Failure to Launch: Advice requested

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I have three offspring
Offspring #1 is in mid twenties, employed 2+ years, salary in high 5 figures, secure job in tech field, 401k contributions above min for company match, buying company stock at discount

Offspring #3 senior in high school, accepted so far at 5 of 6 top tier colleges (waiting on #6), pursuing engineering, potential for full ride academic scholarship

Offspring #2 (OS2) is the challenge. 4th year in college, early twenties, perhaps 2 1/2 years of credits, is now academically suspended. We moved OS2 belongings back from college yesterday. Was pursuing international relations degree

OS2 is probably the smartest of the 3. (OS1 had been on academic probation during college years, but turned it around)

OS2 has started counseling (again) - and has previously had severe depression . We have told OS2 needs to get a job, and has two months to begin paying us rent.
OS2 says is looking, but hard for me to tell, and I know jobs are scare for low / no skill

OS2 does not have own car. Have previously told OS2 that our financial commitment to help with college ends after 4 years, so there should be no expectation of coming back for money to try college again

Obviously I want OS2 to succeed, but don't believe I should be open checkbook.

What am I looking for from FWF
1) Should I be separating, legally, in some fashion, a seperate financial entity for OS2. I will not cosign a loam, nor do I want to be considered on FAFSA if OS2 decides to go back to school one day. If so, how
2) What is a fair way to establish rent amount? Should I be putting it aside for OS2 to "return" to OS2 when OS2 is ready to move out? Should I tell OS2? Or leave that to move out time?
3) What else?

PS
I have decided not to create an alt-ID, as I believe my previous post history establishes a context for who I am that may be relevant, but am seeking to maintain anonymity. Including not using gender specific pronouns like she and he. I have not used the word "child" or "adult child" to describe offspring - because in previous posts, the "younger set" somehow viewed that term as meaning that I did not see offspring as adults. In any case, please read OS2 as nothing more than a non-gender specific label

PPS. Beginning late Monday, I will be on an extended business trip, so there may be delayed responses. This is not lack of engagement on my part, but rather, other time zones and long flghts

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SUCKISSTAPLES (Apr. 01, 2013 @ 2:28p) |

. May agree... Other than possibly a simple acknowledgment and thanks for responses... Speaks to character.

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If they're as smart as they say, it sounds like either a medical or motivational issue on their end (or both). I'd be inclined to offer whatever help looked promising on the former, while for the latter I think they'll have to find their own way. Putting them in a situation where they need to get some random job and make ends meet may encourage reflection on how they want to continue down the road.

Forgot to add: I will pay for any and all medical care and intend to keep OS2 on my health care or purchase seperately if needed

xerty has accurately captured my view as well. medical or motivational. And if motivational, I don't want to make life too easy

Tough situation for any family. My heart goes out to you.

Longer term -- and for estate planning -- would suggest looking into spendthrift trusts. Especially if the rent/medical/financial support becomes substantial.

Hope others can be more helpful than I as regards the short term options.

Warning- not financial advice nor any other type of professional/medical advice:

The depression issues seem to overarch the financial /job concerns Right now. A supportive environment is needed rather than a "you must do cc by cc date ". Deadlines only set the child up for further failure to meet them. Deepening the depression . Even for a well adjusted individual, it's depressing not to do well in school and the simple act of dropping out and moving back home is a failure in their own mind , leading to further depression .

School isn't for everyone. And sometimes it takes till age 25 or 30 to get serious . Also your child's personal relationships will change dramatically in the next few years. They may meet a mate and "launch" to live a life with that person . If its a girl perhaps she will find and marry someone well off and college isn't a requirement . Or maybe they suffered a breakup at college causing the lack of inspiration to continue . We don't know all this stuff and chances are you don't know the whole picture either. Kids are pretty good about keeping parents out of the loop.

Foster what inspires them and what they enjoy. Financially , it costs nothing to house them and little to feed them , so provide that no matter what. But If they want iPhones and going to the bars and driving they'll have to work and pay for those

And I know you don't want to specify a gender but it does make a difference . If you're not providing something for a daughter , trust me another man will. Probably one you won't like .

