Advice Needed: Unmotivated Adult Children

A friend of mine has one her adult children living at home while attending college (like my twins are.) She recently confided in me some challenges she is having with him. And wanted my advice, I know, go figure!?!

The Situation

Her son seems to have little in the way of self-motivation or drive. But is taking a full load at college and doing well (As and Bs.) He is responsible as far as getting to class and so forth.

But he lost his job after the holidays and quickly burned through any savings he may have had. Like me, she has made him responsible for his own cell phone bill which includes the cost of his phone and his part of the plan (her contract,) his own car insurance (his own plan,) and his day to day expenses like gas, entertainment, etc. She essentially provides room and board, like I do.

Here’s her issue. Now that he has run out of money, he cannot afford his bills. She will have to pay his cell phone bill because it is tied to hers. But in the end she is not legally responsible for any other bills for him.

My Advice

She asked what I would do. I am not sure what I would do, but these are my thoughts:

Make him stop driving as soon as he couldn’t pay his insurance. I would assume he has some grace before its cancelled. But maybe this “kick in the butt” might inspire him to get a job. This would be a burden for her because she would have to drive him for a while, but it is doable. I don’t think I would pay this bill, but I would be tempted to because I know that a gap in insurance can hurt in the long run. But I still wouldn’t let him drive until he could pay the bill.
Take away his phone as soon as he is not able to pay it. Because it’s under contract and on her plan, I would pay this bill so as not to adversely affect her standing. But again, I would keep the phone until he can pay the bill.
Finally, I guess I would give him some sort of time frame to get on his feet. (Especially since he has not been self-motivated to get a job or earn money.) For instance, if you haven’t gotten a job by the end of this semester and caught up with your bills. You will have to leave school and work full time or move out?

Do I sound too harsh? I guess I’m coming at it from my “things are tight and hard” perspective.

My Young Adults

I’ve been very blessed that Sea Cadet especially has really taken ownership of the responsibilities I have given him and is working hard to make good decisions. And really talks alot about it and asks alot of questions.

History Buff is getting it, and during a conversation last night asked “if I got this job could I buy a truck and a house?” My response is it all comes down to how you manage your money. And that’s something you have to work on. His response “I’m just going to keep giving you my paycheck and you can handle that.” To which I replied “NO WAY!” But I had to laugh that he thought so much of my management skills. At least the knowledge I am teaching them makes it seem like I have it all together. (And yes, they are well aware of the struggles we have had.)

So what would you advise my friend? How would you handle an adult child at home would wasn’t self-motivated to make responsible decisions and work?

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