My parents babied me the way you are babying him. This did me absolutely no favors in life and I was so embarrassed in my mid twenties because I had no fucking clue how to be an adult.
I have ADHD and depression and that was a major contributing factor of my general slacker attitude, but sitting around discussing feelings and singing kumbaya isn't going to help your son.
My advice as an adult child that was never independent:
- Kick him out of the house. Give him 30-60 days or whatever. Don't keep moving the goalpost. Don't listen to his excuses. "I'm looking for a job still" is not an excuse. "I had an unexpected bill" is not an excuse. Set a date and stick to it. He will not die.
- In the interim, stop doing his laundry. Who the fuck is paying his phone bill? Who is paying for his gas? Car insurance? STOP PAYING HIS BILLS
- Stop discussing with him about his plans. SET THE BOUNDARIES and he can sort himself out.
When the day comes that he needs to move out, pack his shit up and leave it on the curb if you have to. He will not starve. He will not die. He will probably hate you, maybe for a few years even.
My parent had me living at home for 2 years. I didn't have a steady job (although I was supposed to) and used their credit card for incidental expenses. They bought me a car, paid my insurance, paid for my gas. Paid my phone bill. When I moved to college, they paid for my groceries, insurance, gas, phone bill, and gave me a monthly spending allowance.
I got knocked up at 23 and barely knew how to pay my own bills. Like, actually didn't know what to do when the bill came in the mail. Didn't know account numbers, didn't know how to physically actually pay on the account. I had never worked a 40 hour work week. I had never paid for anything on my own.
It was a rude awakening and it's not until I met my husband and we got married that I lived independently from them. It's embarrassing. I carry deep, lifelong shame for this. It would have been so much better if I had been given boundaries and figure out how to make my own way in the world.
Yes, I would have crashed on couches and lived like a stoner for a couple years. But I would have figured out how to take care of myself.
My son is now 7 and I'm already teaching him how to cook and look after his things because I don't want him to call me asking how to make mashed potatoes at 19 like I did.