Daily Coaching 499: My Son Just Will Not Grow Up, Part 2

By Greg Baer M.D.

June 23, 2007

In our last session we read a letter from a mother whose 28- year old son lived at home and did little or nothing to find a job or to help out at home. I suggested that he did that because she LET HIM and that she was afraid of offending him if she threw him out and made him independent. Now back to the writer of the letter.

It may be helpful for you to see the DOWNSIDE of your letting him stay in your home and do nothing. It’s not just that he’s INCONVENIENT to have around. The downside isn’t just to YOU. The real problem with letting him hang around and do nothing is that HE doesn’t learn how to become a RESPONSIBLE human being. One of the requirements for becoming genuinely happy in this life is learning to be responsible, and he can’t do that while you take care of him there in your house. THAT is the real issue here. He needs to learn to grow up and be HAPPY, and you are actually interfering with his happiness.

As you are taking action with him, it will help if you understand him better. He didn’t get to this place in his life by himself. He learned to be like he is mostly from his parents—in other words, from you. Now, that doesn’t make EVERYTHING your fault, but adults deal with life primarily with the attitudes they learned in childhood, and your son learned those attitudes from you. I suggest that you read two books. The first is Real Love in Parenting and the second is Real Love and Freedom for the Soul, which is a book about victimhood. Why the second? Because people who sit around doing nothing almost always do that because they feel ENTITLED to do nothing, which is an absolute hallmark of people who feel and act like victims, and those people learned that attitude as children. This kid could not have gotten to the place where he could sit around mooching off you this long without practice. That means he has been rescued in the past from his mistakes and his lack of responsibility. He’s been allowed in the past to make excuses for his lack of responsibility—by you. And it’s very likely that he has not been loved unconditionally, which is true of 99% of children. As you read these books, you’ll learn a lot about your son. 

In the meantime, what can you do with him and for him? A lot. Admit the parenting mistakes you’ve made with him. Admit that you did not love him unconditionally and teach him what he needed to learn to prepare him to become independent and leave the house at an earlier age. If you had, he’d be gone. Give him specific examples of where you’ve failed him. Many such examples are provided in the Real Love in Parenting Book. Admit the mistakes you’ve made in not teaching him responsibility. Again, many examples are provided in the parenting book. 

Then tell him that you can’t change the past, but you can begin to teach him responsibility right now. Require that he begin paying you rent. Right now. Read in the parenting book how to require that he begin carrying his load of chores in the house RIGHT NOW. Why should you do all the work in the house if he lives there? Then begin the process of moving him toward complete independence from you, and we’ll talk ab

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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