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18yo returning home after semester away

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Replies to: 18yo returning home after semester away

  • younghossyounghoss 3166 replies18 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    the kid wants many of the advantages of a child- the home, the care, prob free room and board, but wants to be considered an adult. Like many his age( me too, back then) he has a confused idea of what an adult is.
    What would the OP do if I was a houseguest and "created havoc" in the household? Talk the problem with me, give me time limit to change? If I didn't comply, I'd expect to have to move out.
    Granted, this is offspring, not just a guest but I think much the same applies.
    Adults don't get to behave any way they want- without consequences- and that's the part this near adult doesn't grasp. All his life, no matter how he behaved, he had a place you had to provide. Now(at 18) this is no longer true. Now you provide a place because you want to help him progress toward independence.
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  • AeroMikeAeroMike 270 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I don't believe in mental illness unless it can be proven that there is a genetic disposition for someone to act that way. It's an easy out, a way to blame something else. People are a direct result of some combination of their environment and their genetics.

    By blaming it on mental illnesses, if there are really no genetic reasons for it, I think you'd simply be convincing your son that there's one more thing wrong with him, one more reason why he shouldn't act as he should.
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  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad 6202 replies163 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    AeroMike.

    You are 18 years old and you don't *believe* in mental illness unless it can be proven that there is a genetic disposition for someone to act that way. How nice of you to contribute on the parents forum.

    Seriously though, the point of bringing up mental illness is not to defer blame, but to encourage the consultation of competent mental health professionals in dealing with the underlying issues in order to correct them and achieve a good outcome for all parties.

    Blame is rarely helpful.
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  • MirabileDictuMirabileDictu 235 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    There are plenty of reasons to seek counseling here. The son's poor performance could just be extreme flakiness, but that inability to get out of bed in the morning could just as easily be a product of clinical depression. Whatever the problem is, it's worth figuring out the causes in order to address it. Additionally, I think family therapy would be a great idea. This can both give the other family members the support and tools they need to deal with the situation, and help the son break out of the "f-up" role in which he has been cast (which is not to say that his behavior is not responsible for his having been cast in this role).
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2385 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OK, I went back and read the other posts. It sounds from this latest that Marquette will let him come back for the spring?

    - Assuming that everyone agrees that going to school next semester is the right choice, what does your son think he needs in the way of structural support to help him be successful? Is he in "spring semester will be different and I need no help from anyone to make it so" denial / magical thinking? Has he / can he come up with a list of specific things he'll do differently in the spring? Can he identify what he'll do when he doesn't accomplish something on that list? For example, if the list includes "go to every class session," what positive thing will he do to get himself back on track when he does miss a class, where "I don't need to worry about that, because I won't miss a class" is a very worrying answer.

    - IMHO the "commuting doesn't leave me enough time to study" (and the argument I see coming, "cleaning up after myself doesn't leave me enough time to study") are protective arguments. If spring term doesn't go well, he can point to them and say, "see, I told you that doing it your way won't work." It looks like Marquette permits part-time attendance - is there any way that would be an acceptable-to-everyone option? Less pressure, fewer opportunities to fall behind / give up, more time to work on personal issues.

    - As far as standards of acceptable behavior at home, I think it'll be more successful if he comes up with the rules and you agree to them (with or without negotiated modification) than if you come up with the rules and foist them upon him. Unless you're prepared to kick him out, you've got minimal ability to enforce them anyhow. If he needs some structure to go by, draw up an outline for him to fill in, leaving a couple of fall-back options for each item. "I plan to be in the house for the night by [X] on weeknights and [Y] on weekends. If I'm not going to make that time, I want to [call Z minutes before with a new ETA], so my family won't worry about me. If I forget to call, I think I should [respond promptly to calls or texts], so my parents know I'm OK. If my phone is lost / has a dead battery / has no bars, I can [borrow a friend's phone / go into a business and ask to use the phone / hit the OnStar button in the car and ask them to contact my family]." Let him fill in the bracketed parts - the idea is to get him thinking about what he'd ideally like to have happen, and to identify how to get back on track when that's not what does happen.

