How to get a 19 year old step son motivated to find a job!

Christine - posted on 06/21/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I have a 18 year old step son, his father and I have been on his case millions of times to get a job and get things going, he will go out look for work once and a while, but then does not do follow ups, I have even found jobs for him to apply to, but he just does not follow up on anything, sits in the house on his computer all day. We keep telling him he has to get things going, try and give him all encouragement we can, but all he does is just sit around the house. When he officially turns 19 he will be off his father's medical, and MSP just sent him a form to apply for his own medical, and again, he has done nothing about it, trying to get him motivated is one hard challenge, he just lays around and does nothing much.....help?!

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Joy - posted on 11/09/2010

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I'm 18, graduated back in june and a full time college student. I am still living with my parents, i do chores, keep my room clean, and stay out of trouble. I do spend alot of my time in my room bc i'm doing school work and i have to use the computer to do it (Though i am watching tv shows or playing a game every now and then) And my parents are getting on me about a job. Before college started i was looking reallly hard for one and i slowly stopped as school went on. I understand the need for me to get a job but i dont want to over whelm myself with so much stuff. Next semester i'm taking 13 credits so i'll be gone the whole week from 1pm-7pm taking classes. And these are classes that will be taking up alot of my time with a lot of homework. I have my own craft site where i sell and make crafts so i do have my own money and i've been buying anything that i need or want with that. I feel like i'm doing alot but when ever my dad comes to talk to me about finding a job it seems like to him i'm doing nothing at all.

Bet - posted on 07/13/2012

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You, I just came upon your reply and felt like I was writing it myself- right down to making him cook a meal for the family once a week and budget it for $10. LOL That didn't last too long but he did it a few times. My problem is also exponentially worsened by my husband coddling his 21 year old baby boy. It has ruined our marriage and we still have a 13 year old daughter to raise. Every time I have tried to implement things, rules, expectations on step son, his father would undermine my authority. His father doesn't get that he is creating an "entitled monster" . It took every amount of restraint not to slap him into reality when I overheard him pissing and moaning to his father about doing things around the house this summer. He is THANK GOD working a full time job this summer (answer to prayer) but living with us while he has an unsublet apartment sitting empty. He had the audacity to say that he doesn''t ask for much .....when we pay his entire tuition bill, almost his entire apartment rent and a food stipend to the tune of about 30K a year. His maternal grandmother gave him a car (sooth her guilty conscience) He's got the mentality of completely self serving ith little or no consideration for anyone else, he is a consumer rather than a contributor to anything other than what's in it for him. I have desperately tried to modify that mentality as I know from watching people with it that it won't serve him well in the "real world". His father has done a disservice to him, a disservice to me and a disservice to our marriage because of his guilt or feelings of being a failure if he doesn't do all this for his "little boy". I'm at my wits end. I've already instilled far greater life lessons and a mentality of caring and it's not all about you attitude in our 13 yr old daughter. Don't know how to make husband realize what he is doing to his son, his wife, his family, his marriage and his other child - our daughter. I want to have my son pay more toward his living expenses since he's gotten a fulltime job finally summer. Daddy doesn't think he should work at all during the year at college despite what so much research says is a good thing. Son is in for a rude awakening when (or should I say if daddy ever cuts him loss and makes him man up. Father has also crippled him in teaching any kind of relationship skills with a woman by how he condones his disregard and disrespect for me when I impose any expectations on him. My daughter is witnessing this too unfortunately. Any ideas?

Jane - posted on 05/26/2011

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We motivated our step son very simply. We set him up in an apartment and told him the rent would be paid until a specific date. After that he would be on his own, The date came. He had done nothing. He came to us in a panic asking what he should do. We said, Gee, we don't know. What ARE you gonna do? Over the next month or so he lived with friends but didn't pay rent so they locked him out. He spent one night on our living room floor (with the cats - he is very allergic to cats). The next day he got a job, got a place to live, and hasn't been out of work since then.

Basically, we pushed him out of the nest and hoped like crazy he would fly.

He did.

Dawn - posted on 11/10/2010

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Who pays for the internet, who buys the clothes and food...stop doing for him...and make him do for himself...in my house, he wouldn't have internet to play on or new clothes or spending money...and he wouldn't go anywhere or have gas for a car or a car to drive, unless he had a job. You and your husband have more control than you realize...use it!

