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Old 01-19-2011, 11:06 AM   #21
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Thanks, everyone. It does seem some of you have seen the same thing. Just hard for me to understand when someone just ignores reality and thinks that somehow things will magically work out....

For those who suggested military, he has a health issue that causes him no problems in normal life but would disqualify him from service.

I am not going to give him all the money at once. We will pay his first month's rent and his down payment on auto insurance. The rest he will get monthly over a period of a few months. We've told him that when it's gone...it's gone. I would pay tuition if he goes back this fall but not if he goes back years from now, for example. I've been very clearcut on all this.

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Man, 'yall are scaring me.......

I've got a 13 year old son who is on the lazy side, and not a self starter at all. He needs constant hand holding to get his homework done, is super slow doing his chores (what little chores he has), will sleep until noon if I let him, etc. Maybe it's just the teenage hormones kicking in.....
Well, this just depends. My younger son was like that at 13. He has fairly severe ADHD and that could very much describe him at 14 as well. He's academically advanced and graduated high school early. He also started community college this fall (he is now 16) living at home (not mature enough to be in a dorm yet). He actually worked hard at school and made very good grades and seems to be maturing, doing his school work without complaining, learning how to (finally) get up on his own in the morning. He actually seems to be maturing....
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:17 AM   #22
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"Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

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You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday."

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Old 01-19-2011, 11:52 AM   #23
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Man, 'yall are scaring me.......

I've got a 13 year old son who is on the lazy side, and not a self starter at all. He needs constant hand holding to get his homework done, is super slow doing his chores (what little chores he has), will sleep until noon if I let him, etc. Maybe it's just the teenage hormones kicking in.....

On the bright side, he does want to get a job as soon as he can, and I think this is a great idea, but he thinks he wants to get a job as a busboy or in the kitchen at a local Johnny Carinos.
You could be talking about my 14 yo nephew as he is exactly as you described. He was all gung ho to get a job as soon as he was old enough. He managed to get a job at a fast food restaurant and lasted 2 shifts. He could not believe they expected him to stand on his feet for 5 hours and to learn the menu. That was over a year ago and he has made no effort to find another job since. I think in my nephew's case he wanted the money but has no idea how hard work is as he is been coddled his entire life. There has to be a hunger to work these types of jobs and I doubt if many of the current kiddie generation are going to have that as they have been given everything whenever they want.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:54 AM   #24
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I'm so sorry you're going through this Kats. It is incredibly hard as a parent to want everything for your child and see them not taking advantage of the opportunities he has.

My son could be his twin, but add drug use into the mix. What we finally learned is that we were enabling him by getting him out of every problem, giving him a car, giving him spending money, etc. Once we found out about the drugs we knew we had to stop the insanity.

I could write pages on what all transpired, but bottom line is that we asked him to leave when he was 20. He had no money, no car, no job. He cried when he left, begging that he'd follow our rules this time. It tore me to pieces and I doubted our decision hourly, but it had to be done.

That was 10 years ago. Today our son is clean, married (and divorced unfortunately), has two beautiful children and a job in a recording studio. He still gets into a money bind because to this day he fritters away any money he has but he knows not to ask for money because we will say no. We are generous at Christmas and birthdays, but it's because we want to give it to him, not because he's asked...that's a HUGE difference for us.

And even though all this has transpired we have a wonderful relationship. He has thanked us for being tough on him and even wrote and recorded a a song for my birthday about how we saved his life.

And finally, the advice you've received on being a united front on this is key. You and your hubby have to agree 100% on how to handle this or it could become a serious issue.

Good luck in your decision and know that your love for him will lead you to do whatever is right for your family.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:00 PM   #25
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Thanks Lisa99. Really happy to hear that your son was able to largely turn it around and I'm sure that your decisions ultimately helped him to do that.

Thus far, my son has shown no interest in drugs, drinking or smoking and has been strong against them. Of course, you never know what will happen in the future. My mother told me that he recently told her that we (his parents) should be happy he doesn't do those things. Of course, we're happy he doesn't (and he knows that) but it just doesn't give him a free pass on everything else....

DH and I really are agreed on the approach to take. He thinks giving him anything (cashwise) is just throwing money away. I agree that he is right but still want to do it and he is cool with that.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:00 PM   #26
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I am rather uneasily watching my oldest son's upcoming trainwreck. I wish I could prevent it, but I don't really think that I can.
What are your thoughts on how you will handle all of this?
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:10 PM   #27
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We also set the example by making good on all our threats promises as they passed through their teen years.
Bingo.

