My 19 y/o son dropped out of college and now his only "goal" is to be waiter.

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  • Sue
    July 10, 2018 at 10:05 pm #762034

    Hello, I’m new here, so I don’t know what I doing…
    Here’s the backstory… My son was diagnosed with ADHD in high school. He paces a lot & it’s very hard for him to sit still. I didn’t allow him to take meds in HS because the small amount of time he did, he lost too much weight. I wanted to wait until he was done growing…He did well in HS, got a 3.6 GPA, with all Honors classes and 11 AP classes. He sort if “ran out” of classes to take at his HS,so they sent him to a local university. He did ok until he got to the higher level classes. Then his ADHA really set in. At first he said all he needed was his ADHD meds and he’d do better. After a LOT of work we finally got him approved for ADHD meds and he started taking them and his grades started coming back up…then he decided that ADHD was all “made up” and Psychologists are “fake doctors” that he just lied to and fooled to by him some time so he wouldn’t get kicked out of the house and he stopped taking his meds. He has always had difficutlites. He’s always had a hard time socializing with other humans and ended up losing all the friends he did have in High School his first year in high school…He has no friends now. The last straw for me was when he lied to me about his grades and actually made up fake grades on his computer and texted them to me. (there were his grades from a few semesters back where he got 2 A’s and an A-) I was suspicious that he was suddenly doing so well so I made him pulled up his grades in front of me. I found out he had actually failed all his classes, he had stopped going to school altogether. He got a job and an apartment (which I stupidly signed for after he showed me the fake grades.) I had promised to help him with the rent, but after I found out about him dropping out of school, I told him I wasn’t going to give him a dime, and that he could see how hard life is without a college degree. He just yelled and screamed at me and told me to “F– Off” and mind my own business. I never thought I’d see the day my child would speak to me like that. I haven’t spoken to him for a few days and I am so heartbroken, disgusted and angry with him, I can’t imagine the day where I won’t be mad and ashamed of him. This was the kid who everyone thought was going to go to Harvard and become a NeuroSurgeon (that was what he wanted to do.) Now his big “goal” is to become a waiter at the local “Chili’s” where he is working as a Host.
    I know I’m just ranting in this post, but I don’t know what to do…I way too embarassed to let my family and friends know what has happened, most of their kids are away at college, getting educations, making friends and having fun…my son is just the loser guy working a cr ap job and sitting by himself in his apartment by himself. Now I’m finding excuses to not go places where I might run in anyone I know because I know they will ask about my son. I’m thinking of closing my business and moving across the country to start over again… Help Please !…Any advice or just words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance.

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    July 10, 2018 at 11:07 pm #762044

    The way you talk about your son is…wow…just wow. Your son exists as his own person. He is not on this planet to impress your friends. There are worse things than taking some time to earn a living and figure some stuff out.

    July 10, 2018 at 11:26 pm #762049

    Thanks JulieCatherine. That was super helpful. You don’t know the pain I feel seeing everyone else’s kids being happy, successful, knowing they have a bright future and are having fun and making lifelong friends in college, while my son sits alone in his apartment. It’s gutwrenching to see your child live like that. But again, “thanks” for your snarky comment. You seem like a really kind and compassionate person. Have you ever thought of becoming a life coach?

    July 10, 2018 at 11:31 pm #762051

    I get why you’re concerned for your son but the way you talk about him is pretty revolting and you need to check that. He doesn’t exist for you to brag to your friends, he’s his own person. And if he struggles to sit still a job where he gets to work through his excess energy may be good for him. He needs to continue treatment but you, lady, need to see someone yourself. Who on earth would move across country just because they don’t like their son’s job? You need therapy more than him.

