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Discipline For 20 Year Old

My 20 year old son is still living at home and is smoking, drinking, not working, has no car and no money. We have told him he must get a job by this weekend or he has to move out.
Are we being cruel?
I am afraid of the influence on my 15 year old step son!

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 ---CINDY on 1/21/08
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no car and no money? Who supplies your sons alcohol and cigarettes?

Are you cruel for kicking your son out, of course! more importantly you are not taking Gods warnings seriously 1 Timothy 5:8 and clearly have not read the prodigal son.

however, it is clear you never taught your son responsibility. So now you need to back peddle to bring your adult child up to speed. Start by taking away the key to your home and demanding he spend his days elsewhere and provide a meal for him at night and a place to sleep. If he chooses not to be home at time you set for night-time lock-down (or comes home drunk or drugged) then he can sleep on porch, or back stoop. He will get with the program when he has no place to lounge around all day.
---Follower_of_Christ on 3/10/13


So here is an added twist on a similar scene. My son turning twenty refused to finish his grade 12 and won't look for work. I am a christian and my husband isn't. Throughout josh's youth I tried to get my husband to stop allowing our son to not have any responsibility, chores etc. He (spouse) felt guilty making him work around the house because when he was a kid thats all him and his brothers ever did. So he wanted to give his son opportunities to have fun with friends. There was no happy medium and I tried, Lord knows I tried to get him to. So here we are, in the same predicament. Any suggestions different from original post ? Thanks, and appreciated.
---debs on 3/6/13


No it is not being cruel you are standing firm. And yes it can cause a influance on your 15 year old if he choses to go that direction you will get the statement "You let him do it" and will cause another disturbance in your home. The key to it is encouragmenet. Looking at time frame, and if your willing to even show the 15 year old you are offering help and guidance to the 20 year old to do better than force to make him ( your 20 year) old move into what you want without assesing the situation further.
---Nicole_Hawkins on 1/17/11


I am in the very same situation right now! I have a 20 year old son who sounds exactly like yours, 2 teen daughters and a 11 year old son. The younger three are doing great but will they be if they see how my 20 year old is allowed to stay here any longer? Just kicked him out 7 days ago. We had not heard from him until last night at 10:30 we he called to ask if he could come back. I told him no. Having a hard time now but I am trying to stay strong and not give in to him.
---tufluvright? on 1/10/11


Stick to your gums.
---catherine on 9/4/10

...like dentugrip!
---aka on 9/8/10




When my son left, he went to live with the parents of one of his friends who didn't mind him doing whatever he wanted as long as he paid his room rent and helped support the household. The father of his friend was an amputee in a wheelchair and he would help him also. One thing about my son is that he was never lazy. From the time he was twelve, he mowed yards. He now, at the age of 20, owns his own lawn business. He excels in the lawn business and I often have strangers call me to tell me how respectful and kind he is. He also works part-time at a local retailer. And God blesses him through others by supplying him with the tools of the trade. I can't count the number of mowers, weedeaters, and vehicles he has been given.
---Linda on 9/7/10


AMEN Linda spoken from a TRUE Christian who values her family

Trish if your daughter is a good for nothing as YOU claim at such a tender young age YOU have nobody to blame but yourself ...CLEARLY she didn't become this way overnight and by not setting boundaries rules and discipline during her teen years (hint prior) to her becoming an adult YOU the parent FAILED miserably ...instead you ignorantly blame her except you failed to see pointing one finger you have three pointing back at YOU

parents today expect schools to educate and parent ...children require guidance and rules in their HOME ...no discipline equals a lazy irresponsible adult

you should heed WARNINGS by Apostles of those who TURN their backs on their own
---Rhonda on 9/7/10


you show more regard for your step than your own son. You chose the way to bring him up now you want to get rid of him.

He'll only despise you and treat his own the same way you did him and where will ya'll be?

Give him the right tools of which will encourage him to look for work and become a better citizen. Start by loving him instead of beating up on him, stop using his failures against him instead of Yours.

