Son has given up on college

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by pigless in VA, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    My son, the master manipulator, has given up on college. We learned that he hadn't even attended his chemistry class for the past month. We gave him an ultimatum that he would need to get a C in that class in order to continue to take classes.

    This week, he skipped his chemistry exam. He's done. I honestly don't even know why he bothered to go to college. We gave him alternatives, but he insisted that going to college was what he wanted to do. Once there, he simply did not do the work.

    I suspect he has been holed up in his room playing Xbox non stop.

    He has a couple of weeks left where he can stay in the dorm, and then he will be homeless.

    I am beyond disappointed. He had a wonderful opportunity, and he turned his back on it.
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry... Ksm
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It continues to confound me when our children blow off opportunities to make a decent life for themselves.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Oh Pigless, I am sorry. It is hard to figure these kids out. No reason or rhyme. You have done your job raising him. Offered him the chance and opportunity to rise above. Held out that golden ticket.
    He needs to figure out what he wants out of life, what his meaning is.
    The in betweens of it, are difficult to witness.
    Please take good care of yourself. It is hard not to go down the rabbit hole with them, but that does absolutely no good for us, or them.
    I am sorry for the hurt of it.
    Be kind to yourself.
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  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well.....obviously perhaps partying was on his mind more than studying. College is hard and I less you are either totally academically brilliant or love to work hard for a good quit. The freshman drop out rate is high.

    Now it is up to him to get a job and sustain himself. He can still do that. I hope he realizes he will be homeless and hates the idea enough to work.

    We do give them the best opportunities, yet they are not hard workers so often would rather throw opportunities that require hard work away. Pot. Partying. Gaming. Gambling. Sex. To them, some of these things are what college means. It is sad. Had I wanted to go to college, it would have been on my dime. Ferb received a precious loving gift from you.

    Is he one of those "pot does no harm" people?

    I am sorry your dreams for him have been further eroded. It bothers us far more than them, but it is a legitimate hurt and you deserve compassion and love from our hearts. I am so sorry. It is so maddening. It does seem as if they don't WANT to achieve anything. Baffling.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  6. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Oh Pigless

    The finality of this half anticipated disappointment is so very sad. No matter what we do to brace ourselves for any number of outcomes; we are still never truly prepared when the news hits home.

    I too hope that Ferb is at least motivated to organize his life to work and not be homeless. It is his story to write.

    Pigless I hope you can find resolve in the fact that you did everything you could to help and support Ferb.

    Do something kind for yourself.

    There really should be an Icon we can select to represent this situation of disappointment.
    Circiling the wagons to support you with great big hugs at this point in time.
  7. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    I feel for you.

    I think these opportunities are loaded for us too. College seems like a smorgasbord of things our kids might need. Clean slates. Social choices. Topics of interest. Basically, a chance for them to restore the self esteem they lost during "the troubles" by functioning in a new environment.

    But they say in the recovery community, wherever you go, there you are.

    I think many of our kids' slates aren't just dirty from their behavior, they are constitutionally fragile. They can't be cleaned in a swipe, without cracking, They need to be strengthened and cleared with a feather duster, one layer at a time.

    I've been thinking about this issue a lot, as my son deferred for a quarter.

    I know he won't be ready next quarter -- and may not be ready this year.

    I think that might have been true even if he had remained sober. Well before he started drugging, he revealed big ego and little self esteem. He did a lot of work in treatment to identify those issues, but he hasn't yet had enough real life experiences to strengthen the slate.

    I think this year will be a good one for him, if he baby steps up in productivity, and baby steps down in using and all the shame sources associated with using. And maybe there will be some bounding.

    When his slate is stronger and cleaner, he can consider his longer term goals.

    For us, deferring or dropping out may feel like another terrible choice tacked on to the end of a very long list of bad choices. But maybe it will give them a chance to actually succeed at some more manageable thing.

    I think my son had felt for a long time, that he would rather be good at being bad, than bad at being good.

    Maybe it will take just as long to flip that narrative.

    And maybe it will never flip, but that view helps me to grieve his seemingly bad choices more privately and keep me in the long game. He is young.
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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    "he would rather be good at being bad, than bad at being good"

    This quote reminded me of my older D c. Yesterday, she even said, I am afraid to try anything because I always fail. Which is basically true...not because she can't succeed, but by self sabatoging. Or by putting something she wants to do today before things she wants next week. Anything that doesn't happen today seems too far away to works toward.

  9. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    This o truly believe is my Difficult Child/AS

    I wonder how many of our DCs this hold true for? It defiantly holds true for ours son and we have identified this as a thread that has run through his childhood as well.

