When the dependence doesn’t stop 358



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I have a moral dilemma. I have a 26-year-old son (27 in January) who has been unemployed since May last year. He doesn’t have a disability – in fact, he is fully able and not on drugs or has any sort of problem that stops him from gaining employment.

He’s my eldest child yet my youngest, a daughter, has never had these issues and thank God, has not looked up to him for inspiration. I am currently unemployed and as a 61-year-old, I’m sure you can understand how incredibly difficult it is to get full time or even part time work, so I’ve been living off the $9,000 super I cashed out in June plus a redundancy and it’s quickly running out.

My son finished a training course a few weeks ago and for that I am proud, however he did not work during the 8-week program despite having rent of $260 a week and weekends off, and now hasn’t tried to get a job since. He has this easy does it, she’ll be right attitude. He is not the most social of people and doesn’t have friends to see so he has plenty of time to work. What pains me the most about all this is that I am still supporting him financially even though 1. I am 61 and have no job and my own bills to pay and 2. he could be doing it himself with the click of a finger.

I’m not sure if it’s motivation he lacks, but my daughter has spoken to him and he just brushes it off like every nearly-27-year-old deserves pay outs from their parents. As if he feels he is entitled to it! I have no idea where he got that idea from because I’ve never been made of money. His father paid for his course, while he sat inside playing computer games, with no intention to pay either of us back.

I’ve reached the end of my tether with him. I love him so much but when does the dependence stop? Sometimes I go past his real estate agent and ask what the balance owing is and pay it for him. Sometimes he only pays $50 rent a week and I have no clue how he thinks that is acceptable in the real world. The worst part about all this is that my son is the shyest, most incredibly kind person you will meet, but I’m getting tired of running around looking for jobs for him, printing resumes and applications, all while having no car or job myself.

I’m stuck in a rut, should I cut him off financially and see him go homeless (which is what will happen if I do) or try to live with me, or should I continue to pay his rent out of my life savings? I feel like even if I was trying to ‘teach’ him something, he wouldn’t understand it or know how hard it was for me. I can’t have him live with me because last time he did I slept on the couch for 4 months while he had my bed. With osteoporosis, it wasn’t the greatest time.

So what should I do? I’ve spoken to him and how he’s causing me stress and anxiety and he won’t listen or get a job. I’m really at my breaking point…..


Tell us your thoughts and what you would do below.

Guest Contributor

  1. I would sit down tell him the facts and give him a months grace. After that he would be on his own. Do it with love, but tough love. Even if you were in a financial position to do it, it wouldn’t be good for him.

    1 REPLY
    • so so silly. you have made him like this. there comes a time, when enough IS enough. just tell him you have no money . that you bare no longer going to do a thing for him. don’t kick him out on the street. But.. he needs to get his act together. don’t feed him ,don’t clothe him, don’t do ANYTHING at all for him. and don’t cook any meals for him, don’t share your food with him. Explain that to him first. Ask him what his problem is and go from there.

  2. You really must cut the umbilical cord, or else accept that whilst you pay his way he’s not going to accept responsibility. Good Luck.

  3. Sad to say, this is a hole you have helped dig. He will never learn while you are in the background to throw money at him. Withdraw your financial support now. He may go through a rough time because of that but it will ultimately benefit you both.

    1 REPLY
    • You need to force him to grow up. If you continue helping he will keep taking until your money dries up. STOP ALLOWING HIM TO DO THIS TO YOU AND HIMSELF.

  4. Sometimes we need to use tough love. 3 rules, you are NOT an ATM, you do NOT run a motel and no work either paid or Volunteer you say sorry sunshine you are on your own.

  5. Time for some tough love. You need to stop paying his way and tell him that it is time for him to grow up! Worse case scenario he becomes homeless … he sleeps on your couch or floor – not you! Sometimes you have to make hard decisions but he needs you to do this or he will never change. You know it can’t continue or you will both be homeless. Good luck.

  6. One has to be cruel to be kind,any son who lets his mother sleep on the couch needs to have a good look at him self and wake up to him self.as long as you give him hand outs he will just keep taking.

  7. I understand that, as parents, we want to do what is best for our children but is what you are doing really the best for your son or is your generosity feeding his dependence? At the moment he has all the gain while you have all the pain and that needs to change. Firstly speak assertively with your son and tell him that the financial support has stopped – that he has to take responsibility for himself – NOW!
    You also need to be very clear about whether you are prepared to have him live with you in the event that he is forced out of his accommodation. I can’t believe that a) you would have agreed to sleep on the couch while he had your bed and b) that he would have agreed to such an arrangement. If he were to come back to live with you that situation has to be reversed and there has to be an agreed set of responsibilities he must accept. Perhaps he could live with you for an agreed trial period and if he is not sharing the household responsibilities he will have to find alternative accommodation.
    Sometimes we have to show tough love to help our kids grow up.

  8. I would encourage you to find the strength to try the tough love card. You say he is a kind person but anyone who would allow his mother to sleep on the couch while he has her bed doesn’t sound kind to me. By supporting him with money and rent paid, you are an enabler, and really need to play the tough love card on yourself also. It is a habit you need to break, for his sake and yours. Good luck. Your patterning will be as hard to break as his.

    3 REPLY
  9. Tough Love is the only way !!! Say NO !! You cannot do it any more ! And stick to your word. He has no need to do anything about his situation while you are meeting his needs. Things will get worse and it’s hard for a parent to watch on but it is the only way. If you don’t cut it now, be prepared to be supporting him for the rest if your life. But, also don’t expect any respect from him.

  10. He is taking advantage of you but really its your fault as you are enabling him.
    You aren’t doing him any favors as what you’re doing is detrimental to him and causing him harm.
    Get strong and give him lots of love but nothing else.
    You could be me im afraid and every day I regret that I was so soft and enabling.

  11. This is a really tough situation for you. Somehow you need to get thru to him that you can’t afford it and it is not your responsibility. He won’t end up homeless. Once he realises that you are not going to bail him out, he will come to his senses. Perhaps you could take him to counselling as there may be an underlying issue, ie depression. Just a thought.

    2 REPLY
    • If she takes him to counselling, then it won’t work. He needs to take himself. And as you say tough love.

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