Point taken:

OS2 does not appear depressed. Perhaps even relieved.
I am sure I do not know the whole story, and probably never will.

OS2 needs to be talked to. You need to get OS2 to open up. A lot could be going on that you don't know.

OS2 could be addicted to drugs, hiding credit card debt, or struggling with coming to terms with their sexuality. A lot of things happen while in college that might going on that you don't know about. Parents are often the last ones to be told anything. Young people feel that they are adults now and can't handle their problems on their own. But, as long as they are still under your roof, you have a right to know what is going on.

Your best move right now is to simply be as supportive as possible and seek the help of a professional.

I would not force the rent issue until you can be sure that OS2 is truly a mooch.

Agreed completely .

Then there are the extreme cases I'm certain the OP would wish to avoid:

I have in my family (but not my own offspring) a situation where a child failed to make it off the pad. That child will shortly celebrate his/her fiftieth birthday . . . still living at home with mom and dad. And it has been many, many years since that child has held a regular job. Mental/physical illness? Absolutely not. Just lazy and coddled. The individual, of course, never married.

Op doesn't sound like he intends to coddle or tolerate an extended period of mooching . And the kid does have a history of severe depression . And a sibling similarly had issues in college but eventually turned it around . And the kid is in their early 20s

I am not trying to turn this around and make this about me, but a few details of my personal story might help OP gain a different perspective on what might be going on with OS2.

I'm almost 34 and I completely failed to launch. I still haven't really. Part of the reason is that I am extremely misanthropic, and the cruel callousness and savagery that the vast majority of human beings are capable of is extremely depressing to me. My father was a well respected high school teacher for almost 40 years and also taught several sciences at the college level. After I finished my 4-year degree, I sat around doing nothing for a full year. I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself, so he suggested I should get a masters degree in education, which I did. Classes went fine, very smooth in fact, and I had a 4.0 going into my final semester, when I began nearly four months as a student teacher. That turned out to be a huge wake up call. I realized I did not want to participate in the indoctrination of innocent children into a society that I despise for its lack of civility, and that's putting it kindly. I also resented the children for terrible behavior I knew most of them would engage in later on, once they got older and became the vile adults that most of them were destined to become. So teaching wasn't for me.

I also tend to be extremely nostalgic, and this stunted my growth into becoming an adult. It feels weird for me to even type that out, referring to myself right now as an adult. We can't pause time. Things are constantly changing, and for some people, it changes too quickly. OS2 could be affected by this. It's not about not wanting to be an adult, but rather, it's about wanting to remain a child. That may sound like semantics, but it's not. Even if I'm not saying it right, there's a difference. Maybe it's not about being an adult versus being a child, but simply wanting to absorb more experiences during a time when OS2 was young. For him, that was the 1990s. For me, it was the 1980s. There were so many things happening in the world at that time that I could have experienced, but I was too busy being a little kid. I get very nostalgic for that period.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to ramble, and maybe none of this has any relevance to OP's offspring. I think OP probably already knows this, but this is not really a financial matter. There's a financial component to it, but the heart of the issue has nothing to do with money. As I'm writing, I keep thinking of a picture I keep in my phone, which is nothing more than a handwritten phrase on a dry erase board. It says, "IF THIS IS REALITY, I'M NOT INTERESTED."

It's important to support OS2 as he works out his issues in therapy and gets himself on the right track, which could take quite some time. But it's also important to strike the proper balance and not enable OS2 to continue on his current path. If OP wants OS2 out of the house or paying rent ASAP, it's important to not act as an enabler.

In my not so humble opinion, procreating is the most serious commitment anyone can make. OP chose to bring this person into an unpredictable, unforgiving world, and has every obligation to support this child until the child is capable of supporting himself, even if that takes longer than 22 years.