The kids still talk about my son getting a choice of dessert at lunch, or a frozen custard trip after dinner. He had dessert, was refused his frozen custard trip despite much drama. The main thing is that he still remembers it, trivial as it was.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:11 PM   #28
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What are your thoughts on how you will handle all of this?
If he ends up broke and evicted, we will not let him move back in here. I hate the idea of him not having a place to live, but I also can't believe that -- in his situation -- having him come back here would do anything of lasting good for him. Of course, he can come here for dinner, could ask us for advice, and so on. But, I'm not inclined to give financial assistance (except for tuition in certain circumstances we've explained to him).

Now....let's say he turned everything around, was supporting himself, etc. Let's say that he had a job loss or illness and needed a temporary place to stay. I could see in that situation allowing an adult child to come home temporarily or providing other assistance providing that adult child was diligent working to get employed or so on. I'm not talking about that kind of situation which I think has to be individually handled.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:26 PM   #29
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I'm sorry you are going through this. It's so hard to watch your children make mistakes but it is his life and at 19 he needs to live by his decisions.

It's possible that he needs to get hungry and cold and live in less than ideal conditions, but on his own terms. It sounds like he wants independence even if it's poorly done.

As for financial help, I'd only go as far as a month or two of car insurance and maybe his startup rent costs. You don't owe him his unused college expenses. Keep that in case he needs college tuition help later.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:30 PM   #30
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FWIW, we were consistent with him, didn't always give in, etc. We did make it clear what our expectations were in terms of going to school, working, etc. I don't believe that everyone has to go to college and some are not suited to it. I've always said, however, that it is important to either go to college or get other training for a job and that we would pay for that (we wouldn't pay if making D's and F's). The one time we did give in was when he didn't have money saved for books. He had been working and then had a major car problem and used all his money for car repairs. Given that situation we agreed to loan him the money for the first semester books. Maybe we shouldn't have but I thought it was reasonable at the time.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:31 PM   #31
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As for financial help, I'd only go as far as a month or two of car insurance and maybe his startup rent costs. You don't owe him his unused college expenses. Keep that in case he needs college tuition help later.
Oh, we're not giving him all that...just what we would have spent on room and board this semester which was less than $2000.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:43 PM   #32
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Kats, I am really sorry that you are going through this difficult phase. It seems to be an unfortunately common aspect of US parent-child relationships.

It hurts, and it produces fear. I have a nephew who went through much of this, and unfortunately got sidewiped by the law along the way. Drugs are the biggie, IMO, as it changes the equation to one of great peril. Even smoking weed they cannot pass an employment exam, and with no money to buy rent, food, gasoline or drugs they are tempted to start stealing and/or dealing Once they start stealing or dealing they are exposed to a world of hurt.

In nephew's case, he was charged with dealing, but his older GF got her old BF, a criminal lawyer, to represent him on the cheap. My sis and BIL had to come up with $5 k or so, and he got off.

Then he promptly got her pregnant. She had been told that she was infertile, as she was going through an early menopause. So she decided no way am I going to lose this baby, and Dear Neph. was on his way to fatherhood.

She told him, you can stay if you work and pay for rent and food, otherwise get your A$$ out of here.

So far, 8 months after she was born, he is a happy enough, and more importantly he has become a hard working clean and sober Daddy. So good things can happen. They managed to get health insurance through her father's company.

For my part, my kids were also totally self directed, but fortunately for me in more socially acceptable ways. Still, I wish I were a Korean or Indian Papa to whom someone paid attention.

Like Amy Chua says, being a parent in the US is a raw deal. I think young people are catching on to this. In my city, there are newspaper articles and government studies about "how can we get more children?"

I know how- create a less toxic culture. Take all teen and tween oriented crap off the TV, create a modern CCC, let these rebellious youth have a path other than drugs and crime or mooching off middle class parents.
And get a decent tracking system in the schools so by 9th grade or so a non-academically interested young man or woman can get a well paying trade.

Ha
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:59 PM   #33
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Man, 'yall are scaring me.......

I've got a 13 year old son who is on the lazy side, and not a self starter at all. He needs constant hand holding to get his homework done, is super slow doing his chores (what little chores he has), will sleep until noon if I let him, etc. Maybe it's just the teenage hormones kicking in.....

