Adult Son Unemployed Again

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    • #85476

      I need some advice. My adult child was diagnosed with ADHD about 1 1/2 months ago at the age of 20. Prior to that he had dropped out of college as he couldn’t motivate himself to go to classes (he does have an associates in liberal arts degree).

      In the 6 months since, he has held 4 jobs. This last one lasted almost a month. His medications script got messed up between the clinic and pharmacy (which was out of his control) and he was out of his meds and apparently couldn’t cope so just didn’t show up for work so they let him go.

      He is living several hours away from us as we are in a more rural community with not a lot of mental health services/support. Prior to his diagnosis we were going to insist he move back to where we are so we could be supportive if needed. Now, since this diagnosis, his psychiatrist, counselor, and soon to be CBT counselor are all on his end of the state.

      We have been paying his rent and all because we don’t want him homeless but are thinking we should not any longer, but then he’d be homeless and not have a chance. I want him to move back to our town but like I said the support system for mental health stinks here. I need some advice.

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Mama2Three.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #85566

      Instinctively, I want to say: stop paying his rent. But, I also understand how frustrating it must be to live several hours away from him and have him end up being homeless. Obviously moving back home is not a great plan for anyone at this point. He would be even more frustrated with himself I imagine.

      Can you arrange some sort of contact with his doctor or therapist and ask them how you can best help him?

      My mom always felt bad for oldest nephew (his mom kicked him out at age 16) and intermittently paid his bills, lent him money (never paid back), and let him live with her. He is 25 now, and has off-and-on taken his medication, and has settled down with a gf and a little boy.

      My younger nephew moved out around age 19, was medicated for the majority of his childhood and has figured out this adulting thing pretty quickly. His parents did not bail him out. He has held down the same job for over 6 months now, and is doing pretty good overall. (He is now 22)

      (I tell you this to give you hope that he will get through this transition to adulthood! Both my nephews have ADHD and are doing quite well now!)

      Anyway, if you can consult with your son’s support team where he lives, they might now best how to deal with him. I feel like continuing to pay his rent is allowing him to not have to fully face the reality of his life choices. Can you attach some strings to it? Like, if he isn’t taking his meds everyday, he doesn’t get any financial assistance?

    • #85570

      1 1/2 months may not be enough time to have established an effective dose of medication and any other treatment plans. I was diagnosed 3 1/2 months ago and I’m still working with my doctor to get the dose right and establish effective strategies. It can take some time. There is no over-night cure.

      My advice would be to determine whether he is merely taking advantage of you, or just needs more time to work out his treatment plan (that may mean he should allow you to talk with his doctor). If you can afford it, and he just needs more time, then it would be helpful to do so.

      If he’s just having parties on your dime, that’s a different story.

    • #85615
      Penny Williams

      It definitely takes time to find your footing as a young adult, especially when you have ADHD (and it’s a new diagnosis). Plus, those with ADHD are several years behind developmentally in many areas, especially executive functioning (which helps us control our lives and succeed).

      Grow Up Already! Why It Takes So Long to Mature

      I would create a contract between parent and young adult. Parents will pay rent as long as child is taking meds and seeing therapists regularly, and making a full effort to become and stay employed. Maybe limit this to 9-12 months to give him time to figure out how to manage his ADHD and succeed on his own. Then maybe you step it down so that he becomes more and more responsible financially. Maybe months 9-12 he’s responsible for 30% of his rent, then months 13-16 he’s responsible for 60% of his rent, then up to 100%. In your contract, make it clear that you are always there for him when he needs help and support.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #86108

        Penny, this is brilliant. Thank you! I think we may be facing this issue in the future and will write down your “phased support contract” idea.

        Thanks! Brian.

    • #86171

      I agree that Penny’s idea sounds really great. My parents definitely had to help me out during that time in my life. I dropped out of college 3 times and had a hard time with jobs. Mainly because all the jobs I could succeed in (service-based, working with my hands) paid and treated me poorly so I would get so fed up that one day I would just quit.

      It took a while to figure things out and it didn’t help that all my friends seemed to be light years ahead of me with the whole “adulting” thing, but without the help and most importantly, the love and emotional support of my parents, I would have had an even harder time.

      I would add that it’s important for your son to know that you want to help him get to a point of self sufficiency, that you understand that it is particularly challenging for him, and that you know he can succeed.

      I hope your family finds a solution that works for you! The fact that you are even here looking for help says a lot.

    • #86188

      I think you have a lot of good advice above.
      Just thought I would throw in the perspective of someone who has struggled with medication and pharmacies.
      1. It took a while to get the right medication. The wrong meds made my mood swings WAY worse.
      2. Stress amplifies my symptoms to the point where it can negate the positive effects of medication. I imagine the new diagnosis, shock of dropping out of college, etc., is going to make finding the right medication a bit harder. 3. Medication withdrawal is hell. Been there, done that, trying to figure out how to find out how often this happens, etc., because I want to do a massive research project on it.

      If it makes you feel better, I was not diagnosed until right before I went to college. I refused medication on and off in college, which killed my GPA. When I stopped struggling against the diagnosis and had the proper meds, things went well. I am now a PhD Candidate that has masters degrees in teaching and public health. (okay, so the I want to do all the things aspect of ADHD wasn’t medicated away). Some days are a struggle. But, I’ve managed to find fields of study that benefit from my “box, what box?!” thinking.

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