What's the best way to motivate a 20 year old son?

Ariesgirl - posted on 06/16/2011 ( 25 moms have responded )

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So what do you do when your son drops out of school, only finds "part-time" work and sleeps until he wakes up?

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[deleted account]

My step son was exactly the same. My husbands ex wife didn't put any pressure on him to get off his backside and get a job and neither did my husband He is 28 now and has still not got a job, just dropping out of one college course after an other. We used to give him money but I had enough and told my husband he would never learn. He is now married and still not working. Now its his wife's problem. Looking back I think we failed him. I wish my husband had put pressure on him as soon as he left school to get a trade or a full-time job but neither of his parents did. Please don't make the same mistake. Give him some tough love and although he will rebel and make you out to be the worst mother on the planet, one day he will thank you. Good luck

JuLeah - posted on 06/17/2011

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He is 20? Why is he living with you?

Kick him out. Don't give him money. Stop acting like he is five.

Yes, he will struggle. Yes, he might spend a few nights on a friends sofa. Yes, he might miss a few lunches.

Through it all, you say, "I know you can figure it out son. I know you can live your life"

And, he will.

But, each time you 'help him' you send the message that you think he can't do it alone, is too dumb, is a loser.

He dropped out of school and sleeps all day??? Depressed?

I can't know, but I do know that when we 'help' we are never ever helping. Enabling hurts.

Pattyann - posted on 06/27/2011

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We had the same problem. I say just charge him rent. An amount that doesn't make you angry when you have to feed him and pick up after him. I charged a little more than a one bedroom apartment and he finally moved out and got his own!! It was time. I don't mind paying for them when things are tough, there are medical problems, or other issues. But I am not going to pay for them to be lazy and stay home. I gave him chores that I did not want to do, and took money off the rent for those things that he did. It actually worked out well for us, but I was still happy to see him get out on his own and get a job.

Kendra - posted on 06/17/2011

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I have a nephew the same age and does the same thing...lol. I tink they need a little tough love to get them going. I tink if you put your foot down, either work, school or out you go!

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Mitzi - posted on 06/08/2012

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I know, i couldn't b n boot camp either, they make u get up at 5 n the morning(lol). I can do 6 am but i can't do 5am(lol). Your son will find his way soon, he has no coice now, he's a grown man.

[deleted account]

I'm happy for your son,Mitzi.I hope he passes!i keep telling my son that I can't take care of him forever and he says"I know".He loves computers and video games.But he would'nt be able to get into the video game business because he does'nt have the proper skills.but Computers-maybe.Like your son,he does'nt like to read or study(who does actually-study,I mean).it's an option totake a computer course.
As for entering the service,I don't think he'd make it.he'slike me,would'nt pass boot camp!

Mitzi - posted on 06/07/2012

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That's all u can do. Have you talk with him about joining the service? what does he like to do? I know it has to be something that intrest him that he likes that maybe u can pursue him to doing. My 20 year old son likes to fish alot, his dad took him fishing at the age of 2 years old, if his dad and friends went fishing without him, he would be upset cause they left him. My son played football in high school, but if my husband ask him do you want to go fish or play football, he would start getting his fishing poles ready(lol), he was no joke when it came to fishing and would catch more fish than his dad and friends at the age of 7 and 8 years old. I told my husband when my son became a teenager when he's not playing football take him on fishing trips, because i knew that was something he likes to do besides playing football. Til this day when my son is not working he goes fishing he is able now to go on his own instead of waiting for his dad to take him. It has to be something that motivates ur son, u just have to find out what that is. The problem i did have with my son, when he was in school, he didn't like to read at all, that was a rough situation for me, cause i had to fight with him on it. But he has to read now, to pass these test to get jobs(lol), he's trying now to get a job with the city for water treatment and he has to study to take the test in sept, he keep saying "Man i have to study for this test", I told him u better get on it cause 3 months is nowhere from now if u want to pass that test(lol), i will just laugh to myself. I didn't get it with him when he started college, cause he had no problem doing homework and studying, but high school he would do enough just to get by to play football. Well, i hope the best for u with ur son, cause he is 20 now he's not a teenager anymore he should be getting into something he likes to do,instead of him wanting you to take care of him, which i don't understand that he thinks u would.

[deleted account]

ok.That IS strange!

Thanks.

As for my son,I'm going to drop off a couple of resumes for him,on my way to work.Which will be soon :(

Angie - posted on 06/07/2012

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haha...you know I've seen you post that about your name a few times & wasn't sure what you were referring to...you show up as Brenda Steeves to me, but guess what? I show up as "you" when seeing my own posts. I guess Circle of Moms thinks it's easier to show your posts as "you" and not your name. You are only "you" to you..if that made sense..lol...have a great day :)

[deleted account]

Thanks again,Angie.I live in canada and I already called my insurance company and in my province if they just have their beginner's,they don't need to be on my policy,only when they get their permanent license.

Angie - posted on 06/07/2012

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Best wishes to you Brenda & sometimes getting a little tough is the best thing that you can do not only for him, but yourself. Be careful with the license thing...my friend just had her policy cancelled because she refused to her 19yo on her policy and in our state, if you have a licensed driver in your house, they either need to be on your policy or have their own. You can't say...they don't drive. Hang in there...my dad always tells me it will all work out somehow, someway :)

[deleted account]

Thanks,Angie.yes,I have thought of all of this.But I'm such a softy!I know if I do that he'll probably cry(yes at ,almost 20,he still will do that)My kids are so sensitive-unfortunately,they get that from me.And we live out in the country and he does'nt have his drivers license -yet.But even when he does get it,I won't be able to afford to put him on my policy-not until he gets a job.

