July 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm #87437russomartinParticipant
I am a grandmother to a dear loving grandson, however I fear I am enabling him. He never graduated from high school. He is now 20 and fortunately has a girlfriend who is pushing him to grow up, get a job and act like an adult. So far his day includes sleeping late, hanging out with friends and playing video games.He does not have a computer so has asked me to apply for jobs for him. I did that but since he has never held a job there have been no responses.
Let me explain. he is right now LOST. He skipped most of all his classes in senior year of high school and therefore did not graduate. His parents were too involved in their own lives to do anything to help him in school. I tried to advise my daughter, his mother, on how to help him. Sent books, attempted to suggest various things only to be told that I was too critical of her parenting! the last 2 year he has been couch surfing after leaving home due to the strife between his parents.
Now he needs a job. I fear I have made things easy for him by allowing him to use my credit card to order pizza and occasional video game add-ons. Now he wants me to write a resume…. using what , no previous job, no education, ??? I fear he will fail if I don’t help him. But fear also that if I stop helping he will fall into the abbess of smoking weed and playing video games or God forbid overdose and I will lose him forever.
Please understand he is a sweet loving young man who has unfortunately not been given the appropriate chances to learn how to cope with his ADD. I am the only person he will talk to but that only goes so far. If I push him to get help, go to someone who can teach him how to deal with his ADD in a better way than using weed, or OMG get into a vocational school, talk to a therapist. Do any of those things or perhaps others, I am afraid he will just turn off and I will never see him again or know how he is doing.
HELP…HELP!!! How or what are my alternatives??
July 2, 2018 at 11:23 am #87449JBoomParticipant
Yes, you are enabling him. Someone who is able to have a place to sleep in, hang out with friends, and play video games must have some source providing that shelter from real life (i.e., those of us that must support ourselves). I assume that is you, or at least in part you; and if so, cut him off (with proper warning and guidance, of course).
Only he can help him. If you apply for jobs for him and/or write resumes for him, he’ll never appreciate the value of doing those things for himself — and he’ll never appreciate anything that comes from it. Even if he manages to get a job you’ve arranged for him, it most likely won’t last because it wouldn’t have been something he accomplished himself and he’ll know he can just quit it since things are working out just fine without a job.
As a young adult I was a high school drop out living with family members who enabled me to hang around and do nothing. It wasn’t until the last family member kicked me out that I finally woke up and realized I had to figure out how to be an independent adult.
It’s that simple and that hard. The only effective thing you can do is kick him out, let him feel the consequences of not taking care of himself. Of course, this can come with a lot of advice and guidance, but you should not provide any money or place to stay or do any labor for him unless you want him to always be dependent on you. He will survive it, humans are hard wired for survival. And if he stops loving you for it, then never really loved you in the first place. Sure, he’ll be mad, he’ll try everything he can to pull at your heart strings to get you to change your mind. But stick to it and let him fall to rock bottom, the spring board to greatness.
In short, the only support you should provide is information. All the action should come from him, and if you cut him off, he’ll eventually figure it all out. If not, he may need some kind of public assistance to overcome mental health issues.
July 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm #87468Penny WilliamsKeymaster
Yes, you are enabling him. Now that you recognize it, you can change it.
Don’t do anything for him. Help him, but don’t do it for him. That means you can sit with him while he completes online job applications, answer questions, and be supportive… but you cannot do it for him. Same with the resume. Help him find some articles and tutorials on creating a resume with no job experience.
Encourage him to get a GED so he can move forward in his life. Help him discover what he’s interested in doing or passionate about. Even if it’s video gaming, there are many, many jobs in that field now. If he like animals, maybe get him volunteering at a shelter in the hopes it can turn into a job at some point.
Maybe help him establish a daily/weekly schedule that includes a block of time applying for jobs, a block of time seeking treatment for ADHD, a block of time volunteering, a block of time helping you to show his gratitude for the help you’re providing him.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
July 9, 2018 at 10:02 pm #87866ClararaiParticipant
It is easy to fall into the enabling trap. Don’t judge yourself harshly. Many times enablers feel guilty, and that’s why they don’t act tougher.
It is also easy to judge people who enable. Come on guys, we all deal with challenges and many times we make decisions that are not that good.
I read the articles suggested. My 13 year old daughter seems to be heading that way. I don’t even pretend to have a right answer, but I do think giving choices helps. She can do homework or read a book. She can go out for a walk or go swimming at our gym.
It is a daily battle. She fights hard not to comply. She throws tantrums at times. Her emotions are extreme. I work on remaining calm and explain her choices. Not angry. Not dismissive. I show empathy (because it does hurt me to see her like this) shecan come up with her own choice, though many times she says she has no clue what the solution to whatever situation she has might be.
Patience. Persistence. Calmness. Clear and specific choices choices.