    July 11, 2018 at 12:27 am #762063

    Angie, I am very angry right now. I’m not on here to sugar coat things. I don’t have time for that. I’m being honest. So many people have contributed to this child, he was given scholarships to attend private schools and for college. I drive a 18 y/o car and worked as a “volunteer” at his school for 50 hours a month to help pay for his schooling. I haven’t had my hair professionally cut or my nails done for 19 years. I rarely buy new clothes, and if I do, I buy them at Walmart. I let my tooth go bad so he could have braces….which he refused to follow the rules from the Doctor, and keep breaking them off, until I couldn’t afford to have the braces fixed for the 4th time. I found tutors to help him get ahead. So yeah, I’m SUPER pi**ed right now. So many other people worked so hard to help him and tried to help him get the meds he needed and it took over a year to get them (Docs are very tight with those drugs now.) Then he ADMITS he screwed them over as well. And was “faking” it the whole time, I feel bad that they tried to help them, only to get kicked in the face by my ungrateful son. HIS behavior has been revolting. He’s done a lot of cra p y things to me and others, but he got better while on his meds…then he just stopped and things have gone to him being miserable. And he REFUSES to get help or to go back to the Doctors to get the help he needs… But if you all just want to judge me, that’s fine….it doesn’t help at all, but if it makes YOU feel better and superior, ok. Have at it. I asked for help, for ideas to help figure out it there is anything I can do to get this child back into college before he throws his life away. And yes, I admit, it crushes me to see everyone else’s kid doing so well in college and having fun, etc., while my kid is living this miserable life he’s made for himself. I cry every day over this. BUT….This child does NOT need any more pity, so I can’t be around him now and let him see me cry about his life (he just makes fun of me when I do)…he needs to get his a** kicked by life so he can stop having his entitled attitude. I was looking for ideas to maybe figure out how to help him turn his life around, but you just want to judge me. Do you feel better now? Gosh, I hope so.

    July 11, 2018 at 12:35 am #762066

    And btw, Angie, I should have mentioned that I’ve always wanted to move,but I have stayed in the town I’m in my for son’s education. But now that’s that is gone, there is no reason to stay. I’ve always wanted to move to New England. I think it’s time to live for myself and not just helping my son be a success in life…which it appears he doesn’t even want for himself. Plus, as I mentioned, it’s too hard to see his former classmates, ( I was their room mother from Pre-K until they all went to high school) leading such normal, happy lives. It breaks my heart.

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    July 11, 2018 at 1:55 am #762079

    His “miserable” life? Who says he’s miserable, you or him? Sounds like he had a super heavy academic load in high school. Did he have time for any kind of social life or extra curricular activities or just to decompress? He may be burned out on school.

    I have college age kids. I get you wanting him to finish his degree and go on to some fabulous career, but I do not understand why it is embarrassing to the point of you crying daily over him taking a break from school.

    It sounds like you made your child your whole world to an unhealthy degree. My mom did similar stuff – wouldn’t buy herself new clothes, but sent me to private school and made sure I had the designer wardrobe to go with it. Even as a kid, it drove me nuts. I get giving your kids every opportunity that you can, but not at the expense of your own needs.

    In doing this, you have created a dynamic where your adult son’s choices about how to live his life feel like a personal affront to you. You chose to make the sacrifices you did for him, this does not obligate him to live his life in the way you want him to. Anyone who works with kids (teachers, doctors, mentors…) knows good and well that the child may choose a different path as they grow up. I guarantee his doctors are not taking it personally that he’s decided meds aren’t for him.

    As for ways to turn him around… the bad news is there’s really nothing you can do. The good news is there’s really nothing for you to do! Back off, give him time to figure things out, and find a way to make peace with the fact that he is in charge of his own life now. It may never look like what you envisioned for him, and that’s okay!

    When your friends ask about him, smile and tell them proudly that he’s taking a break from school right now, has his own place, and is working at Chili’s – they should make sure to say ‘hi’ to him next time they’re in!

    Maybe he’ll decide at some point to do something more ambitious, maybe not. You’ve given him everything he needs to be successful. It’s all up to him now. It’s absolutely time for you to go ahead and live your own life as you fit as well. But if you want to continue to be part of his life, you have to let go of the anger and respect his decisions. It really isn’t a bad idea for you see a therapist to help you work through this period of transition from being supermom to being Sue.

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    July 11, 2018 at 4:52 am #762110

    I love being bitched out for not being compassionate by the woman calling her 19 year old a miserable loser. I just can’t figure out why he told you to go fuck yourself?.

