Will difficult child ever really grow up?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by trinityroyal, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    difficult child has been truly out on his own for nearly a year now. The increases in his maturity are astonishing, and he is achieving things I never thought I would see in my lifetime. That said, I am astonished by how quickly he can regress.

    Yesterday, difficult child came over for the afternoon to visit with the small Monster Tots. At one point, Tyrannosaur wandered away from the Thomas trains he was playing with, so difficult child started to fiddle with them. Nothing wrong so far. But when Tyrannosaur came back to resume his train adventure, difficult child wouldn't give them back, saying stuff like "I'm playing with the trains now, you'll have to wait your turn." difficult child was rearranging the trains and tracks, and Tyrannosaur started to cry.

    And difficult child truly felt aggrieved when I called him on the carpet for bullying his little brother. It was as if 18 of his 23 years just melted away and I was dealing with a 5-yr-old. difficult child was mad at me for not insisting that Tyrannosaur share his toys properly, rather than recognizing that as a grown man he has no business taking toys away from a 3-yr-old in the first place.

    This sort of thing happens All. The. Time. difficult child regularly regresses to the age of the youngest person in the room, whoever that might be. Over the last 5 or 6 years we've really forced him kicking and screaming into adulthood, but I have a funny feeling that given the choice he'd go back to being a fully dependent little kid in a heartbeat. A few years ago he even said that his life's ambition was to live with just husband and have husband take care of him.

    So...is there ever a point when difficult child stops regressing and grows up for real?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're ahead of me, so... I don't have any answers. But I can definitely relate on a milder scale.
    "They" tell us... yes, eventually, it does get better.
    Like some where between 25 and 30.
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    IC, I've heard the "it gets better between 25 and 30" stuff for a long time. He's closing in on 24, and I've seen lots of maturing in his ability to take care of the basic stuff of daily living, which he couldn't manage before.

    What I'm more worried about is the underlying attitude. difficult child doesn't really want to be independent. He does it because we've boxed him in, but if the choice were his he'd move back home, quit his job and let husband spoon feed him, tie his shoelaces, brush his hair, and sing him lullabies at night for the rest of his life. I'm worried that he'll never get that inner spark to want to take care of himself for his own sake, rather than "Because Mummy made me do it". It breaks my brain thinking about it.
  4. Trinity - I hope 'they' are right. 25 is the magic number I am hanging on for right now. It's like I'm holding my breath until then to wait and see what difficult child will do. Change or not?

    I hope your difficult child finds that spark inside himself but even if society is what makes him do what he needs to do for now.... well, at least he is doing it. There's a little consolation. I think if he is making some leaps that it'll be a matter of time before he makes that leap with you. Does he only regress when he is around family? That could be a trigger for him because he has a lifetime of being your 'child' and only a short time of being your 'adult child' and redefining a different relationship. Maybe a conversation around what that means to be an 'adult child' might help.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    WTWE, that's a good point. I'd never thought about whether he regresses just around family or not. I do know that people who don't know his diagnosis comment about his immaturity, but that's to be expected. It's sort of hard for husband and me to observe without changing the conditions of the experiment, if that makes any sense.

    We will continue to talk to him about being an adult and what it means, but I think he might need more than that.

    I think I need to add this to the list of stuff I bat around the next time I talk to my therapist.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Perhaps the adult independent world is just overwhelming for him? Maybe some underlying anxiety going on? When is usually someone's most secure time in their life? Childhood. So.....hmm. Just thought I'd toss that out there.

    Travis is now 27. He has proven to me he can live independently. Is it a good idea? I dunno. He doesn't want to live independently......although he does manage to pay bills and such.......but he has visions of himself becoming a major hermit with a house like hoarders...........Know what I mean?? And at least here I make him surface out of his room regularly, eat real food, and usually go outside for a walk or into the yard with the dogs once a day. If there is not someone to "draw" him out........he eventually will not come out. Even his sisters realize this issue.

    I recall a time when Travis did such behavior but I don't recall the age.......after 18 to be certain because it was with Darrin and Aubrey. It did fade eventually, and yes, we called him on it every time because I seriously don't think he realized he was doing it. He still plays with the grands but more on an adult level.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    On a side note:

    easy child and Nichole's dhs often act more childish than Travis. :rofl:
  8. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Hate to point this out, but the magic 25 age applies (in my mind) to PCs. difficult children are a different story. Your difficult children reaction is textbook: I am and ADULT (when it comes to my ability to make bad decisons), but can I please just be a CHILD for this moment?

