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My 18- year old son who is a high school graduate shows no responsibilty, has no plan for his future and does not want my help. I would like to see him either enter college or go into the military on his own so he can find his way and have a healthy, happy life, but yet he still refuses any assistance or tough love encouragement from me. What can I do at this point? I cannot allow him to continue to sit around my house all day and play x-box ( I have taken it away now) or sleep all day. Also, I have another son who is 11 that is being negatively affected by his brother's actions. PLEASE HELP!


Stephen Jones Replied: Sounds like you are fighting this battle by yourself. Sometimes children are fearful of thinking about taking the responsibility for growing up. I think that he needs a conversation with you and an additional adult that he respects. He needs to find out where he fits. Sending a child to college when he is not clear on his goals could only add to your frustration. I recommend that you also talk to a counselor at the school where he graduated.
Posted On 2008-12-06 07:27:37
Jim Taylor, Ph.D. Replied: Sounds like you've tried everything you can in using a reasonably positive approach to his "inertia." I assume you've tried to talk to him and find out why he doesn't want to do anything (young people aren't usually that intertial unless something significant is keeping them from moving forward. You should also consider how you and spouse have contributed to his current state. You may need to take more extreme measures to create a force that can move that currently immovable object. The question is are you ready to take what I consider to be real tough-love steps. I believe that as long as children are living under their parents' roof (and presumably being supported by them), they can expect to have to live under their parents' rules. So you must establish a set of expectations (e.g., wake up at a decent hour, either look for a job or prepare college applications, have chores around the house) and a set of consequences for not fulfilling the expectations. But don't even go there unless you are ready to follow through with some very tough consequences, including the "nuclear option" (kick him out of the house). He might try to call your bluff and if you don't follow through with the consequences, you've lost all power over him. Unless he's willing to talk to you about what's going on, I don't see another option.
Posted On 2008-12-01 16:26:57
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