My suggestion would be to ease into this, and only go at it with guns blazing when OS2 is ready for it, but what I'd do is never kick him out of the house, always make sure he has food, clothing, shelter, and parental emotional support, and provide absolutely nothing else. That means no cable tv, no car, no internet, nothing, no luxuries whatsoever. Don't let him bring girls into the house. Only let him use the house phone to call potential employers or his therapist. If he wants a cell phone, he has to pay for it himself. His life will suck so much he'll find a way to go out and get a job and afford his own place. Again, depending on OS2's depression and level of current progress in therapy, this may or may not be a good time to implement this plan. Eventually it could work. If done too soon, it will likely backfire in a catastrophic way, so proceed cautiously if you take this advice. I don't envy you.

I'll give an opposite viewpoint from a lot of whats been stated here.

Currently I am in a similar situation to OS1, but in undergrad and even after my grad degree was more like OS2 with laziness and depression issues. My parents tried everything but ultimately I was given a deadline and kicked out of the nest.

Supporting feelings and emotions and justifying his failures aren't going to do anything but give him the safety net to not grow up and deal with real life. When you're worrying about being homeless or starving you don't have time to be depressed. You need to set a serious timeline for him to be out on his own. If he's as smart as you claim, he will know he needs to get his ass in gear.

jd2010 said:   If he's as smart as you claim, he will know he needs to get his ass in gear.Part of being that smart is being perceptive to things that are unpleasant. There's a reason why people say ignorance is Bliss. Smarter people have a hard time unknowing harmful things. As Bob Seger once wrote, I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

I believe this is why the more educated a person is, the more likely he or she is to attempt suicide.

Couldn't agree more with siss, greling and kudos dtasfab for telling it like it is... I'd take all to heart. #2 needs to find their Mojo, and get it working, whatever that may be in life. the understanding and awareness that dtasfab has is what the goal needs to be. Whether that be counseling, life planning, coaching etc..... There needs to be support and a path.. I guess it doesn't mean that self efficiency doesn't need to be an immediate part of the plan.

Treating OS2 as if he's a special snowflake and allowing him to continue to mooch and be depressed and emotional will just further stunt his growth. The narcissism he will start to exemplify that he's okay being a mooch/screwup at home and school because he has issues, will ultimately be because you've been an enabler. He will feel safe in his rut living at home and have no impetus to make a change. Sometimes you have to shock and awe people like this into action; I was one of them.

jd2010 said:   Treating OS2 as if he's a special snowflake and allowing him to continue to mooch and be depressed and emotional will just further stunt his growth. The narcissism he will start to exemplify that he's okay being a mooch/screwup at home and school because he has issues, will ultimately be because you've been an enabler. He will feel safe in his rut living at home and have no impetus to make a change. Sometimes you have to shock and awe people like this into action; I was one of them.. While true there is such a thing as exasperating the problem... And its how you define long term success that matters ... Not that #2 has a job, car, apartment in the short term. Ultimately though that may be all that culminates from it long term....depending on how its handled. Hopefully now that #2 is in the immediate household a better grasp of the issue will be known.

OP you should be aware that this is a phenomenon that I've been noticing is very, very common right now for some reason. Also it particularly is hitting the smartest people around that age that I know of. I can't give you a reason as to why it's happening either.

Right now outside of myself I have about 8 members of my extended family between the ages of 20 and 30. 5 of them have been failures to launch. All 5 of them were smarter and/or more accomplished in school than 2 of the remaining 3. 4 of them graduated from very prestigious and competitive universities. 2 of them on the honor role. All of them have shown signs of depression. Everybody involved is baffled by it. We look out to other families around us and it's happening on a pretty large scale as well albeit probably not as bad as it hit my extended family.

No drug or alcohol issues in any of the 5. Instead their were actually drug issues with the 2 that did launch and they're doing fine.

The 2 oldest are basically stay at home dad's to bread winning wives. I can assure you that for both that wasn't their desire and happened because of their own inability to get something going.

