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If you have an adult child that is not in college, will not work, has a problem growing up and will not take responsibility for anything, there are some things you can do that should hopefully motivate them into finally making the leap from child to adult. The following is a list that I’ve come up with, either on my own or with help from others:

  • Does your adult child have a cell phone that you pay for? Confiscate it or have it shut off. Tell your child that when s/he gets a job and can pay the bill, then s/he can have it back.
  • Does s/he have  a car that you are paying for, either by making the payments, paying for insurance and/or buying gas? Well…STOP. Tell your child that when s/he has a job and can contribute to his/her portion of the payments, then s/he will be allowed to use it again. You could even go so far as to give your child a deadline….either have a job to help with payments by such and such date….or you will sell the car and s/he can find another way to get around (bikes, public transportation, friends).
  • STOP doing your child’s laundry. Set standards for cleanliness. Make it clear that s/he is responsible for cleaning after his/herself throughout the house – from doing dishes to taking out the garbage.  One website I visited suggested that to enforce this rule, if you see any of your child’s  laundry or garbage that is left laying around, pick it up and put it right in front of the kid’s door, so that it builds up and makes it difficult for him/her to enter and exit the room.
  • STOP giving him/her money.
  • Inform your child that if there are any problems with the law resulting from drinking or using drugs, it will be his/her responsibility.
  • Collect rent. Set a monthly amount and deadline and enforce it. If your child is late with payment, add a late fee. If your child still refuses to pay it, then set a deadline for your child to move out. Welcome to the wonderful REAL world of adulthood.

Some of these, I got from my parents. Thirteen years ago, I had to pay them $50 a week for room and board (they would not have charged me rent if I had been in college, but I did have a full time job). Once we graduated high school, my parents would sign over a car to us (the one they bought for us to drive to school, and they did this for each of their graduating kids), but it was up to us to pay for our insurance  and put gas in our cars. I will do the same for my kids. My parents taught us responsibility at a young age, because they wanted to prepare us for the real world.  My parents were always good about following through on whatever they said. By the time I was 19, I was married and had moved out of my parent’s house. My oldest brother lived with them until he was about 26, BUT….he had a full time job, paid all of his own bills (including room and board), minded the rules AND helped out around the house. He was smart with his money and I’m pretty sure he had perfect credit when he left home (or nearly).

Be firm and always follow through once you have set the rules and expectations to your child. If your child is staying up all night partying or just vegging and sleeping all day, nearly every day and not contributing anything to the household…then I would say you already have a problem on your hands. This is a problem for someone I know (not in college and does not want to work)…and to be honest, I am very shocked at this kid’s mother for allowing it to go on this long.  I think she is doing the young man a huge disservice by allowing the poor behavior to continue.  How is he ever going to be successful in life if this is what he does all day? It’s a shame really, but I pray that he makes a positive change soon.  A few good articles I read on this subject can be found at Achieve Solutions and Wikihow.

Have any of you had problems like this with your adult child? Any advice or tips that you can add for those going through this now?

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9 Comments on "Adult Child Won’t Work?"


Tough love! There isn’t enough of it. It’s easy to enable bad behaviour when we think we are doing the right thing. In the end it’s not fair to your child (or adult), you or the rest of your family. Thanks for linking up for Flash Blog Friday!


As my kids are still small I have a long way to go before dealing with this sort of stuff. But great list!
New follower via Flash blog Friday :-)

July 7, 2012

This is great advice. I know when I was living at home still, my mom didn’t give me a free ride at all. Not even as a teenager. If I wanted a car, I had to work a part time job to pay for it. If I wanted gas in that car, same thing…I had to pay for it. Insurance? I had to pay for it. I’m glad my parents raised me that way, because it prepared me for life in the real world. BUT, there is something to be said for helping your kids out when difficult times arise. For example, unemployment in a very challenging recession. My husband and I had to lean on family for financial assistance while he was out of work. Thankfully, they were able to help us. Otherwise I’m certain we and our two young daughters would have been homeless.



Wow sounds like tough love to me. I hope I can be this strong when the time comes.
I do like the fact that you got the car from your folks but that you were responsible for gas and insurance. That seems fair.

July 11, 2012

Amen! You do your children a disservice when you don’t teach them to be responsible for themselves. The greatest lessons are learned through failures. They can’t depend on you forever. It’s not even tough love, it’s part of parenting, IMHO.

I’m visiting from the MMM Hop and I’m now following you via Linky, Networked Blogs, and Pinterest.

Just wanted to leave you a quick word to make sure you’ve seen our Summer Reading Weekly Book Giveaway. We are giving away free children’s books all summer long and the giveaways are open internationally. Week #2 is ON! Thanks so much and have a great week. Cheers, Renee


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