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How do I make my 18 year old become an 'adult'?(36 Posts)
My 18 year old (Let's call him Jack) has just finished school with 4 A's at A Level. He had always wanted to go into medicine but is now refusing to go to uni as he will miss us too much and doesn't feel ready to be an adult or live alone as I have made him too sheltered and protected to face real life! Jack is also refusing to get a job as he only wants to do something he loves and he doesn't know what that is yet. He met a boyfriend who works 3/4 nights a week in a pub kitchen so he can't work days or he will never see the b/f. They've been together 7 weeks and are together 24/7 either in our house or at his parents. We also have 2 other children (15) who are just about to start their GCSE's. We have begged, threatened, bribed and shouted at Jack to go to uni but to no avail. We are now at the point where we are telling him to get a job, to no avail. We live in a very rural area, the nearest bus stop is about a 30 minute walk away, so driving is desirable. We paid for him to have lessons and paid for his test 3 times - he passed in April. We then paid for a car, MOT, Tax, Insurance & Petrol. He drove too fast and wrote the car off in July. We are currently getting him another car but it needs work and he is really annoyed it's taking so long and moans about it daily! Him and his boyfriend have been here for the last 6 nights. We drive the boyfriend to work, then bring him home, feed them, do the laundry/dishes etc they lie in bed until about 3pm, eat and go out to the pub. Last night we had enough and had a huge argument with Jack telling him how he needs to get a job or do something. I priced up car insurance (approx £1500) Job Seekers Allowance (about £55 pw) and told him I want him to pay rent of approx £40 pw - to include all food, bills etc. I also expect him to buy/tax/insure his own car, do his own laundry & ironing and clean up after himself. We also said that we don't want the boyfriend sleeping over every night on school days so his siblings can have a good nights sleep during GCSE years. Apparently this is all my fault for pushing him too hard, never being proud enough (which is very hurtful) and we're those 'parents' the ones that charge their kids for everything? He's threatening to move out. My dilemma is do I give in to keep him, even though I'm really unhappy with our life at the moment or do I call his bluff and let him go? Also is it reasonable to expect him to work? He's not going to uni or anything just drinking every night - so I feel that he now has to get his life together - is that wrong? help..........
Let him move out and stop doing everything for him and BF. If he won’t go to uni he needs to do something and he’ll find his way. What’s the worst that will happen? Plenty of people aren’t ready for further study right after finishing school but then do very well once they have gained a bit of life experience.
Let him go, he’s 18, he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life yet (which is actually fine) I know lots of people who have gone right through expensive uni to find they have studied something they just don’t want to do.
So then they’re stuck either with a profession they don’t want or have to fund a masters to switch.
I know it might not seem like it, but I believe a lot of hanging around at 18 is EXACTLY the right thing to do.
However he needs to realise life costs money, so stop the family dramas and tell him you think it will be best for your relationship as a family if he moves out.
Let him live life a bit, he’ll find his way, rather than yours.
I agree with kalinka.
Stop doing anything for him and the boyfriend. Stop buying him cars etc.
He can go to uni at any point in the future. He doesn't want to go now so he finds a job and starts supporting himself.
You are absolutely not being unreasonable in your requests at all. You have obviously done far too much for him. Given he has younger siblings, I would ban his boyfriend from sleeping over (lying in bed until 3 every day is not setting a good example at all) and stop doing all laundry etc. I don't think you should buy him a car either. He's clearly extremely clever, but spoiled, entitled and immature. He needs to work and stand on his own two feet for once. If he disrespects you or your husband, tell him to leave. He is an adult now and needs to learn to behave like one.
Call his bluff. If he leaves he leaves but I very much doubt he will from what you've said.
No judging from me as I have a rather lazy entitled 17 year old. Shame with a level results like that though!
Stop enabling. He wrote off the car so don't get him another. Stop doing anything for him except feeding him. And definitely stop driving the boyfriend around - that is madness.
Equally stop fighting him. Stop getting at him for not having a job etc. If he has no car and no money he will catch on in his own time.
If he threatens to move out then let him. He would be going to uni anyway if you had your way.
Sounds like you've babied him and now you're reaping what you've sown. He hasn't had to work for anything. You paid for his lessons, you bought him a car which he wrecked and now you're buying him another one. And you're surprised he's got no sense of personal responsibility?
