I'm Worried About My 18yr old Doing Nothing

(25 Posts)
sscott1967 Wed 26-Jun-13 07:18:06

My 18 yr old son started uni last September but pretty much gave up around January. He fobbed me off for a while saying he was catching up on line but recently admitted he didn't like it.
I'm fine with that if it's not for him but he dosn't seem to know what he wants to do and spends days/weeks in his room. He hardly ever goes out but seems happy and says he's fine.
I keep trying to motivate him to apply for jobs/volunteer and he says he will but first needs to see what he wants to do.
I don't know what to do for the best...

purplewithred Wed 26-Jun-13 07:24:39

How is he supporting himself financially?

sscott1967 Wed 26-Jun-13 07:46:47

He's good with money as he rarely goes out so at the moment he's got about £70 left from his bursary. He does work over the internet sometimes and gets a bit of money.I give him nothing apart from food and am kinda willing his money to run out so he gets a wake up call

Travelledtheworld Wed 26-Jun-13 08:54:16

He will not be able to decide what he wants to do until he has some experience of doing something! what are his interests ? What are his strengths and weaknesses ? Have a brainstorm to come up with a list of ideas and get him to start looking for volunteering and casual work opportunities before it is too late!. Be prepared to walk into shops, offices, small charities, small business and talk to people. Simply sending in spec applications will not work in the current jobs market.

Work with him to set some targets and deadlines.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 09:02:41

How can he spend his bursary when hes not at uni?
I would insist he enrols for a course in something.

sscott1967 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:19:03

@Travelled..Targets and deadlines sounds good. Need to try and persuade him to try.He keeps saying he will look at this and that and then dosen't get round to it. How do you push him or persuade him without turning it into a battle? I guess I want him to do it for him and not me..
@wondering..his bursary has finished and he's just managed to not spend some.How do you insist an 18 yr old does something? He's a sweet soul and tends to agree with whatever I suggest and then says I will I will but never gets round to it.

Lottie4 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:21:20

It might be work encouraging him to do something, if only working in a café or shop part-time. I know he's probably capable of more but it will get him out, give him money to save when he needs some and might even inspire him as to what he would like to do. My parents made it very clear that if I wasn't doing a course, I would be expected to contribute to the household whether or not I was working so I had to get a job - maybe this would help.

My niece is just finishing a two year drama course and has been working at Starbucks at weekends. Obviously it will be great to put what she's learned on her course to use, but for now she will work at Starbucks full-time - it will bring money in for her (she loves to spend) and she has someone who can give her a reference which will be a great help.

supersec Wed 26-Jun-13 14:57:46

I think you can insist an 18 year old does something if they are living at home and you are supporting them. I know some parents find this difficult, especially if there have been no previous problems.

In my experience, boys will not do anything unless they are forced to. My son in particular who is very nearly 18 needs a rocket up his backside to get him to do anything. He needs to be constantly reminded to do the right thing.

I made him get a part time job by forcing him to leave the house when I did in the mornings (in the snow in February), giving him a list of places to go to apply, and a bus ticket. I had to lock the doors and windows to make sure he didn't get back in as I knew he would give up after half an hour. I am sure the manager who employed him was very impressed that he was out looking for a job at 11 am at half term in the freezing cold!

Most parents would feel cruel going to this extreme but I knew I had to, otherwise I would have had a layabout son, as he had not work ethic at all.

He managed to get a good part time job within 3 days and he has been there 4 months now and it is the best thing that could have happened to him.. I now have to "encourage" (in other words force!) him to apply for courses in September as I don't want him lying in bed most of the day, even though he has the part time job. He did nothing at college over the past 2 years and will get disastrous grades in his A levels. He can't work part time forever and needs to do more to put on his CV.

At the end of the day some parents don't want to rock the boat with their adult children. I work with a woman whose son is 19 and has never even had a part time job - she funds everything for him - he does 16 hours a week at uni. She wants him to get a job but as long as she keeps paying for everything he definitely won't.

sscott1967 Wed 26-Jun-13 19:30:16

I agree Lottie..def want him to get out and do something even just part time.
@supersec..think you could be right..he's such a lovely person I don't want to spoil that.If I ask him to do anything round the house there's no hesitation.
I've tightened up a bit tho and told him he has to find something soon.Not sure what then but working on it..

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 20:17:45

How do you insist an 18 yr old does something? He's a sweet soul and tends to agree with whatever I suggest and then says I will I will but never gets round to it.

