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Adult son - need advice

(154 Posts)
hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 13:36:39

My son is 26 years old and although intelligent, is very young for his age. I'm worried that this is my fault, I've done far too much for him over the years. Recently my husband got him a job with his company (abroad) because he couldn't get a job in UK. He did very well at school but since then nothing he has done has lasted more than a few months. He was doing really well at this job but after only a month he got drunk and without going into details he got the sack and was sent home by the company. He is now in our house with very little money and no prospects. I am at the end of my tether (hence my nickname hairless!) and don't know what to do. He has had a drug problem (cannabis) and rinks far too much. I have told him if he has one joint or gets drunk in our house, he's out. I wish he wasn't there to be honest. Will he ever stand on his own 2 feet? Should we be throwing him out for his own sake? My worry is that if we did, he would turn back to drugs. I just don't know what to think. To top all this he has a 2 year old son to his ex girlfriend.

TheCowardlyLion Fri 22-Apr-11 13:49:55

Well - how much rent does he pay and how much he contribute towards his keep? And how is he paying those bills? Because I am assuming you are charging him for living with you just as you would charge any other adult lodger you had. He should be paying rent, paying for his own mobile phone, broadband and TV, paying maintenance for his child, buying his own groceries, doing his own laundry and doing his own cooking. If you are doing any of this for him - or if he is not pulling his weight at least as far as the last two are concerned, then yes, you should be asking him to find somewhere else to live. And yes, you are at fault for not insisting that he stands on his own two feet.
What incentive does he have to do so at the moment?

2cats2many Fri 22-Apr-11 13:51:58

I think that you need to treat him like an adult and tell him that he needs to start contributing to the household, both in financial and practical terms.

Is he getting some kind of benefit? If so, he needs to be handing portion of that over to you for board. He also needs to be doing his share of the household chores, whatever you decide that is. And if he doesn't keep to the agreement, then he'll need to find somewhere else to live.

I can't imagine how difficult it would be to actually throw your own flesh and blood out of your house. But surely, it would also be impossibly hard to see him being the same lay-about waster at age 36?

He's never going to get his act together for both him and his son if he's allowed to just sit around doing nothing.

buggerlugs82 Fri 22-Apr-11 13:53:04

Hello Hairless. i'll start my reply by saying im not much older than your son, so don't have children on my own however professionally i have tonnes of experience of dealing with men, from 16-60 who are in the same shoes are your son - jobless, canabis smokers, responsability shirkers.

I'm afraid the oonly solution is a short sharp shock. Without the safety net that you give him and your instincts will tell you he needs. He's old enough to stand on his own 2 feet, pay his way in life and deal with his own obstacles.

I'm afraid that he and millions of other cannabis users see no harm in a few daily joints, but as a person who has seen the effects of paranoia, insomnia, poor hygiene, anxiety in the same people, its a drug id say he needs to stop..... but only he can make that call.

without a job he'll struggle to get accommodation of his own. How about an college course / traininh course etc? what does he WANT to do? Have you asked him?

If he is at your house id suggest you start charging him board, if he's on JSA, £20 a week should do. He'll moan at this of course, tell him he can go find his own place (it'll cost a lot more that £20 a week!!). make him do his own washing and ironing and to make up his share of housecosts give him daily jobs. He'd have to do them in his own house and yours is not a hotel. All in all if he doesnt like it, he can chose to leave. He'll probably say your making him leave but only he can make his own choices not you.

i'm not sure if this waffle helps!

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 13:54:36

He is not paying anything. He's applying for jobs and said he will contribute then. He buys his own groceries, (but his money is running out and he doesn't appear to have a Plan B if he doesn't get a job) has a phone but never has credit and does his own cooking etc because we're not there to do it anyway.
How on earth would I tell him to leave? He would literally be homeless. The problem is that our house is empty so he thinks he's doing us a favour being there.

2cats2many Fri 22-Apr-11 13:57:54

If he thinks he issuing you a favour, then you need to set him straight. And if he can't afford to pay anything, then he needs to contribute in non financial ways (doing the cleaning, walking the dog, mowing the lawn, whatever).

What kind of jobs is he applying for? Can't he temp while he is waiting for the right job?

missmehalia Fri 22-Apr-11 14:00:12

Nah, I'm with the people on here who say it's a short sharp shock required. He will turn into a horror if you don't do him the ultimate favour - I think it's called tough love.

