17 y/o son won't get a job - FamilyEducation
17 y/o son won't get a job
01/04/2008 at 11:42 AM

I am trying to get my 17 year old to get a job and he is resisting me all the way.  I am a single mother raising two boys, and not making a whole lot of money right now.  He recently passed his GED and he is home and not doing anything right now.  Through two legal scrapes he got into as a juvenile he cost me thousands of dollars in lawyers fees.  He is belligerent and rude when I try to get him up in the morning to go look for a job.  He knows that if he waits it out, I will have to leave to go to work and he is just dandy for another day.  I recently re-enrolled in college and could really use every penny I can get.  I am not asking for him to give me room and board, just to pay for his own entertainment (movies, dates, etc) and to show me that he will be mature enough to handle responsibilites such as a driver's license by paying for his portion of my car insurance.  I have been at the point where I have threatened to throw him out, but I know thats not the solution, but the kid is really pushing my buttons bad.  My younger son is getting about 5 minutes of my time every day because his brother just soaks up all my energy just dealing with his tantrums and rudeness.  Their father is deceased, so I am dealing with this on my own and not handling this well - I am so tired of starting my day off arguing and trying to get him up.   I feel he is taking advantage of the lack of an adult male in the house who wouldn't put up with this nonsense.  I don't understand this reluctance to grow up - p.s.  I tried the couseling route but the counselor even told me that my son was on the defiant side and told me I would find this all really amusing some day.

 Cut off the money. He has no reason to get a job. Cut off the cell phone,the date money, the car insurance. If he needs transportation, dig out his old bike. You need to give him reasons to motivate himself. This little boy needs a dose of reality. Stop arguing with him. Let him know that this is not up for discussion, and you will no longer tolerate his immaturity and tantrums. You need to get mad, not screaming mad, but mad enough that you show no emotion. Do not give him the satisfaction of an argument, simply say what you need to and walk away. After this you cannot go back on what you said, you need to follow through. YOU ARE THE PARENT, AND YOU ARE THE ONE IN CONTROL. This needs to be your attitude, this is what needs to be running through your head when you deal with him. As for the younger brother, use this as a prime example of how not to act when he gets older.



And then, wait.  How many months to his B-day?  Then you are no longer legally responsible to provide him the basics.  Alternatively, you could look into emancipating him, which would make it sooner.  I don't know how that works.

If he becomes physically abusive when you don't give him his entertainment money, have him arrested.  If he sells your stuff, that is stealing, have him arrested.  If he just plain steals your money, have him arrested.  Any of this would have the effect of bringing the local court system into your relationship, which doesn't sound like it would be a bad thing in your situation.

This is not amusing.  Hang in there!


I agree. Cut off the money. Even lock up the food. I am serious. He has only a short window before he is considered an adult, so you need to get super tough! He will hate you, you need to know this, but with this tough attitude of yours, and lots of years, he will thank you for teaching him that he is not the center of the universe. You may also consider putting your younger son in big brothers, so he will have a postive male role model. I'll pray for you and your boys. Good Luck.


I agree about cutting off the money. This is the only way he will learn. Other than taking care of his basic necessities (food, water, shelter) I wouldn't do anything else for him. No new clothes, no date money, no movies, etc. I feel for you. I worry about the teenage years with my own child. She's only 7. One thing I try to do is keep her involved in activites. I know your 17 year old is too old for that now but you could do it with the younger sibling so he doesn't follow in his brother's footsteps. I am also in college and I get student loans (they are guaranteed thank god) and this helps me supplement my income. Whatever is left over after using it towards books, lab fees, transportation, etc. I spend on my daughter's activities. It's well worth it. There are probably many activities that are at little or no cost to you (boy scouts,etc) I know I got into a little trouble when I was younger and I feel like if I had been involved in activities the way my daughter is then I may not have had all the spare time to get into trouble. Hang in there. 


i am amazed at the parents, single or not, who are held captive by their children, especially teenagers. i had the same problem with a 16 yr old who made no real attempt at finding a part time job for the summer. he would prefer to sit on his ass, eat all day long, surf the net and play computer games? who wouldn't prefer that? i took away his computer, his allowance, his cell phone, and he can no longer have any company or go to anyone else's house. the only computer time he is allowed now is when i am home and he is looking for work on the internet. funny, how his initiative changed once all his privileges were removed. don't ever forget YOU are the parent and you are supposed to teach him/her the important of earning a living and how to take care of themselves unless you WANT to do that for the rest of your life. stop feeling guilty for being a single parent and giving him whatever he wants. the "easy" way is not always the "best" way.


tell him he has a few months to get his stuff together like be responsible and get a job or he will have to move out. i had to tell our stepson to do it because he finally turned 21 and i was like he needs to do something i wont have a lazy bum living with me so he got a part time job and went back to school for his diploma

my son is also 17 has been in trouble as a juvinile and has cost meover a thousand in court fees. what i did was cut him off and toled him he lived my way or the highway, he chose to live with his sister that didnt work too many rules for him lol. now he lives with his girlfriend and they are expecting a child in november, so he has started to grow up really quick. he is working part time off and on and trying to get his ged. i helped him get a license and a vehicle and give him gas to go to important places and for food, other than that he is on his own. i couldnt deal with the stress he put on my younger daughter and his stepdad it was too much. tough love works.

my son is soon to turn 21 and I am having the same issue he just won't go out and get a job. he has put in a few applications and even had two interviews but still no job. he does not get an allowance or any money from me what so ever so I've taken away the tv, internet, video games, dvd/vcr player, everything I could think of. it seems no matter what I say or take away he just doesn't care. all he want's to do is sit around the house reading, eating, and not caring about anything. this issue is straining my relationship with my boyfriend and my younger son. I've been given the advice to kick him out and to ship him off to live with his grandma. I am at my wits end as to what to do. how do you motivate someone who doesn't care about anything.