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Son wants to come home EVERY weekend now

patsimaepatsimae Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
edited October 2006 in Parents Forum
My sophomore has decided that he wants to live at home and go to community college. He does have issues with depression, anxiety, LD, and ADHD (long story) but grades are improving. Last spring seemed content there, had bonded with the guys on his floor. Started talking about not going back last summer, but we did convince him to go back.

We would like him to go back for the following reasons:

1. Getting to the CC would be problematic, as he doesn't drive. There is a bus that he can catch, but I can't see him waiting in the cold. Just can't see him doing that.

2. His friends are nice kids but going nowhere, barely made it through high school. Would like him to make some friends who are a little more ambitious.

3. His school has great support services, though he is loathe to take advantage of them.

Transferring him is probably out of the question because he is on academic probation, though he seems to be doing better. His therapist recommended sending him away, and it has done him a lot of good. He is growing up and seems to be stronger emotionally. His friends have either transferred or dropped out (so he says). This year his sophomore dorm is a single with a shared bathroom, but last year he had a room mate for the first semester, which really helped him with socialization. This school is a small private 2 year college. Not much to do but drink on the weekends, though he doesn't drink, but he did enjoy the parties and the silly stuff his enebriated dormmates would do. At home he argues with his dad, holes up in the basement with the tv, computer, etc., and uses his problems as excuses as to why he can't do stuff , a sort of rebellion against us according to the therapist.

So you can see why we would like him to stay there. Hopefully he will get used to it again (takes a long time every school year to bond). The school is 2 and a half hours away, and Amtrak every week is getting expensive! He says no one lives near us that drives (find it hard to believe.) We love to see him every couple weeks or so, but every weekend just defeats the purpose.

Sorry this is long, I could go on and on. Your feedback is appreciated.
Post edited by patsimae on

Replies to: Son wants to come home EVERY weekend now

  • patsimaepatsimae Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
    Sorry for the multiple post!
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Registered User Posts: 12,128 Senior Member
    I have asked a mod to help clean it up for you. Don't worry about it.
  • northeastmomnortheastmom Registered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    I don't have any answers for you. I just wanted to say that I know a family who had a D attending a school where she was very unhappy. She attended that school for one year. The problem was that she was an URM at that school and this made her most uncomfortable. She asked to come home every weekend. She did this for one year, and the commute was just as long as your son's commute. They took a hit in the wallet and used Amtrak one way, and then drove 5 hours (2.5 hours each way EVERY Sunday for one year). At the end of that year she transferred out. She is very happy now and graduating this year from her 3rd college placement!
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom - Posts: 13,158 Senior Member
    wow, where to start- so many issues

    IF he came home, would he work?

    First, take computer and TV out of basement, its your house and you can move anything around you want, having a cave to go into is not healthy

    Second, who is paying for him to come home every weekend...if its mom and dad, cut the purse strings a bit, say you can't afford more than 3 times every two months, you can always increase the number if you start strict

    Third, when would CC classes start, haven't they already, so what would he do in the meantime until next semester

    Fourth, IF he comes home, he works, period....he pays room and board, even if at CC

    My sense is, and I think you will probably say I am not far off, is that you will have a young man who is doing nothing- no work, no school, just slacking off if the CC is too hard to get to

    What are his reasons, exactly for wanting to come home- is it social, the classes, the distance-

    You have to make home as unattrative as possible, with a tight curfew, chores, bare room, etc. I am serious here...it is not punishment, but it shouldn't be like it was in HS...when he comes home on weekends, put him to work doing chores, don't cook, have no food in the house, etc., don't do his laundry, watch stuff he hates....sounds petty, but if home is a place he can go to, do what he wants, and hide away watching TV and playing computer games with no responsibilty, he will come home, it stops from from living his life

    I say this because it sounds like he could make it work if he put in some effort, even with the ADD etc., pride and stuborness should not prevent someone from taking care of business, ie grades....

    Has he just given up? He has the resources, he has the opportunity, but the home doesn't sound the best, and believe me its not personal, because it looks like you have done everything right for him, doesn't sound the best , but my gut tells me he may not survive probation, and is getting you prepared if he gets kicked out

    Does anything ride on having a certain GPA- scholarships for instance? Because even if he gets through college a total C student that is just fine, an and he should realize that

    Is he taking classes he is interested in? How was he in HS? Did he maintain, because sometimes that is the best a person can hope for, maitenance, and nothing wrong with that, some hit their stride later....
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom - Posts: 13,158 Senior Member
    I know I sound harsh, I don't mean to be

    I just see a kid who is capapable of getting through college, maybe with some struggle, but many people stuggle

    sometimes, parents need to say stop it....you need to put in more effort, and we aren't going to carry you your whole life

    I understand about the depression and all the other issues, but at some point a person who has all the resources at hand HAS to take responsibilty for their own lives
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    "So you can see why we would like him to stay there. Hopefully he will get used to it again (takes a long time every school year to bond). The school is 2 and a half hours away, and Amtrak every week is getting expensive! He says no one lives near us that drives (find it hard to believe.)"

