Where there any signs or you where blindsided?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by A dad, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    So in hindsight did you ever saw signs of your son to fail to launch based on how he was in childhood? I in hindsight I did as he never did anything of his own will only by being pushed by others to do them so it should have not surprised me that when he was on his own in college he will do nothing. Not that things became too bad as he is now living on his own and managing his own life be it simple as it is but it took some wasted time and money.
    Did you expected?
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  2. Endeaver

    Endeaver New Member

    I was blindsided. He talked so much about about going to a 'big name' college, ( not just a state school) that I still get a jolt when I think about how he just dropped out. He was so successful throughout grade school and high school. I never expected his dropping out
  3. Endeaver

    Endeaver New Member

    Although my original post ( and search mechanism that got me on this site) was the accumulation and extent of lying that he had done throughout the last few years.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Actually, no. But maybe I was in denial. My son always had issues in school related to ADHD: impulsivity, difficulty coping, distracted. He was never a bad kid but he needed more attention than the average kid and was frequently harder to handle--not a bad or disrespect or unruly kid, but a hand full at school. And at home, not a problem.
    I was shocked when first, my son as to be expected became oppositional at age 15 or so, and even more shocked became depressed and unmotivated at 17 or 18.

    I pushed him to go to college. I pushed him to go to job training. I pushed him to another job training and all along I could not believe he and I were having such a hard time.

    And even more shocked when he insisted he was mentally ill. Nothing played out as I expected. And I think that was a large part of the problem. I had unrealistic expectations.

    My son is adopted and he had hard, hard things to come to terms with: the fate of his birth parents, realizing he had a chronic disease that he had acquired at birth, that neither he nor I knew about. And there was also the fact that I denied the possibility that he would inherit any tendency towards mental illness from his parents, both of which had diagnosed mental illnesses.

    I always made the assumption that the mental illness diagnoses were a result of drug use, not the other way around. I made this assumption because it suited me.

    So, that I did not see it coming really had more to do with me. There were signs if I had looked for them. Or even, if I had been open to seeing them. I got him treatment all the way along. A lot of it. But I believed that every single thing I could remedy. There is no remedy for life.
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  5. karisma

    karisma Member

    I was blindsided by how far gone he became mentally. He is very intelligent and I just never thought he could lose his mind like he has. But I knew he was bipolar since age 3. I was in denial because the real decline didn't happen until age 24. He had improved at 16 and was doing well for a while, not great, but good enough to really let hope take hold in me.
  6. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Fascinating question. My son was never an easy child and required a lot of patience and attention since he was preschool aged. Shyness and anger were daily struggles. Yet, my husband and I were able to keep him in engaged in school, sports, activities. He was slow to warm to situations but once involved he took off and was very "successful". He made friends everywhere he went and was an intense yet seemingly normal child. He ALWAYS had problems with doing homework and our most stressful times were over making him do school work. Yet when he hit puberty, he slowly fell apart. First sign was grades began to slip, he got into a fight at school, addicted to video games. He was grounded many times over inappropriate texting on his cell phone. Then he began to be very hot headed on his sports team (very talented athlete who could have gotten a college scholarship)and then quit all sports. He began to smoke weed and experiment with other drugs. He lost close friends over this type of behavior. He had intense relationships with girls. His anxiety which we thought was shyness ramped up and he began to isolate . He was in all advanced classes. Now we wonder if he will graduate. I pray that somewhere inside him, all these successes and years of hard work are not lost.
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Endeaver - how is your son doing now?
  8. dakini

    dakini New Member

    Blindsided... My daughter did take her time growing up. Late getting her drivers license, had a failed attempt at a tech school, still living at home in her late 20's. She didn't have a lot of friends, and didn't go out and party. She went back to school, got her Associates degree and was 2 months away from graduating with her Bachelors when she just, I don't know, changed for lack of a better word. Found out she had been dismissed from her internship, basically kicked out of her college program earlier this year. Within a month of finding this out, she was living on the streets with her homeless, boyfriend she met through her internship. She has been arrested for shoplifting since then, and seen multiple times standing out on the street with her "homeless" sign.

