Adult Aspergers Children Still Living With Mom & Dad


I am not sure of a solid, step by step process that works consistently with Aspergers …especially those that are smart, college educated, manipulative. I'm the one on the edge of the nervous breakdown and at the end of the rope. My son is oblivious. He has a $52,000 a year job that he has held for 60 days. It is working with cars, which he loves, but he is bored. There is nothing I can say to convince him of the value of this position in this economy.

What suggestions do you have? Is it appropriate to ask him to move out? He basically comes home from work, plays 5 hours of video games, comes up for dinner, then returns to play video games until 10 p.m. Repeat the next day. I'm the one that's upset. He sees no problem.

Where do we find a mentor? Naturally, he will not listen to any family member. He will not join an outside activity. He always knows a better way. No trouble with the law. It's not a matter of intelligence. Sits at the table and cuts his cheese into precise triangles before he will eat it...all while his girlfriend watches...she will not be around long.

HELP! I'm the one that is going down fast!


Re: What suggestions do you have?

I think you should set up a "living agreement" if you haven't done so already [see below]. In the event he defaults on the agreement, he will need to move out.

Re: Is it appropriate to ask him to move out?

Absolutely! He's not going to be motivated to hold down a job if he can (a) lose his job, but (b) still have room and board.

Re: Where do we find a mentor?

I don't know where you live or what resources you have in your area.

Re: Setting up a living agreement... 

It’s never too late to sit down with the adult child and say, "We’re going to have to have a talk about our rules here and what parts fit you and what parts don’t fit you."

The agreement you develop with the adult child should allow for adult privileges. Specifically, if the adult child is working and being responsible, then your agreement with him should be very flexible. On his day off, he can sleep all day for all you care. But he can’t stay out all night without calling you because you’re going to worry, and it’s his responsibility to let you know he’s safe. If he doesn’t want to do that, then he should move into a more independent living situation. You don’t get complete freedom and the support of living at home at the same time.

Paying rent is a very good habit for an adult child to get into. I think there are two ways to look at the issue of when and if your adult child should pay rent in order to continue living at home. If the family needs the money and the adult child is working, he needs to contribute. It’s just that simple.

If you don’t need the money, charge him room-and-board anyway, and then put the money aside and save it up until you’ve saved enough for a security deposit on an apartment and the first month’s rent. Then when he’s ready to move out, you’ve already got his money. Hold onto that money. That way, he pays for himself, and he gets into the habit of paying rent and being responsible while money is being accumulated, so that both he and the family are prepared for his next step.

When you come up with the agreement on living arrangements, I think it has to be really clear that the adult child is here to contribute, not just take. So, moms & dads need to be clear about specific chores the older adult child will be responsible for. Moms & dads can offer their ideas, and the adult child can come up with his own ideas. Write it down and be clear about consequences if he doesn’t follow through, because everyone who lives in the house has to help out.

The decision on when to ask an older adult child to leave the home has more to do with a family’s morals and values. First of all, if he violates a cardinal rule, he should leave. If he’s insulting you, abusive with a family member or breaking things, he should leave. He should go stay with a friend.

If things are going well with the living arrangement, the adult child should be told to think about leaving once he has the means. Once the first and last month’s rent and a deposit are set aside and he has a car and he’s driving, he should be told to start looking for a place with a roommate.

Independence is a decision you can make as a family. If an adult child is doing well, living at home and meeting the family’s expectations, then there’s no problem. But someday he will want to be independent. The way you get there is to sit down and have the adult child set some goals. Where do you plan to live? When do you plan to move out? How much does the adult child need to pay for rent or room and board while living at home? You can measure progress toward the goal by the objectives. If the adult child has a goal to move out and he’s not meeting any of the objectives, it’s a joke.

If an adult child fears independence and responsibility, you can solve that problem by having a written agreement that shows the adult child how to live by your rules, and have ongoing discussions about the goal of independence and how to meet it.

==> Launching Adult Children With Aspergers: How To Promote Self-Reliance

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