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My 29 Year Old Problem Son Still Lives With Me

by Susan

I have a 29 year old son who is my only child. I started having real problems when he was 15 or 16. He has lived with me all his life. He was on his own for only 3 years and in that time he got hooked on crack and I put him in jail to try to help him.

He came out of jail and stayed with me and was supposed to stay long enough to get a job and move out. That was 5 years ago and he still lives with me.

He won't follow any of my rules such as no smoking in the house or car, no cussing at me or raising his voice when he's mad. He won't clean up after himself or help clean the house. He pays no rent or bills to live here. I want him out but every time I give him a deadline he ignores it. He has been in jail again for scratching an ex girlfriend"s car and failing a drug test when he went to court for the car.

My agreement with him was to pay off his fines and then move out but he is only paying a small amount which will take him a long time.

I can't take living with him anymore. The only reason we don't fight as much as we used to is because I stay quiet. I love my son but I can't stand him when he is so hateful when he can't have his way.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Susan, and thanks for telling your story here. I'm glad you love your son, and want the best for him. His life is all up to him now, and his living situation needs to reflect that.

In my experience, the longer a young adult stays at home living with a parent and behaving badly, the worse it will get until some kind of crisis occurs. Hopefully you will be able to avoid a crisis.

You need to come up with a plan to move him out of your house, whatever it takes. He is using and abusing you, and he will not respect himself or you as long as that continues. And it sounds like you have to be the one to put a stop to it, since he won't stop.

You may need to get the support of some of your adult friends to get this done. This page on tough love will have some helpful ideas for you to consider.

Moving him out of your home against his will may seem harsh and cruel, but letting him stay there and continue to abuse you is even more harsh and cruel--to both of you.

Another thing you can do is this:

1) Every time you think of him, see him at his very best in your mind's eye. Believe in the best of him, and don't allow his bad behavior to keep you from seeing his good qualities.

2) If it fits with your beliefs, pray for guidance, and pray for him to make the right decisions.

3) When you talk to him, tell him you believe in him, and that you believe he will make the right choices, move out on his own and be responsible.

It might be helpful for you to try the positive journaling exercises on this page. When you do the optimism part of the journaling, look forward to a good outcome with your son as if you knew it was going to happen for sure.

And believe in yourself, Susan. You have to do this for you, and it will also be the best thing for your son. You're going to need your self esteem to be strong to get through this challenge--these CDs will help you feel good and strong within yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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