How do I motivate my 20 year old to get a job?

Natalia - posted on 07/08/2009 ( 44 moms have responded )

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My son lost his job about a month or so ago. He is not motivated in any way to get another job or even go back to school to learn something he can earn money at. How do I motivate him to do SOMETHING?

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Sandra - posted on 03/27/2013

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I am looking for information on this topic. my son hasn't worked for about 8 months now, and lacks motivation. He sleeps so much and doesn't want to do a course. He recently got his Heavy Rigid licence (truck) but hasn't got a job jet and doesn't make much effort. We can afford to keep him, although don't give him much except the necessities. Do they sometimes go through a phase and get out of it? My husband doesn't want to tell him to leave because his older brother (my stepson ) went into a very scary situation in his life when we told him to leave and he doesn't want to go through that again. Has anyone got any advice?

Lyn - posted on 11/26/2011

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what if he is 24 went back to school but still dont want to do nothing dont have job and says he cant get one cause he goes to school to 12 in the day,but gets mad and argues with you calls you names when you try to make him do for him self want cook clean if he gets money he blowes it.dont want to offer nothing for gas or food or bills in the house.

[deleted account]

#1 He is a grown man. He needs to support himself, you have already done your job.
#2 sit down and write up a contract with him with a timeline, including what you expect from him while he is living under your roof. If he won't sign the contract, he needs to find somewhere else to live.
#3 You need to give him a deadline to find employment. period. no waivering, no whining. ~ again he is an adult. pumping gas, or serving fries .. any job, as long as it is honest work and pays the bills is a good job.
#4 if he goes past the deadline to move out and is really putting in an effort, even if he is only working a partime job, he still needs to work at your home, for you, to pay for shelter, food, etc. by doing cleaning, laundry, yard work, etc. ~ if he doesn't agree... he needs to find another place to live.
You have to lay down the law. It is your home. You are not throwing him out if you give him options. If he chooses not to get on board, then it is his decision. Sometimes the only way for them to learn and get motivated and to make life what they want, is to fall down, land on their butt and figure out. Tough love is sometimes the best way to show how much we care.

Nancy - posted on 07/11/2009

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This is a tough one but I agree with many of the posts below--cut off money. Even if you have money, say you don't. I had a son who was so finicky about where he would and would not work. But once the money ended and his friends were all working and getting things, he finally landed a great full-time job. Good Luck!

Melissa - posted on 06/13/2013

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He's an adult, he needs to be paying some amount of rent no matter where he lives unless he wants to be a full time student.

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Karen - posted on 06/11/2013

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Go to your electrical box and turn off the electricity to his room. No work, no power. No tv or video games. Stop giving him the necessities. He needs to earn them.
One mom bought her 18 year old son some camping gear and let him live in the back yard until he chose to be a responsible contributor to the family expenses. She turned off the power to the outdoor plug, but she still allowed him to use the water hose. He enjoyed himself for a while. He was free to rent a room inside when he got a job. No rent money = no room inside.

Ann - posted on 06/02/2013

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Cool ones indeed. From a folklorist's point of view, we can dig out this wisdom from our ancestors too who already traveled the path. Here are few such proverbs for the youngsters.

1.) What can't be cured must be endured. (English)

2.) If you can't do as you wish, do as you can. (Yiddish)

3.) If you cannot catch fish, catch shrimps. (Chinese)

4.) Pray to God but continue to row to the shore. (Russian)

5.) We need not regret a fall if it is for a worthy cause. (Philippine)

6.) Failure teaches you more than success. (Russian)

7.) Suffering is bitter but its fruits are sweet. (Estonian)

8.) Even if we are surrounded by poison we will not die of it if we do not take it. (Philippine)

9.) However much snow falls, still it does not endure the summer. (Turkish)

10.) Though the centipede has one of its legs broken, this does not affect its movement. (Burmese)


I love to see the words of wisdom reflects in these wise sayings and still holds value till today. If interested, you are welcome to visit my collection of inspirational proverbs at http://cuteproverbs.com/popular-proverbs...

Hope this will help.

