Adult son - unemployed, no friends, no prospects(39 Posts)
My adult son (26) is living at home with us and I'm always worried about him. He dropped out of uni as he had a nervous breakdown but didn't want to go back. He's clearly intelligent but has nothing to show for it.
He spends almost his whole time shut away in his room, reading, and he occasionally goes for a walk. He's had a couple of jobs in the past few years but hasn't particularly enjoyed them - he's not a sociable person and finds that aspect very difficult! He doesn't seem keen on any of he local volunteering places.
In addition, he got into a bit of trouble with the police a few years back - and left a mark on his DBS to do with children.
I'm at a loss as to how to help him. His family loves him, but he has no friends. He's also no longer that young - most people his age have some kind of career by now, even if they don't intend to stick with it permanently.
Does anybody know what I can do? I would really appreciate some help!!
No he's not. We're happy to support him financially (ie. food) as he has a huge university debt and there's no way hell be able to move out anytime soon.
sorry to sound harsh but are you still paying his monthly phone contract? Refusing to pay this may be the one impetus he needs to get a job. The rest of us in the adult world don't get the option of not liking jobs. In fact a lot of us have to do jobs that do our head in but stuff still needs paying for. Sounds like you might need to cut a few apron strings and stop enabling an adult man to be sat in his bedroom all day.
Any kind of 'mark' on his dbs will be a no no for volunteering.
Has he got Aspergers? It can stop people achieving anywhere near their potential and it sounds like he's struggling socially and is rather isolated. You said he's intelligent and Aspergers sufferers often are.
“Huge university debt so no way he’d be able to move out”
You don’t start paying back your student loan until you earn over £25k a year, it doesn’t effect your life otherwise. Does he have other debt?
Just enquiring in case he’s tried to pull the wool over your eyes re the effect of student debt.
What sort of a mark on his DBS "to do with children?". Actually I don't know what a DBS is either.
No, he pays his phone contract! Besides, he doesn't call/message anyone.
I don't think he has aspergers, but he wouldn't get a proper diagnoses anyway. It leaves the same problem though. I'm afraid he's lonely. He's never had a relationship of any sort and he's just not seeing the point of life (he had a couple of suicide attempts a few years back)
He's lucky to have a caring mum like you. Please don't think (and don;t tell him either) that most people have a career by now. It's not necessarily true. People spend their twenties making mistakes - being with the wrong person or in the wrong job or with no proper job. It's a time of flux.
But for him to figure out what he wants in life, he needs to become involved with the world again.
I'd start by coaxing him to talk and really listening to him.
Drag him out on a walk with you or ask him to help you tidy the garage/dig the garden or any other longish job you've actually dreamed up just so the two of you can be together, with the focus of an activity. Chat generally at first, don't seem to be prying or sorting him out.
Once he's opened up a bit, you could say that you think he deserves a more interesting and fulfilling life than he currently has. (That's a way of saying things need to change without any judgement in it.)
When I was in my twenties and a real mess, a lovely man I knew a bit got me to draw a square on a piece of paper, then divide it into nine and put an aspect of life that is important for happiness into each box e.g. health, family, money, friends, romance, etc. The only rule is, one of the boxes must be about serving the community/charity work. The other eight are whatever matters to him (music, fashion, travel.)
Then you do something every day - however small towards improving each of those areas of your life. It can be a tiny tiny thing, buit you do one each day for each box. So for health, he could just walk the dog to get fresh air, or drink a litre of water. For charity he could take some clutter to the charity shop for you or pick up some shopping for someone nearby who is housebound. Every day, you write down what you did. Every week you review it and get a bit bolder next week.
He'll see from this that the most amazing changes in life can occur from the tiniest actions. DS2 was a real introvert, stuck at home all the time. But I got him to really stick at a hobby he loved until he got good at it. Then he started chatting online with people interested in the same hobby. Then they met up in a public place. Now they go to gigs together, for BBQs - they have a good life, all from online chat about a shared interest.
It's possible he's depressed, but I'd try a bit of a life overhaul first before getting him dependant on ADs as they have so many side effects. It would be worth getting some counselling though. He may have got past the initial breakdown but a short course of online counselling or a CBT moodgym might really help him.