    Tell him that you can't afford for him to come home that often. I agree with bthe person who says that you should set a limit and stand by it.

    Many students only get to come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. If he wants more, let him get a job to pay for that.

    If he wants to go to CC, that's his choice since he's technically an adult, but make sure he knows that he will need to do the application and all of the work involved in that, and he'll need to provide his own transportation to college and follow the family rules if he lives at home. That includes chore responsibilities.

    If he lives off campus, he'll need to find a way to pay for that.
  • jdasmomjdasmom Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    Wow. I felt like I was reading about my own son when I read this. Same sorts of diagnoses. Started at a college 260 miles from home two years ago but had to withdraw after 8 weeks as he hit a wall as a result of anxiety and simply stopped going to classes. Was home for two years and also had the going-nowhere friends in our home town. As time went on he seemed to do less and less and his relationship with his father deteriorated to the point that the tension in the house was unbelievable. My son was pretty much out of the house as much as he could be or if he was home he was holed up in his room. Would not think about community college classes, did not ever really attempt to get a job. Had the benefit of regular counseling and medication etc. As the time dragged on I realized that he was never going to improve if he continued to stay home. Life was too comfortable for him (though he would tell you it was like a prison).

    This summer I told him he would need to be situated somewhere else in the fall and his two choices boiled down to going back to college or joining some of his "townie" friends who decided to move to Boston. I think he probably would have preferred Boston but his therapist felt that he would have the support services he needed back at school (and could be kept on our family medical insurance). We got his disability documentation put together and filed with the college's Disability Accomodation Unit, and linked him up with them and a familiar face in the Dean's Office and also the psychiatrists at the Student Health Center. This circle of advisors greeted him when he got back to campus and he has been in contact with them ever since.

    Will he be able to make it work? I don't really know. He loves it at school and he is having to do things for himself. He knows he will have to make it work or his options are bleak. He is taking a part time course load for this term and loves his subjects. Even so, he is nearly failing one of the subjects but he is working hard to turn it around. He has been out of school for two years and is academically rusty. I have let him know that this semester is very much about learning to be a student again, learning to be independent and learning to use his help resources on campus. I just hope he can survive academic probation. As much as I love him I know he needs to learn to do for himself and his best chance of that is being away from me. If he cannot make it work, I will ask him to find somewhere to live and I may help him get set up somewhere initially but I will tell him he will not be moving home. This is the most loving thing I think I can do for him.

    Good luck with your son. I am on the same sort of journey with mine!
  • RileydogRileydog Registered User Posts: 611 Member
    As the mother of a high school student with ADHD, I am wary of the recommendations for a sink or swim approach. I don't find it works with these kids at all - they typically need less of that and more guidance, support and compensatory strategies. New environments and people can be a much bigger challenge. Supports are hard to come by in the chaos that is college today. It is still early in the year and maybe he will adapt but it is concerning that it is his second year.

    Many students commute to college from home and remain connected to the family while they gradually grow in independence, internalize new habits and strategies, and make their way out of the nest. That isn't such a bad option for many students. I don't think we can make recommendations for kids based on some presumed "norm" of independence at l8, particularly in light of these diagnoses. There isn't anything wrong with customizing the post high school years to the student's needs. It is only in recent years that we have come to believe that going "away" is an essential part of the college experience and that everyone should leave home at l8. We don't expect everyone to be "ready" for marriage or to have children at a specific age today, why do we believe that everyone is ready for total independence at
    l8? As with driving at l6, most students are ready, but not all of them have the judgment or skills and not all of them should be on the road. We should definitely be wary of expecting everyone to have the same coping, emotinal and internal skills.

    When I was growing up in the Boston area, commuting to college was the norm. Students commuted on the MBTA and then returned home after classes, typically working part-time and/or helping at home, making their way out of their parent's homes gradually. Students who aren't quite ready to be on their own emotionally or who don't have the skills to be independent certainly could benefit from this model of obtaining a college education. I would worry about a setting that increased symptoms or overwhelmed the student who didn't have good emotional strength to fall back on. Perhaps the therapist can help develop another plan for this young man and his family. Or, perhaps a second opinion may be helpful. I definitely understand the concerns about him returning home only to escape to the basement - not something any parent wants to happen - but maybe there is a middle ground - this young man sounds very unhappy with himself and his life at the moment.
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom - Posts: 13,158 Senior Member
    I am not saying sweep or swim, but you don't have to push him around in a boat

    There is a middle ground but the parents have to be firm if the son moves back home. What I am suggesting isnt' harsh....it is reality though, that this is life....

