difficult child wants to drop out of college due to depression...what now?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WNC Gal, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. WNC Gal

    WNC Gal New Member

    I am totally supportive of difficult child dropping out of college.. her first year she struggled with major depression in her 2nd semester and failed all of her classes (we found this out much later). She has depression, isn't sleeping much, some eating disorder issues, anxiety about school and a very poor self-image - possibly remnants of a few very rough years in middle school when she was hospitalized and psychological placements for being suicidal. She seemed to have recovered well and is off all medications, but obviously the stresses of college (she lives in a dorm a few hours from home) are just too much.

    She wants to take next semester off - get in with a therapist... keep working her job.. and maybe take a course or two at the community college.

    My concerns:
    1) she doesn't want to move home but stay in her college town working her seasonal job - with no guaranteed hours (job will end in early spring).
    2) she has no plan of where to live and how to pay for it
    3) her father will very likely be VERY upset about this and threaten to cut off ALL support to her (currently paying for her health insurance, cell phone, and all college related expenses through college savings set aside for her).
    4) I am paying for all of her car-related expenses (cost of car, insurance, registration, etc). - but what now?

    This is uncharted territory for me.... if she was living at home and working and/or going to community college it would be easier to support her as a parent and financially help her. But if she wants to live AWAY from home, how best to support her as a parent without writing her a "blank check" to navigate through this uncertain phase?
  2. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I agree that college isn't for her at the moment. She can come home. She can't afford anyplace else to live. She can come home, find a job, pay you some rent....that will teach her some responsibility. Mommy and daddy don't just pay for everything carte blanche past a certain age. She can take classes, I'm sure you'll be very supportive, she can go slowly at her own pace. You'll gladly give a hand up...a hand up and a handout are 2 different things.
  3. I agree. I think that your daughter should come home. She may need these next few months to get things straightened out. Work a job in your town, see her therapist, get back on some medication if necessary. Put things into place like a good sleep schedule, eating habits, exercise that will all help her deal with stress and depression for the rest of her life.

    Staying away from home with only a part time job, no real place to live and plenty of time on her hands will likely only make things worse for her. Additionally, you won't be able to tell what she is doing or how she is feeling and behaving (ie. is she sleeping, showering, eating...)

    And if Dad cuts of support she won't need it until she is ready to go back to school. That might be a better way to approach him.... "Look, D is having some trouble coping with school and depression right now. She is going to move back in with me, work and get some medical help. Can you hold her college fund money until she is ready to go back and maybe just help out with XXX expense instead?" This will hopefully just be a delay in her education but in 5 years will it really matter that she took 1 more semester to get through school? Nope.
  4. WNC Gal

    WNC Gal New Member

    Thanks for the opinions... that is my inclination. The only tricky thing for her is she *does* have a posh part-time job at a resort which she will be very loathe to give up... but perhaps she can apply for a similar job at the resort in my area where she used to work. OR possibly commute up there (2.5 hours) to work a 2-3 day stretch at a time and stay with friends but definitely have a home base at HOME.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think that if I were in your situation I would have a frank discussion about budget and finances with her. Ex will not be happy, I'm sure, but I think that part of that reaction may be because he feels that it is out of his control, or that he wasn't consulted about it.

    She knows herself well enough to know that college isn't working for her right now, and that is actually a baby step towards maturity. I think it's fair to help her take the next step to what the reality of leaving college will be, and perhaps asking her father's advice and support in whatever she chooses. I'd like to hope that she won't burn her bridges with the college, because she may find that she wants to go back.

    We all come to a point from time to time in our lives that we want to change our surroundings, but it needs to be looked at logically. If she does what she wants with school, can she find a way to stay there? If not, is she ready for the consequences of quitting school?

    I know she is depressed, but this situation is one that most every teenager goes through. I think that you have reason to be proud of her for recognizing that she needs help, and that within limits you are comfortable with you should do what you can to see that she gets it.