Addison - posted on 04/16/2012

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find out what he likes and see if there is a job including that thing. :) it worked with my sister she is 26 and is going to school to be a docter

Angie - posted on 12/02/2011

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my son washes his clothes or simply put he can wear dirty ones im not washing them no longer. before i didnt mind washing them as long as i didnt have to go hunting for them but about a year ago he wanted to go off and asked me where his clean clothes were i said i wshed what was in laundry well they were all in his room. at that point i said you want clean clothes you need to be washing them yourself now. my son also has to take out trash, unload dishwasher and keep his bathroom and bedroom clean.

Angie - posted on 12/02/2011

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well my son just found out that his girlfriend at the time is not pregnate or at least now saying its not his its someone elses.
my sons exams ends next week and he said he doesnt want to continue with school now because he doesnt like what he signed up for. i told him to go and talk to school advisor and pick something else he just says he wants to wait for school. so i told him he want have the car if he has no gas money. I dont get teenagers and why they just dont care. my hub said once his phone gets cut off because we dont pay bills and insurance is canceled and he gets pulled over then mayb he will get it. Help how do i motivate my 19 year old to get a job. I wish he would work part time and continue with school.

Angie - posted on 11/22/2011

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Im going through the same thing right now my son is 19 and doesnt seem to care about a job. he has put in apps but doesnt call about them unless i nag and nag we dont give him money he cant take the car cause he doesnt have gas and this doesnt seem to bother him at all he will just walk where ever he says he doesnt care if he has to walk im talking 15+ miles to see his girlfriend. well recently they broke up and she says shes pregnate i guess he gotta get a job now if its his baby. talk about tough love. I hate we gotta wait about 7 or 6 months to find out if its his baby. but i hate that this is what its gonna take to hopefully make him grow up!

Angie - posted on 10/13/2011

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Ive been trying to get my 19 year old motivated and get a job since he graduated HS in may. Now he attends community college and needs a job to help with his bills. He does not seem to be motivated to get one. What does everything one think he is a fulltime student and at the moment we give him gas for school, pay for his insurance and cell bill. but have also told him he has got to get a job if its only 10 hours a week to help with bills. He also has a gf that he sees 2 days a week if he has money left over from what we give him in gas for school but my husband has told him he needs to start working and useing his money to go see her. She doesnt seem to care that he doesnt have money to do things. I dont know i just think he needs to work and see what its like and start paying his own gas and bills.The semester ends in Dec and my husband has said he needs a job by then or cell will be shut off and he want have gas at all till spring semester starts. I just hope he is passing his classes and continues with school.

Natalia - posted on 09/20/2011

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Well, it's been over 2 years & my son is STILL not working. I couldn't take it anymore & made him move out & in with his natural father. His natural father said he could not understand how our son could be stressing me out so much so I told him that David could live with him then if he thinks it's so easy & not stressful. David has lived with his father for just over a year & NOW his father knows what stress is all about. I know this may sound mean, but it is no longer my problem. Don't get me wrong... I love my son very much but I am no longer responsible for him any more.I still worry, but now he realizes what he had when he lived here at home. He doesn't live in the nice neighborhood anymore & sometimes has to rely on Ramon Noodles & Bologna sandwiches for dinner. I hope one day he will get it & step up & move forward.
Thank you ladies for all the responses & advice. Truly appreciated!

Karen - posted on 09/20/2011

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My daugher student taught in the Fall which is really not a good idea but just how it worked out. It is not easy to get Interim teaching positions in January but she could have substituted all she wanted. Like your son, she was very unmotivated to jump thru the hoops to be a substitute teacher with the county we live in. She did, however, go thru the process with the special school district and subbed SOME. She has a child - 4 yr old at the time - so I had to be very selective in what I said to her. She is one that does not hold her tongue regardless of who's in the room. Hindsight is 20/20. If I had it to do all over again, she would have had exactly 30 days to find a job doing something - Walmart, Kroger, etc. If not, she'd have had a few luxuries taken away - to her, that means CELLPHONE - and whatever else it took. I look back now and regret just letting her slum for an entire 6 months. She did get a teaching position in June for the following school year which didn't start until late July, so effectively, she got a 7 month vacation....on our dime.

[deleted account]

Stop feeding him and make him wash his own cloths , if he wants something make him hover or dust or better still clean the toilet .

Jennifer - posted on 07/16/2009

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Tough love give him a time limit. I assume he lives with you no job move out. I relize it is hard now to find a job but if he chooses not ot go to school he needs to do something. And living off of you is not an option. Good luck!!