Give him a couple of months notice, then change the locks if he isn't taking you seriously. When he goes, gift him a few supermarket vouchers if you're feeling generous, to make sure he eats. He'll need to see how it feels to live in a shared house. He may be angry and indulge in some spoilt brat behaviour, but ultimately he'll actually respect you a lot more, doesn't sound like he does at the moment.

YusMilady Fri 22-Apr-11 14:02:18

So he's living in a house that you own, but you live somewhere else OP? Or have I got completely the wrong end of the stick?

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 14:02:20

How does he get a temp job? If he had a job I would find it easier to say get out........

2cats2many Fri 22-Apr-11 14:12:17

He goes to a temping agency and says: "give me a temp job". It could be anything, admin, retail, hospitality. It wont pay very well, but it will pay something and get him out of the house.

Not sure where you live or what his skill set and work experience is like, but most people can get a temp job doing something.

He could find an agency near him by looking on the Internet.

Eurostar Fri 22-Apr-11 14:18:19

You say you have done too much for him over the years. He sounds like he is in a bad way if even having a child hasn't kick started him into thinking he should be able to provide. Your choice now is either to give in to doing everything for him for ever and hope you can leave him enough inheritance for him not to end up washed up and homeless eventually or you can do as others have suggested and see if the short, sharp shock will work.

Incidentally, not all get washed up, having witnessed the fates of several friends in middle age who were enabled by their parents for years to lead your son's type of lifestyle, some grew immensely on the death of their parents and others sank.

Maybe try and join al-anon or a similar group for families of cannabis users to get some support and strength for yourself?

buggerlugs82 Fri 22-Apr-11 14:19:08

Re housing - Here is where my experience kicks in.

Its VERY complicated depending on where you live in the UK and how high his standards are.

Re Social (AKA council) housing, as he's 26 and single, he'll struggle (depending on where you live and his standards!) to get anything within 12 months but he needs to get his name of the waiting list now. He can go to his local council housing advice centre for free advice. anyone can.

If you literally chuck him out im afraid his only option, unless he has any serious health problems or is pregnant?! will be a hostel of some kind and if he isnt in receipt of JSA they won't take him.

Id suggest that on Tuesday he hops off to the local job centre or makes a claim over the phone will help with advice and then sees the housing advice team.

If he does his own cooking etc he can't be that useless, are you sure your not being a tad hard on him? how clean and tidy does he keep the house?

Nattynoodle Fri 22-Apr-11 14:48:52

Hairless, I would just like to say that I am in a similar situation with a son aged 19. I just hope you get some support from here. It is a difficult situation.

TheCowardlyLion Fri 22-Apr-11 15:02:00

'How does he get a temp job?'

He does what everyone else does - gets off his arse and looks for one. When I was at university, I joined a temping agency and went where they sent me, and tramped up and down the streets of the city I was living in asking in every pub, restaurant, hotel, if they needed staff. I got a job in a pub which lasted for the three years of my degree and could have lasted longer had I needed it to.

You say you wish he wasn't there, but to me you sound really disinclined to do anything which might inconvenience him or upset him...

purepurple Fri 22-Apr-11 15:06:49

Hairless, I have a 21 year old who is not working at the moment so I can understand a little bit of what you are going through.

He is currently on JSA and he pays me £30 a week for his board and lodgings. He also has jobs around the house to do, such as the dishwasher every day. I do feel a bit mean taking the money from him, but he costs an absolute fortune in food and electricity bills.

He recently had a problem where he didn't recieve his JSA on time and had to wait a few days. He had a job interview and we lent him money. When he did receive his money he had to pay us back and 2 weeks board. That left him with £10. I felt awful taking the money but, DH rightly said he has to learn. Life is not a free ride. I don't want to chuck him out but he needs to take responsibility for himself.

I wish he could find a job and get his own flat and start to have his own life.

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 15:39:22

Maybe I've painted the wrong picture. He is not useless, he respects our house and does the garden etc. He is applying for jobs but has had no luck at all. He doesn't have quals or much experience at anything. I just feel like he'll never move out unless I push him.........

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 15:54:13

YusMilady, yes he lives in our house, we live and work abroad for most of the year.

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 15:55:59

purepurple, I think I'll do what you are doing. I don't want to make things easy for him any more.

cabbageroses Fri 22-Apr-11 15:57:28

I do feel for you. My son 24 is still at home but has 2 degrees and a job- he simply can't find the flat share he wants within commuting distance ofwork.

