What do I do About the Adult Child Living In My Home?
A reader recently wrote asking:
What should you do when you have a 20 something person laying on your couch all day long, eating your food and not lifting a finger to do anything. The person is not working or looking for a job. (In this case, it was the daughter of a friend.)
It is very hard to answer a question like this because I don’t know all the details of the situation. Here’s what I would say based on the information I have. Maybe if it doesn’t work for you, it will help another reader.
When we are in a situation like this, many of us try to find solutions that will make everyone comfortable and happy. Most of the time, though, this isn’t possible, especially if one or more of the persons involved is not lifting a finger to try to help find a solution or make the situation better.
I don’t know why we think we need to make people like this happy and comfortable or find a solution that makes them happy. We all tend to fall into this trap at some time with someone in our lives.
In some situations, you only have two choices.
- You can either accept the situation as it stands, which means letting the person keep doing what they are doing and not allowing yourself to have even the least bit of resentment, anger or bitterness towards that person.
- You can break it off with the person and not have anything to do with them.
In your case, you can either keep allowing her to do what she is doing and not resent it or tell her, "You have two weeks (or some other reasonable amount of time to you) to find work, and this amount of time to find a place to live or pay me so much for room and board. If you don’t – by this date – your bags will be packed and sitting on the porch."
I know this sounds so awful to do but would doing this make you any more miserable than you are now? At least this way you would eventually have your home back and be out of your misery. As it stands now, you are stuck in the situation and the 28 year old is feeding on your food and on you emotionally.
This is plain and simple manipulation. Our kids do it, spouses do it, friends do it and it isn’t good for us or for them. Ignoring it or letting it continue is like giving a drug addict his daily supply of drugs. None of us would dream of doing something like that but we do it all the time in other ways.
As long as you let it continue, you are enabling the person to keep living the same way. Without realizing it, you are helping that person do the very thing that is hurting her, even when you think you’re helping. It is difficult and painful to stand up to someone who is manipulating you, but taking the easy way out and failing to stop it creates misery for you (and the other person, too) for the long term.
The choice is yours. You either choose to willingly live with the person as-is or ask her to leave.
Here are some signs that reveal if you are being manipulated or if the person truly needs help:
- If the need is legitimate, you shouldn’t feel the resentment of being "put upon".
- The person is usually trying her best to find work. If she is sincere, she will be off the couch looking for work.
- She will bend over backwards to help around your home – cleaning, cooking, doing yard work or helping with the younger children without being asked. They offer.
- She will make a great sacrifice on her part to help you. For example, she isn’t going out spending even a couple of dollars on things like a large drink, going to the movies or hanging out with friends. She should be using any extra money she gets to pay you to help with expenses like the cost of her food, even if she is trying save for something like rent. She can at least give a small token amount to you to show that she’s making some kind of effort.
- She will be ever so grateful and won’t be able to say enough or do enough to show you how grateful she is.
We should always have empathy for people but be careful with sympathy. It’s okay but there is a point when it can do more harm than good.
Photo By: opensourceway
[email protected] The Dollar Hollering Homemaker
Our priest says that when he is counseling families about problems with their teenagers or young adults that the parents often excuse behavior by saying that they just want to make their kids happy. He replies it’s not your job to make them happy, it’s your job to get them to heaven. If your not religious you can replace heaven with “productive adult.” The point is, that we often enable and disregard bad behavior and we think this shows our love when the most loving thing we can do for them is to be tough.
The same type of idea applies to to parents who just want to be their kids friends. God didn’t make me their friend. I am their parent. Big difference. They have many friends but only one parent. As a parent you hold a special place no one else can hold in your child’s life and for the life of me can’t figure out why a parent would want to change that place for one which many others can hold and isn’t near as special. Friends come and go but you are mom and dad forever. Why would you not want that position?
Besides God put each relationship in a person’s life for a different and much needed reason. Grandparent, parent, friend, spouse. Each playing an important role. Sometimes we are so busy trying to fill another role we weren’t called for we mess up the balance in our child’s life and deprive them of something they need and can only get for a parent.
“It’s your job to get them to Heaven” No it isn’t.
I’m not sure who you are answering Magdalen but that is true. Each person is responsible for themselves and their choices. What we are mainly responsible also for being sure we live our lives the way God wants us to and so that others can see Him in us and what a difference He has made in our lives. If we don’t then we can cause others to stumble because of your behavior and we will be held accountable for that. It is so sad because so many call themselves Christians and attend church on a regular basis thinking they have it together but at home and other places their lives are far from honoring God and that is where it counts the most.
At my job I’ve talked to numerous parents that have adult children that do have jobs, live with their parents, but don’t pay a cent toward helping out, and the parents are struggling to make ends meet. You don’t know how many parents allow this. The adult “child” has a fancy car, cell phone, a good job, and nice clothes but refuses to give any money toward their upkeep, and the parents don’t ask them to either, but bills are going unpaid. This situation is very common. Selfishness is common.
I am 71 and my two older Sons live with me neither of them pay bills I pay all the bills and I live on Social Security you think they feel bad but they don’t a house is a mass they don’t even try to fix anything I feel like selling my house and getting out they’re 50 years old
I am also 71 and retired 2 years ago. My oldest, 53, and youngest, 39, have been in and out of different troubles so can’t get a place of their own. They are working but it’s not always steady. I am on waiting list for senior housing and then will sell my house and they will have to think of something. My retirement isn’t what I expected it to be, I can’t wait to live alone. They do help around house but it’s still not easy, the middle two sons have always done well so I don’t know what went wrong with these 2.
Oh My goodness I feel your pain, I have a 33yr old son who moved back in against my very vocal objection 11 months later no job lays around playing video games, eating making a mess . I’ve told him over and over again to get a job and find a roommate to live with, I have serious health issues have for years I don’t ask anyone for anything except to live their own life and leave me alone. He has not made one single effort to do anything I’m at the of my rope .