He didn't ask you to remarry, he don't have to like the situation you've put him, stop thinking of yourself, ''WATCH OUT'' Gun crime does not becomes his companion.
---Carla on 9/6/10


Lin, that is not always the truth. I know parents who raised their children well, but as soon as those children thought they were adult enough to make their own decisions (even if they were harmful) no matter the rules, they did. Many of them began to do everything they were brought up not to do. I didn't teach my son to smoke, to rebel against authority, to manipulate people to get what he wanted. If he had been watching me, he would have done what I did instead of what he wanted. Like most teenagers, he got to thinking we were witholding things from him instead of trying to help him receive good things.
---Linda on 9/4/10


NO YOU ARE NOT BEING CUEL. You hate bums, that's all. Stick to your gums.
---catherine on 9/4/10




Linda is serious about this thing.
---catherine on 9/4/10


It begins very young teaching our kids our values, rules of the house, and our expectations for their future. They also should be taught very young that if they decide to stray from these mutual expectations, then they should be ready to face the consequences out there in the cold, cold world! Its not the kids fault but the parents as to why their 20-year old is the way he or she is!
---Lin on 9/3/10


When our son got to thinking he didn't have to ask permission and could do anything he wanted, I spoke to him regarding the house rules. When he got mad and "moved out" the first time, he got to come back. The second time, we moved his stuff out of his room and put one of his brothers in there. He came home but slept on the couch, still under house rules. When the enforcing of house rules became too much for him, he left and didn't come back. He is welcome but he knows now I don't play games.
---Linda on 9/3/10


Monica: I kicked my 20 year old son out after paying for two years of college that he dropped out of, smoked, and got into heroin...alcohol is also a drug. Kick her out and make her grow up and fend for herself. Quit enabling her by giving her money. Make her apply for a student loan to pay for beauty school. There are such loans available to people her age, and even our age.
---Trish9863 on 9/3/10


We have a 20 yr old daughter who also does not have a job, no money, will not go to school. She wants to go to this beauty school and me to promise to pay if she doesn't. She is smoking and drinking. She stays out all night. I have a 12 year old who looks up to her. What do I do?
---monica on 9/3/10


Children like that may have difficulty getting jobs fast enough to suit the parents or others. Those who do not have a solid work history, a recent good car, no money (some applications want to know about bank accounts, savings), & a good credit report are discriminated against by employers. Even fast food places want their employees to have reliable transportation.
---Betty on 4/14/10


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Amen underthesun64

I'm always amused by religious christianities charities outside the home and lack of charity inside the home per some responses here ...how is it your 20yr moneyless son has MONEY to drink or smoke --2 very expensive habits YOU must be providing

ONLY 2 years since high school without skills you expect he'll have a job in a few days when SKILLED laborers have been unemployed for months??

Start by changing locks he has NO KEY get him to public library - your home is a safe place at night NOT to lounge around all day as YOU have allowed ...while he is at library he can look for a job type up goals and expectations of his contribution to household per underthesun64's suggestions
---Rhonda on 4/13/10


A.A for the drinking. Not having a job, have you created a resume for him? If he has not worked in the past have you tried to teach him any skills that would help him find a job? Yard work? Cleaning the house? Baby sitting, or cooking? As a parent you need to hand hold your child and help him, give him the tools he needs to be something or you will not change anything with him. Give him stuff to do at home, if he does not take everything he owns but two shirt, pants, socks, shoes, undergarments and tell him he will get his stuff back when he learns what he needs to. Use the folks at your chuch to help guide him that is what they are there for.
---Underthesun64 on 4/12/10


On his way out the door, don't forget to tell him you love him very much and hand him a bible - and maybe the address to the nearest military recruiting station and a good home "church."
---Steveng on 8/24/08


The step son can be smart enough not to be influenced by him, even if your bad example would tempt him to go the way of your son.

And your son could be clever enough to play you as long as you let him.

I have been put in financial custody, because they think I'm sick in the head and nothing can be expected of me. I tell them, take my inheritance and give it to their kids, if they think I'm such a screwball. There are people who will play THEMSELVES, if no one else does (o:

And I offer to work for FREE > no takers. Of course, I insist on working honestly, not promoting or selling what is not worthwhile > THIS kind of limits possibilities . . . not helping people with their vain pursuits.
---Bill_bila5659 on 8/23/08


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The preceding post by "Bruce" is mine. I'm now signing as "BruceS" to hopefully avoid any further confusion.
---BruceS on 8/22/08


Maybe things have changed by now, maybe not. But as far as dealing with your lazy lout of a son, Cindy, I don't think it's being cruel or unfair at all to put him on notice, to let him know that he either begins to show respect for his family and himself by dropping his slovenly habits and finding 'honest work,' or he can find somewhere else to live. The young man you described needs to wake up, and there's nothing wrong (or there *was* nothing wrong, I'd be curious to know what happened) in giving him a deadline for either taking you seriously or changing his address.
---Bruce on 8/22/08


