My wife is very concerned that if he and Ann broke up, he'd have to move in with us or his mother, and she thinks it's time for a serious father/son talk. I trust that we raised him right and he'll eventually find his direction in life. And not everyone needs to be a CEO, right? Should I talk with him or not?
Parent: Not. Not your business.
And certainly not his stepmother’s. Her worst-case scenario hasn’t even happened — and she can avoid it just by saying “no.”
Re: Ron: What about ending the practice of giving him gas and spending money? You can decline to be an enabler in even a small way, right?
— Just a Suggestion
Just a Suggestion: Significant money, then it’s time for a talk. If it’s peanuts, I think there’s actually more to gain by not shaming him; seeking 20 bucks for gas is quite obviously not a good look on an educated and capable 27-year-old not otherwise under duress, so why say it out loud. A parent’s choice not to bust chops can be a gift as opposed to a parenting lapse. So it’s complicated.
Re: Ron: If Ron and Ann are happy, then "househusband" with a side gig in a job of his own choosing is a perfectly valid choice. How does that not equate to a "strong work ethic?" I consider it antiquated thinking that someone with a four-year degree must be on a career path or it was all a waste.
— Perfectly Valid
Perfectly Valid: Amen.
Re: Ron: I was all set to go off with my high GPA and four-year degree and Be Successful in Life. But I did a 180 and went into a creative field for less money, and I have no regrets.
Still, every time I see my dad, he feels the need to have the "we really expect more from you" heart-to-heart. And you know what that's done? Nothing. I still live my life my way. And my dad wonders why they see less of me.
— No Regrets
No Regrets: Thanks so much for this.
The life of an ambition-track kid (leadership! sports! college!) is so structured and front-loaded with grades and activities and programs and scores and oh-my-sweet-baby-deity the Expectaaaations! — and the ambient culture is either demanding or judging excellence, or it’s snarking about participation trophies and safe spaces. So if a highly decorated young adult is in the midst of a crisis of the Point of It All, then welcome to the freaking club.
Therefore, in this scenario, it’s a bit rich for the probable source of such pressure to be mystified as to its lingering effects.
Not that this explains Ron, just that it’s a phenomenon reaching its prime.