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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Adult Children Still At Home

Question: Hi, I can't believe I am seeking out advice and can't solve this on my own. Some may think it's not a big issue but really it is. I have been married to a wonderful man for 27 years, we have a 28 and 23 year old who we love very much and would do most anything for. I have always been the parent who wants structure in raising our kids and treating them both with the same rules, especially with education. That is what we both agreed upon when starting a family. Our 23 year old son has been able to do just about anything and his father see's NO wrong in him. He still lives home, doesn't work and uses us like puppets and his father just can not or Will Not see this. Any of the ground rules that was set for our daughter has been totally different for our son. From the age of prob. 14, really it prob. started way before that he has been able to pull the wool over his fathers eyes. His father is a military man for 30 years and is home off and on so Dad tries to be his friend and not his father which I have said to him time to time. Even when WE both set a guideline or rule/stipulation and he (son) breaks it he has always been able to get away with NO punishment. Sometimes rewarded in a sense. My son knows and has known that he can manipulate his Dad and loves it, it causes and has caused many problems in our marriage for quite sometime but some how we (I) overcome it cause I love my family and my husband so much. My Husband is a great man and my son is a great man too but I just am at wits end on how to deal with this anymore and am really at the point that I can't or won't. My husband allows our son to use our autos, even knowing he's NOT covered on Ins. and the latest rule was to call home if he's going to be real late or not be home, well of course he doesn't call home, Hubby is out of town, which is when the son pulls his shit! So after me explaining to Hubby that this is happening, he still two nights later allows the son to take the car and go with it! So why make a rule if their is NO consequences? This is exactly what has been happening all through his life and school, which was hell! This is my issue, I have told my husband that he needs help or therapy and that this has taken it's toll on our marriage as the only time we fight is about this same issue over and over. Hubby doesn't see it as an issue at all, he see's it as me making too much out of it and I should get over it! I am really ready to walk out the door which kills me because we have been through a lot together and have had many plans for the future and I do love him but that too is slowly going out the window as it's kinda hard to be romantic or see him as the man I married when he won't support me. Where do I go from here? Sorry to make this so long and dragged out. HELP!

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.
Laura NP


Eleventh Hour LLC said...

Dear Troubled,
It sounds like the three of you are on totally different pages. I'm wondering if things may work out better if you change the relationship from mother/son to landlord/renter. In other words, maybe it's time to treat your son like an adult. Try letting go of trying to control him as if he is still 14 years old. He is an adult. So you and your husband should put a rental agreement in writing and have him sign it. Don't keep giving him things. He's 23! He can get his own stuff. He wants a car...let him ride the bus till he saves for his own car. Charge him rent. Tell him to buy his own food. If your husband does not agree, then stand your ground and don't allow him to borrow your car or your stuff. You have control over your own actions. If your husband wants to let your son take HIS car, then fine, let him. But if your son asks to borrow your car...say NO! If you really want to make a point, get your own bank account. If your husband wants to give your son money, then fine, let him. But you will have your own money and you don't have to give it to your son. The biggest step for you is letting go of trying to control the people around you and regaining control over yourself and your stuff. The other option is trying to see your husband's side. Why not try to go along with everything your husband says. What's the worse that can happen? It would break the pattern between the three of you. Instead of getting all worked up about your son's defiance, just say, "Go ahead son, do what you want." He probably won't know what to do! After you doing that a few times, it may take the fun out of it for your son and he may straighten out. Bottom line, you can't make your son or your husband do anything, but you can control your reactions. Don't waste all you energy trying to make the two men in your life do what you think they should be doing. Change your focus to yourself, start doing the things you enjoy. Forget the boys! And if you can NOT react, you may be pleasantly surprised by the change that happens in your relationships. Good Luck and let us know how things are going.