On the bright side, he does want to get a job as soon as he can, and I think this is a great idea, but he thinks he wants to get a job as a busboy or in the kitchen at a local Johnny Carinos. He talked to the manager one night when we were in there eating and the manager said he would hire him at 14. Anyone here have any experience working in a restaurant at such a young age? Any issues working so young with older co-workers? I have read/heard that the restaurant biz is full of druggies/partiers and I don't want him exposed to that yet.
Cardude I have experience in that. My first job was at 14 being a busboy, dishwasher at a restuarant. Worked there for 3 years until I went to college. Let me tell you he will be exposed to everything! Workers smoking non stop, would have alcoholics sneaking their bottles in, even a few blowing weed near the out vents! Im not saying they are all like that( or that it happened all the time there), but my experience was that and that was in the 80's mind you. That being said if he is grounded in his upbringing values, he will probably be alright. I actually liked most of my coworkers (everyone was older) and enjoyed working with them. I just politely turned down offers and didnt judge them. In fact it reinforced my desire to go to college and make something out of myself. Learning the true value of a dollar "EARNED", not given to me was invaluable. It also taught me that I wasnt "above" any job. You wouldnt believe how many teenagers "are too good" for their first jobs to be in fast food or restuarant.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:28 PM   #34
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After graduating from college with an arts degree, my sister moved back in with my mom. She had a hard time finding jobs and when she worked, she was not making much money. However, the little money she was making was spent on stupid stuff instead of helping my mom pay the bills (my mom herself had a low income despite working overtimes). This was hard enough for my mom to swallow. But when my sister's boyfriend started spending his days (and soon after nights) at my mom's, things got really tense. The boyfriend was pretty lazy and unemployed. His parents were sending him money to help pay for food and rent but he was living and eating for free on my mom's dime which allowed him to spend his money on gadgets, concerts and what not. One night, my mom came home from a hard day of work and found the 2 of them sitting around the table, complaining there was nothing to eat in the house. She gave them 30 days to move out. It was a very tough decision to kick my sister out. Very tough. But I don't think she ever regretted doing it.

My sister went through a period of personal struggle and made many mistakes (like getting into credit card debt). But she is now doing well for herself. She has been with the same employer for 6 years, she still doesn't make a ton of money but manages what she makes quite well. My dad still helps her a little bit. She gets my dad's old cars for which she pays a below-market price and she lives in one of my dad's rentals for which she pays a below-market rent. But, overall, being on her own really taught her how to be a responsible adult. I am very proud of her.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #35
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So sorry you are going through this . Nothing is harder than watching our children struggle . After my daughter graduated from college she decided to hang around and still play college life for awhile well I quickly closed the check book and that stopped immediately .
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:07 PM   #36
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One word. Military.
That will get his sorry butt in shape and also get him on track education wise.
I don't know why people think the military is the cure for juvenile delinquency. The all-volunteer force can shape & guide someone's motivation, but it can't light the fire without the volunteer's spark. Right now, with the info Katsmeow has provided about his behavior, I suspect that he'd have a tough time getting through even the Navy's recruit training.

The "military option" might just as well be fulfilled by the Peace Corps, Americorps, or some other service organization. The difference is that they don't give him access to weapons systems, ammunition, and deadly force. So maybe it's a good thing that he's physically disqualified and doesn't have to confront this "option".

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I am not going to give him all the money at once. We will pay his first month's rent and his down payment on auto insurance. The rest he will get monthly over a period of a few months. We've told him that when it's gone...it's gone. I would pay tuition if he goes back this fall but not if he goes back years from now, for example. I've been very clearcut on all this.
DH and I really are agreed on the approach to take. He thinks giving him anything (cashwise) is just throwing money away. I agree that he is right but still want to do it and he is cool with that.
Spouse and I have had lots of great parental ideas for financially launching our daughter, but she also appears to need a dose of experiential learning. The best we've been able to do so far is to let her know the parameters, rules, & consequences for handling our money. She's apparently determined to figure out her own processes for handling her own money, and she'll probably slam into a few guardrails along the way. Not our problem anymore. At least she seems to have good support in place at the college and her NROTC unit, and she knows that financial disasters will make it hard for her to get a security clearance.

I think the trick is to make yourself feel good about what you're doing ("I tried and my conscience is clear") while letting the progeny give themselves enough knocks to learn from without actually getting hurt or incarcerated. So a Craigslist rental room seems like a great start (where the roommate experience helps them learn from someone else) while their own solitary apartment might not work out so well. Knowing that they "can always go back to college on Mom's & Dad's money" is a good safety net they can turn to if they crash. It also helps them to know what the rules would be if they tried to boomerang ("You get your room & kitchen privileges but we own the entertainment assets and you have to contribute to groceries & rent") so that they can decide for themselves whether to toughen up and figure it out or go back home in defeat for a while. Heck, even a lot of homeless shelters make their residents clear out every morning.

One of our neighbors said the only way he got his four boys to move out of his house 15 years ago was to keep tightening up the "house rules" until they moved out in disgust. A couple of them actually learned to get along well enough to team up on their own apartment, so in effect he got them to develop their independence by giving them a common enemy to rebel against. Today, with families of their own, they can laugh at what Pops had to do. Another neighbor just could not persuade her son to stop driving without vehicle insurance-- into his mid-20s he was sure he'd keep getting away with it. However after your first bust on this offense the Hawaii police apparently keep an eye out for repeaters. On his third bust he got a few days' jail time and a pile of community service, which finally helped him change his mind about insurance.

