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#61 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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In my family, if my kids are not ready to fly the coop or at least be in full time work or full time education by 18 I will feel like I've failed at my job as a parent. It is my job to help them grow up and be able to function in the world as an adult.
Ok - so let's say it happens and you feel you have failed.

How do you help them to move on?

I am genuinely curious because I see no magic bullet.

-do nothing - you risk becoming a doormat if it goes on too long, and an enabler

-offer help: resources, job finding, whatever. Hope they want it. I like this option the best - but the young adult has to want it.

-go all tough love-y. Risk ruining your relationship or sending a young perosn who is ill-equipped to handle the world out into it. Sometimes tough love is a good idea - but having a coasting child isn't one of them (IMNSHO).


I think it goes without saying that everyone agrees that reasonable boundaries (I will not pay for your Wow or smokes) while this is going on is healthy for everyone.

I also think the "full time job" is a bit unrealistic. Many jobs start out part time - that is just the way it is. Don't feel llike a failure if your DD or DS can only find part time work in the beginning when they start out - ok?
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#62 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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Ok - so let's say it happens and you feel you have failed.

How do you help them to move on?

I am genuinely curious because I see no magic bullet.

-do nothing - you risk becoming a doormat if it goes on too long, and an enabler

-offer help: resources, job finding, whatever. Hope they want it. I like this option the best - but the young adult has to want it.

-go all tough love-y. Risk ruining your relationship or sending a young perosn who is ill-equipped to handle the world out into it. Sometimes tough love is a good idea - but having a coasting child isn't one of them (IMNSHO).


I think it goes without saying that everyone agrees that reasonable boundaries (I will not pay for your Wow or smokes) while this is going on is healthy for everyone.
Well, I hope to avoid that situation by equiping my kids to handle the world BEFORE they get to 18. They already do their share of household maintenance, cooking, cleaning etc. My older daughter already has a couple of paying jobs (freelance database work) my younger earns money as a mother's helper. The older one also handles her own money from what she earns plus clothing allowance and knows how to budget and handle a bank account. These are very basic things, but it means that they already know that life is not a free ride, that you have to put in as well as take. I doubt that at 19 they will suddenly decide that it's cool to do absolutely nothing to contribute to the family or their own upkeep.
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#63 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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Well, I hope to avoid that situation by equiping my kids to handle the world BEFORE they get to 18. They already do their share of household maintenance, cooking, cleaning etc. My older daughter already has a couple of paying jobs (freelance database work) my younger earns money as a mother's helper. The older one also handles her own money from what she earns plus clothing allowance and knows how to budget and handle a bank account. These are very basic things, but it means that they already know that life is not a free ride, that you have to put in as well as take. I doubt that at 19 they will suddenly decide that it's cool to do absolutely nothing to contribute to the family or their own upkeep.
Cool. It may be hard to believe given my stance on this thread - but we have a similar approach. My DS (13) pays for 1/2 his Wow (DH, who uses it as well pays the other half). All kids have chores they are expected to do because they live here. Hopefully, this will empower them to care for themselves as they get older

However, this doesn't really help the OP. Either she didn't deliver or her son did not absorb those messages growing up (or he is going through something) It happens - and she needs help now.
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#64 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I did not read all of the responses here, so sorry if any of this has been said already. I really feel for you!! I have a set of twins who are 19 and they are now living with grandparents. It is a long story - I wont go into gory details, but the jist of it all is that my parents did not think either twin was capable of supporting themselves OR taking on any college loans. They are both in college. So my parents took them in when DH and I decided to move to a small apt (another long story involving my semi-voluntary unemployment due to new LO). My parents thought that their model of being generous and hard-working and responsible would rub off on my twins and they would miraculously turn into hard working responsible adults. Neither have worked a job since they moved in there (whereas both had jobs while living under my roof) and even though they were told they would HAVE to get jobs, neither has. But oh, they have plenty of money to go to movies, buy games, go out to eat, have internet, have car insurance paid for, take out girlfriends, drive across the country to visit long-distance girlfriends and stay in hotels, and take out loans to buy new cars. So yeah, I am staying clear out of that mess now.