I am a mother of 4 children and a long time boyfriend of 16 years. He has 2 sons from his pervious marriage. His oldest son and his wife and their 2 kids living with us for 4 and half years. They haven’t really done anything. They don’t find work or try to get their own place. My boyfriend and I are not on the same page. We aruge alot about them and it’s makes things hard to cooperate or agree on what to do. so, not alot of people are alone in this. It’s hard to them their own place.
I recently heard a quote that applies to this, “We should prepare our children for the path ahead, not the path for the child.”
I know of several friends in this situation. In one case, a couple has there three “boys” living with them. Th older two boys are twins and 29 yrs. old. The “baby” is 25 yrs old. Mom cooks, washes clothes, and cleans after them. Only one has a job, and the other two just hang out at home. I’ve heard the parents complain, but I’ve come to realize mom and dad both really like feeling “needed.” I believe they have crippled these young men, emotionally. I a recent coversation with the dad, I told him i would tell my own daughter to RUN FAST away from any man who is content to live with his parents at that age. What kind of skills can these men have as husbands or fathers in the future?? My daughter is out on her own, is productive and self sufficient at 27 yrs. old. and, I think she should be!
I am in a similar situation, both due to unavoidable and avoidable actions on the part of a 20y/o and a 46 y/o. I am genetically unable to refuse to help a loved one in trouble but there is a difference in helping and enabling. A workable agreement before allowing them to move in is the biggest help. In my case I do not charge room/board. I do however require that they work out the amount of reasonable room and board around the house, yard, garden, etc. I also require that they spend time every weekday either actively looking for work, working on some cleaning or project around my house, or doing any odd job they can pick up. There are always neighbors that need the grass mowed or bushes cut or help fixing a fence on occasion. If nothing else they can ride bicycles up and down these country roads and pick up aluminum cans. The agreement is 75% of all money earned goes into a bank account that I set up jointly with them and myself when they moved in. This money is to
provide funds for them to rent their own place, etc once they find employment and the agreement is if they fail to hold up their end of the bargain I can take the money to pay for their living expenses that I have paid. I do not pay for cell phones, designer jeans, latte, beer, or gas for your car to go see your girlfriend. If you want those extras it comes out of your 25% of your pay that you keep each week. I provide a roof, a clean bed, adequate food, decent necessary clothing, heat, cooling, and transportation for job hunting. My goal is to provide support and help but not make things so comfy that they are tempted to make it a permanent arrangement.
Excellent, excellent way of doing things Sandra.
Sandra, I really like what you’ve said , and am going to try use some of your ideas. My son is 24, and his dad and I are divorced. For the 8 years we’ve been divorced, my ex most of the time talks very disrespectivly about me to our kids especially our son..My son has my demeanor but has learned his dads bad habits and disrespecttful ways. He is a gifted musician and plays in two. Bands but beyond that will not get a job.. He manages to say the right things and manipulates me to continue to enable this. I just want him to be a hard worker have confidence and have the utmost respect, especially for women.. We have had other issues of panic attacts.. For a short period, but that only made me want to be here forbid more. I want to hire a drill sergeant to move in here and whip his butt into shape.. I don’t want to put him on the streets but I definitely want tough love, more than I have been able to do. I have my own business and have to help a lot with my parents who are in their late seventies. I’m worn down but not giving up.
Jason Aaron Hodge
Your last sentence was was best! don’t make it comfy at best. Make them get up and work!
Grizzly Bear Mom
Although I am sickened by the selfishness of people I see living with my mom, I can’t do much of anything about other people’s children using their parents. I don’t despire co housing thourgh. In fact, it seems logical. Financial expect Suze Orman recommends that each pay their percentage of income toward household expenses. If you bring in 20% of the income, you pay 20% of the mortgage, phone, food, etc. Although the homeowner should just have to state their desire and have it filled, others should divide the work. No users at my house. I too can’t imagine anyone wanting to date or hire folks like we are discussing here.
I am dealing with exactly this situation. I have an informally adopted son who has severe issues with responsibility (no I didn’t raise him, I got him later in life). He is currently living on my daybed in the living room. I am not molly coddling him. I give him a roof and food. I don’t supply endless amounts of money, and I make him work for what he does get. Plus I am fully supporting his Dad’s efforts to get him to do something useful in life. I won’t put him out on the street, but we’re sure practicing some tough love with him. I love him, but I see no reason for a healthy adult man to be living with his Mother and acting like a child the rest of his life. It doesn’t help him, and it sure doesn’t help us!
A co-worker of mine was just talking about this exact situation in her life today. Neither of her 2 adult sons paid their share of the phone or cable bills for the past 2 months and they did not tell her. She is a single parent. She tried applying for a new credit card and was denied because of the damage her sons did to her credit rating, since both bills are in her name only. The answer everyone at work agreed upon was that she should put envelopes on the refrigerator and tell her sons they need to put money into those envelopes every month in order for her to pay the bills. If they don’t put in the agreed upon amount of money then they should move out. The only problem I foresee is her enforcement of the rule. As I have always said, “A rule means nothing without enforcement”.
The cable should be canceled and then if the sons really want it, it can be opened in THEIR names so she will not be affected when they refuse payment. Cut foods to just the basics, if they want treats like sodas and chips they can purchase them! (Mom can hide a stash somewhere they don’t know about if she wants treats herself ;) ) She could change to just her personal cell phone and remove the house phone. The lazy boys want a phone? They can cough up the money to put one in their names again. Make them responsible so her ratings no longer get destroyed.
I agree – pay up or get out. I had my daughter set up an automatic funds transfer to me on her pay days. The bank pays me like a bill so I get my money on time, every time. Now she’s slowly learning that being a responsible adult is harder than she thought and that money doesn’t grow on trees.
I was in the exact same place as so many of you parents out there. My 20 something son lived moved back in with us after being out on his own for only a year. In the time he was here, he fell back into all his bad habits; slept all day, played video games all night, ate our food, did nothing around the house to help, etc. After two years of this, we finally got fed up and told him to leave (with sufficient notice to find a place). He’s been out on his own now for over 3 years and has done wonderfully. And get this, he THANKED us for lighting a fire under his butt! When you take care of your children past the point nature intended, you bleed their self esteem and rob them of the pride that comes with being self-sufficient. I know what you’re all going through but toughen up for your kids sake and take the hard line, you won’t be sorry.
