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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Licensed Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  Certified Hypnotherapist, Parenting Book Author, 13+ years of experience.
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Our son is almost 22 (hes my stepson, Ive been in his life

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Our son is almost 22 (he's my stepson, I've been in his life 8 years. His mom died when he was 12). He hasn't worked in almost 3 years. He went out of state to college and did well a year or two, off and on, depending on the course he took (engineering major). He finally dropped out last spring. We told him we'd help him financially (which we had been doing all along anyway since he seldom worked his whole life), if he'd stay out of college in order to become a resident of that state so his tuition would be cheaper. In May that will be a year, he has yet to find a job. He has been living with a girl he met there last spring. They stay with her parents a lot and in the fall they also got their own apt., cosigned by her mom. But we pay 1/2 rent, some utils., ins., gas, phone, etc. My husband retired in August 09. We need to motivate this boy to get a job & be independent in 2010! We need a strategy!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 7 years ago.

Good Morning,


It sounds that he had been enabled for quite some time through the financial assistance.


It is time for him to stop relying and taking advantage of you. He is an adult and generally individuals start to learn about work and independence and earning money earlier in life.


Advise him that you will not be able to continue supporting him. Let him know that you would be there in crisis and to provide encouragement but it is really time for him to start being proactive.


If you continue in the same way, he will not have the motivation or reason to change his behaviors.


Have him go out and apply for jobs, go to the dep of labor for assistance, whatever it takes. Let him know he will need to cover his own phone expences etc.

Edited by Dr. Rossi on 1/10/2010 at 3:33 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Sorry, I ran out of space in the other text box. I also wanted you to know that he is in therapy, he says every 2 weeks, although we have never paid for it and he's not a student, so I don't see how. Anyway, respectfully XXXXX XXXXX say, I know we are enabling him and I know everything you replied, you wouldn't believe how many people have told me that already and I know it. He is supposedly depressed and has ADHD. I don't want to send him over the edge. Would you define "crisis" as used in your reply? Please keep in mind we can give tips on job finding, which we have, but we cannot get a job for him. We can cut him off, but I would like to do it in stages. I want to start with emails, escalate to phone calls, I think the end of this week is the best time to start. How often should we communicate with him about his job search progress? How much notice should we give him that we are cutting him off, how much and for how long, under what circumstances? Which makes more sense, to do so around his 22nd b'day in March or in May which will be one year since he left college? Are we sending mixed message if we continue to pay some of his bills(like health ins. which benefits us because we would be obligated to pay if he got major illness, etc. or like phone so we can keep in contact) but not all? He entered apt lease in Sept., do we have obligation to pay 1/2 until then? If you require more $ to come up with a strategy/plan, let me know, I would like a,b,c, 1,2,3 if you know what I mean. Or you might like to pass on this one - ? Thanks!
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 7 years ago.

1)You can help with the health fees for him. That is understandable. Individuals who are depressed tend to socially isolate, lose interest in activities, etc. Social interaction and having a structured day such as at a job setting may be good for him. He could look for minimum stress jobs like at at book store, or something low key. So, you letting him know you would have to stop with some of the monetary support in order to let him earn some money for himself and feel good about being self sufficient won't necessarily send him into crisis. That of course would depend on his coping skills and true desire to work on himself and the situation. If you let him know that you would only cover the essential fees until he finds a job is not sending mixed messages because you would still cut off the other minor bills.

2)You could give him few months (it is hard to find work) but he can at least seek PT jobs. Some part time jobs like Starbucks pay health benefits to their employees.

3)You may want to allocate some time to specifically go over this with him and to make sure he knows you meant it and will be following up with this.

4) the dept of labor provides job/resume services/training and you would want to make sure he signs up for this and goes to it

5) he can also try to look for on line jobs at the rat race rebellion website. Having few little jobs making some money is better than being jobless.

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