Broken mom - 22 year old son


This is I guess a continuation to my last thread, though here I was hoping for help to get some advice for our 22 year old son that is still living at home.

Clearly my dh and I need to have a list of rules, expectations and consequences.

These are the rules we have had for him and what he has done and not done

He has to attend mass weekly, no exceptions.- he for the most part does this.
Helps around house- I don’t have chore lists, but he’ll unload dishwasher and shares cleaning the kitchen with his brother and sister.
**Keep his room clean **- doing better at this
**School **- must take 12 units -not doing this, barely taking 3-6 units
**show grades **- having seen them the last 2 semesters, he did pay for those units.
**Get up on time for work **- depends on us to wake him up

We have never had him pay rent or car insurance or gas. I know, very bad on our part.
Because he did not continue to take 12 units at school, he is now without health or dental insurance- yes this one really keeps me up at night.

Dh and I would really appreciate other suggestions for what others are doing or have done & also examples of consequences with their young adult children still living at home.

Thanks again so much.


Give him the pink slip on his life. He has X weeks to find an apartment and move out.

Let him grow up already. He’s 22 and never paid rent or car insurance?

I had my first baby at 22! And had been married for about ten months… :wink:


I agree with Sirena. At this point int his life at his age, he is not going to learn to be responsible and grow up from your direction, he has to do it himself. The days of him having to be accountable to you for cleaning his room and school are (or should be) over. It’s a WHOLE different ballgame when you have to do things to survive than having to do them because mom and dad said so. Why isn’t he paying rent? gas? food? car insurance? cell phone bill? What reason does he have to grow up when you do everything for him?

I was married and had one child and one on the way when I was 22. That may be a little on the young side but your son is on the other end of the spectrum.

I think if he’s going to stay with you, he needs to ask you first of all for permission to do so and agree on rent, contributing to food bill or better yet buying his own, helping around the house (common courtesy if you’re living in someone else’s home) including things like helping with grocery shopping etc. In short, you needs to be a little bit more of a landlord and he a tenant. This can be the MO in the short term, until he gets on his feet but sooner than later, he needs to move out.



We’re currently working through what expectations we should have of our 18 yr old, who is the last child left at home. She works, goes to school (getting up by herself ;)), pays her share of the car insurance and buys most of her own clothes. We do not expect rent or food $$ as long as she is in school.

Good luck. It’s a whole new ballgame, isn’t it? It makes the diaper years seem like a walk in the park :stuck_out_tongue:


How many hours per week does your son work?


I didn’t read your previous thread, but I think that list is a good start, but it can be combined with other things as well that could be helpful to your son and your family. That being said, their is a fine line between supporting a child into their twenties to get them off on the right foot and facilitate success and perpetuating their childhood/dependence.

My Background: I lived away from home as a full time college student in a dorm or apartment with roommates from age 18 to when I graduated in 4 years at about 22, I immediately moved into my own apartment upon starting full time work.

I think the key factors at stake with your son living at home are that he follows your rules (which he generally seems to do) and continues to mature and progress towards leaving the nest. He needs to get out and live his own life as soon as possible. If he isn’t taking enough credits at school, their needs to be a valid reason why… because not completing school will only prolong his ‘childhood’ life at home and put a financial burden on you because of his inability to earn a sufficient income. Just imagine if he needs a root canal in a year or two and doesn’t have dental, or he breaks a bone or something. I think it is crucial for you to sit down with him and plan out some sort of ‘strategy’ for how he plans to finish school, get a job, and move out so he can function as an independent adult and move on with his life. You should try to have measurable goals along the way too, things he can complete and feel good about, but at the same time will challenge him.

If he is at home for a while longer, I think it is important for you to emphasize he is a good role model for his younger siblings. You don’t want younger children to think it will be ok to be living at home until they are 25 because their older brother did. If he can show good values, morals, behavior and contribute significantly around the house, then it will positively influence them and potentially help your job parenting… but the sword is double edged and his behavior can also work against you.

I have friends who have had varying degrees of success and some moved out right away and others took longer, but they all generally are doing ‘ok’, but that is a relative term.

I have a question though… what is the situation of his friends? Do they live at home or on their own? Sometimes being friends with unmotivated people further perpetuates that behavior, just as when you surround yourself with ‘driven’ people it brings out those qualities in yourself more. Environment affects you quite a bit.


As someone of the same generation as your son (I’m 25) I can say this is really common in people my age - and I have been guilty of it to some extent.
He may be suffering from confusion about what to do in life, and yes you are probably enabling him (even though I know you are just trying to help in).

I think you need to make it clear - he can either be a full time student or a full time worker. Education is a gift that sadly, many people of my generation take for granted.
He may be less than enthused about a full course load because maybe he just doesn’t see how school is preparing him for the future. I encountered this too - I really had no idea what type of career I wanted, and for a time I floundered in college and didn’t have a focus. Maybe you need to sit down and help him carve out his future plan. Encourage him to get some exposure to the field he is persuing and show him some salary potentials :slight_smile:

BTW even if he is only taking part time classes - he should be able to get “emergency” insurance through his college at a VERY cheap rate.


you’re being nasty! he didn’t have a choice about life;sounds like an unwanted pregnancy.i thought catholics were caring folk?


