Subject: my lazy 20 year old
Question: Hi M. Kay
My 20 year old, EJ, had a tough teenage career starting with middle school thru high school. He was diagnosed ADHD at 9 and was taking meds for that and depression thru middle and high school. The only way he graduated was thru an alternative high school.
He meets most of the criteria for a person with “borderline personality” but has never been diagnosed. He is currently not in theapy nor medicated because he doesn’t think he has any problems. Meanwhile he’s had 12 minimum wage jobs over the last 2 years because when he has a job, he doesn’t perform very well.
He lives with us at home and currently has another minimum wage job. He has no ambitions or goals(although he is a very talented singer/songwriter) and lives minute to minute much like he did during his adolescent years. Our relationship with him is much better because his mom took a workshop/seminar with Dr. Perry Hoffman on how to communicate with a “borderline” personality child.
Our homelife is much more peaceful than it was thru his teenage years but he’s 20 and does squat. He won’t seek any help because he doesn’t think he needs any. I’ve given him input where to send his “demos” so he can play music and make some money but he never follows through.
We would like to tell him it’s time to move out but we’re afraid he would end up homeless. We went thru that for a week 2 years ago when we had him removed from the house and it was unbearable………………any thoughts? Jim
Answer: Dear Jim, I don’t believe in beating around the bush nor sugar coating things when people ask me for advice they can count on my being honest. I dislike the use of the words, my lazy 20 year old. This shows me your son isn’t the only one with a problem as this is a very emotionally abusive statement. Your 20 year old has been medicated for depression and as you state he has ADHD and you believe he has borderline personality disorder.
FINALLY, you mentioned your homelife is much better because your wife took a seminar and learned how to deal with a borderline personality disorder.
First, try reading up on these disabilities yourself. The computer is an amazing resource for finding out information on these topics these days.
Second, I would suggest to you to seek out some counseling for yourself. I would like for you to tell the counselor YOU would like to learn how to communicate with your son and build a relationship based on getting to know him for who he is and not for who you would like him to be.
Thirdly, you can explore what living arrangements you would like for your son. If you don’t want him living with you maybe it is time to explore a home for people with disabilities.
Fourthly, Your son is SUFFERING from 3 different disorders. All of which in and of themselves takes a horendous amount of energy to face each day with.
Here is my advice. Try being proud your son has held down 12 minimum wage jobs over the last 2 years becuase this shows an incredible amount of PERSISTANCE and FORTITUDE to get up each morning and face the day let alone look for a job after each loss.
If he has a hard road in life to follow maybe his music is what he does to make himself feel good, why should he have to turn it into a job to please a parent who doesn’t understand his life in the first place. How about learning to enjoy his music with him rather than dictating what he does with his music.
LAST, please realize how much you can be grateful for. Children who have all 3 of these diagnosis can be severely addicted to substances, end up incarcerated, end up homeless and a threat to themselves or others. This situation sounds to me like there are many things you can actively become involved in with your son and your wife to enhance all of your family lives.
Parenting is a challenge and it involves a high committment. Sounds like you have both done a wonderful job to have gotten you son through his school years and now in seeking support to know how to parent him as an adult!
M Kay Keller