I know all of this sounds like I'm making excuses but I WILL do that soon.Because there is a chance I(and along with somee of my co-workers)will be out of a job by the end of this month.

Thanks for your support!!!

(And ,again-I'm not"YOU"-I'm BRENDA)

Angie - posted on 06/06/2012

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I think it's sometimes just as hard for them to adjust to "now what" after school is done as we are. My 19 yo was the same way after graduating. I finally sat him down (after several months of motivational talks) and said I will always be here to help him as long as he is helping himself. I go to work full time, your brother goes to school full time & it's not fair you don't have the same responsibility as we do. I told him he had 30 days to be doing something full time ~ work, school or a combo...and he got very defensive and said or what? you're going to kick me out?...I told him why no honey, I'm just going to have to start charging you rent...he said are you serious?!? And my reply was absolutely, did you need 60 days? and until you have that full time thing going, your full time job is to get it going.

I am very, very happy to say he hit the pavement hard, got a full time job within a few weeks and 1 1/2 years later is still there and moved out last October to his own apartment. He is discussing a little bit of moving back when his lease is up so he can save more money. Being a grown up isn't all it's cracked up to be..lol

Sometimes they need a little motivation...I prefer that word to nagging..lol; however if he wants to act like a kid, maybe he needs treated like a kid, including grounding. Have you thought about turning his room into a bed and dresser...no TV..no video games...might provide a little motivation it's time to get priorities where they need to be....I did that once to my oldest at 17..lol.

But overall, my advise is communicate, communicate, communicate, but don't allow the excuses, but be supportive to help. Maybe even explaining the hardship on you will help motivate him. Hopefully he (and you) will get good news on the job interview..best of luck to you :)

[deleted account]

I don't want to be known as "you",I just don't know how to give myself a username.I have checked my profile and it does'nt give any info there.

Anyway,my name is -Brenda

[deleted account]

thank you,Mitzi.Actually,I just posted this last week.And ,still nothing has changed.But I will keep trying!

Mitzi - posted on 06/04/2012

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I know it's been a year since, you post this message. How has everything been going? I hope your son has gotten his act together. I have a son that is 20 years old now, but when he was 18 and graduated high school, i just told him straight out, that he has to do something with his life, cause i am not obligated to take care of you anymore. You are helthy to work and go to school and to be independent on your own, i will be supportive of the right choices you make in life. So, he did get out there and worked some odd jobs, until he found him something permanent. I just thank god each and everyday, that my son listen a little to what i was saying. Sometimes, you just have to get on your knees and keep praying each and everyday, and ask god to help us with our children cause it's hard trying to guide them down the right road, with so much things going on in the world today. I still pray for my son, that he makes right choices in his life now that he's becoming his own man. I hope your son has some male role models in his life, to help and encourage him how important it is to do something with his life. But you just have to stay on his back, and don't give up on him. And if he's still doing the same thing then try to get him into boot camp or the service. Well. good luck, hope everything will be ok.

[deleted account]

My son graduated (high school)in 2010.he's had 1 part time job and took a paid job training course.With half of that money ,I told him he had to take a driver's ed course.He did.Took his road test 2 days ago-failed.need to practice parallel parking more.I told him he can take my car(I'm a single mum) and practice out in the driveway anytime before I leave for work(at 2:30pm)But so far he has'nt done it.

He stays in his room almost all the time playing video games or on YouTube.He says he is applying for jobs online but no luck yet.He had 1 inteview 2 days ago and we'll know by fri.if he got it or not.He is very shy(worse than I was ).But everytime I say something about practiicing with the car or finding a job,I feel I'm nagging.

I am a single mum of 3 boys-20(in July),18 & 16(in July).And I have a full-time job working from 3-11pm mon.-fri.So time is at a premium!


I can't just kick him out--witth no job.I don't have the heart.But I NEED to do something that works!!

HELP!!!

Shawnn - posted on 06/28/2011

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At 20 years old???

Tell him he's got a limited time (and YOU set the limit) to find an apartment and get out. He has finished his schooling, he is NO LONGER a child, and if he isn't going to grad school, he needs to be on his own.

and, don't give him the option of staying if he gets a job. That is enabling him to quit that job as soon as it doesn't suit him. He NEEDS to be on his own, unless he has some developmental disability that would hinder that.

Melissa - posted on 06/28/2011

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My mom told us that the house was off limits from 9am to 6pm. She didn't care if we sat on the sidewalk outside, but if she was working, we were not lounging. The woman also gave me a suitcase for my 18th birthday. I love and respect her for that!

Chantelle - posted on 06/27/2011

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Your son is my age and very lazy i own my own house getting married in 2 weeks run my own business with my soon to be husband and have another job on the side i do all this with a 20 month old in one arm and a 2 week old in the other i moved out of home at the age of 16 tell your son to get off his arse or you'll kick him out and mean it. It sounds harsh but it's the only way

Ariesgirl - posted on 06/18/2011

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Thanks Alison, I completely agree because he is drifting and slightly defiant about it. His stepdad and I gave him a deadline of the end of the month. Either get a full-time job, go back to school or get out.

Janet - posted on 06/17/2011

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How long has he been doing this? If it hasn't been long...give him some time to sort out what happened and what his next step is going to be. And you should ask him what he is thinking is his next step....you can't make decisions for him...but you can help guide him :)

Also, tell him you expect him to be a contributing family member....the same rules that always applied...chores and what not

Ariesgirl - posted on 06/17/2011

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Thanks JuLeah! You're absolutely right. I guess I'm afraid he will end up on Skid Row or something.

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