So little ambition

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nancy, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We've been telling difficult child to apply for on campus jobs now for a month. I even took her down to the college to fill out all the paperwork necessary to be able to search for jobs. I found the website for her that listed the open jobs, updated her resume, found the new jobs posted and even found one in her dorm in the 24 hour deli. It was like pulling teeth to get her to fill out the application and write a cover letter but we finally got it in the mail.

    That isn't detaching very well is it? I debated whether I should just ignore it and let her find out she has no money when she got to campus but it was in my self interest to push her to find a job. We don't want to be giving her spending money.

    I have never known anyone with so little ambition to do anything other than play 007 on XBox or watch tv in the dark with boyfriend.

    I'm waiting for her to announce that she doesn't want to go to college and leave boyfriend.

  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Perhaps once she has no spending money, she'll be motivated? Try your best NOT to give her any ... buy her what she absolutely needs directly and send/give t to her, instead.

    I wish I had a secret to motivate a difficult child. I'd make a lot of money.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I hate to say it but I'm thinking you're right.

    If she gets no job, do your best to not give her spending money. If she does without for a bit, maybe that will motivate her to work. If she can't get an on campus job.....surely there would be something she could get with businesses in the area.

    Of course I have the same worry with Travis.......who isn't looking at all. And I don't have to worry about detaching......cuz I won't have the money to hand over to him. LOL So, he'll figure it out or do without. I can't force him to listen to me.

    (same deal with the fact he will need things he has no money for to put in his dorm room) sigh

  4. missy44

    missy44 New Member

    Now that my difficult child has decided to change his lifestyle (for the better) the one thing still lacking is motivation. I find it amazing that teens have this sense of entitlement nowadays...

    If anyone finds the magic wand to swing that miraculously makes our difficult child's contributing members of our families please let me know. My difficult child is going to college in September but only recently started working at 19!! He works only 2 days a week (which we support while he's participating in his counselling, but the money doesn't flow from our pockets. He was able to get a small student loan and now has to save some money (700.00 to be exact). He still owes on a phonebill that he never paid, etc... the list goes on. I keep telling myself.. baby steps... he's off the drugs, has changes his life, but the job and money issue still drives me crazy..

    Good luck
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What changes a difficult child? power. No roof.

    Suddenly when Cory was in his own place he was thrilled to get a corded phone that plugged into the wall. He didnt have one for about 3 months. He ate very very cheap food for months on end till he found out he could get 60 bucks a month food stamps which actually let him afford to eat hot dogs and chicken once in a while instead of tons of potatoes, dried beans, fish he caught, and bologna. Soda is still a luxury.

    Cory is now moving out of a place you wouldnt want your dog living in but he stayed there and made sure the rent was paid and made sure the electric was paid because it was better than being in the dark or the rain or the elements. At least he had a place to live.

    He used to take everything forgranted. No more.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well Nancy if there is a magic wand for girls? Then there must be the club of prosperity for boys. Both are equally hard to not wave to help them.

    I have to really work at not doing things like that for Dude. What helps me is to picture all of you standing with your arms folded across from me with an eyebrow raised, a hip out and shaking your heads in disgust as if to say "Oh Star, you'll just NEVER learn will you?" and it actually helps shame me into not over-doing or fixing things.

    I think what is hard for me is doing the negative projecting. I sit and think "If I don't help him, if I don't fill this out then what is my life going to be like in a few months? Will this be MORE work for me in the long run?" and then I have to think - "WHY would it be more work for me?" and THAT is what I had to think through. IT wouldn't be more work for ME if I don't let it be. It would be MORE work for him - unless...I stepped in and did it FORE him time and again. Stopping that cycle was ugh--so hard. Because I want to fix it or because I could do it better, faster, quicker for him. Then I realized THAT was the problem too - if I always did it - he'd never learn how. I also figured he had enough tough breaks either genetically or by poor choices that seemed to perpetuate more poor choices and on and on and to some degree you can feel sorry for their choices which result in more bad things - but eventually you have to say "You know what - you can sit in that room all day and watch tv with your boyfriend, not prepare for college, not have a job, and not do a thing - but in 3 months - my goal for you is XXX and if you don't have your ducks in a row - you are still moving out." and then follow through. I did it with Dude when he was 16 - I cried for 3 days straight...but it had to be done and I hated ANYONE who said that to me. They were right -

    Every motivator Janet listed? True.

  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Nancy, similar to Cory, Rob didn't start appreciating anything or working for anything or being motivated to improve his station in life until he had to do without. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do to stay out of it during those dark days. I expect it will be your biggest challenge, too.

  8. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    That is so true ladies. It's hard to think of your child doing without---but doing without is sometimes the only way they will learn to do for themselves. Start with the little things---nothing extra from you. Then get to the bigger things. It makes it a little easier to say I will not buy you another cell phone if you have already stopped buying her favorite snack food, shampoo, conditioner, soap, make-up....
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    The thing is she doesn't care and will not go to school to spite you. Somehow, it will be your fault.