    And I am still unable to wrap my head around what happened.
  9. Endeaver

    Endeaver New Member

    I am not really sure. He says he is working. He has lied about his employment in the past but now we are not giving him$$. He sounds OK when we talk but he only contacts us every 2-4 weeks after we've texted several times.

    I'm going to be out his way in August and hope to see him then.

    He should be going into his 4th year of college. He tells us he is looking into going back to school (used to be his priority) but I think he tells us lies to avoid whatever his reality is.

    The apartment lease we signed for (when we believed he was in school) is done next April. Then his situation, whatever that is, may get more real.
    Our friends who all have successfully launching children don't understand why we don't crack down on him.

    Thanks for asking.
  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    What do your friends expect you to do??
    All ours have successful children to and that is why I am HERE!
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Hindsight being 20/20...sure there were signs. But we didn't see them then and thus we were blindsided.

    My son was always difficult. As a baby he was difficult. His babysitter said she had never seen a baby that was as hard-headed and stubborn. If he wanted something, then he WOULD get it. Period. He was prone to tantrums. He was expelled from a daycare! A child psychiatrist told me he'd never be an "easy kid", but he didn't need medication. He was always so DRAMATIC. We took to saying he was like an adolescent girl when he was about 9. He was a good, but lazy student. By the same token, he was jealous of people who did better. In high school he'd ace tests, but refuse to do homework, have an F at mid-term and bring it up to a C or B by terms end. He listened to screamo / death metal, wore all black, denied being "goth" or "emo" and just kind of set his own style. He and his friends looked like an 80's metal band. lol...we let him express himself, drawing the line at hair dye, makeup, piercing or tattoos. Still, of his friend's parents we were the "tough" ones. I'd have a kid crash at the house and when I'd make him call his parents before I'd say yes, they'd be shocked. Their parents didn't care if they called or stayed out. Turns out he was hanging with the stoners because "they were the only ones nice" to him. We didn't know. He never seemed altered. We'd smell pot on his friends at times, but not on him. Eventually, his non-stoner friends from grade school drifted away from him. He hung out with losers, so he was one by association. He refused to get a job. He consistently missed curfew...but by like, 10 minutes, not by an hour. Still moody. Still prone to tantrums...screaming, putting his fist thru a door, etc. But usually not directed AT us. He didn't swear AT us. He didn't blame US for anything. WE were not what he was mad at. I thought he'd eventually learn self-control.

    Until the day he called us after church (he declared himself an atheist at 16) and asked for food. When we got it there, he was staggering stoned on artificial weed. :( Once he sobered up, he packed a backpack and left home. That was the first time I realized how bad it was.

    Then it got worse.
  12. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Yes, the signs were there, but we never thought he would turn out like he did. Learning disability, ADHD, sometimes bad behavior but he wasn't horrible. Depression starting age 16 which went on and on and on, with some periods of remission.

    But the one thing we were blindsided by was the substance abuse. I know this is very atypical, but he did not drink or use drugs in high school. No evidence of this. Really. He spent his time with us or in the basement (on the computer, of course). He would c o me home from college and make fun of the drunken behavior he witnessed. At one point he did mention that his friends were trying to get him to drink. The bad stuff didn't start until after age 21.
  13. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member


    Ours, on the other hand, was a model baby. Slept through the night at six weeks. Cute, happy, didn't cry much. All the milestones on target except for toilet training. That wasn't done until 3 and a half.
  14. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    If they were in your shoes, they would understand.

    It's easy to be judgemental when your kids are easy to raise.
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  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    When I say "difficult" I just mean personality. He also slept thru the night at about 6 weeks...he was born 4/5 and slept 6 hours on Mother's Day. :) All milestones on target. Could read easy stuff by 4. He didn't color outside the lines after age 2. Stopped coloring in favor of drawing things himself by 4. Was VERY bright, even advanced, but poor social skills. He was always a solemn little guy. Not smiley at all, but not fussy really. Just stubborn!