So far nothing done has worked and that includes cutting them off entirely. If anybody around me comes up with a solution(all very smart and successful parents) I'll let you know, but just wanted to tell you that you're not alone.

jd2010 said:   Treating OS2 as if he's a special snowflake and allowing him to continue to mooch and be depressed and emotional will just further stunt his growth. The narcissism he will start to exemplify that he's okay being a mooch/screwup at home and school because he has issues, will ultimately be because you've been an enabler. He will feel safe in his rut living at home and have no impetus to make a change. Sometimes you have to shock and awe people like this into action; I was one of them.

I would say that shocking their system is something that has been talked about a bit. Military reserves have been mentioned around our family.

dshibb said:   OP you should be aware that this is a phenomenon that I've been noticing is very, very common right now for some reason. Also it particularly is hitting the smartest people around that age that I know of. I can't give you a reason as to why it's happening either.

Right now outside of myself I have about 8 members of my extended family between the ages of 20 and 30. 5 of them have been failures to launch. All 5 of them were smarter and/or more accomplished in school than 2 of the remaining 3. 4 of them graduated from very prestigious and competitive universities. 2 of them on the honor role. All of them have shown signs of depression. Everybody involved is baffled by it. We look out to other families around us and it's happening on a pretty large scale as well albeit probably not as bad as it hit my extended family.

No drug or alcohol issues in any of the 5. Instead their were actually drug issues with the 2 that did launch and they're doing fine.

The 2 oldest are basically stay at home dad's to bread winning wives. I can assure you that for both that wasn't their desire and happened because of their own inability to get something going.

So far nothing done has worked and that includes cutting them off entirely. If anybody around me comes up with a solution(all very smart and successful parents) I'll let you know, but just wanted to tell you that you're not alone.
. I certainly don't have the answer...but I know my concerns are a disconnect from people,, with todays technologies.... And too much awareness of the world at the same time. Maybe left field but my children's school made students aware of the massacre at the elementary school while in session... I'm not saying you should live in a vacuum and not be aware but why bring forth the troubles of the world... If that person wouldn't have otherwise been exposed. Sometimes ignorance is Bliss.

Is OS2 receptive to therapy?
Or is OS2 constantly finding reasons (excuses) for failing?

DTASFAB said:   
.

My suggestion would be to ease into this, and only go at it with guns blazing when OS2 is ready for it, but what I'd do is never kick him out of the house, always make sure he has food, clothing, shelter, and parental emotional support, and provide absolutely nothing else. That means no cable tv, no car, no internet, nothing, no luxuries whatsoever. Don't let him bring girls into the house. Only let him use the house phone to call potential employers or his therapist. If he wants a cell phone, he has to pay for it himself. His life will suck so much he'll find a way to go out and get a job and afford his own place. Again, depending on OS2's depression and level of current progress in therapy, this may or may not be a good time to implement this plan. Eventually it could work. If done too soon, it will likely backfire in a catastrophic way, so proceed cautiously if you take this advice. I don't envy you.


Wow I was going to say this EXACT same thing.

Food shelter and support should be given no matter what . But if parents have been giving a stipend for cell phone, entertainment , etc while at school , that must now be paid by working . That way there is no "deadline" - he will (should) decide naturally want to earn money to afford those things . That will be the motivator to work , not an arbitrary deadline .

I wouldn't go so far as no cable tv , no internet or no friend over the house , that seems like a child being grounded and not able to use the services everyone else in the house can use . Make it simply financial - that if he wants to spend money on entertainment and activities , he has to work to pay for those things himself . Be sure he is not simply charging things on a cc he isn't repaying .

Also agree with being mindful of the right time to implement this , if you believe it can't be implemented right now

jd2010 said:   Treating OS2 as if he's a special snowflake and allowing him to continue to mooch and be depressed and emotional will just further stunt his growth. The narcissism he will start to exemplify that he's okay being a mooch/screwup at home and school because he has issues, will ultimately be because you've been an enabler. He will feel safe in his rut living at home and have no impetus to make a change. Sometimes you have to shock and awe people like this into action; I was one of them.

OS2 is smart and knows how to use emotional blackmail. This is the danger OP is facing. When Tony and Carmela took away Meadow's discover card, Tony mentioned, "If she figures out we're powerless, we're f***ed."