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[deleted account]

We have the same problem. he occasionally looks for work but makes excuses as to why he hasn't pursued it. His dad pays all of his bills for him, including car insurance and rego. He doesn't contribute to household chores and just comes and goes as he pleases with his mates. I have 3 sons (22,20,18) of my own who all work and visit when they can.
I think it's time for some tough love. Take away privileges like cooking, cleaning and washing for him. Look online together for jobs and TAFE courses he could do. Get him to volunteer his time and maybe something will come of it through networking. Tell him how hurtful it is that he doesn't contribute to the family.
Not sure what is the best solution here, I'm hoping his friends will have a positive influence as they all work.
It's a difficult situation when they are stepchildren, hard to know what you can and can't say without feeling as though you're being mean.
Good luck:( I hope we both have some luck soon
Michelle

Bet - posted on 05/26/2011

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Christine, I understand the plea for help! I too have a stepson although mine is 20 and home from college for the summer. The main thing I noticed is that you said "HIS FATHER AND I have..." which tells me you two are on the same page. That is a definite plus. In my case, his father is part of the problem. His father has coddled him all his life. I guess he has guilty divorced father syndrome. His father is supposed to be communicating our expectations of him in terms of working a full time job during the summer since his father thinks it might be too much for his poor baby to work at all during the school year. Son definitely needs to have expectations set for him that he is held to. Let's just say he lacks his own initiative. I am a firm believer like others have mentioned that you should be turning over responsibility to them for the things they want. A good place to start is with things he wants that you have to pay for such as cell phone, internet. Then if he wants to stay living with you and you are okay with that, he becomes a contributor to the house bills. Paying a share is a lot easier than if he had to provide a roof over his head, a bed to sleep in and food all by himself. Most kids (there are some rare self motivators) will continue to "allow" their parents to do everything for them unless parents put a stop to it. That seems to be really tough for some but parents are NOT doing their kids any favors allowing this. I just imposed that my step son cooks dinner for the family one day a week. He has to purchase, budget for and make a meal. The first was pretty much processed heat up high sodium canned, etc. but he bought it within $10 budget. The second one I had him make chicken, baked potatoes and a salad with food I bought explaining it was healthier. A good life skill to have no matter. Good luck and I commend your husband for stepping up to the plate It is imperative to stay a united front. Ours has been a major struggle not to be divided and manipulated.

Mary - posted on 11/10/2010

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my son moved out of the house which encouraged him to get a job now he's working so he can start saving so he can get his own place

Kelly - posted on 11/10/2010

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Maybe you could plan a trip to a college or trade school and go with him? Take him to the food shelf downtown and have him do some community service. There are lots of volunteer opportunities out there. Maybe he needs to feel like he is useful within something. Give him a responsibility like building a shed, tilling the garden, painting a hallway or his room -- then reward him for it by doing something together. I know he is an adult, but even adults thrive on rewards!

Angie - posted on 11/10/2010

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Joy, there will be times all through life when you will get over whelmed. There are meny single women with children going to college and working. It can be done. When I was in college i was a recently divorced mother of a toddler and new born. I worked full time and was taking 12 to 14 credits, I had a home to take care of and two children.So, trust me I do understand over whelming...But it can be done. There are a lot of women out there doing the same thing. It's all about budgeting your time. If wotking and going to school is the hardest thing you will ever have to do...then you will be lucky. You can do it. :)

Jane - posted on 08/05/2010

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What is working here is that we told him he has to either have a job, be in school, or work here to pay rent. He doesn't want to, mind you, but he's working.

We sat down and figured out just how much it costs us to have him here. We told him at $6/hr, he needs to work 35 hours a week to pay for that. So, he does dishes, he fills the woodstove, he mows the lawn, and does laundry. If he doesn't meet his obligations, then things don't work for him. He had the circuit-breaker to his room disconnected for a week for non-payment and it made a huge difference in his attitude. LOL.

He still doesn't have a job, but since I am providing his "unemployment benefits", one of the conditions is that he fill out 5 job apps a week. He tried to say "But all the apps are online now, so I can't prove it to you" but we told him to print them out after he fills them out online.

Peggy, my 18 year old just graduated and also is reluctant to drive. I'm not really sure what to do about that one, but I think it will help when he starts college and has to ride with Dad to the town where the college is and Dad works at 5 am. LOL. Sometimes, experience is the ONLY teacher.

