Need help dealing with 19 year-old son!

Kathleen - posted on 04/28/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Do I really kick my son out? I just threatened to kick out my 19 year old son, and wonder if there is any other solution to my issues with him. He went to college last year and spent more time NOT going to class than actually going. He earned only about 12 credits last year, when the average is 30. He came home from university and is now attending community college, where he swore he would work hard in order to transfer to a better school once he got good grades locally. Well, the semester is almost over and although he had signed up for 15 credits, he has dropped 3 of them months ago. Now he is not guaranteed to earn the remaining 12 credits because he goes out late every school night, sleeps late and is late for 12:30 classes every day. (after dropping his one morning class, we all thought he'd at least make it to his classes after noon.) He is not doing the assignments, and is barely skating by. He had a big paper due on Wednesday and asked his prof on Wednesday morning (by email) if he could hand it in late. She gave him an extension and told him to hand it in on Friday. Well, that was yesterday, and still he has not started the paper. He promises to do it tomorrow (Sunday) and hand it in on Monday. Not likely, since he will prob sleep late again. I have told him to get a p/t job for months, but he has still not done so. I also ask him to do a few basic chores around the house, and he refuses. So, I've got a kid who goes out at night, sleeps through afternoon classes (or barely makes it on time), does hardly any of the assignments, does not have a p/t job and doesn't lift a finger around the house. He constantly says 'sorry' and promises to step up with regards to school, but nothing changes. He also constantly promises to get a p/t job, but the promises mean nothing, since months have passed and he has still not looked. He even refuses to empty his garbage can, saying that it is his room and not my business. (of course I don't empty it, but it is disgusting). Yesterday he told me he was going to the library to do the paper, and would then visit a few local places to apply for a job. Well, when he came home later, it turns out that he did NOT go to library or look for job. Instead he went out with friends and came in late at night. Promised to do everything today, from job hunting, to emptying garbage, to doing paper. But instead he is now out, and the weekend is almost over. Promises to have paper done by six tomorrow night (Sunday). Promises to hand in paper on Monday and immediately get job hunting. He has said this for months. So I do not know what to do. I finally did the unthinkable last night and told him he was out on the streets if he does not comply. Monday will be here very shortly. Do I follow through with my threats? Or is it too drastic? How do I motivate and/or COMPEL him to step up and do the basics in school, in addition to helping around here and working p/t? I am absolutely at wits end, and completely lost. Many thanks to anyone who can read through my frustrated ramblings and offer a suggestion or two!

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I have no words of wisdom as I have a 20 y/o daughter sort of the same, except she has a child...wont work wont help out, stays up all nite or goes out all nite sleeps all day. Basically I am raising her child, out of fear of losing her, I enjoy it really I do. So anyway I offer words of support and I understand what you are going through and if my circumstance was like yours yes I would follow through with the threat. At the age of 18 the law says we no longer have to support them, so make him accountable for himself. I have heard all the promises and words, but also the threat of never seeing my granddaughter or worrying what mom is exposing her to. Your son has only himself to look after and, maybe after sleeping on a few friends couches or floors he might get it.

Amy - posted on 04/28/2012

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If you aren't going to follow through on the threats then stop making them. As I said in my original I'm all for second chances but he has to prove he is at least trying. Right now he's treating you as a doormat. I know it's hard but at this point I think you need to apply some tough love and send him packing for awhile!

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Kathleen - posted on 04/28/2012

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Hi Amy, Jodi and Happy. Thanks so much for replying. I have not purchased clothing for him for quite a long time (seems happy with the current t-shirts that he's had since last year). I do put gas in the car so that he can get himself to and from school, bu tI don't give him the money, rather I actually fill the car myself so that he has no access to cash. He hangs out at his girlfriend's house and the house of his wealthy best-friend. Yes, this kid's parents have just purchased a BMW convertible for him and he is only a senior in high school! This friend and all of his buddies come from well-to-do families, families that do not expect their kids to work, giving them unlimited funds for entertainment. None of these kids plan on going to college, so I do have issue with him having only high-school age friends that he has met since being back from university. I feel that having friends that are motivated kids pursuing higher education is far better than hanging out with youngsters still in high school, but I have not mentioned that to him, as choosing my battles is important. He has never had a girlfriend before, so I am sure that the excitement of having someone special in his life is a huge reason for not coming home, what with the raging hormones of someone that age. She is a high school sophomore. Their social activities are primarily hanging out at their houses, eating the food in their house, allowing these kids to pay for McDonald's etc. and generally being a bum with these kids, so having access to money is not really the issue. I am sure that these youngsters think my son is a big deal, since he is a 'college' sophomore (who only has credits to be a freshman) He has lost all of his college-age buddies since they have moved on to sophomore and junior years at university, not keeping him around since they no longer have anything in common. He does occasionally complain that he has no money and has mentioned me purchasing things such as guitar strings and t-shirts (which I refuse to finance), and he keeps saying that he will get a job, but so far nothing doing. He actually did hold a p/t job twice in his past, but he was fired from both of them, since he slept through and was late all the time. He has no work ethic, and I honestly think that he believes his college diploma will one day just appear in his hands like magic, that he does not have to put in the effort, that doing the bare minimum in school and being a bum the rest of the time is acceptable. I do think that your suggestion, Amy, of making things very 'uncomfortable' at home would be a good start. I can't believe I've been enabling him by supplying him with cable and internet, and actually keeping the house stocked with items that he enjoys. I don't want him to drop out of college but it seems like he is on that path, and I am afraid that kicking him out would only hasten that choice. He begged me to give him another chance last night, once more promising to have paper done on Monday and to do the other things as well. What do I do if this is not done on Monday? I can't imagine actually following through with my threat. Am I over-reacting by throwing about such an extreme threat rather then finding some other way of making him tow the line? I am so afraid to kick him out. Where would an unemployed 19 year-old go??? I've always had my child feel safe and secure, always having me here to be his rock, letting him know that he would always have a home. I don't want that to change. I am so scared!

Jodi - posted on 04/28/2012

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So how is your son affording these nights out? What is he eating? Who is paying for his clothes? Paying for his transport? Something must be paying for this stuff....I am confused as to how he is getting money for all these things.

Amy - posted on 04/28/2012

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Yes at this point he's treating you as a doormat! How can he afford to go out if he's not working? You need to cut him off completely! Stop giving him money for gas, for insurance, to go out with friends, shut the cable off and make it very uncomfortable to be at home. By the way I am not one who thinks that at 18 a kid needs to be on their own, my parents helped me through college but after I screwed up my first semester I buckled down and realized why I was at college. I also worked all the way through college to pay for my nights out and the gas for my car.

So when Monday roles around and he decides he's going out, you need to change your locks but make sure you tell him when he leaves he better take whatever he's going to need because it's going to be the last time he has access to his stuff unless your home and then it'll just be so he can grab the rest of it when he's found somewhere else to go. Good luck!

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