My 19 year old step son lives at home, his father doesn't charge him rent or expect him to do much around the house. He doesn't go to college although all of his friends do and he could if he applied but he hasn't taken the initiative, he works part-time for his father, less than 20 hours a week. His father is very generous with his pay and also gives him off almost every time he asks to go places/trips with his friends. He likes to stay up at night playing computer war games and sleeps all day. He usually gets up around 4:00 p.m. and stays in his room playing games or is on his phone. He compares his life to his rich friends who go to college and parent's pay for everything and says he is depressed. The doctor put him on 50 mg of Zoloft six months ago but it doesn't seem to be helping. He tells us to stay out of his business and doesn't want to discuss anything with us. Recently we told him he had to get up by noon so he is awake but still lays in bed texting/reading on his phone. Not sure what else to do. He has a good life and thinks his life should be better when he compares his life to his rich friends.

  • What are his work hours (when he works)? What doctor put him on Zoloft, a PCP or a Psychiatrist? Is he in therapy? What, exactly, is your question? (Tis is a Q&A site, and we need an actual question.) Thanks. Jan 19, 2020 at 18:54
  • An MD gave him the zoloft He works two Saturdays a few hours in the evening from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. a month and one day out of the week from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Trying to figure out how to get him to live a more normal life and get up in the morning or is this normal? Am I right or wrong in thinking he should get up in the morning and be productive even if it's helping out around the house or should we just leave him alone to live in his room and live his own life?
    – user38202
    Jan 20, 2020 at 1:40
  • 4
    Until his father changes, the son won’t.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 20, 2020 at 11:18
  • its like you are describing my life by yours. My stepson is identically idle and entitled. Mother over-compensates (she knows it). He will watch her carry a heavy basket of washing and watch her hang it out. You're are not wrong to feel the way you do. You need to change his life, he will not change it and neither will his father. @SolarMike is right. I'm bringing up my girls to be different and help their mother where they can, tempered by their age and size . Even they call him lazy, his bedroom is a bio hazard that I refuse to enter (and I grew up on a farm) Jan 21, 2020 at 11:12
  • @user38202 it is not normal to live the way he is living and you should not leave him to live his own life on your dime and effort. He is no longer your little boy, but a young man and you need to let me fail so he can learn to stand on his own. That may indeed mean becoming homeless.
    – Adam Heeg
    Jan 22, 2020 at 15:41

2 Answers 2


and says he is depressed.

This sounds like you don't believe your step son.

The doctor put him on 50 mg of Zoloft six months ago

On the other hand sounds like the doctor also thinks he is depressed, as according to the internet:

Zoloft is the brand name of sertraline, an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorders.

Major depression isn't just laziness or something that can be easily changed just by willpower without help. One the hardest part of being depressed is that family members and friends do often not know what it means being depressed, and despite having the best in mind and just being encouraging someone depressed to just do something with their lives can make it worse. Yes, there is a chance that he might be making this up, or he is exaggerating. At the same time, there is very little risk in trying to learn more about this.

My suggestion would be to read about depression and take the possibility that your step son might suffer under depression seriously. I recommend the book "Shoot the damn dog" by Sally Brampton, which I believe describes very well how it feels to live with depression.

  • Responsibility and finding productive things to do will have a positive impact. I see a 19 year with no prior depression diagnosis circumspect at best. Just another opinion
    – Adam Heeg
    Jan 22, 2020 at 23:09

Personal Opinion based on previous experience as that 19 y/o:

His father and you are enabling his entitlement. He feels that he deserves the same things his rich friends have, and he isn't developing any usable skills to further himself. If he is getting paid to do minimal work than he is going to expect that when he is forced out of the house and actually has to work. I feel you are doing him a great disservice by allowing him to continue this way.

What happens when he's 21? 25? 30? I don't imagine you're going to want him still living in your house. Where will he be able to get a job that has such minimal hours with such high pay? I feel that you're enabling is creating a consequence-free atmosphere that is highly unrealistic and unattainable outside of him living in your home.

I suggest a serious conversation with your husband about the boy's future. What does it look like? Should he enroll in a few community college courses? Should you implement daily chores? Should he start working more hours? Should he start paying rent/car insurance/etc? Find ways to start increasing his independence. You want this baby bird to be able to fly when the time comes, not fall flat on his face to the point where you have to bail him out and resuce him, again, because he's not ready for the real world.

  • 1
    My step son is 25 and shows no sign of waking up to reality. If he moved out and got his own place (says he hates living with us) it would like a pigsty in about a week. Upvote. Jan 21, 2020 at 11:13

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