Red Responds: Her Son is Lazy

Cyrise in Tallahassee writes:

I am having a difficult time with my 18 year old son. He is a Pisces born on March 20, 1990 on the cusp. His personality is very laid back, doesn’t like to do much of anything but play (fish, hunt, party). He won’t go look for work. He just wants to lie around in bed all day and stay up on the computer at night. His father and I are just about fed up with his laziness. Can you suggest any approach we can use to get through to him?

We have tried everything. Taken away his phone, truck, etc. Nothing seems to work. Please, we are desperate. He also has A.D.D. and has decided he doesn’t want to take the medication anymore. Please help. I have never had to deal with a Pisces before. Any suggestions?

Dear Cyrise,

Teenagers are their own special kind of species, and the Pisces influence can often create a different level of challenge for friends and family. Unfortunately, with the added complication of A.D.D., you have additional drama to deal with.

Your son doesn’t want to take his medication because he doesn’t like the way it makes him feel. You may want to bargain with him over this issue – take him to another doctor for evaluation. While your son won’t be entirely agreeable, play up the fact that a new doctor brings in a new perspective, and that maybe something else can be done or a different medication or dosage can be prescribed that has less draining side effects. Finding a doctor that your son can put some trust and faith in is critical, so do some research. I’m seeing a male in his mid-thirties, affiliated with a group practice, who seems to be known for taking time with and listening to his patients. He can get through to your son, and half the battle will be over. Otherwise, short of playing warden, and even then – your son is going to fight you on taking his meds.

Your son has decided that he is an adult, being 18 and all, and therefore has a right to make his own decisions. Taking things away from him is a level of punishment, but it just doesn’t seem to have the desired impact. He knows these things are also punishing you and your husband. He doesn’t seem to have much inclination to find a job because he pretty much can live off of you and his friends. He also knows that even though he’s driving you crazy, he can continue to get away with it. So, since he’s all grown up now, treat him like the adult he thinks he is.

Since I don’t see you kicking him out, (even though you have thought about it) talk to him about what it means to be an adult. Set a firm timeframe in which he has to have a job of some kind, and outline all of the things that will change if he fails to prove to you his adult status. Explain, once again, that adults pay for their toys – their phones, vehicles, insurances, computers, Internet, etc. Adults also take care of themselves by preparing their own meals, doing their own laundry, cleaning up after themselves and facing their own problems.

Stop reminding him of the things he needs to do – and also stop handling the basic necessities that you and your husband deal with for him. Keep in mind that interaction is largely a voluntary thing. If you cease interacting with him and barely acknowledge his presence, he will notice. His Pisces need for approval will kick in, and he will start becoming more responsive and responsible. Be forewarned, it’s going to be a long, hard road.

What your son really needs is some intensive counseling. He may not be motivated, but he’s not a bad kid. If he were, a little boot-camp style therapeutic vacation would do him a world of good. It’s a very harsh option, but still an option.

There’s no way around it. You have your hands full with your son, and it is disruptive to your home and your life. But, being that it’s your home, you still call the shots. This isn’t about punishment, it’s about getting through to your son so that he can take care of himself. While he will continue to cause more frustration, he isn’t a “lost cause,” and eventually he will pull his act, and life, together.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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