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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Default Motivating son in his 20's

    My current main concern is my 24 yo son. Not surprising, he has needed a little work. But is bright, personable, and when he gets to it, can contribute a great deal.

    Graduated with a computer science degree two years ago - so the field isn't the issue. He's been hovering about whether or not he should focus on CS, but has finally decided he'll stay in it.

    Up until last month, had a very part-time job, often busy in seasonal times in programming. I was his backbone most of his life, until he went on to college. Took some doing, but he got up to speed, and did well with friends and classes for the most part. Then he moved in with his Dad after graduation...

    My ex and I split 10 years ago. Daddy dearest is definitely all about himself, and the whole fam damily are the center of constant crises. He has not remarried, but has created a "castle of doom" (my words) where his married daughter, her spouse, and their huge brood of kids all live. NO ONE has a job. Ex used to work overseas and I lived there as much as could be tolerated, or as his work plans completed, were abandoned, renewed, etc. Supposedly a consultant with a DBA, but uses this business to write off everything, and take trips back to his old overseas stomping grounds. For the most part, though, is now almost always home, but a lousy parent. A huge child himself, but made enough money to keep all the dysfunctionals afloat just barely, and go to the big box stores several times a week.

    Son had a great girlfriend who he just broke up with. Beautiful, motivated, perhaps a little quirky and shy. But it was his first real girlfriend, and as she got serious, he balked. Everyone thought they made a great pair. I liked her, but realize he needs some big-time growing up to do. Some years to be his own man, so although sad, am definitely behind him. He's young.

    He has a truck half purchased with summer earnings from a job he did 4 years ago when he stayed with me. It's in my name - I've made the remaining payments, have paid truck insurance, and also his cell phone. And I am struggling to find work now and begin a new business. Not being taken advantage of entirely, as I've used it to motivate him more than his father knows how to motivate anyone.

    Laid down the law to him last week, demanding that he look for legitimate work, giving him a timeline on the truck and phone. Under protest he accompanied me to counseling. I gave him two deadlines this week. He accomplished the first late. Has totally ignored the second. Of course I'm an hour away.

    Yes, he's into gaming. The whole fam damily is, and if I told you all the recent tragic horrors this family has brought upon itself, you couldn't tolerate even hearing any more.

    I am in the country - with slow internet service. We frankly get along great, but DS doesn't want to return and never play games again. Daddy's place that he bought is all refurbished and pretty in the inside, but the idiots (he and his daughter) chose this house in the gut of a nearby city. He will never move out of there because it is over-improved, taxes are atrocious, and lots of kids to watch out for.

    DS does have plans to move to NYC with a buddy, who frankly, is a pretty hard worker and motivated. But those plans are continuing to be delayed. His friend is on his case about finding work. NYC is a bit scary in theory, but fine with me if he pays his way. I'm not contributing to that at all.

    DS has no substance issues at all. He is diagnosed ADD (as am I), but I always worked from the age of 14. Never had my parents pay my way, except for help during 2 years of college.

    For the most part, this is a rant. But I am puzzled about the following. - the resistance that Ex-DH's daughter, and son-in-law, and for the most part, ex-DH himself display in looking for work has always stymied me. My son had also fought some plans in the past that I insisted upon, even for fun plans when it involved a change or being thrown into the rest of the world (he and I moving to a better school district - month long computer camp out of state) -then was so thankful that he went through with them.

    But the resistance has almost been like a phobia. And I've seen it in his father and sister - a resistance to do anything that generates terrible outbursts. I almost wonder if it's some kind of agoraphobia, although I don't know any of the traits first hand. (For example, she has had Christmas presents delivered to her, and so badly procrastinated that they were returned when not picked up at the post office...!) And they DO seem to be able to go outside and go where they need (Doctor appointments! HUGE hypochondriacs!) and buy food.

    I am still trying to influence my son as much as possible by now placing these boundaries on him. He even just about gave me his truck last week. But you know what would happen next? Daddy would let him get around in one of his five cars.

