Search This Site


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


Anonymous said...

My husband and I have a daughter who is 25 years old and was diagnosed with Aspergers when she was in college. Denise left Butler U. in 2009 without finishing. She is currently living at home and not working other than crocheting – she hopes to sell her baby blankets when she has enough to make a nice display. Denise is an extremely talented writer, and she has been working on a book of fiction for, I believe, two years. We hope she will finish it, because I for one believe it is quite good. However, she has a history of not finishing things. Adding to this scenario is the fact that Denise suffers from Crohn’s disease and severe endometriosis, as well asthma and allergies. Denise talks about getting a job – we started discussing it when she left Butler. Last year, she tried a very short stint at freelance writing and had an article published in a magazine. She was actually hired to do feature articles on a monthly basis, but after that first article, she said it was too much pressure to meet the deadlines, and she couldn’t handle it.

My husband and I are worried about her future. You must know others in this situation – I have read that many Aspergers syndrome people have chronic illnesses.

mark said...

This is a fairly common scenario with certain Aspergers adult children. I have to tell you though (and this is no good news), that in the families I have worked with, when this kind of situation comes up, it is nearly always the case the the parents were over-protective of the child down through the years. This is may or may not be the case with you, but I will address it anyway...

Parents with an Aspergers child often have trouble knowing how much to help out their “suffering” child at certain times in his life. But, is it really bad to “cushion” her or to “feel sorry” for her? Unfortunately, the answer is a profound YES!

Anonymous said...

Jacob Galon Kind of what I do. But instead of playing games, I surf the net. But I don't intend it to be like this forever. I want to start a family and all that. ;)
Thursday at 3:25pm · Like · 1 person
Katrina Ladd what would you like him to do instead? be out doing what "normal" people do...drinking getting in fights ect ect ect ?
Thursday at 3:27pm · Like · 1 person
Jacob Galon Yes, there's this. I don't like these things and don't want to do that. Some of my coworkers, for example, sometimes go to pubs or something from work, but I don't want to go with them (I never do it).
Thursday at 3:32pm · Like
Katrina Ladd i think i would prefer it for my son to stay in and play games not hurting anyone...and i know that people are not taking advantage of him...
Thursday at 3:40pm · Like · 2 people
Jacob Galon Yes. I would say that it's safer somehow. But, you know, here in Brazil we don't have this 'culture' of children having to leave home when they grow up (I mean even non-aspie children). This is something you have in the US (don't know if you live there). I don't see any problem at all. :)
Thursday at 3:49pm · Like
Lisa Zahn
I don't see how his life would be better if he's moved out. He's working so I assume earning a paycheck. Do you have some obligations for him within your home? Does he pay rent and/or does he do jobs that are part of the household? Unle...See More

Anonymous said...

I live in Dallas Texas and have an adult daughter who was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 23. Although she is a very talented writer, she never finishes what she starts and constantly hounds us to give her money, buy expensive things, etc. Her social security is paying for a therapist that "specializes" in Asperger's but, after three years, I see little improvement. At this time she is devoting all of her time to a website, which she does well, but does not leave the house or interact with people other than online or email. My husband and I are small business owners and employ our oldest daughter who graduated from college receiving a doctorate in our specific field. Because of our financial difficulties, and we are not able to pay her a salary, our oldest daughter had to moved back into our house. The issue is that my asperger child is very argumentative, angry, manipulative and extremely difficult to interact with. Every issue is explosive and we endure rants and her online postings of her frustrations with living in our house hold. What I am looking for is help in finding an alternative adult living situation where she will be safe and one that I can afford. I know that I sound as if I am giving up on my child but I honestly don't know how much more I can handle. At times, it seems that she is doing everything that she can NOT to get along. I'm worn out, frustrated, and scared for my adult child.

PS One psychiatrist suggested that we send her to a school that is $10,000 per month. Not an option.

Anonymous said...