Worst case would be your son would have to run out of money, get thrown out of his rental room, and figure out how to crash on a "friend's" couch or sleep in his car until he can straighten out his employment and start saving money. Knowing that he can rely on parental college support, and perhaps your house as a safe place to sleep in for a last-ditch resort, may give him the confidence to get through his self-imposed trials.

Otherwise I'd agree that you're done giving him money, and you might even have to change the locks on your doors. You certainly wouldn't want to be sharing any credit cards or debit cards or other financial accounts with him.

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Thus far, my son has shown no interest in drugs, drinking or smoking and has been strong against them. Of course, you never know what will happen in the future. My mother told me that he recently told her that we (his parents) should be happy he doesn't do those things. Of course, we're happy he doesn't (and he knows that) but it just doesn't give him a free pass on everything else....
At least it's not the alcohol/drugs interfering with rational reasoning. Considering my behavior at her age, I'm astounded that our teen apparently didn't inherit my interest in drinking or drugging. Maybe she really was listening to all my liberty stories.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:14 PM   #37
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Your original post already had the answer in it. Stop the flow of money. Period.

I wish you luck. I had a very wild older sister who drove my mother batty with her nonsense. My Mom never enabled her by opening the checkbook, but my sister kept trying and trying and trying......it was one excuse after another...each more creative than the last. In her later years, my Mom foolishly relented and gave my sister money to pay for car insurance, rent, unpaid credit card bills. It was never paid back.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:16 PM   #38
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I think the trick is to make yourself feel good about what you're doing ("I tried and my conscience is clear")
And that is why DH is OK with us giving him some money. It may end up be throwing away the money. BUT the money would give him an adequate transition if he works and is frugal and shows good judgment on spending. If he doesn't do those things -- then I will feed that I tried and my conscience will be clear.

DS in some ways does work hard. His employers usually like him as he does work hard when at work. He likes cooking and likes food so he enjoys his work. However, he isn't -- so far -- willing to work hard to get work above the close to minimum wage level. He wants to be highly paid...but doesn't want to do the work to get there.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:18 PM   #39
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If he ends up broke and evicted, we will not let him move back in here. I hate the idea of him not having a place to live, but I also can't believe that -- in his situation -- having him come back here would do anything of lasting good for him. Of course, he can come here for dinner, could ask us for advice, and so on. But, I'm not inclined to give financial assistance (except for tuition in certain circumstances we've explained to him).

Now....let's say he turned everything around, was supporting himself, etc. Let's say that he had a job loss or illness and needed a temporary place to stay. I could see in that situation allowing an adult child to come home temporarily or providing other assistance providing that adult child was diligent working to get employed or so on. I'm not talking about that kind of situation which I think has to be individually handled.
It looks like you are being fair and consistent with him. That you have been consistent with your words and actions in the past is key - you do as you say. I don't see what more you can do for this adult. You have given him a great opportunity. It is up to him to make something with it.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:20 PM   #40
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If he ends up broke and evicted, we will not let him move back in here. I hate the idea of him not having a place to live, but I also can't believe that -- in his situation -- having him come back here would do anything of lasting good for him. Of course, he can come here for dinner, could ask us for advice, and so on. But, I'm not inclined to give financial assistance (except for tuition in certain circumstances we've explained to him).

Now....let's say he turned everything around, was supporting himself, etc. Let's say that he had a job loss or illness and needed a temporary place to stay. I could see in that situation allowing an adult child to come home temporarily or providing other assistance providing that adult child was diligent working to get employed or so on. I'm not talking about that kind of situation which I think has to be individually handled.

One of the things that I believe is you do have to stick to your guns... as an example.. in my post I said about the nephew... at one time after being kicked out (I believe he was 19 or 20 at the time)... he did not last that long at a job or living with friends... my sister saw him sitting in the middle of a vacant lot.. (more of a field)... she saw him there for 5 days.. then she called the authorities who came and picked him up... that is when he was taken care of by the state... it was hard for her, but there was nothing else working... it was his decisions that got him in that situation...


As to your last post... I would add... if he was not frittering away his money... IOW, living responsibly... an adult (even a young one) should be able to save enough to live on for 6 months... so I would not even expect DS to come knocking for a place to stay prior to that 6 months time frame... YMMV...

PS.... our company just hired a guy who was out of work because of the crisis... and he made money by selling used cars... he bought them at auction and then fixed them up and sold them... he said it brought in enough for him to live on.. just saying that someone who is not lazy can find SOME way to make money for a short timeframe...

OHHH, I also just remembered seeing a show of American Greed about HealthSouth.... one of the CFOs who had millions was now running his own grass cutting service.. (he being the only employee)... said he was making about $30K and enjoying life... again... finding a way to make money...
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