My son is stuck!
anonymous Asks ...
My son lives at home. He dropped out of college last year and he works an overnight gas station job and otherwise sleeps and sits at home playing video games and I think smoking a lot of pot. I am so frustrated with his apathy because he is a very smart guy he could do anything but seems to be choosing to just do nothing. My wife says it’s just a phase he is going through and that eventually he will get bored with this life and decide for himself to move on to something better and that if we try to force the issue before he’s ready it will just end up like the last time he failed out of college. I am starting to worry that he will never choose to do anything more than he is doing right now unless we force the issue. How do I make someone who doesn’t want to care about the future care about the future? Kicking him out of the house is totally not an option from my wife’s perspective.
Rachel Starck Says ...
This sounds very frustrating, for all involved. Firstly, you did not mention any boundaries, rules, or expectations set for your adult son when he moved in/dropped out of college, so I am wondering if he is clear about what is expected of him. Secondly, he sounds pretty depressed. Major depression can look like someone is lazy and does not care, however, they are suffering from lack of motivation, lack of hope, lack of energy, and are likely struggling to get through each day. Working a night shift, daily marijuana use, and isolating with video games, are his efforts to manage his feelings, however, not effective for long term success. You can not "make him care about his future", however you can meet with a therapist, along with your wife to discuss a plan of action to give him the opportunity to get help. This plan might look like talking with him together about your concerns, setting firm, compassionate boundaries, and encouraging him to take action. Examples might be that you require that he see a counselor/therapist once a week if he is to continue living there, or that he pay rent, or that he partcipate in the household in other ways.
But first you and your wife must get on the same page!
Rachel Starck, LPC