:confused::confused: That’s quite the non sequitur there, my friend. How is it being nasty to say that a 22 year old is an adult and needs to act like one?

I’m 24 and I’m married and have my own home. But I have had friends like your son…they are happy to stay in that limbo between childhood and adulthood because it is just so easy. I personally don’t think it’s a huge deal that he is still living at home, especially with the economy being what it is. My sister’s fiance still lives with his parents. But he has a full time job and is a productive human being. I think it’s okay if you let him live at home, but he needs to be a contributing member of the household in some way.


He sounds like a pretty good son to me…two of our sons are still in college and we pay their insurance, as long as they carry a full course load. Tell him either to carry a full load or move out, is my advice.


Work can be hard to find these day depending on where you live and what your son’s skilss/interest are. Super important that he stay in school full time if he isn’t working at all (or is working only parttime). He needs to come up with a plan for his future–sit down with him, have him sit down with the career counselor at college or his advisor, have him talk to your priest.

His contributions to home are not enough. I did live at him for a bit after college (and my parents paid most of my tuition), but while at home I didn’t expect mom to wake me up, do my laundry, give me spending money, etc. I worked in a dress shop part time until I found full-time work in my area.

Your son needs to get his act together–buy him an alarm clock and then the rest of his expenses --spending money, tuition, car payments, gas, insurance are all on him. I wouldn’t charge rent (it’s not like you are going to rent his room out to anyone else) or the food for meals he eats with you as a family, but if he wants his own snacks, a gallon of milk a day, beer, etc–he needs to buy that himself.


With all respect, that sounds a trifle harsh!

I think your rules sound great and fair. I hope he keeps it up!


It’s harsh to enforce rules to which he agreed upon entering college?

I sometimes wonder… these young adults seem so content to have no goals because it seems most have no expectations of them anymore. Kids rise, or sink, to the level of what you expect of them.


Not everyone matures and grows at the same pace.

Overlaying our own experiences on to our children, while useful at times, can be a barrier to support for them.

For some families, these negotiations occur normally and naturally with minimal conflicts as children mature. For what ever reason, sometimes they don’t. I can kinda sympathize with my 17 YO. :o

I am new on the board here but cannot advocate the “my way or the highway” some of you seem to be for.

I did not read the previous thread, but he does seem like a good kid. No law trouble and no drugs or alcohol issues. That is pretty darn good so far.

It is inevitable to set higher expectations for your son and pressing him for them too. Kicking in $ for rent, groceries and insurance is good too. But, you certainly don’t have to kick him out either. :slight_smile:


No, I was saying the previous poster saying “Carry a full load or have him move out” was a bit harsh.

Your rules seem fine.


No, it’s not harsh.

8 years ago, when I was 22, I was patrolling the DMZ along the border of Kuwait with Iraq for a year, and that was the front line at the time. This was after I had previously spent a year in South Korea. I am not impressed by overgrown kids who won’t grow up and actually believe that their parents are being unfair. Tell him to get out already and do something with his life.

BTW, you don’t have to kick him out to accomplish that. I’ve lived with my parents after I got out of the Army, with my wife and kids, until I found a job. But while I was there, I obeyed their rules, and to this day, I still do whenever I’m there.

BTW, sloth is a deadly sin, even by itself.

He needs to man up already, or he can go discover himself on his own dime.


But carrying 12 credits, a full load, was one of the rules to which he agreed. Read the first post!



My oldest ds will be 18 in a few months (:eek:) and so I have been thinking about what rules we’ll have for an adult child. Here’ what I’m thinking of:

~He has to attend mass weekly, no exceptions.
~He has to help around the house. Basically, he’ll continue with what he’s been doing, but now he’ll be in charge of washing/drying his own clothes (although he can use my laundry detergent :p).
~He has to keep his room clean…as well as keep his art stuff organized :wink:
~Clothes, toiletries, and entertainment are no longer my responsibility.
~School - he must take 12 units. Full-time school=free room/board; anything less than that requires some type of rent. Now, if he has to be on a waiting list for his major, he will have to get some type of job and we’ll figure something out that’s fair (maybe pay for a specific utility bill, etc.).
~Get up on time for work - I am NOT responsible for my ds’s schedule. If he oversleeps, he has to suffer the consequences.
~Once he gets his drivers license (my ds doesn’t have his yet), ds needs to contribute to it’s upkeep (gas, insurance, etc.).

As for health insurance, if my ds lost his coverage due to a part-time schedule, I would encourage him to find individual coverage…I would even pay for part of it. You never know when a freak accident will occur and your ds ends in the emergency room with a broken arm, etc.



I think it’s great that so many of you are not afraid to require Mass attendance!

As my DH has said to our kids, “As long as I’m paying your bills, you’re going to Mass!” :smiley:

None of mine are of legal age yet, but the day is coming, and it’s nice to know that there are other parents out there with some backbone and moral courage. We’ve gotta support each other! So here’s to all of you… :tiphat::grouphug:


To honest, the list of rules in the first post look similar to what we expect (and receive) from our 10 year old son.

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