I believe that 19-23 is about the most difficult time in a person's life - figuring out what to do with your life is SO HARD without some real hands on structure. You TELLING him or even putting it in WRITING or having him draw out a plan is not structure. This is what I would do in your situation. I would first figure out a way to deny him internet access to his own computer (remove jack or wireless card, etc). I would do it without telling him in advance - no fights yelling or negotiating. Then when you have his attention (which will be instantaneous) I would give him a certain time frame to when you expect him to take his next step. That next step might be his own apt, the military, college, or mission/volunteer travel (as another poster gave good examples). The time frame might be 6 months, 1 year, whatever you decide. Then say to him his rent needs to be paid in earned cash (not chores or gift money) before the internet access is granted. Do not give him any allowance. You should consider buying bus tickets for him instead of giving him cash so he can get to a job interview, etc. DO NOT WAVER!!!! You have to be absolutely of one mind with your husband and make sure you both have the discussion with him together. If there is ANY inkling that either of you will waver on this ultimatum, your son, like a black bear, will smell it and will know you are blowing hot air. I would also have DAILY updates whenever you see him and he is awake and alert. I would be ALL OVER HIM every second until he gets a job. BUT I would not drive him anywhere or give him anything, he is not 6 years old and he can and will find a way to do it if he is forced. If he does actually surprise you and pay his rent, I would keep it saved in an account for him (without his knowledge) so you can buy him stuff for his apt (or make a deposit, etc).

This kind of tough love really is not tough. Our forebears had extremely tough conditions in which to grow up and it made them strong. Do not worry about doing damage - he is an adult. If he still does not do anything, which if he really likes internet, he will - then I would plan to kick him physically out of the house. (well, not physically kick him - you know what I mean). If you two get tough with him, he will turn out fine. He is perfectly capable of doing it, you have to believe in him.

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#65 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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Suggestion from someone without a teenager, if you want to hear it - going off of what someone else posted, what about volunteer work? Especially if he's having a hard time finding a job (though you say he's not trying all that hard), maybe suggest volunteer work in lieu of rent. You know, for every x hours of volunteer work you'll take x dollars off his rent. It will get him out of the house, get him doing something worthwhile, and looks great on a resume.

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#66 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:21 PM
 
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Suggestion from someone without a teenager, if you want to hear it - going off of what someone else posted, what about volunteer work? Especially if he's having a hard time finding a job (though you say he's not trying all that hard), maybe suggest volunteer work in lieu of rent. You know, for every x hours of volunteer work you'll take x dollars off his rent. It will get him out of the house, get him doing something worthwhile, and looks great on a resume.
Actually, this is a good idea. One of my twins did this (it was a school project) but it ended up he liked it and then got a paying job for this place the next season. He worked for the park district cleaning up the golf course. Any kind of work that gets them out of the house and away from the computer is a very very good thing. A lot of teenagers are AFRAID of the real world and just avoid it. It's easier to sit there. Once they get both feet wet, it's much easier.

Christ Lovin' SAHM to JL 11/07, MP 5/95 and Empty Nester to BT and RM 7/89
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#67 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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I wonder if some of the more intense or "tough love" type responses are a cultural thing. I know the USA prides itself on its independance -I wonder if this has spilled over to family values. Would we get the same response on a European board? Not judging - just wonderring. There is more than one way to be.
Well, I'd probably kick my son out if he didn't shape up after some strong boundaries (no WoW, some kind of internet control, pay his rent, pitch in at home, etc.) were established, and I'm not American. The two most hardcore tough love parents I've personally met were also both from England, not Canada or the US.

I put a high value on independence (actually more on interdependence), but I'm not sure why that's a bad thing. I don't see how it's okay to sponge off other people.

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#68 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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My parents still helped me out when I was 19, and even into my early 20's, so I'm not all about "cut him off/chop!/immediately!" mindset. Many of my friends had some help, too

Yet my parents had expectations from me. In this situation, he isn't contributing AT ALL so I can see where people would be alarmed by that.
I had some help, too. But, "help" implies that the person being helped is actually doing something, imo.

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#69 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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Well, I'd probably kick my son out if he didn't shape up after some strong boundaries (no WoW, some kind of internet control, pay his rent, pitch in at home, etc.) were established, and I'm not American. The two most hardcore tough love parents I've personally met were also both from England, not Canada or the US.