[deleted account]

Don't feed him. Cut off the electric to his room. Circle all the help wanted adds and hand him the phone or the car keys. Just annoy him until he's happy to get out of the house and away from you. Or just tell him what I used to tell my kids when they didn't want to go to high school (after many long and frustrating battles), I don't care where you go. You just need to be out of this house between 8A and 3P. Sit on the steps at the school. But you aren't sitting around here. They usually (finally!) went to school.

Shelly - posted on 07/13/2009

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What I decided to do my son who just graduated I told him that he needs to pay for his own cell ph bill wow talk about motivation...He is putting applications in..Good Luck

Lorelei - posted on 07/13/2009

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Its hard when you have a role model setting example to children. Because usually children looks up to their parents. You know what I would do, just take them on a ride of a surprise, drive them to unemployment office, don't tell them where you're taking them. Just drive over there and drop them off. If you can get them out of the car. Just leave them, they won't have choice but to get someone in the employment office to help them. I hope this works.

Debbie - posted on 07/13/2009

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My son is out of work, but so is his father. My son looks for work but he is very discouraged. My ex is 52 years young, but he is not wanting to work for anyone. He wants to be his own boss. So I have run out of answers.

Lorelei - posted on 07/12/2009

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Give him the experience of what is like being homeless. Don't financially help me. Get him to figure out how he is going to feed himself.
Trust me I been there and experienced it like many years ago before I had kids. Hopefully you can do this and hopefully he will see this. Take him over to the charity homeless place and have him volunteer to serve them dinner.

Michelle - posted on 07/12/2009

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I have a 19 yo son and a 16 yo. The youngest can't drive yet. But the older one knows we will supply room and food, but no gas or spending money. If he's going to school, that's different. We'll help him out with gas for that. If he's sitting at home doing neither one, he'll be sitting home broke! Tell him he either has to go to school or get a job! No one gets a free ride! I think asking him to move out is a bit harsh at this point. It may hurt the relationship irreparably. Ask him daily where he's applied, if he's heard anything. Nag the snot out of him about it! LOL (he'll wish he'd moved out! he he) If you see of an opening, tell him about it. push push push!

Joy - posted on 07/11/2009

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Talk 2 them about getting a job and if that don't work tell them u r giving them this much time 2 get a job and if they don,t get 1 when u say it's time 2 go i had the same thing going on with my 22 yr old daughter did not won't 2 work so i told her she had 2 go fine some where else 2 live this train as stop . for free hand out point blank.

Gina - posted on 07/11/2009

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Why did you son lose his job? That is the first question that needs to be answered. Whenn you have found out what made him lose his job, then go forward, find out what he wants to actually do, having a job pays bills, and allows him to live life. Try to encourage him to go out daily to look for any type of work, he will be happier this way if he keeps looking for something he wants to do.

Kimberley - posted on 07/11/2009

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Quoting Kelly:

maybe suggest he pay rent, and when he can't, suggest the Military there is always a job there. and it good for them and motovating



Yes, the military can be a good option. My son joined the Army. HOWEVER, the military is being much more selective now. With the bad economy, they have a larger and better pool of recruits.  And some branches have waiting periods of up to two years to get certain jobs. So you can't really think of the military as "oh, he can't find a job anywhere else so he can join the military" type of safety measure. Even with the overwhelming probability of deployment, more and more young people are signing up and certain waivers that were available before are no longer offered. NO ONE with a felony record (adult) can join any longer, according to a news release in June. Also, if you fail the drug test ONCE, you're out and will never be considered again. Period. So please, remember that the military can and will be selective. Besides, it's a hell of a commitment to make just to get a paycheck. It's a lifestyle, not a job.

Gina - posted on 07/11/2009

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good day to you , My son is no longer living with me, so I was just passing on the information that was on my mind. My son is 24 and living on his own and yes working, which is a good thing. When he was 20 it was difficult for him to find work, but is doing alright now.