Yup tell him he has had his summer; school starts next week, time for grown up life.
Certainly don't buy him a car. Don't ferry the bf around. If he wants to move out then fine, it will do him good.
You’re buying him another car?!
You take his boyfriend to work?!
My mother started charging me rent at 17! And I certainly wasn't allowed hotdates to stay over. You are being too soft and need to man up. He must now get a job and pay his own way. It's a shame if he doesn't go to uni but it sounds like he needs a boot up the arse. Also you don't want him setting a bad example for the 15 year olds. You don't want 3 Timothy Lumsdens!
Tell him not to let the door hit him on the arse on the way out! He is being a totally spoiled little shit. He is blackmailing you and that is abusive behaviour. If he wants to run a car, he has to pay for it. To do that, he needs a job.
I read the beginning of the OP feeling as though I related - I have a 18 year old who doesn't feel ready for uni - but then the rest of it left me open mouthed. He sounds very spoilt. I'd absolutely not want bf every night either if I had school age children. I couldn't wait to get rid of him tbh!!
You take his bf to work????
No wonder he behaves this way. You do everything for him. Why the hell wouldhe want to be an adult when he gets to do what he wants at your expense.
If he’s not going to Uni then it’s best if he moves out and sees what life is like with a crappy job and not much money. He will then probably decide that he should use his 4 As at a level to secure a good job and earn decent money. He sounds rather naive - doesn’t want to go to Uni but only wants to do a job he loves. It’s great that he’s close enough to you that he doesn’t want to leave but in many ways hanging around your house and expecting to be kept is going to do more damage to your relationship than good.
We paid for him to have lessons and paid for his test 3 times. We paid for a car, MOT, Tax, Insurance & Petrol. He wrote the car off in July. We are currently getting him another car but it needs work... We drive the boyfriend to work, then bring him home, feed them, do the laundry/dishes etc
Just stop. All of it.
No paying, no giving lifts, no doing his chores. He wants food? He cooks it. He wants to go somewhere? He gets a cab. He wants a car? He saves up.
Where to start!
Why oh why are you running the BF around? That might be a good place.
Let him go. I have an 18yo dd who moved out last year, to go to uni, and it's made a huge difference to her. She's grown up massively.
He's not ready for uni and he's definitely not ready for medicine. He would definitely end up having to redo a year which would be very costly, but more likely he will be home by Christmas and all the fees etc will still have to be paid.
I was like this at 18. This is what gap years are for. Seeing all my mates go off in October and then visiting them living in their own places, getting on with the rest of their lives did me the world of good. By the December I was ready to reapply to uni and spent the rest of the year doing a shed load of necessary growing up.
As the others said, just stop. But do not get into rows over it. State your position calmly, then do not engage further. He’s going to find it difficult going from a position of having had everything done to not and he is likely to lash out. The more you engage the more he will keep going on that score and at that age they have a tendency to keep going however much they know they’ve wrong as i5 becomes about getting one ove4 on you, not about what the original issue is.
I meant by 'back by December' that he's just give his course up.
I was too lazy to threaten to leave and the boyfriend had a car and a squat I could go to. I would call his bluff - it takes a bit of work actually finding somewhere to leave to.
Help him move out in a loving supportive manner. Have fun looking the options together and make him a lovely moving out kit and regularly invite him and his boyfriend to dinner as you are excited to hear what they've been up to.
In terms of jobs, can he find something like a porter at a hospital that matches shifts of boyfriend to some extent.
As a word of warning - a friend of mine treated her kids exactly ad you are doing. They are now 30ish and she's still providing a taxi service, feeding them 6 days out of 7, running them to appointments and providing child care which is completely taken for granted. All for no money.
Stop it now. No more cars/lifts/facilitating.
My parents 'kept' me until the September after I finished education.
Next week is September, and I think you should stick to your guns about the changes. He pays rent, takes on a fair share of household chores and the BF does not sleep over on school nights.
If he says he's moving out, ask him when he will be leaving and if he needs help shifting his stuff. And then really stress that although he is always welcome to return to live with you, you are proud of him for making his decision on how he lives the next part of his life.
I take it btw that you've already had conversations about whether he's deferred University for a year or cancelled it completely.