    How do we unlock this magic for them? It’s teuly as Leafy had said like Helen Keller we have to keep on keeping on. We need the glimmers in the hopes that they some day get it and catch on fire with the passion we know their lives can hold.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Ahhhh, youth. I remember that feeling.
    Preparing for the future?
    I was not going to be old.
    How quickly that happened.
    Then there is the whole Eckhart Tolle, live in the present, the now.
    I get it, sort of, putting into practice? Still trying.

    How to figure all this out when one is young, has challenges, and just wants to live for the day.
    It is definitely hard to figure all of this out.
    I think I would rather be 58, than 19 again.
    Tough times.
    To prepare for the future, or to party?
    Not excusing the choices and behaviors.......

    Here I go off on a tangent.......

    We had the nuclear sirens sound yesterday for the first time in 30 years........
    How the heck is anyone supposed to process that stuff at 19? Or even 58?
    I’m sorry if I am way off base.
    Just remembering when I was in high school in the 70’s, the Cold War, Vietnam, demonstrations against nuclear power plants.
    I didn’t think there was going to be much of a future.

    I feel for these young adults, stepping into a world with all this mess. Climate change, mass shootings, North Korea, it is disconcerting to me.
    Sorry if I am way off base.
    It is hard enough for a reasonable, faithful (somewhat) person to navigate.
    For a fragile kid?
    Stepping out into the wide world of college (I never went)
    With all that temptation.
    I know a few friends who have had their kids go and blow it away, partying. I’ve had friends tell me, that’s all they did. Party.
    The big elephant in the room.
    Son is trying to figure out what he wants to do.
    Will be a senior next year.
    I told him if he decides to go to a trade school, that is fine by me.
    He wants to work with his hands.
    Tired of sitting all day in classes.

    What does Ferb want to do?
    Really and truly?
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  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It is hard to see your child making these choices. Do you have a plan for what you will do when he shows up at your door hungry with nowhere to go? Or when he calls you and is suicidal because he has nowhere to go and the former teacher has turned him away because he has nothing to offer her? He isn't a thrill any longer because he isn't underage and he doesn't have a home owned by his parents where she can use his mother's toothbrush and makeup.

    He knows that the threat of suicide will get you every single time. It has to be especially difficult for you to have him threaten this given the family history. You need to make a plan that you can stick to and live with now. That way you won't be all in a flap when he calls and threatens. You will have a plan that will give you at least some direction.

    Even if you change the plan, it will give you a jumping off point, a place on solid ground to work from rather than starting from nowhere.

    I am so sorry he is doing this, but maybe he needs this time to figure out that being an adult isn't the fun that kids always think it should be. Maybe he needs to live on what he can earn delivering pizza or doing whatever job he can do without a college education for a couple of years before he can see that he needs some kind of training beyond high school in order to earn a living wage. It probably won't be easy for you to watch, but if this is his choice, then you cannot do much about it. I would let him sink or swim on his own as much as you can.

    I do know how this hurts. (((((hugs)))))
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  12. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    What were his grades in his other classes? Did he choose a major that was beyond his ability? Some kids do better at small community colleges instead of big universities.
  13. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    We’ve “donated” so much money to the local universities that when they call looking for alumni support I honestly tell them I’ve already “donated” thousands

    Our oldest started and quit four times, all different programs, every time claiming this was the “one” and begging us to help him. Stupidly, we did. By the last one we told him to get a loan as he now qualified due to being out of high school four years (prior to that we made too much) and so he has loans to pay back at some point now. When our younger son dropped out of computer science last Xmas, saying he would work full time and he Hated his classes, I totally felt like a failure as a parent. How could BOTH my children fail at something my husband and I held as so important and had modeled for our sons? I went back as an adult to get my teaching degree and then four years ago I graduated with my masters degree. Older sons drug use has made the dream of university impossible. Once he felt any stress or anxiety he would begin using heavily and skipping classes and then it was usually apparent by October he wasn’t going to classes.

    Fast forward a year.... younger Son is in a forestry program and is doing amazing, and so happy! He knew himself well enough to say he wouldn’t be happy in the IT world and needed hands on work. So proud of him and we are confident he will be ok. Drugs have never been an issue with him, and he rarely drinks.

    Older Son went to detox this summer, and has been slowly working on sobriety with some serious slips. However... he loves his nose program , it’s a college for the arts, hands on and he says people don’t judge. He is on student council and is really trying. We are cautiously optimistic.

