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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am at the end of my rope with my kids, 22 year old daughter and 19 year old son. In high school both my kids were honor students and involved in sports and other activities. Both are also polite and personable kids, and I do appreciate and recognize that. But both are also just spinning their wheels and getting nowhere.

My daughter has become a "gamer" because of her current boyfriend who she has been dating for over a year. As kids I would never buy them a game system but they did eventually save up and buy their own, but never became addicted to it. Now I see FB post frequently by my daughter talking about all night gaming sessions or all day playing. So guess what? Last semester she failed Trig. and this semester she failed Chemistry, even though this semester she only took 3 classes to lighten her load.

My son has struggled with partying the last couple of years, still managed to skate thru high school as an honor student because of the easier curriculum but now that he hit college it's not so easy. This was his first semester and he failed 4 out of 5 classes. I had him work with a life coach for almost 2 years, I have taken him to family therapy, drug counseling and individual counseling. I know he is still partying because he got popped at school for underage drinking, and I suspect he is smoking pot but he denies it. I took him to our family doctor a month back for a full drug screening but because of his age they won't tell me the results, but I at least got him in front of the doctor for a talking to.

I just don't know what to do anymore, aside from the fact that all these failed classes cost me money the fact that they are under achieving is killing me. I pay for school and car insurance and went 50/50 on there cars. My daughter works steady and my son works occasionally so I'm not giving them spending money.

Maybe I'm just venting but if anyone has any advise I would sure appreciate it. Or am I just expecting to much as my ex wife keeps telling me.
 

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Coop, I understand your frustrations. I have a 16 yr old son in high school and two daughters in college. We've had the normal teen issues with them but they are all good kids and they all did well in high school. Both of my daughters work and are full time students. One daughter works 3 part time jobs which adds up to full time. We pay tuition and car insurance and some living expenses.

Some floundering in college seems very typical. I think a one semester free pass is reasonable in most cases. I had a terrible second semester at college due to all kinds of social and family factors. Kids tend to be thrown to the wilds when they go to college, so some partying and the bad grades as a result are typical.

So the question is where is a reasonable line for your kids?

My eldest floundered trying to figure out what she wanted to do and she didn't have motivation. My wife hid the fact she basically failed 2 full semesters. Had I known, I would have cut her off then. She did figure it out though and is now an A student in a good track as a junior. This is year 6 for her!

All of my kids know that $ is a gift to them which is not mandatory. I think if your kids have a bad semester it is fair for you to tell them that this was their one free pass. There should be specific requirements they must meet in order for you to continue to support them.

Both of my college daughters tell me they were very frustrated at private east coast colleges (which they both left) because there were so many kids there whose parents were paying the bills and the kids were looking at college as a 4 year party. So yes there is a big problem with kids feeling entitled to college being paid for. Heck, look at the protests by students calling for "free" college paid for by the government! They don't want to have the student loans for their own education.

One thing which seemed to impact both of my daughters was Dave Ramsey's financial materials. They started to think about money as other than whatever was in their pocket at the moment.

I have encouraged my kids to think about their priorities and goals, and to then make their education decisions. I can offer advice and data about the real world but they need to make a decision for themselves. Perhaps your kids are not feeling they have a real direction in their lives or education.

As to the underage drinking I am not worried about a single event. It could end up being a wake up call for him having to go through the courts and mandatory counseling classes. First semester is tough for kids being exposed to all kinds of things while not having to worry about coming into the house where you will catch them intoxicated.

Have you set any boundaries or expectations with them?
 

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Yes. Set your boundaries with your children and be consistent. Because the HS years you didn't have to come down on them....now the fun begins. They have freedom and things aren't as easy as before academically.

Not sure if they are living with you?

If they fail, they can retake the class at their expense. If they go to jail, they can bail themselves out, etc. I was a little loser with my young adults until they kept screwing up and not learning a damn thing. Now, I am a hard core tough love and finding that works.
 

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If you are paying for even part of your son's schooling, you had every right to see the results of the drug screen. Tell him so. If he doesn't authorize the doctor to release it to you, cut him off. Period.

Kids today want to have all the perks of independence without paying the costs. Teach him a valuable lesson right now that will serve him the rest of his life.
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Wow! You are paying for your kid's education and they do these thing? :wtf: Cut them off!