    I think getting her started in college so that the college life "hooks" her is a smart move on your part. Once she wants to be there is a good way to get her to do the right thing.

    I encouraged my baby sis to go for one semester. She was engaged and very anxious about going away to school. She got there and never looked back. The thought that she had an out to quit once she finished a semester went a long way.

    The whole disengagement will be a gradual process. It's not a light switch in my humble opinion.
    Maybe having a discussion about what the budget will be and what she needs to self support is something you have to keep reminding her.
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    OMG - When I read "So little ambition" my thoughts went immediately to my diva! Than to read it was about college! How similar can we be these days?

    Diva has been working all Summer to get into an on-line photography program. She failed the most important first three steps: 1. Find out the cost 2. Tell Dad the cost 3. Get dad's permission to spend that much money.

    Well, husband decided that $18,000 per year was way too much to spend - we can not afford that and no way do we want to take out loans that we will be unable to pay back.

    So, now Diva is refusing to even try to get a college education. Mainly because in order to get into a Child Development program (filling up very fast also) she needs three classes. I found the one she had in high school and not sure about the other two.

    So, instead of contacting the school and asking for an assessment test to see if she qualifies for having those missing classes (she took forms of them in high school), she is deciding that she will not go to college this fall.

    That means she is dropped from out insurance and she has some medical issues to attend to, especially if she is diagnosed with diabetes.

    She does not want to move one hour away from home and is using her committment to babysit this Fall/Winter as an excuse not to. I told her that her education comes first and I know the lady will understand.

    Now this lady is telling her to go out and get loans, to follow her dreams. Fortunately she does not qualify for enough loans for this program or she would be spending the rest of her life in debt.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if all her "friends" would chip in and raise the $18,000 per year (about 3 - 4 years?) to let her follow her dreams? She has to be realistic and not put us in debt to do so. Some dreams have to stay where they are as not to ruin your life financially.


    I am so angry that she will not do the prerequists for Child Development to start that next Fall. She is the very best person to work with kids. She loves children and has been taken care of kids from infant on up for several years. She helped her best friend with a newborn.

    Now it is our fault as parents that she is a failure because we will not give her money we do not have. She has a good excuse to sit around doing nothing for another year and her friends support her decision in telling her that we are wrong to not give her the money.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Okay, this reply might seem a little it is a conglomerate of Fran's, Suz's and Stars. Sort of a moderate approach. I am factoring in your intentions.

    We've been in this spot countless times. If there is any tendency toward confusion, this kind of thing would be it. If it is in your own best interest to help out your difficult child, should you? We have a few variations on a theme. One is to see if she can meet us half way. That is, require her to do her part toward a situation and we (assuming it was in OUR best interest), would do the rest. Like in this case, have HER update her own resume, but you make some phone calls. Share in the responsibilities. Additionally, how bad was that "pulling teeth" business? Was she disrespectful to the point of causing family anguish? If so, you might have handed her a list of the jobs that you found and told her you would like her to call them. THen walk away. Disrespect cuts off mom time in my book. AT the same time remind her that you will put her on a budget that will be mighty limited and if she doesn't have a job, she won't be able to keep up with the others in terms of little extras, etc. Then, stick to your guns if and when she doesn't have a job and runs out of money. You can only do so much. Too bad, so sad. Hopefully, she will take the ball and run with it. If not, you can not cram the ball down her throat.

    Normally, I would have HER do all the work, but if she is stuck and it would be in OUR (your) best interest, I might be willing to help out. However, if our daughter is not willing to do the least little thing, or is disrespectful, then we know not to bother.

    I do wonder if she (your daughter) might be worried about working and going to school at the same time. Perhaps she is worried about how she will manage it all. It is alot of responsibility. However, other students do this and when you are young, usually extra energy is available...esp. if you are motivated. I like the idea of doing your best to get her to the college, in the hopes that she will like what she sees and work hard to keep it. However, I wouldn't necessarily go overboard....I would not hand things to her on a silver platter. This just never works with young people, and this goes double for difficult children.

    What we have found is something curious. When we have tried to do the meet me half way thing with- difficult child (cause it is in OUR best interest) and she doesn't want to do her part or is disrespectful and then we say "so be it difficult child, then you don't get our help at all and you are on your own..." difficult child will grump and double check with her friends about it all. Guess what? They come down hard on her and call her a "dope." LOL! Lately, if difficult child is "stuck," and we make this type of deal, she is quick to grab it and do so with gratitude.

    You might want to have a discussion with your daughter about budgeting her money in college and about any fears and/or concerns she might have. Additionally, see if there is a counseling center available and encourage her to use it should she feel overly stressed.

    I don't envy your dilemma here...

