Having a 19-year-old son that doesn’t want to do anything can be scary for any parent. Having a son in this phase can be a problem. This is the time where people usually start making important decisions that will impact them for the rest of their life.
Things like going to college, learning a trade, or working a 9 to 5 job are typically what a 19-year-old should be doing but unfortunately, some are not able to get started in any route.
If you are a parent in this situation, you are not alone and do not be discouraged by this, all it takes is a little bit of guidance and help to put that young adult back on track to be the best version of himself.
Why Your Son Dosn’t Want to Do Anything
The first step is to evaluate why your 19-year-old son doesn’t want to do anything.
The 2 main reasons why this can be happening would be either because he is dealing with an internal problem that he is not sharing or he is just being flat out being lazy and unmotivated.
The important thing to remember is that these 2 problems require different solutions so when approaching this situation, you need to be sure that you have a clue on which problem the 19-year-old is dealing with.
It can sometimes be hard to determine which situation you are dealing with because you never know what your son is really feeling.
Many times, children around that age will try to suppress their feelings and hide them from the outside world because they don’t want to feel ashamed. It is important as a parent to understand that when trying to solve this problem.
The first reason why he might be feeling this way would be because he is dealing with an internal problem that you might not know about. Things like depression, anxiety, or loss of passion to “get after it” can be the cause of why your 19-year-old son does not want to do anything.
When people are going through internal personal problems like these, they can feel like they have no purpose in achieving anything and it feels like they have lost all hope. This is a very common problem that many people deal with especially at that age because life comes at them quickly after graduating high school.
They get a taste of real life and many feel that they are not prepared so they go into a spiral downtrend of feeling depressed and anxious. Those feelings suppress the person’s drive to try to accomplish things which leads them to not doing anything productive in their lives.
If you know that your son is dealing with one of these internal problems, you should approach this with compassion and in a way that supports him. Many people that deal with internal problems feel like they are stuck in a dark place with no light at the end of the tunnel. This leads them not to feel the need to try in life.
As a parent, this is the last thing we want to see our children go through as they are entering adulthood.
You will need to take immediate action so this does not drag on because when it comes to internal problems like depression and anxiety, the longer it stems in a person, the harder it is to get rid of. You do not want your child to linger on with this problem for too long.
Ways your 19-year-old son can boost his mental health would be:
- Spending time in nature
- Surrounding himself with loving people (Friends or Family)
- Eating healthier
Keep in mind that these solutions might not fix the problems right away but a change in lifestyle by adding these things can make a huge difference. If you are in need of more specialized help, seeking professional treatment should be your next move.
Lazy or Unmotivated
The other reason why your 19-year-old son doesn’t want to do anything would be because he is lazy and unmotivated. This can be due to the fact that he has no real passion that he wants to pursue in life which ends up making him sit around doing nothing.
This may also mean that he is clueless about what to do or what path to take in life. Many people at the age of 19 can be clueless about what they want to do in life and have no real sense of direction so this makes them sit around waiting for an idea or opportunity to take.
This can cause a problem because waiting too long to find something can take years away from their young adult life which is supposed to be the time where someone builds their foundation in life.
If your 19-year-old son is in this position, he will need help finding what he wants to do. Many parents think that a 19-year-old should have it all figured out but the reality is, it can be hard for many people to choose something right out of the gate.
That is why it is our job as parents to help guide the next generation to a meaningful and successful life.
Help Him Develop a Plan
1. Talk about a long term plan
Start by asking about a long-term plan he would like to come up with. See what he wants to accomplish in his life and what things he wants to see come to fruition. When approaching this question, try not to expect a straight-up answer with details because if that was the case, he would have already been on that track.
Let him think about where he wants to see his life go before he gives you an answer.
2. Write Down Goals
Have him write down goals on a piece of paper that he would like to see happen. It can be anything he wants. This is important to realize because when someone writes down truly what they want, they will get a small burst of motivation and eagerness.
This short burst is the time to capitalize on this situation.
3. Take Action
Once you have him thinking about what life he can potentially have, start helping him figure out what steps he will take to achieve these goals. Is it getting a job, going to school, learning a trade?
He will realize that his laziness is slowly killing his dreams and that he will need to step it up if he ever wants to even come close to achieving his goals. This will hopefully push him to start doing something in his life.
One thing everyone needs to understand when it comes to the journey of life is that no one has it all figured out. We are constantly learning new things about life and our plans change over time. Your 19-year-old son should try to approach this without being overwhelmed.
The Last Resort
If your 19-year-old son does not want to take the advice you give him and is still slacking off not doing anything, it might be time to impose a serious consequence. Children these days are not fully held accountable for the actions they are doing or in this case, the action they are not doing.
No parent should deal with a young adult that is not doing anything to better themselves.
If you have tried to set him back on the path of success but he is still not taking action, you will need to have a conversation with him about the possibility of moving out. This might sound harsh to some people but it is more of a reality check for them.
They need to understand that they will not be taken care of for the rest of their life and that some sort of action and discipline will have to be imposed in their life. This does not mean that you kick them out right away, but that you should give them the news that they will have to start figuring it out before a certain amount of time until they are required to leave.
Once someone is in that position, their mind kicks into a fight or flight mode which will engage them to take action. They know that in a certain amount of time, they will not have a home to go to if they do not start getting their life together.
Having a young adult who is not doing anything to better their life is saddening and frustrating at the same time. You want your kids to be happy and successful but if they are not working hard to achieve that, you feel like you’ve done a terrible job as a parent.
You will have to identify the problem whether it is internal or flat-out laziness and come u with a solution for them. As parents, we have to play a mentor role for our children when they seem out of sort so look at this situation as a challenge you will defeat rather than a burden.