Thanks for declaring truth without compromise! I really appreciate the understanding that is is not for NOW we are preparing, but for the future. I guess my comments are directed more to those who want to prepare their children as they grow. My parents were not wealthy, but hard workers, and raised 4 kids who became responsible adults. They started us early understanding the value of the costs of life. We were taught to give to our church, create a savings account, and know where our money went. Life was not always easy, but I was truly shocked to learn as a pre-teen we were considered “poor” by all the income charts, listings and the government! Our allowance was only paid when we did our part around the house, and as we became young teens, anything beyond basic neccesities of life we wanted,(the outfit I “had to have”,etc.) we found a way to pay for it personally. Because I had older siblings my parents had already prepared, I knew at 13 years old at what age I would be allowed to date, how much my parents would provide for my graduation costs (picts, invites, cap & gown, etc), how much they would provide for college, and how much they would give me as a wedding gift(not pay for the wedding). I applied these amounts toward paying for the events, and used my own earned money to make these events as frugal or as extravegant as I chose. Any money we made from a job beginning at age 13, we paid a percentage for house expense. Once I began driving, I drove my parents cars until the day I married and moved out of state at 22, because I paid them mileage for every mile I drove(work and pleasure). This helped them pay for the car they wanted, a better car than I could afford on my own, and Dad kept them maintained. I got a full time job out of High school, saved, and after 1 year of college (got a great job utilizing my talents that did not require a degree)I was invited by my parents, and chose to live at home. There was an end to it though. I could live with them until I married or age 25, whichever came 1st. I paid room and board from my adult job, milage to use their cars, but still understood I had chores around the house. Paying did not exempt that, because I understood if I had a place of my own, those things would have to be done by someone(me!). I saved and was able to go the places I wanted, travel, and do some great things with my time and money because they taught me the value of money as related to LIFE. I pray for those who are dealing with adult children who do not have this understanding. My older brother recently died of colon cancer in his 50’s. It took a lot of convincing to get him to move back in to my parents home and let them care for him the last few months of his life (he was single and they offered/insisted). Up to his last few days, he was still saying, “don’t forget to take my room and board from my money, Mother.” He understood, as we all do, they cared for us as we grew and they taught us to be responsible. My remaining siblings and I have now set things in place for our parents future. We have happily made arrangements and solid plans between us to see they have a place to be and are cared for whatever the future brings for them. See why you should train your children in the way they should go and not just make them “happy?” What will the future be for those who didn’t take a stand for personal responsibility? At what point do they allow the circle of life to be completed and they be the ones who are cared for in love and not from guilt?
I have 22 yr old step son who does NOTHING but drink and do drugs. He was kicked out of the military for drugs and was only in military for maybe a year and a half. Well since he came back home he does NOTHING at all. He stays out til 5 am sleeps til 3pm and then is out partying again. 7 days a week I might add thatthis goes on. My husband Finally listened to me and quit giving him money or the car. His life has not changed he is still out. I think he is a drug dealer, no I know he is. This kid just don’t get it. He is selfish and cares about nobody feeling. What do we do? I want him gone. I can’t live like this anymore it is affecting my health. Suggestions?
Janet most of the time I try to come up with a couple of options or ways on how to deal with things. I hate to say too much on something like this without all the facts and all. I can only tell you what I would do.I think things in your case have gotten to the point that you only have 2 choices. You can keep living the way you are and everything stay the same or make him leave even if it means changing the locks on your doors and stop helping him.
It is going to be really hard for him to change as it is but with you to fall back on he will never have a reason to change. You and your husband have to present an united front too. As hard as it will be to see he out on the streets you will have to do it. You think you will be hurting him by kicking him out but the reality is you are hurting him worse by helping. You may not realize it but by providing him a place to stay and car that in a way is the same as handing him money for his drugs.
Often parents think they are doing what is best for their child by helping them like this but what they are really doing without realizing is they are being selfish because they don’t want to feel the hurt themselves of putting their child out on the street or they don’t do it because the parents don’t want to feel the hurt of rejection that doing something like this to their child might cause the parent. You need to love them more then the hurt and rejection you might feel. It’s hard. I am not making light of this or saying it is easy as a matter of fact I think it is one of the bravest and most courageous things a parent can do but I think in a case like this that may be what you will have to do because if you don’t you will destroy the rest of the family and if ever your son decides to change you won’t be able to help him because you are physically and emotionally destroyed.
I have a 34 year old son he don’t work. Lives with me, he will cut grass
snow blow take care of anything there is around house, fix whatever he can.
When his Dad was alive he was verbal abusive to me for years. It was very hard on me.
His Dad didn’t have the heart to put him on the streets. His sister and two brothers older than him, feel I should put him out now. I guess in a since they are upset with me for keeping him here. When I tell him to go find work he raises his voice. He says you want me to work but wont let me use your car. Tell him you find away, take a bus
he stays up at night playing on his computer. When he drives me to a doctor, he looks like he filthy person I get so upset with his dressing habits it breaks my heart I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel it is time for him to leave now.when he needs money he sells his Dads things from the garage. Thanks for listing to me.
The first thing that popped into my head is do you realize that YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND could go to jail if drugs are found being sold from your house? I’m sorry, I know it’s hard but I agree and would change the locks while he’s gone one day and put his stuff on the front lawn.
My Son has a depression problem but was told he can wash dishes to make money.
He usually don’t go out all day, he goes out with a buddy at night, his dad passed away now.
Judy these things are hard to deal with but the choice really is yours. I know a bit about depression and how much it is often misunderstood. I won’t say much since I don’t really know you and your situation but be careful because we tend to say people suffer from depression and they maybe aren’t really depressed. If a person is truly depressed they need to be getting medical help and medication if they need it. Most depressed people if they can’t function during the day to go to work they can’t function at night to go out and have fun with their friends. From what you said in your other comment about the verbal abuse you need to really find help to deal with that even if it has stopped.