I don't believe in paying for your kid's college, otherwise they treat it like a 4 year excuse to party and slack off. Your post proves my point.
 

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I kicked my son out having full confidence he could do better than what he was doing (sleeping in, peeing in bottles, barely working on his school holiday break.) He is now in Army National Guard, will graduate from a really nice college (50K+ a year) debt free and honorably, was near or at the top of his class for Army training, has a long-term girlfriend of two years...plans to go to graduate school, is polite and well-mannered and responsible, communicates much better...is healthy and addiction free...

The bottom line is that instead of treating him like he needed help, I absolutely took the leap of confidence that having raised him with all the skills he needed for an adult life, that he was fully capable of managing not just well, but spectacularly, on his own. And he did.

It's called cutting the apron strings.
 

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:iagree: :smthumbup: Exactly. Good move. Being a good parent is knowing when to let go and let the baby bird fly out of the next on his own. ;)

My daughter is putting herself through college. She has worked since age 14 because she wanted to buy herself stuff that cost more than her allowance could cover. She was active in her church youth group and was a leader for the younger teen youth group. She was voted Student of the Year in 8th grade. In high school she was recommended for a leadership conference by our local Elks Club.

To pay for college, she applied for scholarships, loans, financial aid and does works study. She paid for bartending school so she could make more money than she does being a waitress. She's applying to be an RA at college for next year as it will give her free room and board. She is on the campus Resident Hall Association and is vice president of her dorm and pulls A's in her classes. She's working while on winter break.

Her deranged, alcoholic father took away the car he gave her for her 17th birthday and she told me she'll pay to buy a new one so we are going out to buy her a new one. This is a kid with a can-do attitude who I expect will do extremely well in her life.

And I've never expected anything less from her or my 15 year old son. When my husband wouldn't give our son the computer he bought him for his birthday last year my son said "Don't worry I'll get a job and pay for it."

I got him a computer for Christmas but I liked the attitude he had. All this tells me that I'm doing a good job as a parent. I'm really proud of them. :)

When my children were young we were at the drugstore and my kids ran up to me while I was on line and asked me to buy them a toy. I said "No, you don't need that, go put it back". They turned and went to put it back. A woman standing behind me gasped and said "I can't believe how they just listened and they didn't even argue with you!"

I looked at her and said "Well of course they listened. God has spoken". ;)
 

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I come at this from a much different perspective. Even though I'm only 26 and certainly have no children old enough to be in college, I feel that my age alone may offer a unique take.

I did very well in HS and started off well in college. But after my 1st year my grades, effort and motivation rapidly declined. It wasn't an issue of partying too much though. I only went to college because I was "supposed to". I didn't have a career or direction in mind so I found that I began to aimlessly take classes and when they weren't interesting and/or easy, I slacked off. Though it disappointed my parents greatly, I decided to drop out because I realized how much of a waste of time and money it was.

I worked PT and paid for my own living expenses (except rent, which came from my loans), minus car insurance. My parents paid for a good chunk of my college tuition, but I still ended up with close to $30,000 in debt after 3 years and no degree. While I feel bad for wasting their money, I also know that I made the right decision. In addition, I don't think I would have wasted their money if I had a better idea of why I was going to college in the first place, or if I wanted to go at all.

I guess my point is, perhaps they're simply not interested? College isn't for everyone. Have you actually asked them if they want to go to college, or what they want to do with their education? If they say yes, you need to communicate to them that if that's the case they better shape up. Continuing to fund their education while they're not taking it seriously is a slap in the face to you and is not acceptable. I would tell them that they either need to get their acts together or you're not going to pay for things anymore, including car costs. College isn't just about getting educated in school; it's about getting educated in life. And if they know they can count on you to pay for everything, they're not learning much.

As for your kids' behavior, I wouldn't stress too much about it. Your daughter will either come to realize that this lifestyle isn't productive, or she could be completely happy and stay doing it for awhile. Either way, I think you need to let her figure it out. And as long as your son isn't getting in to serious trouble, try not to dwell too much about the drinking. As long as he's responsible and safe, that's about as much as you can ask. Also, almost everyone smokes pot in college. If he's not doing harder drugs, don't sweat that either. The point I'm trying to make is that they're becoming adults now, and at some point you've got to let them sink or swim on their own.

