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Disrespectful, Dependant Adult Child

Community Member

I am just so distressed today. I can’t stop crying.

I am at work and trying my best to earn more money. Covid lockdowns destroyed my business and I am almost starting over. I am in my mid 50’s.

My real issue is with my adult son who relies on me for everything including money. He refuses to apply for Job Seeker.

Today he sent me an awful message blaming me for his position.

He refuses to move out of home and refuses to look for work, expecting me to find him a job through my connections.

I am at my wits end today. I can’t even focus on my own work let alone him today.

Help and advice would be appreciated.

12 Replies 12

Community Champion
Community Champion
Hello Fiatlux,

Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry to hear how you’re feeling.

While I’m not a parent myself, I can understand how it must hurt to be doing everything to support your child and have them in turn, blame you.

I’m wondering if perhaps your son is going through some difficulties of his own. Is there a reason why he doesn’t want to apply for Job Seeker or search for jobs himself? Looking for jobs and moving out can be a daunting experience for anyone. I would suggest asking him why he refuses to find work on his own and trying to overcome these barriers.

As for yourself, take some time for a break. Perhaps you might go for a walk or cook your favourite meal. As you care for your son, I hope you don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.


Community Member

Thank you for your reply.

I have 3 adult children but this particular one had learning difficulties throughout school. I did my absolute best getting him extra support through his schooling. Something he forgets. I don’t understand why I am to blame for this.

When I suggest things to him he listens but lacks motivation to follow through.

I have been supportive of him. I have told him numerous times that I want him to be happy with his work or career choices but I cannot financially support him forever.

He tells me that Centrelink is for losers and refuses to face reality that he needs a good hard look at himself.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi fiatlux,

I’m sorry that you are having such problems with your son. Your job as a mother is to raise them and protect them from harm as children, but you are not expected to continue this well into adulthood. At a certain time they need to take the reins and control of their own life. As hard as it can be, it sounds to me as though your son needs a bit of tough love in this instance. As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention and I think that applies here. You need to make his situation uncomfortable enoufh for him that it causes him to seek better/an alternative. My ex partner’s parents told him when he was 18 that they were moving and he wasn’t invited. He was put out at the time but he had a deadline and sure enough they were true to their word and he moved out. He said it was a hard lesson but he was grateful they did it and he went through a huge period of growth after that. I’m not saying you need to go to that extreme, but if it was me I’d reduce the money you give him a week to something minimal like $50, which will make it uncomfortable enough for him to either get a job or at the very least get centrelink. He can’t be too proud to apply for centrelink and then literally stick his hand out and expect money from you.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
I think Elvis said it best (although certainly out of context) with
"Why go to the shop for a bottle of milk when the cow is just over the fence?"

Maybe he lacks motivation because you suggest things, and that makes you his proxy agent; ergo, the 'one to blame' by association.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Fiatlux, can I give you a couple of examples, and mean no harm in saying these, we hold a bike for our child to learn how to ride, to give them the balance they need to learn themselves and when they fall off, we hold the bike a little longer, until eventually they tell us they can do it themselves, and secondly, we put our baby in a high chair, and please no offence, we feed the baby but try and encourage the baby to do it themselves because we can't keep doing this for the next 20 years.

If he feels the only way to get what he wants is to get you to do it, then he needs to keep falling off his bike so he can learn how to grow up.

Centrelink can provide more money than you can give him, but to get a job and live on his own or with someone, is learning what he can do if he can ride the bike on his own.

Sometimes hard decisions need to be made to get another person out of their lounge chair.

Best wishes.


Community Member

Thanks Geoff,

I will add that my son(s) have a father and a rather indulgent one at that. Buying the boys cars and giving them credit cards which he was responsible for. It was fine while both boys were gainfully employed, but with Covid lockdowns both boys were barely working.

As we were separated, my ex decided to play the good parent role giving the kids whatever they wanted while mum was a mean toughie.

I am now responsible for supporting both to some extent as the older one moved out years ago and has financial issues too, but at least has a University education and good job prospects. My younger son still has learning difficulties and up skilling is going to be hard for him. He has looked at returning to TAFE but worries he won’t be able to complete the book work required to complete a trade certificate.

He already has HECS Debts from courses he has never completed.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an intelligent young man who is lost with no real direction.

Community Champion
Community Champion
Hi Fiatlux,

From what you’ve mentioned, it seems like your son needs help finding motivation and may be worried about failing. While you’ve done your best to support him, perhaps speaking with a counsellor or health professional could provide him with the guidance he needs.

You might ask your son to speak to someone here at Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or if your son is under 25, Headspace provide a great free career mentoring service which you can sign up for through this link: https://headspace.org.au/services/work-and-study-support/career-mentoring/.

Joining TAFE sounds like a great option as well. TAFE provides current and future students with free career counselling and provides educational support for students with learning difficulties. This website provides links to TAFE support services from every state: https://www.adcet.edu.au/students-with-disability/current-students/disability-services-tafe. I would highly recommend looking into these TAFE support services as they are free and open not only to current but also future students.


Community Champion
Community Champion

hey there,

i am sorry you are experiencing this. i would feel the same.

first: stop giving him money - this enables the behaviour. no money, no supplies, no nothing = he will be forced to get a job or at least centrelink. you could also ask him to pay rent, im 21 and working and I pay my parents board each week.

you said he has learning difficulties - would he consider a trade? my BF has ADHD and dyslexia and is an apprentice carpenter, he loves it and finds that his difficulties rarely get in the way, and he is always occupied which is therapeutic for his ADHD.

the tough love is needed but also encouragement into new things. you will always be there for him but not for everything.

jaz xx

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Fiatlux

I’ve been following your thread and feel you’ve received some good advice but want to add …

Your son seems to be in a really tough spot. Living in the shadow of an highly academic brother. Feeling afraid to try and possibly fail again. Perhaps being frustrated because as you say he is highly intelligent and he wants more in life than a Centrelink benefit. And none of this is his fault due to learning difficulties.

It doesn’t surprise me that he is angry and/or resentful and taking it out on you—he’s in pain and knows you will forgive him.

We both know this is unacceptable as is his reluctance to change his situation. I really feel for you as it’s clear how much you love him.

If I were in your shoes I would gently but firmly push back. The message is simple: he’s now an adult and the decisions (and resulting consequences) he makes now are on him. He’s got choices. Then I would offer him some helpful pathways and support along the way.

A good careers counsellor can help him identify potential careers that suit his strengths, interests and learning challenges. They will have a much better understanding of course/apprentice expectations and entry criteria than you or I might have and should be able to help him identify some good options.

If you contact his old high school they might be able to recommend someone who currently works with year 12s. You need someone who understands young people and the educational system. Make the appointment and offer to go with him.

If he won’t go you talk to him. Show him how an interest can turn into a career. Cars into diesel mechanic ( highly paid and in demand yet scarce), cooking into chef (hospo desperate for staff), art into painter or nature into landscaping (great small business opportunities). If you think it will help invite his father to the discussion.

I would also offer to accompany him to see your GP and talk about his feelings and mental health. He may not want to go but open the door.

If he decides not to engage with you the consequences are on him and you follow through as others have suggested by reducing the financial support you provide (not a punishment but you being a good mum helping him become an adult) but don’t withdraw the offers to seek professional career and health support.

Keep the conversation going and give him time to make his own decisions.

Just my thoughts as a fellow mum with young adults. It’s not easy but you’ll get there. Hang in.

Kind thoughts to you