How to handle My 20 year old son who is mad we are charging him rent

Shawni - posted on 01/23/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Hi, Everyone! Okay, first off I think there needs to be a community on here for Moms of Adult Children because no one tells you this but they can be harder than teenagers (sorry to break the news to a lot of you) ;) Anyway, I am in need to some advise and maybe a little support.

My son is 20 and living with us again. He lived on his own for about a year and then moved back after working on a ranch for the summer in the mid-west. He is bright, a hard worker (if it is something he wants to do), and for the most part a fun kid. He is also very stubborn and entitled. He moved back in in October because he was going to save to go to college in January. We have a rule that if you are living here after high school and saving to go to college or on a service mission that you don't have to pay rent so we did not charge him anything. When January came around the government had drastically reduced what they have been giving out in student loans so what he was given didn't even cover his tuition. We were willing to help out, but he would have had to get a full time job and leave his truck at home just to make ends meet. He was worried that he wouldn't be able to do well on his grades and work full time until he gets used to school. I could see that because he hated high school and has to prove to himself that he can be disciplined. So he decided to get a leave of absence until fall, and work full time so he can save up the money.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM... he quit his job before finding out all of this stuff about school. He has been working odds and end jobs to make his bills, but isn't getting out there to get a full time job. My husband and I decided to charge him rent $250 + $56 for his phone and then we will gift $125 a month of it back to him if he goes to school in the fall. This is far below what it would cost him to find a place to rent, helps him to save, and offsets some of our bills for him. He is not happy. We just got into an argument and he said that he doesn't think he should have to pay rent because we are his parents. I explained all the reasoning to him and I just feel that he is trying to emotionally manipulate me. He spends tons of time hunting (although that is over now) and now he is talking about doing rodeo. I laid it out for him but was wondering what to do if he still just piddles about and doesn't get a job where he can pay the rent?? I am thinking this, and am wondering what others think: I think if he hasn't paid anything by the 1st that we will tell him that he has one month to get a job and start paying rent or he has to move out. I HATE that I feel guilty for this when I believe it is for his own good. Help!!

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Shawni - posted on 01/23/2014

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Thanks, Kayla:

It really helped to hear from someone close to his age (although you are much more mature)! It gives me the strength to keep going. I don't want to hurt our relationship, but allowing him to manipulate us and take our position for granted isn't an option either. Thanks again.

Shawni - posted on 01/23/2014

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Hi, Shawnn:

No, we did not dictate it to him. We told him what was going to happen and asked for his input in the process, etc. This was back at the end of December. When I talked to him about this today he threw it in my face saying that it just makes him mad because it doesn't matter what he thinks (he thinks we are awful because we are charging the rent at all). It feels like manipulation.

I am the same as you in that I never experiences the terrible twos or threes. I have loved each stage of my kids' lives, but when my son turned about 17-18 he changed. I do feel he is coming out of it, but this rent thing has been evidence that he isn't quite "there" yet. Thank you for your thoughts and support!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/23/2014

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Well, when you made this decision, did you include him in the discussion, or were you dictators about it?

When my eldest graduated high school, I told him that he'd be expected to find a job and contribute to household expenses at a reduced rate so that he could save for his own flat, and start putting away for tuition. He didn't have problem one with it. He and I sat down and figured out 1/4 of the household expenses related to him (mortgage, utilities, cable/internet access, and food), coming up with a total of $260 a month. He paid that happily. He also had no problem covering his cell phone charges of $35/month, as well as any other 'extras' such as netflix.

When he was ready to move out, I paid his deposit, because I wanted to, not because he asked or expected it. Told him that he's always welcome at home, but that he'd be sleeping on the rollaway bed in my sewing room if he lost his flat. (and knowing full well that I'll probably never have that one boomerang on me)

But, seriously. He's 20, he's capable of getting and holding a 40 hour/week job. I understand his concern about working full time & school, my son has the same concern, and is making arrangements with both work and school to make it happen.

Tell your son that you darn well know other 18, 19, & 20 year olds that don't have a problem paying for their expenses. Write up a contract that you all sign and agree to adhere to.

Good luck! You are doing fine. Your son is having a bit of a problem with the transition from kid to adult. He'll do fine too...sooner or later...

And, to be honest, I have to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying being the parent of adults. My life has gotten much easier, much less complicated, and is still very enjoyable. I guess it's all in perspective...LOL...I didn't ever have any "terrible twos" or "troubled teens" either...

Kayla - posted on 01/23/2014

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I think that what you are doing is right. He might not like it, but that's ok. You are teaching him life lessons, and that he has to work and make an honest living, rather than living off of his parents. I am 4 years older than your son, so my kids are just little still. But I have to say, from what you've said, my mom had the same rules. Once I had finished high school, I got a full time job and my mom started charging me rent. (She charged me $400, so your son should consider himself lucky!). Shortly after that I moved out, and what she taught me, and what some people consider "tough love" is what has kept me on my feet since I did move out on my own. Your son may not be happy about it right now, but I'm sure he will look back and see that what you did was for his own good, and I bet he will thank you for it. And about you feeling guilty, if it happens that he has to move out because he hasn't gotten a job, you probably are going to feel crappy, and guilty and upset, but I believe you would be doing the right thing. If you have said that is what will happen, and you don't follow through with it, then he will use that to his advantage, and this will never get better. You would rather go through some tough life lessons now, then to have your 40 year old son living with you, because he doesn't want to get a job and keep it!

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