    - Have him come up with similar plans for school. "I plan to attend every class session, even if I'm unprepared or find the lecture uninteresting. If I miss a class, I'll get back on track by..." Missing class is such a vicious cycle - you get anxious about class, so you decide to skip just this once. Or you subconsciously decide, by setting yourself up so that it wasn't your fault - you stay up late studying ("See how virtuous I am!") and then oversleep ("But not my fault, because it was virtuousness that led to it!"). Then you're embarrassed that you missed class, and every time you think about the class, you get more anxious because it brings up the embarrassment, and so you avoid thinking about the class - which means no doing the homework, no reading, no going to the next class session. And then you flunk. Missing a class is not the end of the world, unless you let it be. IMHO without a plan for getting back on track, there's a good chance of you seeing him get up and walk towards the bus stop every day, and not knowing that he wasn't going to class when he got to campus. "I hadn't done the reading / homework, so I couldn't go to class." "I never learn anything from the lecture anyhow, so I went to the library to study instead." There's always a reason that sounds good at the time.

    Good luck. And if it doesn't work out well, try not to take it too personally. Even really smart kids can have a hard time transitioning to increased independence. And the fact that someone else's kid appears to have handled the transition more easily does not mean they were superior parents. There is a lot more beyond our control than people like to think.
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  • victoriaheidivictoriaheidi 642 replies27 threadsRegistered User Member
    @AeroMike: if that's how you feel about mental illnesses, I hate to ask what you think of many physical ailments.
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  • higgins2013higgins2013 702 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    As someone who commuted more than one-hour each way (urban highway driving) for two years of college, because my mother thought it somehow "safer" than living on campus, I'd be very cautious of "living at home" as a solution for poor grades and disorganization. I was a hyper-organized diligent over-achiever student, and still found the commuting to be a miserable existence. I'd ask OP to reconsider options, and steer son to Student Services, tutoring, and educational psych evaluation to determine whether there are underlying LD issues. (I've not read prior OP posts on other threads.)

    Here's what I remember from my two years of commuting, aside from traffic jams and terrible weather conditions:

    I had a great deal of homework, long hours in addition to my three hours of commuting (six days a week because classes met on Saturdays too), and I often found myself falling asleep in the morning, behind the wheel, driving with one eye forced open while the other rested. Fortunately I never had an accident. There was no way I could get 8 hrs of sleep, commute, attend classes, do homework, and eat/dress/breath.

    I often drove home late at night, fortunate not to have any accidents due to reckless drivers but driving by several very bad ones. I still attended parties on campus on weekends, which resulted in midnight drives home.

    Though my grades were good, plenty of my fellow commuter students couldn't swing the commute plus the homework and class time. There were a fair number of drop-outs, mostly by commuters.

    Commuters had little sense of campus camaraderie. It can be a relatively lonely experience. Commuter lounge, cafeteria, and lockerroom were depressing.

    Yes, I had significant "household responsibilities" too. I think this was part of my (stay-at-home) mother's thinking, that my chores would become hers.

    After two years, I adamantly demanded to live on campus, after being followed home to my parents' driveway by a drunk driver who tailgated me for 20 miles (he told police he picked me up in a downtown bar despite my being underaged and dressed in volleyball gear.) My mother finally acknowledged that commuting was less safe than living on campus.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22944 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    SteveMa:
    How would you feel if your "family" hated you? How bad is it really? What is his GPA?
    SteveMa said she had read OP's posts, yet she missed this post by OP's son:
    I ended up failing my biology class. Getting a D in my chemistry class. Getting a CD in my Statistics class, and getting a C in my English class. I have a GPA of 1.143 for the end of the term.
    This was mom's post:
    I'm the parent
    I am the parent in this situation. Went to pick up our student after final exams last week -- learned that no final exams had been taken. Had not gone to classes in about a month. Got overwhelmed, slept through a few classes and got behind, and just QUIT. And yes, we are disappointed. If we had known, we could have helped earlier.
    I fail to see where OP said that she hated her son. She is disappointed with her son's performance and is blaming herself a bit for not have known about it before hand. I do think OP probably should have been more hands on with her son, but it's not her fault that her son completely messed up the first semester. She is doing what she could to help out her son, and I think SteveMa's tone was harsh and extremely judgmental.

    Every kid matures differently. Just because they turned 18, it doesn't always make them adults all of a sudden. Our kids walked and talked at different age, and we didn't think they were slow in development just because they walked 3 months later than "average," so why do we expect all of our kids to behave like adults at exactly 18.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78229 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    After two years, I adamantly demanded to live on campus, after being followed home to my parents' driveway by a drunk driver who tailgated me for 20 miles (he told police he picked me up in a downtown bar despite my being underaged and dressed in volleyball gear.)