    I'll stay home often - especially now being "older", but at least have been pounding the pavement, seek out my friends, places to go, things to do, and my horse! Just can't relate to their way of thinking. But will keep on doing the best I can with limits from me, and counseling if he chooses to go that route.

    Thanks for plowing through all of this.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  2. #2
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Could it be depression?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  3. #3
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    Feb. 21, 2007
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    Default

    God bless ya. You're a kinder woman than I would be. College educated and 24? Uh, I'd wash my hands of it and continue on my merry way. DS wants to live with DH and do nothing? Have at it. If you enable in ANY way, you're merely setting the same example as your ex. In many ways, we people are just like dogs (or horses). You know when you make the dog stay off the couch "most of the time"? But then you give in and say, "just this once..."? Well, kids are no different. Set real boundaries with your kid stick to them. As for the rest of them? There's no figuring out some people. Don't waste your time thinking about it.
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


    9 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Nov. 18, 2010
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    CVPeg, my son is only 12 but most of my friends and coworkers children are your son's age and I hate to say it but his behavior sounds totally normal. Boys in their 20's are typically not very motivated. We have a couple at work who are very motivated but they are the minority and they are late 20's. I'm sure your son's dad does not make things clearer for him but the other thing is that this is a tough economy and jobs are not easy to get. The motivated kids are being employed but the others are finding it pretty tough.

    I think staying in a parenting role is good, and that is what I have said to my friends when their sons were not motivated and showing up at their doors looking for help. I will say my girlfriends sons who are now over 30 are doing quite well and have found their stride, even after some devastating mistakes.

    Hugs....boys are different.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    In Trouble with Dad...
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    there certainly seem to be some issues with stepping out into unknown territory. Alas, I am not a professional, I can only guess.

    But:
    I am a gamer. That I can intelligently discuss.
    being 'into gaming' seems to me often to be a symptom that things aren't fun in paradise.

    I had my phases when I played much to much, stayed on too long and all that good stuff. A friend of mine (my facilitator ) had horrible issues at home with his parents, so he would play all hours of the day. (you notice when somebody who is 2 hours behind you is online when you get up at 7...that is EARLY - or late...)

    In any case, the online world is fun. You do your thing, the things you kill will clean themselves, unlike that stack of dishes.
    You can engage in social interaction - or not. (I spend a few hours fishing in the virtual world when the call came at 3AM that sister's cancer had returned...calming activity when you can't really do anything else)

    Long story brief synopsis: you might gain some insights if you got to know his games and why he plays them. And I mean in a more broad sense, not so much why the game is cool.

    having said (confessed) that I was in way too deep, I am also telling you that right now I am considering to let my subscription laps on my game. I found as life got busy and more enjoyable (again) I spend less and less time playing.

    same for my friend: as his situation improved he dropped off the face of the earth for a couple of years, happy with girlfriend, school and job.

    and in all fairness, at 24 I didn't know whether I was coming or going...

    Give him a big hug
    he sounds like a good kid, under the issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2003
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    Hate to sound cold, but he's 24, lives with one parent, and the other parent pays his truck and cell phone bill? He has no reason to be motivated.

    Also, the resistance to make positive changes? I've seen that, along with the drama, in several people with substance abuse problems. If your son is not drinking or using drugs yet, other people in that household likely are and it will affect him.


    22 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    ^^ hb has it.

    You should stop the kind of enabling you do for DS. Let him figure out what to do instead. If he sponges off his dad, that's between them. But don't pick up the pieces when he gets tired of that.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    11 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Fort Collins, CO
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    Default

    Sounds like depression +/- anxiety disorder. I can relate, as I definitely have the anxiety disorder portion of that. For me, it is very, very easy to slip into an agoraphobic state. It becomes very hard to leave the house. At it's worst, it becomes very difficult to leave certain *rooms* of the house. Don't know if I can even describe the feeling.

