Free fall freshman year

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by enzo, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. enzo

    enzo Member

    So, we sent difficult child to a college he really wanted to attend that is perfect for him. Beautiful campus, beautiful people, easy academics. He's popular and having fun but overdoing the partying and missing classes and assignments due to being tired, run down, easily swayed by others to blow off class, studying, name it. Classic ADHD, never misses an opportunity to shoot himself in the foot.

    We are up his a@@ (after letting him sink or swim and seeing him sink). School has good support and there is a freshman success coach who is also after him, who difficult child likes and respects.

    We've told difficult child he has til 11/1 when next semester tuition is due. If he hasn't turned it around, he'll move back home and go to community college (which stinks for us because he's a 24/7 pita).

    He gets it, but is a moth drawn to the brightest light. Can't see him committing and being disciplined. Doesn't see consequences are a result of his own actions (never has)...I know he'll look back and regret blowing it. But he's too preoccupied with not missing any fun whatsoever. Almost manic in his frenzy to always be having fun..

    Any advice from been there done that's? Thx!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Sorry you have to be here, but welcome.

    Is he using drugs? Drinking too much? He could be doing ANY drugs and you would not know, actually. That happened to us.

    Often, what we want for our adult kids isn't what they want. In fact, on this forum, that's the norm. Does he follow your rules when he lives at home?

    In the case of our grown children, they all seem to shoot themselves in the foot, but they know they are doing it and often it is because they don't care. And we can't make them care.

    Any problems with the law or violence at home? Does he work?

    Sadly, you can't make him want to be a college graduate. And if he doesn't value it, he will sabotage it.

    Plenty of BTDTs

    At his age, not sure you cand discipline him. You can set boundaries, like "You either straighten up, obey the law, and treat us with respect or not only will you be out of college, you will have to find elsewhere to live" (then leave it up to him) or allow him to control YOU. And that, in my opinion, is not good for anyone, your family, yourself or him. You have given him more help than many of us can afford, and he is still not on track. There is nothing more you can do, therapy-wise, at his age. Now it's all about setting boundaries, sticking to them, tough love, and detaching enough to realize that your dreams may not be his. And that you have control over your reaction to your son, but 0% control over his final decisions. Many of our difficult child's goals are simply not to listen to rules, party/do drugs all day/night and even be homeless so that they don't have any rules to follow. Few finish college. I can't off hand think of any that did. They will go for the fun, like your son, but don't have direction or goals and some stop going and spend any money given to them on things other than school. They walk to a different beat. They don't share our morals and values. Some don't care about societal norms. Some expect us to support them forever and get furious when we finally get fed up and cut off the money. I think that's an important step for us...but that comes with time. He may not go to Community College because living at home is no fun.

    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart! Others will come along.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2014
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I'm sorry for how frustrating and disappointing this is for you. You are smart to anticipate that he will continue to do as he has done in the past.

    From the been there done that advice should think about what you will do if you pull the plug, he comes home, and then he also fails out of community college or refuses to go. Then you have a young adult who is not working and not going to school living at home. So you may want to make a plan with daughter and share the pertinent parts of it with difficult child, so you aren't in the position of having a depressed 19 year old living in his room a year from now.

    Sorry for that grim thought...

    been there done that (aka Echo)
  4. enzo

    enzo Member

  5. enzo

    enzo Member

    Here's an update: we sent him back for Spring term because it was easier than figuring out where else to put him. Figured he'll either learn to step up, or learn a lesson. So far this semester, while he's still in academic trouble, he's slightly learning the lesson, and slightly stepping up. Probably too little too late, but progress that at least he cares, and even if he's still not doing enough to turn it around, he's doing something (for once). This is a big improvement. He's accepting reality and trying to be effective.

    We have concluded that we can't expect to be happy with grades, but can be happy with forward (albeit expensive) motion on maturity...

    How does this sound to andy been there done that's?
  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    I think progress....any a good sign.

    Difficult children are sometimes just difficult and slow to launch. I see all of our kids on a continuum...starting with doing great all the way to in the toilet.

    My son has been in the toilet. That doesn't mean yours will.

    My son went to college right after high school and promptly completely flunked out. He had, if I remember correctly (who would have thought I would EVER forget) something like 3 Fs, 1 D and 1 C. Deplorable grades. I marched him right up to the university office to the Dean (assistant Dean met with us, I think) and we had a "good talk" that was going to "straighten him out." So I thought.