Maria - posted on 07/11/2009

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Its time, to ask your child to move out, and face lifes realities, responsiblity for ones self is paramount , as a parent you have done all you can to support, it's time to cut the cord!. If you love your child, then you need to accept that they are capable of caring for themselves, it is very diffcult as a parent to let go. However to keep them at home you are doing a great dis-service to them ,into true adult hood. It sound like you are enabling him, by allowing his excuses to keep you beliving he can not find a job, you give him a time line ,and you, as parent must follow through your expectations, and not faulter, stand firm. One day he will be someones husband, and father to his own children what message will you convey to your son now, if you dont set the standard. Good luck, he will one day thank you for teaching him how to be resoponsible for himself.

Gina - posted on 07/10/2009

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Hi, if you can talk with him about how he feels, maybe something is bothering him, or maybe in fact he is just being Lazy because we have a tendency of providing for our children when they are in financial distress, lol, I had the same problem with my son, but all is well, he has to make the choice for himself. Remember, always love him.

[deleted account]

maybe suggest he pay rent, and when he can't, suggest the Military there is always a job there. and it good for them and motovating

Kimberley - posted on 07/10/2009

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Quoting Penney:

We bought our daughter a car, but she is responsible for paying for the insurance and her cell phone bill..if she does not want to pay her bills, we explain that we will have no problem taking her off the insurance and cutting off her cell phone..she chooses to work and pay her bills..now that she has graduated from high school...if she doesn't want to attend college, she is welcome to pay rent..lol. We have had good results..not saying she hasn't slacked from time to time, but she gets it done.



This. This is what I'd do. It's really very easy, the hard part is actually sticking to it. But you won't regret it if you do.

Penney - posted on 07/10/2009

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We bought our daughter a car, but she is responsible for paying for the insurance and her cell phone bill..if she does not want to pay her bills, we explain that we will have no problem taking her off the insurance and cutting off her cell phone..she chooses to work and pay her bills..now that she has graduated from high school...if she doesn't want to attend college, she is welcome to pay rent..lol. We have had good results..not saying she hasn't slacked from time to time, but she gets it done.

Kathy - posted on 07/10/2009

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Well I have a very unusual resolution to this problem................"I" moved out!

[deleted account]

It's called tough love. Does he live with you? Start charging him rent or give him one month to find a job or he needs to move out. Or if he wants to continue living with you rent free then he needs to register for fall classes and promise to go to school and he can work part time so that he has spending money. Don't let him take advantage of you. My adult sister moved back home and mom put her foot down. She has to pay rent and part of the utilities. She is also expected to help buy groceries. My mom refused to cater to her.

Lisa - posted on 07/09/2009

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no phone, turn off the hot water in his bathroom, when you cook a meal, serve him top romen noodles, no tv in his room, and please don't give him money.

Renee - posted on 07/09/2009

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I am not a mom of a grown child (mine are only 10 and 8) BUT I would definitely give him a bill for rent, utilities, gas money etc all the things you are footing the bill for! He is 20 he is capable. I was never allowed to get away with not paying my share when living in my parents' home at that age. And it made me more responsible later in life. Is he helping around the house since he is not working - he should be doing extra things to help make up for his lack of income. Good luck!!

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Let him know that you'll give him 3 months to find a job, after that, he needs to find somewhere else to live if he lives with you. If he doesn't, don't support him or enable him.

Gail - posted on 07/09/2009

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Well unfortunately with sons sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns! I looked for a job for my son, did his cv, sent it off, and sent him off for the interview. He got the job, has done very well. I know that if I did not take the initiative he would not have! I know maybe it was not the right thing to do, but he is working and has adapted nicely!

Beth - posted on 07/09/2009

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The best motivator can be bordom. Do not contribute gas $, , or money for any other activities including clothes. Tell him his car insurance will not be paid for by you, therefore, no driving at all, and don't give him rides, either.

Dale - posted on 07/08/2009

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Hi Natalia, I also agree with Iris but maybe if your son made a list of things he might want, maybe it will help to give him goals to earn money.

[deleted account]

I agree with Iris.. Don't help out money wise at all. And maybe have him do some things to help out around the house. When he gripes about it tell him he has to contribute one way or the other Help around the house or get a job. Maybe you'll drive him so nuts he will want his own place!! a parent can dream!!LOL!!!

Iris - posted on 07/08/2009

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Hasn't he missed being able to purchase his own things, the luxuries we can't or won't buy for them. If you are helping out financially, it doesn't help. My big girls know I can't afford to buy them clothes, music, ipods etc so it's an incentive for them to work.

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