July 10, 2018 at 3:48 am #87890exalderanParticipant
First of don‘t listen to the horrible and heartless advices that‘s given by some posters. They didn’t experience true love of a caring grandmother themselves had it rough and now advising you to do the same. Don’t just kick him out, that’s just plain wrong. Sure he will survive but he might as well hang on a needle later or be an alcoholic and homeless forever, yes he could grow up to be a strong person with a hardened
heart but you don’t want that either. Someone said if you’d kick him out and your grandson wouldn’t love you anymore it would just show that he never really did. That is not true, he loves you for who you are and not for being a person who acts an bad advises from random strangers. It would be understandable if he didn’t love you anymore because you kicked him out on the streets in a life of drugs or worse. Not everyone can cope with that the right way. I am a 29yo with severe adhd from germany by the way. I lost my grandmother 2 years ago and I still miss her dearly, she encouraged me to study medicine which I did. When I was still 20 and feeling lost like your grandson, she paid for my rent but said I would have to work for my Food and I was fine with that, so I moved out. I would never have done it without her love and support. What your grandson need the most now is love (which you provide) and guidance (which send missing). If you don’t want to enable him you still have to make some changes. Videogames were my way of coping with stress in life too but a 20yo needs to find new ways to cope with it. He uses the novelty of new games to deal with the stress. First: Don’t provide access to your Credit Card anymore new stuff for his games or pizza orders should be something you reward him with when he did something good or something you wanted him to do like applying for a job. My grandmother aldehyde bribed me into doing the right things and it sure worked. I got pizza and games too but only when I brought good grades in school lost some weight or worked a week while I was studying. I never acted out on her for setting restrictions because she ALWAYS would explain why she wanted it with me and do so in a loving a warm tone. She NEVER scolded me. So that is what you do Second, explaining why you want him to get a job and why he won’t get your credit card anymore until he writes appliances. And don’t provide resources like money outside of shelter and food. He you earn his money even from you. Let him do chores around the house and pay him for doing it, that way he will learn the value of earned money. You seem to be a loving and caring grandmother, just cut back a few ressources and talk a lot with him and it will work out. Also tell him that you asked for help here and what the other posters suggested, but that you won‘t do it if he starts acting. Tell him that you care for his future. Maybe you could try to do the appliances together? Let him write it and if he has a problem you can help him finish a sentence or something like that. Have a great day, I’m sure your grandson will be fine one day.
July 10, 2018 at 11:57 am #87859krista.sleepParticipant
Since you’re asking the question, I think you know deep down that you are enabling him. The traditional “tough love” approach however, doesn’t work. I think he has stopped trying because he doesn’t believe that he can succeed. Pep talks are not enough; he can’t make himself believe the speeches because everything that he has experienced for his whole life has proved to him that he is not like everyone else. He knows for a fact that there are some barriers, and the traditional “try harder” approach just doesn’t work. Since he doesn’t know what else to do, he has given up.
The way most class rooms are set up is difficult for people with ADHD; if his home life was also unstructured its no wonder he had difficulty. Bad marks are one thing, but when a child realizes that his own parents don’t expect anything from him, it is impossible to have a healthy self-esteem. Don’t believe me? Try giving him 2 minutes to write down all his strengths and 30 seconds to write down his weaknesses. I guarantee the weakness list will be longer. To quote Dr Annick Vincent: “you know the cure for low self-esteem? Success!”
I would suggest using his computer skills to his advantage. A quick google search of “online K-12” found several internet high schools: here is one: https://www.k12.com/virtual-school-offerings/high-school.htm. Online learning is much easier than classroom learning, at least it is for someone with ADHD. The thing is- ADHD is not really a disability, it’s just a difference. Our brains work differently and self-directed education plays to our strengths. I think he will be surprised at how well he does. I think he will discover that he is smarter than he ever thought he was.
The boost to his confidence may make him want to learn more about his ADHD and how work smarter- not harder. This web site has many articles and webinars that are helpful. I would also recommend TotallyADD.com. In the end, it’s his brain and his life- only he can figure out how to use it to get the life he wants.
July 13, 2018 at 9:50 am #88273MargaretRodriguezParticipant
Yes, you are enabling him and he will definitely become helpless in future and might get into the wrong side. Instead of writing a resume and looking for his job. You need to talk to him as well as your daughter seriously. Without letting the things down, just ask him a few questions about his future plans and the way how he will achieve his life goals. Just share your experience with him. Try to turn the situation, despite caring him, ask him to help you. I am sure he will definitely be on the right path one day.
July 15, 2018 at 6:49 pm #88343ADHDx3Participant
Hi. I Read your post. It could have been written about my son who is 22 and who has completely lost all his confidence and his belief in himself. He was diagnosed after he failed his 1st year in college (doing a 4 year IT degree)in which he was hugely interested. He tried 2 other courses and worked at very menial jobs but all fell apart. The diagnosis finally gave his Dad (with whom he had a horrible relationship) and me an understanding to a limited level of why he was always chaotic and disorganised and couldn’t stay focused on anything for more than 10 minutes. He has recently moved back home and we are struggling to find a way forward with him and for him. I have read extensively on this since his diagnosis 3 years ago and believe that he has acute anxiety disorder, ODD, ADHD & may have bi-polar at this point in his life. I am happy that he has moved back home and we will enable him (with a requirement to help out at home) for the moment because we know that it will keep him alive. That is my 1st priority. He is opposed to conventional medicines but has smoked weed. I am slowly trying to encourage him to engage with a life coach. He is not open to a counsellor at this time. He tried that in the past and it didn’t work.
Since he was diagnosed, my other 2 adult children were also diagnosed – one with dyspraxia and once with ADHD/executive function did-order. I am on a steep learning curve.
So my advise is to help your grandson by enabling him but do not do things for him. Set up a routine daily that includes 1 hr for searching online for jobs and filling out applications with you sitting alongside to help/guide him. You are already helping him by giving him free lodgings, heat and food. He MUST earn any other treats – just (unfortunately immaturity is part of the adhd cycle) like a child!
I will continue to read advise given to you (& me). I wish you and your grandson all the best. He is lucky to have you covering his back.
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