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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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I have a 25 year-old adult brother who still lives at home

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I have a 25 year-old adult brother who still lives at home with my parents. He was diagnosed with Autism when he was 5 years old. The issue is that he has never, ever held a job a day in his life. My mother still treats him like he is a baby. She does not want him to leave the house. I took the both of them out to lunch one day, and she even ordered his food for him. My brother is very intelligent and is a very high-functioning Autistic. He is also fantastic with electronics and computers. I believe the time has come for him to begin to assert a bit of independence, such as getting a job and beginning to do a few things for himself. My mother is very clingy with him and once fawned over him by saying, "Oh Matt, Oh Matt, what I am going to do when you leave? What am I going to do?" Needless to say, this made me very angry and nauseated. Are my husband and I wrong for wanting my brother to get a job? How can we approach this issue with my parents?
Hi and thanks for using just answer.
One thing that you might do to help convince your mom that it's time for Matt to get a job is to contact your local autism support group and take her to a meeting (if she will go). There she will learn that it's not in your brother's best interest to remain mom's "baby". If she refuses to go I would try to get her to talk to a mental health counselor to understand why she doesn't want him to leave. I am sure there are other issues she needs to address. Matt is giving your mom an excuse for her to live just for him. She needs to find someting else to fulfill her life. This is quite a common situation for people who have been caretakers of a "handicapped" child.
I would approach your parents by telling them you are concerned about Matt's future and that they need to address them now while they are healthy and able to make decisions for his future. When you talk to them use "I" or "we" statements...example: We are coming to you now because we feel the family (not her alone) should talk about Matt's future. Try not to sound threatening or angry....remember, this is what your mom has been focused on for 20 years! I hope this was helpful.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you very much for the advice. This is exactly what I had been thinking all along. My husband and I will give your suggestion a try. I have already told him that we will need to "maintain our bearings" and not become accusatory or angry. The key word is "calm". If anyone is going to lose their temper, it would be my mother.

Thanks again,