Hello. I've been reading the messages in this forum compulsively for the past few weeks and have finally got up the courage to post. I really don't know where to start, so please forgive me if this is long and rambling. My difficult child is my 23 year old son. My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years and have three sons. Difficult Child is the eldest. All three boys live with us at the moment. Our younger sons are both wonderful kids. Middle son (19) is home with us for the summer (we're in Australia) but he'll be heading back to university soon. He did really well in his first year at uni, has a part time job and is an all round great kid. Youngest son is still in high school. He's also doing really well and has never given us a moment's worry. Difficult Child is another story. He's always been a highly strung anxious child, even when he was a baby. He had sleep issues as a baby and was a wilful toddler/preschooler, who threw constant tantrums. Once he started school this calmed down a lot. He was never in trouble at school (although he did struggle academically) and teachers were always telling us how well behaved and well mannered he was. At home this wasn't the case. He would scream at us and throw tantrums when he didn't get his own way. Both my husband and I are big on consequences, so we never gave in to him, but the tantrums continued until he was way too old to be behaving that way. Even so, we never really thought he had major problems. Yes, he was quick to throw tantrums at home and yes, he was immature for his age and struggled with his schoolwork, but otherwise he seemed like a normal, average kid. He did have some health issues - asthma and allergies - but these were kept under control and other than that we thought he was fine. A challenging personality perhaps, but nothing to really worry about. I like to think he had a happy childhood. My husband and I are very happily married. When the boys were little we were close to my parents (who have now passed away). I'm also close to my brother and his family and my boys had lots of interaction with their aunt and uncle and cousins as they were growing up. My husband and I both have good jobs and I was fortunate enough to be able to be at stay at home mum when the boys were little. I've always managed to be present for all the boys sporting events, concerts, school plays etc. We've been lucky enough to be able to take the boys on many family holidays, both here and overseas. The boys have had the opportunity to plays sports, learn musical instruments and participate in other extra-curricular activities. We tried to encourage them rather than push them though - our only rule was that if you are a part of team you must participate for the whole season. No letting the team down! We have tried very hard to bring up independent young men who take responsibility for themselves. We've insisted on part time jobs, and made them pay for their own social activities, purchase their own game consoles, pay for the upkeep of their cars etc. I could go on and on trying to convince you all that we did everything right, or at least the very best we could, but somewhere along the way it all went terribly wrong. It probably started in Difficult Child's last year of high school, although we didn't see it then. We'd moved away from the city the year before to live in our current location - a small coastal town. All our kids seemed to settle into their new environment easily - including Difficult Child. He made friends and was doing well at school in a modified academic program (aimed at kids who don't want to continue on to university.) That year he won a prize for the highest achieving student in his program. The following year though he made lots more friends - some who were not exactly a great influence - and began to slack off a bit a school. Fortunately he had a lovely girlfriend, who helped to keep him from going off the rails and he got through the year and graduated. However during the year he had his struggles. He went through periods of depression. He began to fight with his girlfriend (not violently - just arguments) and she told me she was worried about his mental state and was afraid he'd commit suicide, which came as huge shock to me at the time. I took her seriously and talked to him, tried to make him get help, but he refused. By this stage he was eighteen years old and we had no right to make any medical decisions for him. Since then it has been a roller coaster of ups and downs - mood swings, bouts of depression and anxiety and periods where I've been terrified he'd take his own life. He's become increasingly disconnected from us. He works part time in a supermarket (a job he has had since he was 17.) But other than that he does nothing. He sleeps all day (works in the evenings - usually between 8 and midnight). When he's not sleeping he's playing video games. Or is out with his friends smoking dope. We've tried to help him to get to stage where he can improve his life. We've paid for courses he's never finished, helped him get job interviews that he hasn't turned up to, talked to him about ways he can help himself, all to no avail. He feels incredibly sorry for himself and often blames others (including us) for the situations he finds himself in. He has moved out of home twice. The first time he was living with two other young men and they lived like pigs - all of them. Not that this was my problem of course, but he would come home for a meal stinking like he was homeless. His clothes were dirty and he was generally unkempt. I was really worried he would lose his job during this time but he didn't. He had, however, been a duty manager at the store and was being groomed for promotion but that all went out the window and he was demoted. (He lied to us about this at the time.) Eventually he moved home for a few months and he was actually pretty good to start with. We gave him rules that he adhered to in the beginning - showering every day, washing and ironing his own clothes, keeping his room clean, no smoking ANYTHING on our property, paying board. One really positive thing that happened during this time was that he started seeing a psychologist. He did this on his own after his doctor suggested it. So we thought he was doing okay. Of course as the months went by he started to slack off - stopped paying board, left his room a pigsty and told us the psychologist didn't need to see him anymore. We got on on his case, which he didn't like so he found somewhere else to live. And that's when everything completely spiraled out of control. I honestly don't know what happened while he was out of home, but I do know he became terribly depressed and I believe that he was smoking weed on a daily basis. He had a huge falling out with his housemate (and some others in his social circle) and ended up coming back here to live. At first I was so worried that he would kill himself that I was happy to have him home. He went back to the psychologist and started taking daily medication for his depression and anxiety. I was hopeful that he was getting himself together. But a couple of months down the track we're back on the treadmill. He is sleeping all the time, making no effort to do anything other than go to his job (which I'm grateful he still has.) He's smoking dope with his friends when he's not here (I found a container of mj in his jacket. Told him if he brings drugs here again he'll have to leave.) He takes no part in family life, "forgets" to tell me whether he'll be here for dinner or says he will be and then doesn't turn up. When he's here all he does is play video games. His room is filthy and he goes to work looking like he has slept in his clothes. He's not violent towards us but he is rude and dismissive and seems completely unaware of the impact his behavior has on others. I'm tired of worrying that he will take his own life. I'm tired of worrying he will lose his job. I'm tired of him treating this house like a hotel. I'm tired of wondering what mood he will be in when he wakes up. I'm tired of worrying that he'll get busted for drug possession and end up in jail. I'm tired of his moods affecting the whole house. I feel like a terrible mother for feeling this way but I just want him to leave. Today my husband and I made a plan. We decided that we will give him a deadline to get his act together and move out. We are taking our youngest son on a long holiday soon so we will have a break from Difficult Child. When we return we have a month until we move to a new house. We've decided that we will give him that month to actively look for more work and if he doesn't then he cannot come to the new house with us. If he does look for more work and /or finds full time work we will allow him to stay with us until the end of the year (so he can save some money.) At the end of the year he will be 24 and that's our line in the sand. He needs to stand on his own two feet. I know this is the right thing to do but I am terrified that it will go horribly wrong for him. 'But what other choice do we have? Support him forever? I'm sorry this has been such a long post. I feel like I haven't really explained our situation very well despite all my rambling. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.