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In dispair about 20 year old son

(51 Posts)
plantlady Mon 05-Jun-17 19:25:36

I'm in severe danger of falling out with 20 year old DS. he is supposed to be looking for a part time job to help fund going back to college and then on to University. He spent 1 1/2 years volunteering in school but has decided now not to go into teaching and wants to do something completely different.

For the past 4 months he has done not a lot. He lacks drive and initiative. All he wants to do is play computer games all day (and spend what little money he has on them). he's evasive when I ask him what he's doing. Any job hunting comes from me (I've found him all the jobs he has had interviews for). All his searches for uni courses comes from me. yes he has Dyspraxia and Dyslexia and has some mild learning difficulties which does make life more difficult and I accept that. but he seems so very lazy. He has no friends as such and claims to be introverted. His difficulties makes it hard for him to hold lengthy conversations so he doesn't try.

I wonder if he has computer games addiction as if he's at home all day he doesn't even bother to get food or drink, only games or does a little bit of other stuff on the computer. He does at least go out to scouting as he's an assistant leader.

Sorry about the rant. I have no idea where to take this or how to help him help himself. He's so disorganised but too lazy to spend a few moments organising himself, even if I offer to help. Anyone else struggling with similar problems. At times all I want to do is shout at him or even kick him out or at least kick him. It's hard to keep an even temper and be constructive. It's testing my sanity. Am I being too much the caring parent anmd making it too easy for him?

OP’s posts: |
saoirse31 Tue 20-Jun-17 08:53:19

Does he need some help trying to make decision on what job he actually wants ? Sounds like he may be v lacking in confidence tbh

Ifailed Tue 20-Jun-17 08:59:35

if he's not working, why isn't he signing on for JSA - they will chase him up on job searching that's for sure!

Crumbs1 Tue 20-Jun-17 09:00:14

Yes too easy for him. Dyslexia and Dyspraxia isn't an excuse for not working - my third has both and managed to qualify as a doctor. Learning difficulties and university might not be a good mix unless they are very specific learning disabilities such as mild autism.
Stop all funding, turn the internet off, put PlayStation away and set house rules re chores when he is at home.

moutonfou Tue 20-Jun-17 09:24:50

It's a difficult one OP. You are basically describing my brother - plays games all day, avoids the world, quits everything except Scouts because he's known everybody there for years and feels comfortable there. In his case, the underlying problem is anxiety - about having to talk to new people, about feeling trapped and losing control (I.e. having to go to a job everyday), about failing. But because he's a boy, I think he not only struggles to express that but a lot of the time actually doesn't even recognise his feelings as anxiety. His instinct is just to shout, say he'll do whatever it is tomorrow, etc. There is also an element of selfishness, in that at that age, particularly for boys, their brains still aren't developed enough to prioritise long-term benefit over short-term gratification. They find it hard to see that if they don't do something now, whilst they have the relative luxury of choice, they are heading for a future of having to take whatever minimum wage work they can get and will lose that choice altogether.

I think you need to work out - and probably already know - whether he has underlying anxieties, or if he's just taking advantage of you.

If the former, I think you need a frank talk with him if you can to find out what's scaring him, is it the thought of failing, of being trapped in a job, of having to talk to people? You need to somehow get across to him that if he does nothing now, his choices will become only more limited. And, if you feel it appropriate, maybe limit his funding so he can get a feel for how life would be with no money/build the desire to get his hands on some. Or, say you will provide whatever support you're in a position to - e.g. if feasible, supporting him financially as long as he sticks to a volunteer position, training course, or part-time job. Ideally you would support him to take small steps to get back into the world and slowly overcome his anxieties, whilst developing the sense of civic responsibility we all have in that we need to work and contribute to society and our loved ones. It can be easier said than done though.

Pr1ncessPeach Thu 29-Jun-17 20:12:31

You are enabling this, if someone were to pay your bills in order for you to sit around doing your hobby all day, wouldn't you?