I also have a son, 29 years old who has not been diagnosed with anything other than ADD, but shows many of the same symptoms mentioned in these posts. He joined the airforce out of high school but was asked to leave after 14 months (they did the ADD diagnosis) It is a 12 year story, living with different family members, wearing out his welcome, waiting until the last minute to find a job and then being asked to leave. He is currently at a house for veterans but has been asked after a year to be out in 6 weeks. He has since found and lost 4 jobs and is currenly donating plasma for spending $. My husband and I love him very much but can not live with him, we have tried. I am asking the same question as the other person who wrote about assisted living situations. I can afford to help, but there is not a lot of extra money. This is a very difficult situation to be in and I am just looking for some help in looking.

Anonymous said...

This is actually a very selfish article. You used the word "manipulative" to gain grounds that you're not the bad guy. First off he has aspergers but you try to go about things as if he doesn't have it at all. People with aspergers have a hard time holding a job and performing the easiest of any social activity. Your lucky he shows up for dinner.
They have a repetitive task, his is coming home, playing video games, eating dinner, playing more games, then going to sleep. I have a news flash for you. That's what people with aspergers do. I know because I have AS.
You say that your at the end of your rope, but you probably barely see him? That makes no sense.
It seems that you feel that he's more of an inconvenience to you then just wanting to help him get on both legs. Unless there's a whole side of the story that you left out this seems like a self centered discussion.

Anonymous said...

The last post sounds just like my 19 year old daughter who was diagnosed with AS at the age of 14. She has alienated just about everyone she has ever been close to because she won't accept any responsibility for her actions; she, too, thinks that we are all very selfish even though she manipulates, throws fits and blames every problem on her diagnosis and everyone else. It is a very heartbreaking situation for everyone involved. I would hope that the psychological world learns to diagnose these kids as early as possible to try to get them going down the right path.

Steven Anthony George said...

I'm a 48 year-old Aspergian and have lectured on the topic of adults with Asperger syndrome and HFA, so I would like to offer some insight from the other side: Keep in mind the your adult Aspie children feel little connection to the people (and world) around them and have great difficulty understanding other's needs and motivations.

Therefore, when they are asked to move out and to learn independence, they're likely to believe that it is because they are no longer wanted and loved. They tend not to say this because they have difficulty communicating feelings and/or because they have been labeled "manipulative” in the past when they have discussed feelings.

Once they ARE on they'e own they are likely to feel very lonely and isolated as they have difficulty making and keeping friends, and they have left the one place where they felt safe and the only people with whom they felt comfortable.

When parents want their adult Aspie children to move into their places, it needs to be done with as much assistant as possible. (Help them with the physical moving. Be with them when they need to talk to landlords. Tell them what to expect when making phone inquiries about apartments).

Once they are fully moved in, visit frequently (for the first few months) and bring things from home to decorate. Also a house-warming party is usually a good idea. Even if you, the parent, have to do the cooking, planning, and inviting, it will go a long way in helping your child feel at ease in the new place and more importantly, with help prevent their feeling "kicked-out" and unwanted.

Kathy Bramley said...