    When he was a toddler, if he'd try to get something and you'd tell him no, he'd reach anyway. You move his hand away, he'd go right back to reaching. You'd slap his fingers, he'd ignore you. Slap hard enough to hurt and he'd cry and reach with the other hand!!! He would NOT go to sleep without being rocked. I tried the "wait 2 minutes and then go in" and then "wait 3 minutes and then go in"...but instead of stopping crying, he'd get so worked up and scream so much he'd make himself throw up! Then I had a screaming child and a mess to clean up. Yeah...that happened twice and then he was rocked to sleep until he was 2 and I moved him to a twin bed and would lay with him until he slept. He would NOT let something drop. His tantrums were usually about something small. His first ever was because he wanted to cut his own fingernails and I wouldn't give him the clippers - he was barely 2. His worst was because he wanted to go say bye to a friend...but screamed it at me instead of asking if he could, so I said no. Nothing was ever his fault. If he lost a game, someone cheated. If he lost a video game, the game cheated. At about age 3 he was in a pre-school program, and he had a complete meltdown because he was doing a maze, went over a line, and the teacher told him to just ignore it and finish, instead of giving him a clean paper to start over. A perfectionist like you wouldn't believe. Tantrums weren't the type you'd ignore and they'd stop...they'd go for an hour and if you walked away he'd grab you, but if you tried to touch him he'd fight you. Exhausting.

    But you know, I had never been around young children. I thought that was on the extreme side of normal.
  16. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Pretty sure it is.
  17. culturanta

    culturanta Member

    From what I know of my stepson's history he was always "different", and difficult. He was tossed out of preschool at the age of 3 for not following directions. He lacks the confidence to put any effort into anything he does. He's highly intelligent, so up until the middle grades that was enough to carry him through with high grades. He started to falter as he approached high school and thus far, HS has been a disaster. Never does his homework, sky high test scores.

    It's been his way or the highway, his whole life, and the lack of structure in his home has only made it worse.
  18. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    My son's substance abuse hit us like a train. I used to be a smoker (not heavy after kids; more social) and at about age 10 he would cry to me about it and I'd sneak around. I finally stopped because he would just get so upset. I am glad I did though.

    He was a very determined toddler and I could see him dig his heels in when he didn't get his way. He was a model student and involved in sports and very bright. We did everything together as a family and when his two half brothers were older and doing their own thing, then it was us three and we'd have a great time.

    He started to show very mild signs of things I wasn't liking in 8th grade. I had NO IDEA it was heading in this direction however and I don't know what I could have done to stop it anyway.

    When I think of all that I feel like I'm living someone else's life now.
  19. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    There has never been a time since my child was three that I didn't struggle with him fitting in somewhere. At first it was daycare where he couldn't sit in circle and would go hide in the shelves and say his bones hurt. Then it was church where he couldn't sit through the service or memorize the lessons. Next it was all the grueling years of school where he would create negative attention when he couldn't do the work - such as throwing desks, etc. He would have meltdowns in the mall when he couldn't have the knife or handcuffs he wanted (at age 4). He would get in the middle of the road and scream when we found a lost dogs owner that we had to return. He couldn't sit through Broadway plays. I thought it couldn't get worse than school, but substance abuse and jails came. Worse than this was him being beaten by drug dealers and left to die several times. It wasn't all a struggle -- there have been the sweetest, poignant times of him being semi-normal and able to function. I still cling to these illusory times of normalcy like they may appear again, but somehow deep down I don't hold my breath.