Dbs is a criminal record check. My son got a police caution regarding safeguarding children - so it rules out many prospects.
Sorry - that;s an essay. Thought I'd just put down a few ideas. Didn't mean to ramble on.
No, thank you. My son is on ADs but he is like a clam! He tried counselling for a year but he found it hard to open up I think. He keeps his cards very close to his chest.
When I suggest volunteering opportunities (he has had a look) he just says What's the point?
I think he's just so sad
I feel for him. I have MH issues. I foudn online counselling so much easier to do than face to face. The most useful counselling ever. I coudl never stand it before, But you just type questions and answers to each other. It fel very safe and no exposing. Would he consider it.
The 'What's the point?' look on his face deserves answering. The point is:
1. it gets you out the house
2. you are helping others and even though that may not matter to you, it matters to them
3. if a job does come up that you want to go for, your CV looks better with some recent experience on it than an unexplained gap
4. most of the best things in life happen by chance and chances occur when you are out in the world, doing stuff
5. your depressed brain is nudged out of its rut whenever you do something new
6. you can feel good about yourself for helping others and you deserve to have something to feel good and proud about.
Some ADs can really physiclaly demotivate you. It's like wading through treacle. Almost as hard as motivating yourself when you're depressed. Might it help to slowly start to wean himself off them and gradually introduce lots of sunlight and exercise which so many studies show are of equal benefit but without the side effects.
My son is a year younger and similar, he dropped out of college, no friends or social life at all, (he used to have friends but lost touch with all of them) intelligent but lacks motivation, etc but he got a job a year ago and it has done him so much good. It's just data entry but he likes the anonymity of it, he goes in and gets his work done and no one bothers him. He has even started going out occasionally, a miracle! Help him to look for a job that will suit him, or possibly there might be a course that he could do? Anyway hang in there, keep supporting him, keep loving him, some day he will have the life he deserves.
What happened with his trouble with the police, if you don’t mind sharing?
Did his problems start after this? What was he like at school? Realistically volunteering Is going to be difficult - most require a CRB check, and if his conviction is related to sexual abuse of children many opportunities for working with people won’t be appropriate.
Is there anything he likes? What does he like reading? Could he try and get a job in a book shop?
Also if he was diagnosed with ASD that might help him get access to benefits, PIP etc that could help him live independently
What do you mean to do with safeguarding children ? What was he cautioned for?
Would the princes trust be an option for him? They go up to the age of 30.
Is there any adult sport like a running club or 5 a side he can get into a routine of going to, does he have any routine or responsibilities at home?
Any sort of Temp work, deliveroo? The aim is not well paid work, just the experience and routine.
Has he any anger issues? Substance use? Depression?
Will all volunteering require a DBS that prevents him from working due to a safeguarding caution? Surely that woudl only be an issue if he was trying to volunteer with children?
A caution is for a minor offence. It can be given to a 15 year old for sending another 15 yr old a dickpic, even by mutual consent. That's a sexual offense against children by law. But in reality, the sender doesn't necessarily pose any threat to any child. The act for which he is cautioned will be taken into account by prospective employers and by any voluntary services which are not involved with children.
If it was just a teenage mistake, he may need some help facing up to it and learning how to admit it but also put it in correct context - a mistake, and everyone makes those. If it was a small issue such as described above which didn't involve coercion or manipulation or anyone considerably younger than him, then he needs to forgive himself and move on. A caution suggests it was.
The princes trust also take children , if he is a safeguarding risk he won't be allowed on.
Op has said he got in a "bit of trouble" but hasny said what that trouble is.
Does he like animals? Caring for a pet can instil a really important sense of worth and responsibility into some people and they can bring so much joy. It also means you have to research how to look after it, what it needs etc and for most animals there will be forums etc online you can join. It gives me such a sense of purpose and can be a source of silent and undemanding companionship and company. For most pets as well it means having to leave your room/get out of the house. Just having something which 'needs me' has been so important.
I second queries regarding ASD, and if this was the case he would be able to access support - financial and otherwise.
if this was the case he would be able to access support - financial and otherwise.
Not necessarily. I have Asperger's (diagnosed in 2011) and have never received any kind of support as there isn't much out there if you are able to live independently.
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