Question: Dear Luise: My 23 year old son committed to pay his part of a car payment and his own expenses by working part time while he went back to college. We agreed on a weekly amount. He does work part time and go to school full time but has not made his agreed payment one time. He gets financial assistance which pays for school and books. He pays a little amount every other week or so but no where near what he said he would. Not only that but we have to give him gas money regularly to get to school and money to eat. My husband and I are broke, in debt, and living paycheck to paycheck. When I try to talk to him about the situation he says he can’t believe I don’t want him to get his education and that I should get a better job to pay the bills. What do I say and what do I do to make him understand this can’t go on? S.
Answer: Dear S.: There is nothing you can say or do. It can and will go on as long as you let it. Talking about the problem isn’t going to solve it. Your son doesn’t want to hear you.
Tell him that you are not going to back him any longer. It is something you simply aren’t able to continue. Remind him that people put them selves through collage all of the time and it is now his only option, if he wants his degree. If the car gets repossessed, that’s part of his learning curve about reality. If he lives at home charge him room and board or end that benefit as well. Stop all of the enabling by paying for anything. By that I mean that you are enabling him in abusing you…by tolerating it. And it is abuse.
Your son is of age. You did your job and you did it to the best of your ability. You’re done. He is now responsible for his own welfare and will one day be able to take credit for his own success. My husband put himself through college while supporting a wife and two children. It took him ten years. Blessings, Luise