting is about - natural and logical choices. I don't think he will pay you back, at least not with money from a job he will keep. Not without you having a real fit. But I could be wrong. It is all about what you want to do and what you choose to live with.

    If you want to continue to live with him making these choices and with funding his lifestyle, there is nothing that says that you can't do that. Many people do that. Others choose to do other things at other times and for other reasons. Some feel that there are reasons the young adult needs more time to develop, or more help to mature, or has a problem that they need help with. Sometime the young adult is participating in help, sometimes they are not. Sometimes there is a delay with getting into a program, or a school, or whatever, and sometimes it is a cultural thing like a gap year. My personal belief is that the young adult should not be too comfortable, and in fact if drugs are being used regularly then the child should be made VERY uncomfortable.

    In cases where stealing or violence are involved, I think the young adult should have to have a job pretty much immediately or else should move out. I just find it a total violation of trust and completely unacceptable. But that is MY view.

    In some ways you seem to see him more as a teenager, which probably isn't that uncommon with first children (my oldest is 25, worked from age 16, and is out of the house, so my perspective is a little different probably). You may find some help in the book Parenting Your Teen With Love and Logic by Faye and Cline. It may provide help that is more along what you are thinking of. I am sorry if what I say seems more extreme than what you are looking for.

    Please, with any and ALL advice, especially mine, take what helps you and ignore what doesn't. I can only offer advice from my perspective and that is likely very different from your own. I won't take offense if any or all of my advice is off the mark and you choose to ignore it!
  14. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    Thank you for your encouragement and advice. Some days I feel as strong as you and other days I do not. I think you are correct in that I do still think of him as a teenager and the way he is acting confirms it. I think I need to have a heart to heart with him about what it means to be an adult, to act like an adult and then continue to tell myself he is an adult.

    I've been told to move my post to the other section for adult children - parent emeritus.
  15. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member


    One thing we did was to lock our son out of the house. We gave him 5 $ for lunch and he was to be out of the house during the day while we were gone. He was to go to the library and apply for jobs.

    He did find a job. He kept it for 6 months, and then started working for his uncle.

    Now that was not the end of the drama (see my signature) but it was a start.

    Susie's correct...don't make it real comfortable at home for him. Don't cook for him. No laundry service. Especially if he does no household chores.

    Oh, and if he gets a job? Take a big chunk of it for "rent". You can keep it to run the household, or put it in a secret account for him.

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  16. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    Thank you for your advice. It's so difficult!!
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  17. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    First, I want to say that I identify with you. My son is 17 but very similar to what you describe, anxiety and executive functioning disorder, depression, insomnia. He smokes weed daily and lacks motivation and has no long term goals. He has stolen from me, he does not contribute in the home, he can be very rude.

    I applaud you for considering both sides of the coin. Tough love and boundaries are hard, very hard and not just because they force us to take a one direction stand, but because these are our children. The theft is very hard to bear and you should surely respond. But I really problematize the all or nothing approach of turning them out when they do not conform, behave or meet our expectations. This is not a physics equation here. There is no way of knowing the outcome of your ultimatum. It might indeed make things worse for him, and for you.

    We all have to live within our own complex relationships and make our own decisions that we can live with. Yes, he is an adult, but a young one still.

    I guess I would ask you, supportively, if you evict him because he does not meet your terms, what results do you expect? What can you live with as a consequence?

    I wish you courage, love and conviction.
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  18. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    You have asked the ultimate question!! That is so hard to answer. Many here have gotten to a point of frustration where a forced move out seems like the only approach. I guess, in the end, it's really up to them about whether they want to conform or move out and we just have to live with the results of their choices. But I fear the results of a move out will be worse, yet staying in limbo is detrimental as well. Ugh!!!!
  19. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    I understand your dilemma. I also live with it.

    Personally, I choose not to subscribe to theories or models insofar as my parenting and decisions therein. Yes, theories and models are useful for lots, detachment theory offers me some perspective and some tools. But I do not believe anyone or any situation is black and white, that we should do this or that. Of course there are some extremes that might require us to do this or that, but our jobs as parents is more complicated than that. We are here to guide our kids at this stage, they are not little, we cannot make them do anything. In turn, I understand that if I choose to kick my son out of our home, this will not make him smarten up. Sometimes it is not that simple. I also understand that sometimes these bottom lines are helpful, for us, as parents and people.

    Taking the time to be thoughtful and posting here for support shows that you are a caring and loving parent. We are all doing our best, we all have our own paths and we are all unique. You have reason to be concerned and it is good that you are sharing your story and asking for input, it takes guts.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The kicking them out is not necessarily for them. As we all know, only they can change themselvrs, wherever they are.

    Sometimes there are younger kids at home and they need peace and to feel safe.

    Sometimes we are too stressed and it is making us sick so we do it for us. It's not healthy when adult children cause us the degree of pain and and fear our grown kids do, often knowingly.

    It IS an individual decision but it's not therapeutic for them. It's for us and our other loved ones because our difficult children are not the only family member who matters. They often suck all the air out of a family but not in a good way. Other children get cheated out of attention.

    Spouses fight over the adult child and marriages fail.

    All situations ARE different. A seventeen year old is still a minor. There is a lot of growth between 17 and 20 in normal adult children. I have a 20 year old who goes to school and works almist full time. She is in a stable relationship and never would do drugs. She is going to be a cop. And she couldn't read until age 8...she had learning disabilities but did not quit trying

    Many twenty year olds are juniors in college, in the military or working full time. The adult children on this forum do not or can not grow up. We try to get them to launch or we hope and hopefully we make a decision that we can see is helping them. We can lead them to water. We can't make them drink.

    Having said that...

    I don't believe there is any right way to cure our over 19 adults. They have to do it. If they steal, lie and abuse us, we have to decide how we want to deal with it. It is about us and what we are willing to tolerate and what the other loved ones living at home can handle, if others are there.

    Nobody wrote the formula yet on curing drug addicted kids who won't work. It's our personal choice how much we can handle. This isn't an exact science. I do know I made my drug addicted daughter leave and she quit using drugs twelve years ago. She is now a productive hard working mother. She says I did the right thing.

    So that is my experience
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016