I Issued My 17 Year Old An Ultimatum...Should I Renig?

I issued my 17 year old an ultimatum a few weeks back.
Either he 1. Did his chores 2. Paid me $50 a week to live at the house or 3. He moved out.

My beef was I was commuting 5 hours a day for him (with no appreciation) and he was only paying me $20 for gas. All I asked for was for him to keep the livingroom clean and to keep the boys bathroom clean.

He eats me out of house and home, turns the air conditioner down to freezing and refuses to do any house chores or help financially support the family. He is smoking and drinking alcohol when away from the house.

Well he chose to move out. He is supposed to be moving out this weekend. He will be moving in with two friends that are age 20. He informed me last night that when he moves we will no longer be talking to one another. So in essence he is blaming me. I think this is emotional blackmail.

He also informed me that he is going to buy a car and drive it. The problem is he does NOT have a license and can’t get one for a long time. (He got into trouble with the law)

Yesterday when I picked him up from work he had been drinking. I can not control this. He knows it is against the law, he knows it goes against his probation, he knows the health risks (his father is an alcoholic) he knows how I feel, but he still does it.

Should I renig my offer to force him out of the house? Should I just refuse to drive him to work and let him be a bum at home?
What should I do?

Let him move out, get the car and get busted.

Unless you don’t mind being his personal maid, chauffer, cook, cleaning lady and doormat for the rest of your life.

He needs to face real consequences and see how the real world functions.

You are also setting a precedent for the other younger kids in your house. What do you want to teach them? That your ultimatums are meaningless and they can ignore you at will?


I’m not sure where you live but I’m wondering if you don’t have certain responsibilities for him until he reaches the age of 18.

It sounds like, yes, he is certainly using emotional blackmail and I think that this is a natural human response, albeit, not a mature one, to an ultimatum. I’m sure it came from being at your wits end with the situation, but perhaps a more frank discussion on the subject would be more useful.

Have you sought professional advice on this? It sounds like he’s just plumb out of control and that you can do little to control the situation except to sort of give in to him if that will keep him home and off the road and more within legal boundaries.

I hope someone with better experience on this topic pipes up.

Ah tanookie what you say makes sense. But I am afraid.
If he gets busted he will be put in jail. That can’t be a good learning experience.

I also forgot to mention the other beef I had. He makes (usually) $350-500 a week. He has no bills with the exception of his cell phone bill which runs about $600-$675 a month. No I didn’t make a mistake in the amount of money I just wrote. His cell bill is THAT high. He gets paid on Friday and his money is gone by Monday and he has nothing to show for it. I have sat down and tried to do a budget with him - he woulnd’t hear of it. I opened a savings account - he refused to deposit money. I offered to hold his money and give him a weekly allowance - that was a joke. He was always borrowing money from me, until I put my foot down recently and refused to loan him any.

I am afraid I have lost this kid.

You gave him an ultimatum. Now you have to follow through with it. It sucks, but that’s how it is.

If you don’t, you will have lost all credibility and will be a doormat. You won’t be able to provide a stabilizing force in his life, either with discipline or by example if you lose that.

He’s sure that he can make his own decisions? Let him. The quickest way for someone to straighten up and fly right is to remove their safety net. Hey, it worked for me.

Yes I am legally responsible for him until he is 18 years old.

Let him move out. He needs to learn an important life lesson. I would also go one step further. Don’t contact him. Let him be the one to make contact. I’m sure you love him, but he needs to learn to appreciate all you have done for him. And if he doesn’t, it’s not your responsibility. Hopefully he will realize that he loves and misses you and he’ll come around one day.

You have previously stated that the cell phone is in your name. Make sure that you get it from him before he leaves the house. You don’t want to be responsible for those kinds of bills when he falls on his face and can’t pay for it anymore.

No, I wouldn’t renig on the ultimatum.

He’ll be back and more than happy to live by house rules. The first time he doesn’t pay up his share of the living expenses the roomies will kick him out. Believe me that time will come. If he was living free in your home and blowing all his money, he won’t change his habits.

In the mean time, if he thinks he all grown up and can handle the responsibilities of living out on his own, let him. It’s tough to let him go, I know, but Isabelle, he won’t learn til he tries it the hard way it seems, so let him learn that way.

In the mean time here’s a cyber hug for ya.


I am totally out of my depth here, so you get no advice from me. (You’re welcome.)

Make the best decision you can and live with it. And turn the little snot in to the cops when he gets his car. (Oops. Advice. Never mind.)

I’ll be hoping for the best.

PLEASE: It’s “renege”, not “renig”.

Standard disclaimer, IANAL, but if he’s broken his probation and you haven’t turned him in, couldn’t you get in trouble, too?

Also, turning him in for having broken probation might be the best thing you could do for him–he apparently hasn’t learned that actions have consequences, and your protecting him from those consequences isn’t doing him any favours. If he doesn’t learn this lesson soon, it may be too late. A stint in jail may be the wake-up call he’ll listen to.

I’m sorry to hear that things haven’t improved between you two. I hope they do, eventually.

