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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?

9 Responses to 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!

  • Rosann says:

    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.


    • April says:

      I agree wholeheartedly, Rosann. My parents have helped us out during really hard times too. I expect that there may be times when I have to help my kids out…and I will. I just won’t have them sponging off me and refusing to work, KWIM? The person I mentioned in my post that is refusing to work and is not in school…we’ve told him about many job openings and one, my husband could help him get on at. But…he’s too good for all of them. “I don’t want to work there”. Well, boy, you aren’t working anywhere! Take what you can get until something better comes along! He won’t listen though. As long as he has one of his parents there allowing the behavior to continue…why should he change?

      Thanks for stopping in!

  • Renee C. says:

    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


  • ddulinmoore3791 says:

    Hoping for some hints! My husband has a grown child from a previous relationship. He and the mother broke up before this child was born, long story but they get along like reasonable adults. Just two people who should never have dated and stayed friends instead. This son is now living with us for a second time as his girlfriend of two years decided she didn’t want him around anymore, the excuse she gave was his lack of employment but as she had herself a new boyfriend about a week after I highly doubt that was the reason. He has been with us for a few months and isn’t really seeming to be trying to find a job of any variety. I’m rapidly loosing patience with it as he does next to nothing in the house either. He was when he first moved back in and he has started doing less and less as time goes by. All he does is play video games and ignores everyone when hes told to get off his butt. Takes at least 3 hours to get him off his butt to do anything. Neither of us want him to be homeless but we have our own two little ones to support and its becoming more than a little inconvenient and expensive to support a lazy 21yr old who doesn’t even do the dishes. Advice?

    • April says:

      I definitely wouldn’t put up with it, because the longer it goes on, the worse it will get. I would give him a month to find a job. In the meantime, he needs to start chipping in around the house…give him a list of chores he is expected to do (treat him like a child if you have to since that is what he is acting like). Does he eat and make a mess? Then he needs to help with dishes. After he gets a job, he needs to pay room and board, even if it’s only $50 a month. He needs to realize that there is nothing free in this world. If he refuses, then give him a time frame of 3 months to find another place to live and STICK WITH IT. You have to stick to your guns on all of this or he will just continue to run over you and do as he pleases. You don’t want to still be supporting him when he’s 40. And you are right, you do have other kids to think of…you don’t want them to grow up and turn out to be lazy, refusing to work at 21 years old and wanting mommy and daddy to support them while they sit at home and play video games all day. Good luck!!

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