Message Boards

Topic : Adult Children Living at Home

Number of Replies: 365
New Messages This Week: 0
Last Reply On:
Created on : Friday, September 15, 2006, 04:13:09 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Do you or someone you know still have an adult child living at home either out of necessity, or just plain laziness?  Share your stories here.

As of January, 2009, this message board will become "Read Only" and will be closed to further posting. Please join the NEW Dr. Phil Community to continue your discussions, personalize your message board experience, start a blog and meet new friends.

December 22, 2008, 11:37 am CST

Boomerang adult child-PLEASE HELP MY FAMILY

I guess I need help. I have a daughter who is going to be 22 years old Dec. 25, 2008. She is now living back at home again. I am so worried about her,she said she feels unwanted, and she tells me she don't care about herself and you can tell she does not care.


A little over a year ago my husband co-signed for a car note for her. She had a good job when the car was purchased, then a few months later she got fired for not following the rules, and cell phone use in the office. Well every since she was fired she will not keep a job, for the last 9 months we have been paying for the car and insurance she acts like we owe her the vehicle. Earlier this year she moved out of our home, and she lived with a couple of different men, and a few friends along the way. She has had jobs but never attempted to pay for her responsibilities, she even took a 2 week vacation  with a man she lived with for about 4 months they traveled thru the mid-west, including, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wynomy., Oregon, New Mexico. All the while my husband and I worked. Now she's at home again, and expects me to jump through hoops for her. I have no idea who she thinks she is, she does not want to participate with any household chores, she does not even want to bathe, or clean her room, or her car, does not want to brush her teeth I am so afraid, she is depressed or worst. She is disrespectful and she takes no responsibility for her actions. I wish I could get her to talk to a counselor, or something. I would love to help her myself but she has such a attitude that my words fall on deaf ears. Please help us

December 30, 2008, 11:28 am CST

3 sibling adults living at home with my mother!

So here's the deal:

I am one of 5 children and my mother lives in a small 3 bedroom rancher. My mother is divorced from my father and recieves alimony because she was a stay at home mom until the seperation began in 2000. Since then, and even before then, I worked part-time jobs during high school to pay for my own things (car, clothing, fun, etc). In 2001, I moved away to go to college and have since only returned for summer and winter breaks. In 2005 I graduated, started graduate school, and moved in with my fiance. We are both self-supporting adults. He has a full-time career and I am on a teaching stipend.  We are both 25.


My oldest sister is 32 and lives on her own and supports herself. My youngest brother is 27 and he is classified as disabled and is living with my mother but off of SSI. He attends adult with disablities day programs almost everyday of the week.


My youngest sister (23) has had jobs off and on (retail, babysitting, etc). At the age of 19 she moved to another state to live with a older boyfriend she met online. While she worked part-time while living him, he mainly supported her. Early last spring she returned back home. I agreed to let her live with me while she looked for a job and an apartment because I live in the city and my mother lives in the suburbs, so it should have been easier to find one. After several weeks of nothing and finding out she was lying about leaving the house to look for positions, I told my mother I had enough of supporting her. My mother found her a job in retail and she moved back home with my mom. Less than one month later she lost the job and has since not worked a single day. Its now been 9 months since she has worked and my mother is completely supporting her. She sleeps late everyday and stays up late watching tv and playing computer games.


My oldest brother is 30 and he has not worked for over 4 years and is living at home doing the same as my youngest sister. His situation bothers me even worse because he has a degree which could land him a well-paying job. He got his BS in math and then went on to get his PhD in math, but quit after 4 years and returned home, not working a day since. Both my oldest brother and youngest sister barely even help with household chores, yard maintainence (my mom does this ahh~!), grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. Neither even has a drivers license!


The worst part about this whole situation is my mother struggles to pay the bills everyday. She has very little professional skills because she was a stay-at-home mom for 22 years. She did work some part-time jobs during then to make ends meet while we were growing up, and now those are the only types of jobs she is able to get. So she struggles to pay bills, maintain a house, and feed 2 unworking "children". I put "children" in parentheses because they are ADULTS yet I feel she lets this continue to go on possibly because she is used to caring for a adult that is 27 and disabled. If it were up to me my oldest brother and youngest sister would have been kicked out! Even if these were my children I feel that I would have only allowed 6 months tops of this nonsense! How long would you wait? Dr. Phil help me get my 2 siblings to understand and care that they are abusing my poor mother (who btw turned 57 yesterday). What do they think will happen when my mother is no longer able to pay and do everything that they need.