He needs to realize how good he has it right now. It will take a while. You made the ultimatum, it’s time to stick with it. In Conceivable makes a good point. Get that phone transferred to his name.

You mention probation - is there a probation officer? Can said officer put a little heat on the boy? Just a thought when these words jumped out at me.

As for the car - without a license, he can neither register nor insure a vehicle - it may not be as simple as he seems to think.

Good luck to you, and stand firm. He needs a good dose of reality.

He has spent time in a juvenile jail and it obviously hasn’t done any good.

See he took my car out joyriding at night when I was sleeping.
The first time he got caught he got a ticket.

The second time he got caught he was given community service, hefty tickets and probation.

The third time he got caught he got 8 months in a juvenile facility (4 hours from home) community service, hefty fines (which I paid) and is being forced to take 4 driving courses (which total about $300) plus probation until he is 19 years old oh yeah plus his drivers license will be suspended for 6 months. But since he does NOT have a permit or license he has to apply for one and THEN the clock starts to tick for his 6 month suspension.

He refuses to do the community service. He refuses to take the courses unless I pay. He hates being on probation.

So for him to tell me he is going to get a car and drive. I just KNOW he will end up in the big house. All the while I am responsible for him until he is 18. (Which he won’t be until June of 04)

My mom did sort of the same thing with me, but when I moved out (on much better terms), I got back most of the money I paid her in rent.

If I was in your situation, next time I pick him up and he smells of alcohol, I take him to the police, tell them he is underage, on probation, and want to know where/how he got the alcohol. Underage drinking is a crime, and he is breaking the law. The more you look the other way, the more he will do it.

I’d let him move out, and hold the door for him. Let him try to earn money for rent, utilities, food, clothes, etc. The longer you let him sponge off of you, the more he will do it. Maybe he’ll realize that the only way he’ll be able to save up the $$ for a bus ticket, cab, or bills will be to lay off the boozing.

I’m pretty strict with my kid IRL.

Let him go.
if you cave in now, it’ll only show him emotional blackmail works.

I hate to say this, but the way he’s behaving sounds alarmingly like alcoholic behaviour.
He only thinks about himself, no consideration for others, does not think he is to blame for anything, and uses emotional blackmail and manipulation to get what he wants.

He’ll need to hit rockbottom before it’ll get any better.

I betcha his 20 year old friends will be fed up with him within the first year of sharing a house (he won’t contribute towards the rent, won’t clean there either, and they’ll end up kicking him out).

He’ll go through “friends” real quick…until he’s none left.

The only thing you can do, right now, is let him go and let him experience the big bad world on his own.

Let him know he can come back if he agrees to your terms.

If you give in now, you’re only helping him in his addiction.

Good luck, Isabelle!


I’ve followed along with all the other threads on this kid.

I also have a little brother who was completely coddled by my mother because she ‘was his mother’ and ‘didn’t want to hurt his feelings’ and ‘didn’t want to drive him away from her.’

Know where he is now? Prison. For armed robbery. Because my mother simply couldn’t give him enough and he never had to face consequences before so every action got more and more daring until he finally got caught.

Your son needs some consequences. He’s 17 - not 12 - and thinks he is a man. He needs to learn what it is to really be out there with all the bills, responsibility, and mundane crap that is real life. (grocery shopping, trash day, light bills, rent, getting himself to work himself on time, etc…) My brother thought rent was 'like 100/month and food was like 20/week… :rolleyes:

You also need to get that cellphone. Cancel it if he will not hand it over to you. The cancellation fees are steep but I doubt they add up to 600/month.

You’re responsible for him to a point. You’re not the one who has to serve his probation for him. He’s not completely devoid of responsibility for his actions and choices. And in less than a year you will have no say at all in his life.

Right now he has issued an ultimatum of his own. His moving out and cutting off contact is his was of upping the ante. He is testing how serious you are about the whole thing and probably hopes you will change your mind and beg him to come home and let things go back to ‘normal.’

I also think calling his probation officer might be in order. Especially if he was released to your custody as part of the probation. Your son is flaunting his disregard for all authority (yours and the police’s and his probation officer’s) He needs to be called on it now before it gets even more out of hand. Your son may hate being on probation but he is the one that got himself there. Sounds like he’s already violated his probation by not doing his classes or community service.

Juvenile jail from my experience is a joke. All the kids I know that went laughed at it (including my brother who likened it to summer camp.)

Yes I have kids. No they are not old enough to get in this kind of trouble. Yes this is how I would treat my own kids if they did these things. I am not a heartless bitch but I am also not going to be my kids’ doormat. They need to know loving them is different than allowing them to do whatever they want whenever with zero consequences. (My mother always tells me 'you just don’t understand - he’s my son!) :rolleyes:

I remember your earlier thread. I’m sorry it’s come to this.

Tell him you love him, and you’ll welcome him back when he’s ready to come back (on your terms, but don’t mention that right now)

Make sure you get that cell phone away from him

Tell his probation officer

Consult a lawyer about your responsibilities, now that he’s moved out.

Oh, and don’t blame yourself for his problems. You are a good mother. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t care if he stayed or went, put up with his behavior for so long, or worried about what would or could happen to him if he left.