  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Dash? That magic age of "25" isn't just limited to PCs... it just gets "fuzzier" with the degree of GFGness. My over-the-top GFGbro (back then... if this board had been around, lets just say it would have been interesting) got his act together somewhere between 25 and 29... not exactly the "magic 25" but close enough. I've heard of some getting their act together mid-30s.

    Then again, I know some people who wouldn't really be classified as difficult children... and at 70, still haven't "grown up", so... I guess there are no guarantees in life.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Lisa, you're definitely right about the anxiety. difficult child's anxiety is off the charts, although this has gotten much better with time and the right medications. Some of it might be wanting to return to the safety of childhood, but I think part of it might be straight sibling rivalry, but with that weird regression thing thrown in.

    Skotti, I'm so glad to hear that your oldest easy child has developed so well from working. difficult child's only been at his job since last November, so I don't think a lot of that work-ethic stuff has really sunk in with him yet. He's still getting used to the idea that this is pretty-much the reality for his whole adult life. He's very socially inclined, but he's just bad at it. Fortunately, in his supported work environment, everyone else is too so he doesn't get grief for it.

    Dash, IC, I'm not really holding my breath that difficult child will grow up all of a sudden when he turns 25. I'm hoping to see him continue to make steady gains, as he has been doing. I guess my bigger worry is his willingness to throw it all away at the drop of a hat. Last summer when mother in law died, difficult child had to move back home for a couple of months while we got his new independent living placement sorted out, and it was he**-on-wheels for the whole time. All of the progress he'd made with skills, medication compliance, hygiene, ADLs, behaviour management, etc. was gone by the end of the first weekend that he was back.

    I wish he was better at expressing his thoughts, so I could maybe get some insight into what's going on in that mind of his.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 10, 2013
  11. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Trinity, I can relate to your post-mine is 24 and I know he would like to be taken care of and swan in and out as he pleases, indefinitely, without any accountability. And up until now, I have pretty much allowed that to happen.

    I would LOVE it if everything changed for the better at 25-6 more months to go and I'm home free! But I'm not holding my breath. It would take a major sea change for mine to snap out of his personality and become a responsible and mature adult. Then again, Hope Springs Eternal.

    Fingers crossed for all of us!
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's not a sudden switch at 25. It's kind of like the way stats and probabilities work... good at providing an overall picture, but horrid when applied to a specific case directly.
    GFGbro was... more like 27 or 28, if I remember right.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    25 was NOT a magic age in my family. I have cousins who are from a family that demanded achievement and has some real problems and their kids did not really seem to be actual adults until in their 30's. Even my cousins did NOT settle down and become real adults until their mid thirties. I was the exception as I chose to have a child, husband, house, bills, etc... in my early twenties. I did't wait until after college to do those things, I didn't go travel the world or work a few mos party a few mos for a decade or more, I wanted what my folks had, a stable marriage to someone I love who loves me, kids, a cat or two, etc... I have had more relatives criticize me and act like they pity me because I didn't take a decade to party before I had kids. I grew up faster partly because of gfgbro and partly because my body handles things so badly and painfully that I had to figure out early what was worth the pain and what wasn't, what really meant something, was worth working and hurting to gain, and partying was not on that list.

    The rest of my family pretty much didn't settle down to a more 'normal' life until they were in their 30s, usually mid 30's.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    But susiestar... you are saying that most of them still... eventually... grew up. At least somewhat?
    Boy... I hope difficult child doesn't take THAT long.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Some thoughts/observations:

    Major difficult child:
    Someone I know whose sister was bipolar and behaved similar to my adopted daughter, did finally basically, to a certain extent "grow up" when she was close to 50. She got on disability and got a part time job. She maintained an apartment and an old car. She did need some help now and again from family, but minimally. (I said 'was' because sadly after many, many years of HEXX, after she FINALLY calmed down and was doing well, she died of a heart attack unexpectedly).

    Moderate difficult child:
    Can't think of an example right this second...but if I do...I'll come back and edit!
    However, I am friendly with a young woman who is not a difficult child, but I noticed that when she just turned 30, she became much more responsible. Also, when she speaks of her friends who do seem somewhat difficult child.....they too seem to get more "with it" when they turn 30. Just a guess! 29 - 31 ???? Just a guess.

    Very moderate to mild difficult child:
    Someone I know whose daughter was troubled and somewhat difficult, had problems in high school and dropped in and out of college. One day, she found this really good college program to become a teacher. She got a lot of support through the college and did well. She was probably in her mid 20s when this happened. She became a teacher, met a nice guy and it all worked out well....

    When mental illness is in the picture or a personality disorder...it really is very hard to tell. It might not ever happen.

  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    IN a word..........nope.
    In a Mothers Heart........OH GOD PLEASE..........my knees are worn out.