I understand you want them to live up to their potential. And you should be there for support. But some things they've just got to figure out on their own.
 

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Exactly. I told my son that if college wasn't for him, he didn't have to go. He could do something else. I'd also told him that he didn't necessarily need to get a job with benefits the first year out of high school, because he still had his dad's Tri-Care benefits for that year, so he was free to explore.

Furthermore, I explained that if he wanted to go to college but didn't know what he wanted to do, he could go to school at North Dakota State because his Pell Grant would cover nearly everything, tuition, room, board. (A friend of his went there, his parents had the same idea, the friend is now a classmate of mine at a much pricier school where he has a baseball scholarship, but the friend effected the transfer, etc. on his own...)

I do agree that mental health should be assessed. I'm not heartless, my son had gone for counseling during his high school years. We have always put good mental health above all else in our home, and it shows. If someone is having a problem, we attend to it.

Even a small amount of pot smoking can destroy someone's motivation. I caught my son doing this in high school...after he got over that issue, his attitude improved. I'd say his grades improved too, but I've always been of the opinion that since my children aren't academically challenged in any way (intellect...) their grades are their own business and their teacher's. I stay out of it. I don't even monitor my younger children's homework although I gave them a way and the space and time to be organized about it at home.
 

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Well that's part of cutting them off(not paying for their tuition). If college isn't for them, then they can drop out and move on to something else, otherwise they'll have to step it up and find out how to afford to pay for college on their own. They are grown adults and need to act like it. My parents paid for part of my tuition, as long as I kept my grades up and I also had a scholarship that paid for most of the tuition. If I had slacked off, then my parents would have stopped paying for my schooling, as they should do.
 

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They're 22 and 19, not 30 and 33. They are young! Why do they have to decide NOW what they want?

Mine are 18, 21 and 23, and it's only in the last couple of years that the oldest has had a clue. He spent a couple years out of high school being a deadbeat. If I had kicked him out of the house, that wouldn't have solved anything. It appalls me that parents think that kicking a kid out of the house when they're done high school solves anything!! Let them figure things out. Provide a safe place for them. Have house rules, reasonable ones, but let them figure things out for themselves. They just spent 12 years being programmed by educators. Now they need to start thinking for themselves and learning what's out there that THEY want.
 

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They're 22 and 19, not 30 and 33. They are young! Why do they have to decide NOW what they want?

Mine are 18, 21 and 23, and it's only in the last couple of years that the oldest has had a clue. He spent a couple years out of high school being a deadbeat. If I had kicked him out of the house, that wouldn't have solved anything. It appalls me that parents think that kicking a kid out of the house when they're done high school solves anything!! Let them figure things out. Provide a safe place for them. Have house rules, reasonable ones, but let them figure things out for themselves. They just spent 12 years being programmed by educators. Now they need to start thinking for themselves and learning what's out there that THEY want.
My son did not spend 12 years being programmed by educators. He unschooled himself from grades 4-9 and then chose to go to a brick and mortar liberal country day school where he had a scholarship. He got himself to and from school and had jobs such as wilderness trip leader for a boy's camp in Quebec (where the wilderness is really the wilderness and if you get lost you are immensely up the creek especially if you have boys who belong to wealthy parents who can sue your butt off!) also a dishwasher and a dairy stock guy at a store. He was in college and had worked for UPS on breaks for whatever reason the particular break he was on he did not have a lot of work lined up and was sinking into a really bad schedule, peeing in bottles, sleeping til 2 or 3 not following up on work phone calls and admittedly not helping around the house, like even with shoveling (I saw him the other day and he reminded me how bad that holiday was for him personally, and how right I was to draw the line, as he was losing respect for me putting up with it all!)

There's nothing wrong with asking a competent adult that you know to be a competent adult to leave your house because he's mooching off of you and it's not doing anyone any good. Biology has nothing to do with it if they're 20 years old!

