Everyone in our house is so frustrated and there is no answer in sight. Just wanted to check in with other parents to see what their approach would be.
Son turns 19 in 3 weeks. He is Aspie, intellectually above average but not brilliant, very argumentative, very poor memory, no organisational skills and absolutely cannot or will not travel in a straight line. Generally a good kid and willing worker but has very strong ADD and no impulse control.
Got him through college through endless organisation, research, reviewing work, ensuring completion. It was literally wall to wall arguments and blood sweat and tears. This year he is at Tech doing an IT degree majoring in programming which he is a whizz at.
Decided to ease back this year due to 'He has to grow up and be responsible' and "No-one can live with all this stress and arguing'. Got him a very basic benefit to help support him . Really only about 60 pounds equivalent but we thought it would give him some independence. WE still pay everything bar his transport costs and some of his medical. So phone, tuition, board etc.
Problem number 1, he keeps spending the money on games no matter how many times we tell him not to. About 300 pounds in 3 months. He thinks its his money but have explained we are paying for everything and the money is for the odd lunch, travel, books and some other personal expenses like haircuts.
First mini exam of the year and he fails. No matter how many times we have told him or suggested to him a revision plan and just general organisational habits like looking on google classroom to see if a test is coming up or reading the course outline to find out what and when, he doesn't. He didn't even put is his exam time extension form despite being asked to maybe 10 times. He couldn't be bothered filling it out so he didnt.
So I reluctantly intervene and find all the info myself and get on with applying for him to have extra time etc. And we have come up with a set of rules around. Bedtimes, study, gaming times and conditions and behaviour. He keeps calling me names and arguing about every little thing.
Seem to have semi averted the crisis for now, ie: got him the best chances possible and got him focused on the next few exams.
He doesnt want the rules but we cant live like we are (We cook dinner for him and he wont leave the game long enough to eat it, he wont shower unless made to etc). And he argues about everything all the time, he is too busy to do housework but, if he does 1 to 2 hours school work, he is entitled to 2 - 3 hours gaming minimum. Does nothing for himself, makes my husband late for work most mornings as he wont get up off the couch and go and get dressed.
I have told him that if he cant stick to the rules he has to move out. He says he cant and I am a tyrannical ***hole for giving him rules. He has no self control. If I leave him to his own devices he will fail. He always does because he has no self direction whatsoever. He wants to succeed but he wont make the effort to succeed. I also cant be bothered fighting him any more or spending my entire life working for him but I know he wont move out unless I get the police and force him out and I couldnt go that far.
On the other hand, the entire family is tired of him treating us badly, always being so demanding and forcing the rest of us to dance to his tune. My husband is 65 in 2 months and wants to retire but wont be able to while we are still paying everything for him. We don't live in the UK and there are no free services for him. I keep wondering whether he needs a mentor or counselling or whether this is just the way he will always be and that he will never likely move out or even remain home but live independently. Or whether we just go all tough love on him.
Suggestions anyone? Either as parents or as a non neuro typical who has gone through this themselves.
How do we move him towards independence positively? How much should we and when should we intervene? As a family, what should we "put up with' and I know that is a horrid thing to say because he does have a disability but the whole family is tired of constant drama. We love him and we want the best for him but we are not sure what we should do at this stage.
We are trying to get him a license but he isnt particularly motivated to do that. He will go with us to practice driving but he likes being picked up and dropped off every day. Its convenient and free. He wont get his license unless we make it happen.
If we focus on the positives here it's amazing he's doing an IT degree focusing on programming. That's a degree most people will never be able to manage.
I'm 32 years old and never finished high school due to bullying. I achieved English, Maths and Science GCSEs as a mature student and even that wore me out due to the social issues and organisation involved.
I would look into getting him counselling or, probably even better, psychological support. Whatever this costs for you now in the long run will pay off.
Bear in mind that when you get older if your son has a good job the money he makes may even fund any care or assistance you or your husband need; so looking at it from a pragmatic point of view, investing in him is also investing in yourself.
This could’ve been me... A square peg being pushed through a round hole.
I rebelled too - and didn’t get what you would call stable until I was 29
Even then - I was a low earners who didn’t worry about anything at all.
Thing is - I am now more successful than any of my peers. I can earn more money now in one hour than most normals can earn in one day.
Hes most likely the same. When you ease off - he’ll probably come up with a world changing plan or something.
Becasue I bummed around for so long - a am as fit as a 20 year old and I’m 46. I can out perform all of my peers who were once really athletic and now they all look like middle aged spread old men. They have a career but not a young sprightly body. I have both and free time to use it
This is a VERY good point indeed!!! —-
“Bear in mind that when you get older if your son has a good job the money he makes may even fund any care or assistance you or your husband need; so looking at it from a pragmatic point of view, investing in him is also investing in yourself.”