January 2, 2009, 11:50 am CST

Adult Children Living at Home

I have a 29 yr old sister living at home with her 3 kids and boyfriend and neither one of the want to work. It really bothers me that they are free loading off of my mother... but is it my place to say some thing to them. thay are taking complete advantage of that situtation mom lives on a fixed income as it is,only reason mother let them move in was for the children. I feel ill when I go visit my mom, and very angry . What should I do?
January 6, 2009, 9:12 am CST

I think you should discuss it

Quote From: mrsunderstood

I have a 29 yr old sister living at home with her 3 kids and boyfriend and neither one of the want to work. It really bothers me that they are free loading off of my mother... but is it my place to say some thing to them. thay are taking complete advantage of that situtation mom lives on a fixed income as it is,only reason mother let them move in was for the children. I feel ill when I go visit my mom, and very angry . What should I do?

Sorry to hear about your family situation.  Does your mother even feel she is being taken advantage of?   Does she really want them out or does she really enjoy it, but just complain about it some?   

I don't see there is too much you can do.  Your sister & her boyfriend know what they are doing.  (what grown man would not only live in his girlfriends' mother's house, but also live OFF of her??)    You aren't a principal in the situation, although I know it is an awful, helpless feeling to have to watch this as a member of the family.  That's one thing I don't think is considered enough, the collateral damage done to the other family relationships when grandparents raise grandchildren or take care of healthy grown children, etc.   Sometimes I really worry about what has happened to our society, how did my own generation become unwilling to provide for & care for themselves, let alone their children?  And why is it so socially acceptable?   

I do beleve it is within your scope to bring this up for discussion.   Where is your father?  Sometimes the spouse can bring some balance to situations like this.  (although recently in my town, an elderly woman was arrested for robbing banks...she had been giving money to her middle-age son, her husband finally made her stop, so she robbed banks to get money for him).  

You might, the first time, bring it up just as a question; just to give a voice to the situation, so they can hear it said out loud.  I would bring it up in front of all of them, but decide if you want to direct it toward your sister or mother.  "Mom... you've been supporting Sally, Bob, Jr, Billy, and Susie for 6 months now.  That's quite  a responsibility, for an elderly woman to support a whole family on a retirement check.  It's also quite a change in your lifestyle, to have a young family in your home day in/day out.  Sally, what is your plan to move forward?  How will you alleviate this responsibility from Mom?" 

You might be made out to be the bad guy, ruining the party.  But if it were me, I would feel obligated to speak up at least once.

Hope this helps in some way. 


January 16, 2009, 3:11 pm CST

Adult Children Living at Home

my older sister lives at home with my dad and my ex dad pays for everything while my ex and my sister sit on thier  _ss all younger sister and my older brother also still rely on my dad to help them out money wise when they need it. if i really need help from my dad i will go to him,but i dont live on his wallet like my older sister does. i am 46years old and my sister is 47.the other kids have lived at home most thier adult lives except for me.
January 24, 2009, 6:57 pm CST

Brother, living at home in downward spiral

I'm writing due to my concern with my brother. He has entered a downward spiral and my family (some of whom are medical professionals) are at a lost to help him--mostly because he doesn't want our help.

He is 24 years old and the youngest of three brothers. He has a past medical history of ADD and depression, and recently had a subdural hematoma (about the size of a quarter, 2 years ago), which was treated and he seemed to recover without any immediately evident affects. It was discovered during a CT and/or a MRI for the hematoma that he is missing part of his parietal lobe (I think). This explains a lot since he has always seemed to be ~3 years behind his peers in his mental development and stopped maturing about 4 years ago. He now acts about what a 16 or 17 year old should. He has past history of major difficulty in understanding or following explicit instructions. What's frightful (but not unexpected) is he refuses to even consider seeing a therapist or counselor (not even a career counselor). When my parents or other family members (both my other brother and I are married and live several hours away) offer him suggestions or advice, he usually gets a blank stare on his face, stops listening, gets very angry, and retreats to his basement.

