September 28, 2013

Are You Enabling Adolescent Adults?

A few years ago I posted about this issue in an article, Have You Set Up Boundaries in Your Life?  Today I needed to elaborate a bit.  😉


It seems every family has them — these “adults” that never seem to grow up. They end up staying with relatives, eating their food, and not contributing a fair share of the bills. I am so puzzled by this. Why in the world would someone pay for an adult’s monthly expenses? I mean, if you go to work and work hard each day to earn a paycheck to pay your bills, why would you enable someone else not to do the same?

Eventually these families grow very irritated with these moochers and yet for some reason they lack the nerve to do anything about it. I honestly think they feel trapped. When they ask the person for money, the person usually says they can’t afford it.  It is strangely interesting though that many of these live-ins can afford a new car, going out for frequent lunch dates, new clothes, a cell phone with data package, and a whole list of other necessities that I don’t have.

couch potato

As you might imagine from this post, this is a very touchy subject for me. Many times I have seen my loved ones at the receiving end of these adolescent adults. Perhaps they are poor managers of money but usually, they are just not forced to grow up.  I mean why foot the bill when someone else will do it for you?  I honestly can’t imagine treating someone this way.  My parents raised me to show respect for others and sucking someone dry is not showing respect.

Sometimes these adolescent adults might even give a little money each month and they usually feel very good about it . . . as if they are somehow helping out or doing someone a favor. Let me tell you something — the $150 contribution is only a drop in the bucket for the electric, water, internet, phone, mortgage, and food.  Don’t let it ease your conscience.

Please understand that I am not talking about college students or adult children with health problems.  There are exceptions but these are few and far between.

These adult leeches are something I still see on a regular basis. It upsets me for many reasons — I think the major reason being that it is disrespectful to the people I love.

Personally, I think there are a few ways to handle this situation. 

1.  You could give the person a reasonable timeline to move out. That would enable them enough time to save up some deposits.  Honestly, I think they should already have some money set aside since they have been mooching off of others. They probably don’t though, since they are poor money managers.

2.  You could give them a reasonable amount to pay. Take into consideration the things they are using and if they are eating your food.  Come up with a fair amount.  If they are eating your food and stay there every day, you might decide they should pay $500 per month. If you live in an expensive area or have a mortgage payment, it might be more. Tell them that you can’t foot the bill for them and that they shouldn’t expect it.  Let them know that you expect that amount next month and every month after that or they can find another place to live.  This enables them to continue to live with you and have responsibilities at a fair and shared rate or they can decide to move out and pay a higher rate.

It’s time to quit enabling people and make them grow up!

A few other articles that might interest you:

Adolescence: A modern plague, but there is a cure by Matt Walsh

My child is gifted. He’s also 29, unemployed, and living in my basement.  by Matt Walsh

image by suitee



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