    Hang in there...wishing you well.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 22, 2009
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes it is in our best interest that she go to college. It is also in our best interest that she get a part time job. And so I had to weigh those things against how far I would go to make that happen. Nomad she worked part time all through high school so she is not stressed about that. If anything she is afraid it will cut into her social/party time. We did draw the line on expense money. She gets a meal plan and that will cover all food on campus and she will have a bookstore account for supplies. But I won;t pay for cigarettes, pizza off campus, luxuries or any fun activities not included in the tuition.

    It is a balancing act because I want her to go to college for many reasons. We hope that this will be the push she needs to start taking responsibility and want to be on her own. But also it will give us some time away from each other and will get her out of the house. If she fails then our plan B has to go into effect and we will have to set her up in an apartment for a specific time period until she figures out how to support herself and then withdraw.

    It is in her self interest to succeed at this opportunity. I know she does not understand or appreciate that but it is the reality. She cannot come back and blame us for her failure because we are giving her the tools she needs to make it happen. The rest is up to her.

    I agree that if our difficult child's would only meet us half way we would be thrilled and happy to go the rest of the way. Our difficult child has never met us half way so her ability to accept 100% of her support is in serious question.

  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Nancy, I think you are doing well.

    You can only do so much. You can not assume responsibilities that are hers to assume.

    Sure, your daughter might at times be angry with you and throw guilt your way if you set up some boundaries. She might resist and self destruct. However, sometimes when others see that you are serious, THEY start to change.

    I think what is very hard for us moms on a multitude of levels, is that when we put up boundaries and the kids hesitate to accept them, there is a sense of loss.

    The kids, in this case, adult kids, hurt. They hurt because they feel loss. They hurt because they are making bad choices. They hurt because the are confused. They hurt because they are disorganized and out of touch.

    If you have invested a lot of time in them and love them, it will be difficult for you to watch all this. And adding to the complexity, you are not sure how their poor choices might affect you.

    However, if you do more of the same...keep your boundaries clear.....their poor choices will either affect you in a limited way or not at all.

    Boundaries are needed for your benefit and that of your child. This goes double for an adult child.

    If you have been unintentionally enabling them, whatever point that you decide to set up some boundaries, might be the point that you quietly (or sometimes not so quietly) cause them to be aware that they need to be responsible young adults.

    I like that you have a plan "B." Do not let your child blame you. Let her develop a sense of good, morale character. Let her look in the mirror. She is fortunate to have caring mom. Nothing more. A caring mom. Not one that does things that she can do for herself. AND if plan B goes into effect. do NOT show emotion. Do NOT have guilt, blame yourself, get angry, react...nada. It is what it is. Period.

    There is a chance that at some point you will feel more "stings" in this process. Develop YOUR talents and gifts. You have done plenty. Do not feel an ounce of guilt. Take pride. Lean on loved ones that have given back to you. Lean on this group here and any others that you might find that are helpful. (like FA, etc.).

    You might provide some limited assistance for your difficult child (for now), assuming she is willing to be an active participant in her life and is respectful to you and assuming that it is not a hardship, but please do not go overboard. I hope you can accept that you can not make choices for her that she needs to make for herself. No child learns when there are not clear boundaries. We really have to teach them to be independent. Your child should be on the fast track toward total independence.

    I very much like what you said...this is up to her. It really is.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 23, 2009
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member know I often compare your daughter to Maybe a good thing, maybe bad. Only you can decide that. When I was her age I blew my big chance at a 4 year education. My parents would have sent me anywhere I wanted and I had the SAT's to go anywhere I wanted. I think they would have gone to the ends of the earth to get me that education. I simply didnt want it. I had other more difficult child things on my mind. And boy do I regret it now! Everytime I drive through a university town I practically beat myself up. We drove through the town with Ohio State University and I just about drooled.

    If she will go one semester and get hooked, you will have it made. I wish I had done that. I started one semester at VCU but by then I was pregnant. I had to drop out. Like I said, my biggest regret. Of course, who knows where or what I would be if life hadnt taken me on this road. Maybe fate did this to me for a reason. Maybe I would have been miserable the other way...or more

    You can do things like get her in school and just give her the basic essentials if she wont work. She wont need a cellphone, there are pay phones on a campus. They still have meal plans so extra money for lots of eating out isnt essential. You get the drill. Lots of partying on weekends isnt something she has to do. Boyfriends can pay if it is what they want her. LOL.

    Good luck. I know this isnt easy.
  15. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    Your difficult child, whether or not she realizes it, is very lucky to have you for her mother. I think you are handling this situation extremely well and love that you have a back-up plan too.

    From personal experience, having difficult child 1 move into his own apartment was the best thing we ever did. While we're still in the picture to some extent, we're handing as much responsibility over to him as he can handle. To our surprise, he is doing pretty well. However, I've got my fingers crossed that he will continue to be successful - It is too soon to really know.

    You are doing a great job!!! I've got my fingers crossed that your difficult child does well!!! SFR