difficult children and school

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by AHF, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. AHF

    AHF Member

    I am wondering what other people do with difficult child's strategizing about the benefits of college. As I wrote in my past post, Peter Pan (I've decided they need names) is about to finish the quarter at a school where he's been enrolled in 2 classes only as part of his being in a step-down program where taking classes was part of the recovery plan. He was booted out of the step-down, and at my urging (a mistake, no doubt), they made an arrangement with the college whereby he could stay in the dorms to finish the quarter, and I agreed to pay on the condition that he remain in treatment--seeing a therapist at least 2x/week, medications monitored by psychiatrist, etc. He blew that off and has been seeing a counselor at the health center 1x/week who says that he is out of it and hardly functioning. I had not heard from Peter Pan in almost a month when he called me yesterday at work to say he was on his way in to the housing office to discuss staying at the school next quarter, and he needed me to tell the housing person that I would pay for it. I pointed out all the obvious problems with his approach and reiterated that my offer was to pay for treatment, not school; I don't think he's ready to be a successful student. I was in conference and couldn't continue this conversation, but got voicemail later that he's going back to the housing office today and plans to call me beforehand. I have no doubt that he will use the sacrosanct "benefits of education" as his argument (disclosure: I am a teacher). My plan is to remind him that he is 21; that I am not keeping him from getting an education; that if he really wants to take classes, he can get a job and apply for student loans and take care of his debts and take classes. He doesn't want this, of course. He wants a roof over his head and 3 meals a day while he plays online poker. But he will lay a serious guilt trip on me. He will remind me how I said I believed in education and I was in his corner when it came to working on a degree, and now I'm going back on my word etc etc etc. All of this--ALL of it--is in bad faith, but he's pretty good at self-deception as well. When I tell him no, no, a thousand times no, he will be homeless in a week. How have other people dealt with this?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I can't answer how to deal with it, but I can say one thing I've learned:

    difficult children will always blame you for their failure to follow through.

    difficult child: "But you promised!"

    Parent: "I promised IF YOU DID YOUR PART and you HAVE NOT."

    difficult child: "You broke your promise."

    Even it it's in writing, they don't get it.
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that is the right strategy. He will argue, he will try to throw guilt, but the bottom line is that it's up to him now, not you. You've done your part. Step is right, he probably still won't get it, but just hold your ground and know you are right.

    Unfortunately, neither of my difficult children went the college route. Youngest dropped out of high school a month after she turned 18, 4 months shy of graduation (she regrets that BIG time now). Oldest was definitely smart enough to go to college, but lacked motivation.. she was the type who'd get A's on tests, but refuse to do homework or projects/papers, so she'd just barely squeak by in school. I was extremely concerned about busting my butt to help pay for college if she would do the same thing in her college classes. I told her that if she did the legwork to complete and send applications, and paid half the application fees, I'd support her, but she never bothered trying. She regrets that as well, I know. I've told her many times the same thing you're going to tell your son.. she CAN do it now, many people work and go to school.. but so far she's not motivated enough to take that step. Nor is she always healthy enough, really.
  4. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I left it in Kat's hands because I knew disaster was sure to follow and wanted her to be responsible. My parents offered to pay and I told them this was a bad idea. So she took out loans. She finished 1 semester. The other 2 she has blown off. The fed program will not loan her any more money and she will have to start paying it back soon. I'm glad I stayed completely out of it as she can't put any of the blame on me or have any kind of leverage to try and get me to bail her out. I figure when/if she's ever serious about it she will figure out a way. God knows she figures out ways to get whatever else she wants.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This was the only thing that was super easy for me. I've always had a huge issue with why parents feel the need to pay for their adult child's college education to begin with be they pcs or difficult children. So I knew from when my kids were tiny I'd never even consider paying for their college. If they wanted college it would be up to them to find the ways to pay it and get it done. I have problems shelling out enough money for a new car each year on a child's education that I have no control over whether they even go to class or not. Know what I mean??

    My kids knew that while I taught them college is important, they would be responsible for the bill. When they got old enough to start searching........they had to do that whole process themselves, filling out forms, hunting scholarships and grants ect.

    Even Travis managed to do it, it just took him longer.

    This way they are responsible for their own education, the bills for that education. As it should be since they're considered adults by everyone except the college financial dept. ugh

    Step is right, I'm afraid. difficult child's will always blame you or someone else for their own failures to follow through.

    Working for his education would be a good thing for your difficult child. Keep him busy when he doesn't have school work to keep him busy. Plenty of loans, grants, and scholarships to help fill in the gaps.

  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, when Katie arrived here she had announced she wanted to go back to college. I took her to the local community college........the one she "pretended" to go to classes over a decade ago. She learned in 10 mins that you can't sign up for classes...go to 1 class, never drop out of the courses........collect the left over grant money (quite a darn lot of left over grant money by the way) and never pay your bill. Cuz when you just walk out on a class like that the grants won't pay. She owes them money. Katie looked at me as if asking if I would cover it. I told her if she worked hard for about 6 months as saved every spare dime, she'd probably have it paid off by spring quarter.

    The expression on her face was priceless.

    Not a big deal. She was only hoping to "pretend" to go to class again and live off the grant money as long as they'd let her like she did before. ugh
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    When I went to college, I was lucky in that my Nana was financially able to help me out with books, but I worked throughout. Going back for my credential, as a single parent, was a different story, and I have a carload of loans to prove it.

    Miss KT's grandfather left her an educational trust, so her schooling costs are pretty much covered. Hubby just went back to work, after being laid off 14 months ago, so we aren't in a position to help a whole lot. My take on this is that if the adult child is doing what you want them to do (going to school, getting decent grades, and working part-time), then you help where you can. If they are not making the proper choices, don't help.
  8. AHF

    AHF Member

    Thanks to everyone. Had the first assault this afternoon. Told him that if he really wants to do this quarter at school, he can and should pay for it, not an impossible thing. He asked if I wasn't supporting him; I said I wasn't supporting this plan. Before the words were out of my mouth, he had hung up on me. So it goes.
  9. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I felt I had to give difficult child the opportunity to go to college. Her dad, Mr. Ostrich, refuses to see that she is a difficult child. She chose a college (a lovely private college 7 hours away...she visited with her dad without telling me and applied without telling me) that is the alma mater of many of his sibs and the entire family rallied around her. Had I stood in her way (I control most of the funding, a legacy from my parents), the enabling from the aunts and uncles -not to mention Mr. Ostrich - would have reached epic levels. I chose to give her the chance. She lasted 3/4 of a year.

    I told her that, when she walked away from college the free ride was over. If she wishes to return, she can take out loans. If she gets A's (she is more than capable of this), at the end of the year, I will pay off the loans.

    She also has a small amount (thank GOD I knew not to invest too much in this) in a 529. Mr. O has control of this. She now wants to become a certified wedding planner! Just shoot me now! I don't think the 529 will fund a certification program, but she claims to be starting classes on March 17. Before this, she'd planned to go to cosmetology school, but backed out of that.

    Next, she's going to be channelling Jethro: "I'm going to be a brain surgeon or a movie star!".