Parents think they are doing their adult children a favor by letting them live with them without working but you aren’t. Can you imagine what the world would be like if all parents carried their toddlers all the time never allowing them to learn to walk because they were afraid they would fall and get hurt. You have to allow them to make their own mistakes and yes sometimes be hurt or they will never grow mature and learn to walk on their own.
The choice is yours. Let him stay and be miserable and you will have to live with those consequences or make him leave.
If you have any way of proving he is a drug dealer, such as you know where his stash is or if you know when 1 of his deals is going down, bring in the police without him knowing about it. When he gets arrested he will learn the hard way that illegal activity will Not be supported under Your roof!!! I know it would be hard to turn your own child in, but it is better than what could end up happening while dealing drugs out of your house….he is staying there so police if they catch him without your help, might consider you responsible and you could lose your home under the drug confiscation laws. When he is released Do Not allow him back into your home!!! Change the locks! File a protection order that keeps him away because of the drug dealing while he is locked up. It is for your own protection that tough love must be handed out. Hope you get this taken care of and stay safe!
Jackie Saulmon Ramirez
As the friend of the parent, she can only give emotional support and a place for the friend to vent.
Situations like this do not happen overnight; this may a lifelong training by the parent having low expectations for the child and little responsibility placed on the child’s shoulders. When you’ve done this for 18 years, how can you be surprised that the child is now an adult who wishes to continue.
Has the adult child tried to find work in the past and given up? Does the adult child have depression or other mental illness? Are there any other issues like drug abuse or illnesses?
If there are no issues as mentioned above then the adult child needs to pound the pavement to look for work. If there are no efforts put forth you can (in most states) change the locks and give them the number of a helpline where they can get into a homeless shelter. Believe me, after that, they will do everything possible to get work. THAT may be the best thing the parent could possibly do.
Jill, this is a great article and it has obviously hit home for many folks who have a situation like this or are dealing with a situation like this. Kudos to you for writing in bigger terms that so many could apply to their individual situation and Kudos to the readers who shared their situation and solution!!
No matter what the situation and no matter where we are, there are solutions to our problems and community helps!
I think part of the problem is that we don’t train our teens to be responsible adults so when they get older, they don’t know how to take care of themselves. I was just having a conversation about this with my 15 year old this morning. We have given teens the privileges of adulthood like driving, going out at night, etc. without teaching them the responsibilities of adulthood. Who would want to leave if all the work was done for them? We need to be disciplined ourselves to discipline our children (discipline does not equal punishment but self-control).
This is true and part of it is they need to be trained in small ways when they are little. So many people don’t train the kids from the time they are young and when they hit their teen years and start having problems they say “How did this happen?” or they use an iron fist to try and fix 13 yrs or more of things they should have dealt with when they were young.
When my husband left many thought for sure I would have problems with my teenage son because there wasn’t a man around to help keep control of things. I had no problems with my son being disrespectful, talking back or doing what I asked him to do. I think that was because of 2 things: first from the day they were born my husband treated me with respect and always made sure the kids did too so much so that by the time they were in their teens it was a habit and a way of life for them and it didn’t even enter their head to do anything different. The second thing was that I was not ever afraid of my kids or worried would they be mad at me, would they still love me, would they not think me cool if I corrected them. I didn’t say wait till dad gets home to deal with you or pretend it didn’t happen or make excuses for them.
Now that doesn’t mean things were perfect because I would have to tell them several times to do their chores or homework and typical kid things but they never sassed or rebelled like so many kids do and they didn’t dare not pull their weight in the family. We laugh to this day and tease my son how one day we were joking around and he was feeling his Cherrios and teasing me about how much taller he was then me (I’m 5’3″ and he was 6’3″). I said it didn’t matter I could still flatten him if I needed to and he started chuckling but before he even blinked I had knocked his legs out from under him and had him flatten to the floor and pinned down. He was so shocked. I started rolling on the floor laughing. We laugh to this day about it. Thank goodness it was in fun and I didn’t ever have seriously “manhandle” him.
I said all of this to say. Start young with your kids. Take raising them seriously. We often spend so much time gone and working to give our kids material things and we don’t bother to spend time teaching them how to grow up to be responsible, respectable, good adults emotionally. We need to spend as much time taking care of this as their physical well being. I really think the epidemic of young adults not working and leaving home is not because of the economy but because so many parents work and no one it there to set an example for them to watch and learn from or to teach them. If it was the economy we would have seen this same thing happening during the depression but it didn’t.
This is GREAT advice. I just dealt with the same situation only the stepson is 47. Never offered to help or contribute. If he was asked to help he would
sometimes accomodate us but generally HID in his room. This is a very well educated man. I regret that I put up with the situation as long as I did (3 months). So I would encourage ANYONE living in this situation to IMMEDIATELY take this advice for your own health and well being. I was making myself SICK because I didn’t want to OFFEND this person, when if fact it was destroying my health and my marriage. Thank goodness it is behind us!
To Janet sub: Change all the locks on the doors when he’s gone and keep the doors locked at all times. When he’s gone, go through his things. If you find drugs, call the police and have them come over to the house and get it. Then, they will wait for him to show up and can arrest him. I know it’s pretty drastic, but he will not stop unless he’s in jail and goes through drug rehab. Just be sure you own your own property. One of my day care parents, who’s ex was in her apt. when she was gone, left stolen wallets in her apt. along with drugs. SHE was evicted because of a “no drug” clause in her agreement although it wasn’t her drugs and she didn’t know it was there until her husband left and she found it. She was also the one who turned in her ex. Also, my niece’s estranged husband is a drug dealer/user. He was in a drug “rehab” jail for a year in Texas. Unfortunately, he’s been arrested several other times, but drugs is such a problem in his small town, that they have WAY more worse cases than his, so they let him go after 90 days because they have too many cases to handle in the prosecutor’s office. Call your local law enforcement and tell them you suspect that your son is dealing and they can advise you on how to handle it. If he’s in jail, that solves your problem, at least temporarily, for you to change locks, etc. If he comes back, just don’t let him in. Call the police if he comes to the door harrassing you. You need to protect yourself and anyone else in the home. If people know he’s a dealer living in your home, you’re at great risk to be harmed or killed. Tell him when he admits himself to a drug rehab, and finishes the program, you’ll let him visit, but not live there. So sorry you are having to deal with such a dangerous situation.