As this question was asked in January it would be good if we could have an update from the questioner letting us know what decision was taken and if there is anything positive to add to the situation.
---RitaH on 4/1/08


Give him more time to get a job, and move out? he is 20 years old for crying out loud. He needs to get a life and start standing on his own two feet instead of sponging off of his parents. Even when I lived at home, I had a job and helped with my parents bills and helped paid for food. But that was how I was raised, not to be lazy.
---Rebecca_D on 2/11/08


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I have an almost similar situation with a 23 yr old. If you are able, give him more time to find a job. Jobs are not easy to find these days. Be reasonable. He has to follow the house rules until then. Pitch in help with chores etc...Perhaps you and dad could offer to help start him with a small apartment once he begins to work.If you all are able. Just to get him started. We all need help at some point in our lives.
---Robyn on 1/29/08


No, you are not being cruel, but you are late. If I were a gambling man, I'd bet you aren't going to make him move out, and he knows it. Stick to your ultimatum, and in the long run you will make a better man out of him - although this may take time. Don't stick to the ultimatum and you can be almost certain you will have to same problem with your 15 year old son.
---wivv on 1/27/08


When one of my sons was about this age, he thought he would try this one. He wanted to stay out all night and live at my house. In the morning when I went to work I locked my house and told him he could come back to sleep and eat at night. He got a job within a couple of days and has turned out to be a stable man today.
---Susie on 1/22/08


If he's smoking and drinking, where is he getting the money to buy the smokes and alcohol? He must be getting money from somewhere to smoke and drink. Don't enable him. He's 20, not 10. STOP allowing him to rule you by doing what HE wants to do. Tell him he must be responsible for his own life and to start TODAY. Why doesn't he have a job? Tell him to flip hamburgers if that's all there's out there for now.
---Donna on 1/22/08


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"Question: If this were your 20 year old daughter acting this way, would you kick her out, too?"
---Jack on 1/22/08

Answer: YES. And it would be for her own good. I lived with my grandparents until I was 20 and had a similar lifestyle (just add drugs). All freedom, no responsibility. I had to leave under different circumstances, but leaving was one of the best things I could have ever done and, in my mind, it was a right of passage experience to manhood.
---j._nonymous on 1/22/08


I see this is very difficult for you. Your 15 year old will have already been influenced. But he may realize that what his brother is doing is anacceptable and you could include him in on your plans to help. I would hesitate to send him out because he will not survive out there. Could I suggest more time? The best of us may have a hard time to accomplish this by the weekend. It's not right that he is allowed to do these things in your home but it's kind of late to put the rules in now.
---john on 1/22/08


I am a 68 year old grandmother. I have a 23 year old grandson that I raised since birth, still at home with me. I believe todays children need more time and patience than in the past to make the transition from child to responsible adult. I would make it clear that he either had to go to school or work to continue to live at home. There are shelters available for young people that furnish room, board, job training and coping skills. This might be a good alternative to being put out on the street.
---Veronica on 1/22/08


Question: If this were your 20 year old daughter acting this way, would you kick her out, too?
---Jack on 1/22/08


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Kick him out! It would be the best for him and your step son! He'll have to learn how to be a man without a safety net. Invite him over for dinner on the weekends, but keep some healthy boundaries or you'll stunt his growth and the growth of the step son. It may hurt at first, but he'll thank you later if he has any sense. If he doesn't have any sense, at least keep his nonsense on the outside of your home. Believe me, this is wisdom for everyone involved!
---j._nonymous on 1/21/08


Has he tried to find a job?

Don't forget, this is NOT the most vibrant economy.

Think about the example YOU might be setting your 15 year old step-son, he may well get the idea that your love is conditional.
---Jack on 1/21/08


No, you are not being cruel. Kick his sorry butt out, UNLESS, he has a disability, or has some emotional problems that require professional attention. If he is just being lazy, and defying your rules, he needs to hit the road and attend the school of hard knocks.
---Trish9863 on 1/21/08


No, you are not being cruel. You are giving your son a long overdue lesson in life. You might want to give him the suitcase to start packing right now.
---Susie on 1/21/08


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Cindy, If he's not working ,where's he getting the money to smoke and drink? Cold and hunger are great motivators. Ever heard of "tough love"?
---1st_cliff on 1/21/08


Your influence is scarier than the 20 year old's.
Where's dear ole dad?
Oh, don't tell me. Let me guess.
Dad's away and procrastination on your part has constituted an emergency on son's part.
---Cindy on 1/21/08


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