People sometimes ask if there's something about a marriage that makes one or both of you unhappy would you leave and a lot of people justify it both ways and that's where morals, values and cardinal violations are if you see it in those extreme terms or if there was need: being thrown out will be enormously damaging and come over as a break of that sacred bond of trust if done as punishment or not done carefully: would you cut off your arm if it was broken. He's in defense mode and you can work on that at home first The alternative fantasies make you as vulnerable as keeping him at home,I barely talk to my mum now as it doesn't make life easier upsets me for days she sends toxic manipulative angry panicked messages about not seeing my kids whenever I would seek support on fb so I had to unfriend her for awhile now she's refreinded I think she mutes me to avoid saying something and making things worse I will be forty tserinput)um and husband never forgiven me but I think it was a sensitive brave move)(albeit one that added as much stress and trauma as helpful input as I went to uni,got married failed uni,failed work had kids referred myself to social services who eventually discharged us both children have special needs and we have them and barely cope my husband was eventually unable to work he's just got a severance package but severely depressed only my son is as diagnosed but we all have major traits as well as gifts so much so at uni I was very weirdly dichotomized by the support unit tutor in the final meeting "you can do anything but just not this at this time"later we moved still along way from family and I did voluntary work and started a job at a supermarket working in checkouts. I was signed off because I broke down in tears on checkouts, stopped washing, lost touch with reality to some degree and anyway struggled to handle the coordination and social aspects. It was just sheer exhaustion. I couldn't even finish an NVQ. Before that I would break down in the colleague toilets after every shift out of exhaustion.My husband didn't understand as he had been made redundant but it was literally torture in some ways given that kind of pressure and no good for the world or Asda either unless my safety and eco related feedback made any difference And talking to skinny poorly girls buying slim fast etc did good And I would break down on checkouts. My husband stressed about getting me there on time but it only made things worse and can't you imagine that so maybe better poverty and peace than wealth and strife comes into my own sense of"entitlement" in terms of not wanting to live with outrageous misery in a job I can't cope with and that could make a mess of everything for a lot of people and anyway be a cog in a massive oppressive system and to boot handle office politics and gossip and be embroiled in them inevitably how much hell can you wish on your child just because everybody else can cope with it seems your son is in defensive mode and the best place to work with that is at home and thinking creatively about lifestyle and values and drawing a strong redline around adding hell and trauma you're son maybe able to be a great father but whilst he's hunkering down at home it doesn't look good and the dangerous patch is where he's free but trying ambitiously to make it if he's high functioning you can't go from cotton wool to abandonment and rejection and expect a sensitivity like Aspergers to just do the rollercoaster do you I understand you have needs this is about you and your hopes for him that equal vulnerability is kryptonite to be handled carefully is it his life or a shared life and shared how you only push the bird out the nest if you know it can fly or if naïve or if you don't care what the impact is when he hits the ground or if there's an emergency tough decision but is this really an emergency and whose emergency is it

Kathy Bramley said...

if I as a struggling probably Aspergers parent send my kids with their own special needs to residential school or other care setting or abandon them by suicide or running away it will be my my fault not theirs even though they physically attack me every day and I would feel unforgivably bad whichever way I look it but sometimes it seems like it might be necessary my brother who works in such a setting thinks it would be better but I think I don't know if I could do it to them or stay with my husband in the case of that upheaval because if anything goes then I might as well and try to just be me and just have to cope with me sometimes the street life and addiction looks like I should have tried it first

Kathy Bramley said...

It's not entirely clear from original question what it is you're upset about as it just says what he is doing rather than being explicit about what that means to you- what do you want? do you want

Anonymous said...

ANY adult male needs to MOVE OUT! For those who don't see the benefit of moving, are you crazy??? NUMBER ONE: These are adult males who get paid more than women, can work ANY job, can move around on a friggin boxcar if they want to and travel the country, all things WOMEN don't get! Moving out means he can sleep with the drapes closed for the rest of his life if he wants to and get up whenever he wants!!! The parents who let SONS stay home are doing it for themselves. Very dysfunctional. Parents won't be around forever. Wake up!

You cannot blame your 'disorder' for every choice you make in life. THERE ARE IMMEDIATE FINANCIAL BENEFITS, INCLUDING HOUSING, FOR THOSE WITH ASPERGERS AND CHRONIC, DIAGNOSED CONDITIONS. These adults are living with mommy and daddy cuz it's more comfortable, PERIOD! There is no excuse for there being there! Subsidize your sonny boys, give them money for rent, but get them out of your house!

BTW: NO real woman wants to date a big fat baby who lives off of his parents and calls it 'his' house. It is not 'your' house or your Christmas tree, it's your parents. If you could graduate college AND drive to work every day, you will get out of mommy and daddy's house, now.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...