The financial cost to simply provide shelter, food, clothing, and personal/psychological/emotional support is minimal. Maybe a shock to the system is what OS2 needs, but taking any of these basic needs (birthrights in my opinion) is an extremely cruel way to do it, and totally unnecessary. Considering the minimal cost involved, I can't even begin to comprehend how a parent who supposedly loves the child can kick the child out on the street with absolutely nothing.

The line in the Descendants said you should give your kids enough to do something, but not enough to do nothing. I find it hard to blame any smart and sophisticated young person who has looked around at this world and decided it's all a big nothing, not worth fighting for nor worth fighting to have a place in or contribute to.

"To some extent, job specialization demarcates societal progress, but we have reached a level of specialization that takes the human animal out of the environment it evolved in and into one that is completely alien. Our survival and continued sanity as a species—though many would question the latter assertion—is a testament to the remarkable adaptability of homo sapiens under conditions that would be considered abusive if we inflicted them on zoo animals. We have done to ourselves what would be illegal to do today to any large mammalian species in captivity, building what is effectively a human zoo—and not a particularly good one for our species, by zoological standards." - Tanith Tyrr

I guess what I'm trying to say here is the world sucks, and if this is one of the contributing factors to OP2's lack of motivation and/or lack of ability to succeed (according to conventional, traditional, societal ideas of "success") it should not be met with a simple, harsh response of, "That's Life." That's totally the wrong approach.

I had some friend/roommates/drinking buddies with issues like OS2. I always thought that the main problem was that their parents micromanaged and babysat every part of their life.

Kudos to all the folks giving advice on the softer side ( SIS, greling, etc). BEEFjerKAY has good advice for the longer term financial impact.

From what you've said, it seems like an emotional issue -- depression, anxiety, attention deficit, etc. It is very difficult to deal with this as a loving parent of an adult child. You've got the best of intentions and not much authority to make things happen like in the earlier days (Ear ache? Take the kid to the doc and get the bubble gum flavored magic juice). Now, you can only provide support and encouragement. Try to provide positive feedback whenever you can and encourage professional help -- counseling and drug therapy if warranted.

Our medical establishment sometimes makes this a challenge... it often takes someone to coordinate between a psychiatrist, perhaps an MD and a counselor (often a psychologist). This would require you to get authorization from OS2 in order to do this. Try to get this authority and keep trying if you don't get it right away.

If a person goes to counseling and / or drug therapy (counseling being the more important in my opinion -- and almost always needed), there is an 80% chance of success of some significant sort. Those odds are awesome. The trouble is often getting the person to buy in. So... encourage, provide positive feedback and never give up.

All the best to you and OS2.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   DTASFAB said:   
.

My suggestion would be to ease into this, and only go at it with guns blazing when OS2 is ready for it, but what I'd do is never kick him out of the house, always make sure he has food, clothing, shelter, and parental emotional support, and provide absolutely nothing else. That means no cable tv, no car, no internet, nothing, no luxuries whatsoever. Don't let him bring girls into the house. Only let him use the house phone to call potential employers or his therapist. If he wants a cell phone, he has to pay for it himself. His life will suck so much he'll find a way to go out and get a job and afford his own place. Again, depending on OS2's depression and level of current progress in therapy, this may or may not be a good time to implement this plan. Eventually it could work. If done too soon, it will likely backfire in a catastrophic way, so proceed cautiously if you take this advice. I don't envy you.


Wow I was going to say this EXACT same thing.

Food shelter and support should be given no matter what . But if parents have been giving a stipend for cell phone, entertainment , etc while at school , that must now be paid by working . That way there is no "deadline" - he will (should) decide naturally want to earn money to afford those things . That will be the motivator to work , not an arbitrary deadline .

I wouldn't go so far as no cable tv , no internet or no friend over the house , that seems like a child being grounded and not able to use the services everyone else in the house can use . Make it simply financial - that if he wants to spend money on entertainment and activities , he has to work to pay for those things himself . Be sure he is not simply charging things on a cc he isn't repaying .