    What I've found is that I have to be medicated. SSRIs, which are often prescribed for anxiety, do absolutely nothing and generally make things worse after a short period where I think they might be helping. What does work very well for me is Seroquel...but not the generic. The generic doesn't work for me at all. In all honesty, Seroquel changed my life.

    It sounds like your son definitely needs some counseling and perhaps some medication. I agree that withdrawing support is also probably a good idea, but I would work to get him seeing and talking to someone FIRST. If you took away his truck right now, I bet he'd just use it as an excuse to continue to not do anything.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Oct. 29, 2007
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    Default

    I don't know, I'm also 24 and I see the same deal with plenty of people my age who are physically and mentally healthy. It's too easy to sit back and let other people pay for things. Heck, I still get help from my parents. But there's giving someone a hand while they're getting on their feet, and then there's bankrolling them. He needs a wakeup call that you aren't a money tree, that childhood's over, and it's time to get a move on damnit. And as for going easy on his deadlines...why bother having them if there's no consequences?
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue


    9 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Jan. 25, 2004
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    Milton, Ontario
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    Default

    I think people are way too quick to blame things on depression or anxiety. He probably does have anxiety because people nag him to get off his duff and do something....AND HE SHOULD!
    Sounds to me like Lazy A$$+ clever boy disorder. If he has no reason to work then why would he work.

    As an example, I had horses and so worked my tail off to pay for my horses. I worked full time through university because it was important to me to be independent.
    In contrast my mom gave my sister a credit card that my mom paid for. I was shocked because I had never been given a credit card. My sister used to tell me about her purchases and I was amazed by how much she would purchase at once. She told me "well, if it's the last purchase mom lets me make then it had better be good one!"
    I love my sister but she has barely had a job in her life and is now a stay at home mom - a good one of course!


    5 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2003
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    Sounds to me like your son is spoiled.

    The truck is yours? Take it back. Sell it. Drop the insurance.

    You pay the cell? Stop.

    Afraid your son will kick, scream and not talk to you? Probably he will throw a tantrum.

    He is TWENTY FOUR years old. He is a MAN. He is a full grown MAN. Going to be blunt: STOP PARENTING HIM. He does not need his mommy cleaning up after him, and so long as you hand him various floaties like truck insurance and cell phones and a "back up plan place to crash" he will never NEED to stand on his own.

    Some people have enough diginity (frankly) and drive and motivation to want to get out on their own and not (frankly) be mooches.

    Your son is not one of these people. And as long as you are "there for him" financially he doesn't NEED to be one of these people. If his dad is going to take over the role, nothing you can do except be the "bad guy".

    As for games? People are so quick to blame games. It's possible your son is gaming to escape, but it's also possible he's gaming because it's fun and nothing greater is demanded of him. Or it's both.

    That CS degree might not be much help to him. You don't say what his special skills are, and unless he has some or a focus, finding a job is really rather hard. That, combined with mommy nursemaiding him and dad being his bacholer pad buddy, means he's probably got no sense of direction and no reason to really address the spinning wheels.

    What he needs is a kick in the pants. If you aren't going to give it to him, you're just part of the problem.
    "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings


    17 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Talking out of my ear here since I don't have human kids, but man, do him a favor and give him notice for eviction.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


    4 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Apr. 15, 2010
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    Yeah, my landlold has the same problem. Son won't get a job, goofs off all day, constantly needs money, landlord can't figure out why he won't get it together.

    Well, that's be cause the landlord pays for the car(s) - when the son wrecks one or it gets 'stolen', landlord buys him another one, insurance, the apt, the everything. Why in the world should he help himself?

    Oh, the landlord's son is 42 YEARS OLD. Has two kids already, two different moms. He's a BUM. But the landlord has enabled him all these years. It's not going to stop until something changes and the bum has no reason to change.

    Landlord's daughter has a PhD and is principal of a high school. Go figure.


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  14. #14
    CVPeg is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Well, several haven't read the details, so no need for the rants. But if it makes you feel good.