Margaret Mary Myers
Many excellent points here. This is a very difficult subject, with so many possible situations. In my case, our six children had chores from the time they could walk and talk; they had paying jobs outside the home, of their own accord, from the age of 12 or 14 or 16; and yet two of them are struggling financially, and although they are not living at home, yes, we are helping them. There were a variety of circumstances: their parents (us) having to move out of state for my husband’s work, their brother’s (one of my son’s) unexpected death which left another son bereft not only of his brother but of his roommate, and yes, the economy. One major department store gave my son a “job”, with “guaranteed five hours a week”. Not exactly a living wage. He got that job after many job searches. So he began writing online & is doing amazingly well but not well enough, yet. Parenthood is for life. Sometimes it’s knowing when to be tough and sometimes, in my opinion, it’s also knowing when to “feed the hungry”, etc., even when it’s our own children, or maybe more so, sometimes when it’s our own. Thank goodness they grew up learning to live frugally and learned that lesson well. And hopefully they will be able to get completely back on their own feet again soon & be there for us, if we ever need it.
I can’t imagine doing to my parents some of the things other posters have described. I have extended family that does this sort of thing to their parents, and I tend to believe it has A LOT to do with how these kids were parented when they were much younger.
Now, I admit I have bounced back home – twice in fact – as an adult.
The first time was when my first marriage dissolved at age 23 (I had originally left home at age 19-20 and was self-supporting at that point) and I moved back for 6 months to save up a down payment for a house – something my parents supported as they agreed renting was a waste of money in my case. I didn’t pay rent for those 6 months as I put every cent towards debt from the marriage and saving for my down payment and fees. I had no car and took the bus, although I sometimes bummed a ride off one of my brothers. I have been a homeowner since age 23 as a result.
The second time was for a few months because I had trouble finding child care in my small city for my special-needs daughter so I could work to pay off debts we incurred when she was sick as an infant. My husband’s shift was too unpredictable to work opposite-shift to eliminate the need for child-care. I was in my late 20’s at the time, and so I moved back home to my hometown so I could work at my old well-paying job (my new husband and I had left out hometown a year prior for him to take a job and I wasn’t planning on going back to work once our daughter was born) while my husband stayed behind in the house we owned in our new city to keep working.
It sucked, but we did it and paid off our debts and I was able to return to our new city to live as a family again and have remained here (and have not had to work) since. Again, I paid no rent because my parents and I agreed on the purpose of the living arrangement, plus we had a finite date when the arrangement would end. I earned my “keep” by doing my share of the housework, cooking meals, etc for the household (I still had younger siblings at home), did all my own laundry and child care, etc.
I am now 37 and my husband and I are expecting our 4th child in a month or so. I am grateful to my parents for giving me a hand when I needed it, but I’m even more grateful for the life lessons they gave me early on. Circumstances sometimes dictates to us what our choices are, but there’s always a choice to be made.
CJ I think that is the difference. We all have probably had to go back home at different times for different things but it should be the way you did it – as a temporary thing and you were working at making things better. When I had to go back home for a few months like you I worked like crazy helping with the yard work and doing work around the house to try and make things easier for my folks while I was there and to show how much I appreciate what they were doing for me. That is it in a nut shell. Do the kids appreciate what their folks are doing for them or do they have the attitude that their parents and the world owes them something and that everyone needs to baby them and supply all of their needs.
You are right too in the fact that it has a lot to do with they way they were raised. I was raised to respect my parents and to appreciate what they and others did for me. I expected my kids to respect me. So many now don’t have a clue to what respect means and how to give it. The best way to teach respect is to give it.
As I read this, I wonder if anyone considered that the adult child could be suffering from depression? If I were living at home, I would naturally want to get off the couch and find something meaningful to do unless I were depressed or had another health issue. Something to think about.
This could be true and I know how debilitating depression can be. What the problem is a prevailing attitude now amount people that the world owns them and they want an excuse for taking responsibility for themselves. They have an excuse for everything and blame everything and everyone for them not having a job or being able to get a job. Most of these kids lay around playing videos games, doing things with their friends, shopping and things like that. Those are not usually signs of depression. They are perfectly fine doing things they want to do but not what needs to be done. I worry because we come up with even more excuses for them like they are depressed and it makes matters worse. We tend to turn all the irresponsible things in the world now into an illness.
I heard a man once say that he lived a way of life for years because everyone said it couldn’t be helped and it was an illness until one man told him to buck up and get over himself. He told him he had control of his life and a choice. He said it changed his whole world. He had lived day after day wallowing thinking his actions couldn’t be helped. Finding out they could and he had control over them was so freeing. When people are told they are born with or have no control over damaging ways of life then they give up and don’t try and yes that can lead to depression but not depression from a chemical imbalance but of their own making.
Now there will be some who want to holler at me about not understanding depression etc. Don’t both. I do understand it and am not debating the ins and outs of it here. I’m just saying that years ago no one understood depression and many people were misunderstood because of that but now as usual we have swung way in the other direction and it is used as an excuse for everything and a way to get by with just irresponsibility and poor behavior.
You make good points about making excuses, Jill! My son is 13 years old and I’ve been telling him since he was nine that if he chose to live at home past age 18, he would have to either be in school, working, or both… no video games on the couch. He totally understands and is working hard in school, trying to get into a high school engineering academy. He’s so excited! I hope his attitude continues into adulthood. When he does make excuses, I don’t let him get away with it.
That is exactly the way it should be Marina. I think our children deep down want exactly that from us. It is scary being a child sometimes and having someone the love and trust and they know loves them make reasonable rules for them makes them feel more secure and they have more confidence because they know what direction they should go which helps them to make uncertain and scary decisions.