    July 11, 2018 at 5:52 am #762119

    19 year olds are really known for their selflessness compassion and forethought… I can’t imagine what’s going on!

    Look OP here’s the deal: Your son has blown up his life because the life you chose for him is NOT the one he wants. He doesn’t know what he wants. When he said “Neurosurgery” and your eyes lit up – he just kept repeating the lie. This is part of his separating from you and becoming an adult. Responsible for himself. I went through almost the same thing. Many years later I have a great career and a great relationship with my mom.

    Your son is not a loser because he dropped out of college. Your son is not a loser because at this moment in time, he wants to take some time to breathe and figure things out.

    He’s trying to change the dynamic of your relationship and this is the only way he can do it because not following the path YOU have set will disappoint you so he might as well go big.

    Tell him you love him and you hope he figures out what he wants. As for your friends and their “successful” children – you don’t know what actually goes on in someone’s life. I grew up with about 12 families – 30 or so kids among the fams. At least half are divorced. Some are in debt. Some married crazy people and don’t talk to their parents much anymore. Some have 4 kids a big house and run marathons. One lived in a yurt and herded sheep for a while. It doesn’t matter to your son and it shouldn’t matter to you what your friends kids do.

    Your success as a parent is to keep the child alive and guide them to go out into the world. Do that. Don’t draw the damn map and then follow him from point to point. You gave him the paper, you gave him the pens. You gave him a sense of North and South -let him draw a map and if it leads back to you – then give him advise, tell him about East and West, elevations, whatever. I’m not a cartographer but you get the picture (but don’t draw it).

    July 11, 2018 at 6:48 am #762131

    Just wow.

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    July 11, 2018 at 6:59 am #762137

    Probably half the kids I know would benefit from taking a year or two off after high school and working a minimum wage job. It lets them see the alternative to going to college. It lets them see what life will be like if they don’t get the education that will give them more income. That’s good for them. I think my son would have benefited greatly from doing this but he needed to go to college to stay on our health insurance. As it was, it took him 6 years to complete college because he changed majors his junior year. His grades improved each year. A few years of maturity and working at the local radio shack gave him the perspective he needed to see that he needed college. He found that his salary gave him enough money to put gas in the car and to do a little maintenance but it would never let him be independent and it would never give him the income to buy the things he wanted. When I told our doctor that I thought our son would benefit from a year or two working a menial job before college he told me about two of his four sons doing terribly in college. One flunked out of his prestigious curriculum and had to come home and go to community college to get his grades up. Many, many college students make a similar error.

    Your son’s job at Chilli’s is probably what he needs right now. He needs to see what happens when you have a limited income and he needs time to get over being burned out in high school and time to think about what he wants to do in life.

    You are making huge assumptions about other people’s kids. They may be in college but that doesn’t mean they are doing well in college. You assume they are making life-long friends but that may not be true either. College friends usually slowly drop away when you move in different directions and never see each other. Many college students are horribly stressed and depressed. Almost certainly some of the kids you know are and their parents aren’t telling you because they are embarrassed. You can assume that some of them are barely hanging in there with their grades. Their parents just don’t tell you that.

    You moving away isn’t so much different than your son dropping out of college. It’s leaving what you know to escape something you dislike.

    Give him a few years. He may be ready to go back to school or maybe he won’t but give him a few years to mature.

    What were the ADHD drugs doing to your son? My friend’s son was taking them and when he was a senior in high school they made him extremely depressed to the point she was afraid he would become suicidal and she got him off of them. You can’t assume that the drugs were all positive.

    July 11, 2018 at 7:03 am #762138

    Wow…a 19 year old working at a restaurant is not a loser. You sound obsessed with image, and not very emotionally supportive at all. A lot of kids freak out at college and quit. I’m not surprised he would.

    You need to speak with a family therapist and figure out how to be a supportive and encouraging parent, instead of whatever this temper tantrum is. Maybe after a few sessions you can convince your son to go in with you.

    Your concern shouldn’t be what the other parents think. It should be about your son, how he’s feeling, how you can help him figure this out. You’re disgusted and ashamed of him? He dropped out of college, he didn’t commit a mass murder.

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