Parenting --Teens/Young Adult Immaturity
Hi,and thank you for the service you provide. My son is 19 and lacks ambition for just about anything from finishing school to getting a job. I battled with my spouse all through his upbringing to help instill a work ethic, but due to my husband's very strict childhood of all work and no play, he wanted his son to be able to enjoy his childhood. Josh(son)is of a shy personality and does not relate to adults very well. In comparison to his friends I recognize he is significantly immature. He got mixed up in drugs for a couple years, coming home in the week hours of the morning and sleeping till after lunch. We spent many opportunity talking to him about drugs. He has since quit school with only two credits left to obtain, but doesn't go out anymore and has become a home body watching tv and playing video games all day. We love him and want the best for him. He is not a bad kid. I would say that he lacks some confidence, as did I back then, and his ability to have a conversation is lacking. He gets very frustrated with himself when he doesn't know how to say something. Which happens often. Then building on that, for the worse, is this Mr. Cool act he tends to play on. He also has this tendency to make unusual noises/outbursts. He had a friend who did the same. Josh has been the kind of person who adapted character traits of the friends he hung with. He also is a pest. He also likes to antagonize the pets. I truly think he is bored, but won't take responsibility for his own way. Please offer any suggestions you may have as I would truly appreciate. I've searched the Internet for some answers only to find people saying to throw him out, then he'll shape up. I'm not so sure that is the answer, although it could be.
I apologize for my delay in responding to your questions. I have been having a hard time deciding on what to advise. The problem with this format is that I do not have the ability to ask you to elaborate on your description of Josh's actions. Here are my suggestions based on my best guesses as to the rest of the story.
Right off the bat, throwing him out does not accomplish much except pushing off the responsibility of assisting him to others. The only time parents lose the parenting game is when they give up. Sometimes it takes a long time but eventually all kids grow up.
If I could ask you, my first question would have been, have you ever had him evaluated for learning disabilities and, especially, Tourette Syndrome? The making of unusual noises/outbursts are the most common symptoms of Tourettes. I have been Goggling tourettes and a goodly part of the descriptions match your descriptions. If he is not hanging out with that other guy any more and still does these noises, I wouldn't think that that would be a copy-cat thing.
As for learning disabilities, the fact that he does not know how to say something, could easily be a dyslexia problem. That could effect his ability to express himself.
His not finishing H.S., being shy and withdrawn, and playing video games and generally hibernating are all symptoms of low self-confidence. He is voluntarily taking himself out of the competition. My considered opinion is that drug abuse is primarily brought on by lack of self-confidence and self-esteem as a coping mechanism, so it fits the pattern as well.
I would suggest that if you can somehow convince him to get evaluated for learning problems and Tourettes, that would be the first thing to do. I know that at 19 you do not have any legal authority to compel that evaluation. The first thing to do is for you to find a clinic or professional service that would be able to provide the service and to get yourselves very well informed on the subjects before mentioning anything to Josh. Local professionals in the field would have the luxury that I do not have of being able to ask the right questions of you to make a good preliminary diagnosis.
If indeed these are what is behind his behavior, there are many ways available to overcome the problems and move on in life. Eventually, assisting him to have increased self-confidence/esteem, will be the final remedy. First though, let's figure out the other stuff.
I hope this all helped. You can always reply with follow up questions if you want or need to. If you go to my website,http://TheParentsCoach.com
are a bunch of useful parenting tips on my blog. There is also a parents resource page with recommended books. My favorite one, which is required reading for all my clients, is "Parent As Coach." It is low price, a quick read, and it transforms even pretty good parent/son relationships. You absolutely need to buy and read this book. If you click on the title it will take you right to the Amazon.com page to order it.
Jason Wittman, MPS