Friday, April 3, 2009

Whatcha gonna do

Hubby and I are facing a dilemma that many parents of adult children face: how to instill a work ethic into a person with none.

19 y.o. (hereafter known as 19 because I'm not very creative and i watch too much "House") is a good kid and we love him. Just wanted to get that out of the way, first because the rest is not pretty.

He moved out over a year ago because he didn't want to follow the basic rules of the house (don't lie to the people who feed you, don't steal from the people who house you, bathe daily, don't live in squalor, and don't do drugs). Not the most difficult list we could come up with, but seemingly insurmountable.

Cut to the beginning of the year when all of his other options were failing (roommate leaving him, girlfriend tired of him, used up all goodwill at friends' homes because no one likes a freeloader) and he asked to move back in. After some soulsearching and many discussions, we took him back as long as he could follow the rules of the house. He agreed and things were copacetic up until March.

Hubby and I, stressed from our jobs planned a lovely vacation cruise to the Caribbean. 19 stayed home because he refuses to get a passport and because who wants to spend the money on someone who won't help himself get away to the islands? Vacation was a blast and we return home to hungry puppies and kitty. No 19. For 4 days. Letters in the mailbox from law firms gave us a clue as to where he might have been, but we didn't know for sure. He returns home witha story about how he'd been hanging out with his girlfriend. At some point we reveal to him we know he was arrested and he comes clean about getting caught with "herbal substances" and apologizes. He lost his job because he couldn't call them from jail because his one phone call was to his girlfriend to try to help bail him out and take care of the dogs while we were away (mind you, the sad irony of the arrest is it happened the very night we left for the cruise, so 4 days were spent in jail instead of his warm bed.)

So now, what is our intrepid 19 doing to get his life in order? Sleeping in late, hanging out with friends, helping girlfriend study. Actively searching for work? Not so much. Preparing to pay for court costs by saving money from his job? Nope. The child doesn't even really have a desire to get a car of his own. Really?!? At 15 I wanted my own car just so I could get away from my parents as far as the gas would take me. I hate looking at him like a failure for not having a sense of want in his life, but there is so much more to the world than the four walls of his bedroom. Why can't we get him to see that?

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