He demonstrates several characteristics of a few personality disorders and fits almost all criteria for major depressive syndrome. He is somewhat narcissistic--he believes he should be offered a job as a manager before having to do the scut work usually associated with climbing any job ladder. In his past job at a local copy/print shop, he had trouble dealing with a manager who made him work nights--just somehow believing that he was hired to work only days and not nights. He liked this job until this experience with a new manager, and went to hating it quite quickly. He's very sensitive to any type of criticism and has low self-esteem. One negative comment can send him into a tail-spin for several hours or days. He also is avoidant-- stays in my parents' basement watching movies for the majority of the day. I don't know if he's actually living in a fantasy, but seems to seek refuge in movies. He had a difficult childhood and adolescence, with few friends and barely made it through high school without my mother practically holding his hand throughout. I do not think he has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, though I am not around enough to know. I think my parents would have mentioned anything if they knew. I don't think he has an IQ test since his subdural hematoma, so am unsure if this actually did affect his mental capacity. Otherwise, I think he does demonstrate several characteristics of someone with a closed head injury or a soldier returning from war.

He lost his job several months ago and says he has given up finding a new job. I think his manager was likely looking for a reason to fire him, so when he forgot to lock the lock on the safe (which was in a locked room), he was fired. Because of this mark on his record, and the state of the economy, he hasn't been able to find a job (maybe just not one that meets his standards). Even worse, he doesn't seem to know how to go about rebuilding his resume to help move pass being fired. He actually does have some talent as a graphic design artist (and has an associates degree) but doesn't seem to know how to sell himself or his talent, or care to network even when given golden opportunities. When family members have offered advice (always unsolicited) to try to help him, he usually has the same blank stare.

He feels that they only place where he can be happy is in Florida--where he said "there is no snow". While he went to a technical college in our hometown, he (twice) did an internship with a big entertainment company in Orlando (think mouse). This is one of the few places where I think he was happy-- he had a very structured life, and seemed to have friends (and even a girlfriend), so it is somewhat rationale that this is where he wants to return to. However, as of now, he has plans of "just moving to Florida" without any type of plan or a job lined up. Luckily, my parents were able to talk him out of signing a lease. Interestingly, even though he didn't tell my parents of his plans, he did tell my older brother and could or should have anticipated that my parents would then find out--almost like he wanted them to find out, but wanted it to be a big show. I believe that he has been somewhat coddled by my parents, which may have caused or simply fueled his narcissistic behavior. He usually is not happy unless he has the best, and is somewhat out of touch with reality of what he would actually need to survive on his own. He doesn't seem to understand the idea of roughing it. When he moves he thinks he needs a 2 bedroom apartment (and a nice one), cable, and internet. He would likely need a $45,000/year job to cover the lifestyle he thinks he needs, but is somewhat delusional in understanding this. Our concern is that he doesn't seem to be the type of person resourceful enough to pull this off. And to say the least, my parents aren't willing to let him fall because they know how messy it would probably get (if he'd even make it out).

Our family dog recently passed away, and unfortunately, he was the one who had to make the decision to euthanize her. She became very dependent on my parents and him the last year of her life (kidney failure, so polyuric). He now has a small alter for her (ashes, picture, and collar) in his room. He says she was his best friend. Based on how he treated her when I was around, I find this difficult to believe. However, it seems conceivable that the dog seemed to give him some purpose in life. I've suggested my parents get him a cat or dog, but he doesn't want a cat and my parents are reluctant to get another dog so soon and because they are attempting to sell their house.