    Not under my roof. Have given him deadlines and they were just broken. I put things in my name to have some control. If not, his Dad, totally ineffective (where he has now lived for 2 yrs) will provide them with less requirements of him, and stir up more issues so they can all feel comfy. The crises! family, remember? Believe me, after being with him for 14 years, I know how he'll drive someone wacky.

    So I'll continue to parent, but not coddle, so no worry there. But what I am not sure about is the instant and sudden reaction to do something different. To not go to camp, the sister not going to the post office, his not wanting to move to a new place. Almost a phobia...? Very much seen with his sister, in ex's family. Kind of a sudden reaction that is almost immediately redacted and apologized about. But the hypochondriacal ones will prefer to lament with. I've just never seen it in anyone other than ex's family, and now smatterings with my son. Which I don't tolerate. My ADD counseling/training has helped a great deal. Because it does require a lot of positiveness to keep 'em on track.

    Just don't think it's all in the ADD basket. Lazy sure. Lots of other kids his age (my nephews) can be lazy, yes. But this is a little different.

    Once he's in a routine, has confidence in what's expected of him, he's golden. His job hunting reactions, though, sometimes almost seem fear based. Even though he's smart, but...disorganized at times. On the other hand, sometimes brilliant.

    But without knowing what's immediately ahead...

    I just don't get the fear part myself.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  15. #15
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    Describe the dynamics under which the deadlines were broken. I don't want to speculate about what I don't know, but if you mean you tell him that he has to go by June 20th and June 20th he's in your house still, then that's on you. You would have to have the courage to stick to your ultimatums or they are doomed to fail. What are you afraid would happen if you kick him out?

    He's a man living under his mama's skirts. Women don't find that sexy generally speaking.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


    2 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    How is paying a 24-year-old's bills not coddling?

    Do not rule out substance abuse as a cause for the sudden, negative change in behavior.


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  17. #17
    CVPeg is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    And thanks to those who have shared experiences. That does help. Trying to gather as much info as possible. Of course, you can't direct how it goes, but have always strived to learn, rather than be pounded on. That never did it for me, and I don't expect it does much for him.

    Alternatively, siblings all in their 60's and 70's, and still love to argue and do the emotional blackmail routine... never liked getting to the bottom of it.

    What I love about COTH. Many of us been there.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  18. #18
    CVPeg is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Describe the dynamics under which the deadlines were broken. I don't want to speculate about what I don't know, but if you mean you tell him that he has to go by June 20th and June 20th he's in your house still, then that's on you. You would have to have the courage to stick to your ultimatums or they are doomed to fail. What are you afraid would happen if you kick him out?

    He's a man living under his mama's skirts. Women don't find that sexy generally speaking.

    Paula
    Again, he's not in my house.
    But he has stepped up when I stepped in. Nothing much changed until I got involved this week. X number of job apps expected last week. Another x by yesterday. The truck goes by x date if no job. Frankly DS has offered to turn it over.

    But again, Daddy has 5 cars and very inconsistent in loads of ways. Son and I have had to be close without Dad around for much of the time. The past 2 years living with him to make up for it.

    We'll see.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  19. #19
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    Sorry, I missed that. Let me go back and re-read your post.

    Okay, I'm back. He's living with his daddy -your ex, not in your house. Sounds like it's no longer your problem unless you want to reach out for some more stress. Give him a financial deadline if you're still paying for things.


    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  20. #20
    CVPeg is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Alagirl - We had a long talk about gaming during a trip this week. Am fine with it in moderation. Not in lieu of work.

    Just talked with him - his favorite is League of Legends, but he plays several. Earlier he told me how he has advanced to the top 15%, getting close to the top 10.

    Was sitting around the house - they are doing nothing this weekend. He is coming with me to my family's gathering. Just told me he didn't want to go as they'll all judge him for not having a job. Didn't take no for an answer, and still has to do the work.

    Sometimes holidays are good for what you don't expect them to be...
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



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