    If parents don't have clear rules for a student who moves back home, ie respect, chores, communication, tensions will arise

    We are not talking about a child here, maybe an immature young man who may be overwhelmed, but he is functioning, maybe not doing steller work, but he is capable of getting through.

    Is coming home to fighting with dad, hiding in basement really the best thing? I don't think so.....

    Life is not all peaches and cream, and kids expect it to be...college is work...it can be tedious....papers, studying, homework...not all fun and games....that being said, sure some people aren't ready, and taking a gap year, going to work are perfectly acceptable.

    But one must be careful, too much "customizing" can lead to a kid who wants to do nothing...
  • RileydogRileydog Registered User Posts: 611 Member
    Hi Citysgirlsmom - I understand what you are saying but after being puzzled over why one son functioned normally and one could not get it together and was even driving the teachers crazy, I had son 2 evaluated by a neuropsychologist and learned that he was brilliant but would ever be hampered by his very measurable attention and organizational deficits - processing speed issues, etc. I learned how some very real deficits created very real life function problems for my son. Once I stopped trying to put this round peg into a square whole, everyone benefitted - we stopped punishing him for not bringing home his book for the 85th time, after the 85th punishment - and started to give him "tricks" to remember his book. Kids with these deficits have to have strategies, some structure to latch onto because their brains are taking everything in but haven't put that information in file drawers to facilitate retrieval and use. Understanding requires that I not see his strengths and weaknesses in reference to those of my own - believe me, it is not easy. But, once you change your perspective and see his wiring for what his wiring is - you can let go of the ideas that everyone should learn x, y, or z and do it this way. It is a real world out there but there are jobs and positions for these kids out there as well.

    I suspect a lot of the fighting at home is over the issue of school, grades and hiding in the basement. The parents are anxious - they view this behavior as abnormal and scary - they are worried about him - definitely they will fight. But, much of that is probably based on the expectation of the "norm" - the normal place to go after high school, the normal adaption to college life, the normal desires of the student, the normal behaviors of the student but this student has different challenges and different needs. It requires a bit of a different perspective, which mother has.
  • CTTCCTTC Registered User Posts: 2,144 Senior Member
    Jdasmom, you say that your therapist advised your son to go back to college so he could remain on your family's health insurance policy, yet you also mentioned that he's only taking a part-time courseload. Many (most?) health insurance policies require that a college student take 12 or more credits (fulltime) to remain on the family's health insurance policy. This wasn't an issue with your policy?
  • cloverdale7cloverdale7 Registered User Posts: 345 Member
    I would caution you about taking too harsh a stance with your fragile young adult. I do not know the situation --but sometimes preventing access or shutting the door as advised by some here can be the worst thing you can do. It is better that your son stay in school and come home weekends for instance than that he drop out altogether. Just be careful that if you stop him from coming home he is going to have enough supports in place to stick it out. Only YOU know your kid. The people posting advice do not and probably cannot give you the kind of feedback you will find by searching your own situation and your own heart. Tough love is great for some kids --for others it is a suicidal strategy. Just be sure you do what is right for you and yours.
  • cloverdale7cloverdale7 Registered User Posts: 345 Member
    I am suggesting it might be best to keep him at the school he's at --but if you close off access to home altogether, it might backfire. Or not. I am saying you need to know your own kid.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    It would be good to talk about this situation with your S's therapist. The therapist and your family are best equipped to figure out how to address this situation. Well meaning as we posters are, we don't know you or your son, so our advice may not apply.
  • momesqmomesq Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Take your son's feelings seriously but make sure you have looked at every option other than him moving home. Make sure he's had a thorough physical recently. Make sure he's getting enough sleep and exercise. Try setting up a schedule of visits home, so that he has a trip home to look forward to. Everyone I knew, myself included, had a significant slump during their sophomore year in college. My parents were close enough so that I could go home when I needed to, but moving there would have been the wrong thing. I needed to work through my problems and keep connected to my friends and my own life. So long as you are sure that your son isn't thinking of harming himself, there are a lot of ways to deal with depression and anxiety that won't result in him losing the independent life he's begun to build for himself. But he will need help, and you need to be sure that he's getting enough of it.
This discussion has been closed.