Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

22 year old son who won't get on with his life

Community Member

My Partner and I are at a loss on how to deal with our son, he is living in Perth his his older brother, and we are in Tasmania. He moved over there about 18 months ago after a failed relationship, in which he was basically caring for a young child(not his) while his partner worked. He said he wanted to study and move on with his life, so we paid for him to move to Perth, where he was adamant we would be able to study. He was staying with a friend for 6 months and then moved out to live with his elder brother. To cut a long story short, he still isn't working, he picks up occasional work fixing computer. 

We were initially supporting him until he turned 22 so he could apply for Newstart, he hasn't done that. He has been able to manage by himself pretty much since April, and only recently asked for money for rent, which he said he would pay back once his work picked up.

he sends us messages saying he hates his life, he's s bad person, nothing he ever tries works, we've tried encouraging him, we are supportive, positive and do everything we can think of to motivate him, all to no avail.

 Everything we suggest he has an excuse for why it isn't right for him.

He has blocked me on Facebook and mobile, he has been talking to his Dad on f/b but will not answer his phone.

i just don't understand why he tells us how he is feeling and not expect us to want to help him.

Before he moved to live with his girlfriend, he spent the last 18 months, pretty much doing nothing apart from gaming, hardly ever coming out of his room. He was for most of the time very negative, everything we suggested he would have a reason for why not. Counselling, GP's, courses everything we could think of. When he moved to be with his girlfriend we thought he would be more proactive with his life. She encouraged him to work. I don't know the full reason why he decided to leave, he said to us that she was using him as a babysitting service. Anyway, when he said he wanted to move to Perth, to get on with his life, we thought(again) great, he's going to do it.

Apparently not, he's spending his time gaming, getting the occasional work repairing computers, but not actively engaging in society, he hardly ever goes out. 

I feel he is no doubt depressed, his brother has depression, and does struggle with it at times.

i just don't know what to do, he won't take our advice.

2 Replies 2

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums Dabra,

Sorry to hear you are going through this, it must be incredibly frustrating for you and your husband. Considering his age I think you are doing a great job and I don't think your actions are 'to no avail'. I think he needs to know that you care and that you are concerned, so know that you are trying and doing your best and he would be absorbing your love.

So one connection is his brother, you say he has depression, is he seeking treatment? How is he placed to assist his younger brother? Perhaps the elder could show him the Beyond Blue website or Dad could send him a link on FB? I guess the main thing is that he knows that he can feel better, he doesn't have to feel this way. I am having similar experiences with my son and I have found, in terms of communication, he has responded well to a regular phone call, every Sunday night, he knows it's coming and he knows it's not too hard.

We might have some links to other posters with similar experiences, hopefully we can find you some tips. It's tough, whether he is on the other side of the country or not, he still might not listen to you. You could also talk to a counsellor or such yourself, get some clarity about the situation and ensure you are doing all you can. Ring the BB phone service if you get stuck for some advice or if his situation worsens.

Talk any time


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Dabra,

Sorry to hear that your son is depressed and it sounds like it's very tricky trying to help him living so far away.  I agree that seeing a counsellor would be useful for him; does he want to see one?  Does he not feel like it would help?

I think the best thing that you can do is be there for him and support him when you can.  Unfortunately it's hard living so far away, but it's great that he is (or was) talking to you about how he's feeling.  Maybe the type of help that you're giving him isn't the help he is looking for - sometimes it's just about being heard or cared about, rather than practical assistance (like money, counsellors, jobs).

Maybe you and your partner could have a chat about how to talk with him via Facebook (if you can't visit), and ask him what would be helpful; using encouraging terms to support him.  Things like "I'm worried about you, how can I help?" or "How can I best support you right now?" By putting the ball in his court it might open up communication a bit more rather than feeling forced into work/earning money.  Of course it's not that these things aren't important - it's just that sometimes different people can be helpful for different things. I'm sure your son is very aware of the job and money situation; and sometimes even just feeling heard and knowing that he's not alone might just be enough to encourage him to find work/apply for Newstart etc.

Hope this helps.   Just remember that even if you don't feel like you're being helpful you are still more helpful than you realise.  

Take care.