    Anyway, he stayed one more semester before that was over at the four-year university and then we paid for the community college for several semesters while he continued to fool around, drop classes, withdraw from classes (without our knowledge), not go to class, pay people to do his work...on and on. The drug use was escalating, I'm sure, but we were clueless. I thought he was just immature, lazy and dumber than dirt about his own life. It seemed that he did the very opposite of what made sense in every single situation.

    Little did I know. In time of course all of that got even worse, in our case. There was, quite frankly, no progress at all, just more and more downturns. I was a very very slow learner and didn't get "it" for a long long long time.

    I just thought....

    So I kept patching him up, shoving him forward, dragging him here and there to all kinds of therapists, doctors, etc., to try to figure out "what in the world is wrong with him?"

    All the time he was using more and more drugs and alcohol and the pit just got deeper and deeper...

    Your son may very well not be in that same situation, and I would tell you that some progress is a very good sign. See what happens. Continue to set boundaries and let him deal with the consequences of those boundaries. He needs to be busy and have some responsibilities, whatever you decide those are.

    I hope and pray he turns himself around and keeps on moving in a good direction. Keep us posted. We are here for you.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You made choices and it sounds as if he has too, even if the progress is small, it is still progress.

    For me, the best course of action has been to celebrate the good days and learn how to detach from the rest. Today, this moment, is all that matters and right now, he is holding steady, he is trying. For some of our kids, that is a really big thing, he seems to have stopped the downward spiral. Acknowledge his progress to him too, everyone appreciates being acknowledged for what they do.

    Right now, today, it's ok. That's all we have is today, so enjoy the progress.........enjoy the day..........
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I think it is best to keep ourselves focused on the highest goal until that dream is shown to be impossible. Education matters. Especially since he is marginally more serious, I would say that he is still in school and doing slightly better is a win.

    Who knows what tomorrow may bring, but when it comes, he will have a successful semester under his belt.

    And that is how we get them there, right?

    One semester at a time, one day at a time, one treatment at a time, whatever it takes to get them through it. If he isn't going to work the program, you will probably try something else, maybe more than once. But there will come a time when you will be done pushing him to latch on to his own best future.

    I found Echo's advice from last September well worth considering.

    He is better off where he is.

    Shoot for the stars.

    If he makes it, oh that will be sterling. If he doesn't, you will know you have done every single thing you knew to help him.

    If the kids continue along that wrong path, knowing we have done all we knew to help them is something we need to know.

  9. enzo

    enzo Member

    Here's an update: he did two summer sessions to get back on track to academic eligibility but lived with his idiot friends fall term sophomore year. it was like they made a group academic and disciplinary suicide pact, and he will only pass 1 of 3 courses he was taking this term. We laid it out during midterm break: turn it around or your done, we're not going to send you to college for 8 years. He gave us the finger, along with his teachers and everyone else at the school. So now, he's amazed that he's not going back in the spring. He didn't think we'd really do it (just like we wouldnt really send him to Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) and boarding school, which we did a few years back). He had every opportunity: tutors, advisors, time...he did nothing except binge watch tv and party with his friends.

    Good news is that drug use is minimal besides near daily pot use. could be worse and he's not dealing. Just stinks that we have to find Plan B when Plan A was better....anyone have experience with inter college gap years, or semester at Community College? Always a risk that he won't complete college and he;s going to lose a girl friend that he made...but don't see how we can send him back in good conscience when he hasn't shown any serious effort at all...thoughts? many thx
  10. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I haven't had a child in college yet... And I don't know what your financial situation is. I can only say what I think I would do... Which is to have Difficult Child get a job and pay for the classes he wants to take. If he moves home... He has to have a job. Otherwise, he has to have a job to afford his own place.

    But, that is just me... I tell my girls (age 15 and 17) that they can't stay here after high school, unless they are working and saving for, or attending college. But, it might be different once they get to that age.

    Good luck... KSM
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    enzo, our daughter lasted one semester at college. Six weeks after we moved her in she was arrested for pot and alcohol use on campus. She went through all the legal and disciplinary steps required but was still suspended after the semester. Little did we know she never attended any classes and failed them all. We then enrolled her in community college, same thing. I dropped her off (she lost her car privileges) and she left with some guys and smoked pot all day. That was the end of the college experiment. We lost enough money on tuition, board, books, etc.

    She never did go back to college. She struggled with minimum wage jobs for several years. She has finally worked herself into a good job with benefits, not highly paid but adequate, but the opportunity she lost is sad.

    For my daughter, daily pot smoking was a huge downfall, lost many jobs and got into legal trouble. I thank God every day that stopped.
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    The same here. Unfortunately it hasn't stopped.

    I have come to believe that pot is much more insidious then when I "dabbled" in the 70's. It is spiked with stuff, and much more addictive.