    At this point I have ceased to judge his life, where he is, or his fate. Beyond knowing my limits of what I can and can't do, my effort is better spent on advocating for him and holding loving thoughts and intention for him and me and all of those given the task of attending to him (i.e. jailers, judges, etc). I interact with a lot of people who either are in his boat or are the parents as I work in healthcare and I frankly think we are facing something societally that we aren't ready for. I also think these instances of mood instability and lack of maturing and inability to live according to society's standards is increasing. I cringe at the last statement because the open-spiritual part of me knows that we are all just humans on a journey and who am I to say the person living on the bench in the park isn't okay exactly as they are? How do I know? One thing for certain, raising this child has forced me to be a more loving, kind person to anyone who struggles with brain and developmental issues. For that I'm grateful. I'm almost ready to move out of my "pitiful" story with my son and break free :)
  20. Childofmine

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

    It is so interesting to read this thread. We had another thread like this one time, same topic.

    There are so many similarities here between descriptions of our DCs.

    My Difficult Child was my second child, big baby (8 lbs. 11 oz). Had colic and formula intolerance that in total, lasted 9 months. My older son was 3.5 when Difficult Child was born. I quit my full time job at the same time Difficult Child was born to spend more time at home and started a home-based business. As stated, the first nine months were hard. He was a momma's boy and was shy. He had trouble going into new situations, preschool classes, kindergarten, etc. He was really funny or shy. Very stubborn. When we would go to buy a toy or something with grandparents, he would stand there forever because he couldn't decide. I mean forever. Finally you would get so frustrated and there would be a scene. He was really good in school, made straight A's, no acting out or behavior problems until 7th grade. He quit the band (played trumpet), but joined the soccer team and played soccer 7th - 12th grades. I think that was a saving grace. He was in the gifted class but "didn't want to be smart." He wouldn't do the work, would just sit there and stubbornly not do it. If he did it, he wouldn't turn it in. I would be called by the teachers/school and would have to go up there and sit down and try to figure out what to do "with him." One time in middle school he was paddled because he was "caught holding" a girl's gameboy-type thing. Of course he didn't do anything, was just holding it.

    He graduated from h.s. on time, but with mediocre grades. His h.s. was mediocre anyway, was focused on sports, and he played soccer so that worked out. After h.s. he started dating a girl he had been friends with in h.s. They had a big romance, and she ended up enabling the heck out of him. They were together for several years. Finally, she dropped him (don't blame her a bit). I'm still in touch with her on social media. She is a nice girl and got her degree, etc., and is working in the area. In our state, we have lottery scholarships for college that everybody gets, it's "yours to lose." He lost his royally immediately. He lived at home the first semester and flunked all of his classes except one. That was a turning point. He then moved out to live with his brother, which didn't work out at all. Difficult Child was an awful roommate. Who knows what was really going on? I believed all of his lies, stories, excuses. I thought he was a late bloomer, lazy, immature, unlucky. I bought it all. So in time he had me convinced that the cigarette smoke I was smelling were his friends because you know Mom how against smoking I am (he had been quite vocal about it being a nasty habit). This, after the seats in his car were burned, ashes everywhere, he smelled like it all the time. Still I believed. then I smelled pot in my house and again he convinced me (I didn't buy it but I dropped it this time) that I was smelling things. I was the crazy one. Then he stole money out of my checking account by taking my debit card and just taking the money. When we went to visit family he stole their prescription drugs and got rip-roaring drunk. The first time he got arrested, he rear ended a car and when stopped, they saw pills in his car that weren't his. That was the visible beginning of the drop off. I know there is a lot I'm leaving out and I lot I will never know and don't want to know. Lots of lies. Lots of bewildering stuff (to me). Lots of alcohol, pills, pot and who knows what else.

    I think it was hard to be him. I think growing up he didn't feel comfortable in his skin. He had friends, was invited places, but wasn't a leader unless he was class clowning. Almost like a persona he put on. He has a great smile, is wiry and strong, athletic, reddish hair, tall. He is sweet and loving. He loves animals.

    Is there some sort of personality type/key attributes/profile that fits our DCs? I think there seems to be some traits that tie all of them together. It's interesting to say the least.

    I remember once that a couple--friends of ours---kept both of our sons while we went out of town. When we got back, the guy said: He's the one you need to worry about, not the other one. Just saying. I kind of laughed, I thought he was kidding, but looking back, clearly he saw something I couldn't see.
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