My son is now 20 years old, still living with us at home and goes to University three days a week. He has never had a job. Since he was a child I have tried to encourage him to do tasks for pocket money but he just wasn't interested and he hasn't changed his attitude since.
At junior school he was one of the brightest in his year and showed such promise with leadership skills. He became quieter at secondary school but still did well with his gcse's. By the time he was at college we started having problems with him, getting phone calls from his tutors saying he wasn't turning in for his lessons.
We managed to get him to stick it out although he lied to us constantly, he even lied to us about getting accepted into Manchester university when he hadn't and let his dad look for accommodation for him knowing that he hadn't been accepted. We were gob smacked when we found out he was lying and he only told us the truth because he found out that he had been accepted into another university which is local.
Last year he was only turning up to uni one day a week as he said he didn't need to go in the other two days as he could do his work at home. I have trouble believing him with this as he has lied to us so many times, but I think as uni is costing him so much in loans and that he is hardly there, that he should get a job alongside uni as otherwise he just sits in his room all day playing games and constantly making a mess in the kitchen.
I cook his meals, wash his clothes and don't charge board. I'm getting so depressed about this because I feel like I'm working so hard to earn money to keep the roof over my family's heads but I get no thanks for it. I feel like I'm the bad guy for bringing it up time and time again that I want my son to contribute and get a job. I'm horrified that my other 18 year old son seems to be showing the same lack of responsibility in regards to getting a job. Though he has applied for many jobs he just thinks he tried and failed, so what? And it's a constant headache trying to get him to try a bit harder and to keep on looking. What can I do?
I cook for him as I cook in large quantities for all our family. It would seem awful for the rest of us to sit around the table eating a nice meal and to tell him that he has to buy and make his own food separately to the rest of us. I wash his clothes as this takes no extra time or effort on my part, and he is expected to bring his laundry down to the utility room and to iron his clothes. He will do, and does do daily chores but only when asked. I can't expect him to take the dog out every day as his duty for example, he has to be asked every day. He doesn't put up a fight or argue, but does the task in whichever way takes the least thought or effort and then goes back to his room.
He is an intelligent boy academically, his teachers used to describe him as being a sponge, soaking up knowledge easily. The problem is in his social skills. He is introverted and likes his own company, dislikes and avoids talking to people if he can help it, and I've tried to encourage him to be more sociable with some improvements but he's very stubborn about it.
This is one of the reasons behind why I'm so worried about him never having had a job yet. When I was young I was also shy and lacked confidence but I'd still managed to find myself several jobs starting when I was 12 and did babysitting. I was motivated to do this as I wanted to earn the money. My son lacks this motivation. When he was at college I stopped giving him money or buying him clothes hoping this would make him desire money and give him the motivation to get a job, but he just made his bit of Xmas money last all year and wore the same old clothes all year.
When he started uni he spent his student loan on a computer, a holiday and the rest covered his travelling fares so there wasn't any left to charge him rent. I was feeling annoyed about the holiday but also thought as he doesn't mix with friends often that the experience might be good for him socially, and I also hoped that having the student loan as a contrast to having no money while he was at college might make him learn to appreciate the difference some money makes, and to give him a desire to earn some for himself.
He has applied for jobs but half heatedly as he is only doing it to appease me and his father, and in the current climate I don't think this is going to land him a job any time soon.
I can't tell you just how relieved I would feel if he just got a job, anything, even just a temp job over Xmas or stacking shelves in a supermarket, just for him to take that first step.
I've tried everything and where I'm going wrong is probably not being tough enough on him. The next thing for me to do is maybe taking away all his games, TV and devices so that his comfort zone is a little less comfortable, and last resort would be to kick him out, which I know I haven't got the heart to do as just the fact that he has made it as far as university is an achievement, (I dropped out of college after one year and ended up in a dead end job working unsociable hours for next to nothing for most of my life so far), so I don't want to do anything that causes him to drop uni, which I'm sure he will if he's pushed too hard as it was difficult enough getting him to complete college.
Instead I think I may have a chat and work out some rent while he's living with us, and then in his next year tell him that I expect him to move into student accommodation unless he has by then managed to find himself a part time job, in which case I'd be more than happy for him to continue living with us. I like him living with us in any case, despite him being messy and unsociable he is still my son and I love him. I just want him to take some responsibility and get a job for his own sake and to ease my worried mind.