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My 18 year old isn't coping with "lockdown"
My son turned 18 in March. He has a girlfriend, is studying at college and had planned to do an apprenticeship come September. He had been toying with the possibility of uni also.
Over the last few weeks, his life, as he feels, has "turned to shit". He can't see his girlfriend. He is stuck in the tiniest box room. There are are barely any engineering apprenticeships, and those few there are he hasn't got - huge competition for the few that may trickle through. He found out that his college had enrolled him on to a course that was not the one he originally applied for - so doesn't give him ucas points even though it is at level 3. He originally did 1 year at level 2 as he didn't quite meet the minimum requirements for level 3. His 2nd year was supposed to be the 2 year level 3 course. He has been enrolled on a 1 year level 3 course in the same subject. All his level 2 coursemates were transfered to this same course. He can't transfer to the other level 3 course (I asked). He would have to do 2 more years at college if he wanted to to uni basically.
So tonight he has basically had a breakdown, there has been screaming, swearing, shouting, throwing an open can of coke at the walls, running off in just pj bottoms, and once I got him back home he is saying he wants to die. He won't access GP help (will try and revisit that again tomorrow). He feels he has no future right now, and that everything has been taken from him.
I'm at a loss. Wtf do I do to try and give him some hope. He wants to see his girlfriend, and wants to know he can move on to his future in September.
Is anyone else parent of a young adult in a similar situation? How do I help him cope through this?
I’m really sorry OP
I’ve had issues for years and GP help is a matter of luck sometimes
Any chance he can see his girlfriend?
Honestly, its okay.
I did three years at college as I messed up my first year of A Levels. Which meant I started again and had to make new friends and in the final year my original friends had left.
By the 3rd year you are really focused on the exams. You have more time to really hone your study skills which sets you up for University.
Not sure if that perspective is any help.
I think he has bigger problems than his course if he feels swearing and throwing cola everywhere is acceptable at 18.
None of the stuff mentioned is more than a middle of the road inconvenince. Tell him that. Tell him that he has 60 odd years to make something of himself and there is no rush. And that whilst you sympathise, that sort of behaviour in your home is quite frankly unacceptable.
Life is tough. A hard slog, full of disappointment. Behaving like a 5 year old wont make it easier.
Tell him to apply to a different college. He will get in. Don't worry x
You don't always need UCAS points. Get him to phone them
He needs to speak to someone at college and also the GP hes having mental health issues
So sorry to hear this, our teens are a massive casualty of this lockdown, but not really talked about or heard at all, most are complying so well but lots of them are nearly at breaking point.
I don't know what to say except I hear you and I believe some relief will be coming soon for these young people who have literally have their worlds swept from under their feet. My nearly 18 year old has also lost so much but is managing to hold on in the hope that (like a prisoner) his release date is going to be announced soon. Not so that he can live like he did before but that he can see some of his friends in a controlled way, that he can possibly go back to his part-time job again and that he can believe he has a future ahead and he can start his planned uni course, because he is just not seeing that at the moment.
Good luck to you and your son, it has to get better because this living death is absolutely no life for the young adults in this country.
I feel for him. I think if it's completely out of character and a one off, having a tantrum is perfectly acceptable at any age. Everyone is scared and we're dealing with a lot of uncertainty.
I totally understand why he feels his future has gone down the drain. I messed my A Levels up and although I had to be creative about my next steps, I'm sitting here with everything having worked itself out. He has so much time to build a nice life for himself and lots of other people his age will also have had their plans disrupted. This pandemic is going to end up being a blip in his life. He has to take things a day at a time just like the rest of us and really mull over what he wants from life and how he still might get there. 2 more years at college is perhaps very frustrating but doable and we will definitely need lots of engineers going forward.
I hope he's ok. Your brain definitely hasn't finished maturing at 18 and he must be upset and scared.
I wouldn’t be happy about that from an 18 year old in my home. We’re all finding it tough. He sounds petulant. Anger management maybe?
He’s had a meltdown and it’s not surprising. He feels that he’s lost everything of value and interest and there’s nothing to look forward to. All of this after just getting to young adulthood and going out, having a girlfriend etc. Tonight, what you can do is give him a hug, make him a cup of hot chocolate, let him cry if he wants and acknowledge that yes, it is shit. Sometimes you just need to be heard and to get it all out. Tomorrow you can help him try to think of some things to be doing in his life to make him a good prospect for apprenticeships ( college work, learning something new/ revisiting something that he used to do like playing guitar). A lot of the employers are probably holding fire at the moment but they will want to know what he did during lockdown. Try and get him out for a long walk and make him his favourite meal. Perhaps he can help you cook it? On Mon, try to get him a GP appointment and Young Minds are very helpful too.
I work with a lot of 17-18 year olds and the last two weeks have been really tough on them- all the things they have worked towards and looked forward to have been pulled away or won’t be the way that they used to be. He’s not alone - I’ve had a lot of reports of similar meltdowns and upsets within that age group and it’s still seen as ok for girls to cry but not young men, at this point of their lives so no wonder he’s exploded.
