Adult children with no clue

For years I’ve watched my older brother struggle to get his act together. While I’ve always been independent and able to do what most adults can: buy a car, pay bills, get my licence, rent or buy a home, go to university, have a career; my brother has always been struggling to even do just one of those things.

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My poor mother is in her early 70s and has a son who, to put it simply, has no clue. She and our father have tried. She gave him part of her super so he could do a forklift course, then he didn’t turn up. The money was also meant to go towards bills and rent, but only a few weeks later he’d spent $7,000 on games, a computer and nothing worthwhile for his future. Our dad gave him a few thousand dollars to do another course, but he lost interest. That was perhaps the third time he’d tried. He’s been jobless for years and lives off the dole.

It is disappointing because these are parents who did everything right. They constantly check up on him, but the minute they stop giving him money or food, he gets worryingly thin and his electricity is cut off.

It makes me wonder, how many other over 60s with adult children are going through a similar thing where one or more of their children is just hopeless? They are fully capable of doing things i.e no drug or alcohol addiction, or mental or physical disability, and four arms and four legs. They have friends who are capable, they have people around them who do things and have a good life, yet they cannot care less. How do we make them get off their butts?

I just want to shake my brother and say, “Do something!” but it’s almost too late. It really is a case of helping someone as much as you can but at the end of the day they need to want to help themselves… and he doesn’t. But this is a growing epidemic of young people who just do not know how to function – even washing their own clothes draws confusion. They struggle to go grocery shopping because they don’t know how to cook; they can’t drive a car; they don’t know how to do their tax or even how to fill out a form.

How can we get these people to change or are they a lost cause? Do you have an adult child or know someone whose child is not moving at the same pace as everyone else? How have you dealt with their apathy to being a real functioning person?