Free-loading adult son not ready for adulthood

Q:

When my child was six, his father died in an accident. I have always tried my best since then to give my child anything he needs. Today, my adult child has received and spent a mid sized inheritance, lives in my basement, doesn’t help with expenses or the household and is happy with working weekends while playing video games the rest of the week.  What should I do?

A:

A bit of painful truth for you - The fact that your grown adult child lives in your basement and is not motivated to work is partly your doing.  You are enabling him by allowing him to live for free and be under employed.  You failed at influencing how the inheritance was used.

Here’s what to do. 

Time to start the adulthood training.  Your goal is to make him a self sufficient adult who eventually supports himself and moves out of your house. I would suggest phasing this in.

Budgeting.  A course would help.  But also explain to him how things in the household are paid for.  Where does your income come from, how much are the mortgage, electricity, internet, heating expenses.  Give him an idea of how much these things actually cost.  Ask him to be a financial contributor – he is an adult and should be helping out his mom.

Start charging rent. Start low and move it up to market rates.  Show him the how much rent costs in the neighbourhood.  The rising rent and household expenses will likely push him to the conclusion that working 2 days a week doesn’t cut it.  (If it did then everyone would be working only 2 days a week)  Why should you work 5 days a week while your adult son works 2?

Housework. Ask for help around the house.  Law need mowing?  Painting required?  Household tasks should be shared. Allowing him to have responsibly and be a contributing member of the household increases confidence and self esteem.

Day-to-day life skills training.  I have no idea if you cook and do his laundry, but if you do, its time to make him to do these things himself.  This one is easy.  Show him how to do his own laundry and then simply stop doing his.

Education.  Encourage him to further his education. Trades, college, certifications are all great ideas to at least get started.  A possible arrangement could be – if he’s studying/in school he lives rent-free.  If he’s out of school, he should be working full time and should contribute to rent