Yes my mum & dad did support me until I was in my late twenties but I returned the favour. Because of Me - my dad was able to die at home in his bed. And the same thing for my mum. Becasue I am an ‘Aspie’ I was and still am able to - do the dirty work. Nurse your parents to their deaths as a respite career. Now I’m quite sure both parents were glad that they did support me in the long run. Guess who did the readings at their funerals - their Son, me myself. Not an impersonal reading from a person who didn’t even know the deceased. Thier own flesh and blood. Autistic yes. Stronger emotionally than the average folk.
Just wonering if you used smart tech as a bay sitter when he was younger??
Autistic people tend to be late developers - but I suspect the fact you're doing everything for him means he's still 8 years old in his mind. As he's on a degree course, is he actually able to do all the work or is he going off the rails? He might be good at programming but if he can't complete the written work he's going to fail - and he might be starting to realise it.
Kids generally seem very delayed in their growing up because of all the distractions from reality but 19 is still very young these days.
Does he have any friends? Does he have any external role models? (He won't listen to you vbecause you are parents) Does he have any social life?
If you think 19 is old enough (still a child/teenager these days), I think you might need to approach social services to try to get him set up for independent living - so if he crashes & burns, he can learn from it.
If you kick him out, then you're the bad guys - if he complies with 'help' from external bodies and fails on his own, then he'll have to examine what he's doing. Reassure him you're always there to assist - but you're not going to live his life for him.
You could try not giving him any money and see how he gets on - and maybe be a little less realiable and making him solve his own problems - learning the hard way.
Not sure what you mean by that. I have been at home with him always so no babysitters. He used to like TV when he was young but then graduated to books at about age 10 and then on to gaming. Other than that he likes to build lego and has spent many years doing this. He had a baby monitor when he was a baby but that's about it.
Yes this is kind of where I have got to.
He is struggling on the course already. The vast majority of the work so far is dead easy (easier in most cases than what he did in the last year of school as they take non IT types on to the course as well). But he is struggling because of poor organisation and poor communication skills. Anything that is practical and on the computer he is walking through. Other stuff like User experience analysis for software engineering he is struggling with. Info security is so boring he has made no notes, read no books and didnt bother to complete any of the lab work until he discovered it is worth 30% of the mark. He is doing basics of computing and it is much slower and less techie than he wanted and because of this, he may fail before he can get to the stuff he can shine at.
He's made some friends at tech and we have encouraged this but they are a little like him and the whole 'who can look like they are doing the least work' may be a bit of a factor. He works a bit with a guy in his 40's who is trying a second career and I encourage this because he is super organised and really wants to succeed. With my sons tech skills, they compliment each other and I hope that maybe some of his approach will rub off.
Otherwise he has no role models hence why I wondered about a mentor. Sadly, all of our family live in other countries so there isnt much outlet for him. For me, it is about making him step up but there is always competing thoughts about - is he capable enough, will he eventually mature or is this as good as it gets. If he goes on to part time Uni, I think he would cope better but will anyone employ him if he takes 4 or 5 years to get a degree?
Is there a better option than a degree? Should we be looking at getting him various short course certifications in programming languages for example and then seeing if we can get him placed as an intern and work for free for 6 months.
So I think I have decided I will let him fail and give him all the freedom he thinks he wants. I have shadowed him right through school and I know him well enough to know that he will crash and burn and I find it really hard to stand by and watch that because in his mind he wont see it coming and will be devastated when it happens.
If he is a late bloomer we will just have to walk there with him no matter the cost or the time but he has to at least put a toe in the water and start doing things for himself. He does have an 8 year olds view and a really entitled point of view that is so unconscious (like a child) he will swear blind that he doesn't.
I do think mentoring is the way to go. I dont want to kick him out but he worries me sick. I guess I never really thought about the non conformity aspect of being Aspie (being a teenager for that matter). He always has to swim against the stream and will never ever accept "Just trust me, it'll work best for you'. In many ways he is a good obedient kid so I tend to forget that he may simply just need to kick over the traces. And like any other kid, I have to accept that he will have to learn from his own mistakes.
If you don't mind me asking - which countries are involved? There's very different support depending on country - and different cultures have different expectations.
The time taken to get a degree is not really important - it's what skills & experience he has to compliment the qualifications when he's trying for a job.
I'd also try to get a meeting with the college and him and yourselves to see what support they can put in place for him - it's not intheir interest to fail him as that damages their results - so they will normally do everything possible to assist.
You might also need to have a calm, heart-to-heart chat about how is he's feeling about everything because he may be getting very, very stressed about the possiblility of crashing out of college and all the shouting, blame & repercussions that come with that.
Something I've always said to our daughter is you only get one life and doing things because of percieved pressure is the wrong thing to do - ending up in the wrong life is soul destroying.
What does he want to do with his life? What are his dreams? Does he really want to be a goat farmer or surfing instructor? Talk to him as a grown man (which he is) with his own views. There comes a point when being a parent comes to an end and being a supportive friend kicks in.
Is he terrified of disappointing you but has no mechanism to be able to broach the subject? His only outlet might be reverting to being like a child and refusing to face the growing problem.