I'm sure he's lovely but if he's not actually doing what you ask him to do - it's not all that lovely really. He sounds like he's talking the talk. You need to teach him a work ethic.

NatashaBee Wed 26-Jun-13 21:03:06

When did he drop out? Has he officially dropped out? I think he will be liable to pay back any student loans/bursaries. I would talk to the university and see where he stands - it may also be difficult for him to get future student loans if he's already studied at degree level.

The Princes Trust may offer something that interests him.

Travelledtheworld Wed 26-Jun-13 23:48:09

supersec great story !
So important that thy get out of the house, do SOMETHING and develop their communication skills for starters.

sscott1967 Fri 28-Jun-13 19:47:34

@wondering..he does seem to be stalling.we're gonna set a deadline for the end of the summer hols.
@Natasha..claimed to be catching up on line since start of this year as no register taken so am wondering if he'll be liable to repay and I've warned him that might happen.

sscott1967 Fri 28-Jun-13 19:48:00

@wondering..he does seem to be stalling.we're gonna set a deadline for the end of the summer hols.
@Natasha..claimed to be catching up on line since start of this year as no register taken so am wondering if he'll be liable to repay and I've warned him that might happen.

Chottie Fri 28-Jun-13 21:58:08

I would suggest that you give him a list of jobs to do around the house, cleaning, taking bins out, ironing, cooking a family meal a couple of times a week, food shopping etc.

My deadline would be a lot sooner that the end of the summer hols (!) Have you thought about sitting down and having a long chat with him, if he wants to study in September, interviews, open days are happening now and courses are enrolling.

His day needs structure. I hope I don't sound judgey, but I am also the mother of a DS. Draw up a plan together with a tick list and get him started, he needs to be prepared for life...... Could you help him write his CV so he sees that he needs something more solid to add to it?

wonderingagain Sat 29-Jun-13 00:10:18

Yes, now is the time to enrol for courses. Make sure he understands that. Even if he enrols for something and finds a job later, better to have something to work towards. There are a lot of colleges out there doing short courses that would add to his CV.

If he doesn't want to do that get him to choose a voluntary organisation to do something for. Don't let him sit about it really won't help him at all in the long run and he won't thank you for letting him do it later either.

sscott1967 Sun 30-Jun-13 14:11:47

Thanks all for tips.Going down the volunteer route to gain experience and had big chat about all sorts so here's hoping :-)

has he ever had a job? as in did he do part time jobs as a teen for money in his pocket?

Chottie Sun 30-Jun-13 14:21:30

sscott1967 I hope things get better. Please post and let us know how things are going? Take care.....

sashh Tue 02-Jul-13 07:07:22

Stop providing meals until he pays you some board and lodging money, that should motivate him.

At the moment he has no reason to do anything, he is fed and warm and I assume has access to the internet so he has no reason to work.

hollolew2 Wed 03-Jul-13 07:59:22

Maybe he's had a crisis of confidence. Uni is very different to school I know quite a few kids that hated it and dropped out and have got jobs. Why did he drop out? Did he hate his course and maybe the smile is hiding something behind that. My son does this everything's ok smiling business and it hides that he is a lazy git and a little but immature. He had a GF in sixth form didn't think about his future and didn't work he missed his offer for Uni by a long way so has spent the year doing resits and being kicked out of the door to do various jobs he probably could have gone last year but wouldn't have lasted he's had to change his whole work ethic. My ones a bit of a charmer which he learnt had got him off a lot of stuff at school but frankly it doesn't work out in the wild world. It's hard when they leave school and to help get them on the next level I agree with all the other wise MNers a job even if its part time or volunteering will help him.

sscott1967 Sat 06-Jul-13 08:00:37

Thanks for all your comments folks.
I think he lost a lot of confidence after dropping out and everything seemed too much to think about. So we agreed he could try volunteering first.
Well..good news..he walked into a charity shop and he's worked 2 days there and loves it! He even thanked me for pushing him and says he's happier than sitting in his room. xx

wonderingagain Sun 07-Jul-13 00:58:24

That's great news. Sometimes they need just the tiniest nudge.

Travelledtheworld Mon 08-Jul-13 23:51:34

Excellent news. Hope he learns something about the charity as well as gaining the very valuable experience of working in the shop.
Good luck !

Chottie Sun 14-Jul-13 20:21:24

sscott1967 thanks for updating us, I am so glad DS has found something that he enjoys. Onward and upward smile

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