He has only been inthis job for 4 months and before that had temp jobs so could not afford to move out.

Although I believe in tough love, you also need to face facts.

he wil find it hard to get social housing and few if any private landlords will take anyone on DSS.

He cannot get social housing immediately by simply leaving your home when he has been living there.

If I was you, I would try to support him- with certain rules.

1. counselling etc for the drug problem- loads of support centres etc around.
2 ditto drink.
3 careers advice- he will need qualifications- jobs for unskilled men are almost non existant.
4 enrol on somekind of training course
5 set a deadline for all of these- say within 3-6 months.

in return he can live with you unti lhe can afford somewhere, but a % of his JSA should be paid to you- or, as you say, he buys his own food.

Is he also supposed to pay child support for his son?

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 16:08:36

caqbbageroses, I think this is my only answer for now. He has stopped all drugs (he was here for three months and you can't get cannabis here) and is not drinking much, but does have the odd drink. (I have very nosey neighbours and a friend who comes to check on the house at all hours) Where does he go for careers advice? Yes I've told him about training courses but he doesn't have the money for one. What do I say if he doesn't hit the deadline?? He was paying child support when he was earning.......

purepurple Fri 22-Apr-11 16:09:39

Hairless, he knows we love him and want to support him but we both work long hours doing jobs we don't really enjoy to pay the mortgage and all the bills. He has an apprenticeship in bricklaying but the company didn't keep him on when he finished. They often don't because they get paid for training them. He hasn't the experience or the confidence to start up as a bricklayer, so he is quite down about it.
I keep telling him that any job is better than no job but he is determined that the perfect job for him is out there. I am not enabling him, I am just supporting him through a tough time. Throwing him out is not an option and it makes me mad when people suggest it.

garlicbutter Fri 22-Apr-11 16:17:11

I don't think he sounds like a total waster, just a bit young as you say. He needs to sign on if he hasn't already. I agree it's worth charging him something for the fuel, etc, that he's using.

Jobs are ridiculously hard to get these days, no matter how many mumsnetters insist otherwise. The big risk here is the depression, hopelessness, lack of self-worth and so forth that can come with not being wanted or needed, having no 'purpose' and feeling isolated. Temping can help a bit - he'd probably pick up the odd shift doing different things - but it rarely helps with forming relationships and CAN PUT YOUR JSA AT RISK. It might be a lot more useful to find some volunteer stuff to do on a regular basis.

It sounds as though he's trying hard not to face facts. I don't agree the only way to effect this is chucking him out! I've been homeless and, believe me, you don't know how bad "marginalised" can feel until you've felt it. Once you're that far out of the loop you can't get work or benefits. He needs to appreciate, though, that there are hoops to be jumped through. The more he learns about "working" the system, as it might look to him, the more steps forward he'll be able to take.

He's lucky to have you Hope things start picking up!

hairless Fri 22-Apr-11 16:18:34

purepurple, my son was determined that the right job was around the corner but I think now he realises that any job will have to do. I've just written to him saying that staying in our house comes with conditions - one of which is letting me know every day what he has applied for. Its a start. Thanks everyone. I agree though that throwing him out will just not work right now. But making things easy for him doesn't work either. So I'm getting tough, but not so tough that I will have a son living on the streets.

cabbageroses Fri 22-Apr-11 16:19:12

careers advice- first stop could be Connexions- not sure if they help up to age 26 but they will know who can if he calls them.

failing that, a trip to his local college of further ed to look at courses, talk to advisors there.

Not sure about when he gets to the deadline- cross that one if it comes.

Naoko Fri 22-Apr-11 16:21:31

If he is no longer doing drugs, having 'the odd' drink rather than drinking a lot, respecting your house and actually looking for work, he really doesn't sound that bad to me. It sounds to me like he is a bit directionless and needs pointing in the right direction, rather than kicking out. gives careers advice, they have a helpline and give face to face appointments too. They may know about availability of funding for training, as well. He should also sign up to any and all temping agencies in the area (just google 'temping agencies [name of your area]') and take whatever they throw at him, the money won't be great but it'll tide him over while he figures out what to do long term or looks for a job in the field he actually wants to be in.
If he actually does this and continues his good behaviour in the house, I can't see why you'd have to be harsh to him, he'd be proactively trying to improve his situation. If he won't, that's different and you'd have to reconsider. You shouldn't do it all for him either, but just giving him a bit of help about where to start, that's different - that's just being a supportive parent.

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