Finally, re his girlfriend, could they not coincide during physically- distanced exercise/ walks/ shopping queuing?
to you too - this is hard for you too.
Find him something useful to do outside the house. Most areas have local volunteer groups running foodbanks, shopping delivery and dogwalking for the housebound etc.
No, I'm not happy about it at all. But other than kick him out or call the police - you can't really punish an adult. Also, kicking him out in the middle of all this would not help one iota.
I've tried to explain and put the college course in to perspective. He just can't see beyond his own life (nor could I as a teen, I don't think it is unusual). I had him at 17, and had to postpone studies by a year. Both my parents had slow starts to their careers. My other half took until 25 to go to uni. Then 33 before doing a pgce, and finally getting his foot in the career door. He just doesn't care.
He does appear to need ucas points for any of the engineering courses. We've looked, although happy to be corrected.
I'm angry for him too. He most definitely is having a shit time. I want to support him. But definitely do not want to be a target for his anger.
Believe it or not, this all started tonight because he felt me and my other half were laughing at him for losing at monopoly. We weren't. He just perceived a slight. No more board games....
He did sign up to the Governement volunteer scheme, but hasn't been needed. I'll have a look and see if there are any other local options for him.
As for seeing his girlfriend - I don't know really. I'm an nhs front line worker. I don't think her parents would be happy at the idea. He has already said that even when we are able to meet socially again, her parents may be against the idea.
Well his whole world has been turned on its head, and none of it is his fault. So I wouldnt hold the melt down against him if he normally behaves himself.
I think the best thing you can do is to check that all the information he has is correct re levels, courses and ucas points. Then work out what his options are. If what he has been told is true then he will have to accept uni isnt going to happen this time. So help him figure out the options. He might need more help with this if he is all wound up.
I think worst case senario is going to uni at 20 rather than 18. It seems MASSIVE for him but in the greater scheme of things theres a long time before he retires so a couple of years wont make a huge difference.
Are any of his friends in the same situation? I imagine the fear of being left behind is huge and its even worse if its just him thats affected.
“ Believe it or not, this all started tonight because he felt me and my other half were laughing at him for losing at monopoly. We weren't. He just perceived a slight. No more board games....”
I think spending too much time with family is a nightmare full stop but at this age, it’s a bloody horrendous thing to have forced on you.
Maybe have a chat about how you can live a bit more apart and let him know he can still hang out with you when he likes.
Hope he’s okay. Maybe this meltdown was what he needed and now he can work towards a better future. 💐
Is there any paid work he can do? I know it’s a very long shot but anything would give a sense of purpose as well as put essential money in his pocket.
Yes I have been through this, and I understand.
He needs a lot of love right now, a whole lot of love and that is it. His world has been ripped apart and he's young, he hasn't had a chance to develop the coping mechanisms we all are using right now.
I know it;s hard to do but dig deep and show him the love and understanding he needs to hear.
It'll take some time before he heals but you can help him. I know you can because it's what I've done too. It's very hard and I do understand, if you can you show an understanding of his position, even if you feel negative towards him because of how he;s acting it will help him and it can change it around. You can do this, he needs you and I know you can do it. xx
Sounds like a tantrum. Maybe not a mature response, but it's understandable. I feel for him: he has a very real sense of loss. Grief, anger, helplessness. Lots of unknowns. And hormones are still surging, even at this age.
I m sure you have told him this is not acceptable behavior. Then outline all the steps/avenues you two can take/explore to make the situation as good as it can be right now. I'd hold him by the hand at first and then gradually shift the responsibility to him.
As for him seeing his GF. Maybe not just yet.
Also is he athletic at all? Might he enjoy running?
Those saying it’s unacceptable at his age. I’ve had a few similar rants recently, my life has went tots up and I can’t do what I would normally to relax. He’s just found out he (in his eyes) has wasted two years of his life, 15% of all the time he’s been alive. If OP can forgive his anger I don’t think there’s any need to condemn him further
The games was his suggestion a few nights ago as he has been spending most of his time in his room. I've tried to give him chances to join in various things, but until now he hasn't really. His body clock is absolutely fucked up, which definitely isn't helping anything. He seemed okay until that moment. I'd been proud at how well he was managing it, despite it being so very tough for him.
He is usually okay. He's had a few angry outburts before, maybe 3 or 4? Once he pushed me, when he was 15. Never since as I don't think he has ever seen me so furious. He isn't good at opening up, not to me at least. He does seem to go along for ages, before losing his shit like this (although this is the worst it has ever been). The first time, I took time off work to focus on him, give him more of my time etc as I felt it was thebest solution (it happened right at the beginning of the summer hols between yr 10 and 11). It seemed to help - but it isn't something I can keep doing. I have 2 young children (one with additional needs) so time is stretched between their needs. I do make sure I give him undivided time to chat - he rarely does though.
Your poor DS, OP.
I know you did say his girlfriend's parents might not be willing for her to see him. But, in the nicest and most gentle way, if they are both 18, there's not much anyone can do about it. It sounds as if he really does need to see her, and lockdown be damned.
I also have an 18 yr old, who is being uncharacteristically
She is just turned 17. I think she mostly does what her parents say.
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