Our father is a physician in a very time demanding specialty and, consequently, worked 85-90hr weeks the majority of my (and my brothers') childhoods. My mother was a stay-at-home mom. My brother seems to still talk and will listen to my mother but seems to completely reject my father. In the past I think my father has been somewhat hard on him, this combined with the lack of his presence explains my brother not identifying him as a father-figure. The only time he has spoken with my father was when my father took him out to breakfast and couldn't run off to his room when he became angry. My father recently took an administration job in a hospital ~3hrs away from our hometown. My parents are in the process of moving. My mother splits time at the house with my brother and in the new city with my father. My parents both come home on most weekends. My brother fails somewhat abandoned by my parents for choosing to move to another state (which is known to have a lot of corn, hogs) and not considering him. He's not at all interested in moving to this state, even though it's likely his job prospects would improve.

He has a very bad attitude, somewhat paranoid that everyone and everything is out to get him. Tonight he told me that he thought "[he] was an ant and God was a big bully with a magnifying glass". He has a very weak social network with just a few friends. He's not very outgoing and usually people discover his attitude or temper, they don't really want much to do with him. I've urged him to consider getting involved with young-adult groups at local churches, a place where you don't have to be friends with everyone to be invited to most events, and a place where he'd most likely be accepted. With his past history in the (very un-adolescent friendly) church we attended as a family, he is not at all interested in exploring his faith not even for fellowship opportunities. He has not attended any other church in the area even though my parents have pointed out young-adult group advertisements.

So, my family and I are very concerned. We don't know if he is a danger to himself. It's obvious that he needs counseling/therapy and, specifically, anger management. However, I've recognized that a large part of the problem may be our behavior and how we react towards him. I think he has potential to live a normal life, and often point out to my parents several examples of persons dealt a much worse hand of cards who made something of themselves. My father says my examples are people that are the exceptions. My mother likes to hide behind his head injury and missing part of his brain as an excuse for his attitude and actions (or lack of).

Besides my father, my sister-in-law is also a physician, my wife is a veterinarian. I am 27 and am currently am a medical student. I have and am being treated for depression, anxiety and loneliness. My older brother has often been socially awkward and was not well liked in high school. I think he also struggles with loneliness (he used to call my parents and I several times per day until he got married). Considering my younger brother's downward spiral, and inability to want to seek help, I am at lost to know how to help him. Do you have any suggestions in how to get him to seek help or in how we can better respond to him? Despite several members of my family being in health profession, this seems to be more of a barrier than a help. He simply refuses to listen or care.

I apologize for my lengthy letter. Thank you.

February 4, 2009, 8:13 pm CST

Adult child living at home

Quote From: houtxmom

I know this is  a hot topic and have seen many of Dr. Phil's show relating to this very same subject.  My 23 yro son who does not live with me blames just about everything that has gone wrong in his life on my ex and me and my current husband of 6 years.  Can someone please tell me if the hurt ever goes away?  I have been going to counseling  for this and hear great advice but deep down this is still my son and it is very difficult to put him on ignore...he goes from nice son to ugly, hateful mean son which keeps me on a proverbial roller coaster.  My son has lied and said the most incredible things about my ex and I that would probably put us in jail or get us arrested if they were in fact true.  This is has been going on for approximately 5 years with the onset of him going away to college...and now the money has stopped.  We believe he will never be a productive adult if he does not hold down a job and be accountable.  I have learned to deal with this by distancing myself. Having a conversation with my son at this point is almost impossible..he is very angry and very bitter and mirroring his dad's caustic personality by trying to verbally attack me and his dad.    He is trying to punish us and make us feel guilty thereby giving him money to passify and patch things up which has stopped.  We have been enablers but have finally after many years wised up.  I would like to hear from others who are going through the same thing with their college aged children.    I have tried to explain to my son that I did the best I could and lord knows his dad and I have gone through thousands to try and help him but he is ungrateful, hateful, unappreciative and now he blames his depression on us and the accusations are going from bad to worse.    Has anyone had to cut the communication/ties to preserve their sanity and well being with an adult child.  My daughter is 17 and I have a great job and husband of 6 years so I have a great deal to be healthy  & happy for...but there are times and days this almost overwhelms me and devastates me.  Comments would be appreciated!  Cindy
what am i to do with this mess. I would like to hear from others who have dealt with an ex-drug addict 36 years old who comes home eats my food does nothing around the house. Expects me to feed,clothe,be her taxi,buy her cigarettes and give her a pat on the back. I have two grandchildren 16 and 11 who live with their Dads. she is pregnant again and due in April 09. She has no job, nothing for the baby attends drug rehab and sucks the life out of me.  I just dont have the energy to help her anymore and my funds can no longer take care of her and me and mu significant other who is in bad health. I work part-time and he is retired. I spend every chance I can trying to understand the problem.
February 9, 2009, 11:22 pm CST