You need to give him a firm boot up the butt - you cant carry on like this it is not doing you any favours and hes taking the piss

thenightsky Thu 29-Jun-17 20:18:59

Watching this thread with interest as I have a ds the same. Except he sits in his room sketching and learning Japanese script. I tread on eggshells around him due to his previous severe depression and suicidal risk (dropped uni in second year due to this).

wigglybeezer Thu 29-Jun-17 20:37:17

I strongly empathise, my almost 19 year old is about to move back home, he has similar issues to your son but is not academic enough for uni, in fact he bombed his exams at school. He also games too much, mainly on-line for the social contact. He actually got his act together and managed to get into the navy and finish basic training but his old feelings of being trapped and disliking being around people 24/7 reared their ugly head, combined with bad homesickness and missing his on-line friends. He resigned and is home next week. I am gutted, after nearly 3 years of a lifestyle similar to your son's I thought he was sorted but, no, back to square one...
I am going to be much tougher from now on but I am proposing coughing up for some CBT to deal with his social anxiety and negative thinking.
I wish I had had the mental energy and confidence to be tougher sooner, it was such hard work fighting his negativity that I slacked off at times.
A glimmer of hope is that he stuck the basic training out to the bitter end, and boy it was tough, and he had to deal with resigning on his own, I'm hoping he has toughened up a bit.
I am giving him no choice about the job centre, working, helping round the house and restrictions on gaming, he's going to wish he'd stayed in Portsmouth!

wigglybeezer Thu 29-Jun-17 20:39:13

I am also attempting to detach a bit from all my children to re-establish a life of my own with interests outside the house, for my own resilience.

wigglybeezer Thu 29-Jun-17 20:42:24

Maybe we could keep this thread going for support, I would be happy to check in from time to time for progress reports.

SleightOfHand Thu 29-Jun-17 20:59:07

I'm having the same problems with my son, he's supposed to be starting a 3rd year of six form in September, hopefully he sticks at it.

thenightsky Thu 29-Jun-17 21:01:38

Good idea.

terrylene Fri 30-Jun-17 15:58:57

Same boat here. One of mine is thinking about college in Sept........ but he is now of an age where it is up to him.........

I am doing what Wiggly said - going back to looking to find a life outside - which I was doing before when I thought they had all left home sad

queenofthebucket Fri 30-Jun-17 18:50:25

I have a 22 year old at home who graduated last year. He's not in the same situation as plantlady and other poster's sons (note they are all males so far on this thread), but he still drives me nuts a lot of the time even though he is now working and paying rent, I'd still like to join this thread though for support and to help any one I can by listening.

OldSkoolRapFan Fri 30-Jun-17 19:03:00


I ALSO have a son, mid twenties - depression

Is this an epidemic or what. Mine is 25 and currently living independently and working, but we have gone from this end of the spectrum to homeless and jobless and back again so many times - it is like a whirlwind. This current high, id love to say it will last, but previous experience tells me that just because everything is OK right now, does not mean it will be in an hour.

I am also attempting to detach a bit from all my children to re-establish a life of my own with interests outside the house, for my own resilience Tell me how you do this hun, I so need to do this. I spend far too much time worrying about a grown man - it has made me ill myself and brought about general anxiety disorder that I never suffered from before

I would love to stay in touch on this thread with people with similar issues

Lunaballoon Thu 06-Jul-17 07:01:00

Can I join too? Twenty year old DS has just moved back home after graduating from uni. He's already slipped back into his teenage ways - gaming all night, sleeps most of the day.

DH and I both work so we only see him in he evenings. He doesn't even eat with us and on the rare occasions he does, he sits in silence. We try to chat but it feels strained. Me: "What have you been up to today." DS: "Not much." Me: "Have you seen any jobs you might apply for." DS: "Nope."