Not the ones I know. I am 33 and have lived on my own since I was 20. Now I have coworkers with adult children and grandchildren and their significant others living with them. not giving their share of anything. yet getting free room and board, rides to where they want to go etc. I also see it with my mother in law letting her 38 year old son live at home and not doing anything. granted he mows the yard but she is almost 70 and has a lot of medical problems yet cooks and cleans for him and does his clothes. I dont think so. I started doing my own laundry at home in high school. It is ridiculous the enabling parents do. I think mine unless I was in a situation like some have mentioned would have kicked my butt out. just not how I was raised.
Clarissa you made a good point. What most don’t realize it isn’t totally the kids fault. The parents are equally responsible for not kicking them out.
someone very dear to me is in a situation with two stepchildren one 18 boy and 20 girl. They live in her house completely ignore her do not do anything to help at home, do not pay rent. The girl has a job but does nothing, the boy does nothing at all. Their father refuses to even address the issue with them. Now he is working from home ? cleaning house and cooking. They refuse to do chores or help or help around the house, so he does it for them. It is time for them to move out and if he doesn’t shape up he should go with them. He is on FB chat 3 or 4 times a day. She is the primary support for the family but I am told he pays his share, whatever that is. she is a school teacher and is overwhelmed with work, stress and disrespect. They have only been married a little over 2 years and I don’t seeing it changing in the near future. I think that she was married for her income and they are ( including husband} taking advantage of the situation. I have seen it coming on gradually and now I think they have what they want. They are being taken care of and have to do nothing for it. Moocher’s
My son is 51 and has 2 sons 3 and 4. He was suppose to be here for 2 weeks. It’s now been 2 years. My house is runt, things broken lie windows, bathroom does now work. He does nothing to help on bills. I am on social security and working part time. I do the lawn and very thing else. The boys is what bothers me, but I can’t take this any more. What should
I don’t want the boys to suffer, but he sleeps and lets them get into everything. My furniture and carpet is also runt with mustard. My son has also broke my living room chair.
I know with the grand kids being involved it is so much harder to ask them to leave. I do understand but at the same time you have a choice. They may not be easy choices but it is only for you to decide. Do they stay or go. If you decide for them to stay you will have to make up your mind that when things happen you can’t be upset with them because you decided to have them stay.
What you maybe can’t see is the same thing you are upset with your son doing you are doing with him. He is letting his sons get by with everything and you are letting your son get by with everything. I assume your son took care of the boys before he moved in so if you kick him out chances are he will again. You are enabling him to keep doing what he is doing.
I know you think kicking your son and grand kids out would be hard on the boys but to be honest the situation you are allowing them to be in now may be worse. It is better for them physically but living with a dad who is basically a bum – sorry I could not sugar coat it-and a grandmother who does love them but is miserable having them around, who is probably tired, irritable and frustrating all the time is going to probably do more to hurt them emotionally than being put out would.
In some ways this is like when people ask me to help them with getting their house organized or cleaned and saying they don’t know what to do. They do know what to do – get up and start picking up- but they ask because it is an excuse to put off what is going to be hard or work. They hope I will give them a secret formula so they won’t have to work so much but with some things you have to just get up and do it yourself even if it hurts and is hard.
I don’t mean to sound uncaring because I know it is really hard but I had to tell you like it is the same way you need to tell your son.
I don’t know what state you folks are from but in this state you can not evict someone that has an established address yours. Except to go to court which is very costly and time consuming, If my son knew I was doing that he would steal me blind and maybe even kill me in my sleep.
Part of what we do is to give people a heads up of what not to do in the first place. There are a few things you maybe could do but I don’t know your whole situation and am not sure you are of the frame of mind to maybe try them.
I have a 52 year old brother who has never lived on his own. He is currently residing with our parents. They pay everything for him, including his Medical insurance. He spends all day in his room in his rocking chair watching tv. He has some health issues, and is currently waiting on a court date for a disability hearing. His medical costs are HIGH! He is on pain management…get the picture? My parents income is their social security checks. Here in our state, AL, he doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. My mom drives him everywhere, he can drive, he doesn’t have a license. Another can of worms, for another day. She told me they were in deep debt and didn’t know what to do. My husband and I are not able to help financially. What can be done to get him his own place to live and healthcare? I really don’t know what is wrong with him. He doesn’t allow anyone to go to the DR and most of the time I think he is exaggerating his medical conditions. I personally, haven’t seen him in any type of pain. I have seen him unload a moving truck and then a couple of months later help load it! Never once complained or showed any signs of pain. My concern is my parents. They are old and have health issues of their own. Where do I start to get them some help?
First this is hard because it has gone on so long that it is a way of life for your parents and it will be very hard to change habits and emotions of many years. It is sort of a bizarre codependent thing. Why I say this is what people don’t realize is that you have to deal with the underlying emotional issues before you can take care of the money issues because if you do it the other way around they will just fall back into the same rut or cycle. Then too if your parents aren’t really seeking the help themselves and trying to fix things there really isn’t much you can do to help them. They are all adults.
But that being said I would go to a pastor, or some counselor who would know of agencies in your area to help you get started. Also I would have your parents insist on someone going with the brother to the doctor and find out what is really going on. If he refuses and they are serious about changing things than I would cut off the money supply until someone knows exactly what is happening. He may have some real issues because we sometimes can look normal to people when there are real problems but you need to at least find out what those problems really are and go from there.
My 26 year lives at home sleeps all day won’t look for work does absolutely nothing around the house if I ask for help it never gets done. Tried kicking him out he won’t leave. Today I gave him till feb 1 to be out or I’m packing his stuff and putting it outside I can’t live like this anymore I’m miserable I can’t wait for my younger son to graduate this year so we can move out of province he’s not coming. Idk where he’s gonna be but time to grow up & be a man
Cora you are doing the right thing. I personally know a woman whose 55 yr old son will not move out and has recently put her in the hospital and she isn’t sure what will happen when she gets out but she won’t put her foot down and make him leave. They are equally responsible because she won’t tell him to go and him for living off of her. It isn’t always just the child’s fault – the mom has to do the hard thing too sometimes.