26-yr-old brother still at home

I recently saw the Dr. Phil episode about adult children who live at home and do not contribute to the household. It hit home

After high school my parents gave me the ultimatum: either go to school or get a job. Free loading was NOT an option. I returned to school and when I worked I gave my parents money for room and board each month, as asked by them. At 23 I moved out of state for school and returned home at 25 after finishing. Only stayed for 6 months all the while still working and contributing to the household. I'm now 27 w/ no financial help from home. Independent.

My brother, on the other hand, is a different story. He is 26, still lives at home, finished school yeeearrrs ago, and does not work. He has only held one job his entire adult life and it lasted for 6 months. That was over a year ago. He does not contribute to the household and rarely even helps out around the house. My parents divorced 4 years ago, so my mother is left as head of household. She's in her early 60's. She should be getting ready to retire and kick back, not take care of her ADULT son. I don't know what to do! My brother is a very smart guy, his major is in computer science and he has an interest in computer networking. He's into technology, so he could easily get a job in that, but for whatever reason he is just not motivated to do so. Like on the Dr. Phil episode, I have asked my mother to stop buying things for my brother, she's a MAJOR enabler, but she says she would feel guilty. She just does not know how to stop. And for whatever reason he is not doing anything to change the situation. Last I heard he said he would get a job in the spring time. WHAT IS WRONG W/ NOW?!

My mother has told me she could use some financial assistance right now, as we all could, and I wish I could help her. I live in Los Angeles and money is tight right now, otherwise I would send her enough to cover what she lacks. But my brother lives w/ her, he could easily help out. I'm frustrated about the entire situation and feel helpless.

I would love for my mother and brother to watch that episode of Dr. Phil, but the only problem is my mother does not speak English very well so the message would get lost in translation. How can I help fix this situation?! I've considered moving back home to Missouri just to be closer so I can help, but at the same time I shouldn't have to halt my life for something that can be fixed w/o me, right? HELP!!!!!
February 14, 2009, 3:29 pm CST

great topic

I am a single parent of two college kids, ages 18 and 20. Following their dad's second divorce, they both came to live here full time, while they were still in high school. i CANNOT GET THROUGH TO THESE TWO THAT OTHER PARENTS ENFORCE HOUSE RULES and ask for some contribution. Their dad no longer provides at all, and has not had to deal with their disrespect, friends over at all hours, not to mention what it has done to drive up my utilities. I work 6 days a week and pay a mortgage. I have already put the daughter out for turning my  house upside down with her dramatics and failure to comply with house rules. I realize times are tough and it takes time for kids to get a start, But we all did it. This generation is spoiled and expects everything to be their way. They swear at their parents, call them names. When I come unglued at my son's laziness, he just calls me crazy. Told him that won.t fly anymore. They refuse to live with their dad because they know he will not put up with this BS. I set limits and these two simply will not comply. Do ultimatums work? Is it our obligation to support them until college is done? Are there other parents suffering from this? I am ready to sell my house, move elsewhere and they can fend. I cannot take one more day of this disrespect.
February 18, 2009, 12:32 pm CST


My adult son had been diagnosed schizophrenic when he was 16. In fact, we took him to THREE separate evaluations, each with the same diagnosis: given his mentall illness, he will never function normally, with or without medication. Despite this, my son did everything he could to prove he was "capable". He barely finished high school. He tried going away to college, only to return soon after. He was fired from every job he attempted. There's no lack of motivation on his part.


My ex-husband however believes otherwise. According to him, our son's illness doesn't exist. Our son lives at home because he's "lazy". He was fired because he's just "stupid".


It seems to trample his ego that any son of his could be genuinely disabled. In high school and college, our son had to deal with the contempt of his peers. That was hard enough. Dealing with the contempt of his father...

First | Prev | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | Next | Last