Also agree with being mindful of the right time to implement this , if you believe it can't be implemented right now


The problem with no internet is that is where most job hunting is carried out today.

Right. One of the reasons I wouldn't banish him from using any household amenities

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   I wouldn't go so far as no cable tv , no internet or no friend over the house , that seems like a child being grounded and not able to use the services everyone else in the house can use . Make it simply financial - that if he wants to spend money on entertainment and activities , he has to work to pay for those things himself . Be sure he is not simply charging things on a cc he isn't repaying .

It doesn't necessarily have to all be taken away at once, but it's not about grounding a child. It's about not enabling the mooching long-term. If he has a cable box with a TV in His Room, that's costing about $6 a month for the box and remote rental. Using the pre-existing internet connection won't cost any actual money, but OS2 piggybacking on OP's wifi is not really any different than picking up an unsecured signal from a neighbor. And where'd he get the computer? I wouldn't ban him from having friends over, but I'd limit the number of friends at one time, certainly no parties of any kind, and no girls. Don't enable, and make his life as miserable as possible without actually hurting him by withholding the bare essentials. Eventually he'll get the message. Then he'll have to decide what to do about it.

Worst case scenario, OS2 decides he's ok living at home with these restrictions, which is a possibility OP must be prepared for. In this situation, OP will have minimal financial obligations to ensure the safety and basic well-being of his son. It's better to have a 30 year old kid living at home who eats your food and spends $1200 a year on clothes than to have a dead junkie kid who OD'ed on drugs and was found in a ditch on a cold rainy night, or worse.

DTASFAB said:   Part of the reason is that I am extremely misanthropic, and the cruel callousness and savagery that the vast majority of human beings are capable of is extremely depressing to meyou cannot change the world; you need to move on

dshibb said:   The problem with no internet is that is where most job hunting is carried out today.

Ok, so restrict internet usage only during daylight hours, and no facebook, twitter, porn, etc., unless he pays a portion of the monthly access fee. Then he can do whatever he wants.

Alcibiades said:   DTASFAB said:   Part of the reason is that I am extremely misanthropic, and the cruel callousness and savagery that the vast majority of human beings are capable of is extremely depressing to meyou cannot change the world; you need to move onEric Clapton told me I can. So did Gandhi.

I know (personally) of NUMEROUS examples of people that fit this description 'to a T' - my prayers are with you, OP. As the peanut gallery has said, making OS2 grow up is unfortunately something you CAN'T do, and in fact he's probably hampered by having functional other siblings. That's just fuel on the fire in his inner monologue of 'EFF THIS SHIT IM NOT AS GOOD AS OS1, etc., so why try??'

I AM 100% behind setting appropriate boundaries for OS2 - I think those are absolutely loving. The Bible's got that right - you cannot reap where you didn't sow, so you can give the kid support all day, but facilitating his sitting around the house and/or not paying for rent, etc., is a disservice to him. He has to feel the sting of his own poor choices, and you may have to confront the ultimate choice as a parent of an adult child - letting go and watching him fail, but knowing that the choice to fail was his all along. You can't help him not make it as it is his - and only his - to make.

Good luck - stay firm but loving.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   DTASFAB said:   
.

My suggestion would be to ease into this, and only go at it with guns blazing when OS2 is ready for it, but what I'd do is never kick him out of the house, always make sure he has food, clothing, shelter, and parental emotional support, and provide absolutely nothing else. That means no cable tv, no car, no internet, nothing, no luxuries whatsoever. Don't let him bring girls into the house. Only let him use the house phone to call potential employers or his therapist. If he wants a cell phone, he has to pay for it himself. His life will suck so much he'll find a way to go out and get a job and afford his own place. Again, depending on OS2's depression and level of current progress in therapy, this may or may not be a good time to implement this plan. Eventually it could work. If done too soon, it will likely backfire in a catastrophic way, so proceed cautiously if you take this advice. I don't envy you.


Wow I was going to say this EXACT same thing.

