Parent Supporting Their 23-Year-Old With 'Hardcore Anti-work Mindset' Feels At 'Wits End' With His Lack Of Ambition

Both the parent and their son are in between a rock and a hard place.

man sitting in front of computer Tim Gouw / Pexels 

A parent wrote to Reddit seeking advice on how to deal with their 23-year-old son who refuses to get a job. They asked the r/parenting subreddit for ways to help their son understand the necessity of gainful employment.

The parent is supporting their son, whose ‘hardcore anti-work mindset’ has left them at ‘wit's end’ due to his lack of ambition.

They explained that their son justifies his continued unemployment by “identifying himself as a hardcore anti-work person who wants to live work-free and he blames the anti-work subreddit for it.” The 23-year-old maintains that “this subreddit was the illuminator and now he is trapped in this anti-work mindset.”


parents at wits end after supporting anti-work son without a jobPhoto: Andrew Neel / Pexels

While their son claims he won’t change, the parent is completely depleted, emotionally and financially. They stated, “I literally cannot pay the bills because he is a big burden with this war inflation.”

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Their son maintains that “working just doesn’t interest him. He doesn’t care that having a job is a must in order to live.” The parent seems to have some empathy for their son, explaining that “wages are also awful here, they stayed between $3 to $4 an hour while the cost of living became very expensive, almost like in the US.”

The son has expressed his enduring belief that getting a job ‘will lead him to nowhere.’

According to the parent’s account, their son has been unemployed since October 2022. They explained that he left his first job after three months because he believed that being employed at the “low-volume, work-from-home call center was awful.” 

“He has no motivation to apply for jobs and said he never will,” they said. They described his daily routine, noting that all he does is “watch YouTube, stream video games on Twitch for 0 viewers, visit every country in the world, try new foods, laugh at memes. All this without being a wage slave employee for 40 hours a week.”

Their son seems to have threatened the parent, saying that “If he has to get a job he will commit the unthinkable.” The parent is supporting their son in every way they can, stating that “he goes to therapy for months now, [but it] doesn't help. I am at my wit's end.” 


Many of the people commenting expressed the importance of enforcing consequences, with some advocating for a tough love approach, advising the parent to either cut him off financially or make him pay for a portion of the bills. Yet others pointed out the complexity of the situation, on both an emotional and economic level.

One person responded by offering cultural context, telling the parent, “I see from your post history that you are in Hungary and I think a lot of the other answers here are coming from a Western perspective where options for young men are a little better than in Eastern Europe at the moment.”

They continued, “Honestly, I would be frustrated and disillusioned too… I can understand why he thinks it’s pointless, but the way he’s approaching this is not healthy for you or him.”


They ended their comment by asking about the son’s level of education and skill set, wondering if there was any possibility of leaving Hungary to find work or schooling. The parent responded that their son holds a Computer Science degree from “the worst-rated university, that is a known ‘fake diploma factory.’” 

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“Unfortunately, he didn't study a single word,” they explained. “He cheated his way through. It was government supported so he basically got it for free. He says he cannot code a single line, because he never studied anything, therefore he has a completely worthless diploma.”

parents at wits end after supporting anti-work son without a jobPhoto: Nathan Cowley / Pexels 


The parent clarified that even the last-resort option of joining the military wasn’t possible for their son, as “he is 130 kilograms,” which is about 286 pounds. They continued, “His physical fitness is non-existent. And he hates the military, too. He wants to leave the country though because he thinks it is unlivable.”

Some commented that the son was distorting the meaning of the r/anti-work subreddit to justify not working. As one person said, “Anti-work is more about fair treatment for workers and pushing back against corporate abuse, not that all work is bad, just that conditions could be better.”

Someone else stated that the concept behind anti-work is “a critique of capitalist exploitation of labor. The critique is valid but the solution isn't ‘exploit your parents' labor by making them support you forever,’ the solution is to build class solidarity with other members of the working classes.”

Another person offered practical guidance, suggesting that they “find a compromise and get him to volunteer [or] work for a political organization, a charity, a union. Some kind of organization that improves workers' material conditions. A like-minded community will improve his mental well-being and give him a purpose and direction.”


The parent declined to share follow-up details on how they decided to navigate the incredibly challenging situation they were in.

Trying to survive in a country affected by war and economic hardship undoubtedly translates to a certain amount of hopelessness and depression. While there might not be one clear answer to this family’s troubles, what is clear is how deeply this parent cares for their son, despite their frustration. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.