I put a high value on independence (actually more on interdependence), but I'm not sure why that's a bad thing. I don't see how it's okay to sponge off other people.
Ha! I know you are from Canada and I knew you would say that, lol

One person does not prove or disprove a theory, though. I was simply wonderring what, if any, role culture played.

What you see as sponging I may see as supporting someone (a 19 year old son) through a transitional time.
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#70 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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Suggestion from someone without a teenager, if you want to hear it - going off of what someone else posted, what about volunteer work? Especially if he's having a hard time finding a job (though you say he's not trying all that hard), maybe suggest volunteer work in lieu of rent. You know, for every x hours of volunteer work you'll take x dollars off his rent. It will get him out of the house, get him doing something worthwhile, and looks great on a resume.
I second or third this. It might be the motivation he needs.

Kathy
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#71 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A couple more points to consider:

He's known for years that once he was done grade 12, he had one free year at home - no rent - if he wasn't in school. He took one semester - two classes - after grade 12, which I gave him a break on so his year didn't start till he was done that, which was a year ago Feb 1. The idea was that he get a job and save money for that year, which he obviously hasn't done.

He's held jobs in the past - he started working at 15 - but has quit every one for one reason or another. He actually worked pretty steadily through high school. It's only since then he's become a bum.

He seems to be lacking something that I certainly had as a teen - the desire to be independent and not relying on others for everything.
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#72 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The volunteer idea is fantastic - thanks!
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#73 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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They are not even allowed to drink in the USA until they are 21.

So I guess the law does not see them as complete adults.

Kathy
But they can enter into legal contracts, open checking accounts, credit cards, get a lease for an apt. etc at 19. There is a WOW addiction in my home also, but the addict, gets up, goes to work and pays all of our family's bills. Ds plays wow with dad, and he has to pay for half of it with his allowance$, and he is 13. At 19, they aren't mentally ready for all the responsibilities of a 36y/o, but they sure as heck can get off their butt and work/go to school, and pay for their own stuff.
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#74 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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They are not even allowed to drink in the USA until they are 21.

So I guess the law does not see them as complete adults.

Kathy
I love the eyeroll - not sure why it was necessary, I wasn't being combative.

I'm in Canada - you can vote, own property and get married at eighteen.

You can drink and buy smokes at nineteen. Not everyone lives in the US...

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#75 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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..and depending on where you live in canada, you can add drinking and smoking to the 18 list too.
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#76 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in Alberta, and you can drink and buy smokes here at 18. Legally, he's an adult. But he's still my kid, A kid. And if he was to move out, I know he *could* make it on his own. He just needs a push to get himself to work - it's the motivation he lacks.
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#77 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 08:53 PM
 
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Could he be depressed?

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#78 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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I'm in Alberta, and you can drink and buy smokes here at 18. Legally, he's an adult. But he's still my kid, A kid. And if he was to move out, I know he *could* make it on his own. He just needs a push to get himself to work - it's the motivation he lacks.
Of course he'll make it. He'll have booze and smokes. What else could he need? Sorry, just trying to make you laugh a bit.

I understand, believe me. I have one of those non-motivated young adults too. I thinking we cant motivate them, it has to come from within them. But what we can do is have clear set boundaries, expectations and consequences. (And the right to change them as needed.)
Sounds like you have started by not renewing the WoW sub. Thats a good start! Stay strong mama!
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#79 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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Heck, I am in Canada, too!

I think the 21 crack was just my way of pointing out that 19 is not quite an adult - at least not in all places!

I think 19 is a transitional age - are they an old teen? A young adult?

I think it varies from person to person.

I was an adult at 17 in many ways, but some do not reach that level of maturity till later. We all have our own processes - and I do not think a 19 year still being immature in some ways falls outside the range of norm.

Bedhead - I hope he finds the motivation he lacks. Hugs.

Kathy
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#80 of 124 Old 03-11-2009, 10:10 PM
 
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I think getting started in the world is MUCH easier to do with friends. Does he have a couple of guys he could get an apartment with? They could give each other moral support. If he has no friends, that's a whole other kettle of fish. But even then, maybe he could answer a roommate ad in the paper, especially if you live in a town with a university. It would be very difficult to live all by yourself in your first place away from home, but with a group everything is easier.
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#81 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 02:53 AM
 
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In my family, if my kids are not ready to fly the coop or at least be in full time work or full time education by 18 I will feel like I've failed at my job as a parent. It is my job to help them grow up and be able to function in the world as an adult.
This is exactly how I feel too! It is our job to get them ready; we have 18 years to do it.

