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My 20 year old able bodied stepson doesnt work

Customer Question

My 20 year old able bodied stepson doesn't work nor go to school, he hangs around the house doing nothing. I have a problem with it but his father tolerates it. This situation is stressing our marriage but my husband thinks I should just be more patient, but it's been 2 years with no progress. What do you suggest I do to get my husband to see how much this bothers me.  We have been married 9 years and his son has lived with us throughout the marriage.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.

Let me know if you tried this before. Tell your husband that you believe that you job as a parent is to teach your stepson how to become a responsible and hard working adult who will survive in the world and be independent. Ask him if he thinks not tolerating this is teaching him how to be an independent hard working adult. Encourage your stepson by asking him about his dreams and aspirations about the future and tell him you really believe that he can do that. Children need guidance. They need to prepare for the world out there. Your husband is not teaching his son how to survive because others will have expectations of him. Talk to your husband about giving his son some responsibilities around the house such as yard work or other jobs around the house or get a job. If he does nothing around the house why should he get motivated? I wonder if you husband is afraid of losing his son and worries that his son will fly the coop. Maybe he is preventing that by his behavior because he does not want to feel the pain of the empty nest syndrome. Sometimes parents can hold kids back for their own gain. Children feel good when they have responsibilities, jobs, goals. This inactivity can lead to depression and low self esteem.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  AgapeDoc replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the opportunity to serve....

This is a very trying situation in deed and I must tell you up front that there is no easy answer to this.

However, I have dealt with this (or something very similar) many times in the past, so don't feel like you're alone. Also, you may not like what I have to say, but as I mentioned, I have some experience with this.

First of all you are right.... SO RIGHT! It is hard to imagine a perfectly capable young man not working or contributing in some fashion! And the fact that you are not getting support from your husband is, well....... not really acceptable. AND... why wouldn't your husband (the boys own father) want this boy to have responsibilities and work???!!!! Well, I must say that it is all confusing, that it makes little or no sense, but at the end of all that....... this is where we stand!

Since what is happening makes no sense, and since what you have tried has made no (or at least very little) impact, I am going to ask for your permission to ask you for a favor......I am going to ask you to look at it a different way. I am going to ask you to let yourself off the hook. If this boys own father is not going to address the situation, then you let it go too. Progress is not being made anyway.

Make it clear that you will no longer bring this up! Tell them that you have made your feelings clear and that hasn't changed, but it is no longer your problem - you are setting yourself free!

The consequences that will come will not be yours to bear.

Then focus on your relationship with your husband. Be wiling to forgive him for not holding his son accountable because you have let it go. You might also point out that you have given him something (by doing this) and this might be a good time for him to give you something (that doesn't pertain to this issue).

I imagine that this is not easy to digest, but as I said, I have dealt with this (or something similar) many times. This method has been helpful. The other option has already proved itself to be nothing but frustrating and noting gets resolved :)

How am I doing? Are you ready to bop my head in??? I hope not - I really am sincere :)

Please consider what I have said and I hope what I have posted makes at least some sense to you.

If you want to follow up please don't hesitate to contact me again :)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I appreciate your answer, but how do I let it go without seeming detached and non-chalant? I have tried that approach of letting go but according to my husband it's coming across as indifference and "just giving up". Thanks again.
Expert:  AgapeDoc replied 3 years ago.
Good question! There may not be a way to let go and not seem (at least) somewhat non-chalant. And guess what..... that's ok! In fact, that's essentially why I suggested you let them know ahead of time that you are no longer going to address the issue.

It's not on your shoulders any longer - you are letting go :) If they want your help or advice, it's up to them to seek you out and ask if you will help.. and you can say yes or you can say no.

It's not easy, but remember.... the other method was not going anywhere but getting people aggravated.

In some cases, once this approach is employed, the child starts to make changes - but there is no way I can guarantee it.

I wish you all the best :)
AgapeDoc, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience: Dr. W. D. Nicholas will help you find solutions to life's challenging issues.
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