I have no serious question - just how do you get your 21 year old son to start taking responsibility for his life and start paying his way

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User - posted on 05/30/2009

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Tell him he's 21 and he needs to get off his ass! I'm also 21 and have been in the Army for 4 years now, it has been a great wake up call for me. When I see my old friends from high school with no responsibilities and still depending on their parents, I feel embarrassed for them. I would do the tough love deal. How else is he going to learn if you keep helping him out? He needs to know the rules of the adult road of life!

Janet - posted on 05/27/2009

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Wow, that is tough. We had a rough bout with all this. My son and I did not talk for a full summer during this time - and it killed me. But with the support of my husband and other family members, I had to do the "tough" love game and it was the hardest thing I had done with him. But today, almost 23, he is on his own, doing well, and still loves his mom :) Barely a day goes by that I don't hear from him, even a text simply saying Hello mom.

Hang in there, it gets better.

Michelle - posted on 05/27/2009

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As a social worker who has dealt with many people like your son, tough love really is best. As long as he can depend on you or someone else to get by, he'll do it. It's the law of moochers (I think Dr. Phil did a show on that subject!). By continuing to provide for him you are ENABLING him, not EMPOWERING him. There are 5 stages of change -- (1) Pre-contemplation -- not thinking about changing AT ALL (2) Contemplation -- thought about it, but not ready to do anything about it (3) Action -- Doing Something about it (4) Maintenance -- Keeping up the good work (5) Relapse -- giving up, going back to stage 1 or 2. If your son is in stage 1, there's nothing you can do. If he's in stage 2, then you can give him the tools necessary within your means (help him develop a budget, show him how to buy a car, show him how to find an apartment, show him how to look for a job, show him how to apply for school, etc.) but don't do these things FOR him. If he still doesn't do anything, then it's time for TOUGH LOVE. Give him a deadline to get out and stick to it. Cut him off financially. Don't give him a ride anywhere. Until he can prove that he's serious about doing for himself, there's nothing you can do for him.

Good luck.

Jackie - posted on 05/26/2009

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When you figure that out let me know, I have a 20 yr daughter with a 2 yr old who will be starting nursing school in Sept., but right now she is a little lazy thinks that working a the local resturant or quick store isn't good enough.....

Amy - posted on 05/26/2009

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Just simply stop paying his way. Ok, I know there's nothing simple about it... Alot of it depends on how things are right now....I mean does he work, does he pay for anything himself or is he completely dependant on you? I made up a budget for my kids to show them how much they need to make in order to live on their own & they've had to get appropriate jobs to accomodate. Maybe start gradually, like start making him pay for all his own household necessities (TP, soap, shampoo, etc.) and pitch in for food if he's eating with you & then if he's still not ready to move out then start charging him rent. "Tough Love" is so much easier said than done, but in some cases it definitely has to be done! Good luck!

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