Dealing with adult teenagers



I am new to this forum but a long time listening/supporter of Catholic radio and CA.

I am struggling as a parent of a 19 year old son who is living at home for the summer. Wow, I was not prepared for this, nor the situation with his girlfriend who lives in town (her family lives by standards that have no limits). This has to be one of the biggest trials I have faced in life. Morals go out the window, so does respectful and truthfulness. Prayer seems to be the only source of serenity. I pray to be more like Mary and Monica!!

Anyone else out there digging their way out of this situation at the present. No, misery does not love company, rather, an understand brother or sister can certainly be a comfort!

I know that God never gives us more than what we can handle but sometimes it feels like our trials are just ounces away from overload!

God bless,



My bretheren in age and gender are cursed it seems.

Just thinking about this is turning me into my parents…Suddenly much of what they do makes sense…Ok, it made sense before. But I’ll do my best to relate some of what they do to you.

First of all, if your son is slipping away because of his girlfriend, you may need to talk to him about it. Smack some sense into him…whether you take this literally or metaphorically is up to you.
My parents want to be actively involved in what I do romantically. I don’t have a girlfriend yet, but they are spending more time with the family of the girl I like in an attempt to get to know her better. If you already know that the girl your son is involved with is bad for him, you should talk to him. And be blunt.
That kind of relationship is going to have problems, and you need to come up with enough examples and sources to convince him.

If he is still not listening, you should remind him of “Thou shalt honor thy father and mother” as well as all of the moral obligations he has.
Perhaps you should also remind him of temporal matters as well. If he’s living with you during the summer, he shouldn’t be dishonoring and disrespecting the people who put that roof over his head.

I can’t say what kind of person your son is from the information given, but teenage boys generally don’t like to be pushed like that. So reminding him of all these things should be done in a way you know he won’t react to in a negative fashion.

You shouldn’t have to run away from this though. Prayer helps. But you should be praying for a change in your son, if you aren’t already.

I’m afraid I can’t offer much more in terms of advice. I myself haven’t been in a relationship like that, and I don’t know your son’s personality.


If he can’t follow your house rules, he shouldn’t live in your house.

He wants to be responsible for his own moral choices… then let him finance his own lifestyle. He can get a job and an apartment as he is an adult. There are short term rentals he could live in for the summer.

BTW, this is not punishment. It is respecting his right, as an adult, to make his own choices. With that right comes responsibility.

You also have a right to determine what behavior you tolerate in your home. And he has to respect that, as you are an adult.


You have house rules, right, that he knows? If not, it is time to review them. This is why I like a written contract with adults. It spells everything out. The signature is there on the line.

If he breaking rules he already knows, you need tocall him on it. If he doesn’t like your rules. Well, he has a choice. And yes, it will break your heart even more. Some kids get to be 18, and think they know it all.


Your house, your rules.


I could have written your letter. I have almost the same situation, except that the girlfriend is an only child from a fairly strict family.
We recently discovered that over the course of the last year, he has violated practically every moral value that we spent the last almost 19 years teaching him. (And this was a kid that used to be able to give theological reasons for abstinence before marriage.)
I can definately empathize with you. We have the added problem of a younger brother and sister living in the home, so our decision is to set the rules for living here, and, if they are violated, it is time to move out. (Him, not us.)
The hardest part of this is the feeling of failure–even though we brought this kid up in a strong Catholic atmosphere, a lot of moral and spiritual support and discussion in the home, I still can’t stop questioning what we did wrong. We spoke to a counselor who told us that college dorms are a petri dish of experimentation–immature very young “adults” and no supervision. She said it is almost impossible for most kids not to have their morals go out the window, but we always thought he had more moral fortitude than that.
I am in about the same place as you–lots of prayer and requests for strenght and intercession from St. Monica, the Blessed Virgin, and also St. Michael (our son’s confirmation saint co-incidently.)
I will include you and your son in my prayers as well and maybe both of us can take comfort in saints like Augustine and many others with rather checkered pasts! (I believe there is still much reason for hope!)


Does your child expect you to pay for this experiment?


As a matter of fact, the child has left the university in question, is now enrolled in a local college for next year, living at home and paying half of the tuition. Did we pay for it before we found out?–yes.

But, per Sandy’s original post, I believe she was looking for someone who understands her what she is going through. I’m sure any parent who has been hit by a similar situation has done enough self flagellation. I’m sure your prayers would be welcome.


We are offering strategies to deal with it. In the spirit of helpfulness and understanding…


Exactly - those of us who have been around the boards for some time see over and over parents who seem to feel “required” to allow the kids to run the show. We see parents who think it is some sort of duty to financially support young adults while those kids thumb the nose at morals and rules.

In the spirit of helpfulness and understanding - sometimes parents need to know that it is OKAY to stand up and be the boss.

Praying always, without ceasing.


He’s an adult - you have no legal control over him. If you don’t like his behavior, you are not obligated to support him in any way or let him live at home, especially if his behavior is such that it negatively affects the family. You can’t force him to behave, though, unfortunately.

My boyfriend is eighteen and is planning to keep living with his parents for at least the next year. He has rules he needs to follow in order to do that - very few, reasonable rules. If he decides not to follow them, he doesn’t get to live at home. It’s not a big deal - just the way things are.


You know alot of people think that their job is done once their child turns 18.

Not me.

I am a mom for life;)

Certain things do change. I mean I can’t spank him but I can tell him when I don’t agree with his choices especially when they go against the Church’s teachings and so on.

My job will then change from a mother to the added grandmother role.And just like being a sister,daughter,wife and aunt I take all the roles God gives me serious.

Our children need us even when they don’t know it:rolleyes:
As a mother he does listen to you (even if you don’t think so) keep reminding him of the “rules” your family follows.

As a mother we love them so much we desire heaven for them.

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