But what if it gets to be a bad habit, spending hours of each day on doing nothing much?
One of my readers wrote with a question about how to motivate his 20 year old son to get a job or look at colleges. As long as that “kid” has a comfy life, he probably isn’t highly motivated to change anything. Lighting a fire under someone with threats or pleading usually doesn’t work, at least not in the long term. You end up with resentments on both sides.
There are ways to “help” someone not have such a cushy comfort zone, however, and parents often find themselves in that position.
Some call it tough love, but it is usually hardest on the parent, who is learning sometimes for the first time, how to set boundaries, how to say “no” and how to insist on being treated with respect. Too often, parents who want their kids to like them or be pals together, get trapped in a losing situation where they feel responsible for everything the now-grown kids do.
While I believe it would be counter-productive to take the young man by the hand and drag him from one job interview to another, or to attend college fairs, hoping that the motivation other young people seem to have internally will rub off on the slacker living in your house, you can indeed set some new ground rules.
If the “child” is living at home, you have every right to insist that they make a serious effort to find work, to decide on a course of study, and so on. Set the limit for what you consider a reasonable time frame.
You don’t have to sit helplessly, held captive in your own home by a child who hasn’t grown up and taken responsibility for his own life. I have heard from other parents who still have this problem with an adult child living at home, working sporadically if at all, possibly attending a class or two now and then – because the parent has allowed the child to set the rules and live with no accountability for their actions.
You can start off with this statement: vacation is over. Changes are coming, and they are starting now.
Yes, it’s scary to insist on healthy change.
You can also insist on it in other relationships this weekend, so look at where you have allowed yourself to be too safe because it’s a familiar, comfortable zone and change is scary.
What’s worse is to live out the rest of your life, too afraid to make the simple changes that will enrich your life and relationships. Trust me, that comfort zone is a danger area.
Your happiness guru,