    I guess what I’m saying is that your son is very young and don’t give up hope. By the forth dropout last Xmas I was feeling pretty low. And angry to be honest of all the wasted money we work so hard for. We no longer pay any tuition for either boy. We have told them they can live with us and we will feed them. That’s it. No cash no tuition. It’s working for us and they both seem to be doing their best.

    I am scared every day my older son falls off the wagon, because it’s very likely he could.

    I know how sad and low you are feeling right now. Listening to my friends talk about their kids in university etc is still hard on me. Where we live people consider university to be “superior” and both my boys are finding success in the hands on college system. I used to think university was the only choice. I know now that having happy successful kids is way more important than the degree.

    Take care of your hurting heart and please be comforted that you have done your best.
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  14. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Both my husband and I came from working class non academic families and obtained our degrees and post graduate degrees as adults. I hear you for feeling like a total failure as our son has not even gotten himself through high school.

    I hope I truly hope that our Difficult Child will be done with high school this year.

    I hear you there. I truly believe it is a brave new world and academics do not play the grand part that they once did it both social status and job obtainability.

    I am cautiously hopeful for our son. As truly the balk is in his court and his future is up to him. We will support any positive venture we can.

    I wish I had a crystal ball and could fast forward 10 years from now. Wouldn’t it be lovely to know weather to continue to push or just throw in the towel.
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  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Lol, I agree with you about college, which is University here. Except for status in certain social groups of people (in the U.S. there is probably less of this) getting a good job/succeeding is not just dependent upon a degree. If the major isn't one that is needed you can owe 100,000 or more and not get a great job. I know one young woman, very smart, who never did get a job in her chosen field and has a huge debt to the government. And Gone boy refused college, has his own company, and is very successful financially. Bart the same...six figure job with no college degree, no debt. My girls went for two year degrees. Princess made good money before she had my grand and Jumper stands to do well too.

    I never understood the push for college unless the child really wanted to go, was a good student and had his head on straight enough to go away from home and not party all the time.
  16. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well shucks Pigless - welcome to the club. Sorry you had to join.

    Our son went to a 2 year college - his degree? VIDEO GAME DESIGN! How is that NOT a kid's dream come true? 4 hours from home, room and board paid by US - a 1-year contract we could not get out of, spending money in his pocket, all to learn how to make better games!

    He never even attended a class. Maybe 1 or 2 at the most.

    Oh, he TOLD us it was all fine. But by Thanksgiving he finally admitted he was failing. I told him to try to pass and we'd see what came next. He literally did nothing. Of course the school expelled him, but he appealed and I don't know what he told them, but they let him back in! We were stuck paying the rest of the year's room and board took a lighter class load (which gave him more $$ back from his student loan)...

    and never even attended a class.

    9 full months of sitting around - blowing thousands of dollars and indebting us to $10K on his room and board - getting stoned in his dorm room. Yeah.

    At least Ferb will be leaving at the halfway point.

    On the up side - my son now regrets it. He's earning decent money working full time in a deli but he has a brilliant girlfriend who wants to be a doctor, once she figures out how to pay for school.

    There are many bright young men and women who don't go to college and do very well. He could go to a vocational or trade school. I deal with people's finances every day - the highest paid work for the auto factories, or steel-worker's unions. Welders and truck drivers do very well. There are a lot of trades that enable a person to earn a very good living.

    It's unfortunate. But not the end of the world.
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  17. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Very sorry to hear this news, Pigless. It is indeed a roller coaster. Blessings and prayers for you and yours.
  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    My oldest step-son did the “going to college but not showing up for class or doing any work” thing. Seems to be a popular choice amongst the D C crowd....
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  19. RN0441

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

    So sorry to hear this. It's a hard pill to swallow. I know.

    Our son started college 2x and then decided to get high. We were able to do a medical discharge the first time since he was in rehab but the second time he was in Florida and he was supposed to handle it and I really have no clue.

    We will not pay for him if he wants to go again. He will have to get his own loans but we will let him live at home if that works out.

    Maybe we will help him pay some of the loans back IF he stays sober and is living his life with meaning and purpose.

    It's so hard to be disappointed over and over again. We just want out Difficult Child to be happy and healthy and be able to make an honest living.

    Hang in there. Let's see what he does next.....
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  20. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Very disappointing .
    As best advice you can, try not to get too upset.
    Perhaps review with him trade school options.
    I have a friend with a Difficult Child who to everyone's surprise, went to plumbing school and got a great job.
    Sure,he lost the first few jobs , but apparently there is a shortage of plummers and they look the other way.
    He is doing much better now and the pay is good.
    Just an option to consider.
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