Angie - posted on 07/21/2010

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Well if he wants a car, computer, video games, money to go out with friends, ect...tell him to get off his butt and do something! As adults if we want or need anything we have to work for it. We sometimes make things too easy for our kids, because we love them. that isn't always what's best for them. Sometimes tough love is what's best.

Peggy - posted on 07/21/2010

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Wow seems so easy when you read it. I also have an 18 yr old son. He just grad from HS in may. Hes taken the written part of the driving test several times. He has adhd to some degree. Hes afraid of failure. We've tried everything even bought him a car to motivate him to study. We ended up getting rid of it because it leaked oil. I guess its time to really put our foot down. My husband can be alot harder on him than me. I guess maybe thats what he needs. If anyone one trys something new let me know. Any adivce is truely appreciated

Gloryanne - posted on 07/18/2010

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I agree with the previous comments. My 18 year old has to pay for his car insurance, repairs, gas, etc and then rent on top of that. I told him if he's late with the car insurance (he is still on our policy), the plates come off the car. If he's late with the rent, his phone gets turned off.
About a month ago, he came home and announced that he needed to "chill" overnight at a friend's house and I told him no. He told me that I couldn't tell him what to do and I said if he left he would find all of his clothes on the porch. He looked and me and then moved toward the door - I then told him to give me his cell phone. With that, he decided to stay.
They are all motivated by something - find out what that is and capatalize on it.

[deleted account]

I have an 18 yr. old daughter that is the same way! My husband & I have been telling her since before she turned 16 that she needed to get a job and now at 18 she STILL has not had her first job and does not put ANY effort into finding one either! It is sooooo frustrating!

MaryLou - posted on 07/03/2010

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Why do you let him sit around the house and play on his computer? Tell him to go out and get a job. You are not going to support him (moneywise) anymore. If he doesn't tell him, it's time he was out on his own, because he can't pay rent!

Leslie - posted on 07/01/2010

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Give him two weeks notice. If he is not agreeing to the terms of him staying in the house give him the boot. Change the locks and leave a change of clothes, a comb, and a toothbrush in a box on the stoop. As long as you allow this behavior with no consequences it will not change. He needs to learn responsibility.

Lisa - posted on 06/30/2010

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give him the facts, you live here, eat, use computer, at 19 you will have to pay 'rent' for using stuff. If he doesn't like it, he can move out. :) Our 15 yr old, same, no drive to get a job, yet gets mad at us, telling us he's moving out @ 17. In a calm converstation, we tooked about how much things cost. He's changed his tune, but still not going out to find a part time job :s Eventually they figure it out, I hope.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/28/2010

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Have his dad give him a breakdown of the bills he will be required to pay while living at home once he turns 19...such as a portion of electric, gas, etc, as well as room and board for his meals. Once a kid has an idea that he isn't skating through for free, it usually motivates him. AND you must stick to collecting! Tell him that it's due by the 10th for example, and if he cannot meet that obligation he will need to find a new place. And make sure he understands that in the new place he'll be responsible for EVERY portion, not just a share. He'll come around.

Christine - posted on 06/28/2010

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Tracy -
thnk you for the comment....funny it is like you have just read our minds....we have done just that, we have set a time limit for him, as to wen he better have a job, next month he will be 19, and yes he did sit him down and had the serious talk about being a man, taking responsibility, and yep.....his father is now charging him rent, cutting off the internet, because he will sit in his room all day, day in, and day out on his computer, so he is cutting that off as well, and trying to make things a little harder for him.

Tracy - posted on 06/26/2010

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Since he is your step son, you will need to have his dad talk to him about being a man, and being self-sufficient. If his Dad starts billing him for his room and board and turns off the cable broadband/DLS phone service, it might help him to be more self-motivated & leave the house.

Michele - posted on 06/26/2010

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This is really hard. I have a 19 year old too. He was supposed to get a summer job before college. Like you I gave him leads etc. He has done nothing, sleeps until 1pm and goes out really late at night. Part of this is an emotional development issue. On the other hand, I think I have made it easy for him. We will not be giving him any money and have also set a deadline to get a job. Good luck to you. If you find the magic answer please let me know.

Heather - posted on 06/26/2010

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Set a deadline to have a job by or else he is out! Unfortunately, unless you put your foot down, he will continue to take advantage of you. Hope this helps :)

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