I am 58 years old and my Grandson is 19. He’s been living in my home for two years now. I am not happy about the arrangement anymore. He won’t work or help me in anyway. Stays in his room and games all night and sleeps all day. No drugs or drinking, just gaming. My family won’t help and “are tired of hearing” about how hard it is for me. HELP
I know what I am going to say may sound harsh but you know this is getting crazy with this situation happening over and over of grown kids not being responsible and parents and grand parents shaking their heads not knowing what happened and expecting someone else to fix it for them. Ellen sometimes it helps to think what would I say to and advice someone if they were telling me this same thing? Why is he living in your home? If it isn’t working for you and is too hard change it. Your family is probably tired of hearing about it because you won’t do anything about it. You are waiting for someone else to do the dirty work for you and make your grandson leave or get a job. You don’t want him to think bad of you so you won’t kick him out. What is so sad is I know you want to have a good relationship with your grandson and all but the opposite is happening because you won’t do anything. He doesn’t respect you and to be honest I am not sure he cares because you don’t treat someone you love and care for the way he is treating you. He knows he can get by with it too. You are just as much to blame as he is for the situation and until you decide to do something and make him leave or get a job you are just enabling him to do it. When you don’t do anything about something like this you are the same as putting your stamp of approval on his behavior and it is like you are saying it is ok to do. Stop looking around trying to find someone else to do it for you and to fix the mess you made and allowed to happen. You need to love your grandson more than yourself (you don’t want to look bad in his eyes or for him to be mad at you) and make him leave. If you can’t do that then you need to except things as they are because you have made them that way and not complain about it to others or try to get help when you aren’t will to do it yourself.
Thank you Jill for being so blunt, and you are correct. This week was very trying with my grandson. He was disrespectful again and I asked him to pack a bag and I would take him to his fathers, his father informed him “by law” I had to give him a 30 day notice there for he didn’t have to leave. I went to the court house and then presented him with his 30 day notice. I felt the world lift off my shoulders as I left the court house. I told him how much I loved him and this was for his wellbeing, I pray some day he will understand. I am so excited to be able to have my life back. Thank you again for your advice. Although all this occurred before I read your reply so this just confirms I’m doing the right thing.
Oh Ellen that is so good. As a grandma myself I know how much courage it took you to do that. I am soooo proud of you. What I am most excited about is the difference you feel and how freeing it is for you. I guess that is why I try to “shake” people up sometimes because I know how much better and what a HUGE difference it can make for them and the weight that will be lifted.
I don’t know if it will help any but if he gets his act together, he will down the line respect you way more than he has been. Usually at this point I warn people not to cave in and go back on what they have decided to do but I don’t think I have to with you because you already see what a big and better difference it has made in your life and you don’t want to go back at all to the way it was.
One lesson for others to learn with this is there is a big difference in helping your children and grandchildren out a LITTLE during bad patches, and them taking over your life, controlling and manipulating it. That is where we have to stand up and say enough. Anyway hang in there, you are doing a great job and right on target
Well its been three weeks today that my grandson left. I have to say I felt very guilty at first and had second thoughts, but was able to squash the emotions down and am so happy now. I know he’s ok and know he won’t be “in the streets”. I cancelled the credit card he had (my card) so now I am the “worst human on the face of the earth”. Yep, that was all I got for two years of caring for this boy. I advised him that now would be a good time to go to work. All so my family won’t talk to me now. It breaks my heart but realize this too shall pass. I keep checking this site to see more stories and to reaffirm my decision. Good luck to all the mothers and grandmothers out there. Praying for you.
Ellen I am so glad you had the courage to do this and glad you were wise enough to fight the false guilt you were feeling. I once had a pastor’s wife tell me that Satan uses false guilt more than anything thing to discourage women, make them feel miserable and to even keep them in or get them in situations that aren’t good for them. Once I had to be “firm” with someone I loved and tell them a few home truths. I at first felt so angry and then felt guilty. I had a very wise counselor ask me – did I say what I said because I wanted to be mean and hateful to the person and I said no of course not I did it because what they were doing was very wrong and it was hurting them and me. He then asked if anything I had said and accused this person of was an untruth and I said no not at all. The counselor told then I had absolutely nothing to feel guilty about at all. What happens in cases like mine and yours, your grandson and the rest of your family are excellent manipulators. They know exactly how to play on a person’s emotions to get them to do what they want you to do, most of the time through false guilt. They are the ones in the wrong not you.
I know it is hard and I don’t want to make light of that part but I really think in the long run this is what is best for you. My family became angry at me for a decision I made and turned their backs on me when I really needed them the most. Many years later I saw that if I hadn’t stood strong against them it would have changed the whole course of my life and my children’s so even though it was awful at the time years later I saw how it turned out for the best. I know it is hard but I can’t believe how strong you have been. Like I said what you did took a lot of courage and I think you will be a very good example to many moms and grandmothers out there who are trying to make the same decision you made. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
My older sister is 30 and still lives with my parents. She’s dealt with depression since she was a kid and went through a divorce with a verbally abusive man last year, who also refused to work so my parents supported them both. She never seems to follow through on anything she does for work or school and every time my parents tell her to get a job, she decides instead to go back to school to study something new. They’ve always told her that they’d support school. She dropped out of grad school, dropped out of beauty school, dropped an online teaching course she was close to finishing and drops half of the classes she takes or stops going because she realizes she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t do any dishes at home and never helps my parents with chores around the house. She doesn’t contribute any money to the house but goes and buys fun things for herself. She doesn’t have any understanding of responsibility to the point that when she house sitted/pet sitted for my husband and I months ago, we came back to a kitchen and living room filled of dishes to clean. She has now decided she wants to become an actress and study in Europe for a month this summer (paid by my parents of course)! My parents are still supporting this always hopeful that she’ll finally “find what she’s passionate about”. It’s driving my husband and I insane. I know my parents aren’t happy that she’s jobeless and lacks motivation but I don’t think they have any idea how to handle it because she does fight depression and has been on and off medication for a long time trying to find the right one. Yet she always seems less depressed when she is working and occupying her thoughts because shes too busy to mope. She spends her days complaining about being tired and needing a vacation when she doesn’t do anything! I don’t know how to talk about this with my parents and help them learn that holding her hand isn’t helping her, it’s hurting her. My parents also want to downsize to a smaller home but can’t do that either because shes still living with them with no plans to work.
