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Advice on how to live happily with an 18 year old

(8 Posts)
heatherAnn Wed 01-Jun-16 17:24:35

My daughter's son lives with me and my husband. He has furnished out our insulated shed at the bottom of the garden where he sleeps. He is now 18. I want to treat him as an adult and respect his views but he has a totally ideological idea of the world. All he wants is peace and he wont make decisions - we have struggled to get him to work - he has dropped out of an apprenticeship and working in a shop. He is late all the time, smokes cannabis and gets abusive if I mention I can smell it, and wont follow any of our few house rules. He says I am controlling if I ask any questions about his life or friends (who are lovely) and he has to live his life how he wants. I truly respect this but on the way he has offended my brother, my mother and my son by his behavior and not 'conforming' to their way of life. He regularly falls out with his mother and especially his father and step-mother. I totally love him so much and only want to do what is best for him but my brother and son say I am 'enabling' his behavior. And while I am doing this they do not wish to have any more to do with me. This doesn't really do justice to the problems but I wondered if anyone has advice they can give me that allows him to be an adult and for me to respect his feelings and outlook on life and yet allow him to see other's perspectives. He tells me that this is the happiest he has ever been and I don't want to destroy this as he has had a rather difficult childhood as the piggy in the middle of his warring parents. Advice please.

1stworldproblemss Wed 01-Jun-16 21:05:17

He shouldn't need to "conform" to anyone's way of life. Is he paying you rent? If not tell him he either treats your home and family with respect and follow yours rules or he moves out. If he expects to be treated like an adult he needs to behave like one. If he is paying rent then sorry, but it is home too that is paying and contributing towards so either accept that that is the person he is and how he has chosen to live or tell him you can't have him living there any longer.

Flak32016 Wed 01-Jun-16 23:35:49

You may think you are helping him when he is 18

But do you want him living there for free and not working when he is 21, 30, 40 ?

He needs to get a job, training and or volunteering

How does he currently support himself ? food, bills ?

Greenyogagirl Wed 01-Jun-16 23:38:24

My brother and I got kicked out at 16yo as we were 'adults'
If he doesn't pay rent, if he doesn't contribute he needs to live in the real world I think sorry X

annandale Wed 01-Jun-16 23:44:25

It sounds like you want to give him the warm accepting childhood you feel he never had. That says amazing things about you but ultimately it isn't I don't think right for him as an 18 year old. I couldn't see myself chucking a relative of this age out on the street without warning, but I would definitely set a date for when he has to leave - 6 months, with some sort of financial contribution starting in 3 months? And I would be prepared for him to take umbrage at this and walk out.

elephantoverthehill Wed 01-Jun-16 23:44:39

Op you say his friends are lovely. Could talking to them etc. be a starting point to influence or understand his behaviour?

soundofthenightingale Fri 03-Jun-16 00:46:36

its your home, your property heatherAnn. For your grandson to get abusive because you mention you don't like (the smell of) cannabis on your property is not very "peace, man" or ideological! Its just selfish.

As Annandale says, it says great things about your warmth and love that you have created this place of safety and caring for him. But there is the danger of indulging an entitled young man rather than helping him through support and self-discipline.

p.s. Re. cannabis, alot of the stuff they distribute now is pretty strong, nothing like lighter "grass" for example in the past. It has alot of ill-effect, recent research suggests even permanent frontal lobe brain damage. You don't have to condone this way of life if you think it is destructive.

salsamad Fri 03-Jun-16 01:25:05

I have an 18 yr old DS and I have found that teenagers can be rather selfish and self absorbed at times. As much as you love your grandson and really want the best for him, you are enabling him to lead exactly the life he wants without any real boundaries. This is the life his parents won't allow him to lead in their homes but you are allowing it to happen in yours.
If it was your husband or partner who was doing something you weren't happy with like dabbling in drugs or watching porn, no doubt you would give him an ultimatum - well your grandson should warrant the same treatment.
You should have strict ground rules about him not using cannabis anywhere on your property. Say you are happy for him to stay with you and that you will help him financially (for set time) but only if he keeps off drugs and tries to find some sort of work that he is interested in - or possibly a college course or maybe even Uni.
He needs to be encouraged to be much more responsible and independent. That means you will need a new approach on how to handle him and you will need to be firm but fair and show him some "tough love".
Maybe he would benefit from speaking to a counsellor if you think he may have unresolved issues from his childhood. You may also find it helpful to speak to your own GP about your concerns re his drug use - your GP can point you to support groups and offer advice.

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