Do you find yourself often questioning your adult son about what he is doing with his future? Does he seem to not be motivated to leave the house, get a job and become independent? You may be wondering “are these signs my son needs help?” It very well could be.
Forte Strong is a nation life coaching, therapy, and independent living program dedicated to teaching men the necessary skills to being independent.
Your son may need help if he’s showing the following five signs in his day-to-day life.
Lacks the desire to live and succeed on their own
You may find yourself frustrated with your “lazy,” “unfocused, “unmotivated” adult child who seems completely comfortable not supporting himself. Men who struggle with growing up, also known as Failure to Launch Syndrome, experience a lack of motivation or a failure to launch themselves into adulthood and out of their parents’ house.
Has difficulty keeping a steady job
You may notice that your son doesn’t have the capability of keeping a job for a consistent amount of time, whether it be because he lacks the skills his employee is expecting from him, or he constantly shows up late or misses days because he doesn’t have the motivation to go.
He may also bounce from job to job because he has a hard time discovering a path that he is interested in or simply doesn’t have the patience to stay in one field to find if he likes it or not.
Has poor communication and social skills
Adult males who struggle with independency and growing up may struggle with the communication and social skills it takes to navigate adulthood. You may notice these poor skills when they react to stress by withdrawing and becoming irritated. Your son will show signs of struggling with communicating in social situations appropriately or have a lack of interest in connecting with people around him. When someone struggles with social skills, understanding how relationships are formed often seems foreign to them, so they avoid socializing all together.
Battles substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)
It is common for any individual to combat a problem or stressor with an unhealthy coping mechanism: drugs and alcohol. If they are already struggling with dependency and stability, it is likely they will turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their stress. They may find themselves stuck which leads them to disconnect with substances, leading to an addition or abuse problem.
Struggles to manage finances on their own
If your son is struggling with entering adulthood, having financial dependency is common. Men who have this difficulty need to continue relying on their parents for financial support because they can’t keep a steady job. Even if they do have a job, they will often struggle to save money or know how to budget, so they easily spend it on useless things.
Other “signs my son needs help” include:
Lack of accountability and blaming others
The expectation for others to take care of them
Refuses to take constructive criticism
Refuses to leave their childhood home
Prioritizes fun activities over adult responsibilities
Befriending children instead of individuals their age
Your son may exhibit more signs than this or only exhibit some of them.
Coaches and therapists in the Forte Strong program can help your son overcome these challenges and others like social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, depression impulsivity, defiance, ADHD, low self-esteem, video game addiction, and other dependency issues that hold them back. You can fill out an eligibility questionnaire on its website to determine if your son would be a good fit for their program. This program may also help solidify the signs my son needs help.
Do you enable your child?
Oftentimes, when an adult has the struggles explained above, their parents are enabling the behavior.
Imagine this scenario: Your son is 25 years old and has moved out for the third time, but he calls you in a panic because once again, he can’t pay rent. You let him move back home so he won’t be living in his car. Then, because he blows his money, he doesn’t have the money to continue paying for the lease he is contracted into, so you pay it for him. You also continue to buy his food, do his laundry, pay for his gas, etc.
You can see that he struggles to manage his adult responsibilities, but he is your child, so you feel the need to help him. Unfortunately, all it is doing is enabling the unresponsible behavior and allowing him to continue to rely on someone else to take care of him when he should be fully capable of doing it on his own.
As you can see with the example, enabling is fixing someone’s problems in a way that it interferes with their growth and learning responsibility. An enabler rushes to the rescue without allowing their adult child to make mistakes and receive consequences, which is important so that the individual learns a valuable lesson.
Here are six signs that you are enabling your adult child:
You make all the decisions for your adult child
Your child depends on you to make decisions for them about relationships, jobs, finances, etc. It is acceptable to offer advice, but they shouldn’t rely on you to make final decisions about their life.
Your adult child doesn’t respect you
They show disrespect for you by not accepting the boundaries you have set.
Your adult child cannot accept “no”
If your child has an outburst if you say “no” to something, it is a sign you have been enabling negative behavior.
You pay for their expenses
If your child lives with you, they should be expected to chip in toward household expenses like groceries or bills.
You “baby” your adult child
You should not do things for your adult child that they should know how to do, such as laundry and dishes.
You feel overwhelmed and burnt out
By continuing to take care of your adult child like they are still a child can be tiring and infringing on your ability to live your life.
How to help without enabling
If you’ve seen signs my son needs help and feel as though you’ve enabled the behavior, there are ways you can help turn things around.
First, it is vital for you to discontinue enabling your child who has these struggles. You need to draw the line between letting him learn how to stand on his own and bailing him out. You need to set boundaries with your child by letting them know you are there to listen and offer advice, but it will be better for them if they learn how to figure it out on their own.
If you continue to rescue your child from their situations, it is sending them a message saying, “you’re not competent to make it on your own,” so they don’t try to fix things on their own because they feel like they can’t.
To go along with the previous example, if your son has moved back in, you should encourage them to be independent by giving them stipulations for living there such as pitching in on rent, buying their own food, doing their own laundry, and helping with household chores. This allows them to see that you are being supportive by allowing them to come back home, but not letting them cross the boundary of you taking care of them.
The following are examples to help motivate your child toward healthy independency:
Encourage your child to contribute to rent if they have a job
Don’t constantly give spending money without seeing an effort on their part toward independence
Agree on a time limit of how long the child is expected to move out
If you can afford it, offer to help with starting costs of renting an apartment
Limit how much you solve your child’s crises. Instead, encourage them to find a solution by asking what their ideas are
Attend support groups if your child has a substance abuse problem
Don’t be too quick to offer help that enables your child. If they ask for money, tell them you need to talk it over with your spouse or even ask them how they can help him without paying the full expense of what he is asking for help with.
If you have concluded: “I’ve seen signs my son needs help,” but you don’t know where to start, you can visit Forte Strong for guidance. This program offers coaching to young men who need help transitioning into their adult responsibilities.
Forte Strong offers both coaching and mentoring. Coaching focuses on improving performance in the short term, which emphasizes the improvement of a specific skill to improve a performance. Mentoring is a long-term relationship, for example, the practice of apprenticeship. An experienced master takes on a young apprentice to teach him the craft. This can go on for years as the young apprentice masters the necessary skills.
The coaches at Forte Strong aim to improve the life skills of each young man to lead to their independence. The coaches have mastered the skills of independence which allows them to teach them to these young men who are struggling.