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My parents still helped me out when I was 19, and even into my early 20's, so I'm not all about "cut him off".
My parents died when I was in junior high, and I had no contact with the aunt and uncle who got custody of us once I moved out at 17. But I did get some financial help doled out in tiny bits by the accountant who managed my parents' accounts.

I'm not saying nor have I heard anyone say that you don't help him AT ALL. I think a good many of us think he shouldn't live with you for free with no job and no schooling. WHEN he has a job or is in full time college, and has someplace to live that isn't under your roof, I'd certainly feel good about helping him financially - like paying for college tuition for example. Of course if he was going on my money, I'd expect a B average. I'm not paying for getting drunk and pulling Ds.

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offer help: resources, job finding, whatever. Hope they want it. I like this option the best - but the young adult has to want it.

-go all tough love-y. Risk ruining your relationship or sending a young perosn who is ill-equipped to handle the world out into it.
I like the idea of offering help too. BUT what are the chances he will want it if his other option is to live for free at your house, sleep in til noon, have a grilled cheese, play WoW til dinner, go out with friends. That is going to sound better to him than "hey, what do you think about getting up at the crack of dawn to file papers or make Egg McMuffins?" The gig at your house is too cushy! Why would he look hard for a job?

And tough love is almost always tougher on the parents than the child (in this case an adult child). It is in the child's best interest - the parent is trying to HELP her son to grow, mature, pull his weight, make his way in the world. If done with love, it will not ruin your relationship! And again, if a 19 year old is TRULY not equipped to handle the real world then some big errors have occured.

The time to think about if your child is appropriately moving down the maturity road isn't the day before they graduate from high school! I once read "is your 9 year old halfway ready to be an adult?" and it really made me stop and think. We need to be making tiny steps towards their independence ALL through their childhood, not just at the very tail end of it. It is our JOB to put ourselves out of a job!

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He is perfectly capable of doing it, you have to believe in him.
WH, I liked everything you had to say, but most especially this!

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A lot of teenagers are AFRAID of the real world and just avoid it. It's easier to sit there. Once they get both feet wet, it's much easier.
Exactly!! I grew up in a small (1500 people) town, knowing all the same people all my life. Never being in a new situation or having to make new friends once I got through kindergarten. When it was time to go to college, I was petrified. I decided not to go. The most loving thing my best friend's mom ever did for me (and she has done A LOT for me over the last 27 years!!) was to put my stuff in a box, put it in my car, hug me, and send me crying off to the four hour drive to college - where I had the absolute best four years of my life, learned so much, grew so much, made so many new friends, BECAME AN ADULT! It most certainly didn't damage our relationship; I adore her for it. She was willing to put up with my sadness and/or anger because growing up was what was best FOR ME.

I say kids/young adults get one summer to coast - at the very most. I actually took a week vacation with a best girl friend then went to work for the summer. A job, an internship, a volunteer position, traveling would all be acceptable ways to spend that summer between high school graduation and college. But lounging around mom and dad's house playing WoW - no.
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#82 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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I disagree with the idea that "tough love" is "harded on the parents than the child."

We "had it out" with my adult stepkids (my dh's children) a few years ago and they act like they've never recovered. And we did it gently but firmly. We still help them out financially. And they STILL act like they've never recovered.

Good luck, OP. This stuff is so hard to navigate.
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#83 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, maybe something is stirring in his brain. He was actually up BEFORE ME this morning talking about his plans for the day, which are to apply to a bunch of places on line, since he emailed me his resume yesterday to put into Word format (he can't on his Mac) since that's the format he wants to email it out in. I have been very adamant the last couple of days that he DO SOMETHING, so maybe he's just doing it to get me off his back, but that's fine.
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#84 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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My thinking, is that the WOW addiction is probably most of his problems. Gamers of all ages get into these "bum" situations. I've seen it in many cases. If you didn't charge rent, I would tell you that it was your house and that you didn't have to allow the game playing in YOUR house. However, if he actually starts paying rent, that would be a harder rule to enforce.
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#85 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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I am so glad he is showing some motivation today ... I read this whole thread last night and it made me so sad.