I don’t know how serious your sister’s depression is and all the details on that so it is hard for me to really say too much on that but there seems to be something strange in the fact that she is less depressed when she is working which makes me really wonder if she is really depressed or just using it as an excuse to string your parents along. I question it because it sounds like it is controllable. Even if she truly depressed though and your parents need to help, they don’t need to be funding her to do all the education and the fun things she wants to do. If she really is ill they could help with basic needs but they don’t need to do more from the sound of things. Bottom line is your parents aren’t helping but making matters worse by babying her and giving in to her whims but I am afraid there is nothing you and your husband can do. They are all adults and have to make their own choices. It is like when you have adult children. You see them making big mistakes and try to help or warn them but at the end of the day it is their lives and their choices and there is nothing you can do about it. It is very hard but you have to just let them make their own mistakes I am afraid. You need to step back and let them live their lives (good, bad or ugly) and you live yours. Often we have a lot of stress in our lives because of trying to figure out how to change others and what they are doing but you have to be careful because it will affect you and your own family. As much as we hate to see those we love hurting, when they are adults we can advice but then we have to step back and let them make their own decision on how to handle things even if it is wrong.
So happy I found this website.
I have 2 adult sons living with me whom are both drug addicts. They have stolen everything from my husband and I. Nearly $10,000 worth of personal property and money. I’ve finally had enough and called police on them today. I’m filling eviction on them also. Not making excuses but never having used drugs I was really ignorant to it for too long. Still in SHOCK that my own kids would do this!!! I take full responsibility for letting this go on in the first place.
Today is Morhers Day and when I woke up my flat screen tv was gone from the wall along with a bin of collectibles. They are 25 and 29 years old. Shame on me!!!!!!
We live in Florida and I know what the laws are but at this point I’ve put their stuff out double locked my doors. They can take ME TO COURT I really don’t care. CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE OF THIS.
They go to a Methodone clinic every morning (that I pay for…$1,000. Per month) and still use drugs every day!
I wish I had smartened up a lot sooner!!!!!
Oh my Lori, I am very very impressed with you. We live in a world where everyone makes excuses or plays the blame game for what is going on in their lives and it is so encouraging for me to read a post like yours of someone who has stepped up to the plate and did a very hard but courageous thing. Not only did you do a very hard thing in dealing with your situation but you took total responsibility and didn’t blame anyone or whine about it. I know what a hard thing that was for you to do and my hat goes off to you. I will be thinking of you and your boys and praying that God will give you encouragement when you need it. As hard as it was you did the right thing. You took back control of your life and are sitting around making excuses or waiting for someone else to change or fix it for you. You “done good”.
We are in our 70 & our 47 yr. old daughter moved in with us 2 1/2 yrs. ago. Her husband of 11 yrs. divorced her & locked her out of their home while she was in court for divorce procedings. He is a police officer & is very wealthy, yet he left her with nothing. She is extremely difficult to get along with not to mention living with. She does not work & keeps trying to get Social Security Disability but keeps getting turned down. She actually is a good girl, does not smoke, drink, party, or do drugs. She does get help from the government as far as food goes but nothing else. She is sick but not sick enough that she shouldn’t be able to get a part time job. She does not help around the house at all. She has an associates degree but hasn’t used it in a long time. The divorce is still in the courts & has been since 2013. She doesn’t have any friends because she is so hard to get along with, she turns & twists everything around that someone says or does. She was under psychiatric care but can’t afford to continue treatment. We have all her belongings stored in our garage & anyplace else we can fit them. She has turned our life upside down. Her father is very sick, we are both disabled but can still care for ourselves. He wants to call the police to have her removed but because of everything she has been through with the divorce & health issues I’m afraid of what would happen to her as far as the police go. Her ex-husband has a lot of pull & has used it against her, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I really can’t give much advice for something like this because like I say each time I really can’t know the whole situation with just a couple of paragraphs of info. There is way more usually involved in these situations. Try to read what you wrote me and do it as if you were a stranger reading it. What advice would you give them if they asked you? You know if you think there will be a problem with the police then maybe you could go to some other department to have her removed. I think the key thing I picked up on is she doesn’t help around the house at all. Me at my worse being ill, would still try to help my parents if I was staying with them or anyone else. I would be doing my best to work even if it was part time. Anything else to me is a person who is doesn’t care or appreciate what someone is doing for them and is just plain mooching off of them.
What if they are suffering from anxiety and agoraphobia?
I need to be very careful here because I know nothing about your real situation with only 1 sentence and even professionals would need lots of time talking to you and your child to answer your question but I am going to at least put out a couple of things just to maybe give you something to think about.
First if I had an adult child who suffered from any physical or mental illness I would not be reading an article like this and thinking that it applied to us or expect it to apply to us. In the same way if my child was in a wheelchair and unable to take care of themselves, I would understand that I would need to take care of them and make the arrangements to do it the best that I could whether it was for me to care for them at home or in a nice facility.
This post has nothing to do with something like that. It is talking about perfectly capable adult children who are living at home and not lifting a finger to help or to work and help the family out. What I am wondering is (and I am just throwing out questions not accusing anyone of anything) why would you even ask this question. Is it because you think maybe they are just using anxiety as an excuse not to work or are you using that as an excuse for them? Are you frustrated because there are maybe treatments for your child but they just don’t want to bother to get help or do what it takes to get help? You see this could mean a whole lot of things and you need to figure out the answers to those questions first and then go to the right source to get help for you and for them.