... and I'm at my wits end!
My name is Kara and I live in CT. I'm 40 years old and have four kids (boys 20, 12, 8 and a 6 year old girl). My 20 year old will be turning 21 in May and he seems to have no desire to ever grow up and be on his own. He's always been such a good kid behaviorally speaking. He's very polite, respectful, caring and is really loving towards his family. He is incredibly young for his age though. He doesn't have a driver's license, he isn't in college, he doesn't work. He's never had a girlfriend (though I have found a Playboy or two in his room so I know he at least has an interest there). He stays up half the night and sleeps half the day and does nothing but sit in his room on his computer. Some days I don't see him at all or, if I do see him it's because I've called him up for dinner or to do a chore. It bothers me that he doesn't seem to have any drive whatsoever.
When he graduated from high school he asked to have a year off to decide what he wanted to do. I didn't have a problem with that and figured I'd rather he do that than waste money on him going to college and not taking it seriously. Well, that year has come and gone... and now two more have, too. My fiance and I have been seeing a family therapist to try to get some ideas of how to approach this situation, among other things. She suggested that we write down a list of expectations and that we sit down and talk to him about it. She said that we shouldn't have to remind him of these things and to make it clear that these are things we expect from him as a contribution to our household. So, last weekend we did that. We sat with him and talked for a long time. It seemed to go well and I think we did a good job at expressing our feelings and concerns without attacking him. I felt pretty good about it at the time... but NOTHING has changed. And it is infuriating.
We gave him a very, very small list of things we expected: keeping his room clean, doing the dishes, cleaning his bathroom weekly, shoveling the walkway when it snows, letting the dogs out on weekend mornings, filling out his FAFSA form for college and looking into schools... and interacting with the family instead of being holed up in his room all the time. He's only done the dishes when he's been reminded, repeatedly, and even then he often "forgets." His room is still a mess, he's done nothing for college, the bathroom was cleaned (half assed) only when we reminded him, he's still holed up in his room. And the one weekend he was supposed to let the dogs out, he overslept and didn't... which put us back to square one with the puppy's potty training. He's genuinely sorry and very apologetic about these things when confronted and reminded, but, seriously, it's getting very old. I just want to scream at him and shake him and tell him to grow the hell up! (Even though that approach hasn't helped in the past)
We updated the therapist about the lack of change after implementing her plan and she was seriously shocked. She could not believe that it had no impact on him whatsoever. Now she's suggested that I may need to act as his personal scheduler. She thinks I need to give him a list of specific days and times to do these things and have him put them as reminders into his phone. So, we will try that... but then what? What if that doesn't work either? There's nothing to take away from this kid. He doesn't have a car, he doesn't drive, he doesn't go hang out with friends, I don't give him money for anything. The only thing I could take from him is the internet and we've been discussing that. I'm thinking that maybe I change the router password on a daily basis and that he has to "earn" the password by finishing his daily chores. Maybe it will help, but I find myself getting very angry that I still have to do these things as if he's a little kid. He's NOT a little kid. At his age I was a single mom to him, living on my own, working and going to school. I can't even get him to pick up his room! It's ridiculous.
I've toyed with the idea of telling him he may have to join the military if he doesn't do what he needs to do to get into college. I'm just not sure if he'd survive the military though and I don't want it to ruin the really good parts of who he is (and there really are so many). The laziness and lack of discipline just don't seem to be changing on their own though and I know he'd have no choice but to get it together if he were enlisted. My fiance served 24 years in the Air Force and even he is worried that my son just wouldn't be able to handle it though and that it might be bad for him.
So, what in the world do I do? I'm running out of ideas and my patience is near its end. I would welcome any and all suggestions! And I know that was an extremely long intro post so thank you for reading it. :)