I don't mind that he just wants to chill for a bit after uni. I don't even mind that he's not contributing financially but it's like having a zombie for a lodger!

terrylene Mon 10-Jul-17 12:27:17

I am also attempting to detach a bit from all my children to re-establish a life of my own with interests outside the house, for my own resilience Tell me how you do this hun, I so need to do this

When I thought mine were going to leave home, I got into dance, but it has waned somewhat. I kept meaning to join a group/class and not getting round to it. I have signed up to a 2 day workshop - I saw it advertised with one place left so went for it. I will know no one, but am excited grin.

I think I have turned a corner. I have 2 dropped out of uni - one with MH problems. I feel more relaxed about them and have long got past the stage where I was worried they might harm themselves. We still have a big hill to climb with employment, but it is better.

thenightsky Mon 10-Jul-17 15:34:27

Me: "What have you been up to today." DS: "Not much." Me: "Have you seen any jobs you might apply for." DS: "Nope

Exactly the same conversation we have on a pretty much daily basis. sad

thenightsky Mon 10-Jul-17 15:39:35

They apparently have a name for it in Japan.

I just read this article and it rings so many bells with my son's situation. Especially the fear of failure (his depression caused him to drop out of uni).

Lunaballoon Mon 10-Jul-17 17:53:00

thenightsky - Hikikomori does seem to describe what our DSs are going through.

My DS also had a bad period in his early secondary school years when he suffered from school related anxiety and depression. He managed to overcome that and did well at uni, but seems to be going through something similar now he's facing the next stage of his life.

Just like when he had school problems, he now claims to be suffering from various mystery ailments but can't or won't get it together to see a doctor. sad

terrylene Tue 11-Jul-17 16:27:23

It is very isolating. I am avoiding people now........ that is one of the reasons for getting out and doing something with a set of people I don't know. With dance, you have to get on and work together without the chit chat.

I do know someone with a DS in the same boat who does seem to be getting his act together, slowly, and not how you would expect.
She says that she has learned to ditch any expectations and any step forward is positive.

Bacere Sun 16-Jul-17 22:54:23

Hi, Found my section sadly like others, I'm or I should say we as a family are going through this while it seems none of our friends/relations are so we are feeling very isolated too. We have tried so hard to encourage, help etc all to no avail, just a deepening of screen staring, online friendships being maintained no help or minuscule amount of help/action. If we ask/ threaten anything it's thrown back at us how we don't understand and now we find ourselves fearing a further downward spiral from any innocent little remark. MH is not good all round because of DS and I worry about his younger sibling with all this negativity. We are daily treading on eggshells from the moment he gets up til his light goes off.

billybullshitterz1 Sun 16-Jul-17 23:09:00

I'm in exactly the same situation with my 20 yr old DS. Left his job seven months ago and only doing cursory job searches. Diagnosed with social anxiety and is currently undergoing CBT. Lives for online gaming and will occasionally venture out. Can drive and has his own car. I'm out at work during the day so he can lounge at his leisure.. I feel like he is living half a life and veer between feeling sorry and utterly frustrated with him

wigglybeezer Sun 16-Jul-17 23:17:37

For those asking how I'm managing to detach...I have been doing creative things, I have an art school training but put it aside for far too long, dipping my toe back in. I'm also going on holiday with my sister next week, sans family and am accepting any social invites offered, even when I'm not sure if I'm up to it, somehow I have always ended up enjoying myself. I have put a bit of weight on, comfort eating and extra wine. My DS is back home now, his idea of putting in effort is not the same as mine and I am spending too much time pushing him, but he has thanked me! Need to sort out his anxiety next, at the moment he doesn't really like to leave the house if he can avoid it.

terrylene Mon 17-Jul-17 10:39:52

My DS did a princes trust course - it did help him get out of a rut (a little). We also sat down with him with a list of voluntary 'jobs' to get him out the house - he does a couple of voluntary things which are things where there was no competition for and they are very accepting. He even had a temporary job for a few months (his sister got him it).( He went out last night with some people from one of his volunteer groups [hurray!!!])

However, he gives up at the first hurdle otherwise sad.

Huge lack of confidence.

He is so much further on than when he was dumped by his uni and his long term girlfriend, but there is so much further to go..........

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