    As an aside, it is usually advised that if you are being followed, do not go home (because then the stalker will know where you live), but go to some place like a police station.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84095 replies1025 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    3 hrs on a bus or train can be spent studying/doing homework. Can't do that while driving.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84095 replies1025 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    I'm the parent
    I am the parent in this situation. Went to pick up our student after final exams last week -- learned that no final exams had been taken. Had not gone to classes in about a month. Got overwhelmed, slept through a few classes and got behind, and just QUIT. And yes, we are disappointed. If we had known, we could have helped earlier. We spent a ton of money for this kid to go to college. I think part of it is being SO bright, and never learning study skills, as a previous poster said. Student says he was shocked by how hard college was, as this is not a top-notch college, but a safety school for this student. Now we have an 18yo back in the house. We are considering a medical withdrawal, based on previous "overwhelmed" and anxiety issues. But then will we lost the Pell Grant money? And how does that affect going back later? I guess the important thing for everyone to keep in mind is that, in the big picture, over the course of someone's whole life, this is just a blip. You redirect, and keep on going. It will be OK.



    It doesn't sound like the family "hates" this kid. They're disappointed. This is a Pell Family that has spent a good bit of their precious funds for room and board.

    The siblings may be disappointed because maybe a child now must share a room again or something like that. The parents are frustrated because they now have a 'not-mature' adult living in their home.

    I may have missed this, but is there any evidence of excessive partying and staying up late? This is a common problem with first semester frosh living away from home.
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  • dodgersmomdodgersmom 6467 replies846 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I may have missed this, but is there any evidence of excessive partying and staying up late? This is a common problem with first semester frosh living away from home.

    Not the case here. The kid said he was trying, and just ended up being overwhelmed. See his thread here.

    I am really saddened by the mom's posts. I understand that this is extraordinarily difficult for her (and the rest of the family) as well . . . but this doesn't sound like a terribly supportive situation for her son to come home to. I am wondering if there isn't a relative or family friend that he might be able to stay with . . . someone who wouldn't feel "annoyed" by his presence.

    I'm not trying to blame the OP . . . but sometimes a parent just reaches their wit's end and it's hard to come up with an endless supply of patience, especially when there are younger siblings you need you as well. If there were somewhere else the student could stay for a while, that might help everyone.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12870 replies241 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    When I read that thread I understood "I'm the parent in this situation" to mean that she had a different child going through something similar, not that she was "collegeflunkie"'s parent.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22944 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OHMom - you could be right, I read it very quickly. Nevertheless, I don't think it is a case of OP's kid getting 3.0 and OP was freaking out. I didn't read any of OP's posts that showed she hated her son.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12870 replies241 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I suppose collegeflunkie could have decided that the best way to tell his/her parents about the suspension - as that was what the thread was initially about - was to have mom register for CC and check it out :)

    But at the time I thought she was just posting as a parent in the same situation.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84095 replies1025 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    Dodgersmom...

    I'm not sure that the student in that thread is this OP's son. I think the OP was just commenting on that thread as someone with a somewhat similar situation. Hopefully, the OP of this thread can clarify.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84095 replies1025 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    I think the OP in this thread lives in Virginia...so can't be the mom of the Marquette kid. You can't commute to Marquette from VA.


    Got overwhelmed, slept through a few classes and got behind, and just QUIT. A

    this sounds like excessive partying or depression.
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  • dodgersmomdodgersmom 6467 replies846 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OHMomof2 wrote:
    When I read that thread I understood "I'm the parent in this situation" to mean that she had a different child going through something similar, not that she was "collegeflunkie"'s parent.

    You could be right . . . and I apologize. The reference to Marquette above (post #26) made me think it was the same family. But we may well have jumped to the wrong conclusion. I apologize again for contributing to the confusion. Unfortunately, I'm sure there's more than one family having a difficult time this holiday season.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33305 replies767 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    When I read that thread I understood "I'm the parent in this situation" to mean that she had a different child going through something similar, not that she was "collegeflunkie"'s parent.

    That was what I thought, too. Thought I missed something along the way...
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2385 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ah, that was me (#26), and when people started saying that the OP had posted elsewhere explaining the situation, I reached the wrong conclusion, too.
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