Original question from Quora:

My adult son (28) who lives at home with us refuses to clean his room even when asked multiple times. What do I do?

It’s not that he’s rude about it, he just seems incapable of completing the task. Sometimes he’ll make a start but then give up before it’s anywhere near finished.

My Answer:

You have to learn an important lesson that I seems to be true for many people…

It’s easier to explain with a story.

After college my brother lived at home in my parents basement. That doesn’t sound great, but they have a nice house and it wasn’t a bad deal. Over the years my parents helped him when they could.

At some point my brother moved out and my parents stopped helping him and something magical happened.

Almost overnight he took more responsibility for himself and his financial situation. He got his life on track and is doing just fine.

It took that forcing of responsibility to take responsibility.

So here is the lesson:

Sometimes you can learn by being told something. Other times you can learn by seeing something demonstrated. Other times you have to feel pain to learn the lesson.

Perhaps the only way for your son to learn how to take care of himself or his stuff is to risk the loss of his stuff or his ability to live at your house. If he was forced to live on his own and take care of his own stuff, he would figure it out.

Pain is often the fastest way to learn what to do or not to do, but it’s our least favorite method of learning.

Unfortunately, it’s the only way to learn some lessons.


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