Food shelter and support should be given no matter what . But if parents have been giving a stipend for cell phone, entertainment , etc while at school , that must now be paid by working . That way there is no "deadline" - he will (should) decide naturally want to earn money to afford those things . That will be the motivator to work , not an arbitrary deadline .

I wouldn't go so far as no cable tv , no internet or no friend over the house , that seems like a child being grounded and not able to use the services everyone else in the house can use . Make it simply financial - that if he wants to spend money on entertainment and activities , he has to work to pay for those things himself . Be sure he is not simply charging things on a cc he isn't repaying .

Also agree with being mindful of the right time to implement this , if you believe it can't be implemented right now


I guess I must just not get it. I went through this all and if my parents treated me like you all are suggesting, I'd still be living at home. He's 21 years old. The parents don't owe him anything, nor should they. If my parents told me I could live at home as long as I wanted and all I'd have to pay for was my entertainment I would have never left. Thats a 40,000 savings a year over moving out. With all due respect, if you provided all of the things you listed above, probably 90% of us would just live at home and never bother getting a job.

This is honestly the first FWF thread that I've ever read where Im shocked by the responses and pretty vigorously disagree with the majority of advice given.


I wont spam up this thread but the points the post below this makes are excellent and if you got down to it, I believe a combination of the following 3 factors are why many young adults find themselves in this situation:

1) Laziness/Lack of work ethic, most things came easily to them as kids
2) People always treating them as special snowflakes and telling them how brilliant they are.
3) Childhood micromanagement by hyper-involved parents led to vacation/party time when they got to college, no self motivation.

Hi ellory,

As a parent of three children myself (though much younger) I want to say that I can imagine what you're going through and I'm sure it is very, very difficult.

My parents were probably similarly worried about me. When I was 17, I was a senior in high school and failed several classes so I ended up having to go to summer school after my senior year. College wasn't an option - my grades were atrocious and my parents weren't exactly swimming in money.

I am 40 now and after years and years of introspection and an incredibly successful 20 year career in IT (now at an investment bank) I can pinpoint exactly what my problem was. There were two core issues:

1. I am naturally lazy
2. I was told constantly from a very early age how smart I am

There are a ton of studies that now tell parents to never tell your children that they are smart (example: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/02/why-you-shouldnt-tell-your-kids-theyre-smart/). Praising hard work makes many children resilient hard workers and praising intelligence makes many children lazy and give up on anything that doesn't come easily. (i.e. "I'm not smart with this, I'll move on to something else").

This might have nothing to do with your OS#2 but this line made me bring it up:

[quote]OS2 is probably the smartest of the 3.[/quote]

I bring this up as a possible thing to consider as to what a root issue might be in the hopes you could find a fix for it. Only you know your situation the best, so if it doesn't fit then feel free to ignore it.

TheDragonn said:   I know (personally) of NUMEROUS examples of people that fit this description 'to a T' - my prayers are with you, OP. As the peanutgallery has said, making OS2 grow up is unfortunately something you CAN'T do, and in fact he's probably hampered by having functional other siblings. That's just fuel on the fire in his inner monologue of 'EFF THIS SHIT IM NOT AS GOOD AS OS1, etc., so why try??'



If he's hampered by what other people do, he needs help. That's not a good reason/excuse.

He'll never get anywhere blaming his problems on someone else.

jd2010 said:   



This is honestly the first FWF thread that I've ever read where Im shocked by the responses and pretty vigorously disagree with the majority of advice


There are certainly different opinions . some people have the "kick
Out on the street " theory , vs "provide food and shelter" camps.

The thing is op did not mention the child was lazy at all . The op did mention a history of severe depression. Kicking someone with a history of depression on the streets will not always work out well.

We are free to disagree. In the end it is op's personal viewpoint that matters and , no matter which side he chooses, he benefits from seeing the responses from people on both sides of the issue

To those saying that the nurturing some are suggesting will just keep the kid at home --

Yes, "everyone is a winner" as a child can lead to this sort of thing. That's old news for this person. That happens in the early formative years. If it happened then, that's a shame (I suspect that this is not the case for this individual, however). Counseling and hard work can change that now perhaps. Support at this point does not lead to this sort of behavior.