There are quite a few things that bothered me but first and foremost is the dismissive attitude. I wondered if I was really on MDC. No matter how old somebody is, if you love them you do everything you can to help them be happy and successful, especially your own child. I have never understood the “tough love” body of thought and that is exactly what brought me to MDC in the first place. My suggestion is to spend some time with him, get the communication rolling. You will be able to tell if he is still decompressing from 13 ½ years of school, or if he is having some sort of trouble (depression or addiction). Then you can go from there with love and compassion.

Respect your boundaries and he will too.

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#86 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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They may not be complicated expectations, but they are expectations nonetheless. I'm not sure how it is bad....?
Have your read The 4 Agreements? Some very interesting things about expectations.

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There is nothing wrong with BIL other than parents who have no expectations of him. It's really very sad to watch him throw his life away.
How do you know what is wrong with him? Normally people want to do things and experience things and grow. For some reason this is not happening with him. Has anybody taken the time to find out what that might be? or are we just parent blaming?

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Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
My question for you was how long should a parent be okay with this?
Can I answer? As long as it takes.

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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I am also cognisant of the fact that outsiders often want people to "get over it" long before they are ready. I have an acquaintance who had twins - people were initially helpfull, but soon lost patience with her inability to deal. Grief is another area where this comes to mind. So I think we need to be aware as a society that we often ask people to transition from things before they are ready.
Exactly, thank you.

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Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
I am very aware of the deschooling process and how long it can take. He attended school for 13 1/2 years, plus preschool, and I am sure that he's still going through it. But at the same time, I am feeling used. I don't mind if all he does is gets a job that pays him $300 a month so he can pay his rent. If he only works 2 or 3 days a week. But I think he needs to be contributing, not just freeloading.
I feel you … oh have I been through it. Tell him these things. I know he will listen and he will care … I think a real heart to heart is in order. Especially if it’s presented in an empowering way vs. a shaming way. (that is my struggle).

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does he have social interactions outside of the computer? i would worry about that.
That could be a concern.


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Originally Posted by choli View Post
19 is not a child in my house. 19 is an adult and expected to be working, studying or both. Infantalizing our children does them no favours at all.
What if he had a brain injury? Or mental retardation? Or was a quadriplegic? Not saying the op’s son has anything this extreme, but you don’t know what blocks this kid has and what support he needs to get past them.

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Interesting. I went from 12 years of school to full time work with a 2 week break. It didn't take me any time at all to be self motivated.
Everybody is not the same.

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Originally Posted by choli View Post
Well, I hope to avoid that situation by equiping my kids to handle the world BEFORE they get to 18. They already do their share of household maintenance, cooking, cleaning etc. My older daughter already has a couple of paying jobs (freelance database work) my younger earns money as a mother's helper. The older one also handles her own money from what she earns plus clothing allowance and knows how to budget and handle a bank account. These are very basic things, but it means that they already know that life is not a free ride, that you have to put in as well as take. I doubt that at 19 they will suddenly decide that it's cool to do absolutely nothing to contribute to the family or their own upkeep.
The op's son was like this as a younger teen ... you never know what will happen ... things happen ... and if they ever happen in your family I hope you treat yourself with a little more compassion than you are displaying here.

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#87 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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I agree with Cherie2's responses in the previous post. I also like (and somehow missed) kathymuggle's post that Cherie quoted :

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Originally Posted by kathymuggle
I am also cognizant of the fact that outsiders often want people to "get over it" long before they are ready. I have an acquaintance who had twins - people were initially helpful, but soon lost patience with her inability to deal. Grief is another area where this comes to mind. So I think we need to be aware as a society that we often ask people to transition from things before they are ready.

.....and would like to say I agree with kathymuggle (again).

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#88 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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.....and would like to say I agree with kathymuggle (again).
lol again, she's a smart one huh?

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#89 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank guys I can't deal with him harshly. Finding the best way is hard, but the input here is really helping.

Regarding interactions outside the home - he rarely goes out or has friends over, but he does do it on occasion. And he does yap on the phone with them too.
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#90 of 124 Old 03-12-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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how is your communication? can you go for a walk or a drive and talk about some things? if your not there yet maybe just have some fun bonding time together?

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