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Time To Boot Adult Child?!

Posted Dec 13 2009 9:49am

Dear Mitch,


I have a twenty-two year-old son who still lives with me because I need him to watch my ten-year-old daughter when I go to work. I never asked him to pay me for living with me.    I gave all the chance to my son to improve his life but nothing worked.


My son is never serious.   He never holds a steady job for at least a year.   He jumps from one job to the other.   He also refused to go to school for a career.   All he does is hang around with his friends every night, staying up to one or two a.m..   I’m always worried whenever he is out there.   I did everything in my power as a mother to help him turn his life around, but all to no avail.


Three years ago when he started this behavior, my ex-husband told me to kick him out of the house, but I thought my husband said this because my son is not his biological son.   Now, I regret not throwing my son out because things are getting worse each day, Mitch!


Is it too late to throw my son out of the house in order for him to get serious and do something good with his life?


Advise PLEASE,


Very Worried Mom


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Hey Worried Mom!


And…. in 5 years?.....


It’s NEVER too late to allow someone to learn… and to grow (up)!!


> > The moment he turned 18, you started to have a relationship with an adult: your son!   No doubt HE wants the advantages and resources of adulthood, so time you stopped denying him!    Your son’s behaviors are a STRONG CRY to be treated like an adult!


Now, Parent, YOU deserve to be strong, as you provide what’s best for him!!   So…


   1. Alone, write down your personal boundaries for anyadultlivinginyourhome!!   Perhaps you’d include…


a.    No drugs or partying!

b.    Everyone in by midnight!

c.    Adults living with me do their chores/responsibilities as scheduled!

d.    ??


   2. Then, decide what parts of “ Being Mom ” you wish to keep… and which you’re ready to let go of!…


e.    Cook & Clean Up Wench            b.    Role Model

c.    Loving Support Supplier               d.    Career Guidance Counselor

e.     Lifestyle Director                      f.     Worrier


Yea, that last one (worrying) is hard for many parents to give up… particularly when their child is living with them during his/her early adulthood exploration & challenges years!


YOU chose to have this young man live with his mother (in “trade” for babysitting help).   Nothing wrong with that – Meanwhile, you want him to become healthy, productive member of society...  


Time for you to model being a healthy, productive member of society!  


   > Model choosing to learn along life’s path (like “I’ve learned I don’t want to participate in a relationship which holds   one or both of us back”), and choosing to find the means to change for the better (like, “I’ve realized that the way I’m   handling our relationship is holding me back from being the type of mother I want to be” [see #2, above]).


Then, as the Rent/Mortgage Payer and Head of House, tell your son what you’ve decided you accept and need fromanadult living in yourhome (rent? attendance?.. a job?… elements of #1 above…).   Then, give him a FIRM deadline somewhere between 30 & 60 days…FIRM!… to either adhere to your Home Management Guidelines… or, to choose another place to live.   Then, you’re NOT throwing him out; he’s making a choice (as adults do)!


You may choose to give him shorter-time deadlines (1-3 weeks maximum) for steps like…


a.    Talking & applying with 10 businesses and/employment agencies


b.    Enrolling as a Los Rios Community College District Student (online – cost: zero) and taking an Interest Inventory exam (cost: zero) through the District’s Career Guidance Centers (online).   The results give him insight into careers for which he is a “good fit”!   He’ll have fun with it, and he may be inspired by the outcome!


c.    Establish some idea of where he wants to be career/lifestyle-wise in 5 years – write it down & then determine, going from that point back to to now, his steps to getthere!


Finally, do know that his individual characteristics (not being “serious”; caring for your daughter; learning about different jobs & work environments) can be turned into strengths for the job market!


At the age of 22, it’s a good time to move forward with his life…. And, he has plenty of time to build a great adult life!   Have faith in the process… and be a part of the solution!







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Dear Mitch,


My parents argue all of the time over everything it seems like!   My stepfather and I always butt heads all the time because I believe in my mind that he is lazy and never does anything.   My mother and stepfather can argue over anything as small as the dishes!


I have just been trying to ignore it.   My mother talks to me about it but sometimes she takes it out on me and its hard to deal with at times.


I work part-time and go to college.   I have to live at home so I can afford to get my degree.   How do I deal with my father doing some things that get under my skin and my mother taking her frustration out on me at times?


Thank you,


Beaten By The Fights


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Hey Beaten,



Sounds like you’re taking responsibility for your future by working and going to school.   Bravo!   Also seems like a great time to do the same on the next level!   So…


a.    Let go of all need to let your stepfather know you think he’s lazy.   He’s not your responsibility – yourlife is your responsibility!   His actions are no reflection on you… Your actions are!


b.    No super responsibility for your mother’s wellbeing.   The Serenity Prayer reminds us to pick our battles.   Let your mother know you’re there whenever she feels ill or in danger.   Only let your stepfather know the same if you feel he can take that well.


c.    You deserve to stay removed from their arguments!   Everything in life, including arguments, are merely openings to learn about ourselves!   It’s extremely tough to allow those we love the most to experience their lessons, isn’t it?!  To love your mother, stand strong for her greatest potential as a human being by allowing her the freedom to experience her journey!   Apparently, that includes arguing over dishes!


And!   When either of them attempt to draw you into their drama, don’t engage emotionally.   Be polite and kind – know that their issues are not yours!!


d.    Finally, when something gets “under your skin”, it’s a signal that you have something to look at and learn about yourself – your beliefs, preferences, passions, or purpose.   Right or wrong, your stepfather’s doing what he believes he needs to survive.   If you disengage from this drama, your parents are left to either look at themselves, or continue status quo.   Meanwhile, you get to focus on your life!



To Your Health,

Mitch Darnell, MA, OM

InspirationWedding Officiant
Columnist, ViewPoint Inspired
tel: 916/247.1655





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