At this point, we are hoping for "emancipation" to drive him out of the house in a proper and whole manner. During the late teens and early 20's there is an inborn drive to be independent from Mom and Dad. Often this emancipation drive hurts the process of Mom and Dad helping with their 2 or 3 decades more experience (as compared to the child). The child wants to be independent from the two people on the planet who know the most about the child and cares the most about them.

TheDragonn said:   he's probably hampered by having functional other siblings. That's just fuel on the fire in his inner monologue of 'EFF THIS SHIT IM NOT AS GOOD AS OS1, etc., so why try??'
Or maybe, it's an inner monologue that goes more like, "eff this shit, I'm better than they are and I don't have to put up with crap from a boss at work I don't like and who doesn't respect me."

There are so many different possibilities about what's really going on inside this kid's head and how to deal with all of it.

Hmm. I don't have kids and I'm closer to OS2's age than OP's. I had a tough time finding my way after college. During that time, I would have loved to have had a constructive thought partner offering meaningful advice on how to get on the right foot. Instead, all I got was useless, negativity-enfused nagging that only further damaged my already non-existent relationship with my parents, and did not further spur me to action. (I was already motivated in that regard.) So with that in mind I'm tempted to say there should be a middle road between coddling and issuing ultimatums/kicking the OS2 out.

However, my situation was quite different than OS2. I didn't study a bottom-barrel non-academic fake topic that does nothing but train one to be a UN foot soldier, nor was I unmotivated. I think it's safe to say if you reach the point where your kid is "studying" IR, then you probably have limited value as a mentor for this kid. (Which is ok, you gave them a chance at life, anything else is bonus.) With that in mind, the school of hard knocks is probably the mutually best option. Also note your idea of getting a job is probably far different from the kid's. ie. having an IR degree essentially qualifies one for the same things not having one does.

Food, shelter, and support always. Depression is a serious and underappreciated condition that will not be cured by being "tough" or making them "snap out of it." The priority should be on keeping OS2 in counseling/therapy. I also absolutely agree with OP that OS2 should have a job to stay in a healthy rhythm. But as OP rightly points out, it's difficult to tell whether OS2 is really pursuing a job considering our shitty low-skill economy.

So I would like to suggest an alternative to work that will help you establish the same rhythm and allow you to credibly check effort. Get OS2 into an occupational program at the local community college, into an apprenticeship at the local guild, or both. Those programs require a commitment very similar to a real job and will get OS2 out of the house and in contact with positive mentors and role models. They are also relatively inexpensive, but you will be paying past your 4 year rule. Sorry.

Furthermore if OS2 never finishes the Bachelor's, they represent about the best path for a low-skill worker. I would especially recommend looking into LPN/RN, dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, plumbing, and welding because of the earnings opportunities. But please be careful: do not put OS2 into one of those for-profit rip-off places.

Skipping 187 Messages...
JaxFL said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   JaxFL said:   Interesting how Ellory - OP has time to respond to other threads, but hasnt yet responded here!
I always like updates , but what's there to say at this point ? Unless there's been some milestone to report there's probably not much in the way of updates
.
May agree... Other than possibly a simple acknowledgment and thanks for responses... Speaks to character.


I've been occasionally checking back on this thread to see if there were any news, because my thoughts are with the poster's son, and I hope he is okay.

Not to sound like Miss Manners, but even without a promise to return here after his business trip to give an update, the nature of the original post and the unusually generous and heartfelt responses by the commenters would seem to call for some kind of overall acknowledgement and closure by the original poster; especially if, as mentioned above, he has seemingly been commenting on other threads on the site.

Maybe what he's subsequently learned about his son's life situation isn't something he wants to publicly discuss, but it wouldn't be necessary to go into that, merely to come back and wrap up the thread.

Oh well, life is difficult and complicated for everyone, and it's not helpful to judge from afar. Good luck to this family, and to us all.



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