Adapted from a recent online discussion.
My son’s best friend since middle school has been living in my guest room for a couple of months now, since his 18th birthday. His home situation has been very unstable for the past few years since his parents split up, and he bounced around their houses until he turned 18, at which point he began to stay with us because he could no longer tolerate the situation with his parents.
He is a really good kid, has a job and does well in school, got into college pretty much on his own, and just needs some stability. His parents know where he is, but do not check on him that I know of. He and my son are like brothers, except they don’t quarrel, so I don’t mind having him with us, and they are going to the same college.
I am treating him as if he were mine, as at this point, it seems that he will not have family support otherwise. It pains me so much to see these adults abandon their great kid, but he seems resigned, and even a little bit relieved, to not engage with them. I don’t know what my question is exactly, but would appreciate some insight into how best to support a young person who seems very alone in the world right now, but is very much an adult, at least legally.
Aw geez. Here’s some support for you. Big e-hug. You may well be saving this kid.
The one thing I suggest is to state clearly that he has a home with you as any child of yours does. If you don’t, then he might have doubts about school vacations or holidays after he graduates or if he gets sick or injured or laid off or whatever. If you feel you can offer him that security, then please do so explicitly.
Thank you for being you. That was my situation many years ago, except I was kicked out when I graduated at 17. I am now taking care of that mom who helped me as we deal with her pancreatic cancer and treatment. Hugs!
— Kicked Out
Youse guys. I just got tissues.
He could be considered an unaccompanied minor and officially declared homeless, which would make him independent on his financial aid application. You may want to have him see his school counselor for more information. This could greatly increase the amount of financial aid he’s eligible to receive. And the fewer loans this kiddo starts adult life with, the better. Love to all of you.
— Anon 1
You are also serving as an amazing role model to your son (and others). If you decide to become a more permanent “home base” for this young man, you may want to have some explicit conversations about financial support. It’s a little uncomfortable but it’s always best to be clear about boundaries and expectations upfront!
— Anon 2
He is not alone in the world. He has your family and that seems a great thing to have.
— Anon 3
(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group