The world is relatively a safe place. There are jobs with room and board available for those who want them. Including the armed services. Not every job in the armed services requires you to be a killer, there are jobs in health care, reporting, finance, food services, intelligence, linguistics, administrative support (secretaries), etc.

My younger son I am planning on having underfoot or to be supervised/assisted until he's 30 and even then he will need to have a social worker/life manager. Or his sister will need to be his roommate to keep him situated. He does not do well with matters of coherency. His uncle has a history of failing big time when out on his own. Sad but true. Some humans cannot function well outside of a family unit...but they're an exception as most can.

I brought up my older son to have the skills he needs in life. Navigating train and bus stations and airports, working (dishwasher is a great job to know how to do, because you can always get work AND it includes food and access to people who typically are amenable to rooming situations.)

Not only is my son thriving out on his own, he will graduate from a college that costs over 50K a year with zero debt and money in his pocket and a long-term girlfriend. Plus besides dish washing skills he has learned a valuable trade in his National Guard training. He also speaks fluently 2 other languages besides English.

Young whatever.

He's 22 but he's no 'baby' except to his girlfriend :)

I have never forced him to do anything, the only thing I did was to set boundaries on what was acceptable and what wasn't and he figured the rest out on his own.

When I was his age I was being paid over 25K a year to go to college, I had benefits and did not need to do anything but earn my degree. I too graduated with no debt and money in the bank, plus I traveled quite a bit on school breaks. I tutored on the side and was a nanny, because I liked working and I liked belonging to a family.

I think people tend to rise to what is expected of them. Setting a bar above someone's head and saying that's as far as they need to go is a sad way to treat a human. Honestly, people are capable of a lot more than what we expect from them. I do think that kids especially take their cue from adults.

My younger son although he is no logistical genius is quite the artist. I don't make a big deal of it to him, but he attends an art institute by invitation and scholarship, the teachers are just dying to get him in their classes...which are full of adults! (He is 12 and looks to be about 9.) I don't tell him that he shouldn't be able to draw or paint or build the way he does. If I did or if I said, oh, it's too bad there are not art classes for kids you can go to...I would be making a big mistake. Instead, he gets the environment that I know he can function in that is best for his development.

I know there are people who expect their kids to be dependent on them through college. Most kids will want to please their parents, so they will do what's expected of them.

I've seen differently in my dealings with young people. Even at the college where I go now, my nanny last year said that her parents were not doing well, however she graduated under her own steam. She played in a rock band, she belonged to a sorority, she had other jobs besides being a nanny...

There is another classmate of mine, she is 19 and she has two adopted kids ages 12 and 5! Her parents also look up to her for advice. Her brother is a doctor and they consult a lot on stuff.

The point is, I know a lot of competent younger people.
Some of them more competent than me.
 

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They're 22 and 19, not 30 and 33. They are young! Why do they have to decide NOW what they want?

Mine are 18, 21 and 23, and it's only in the last couple of years that the oldest has had a clue. He spent a couple years out of high school being a deadbeat. If I had kicked him out of the house, that wouldn't have solved anything. It appalls me that parents think that kicking a kid out of the house when they're done high school solves anything!! Let them figure things out. Provide a safe place for them. Have house rules, reasonable ones, but let them figure things out for themselves. They just spent 12 years being programmed by educators. Now they need to start thinking for themselves and learning what's out there that THEY want.
They are capable of thinking for themselves, whether they are 22 and 19 or 33 and 30. Most people have a clue about what they want to do with their lives in high school or at least know the general path of what they are interested in and want to go for. I don't consider them young, as I am close in age to them. My friends who didn't want to go to college, didn't go. It didn't matter that they had "12 years of being programmed by educators", as that wasn't an excuse. A good friend of mine went to cosmetology school, as that is what she wanted to do. I went to college, because that was what I had wanted to do. It's time for the cord to be cut and let them figure it out on their own how they will live their lives. If they mess around, then the finances will be cut. It's called welcome to the real world.
 

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I just found out by texting with my son (he initiated) that he will be living with his gf and her friends in an apt at college and that they are actively looking for a place of their own. If I hadn't asked, I never would have found out. As in, it is definitely not anything he thought to have to ask me for help with. lol.

I think it's cool they are going to get an apt together.
I like that I raised a kid who can have a committed relationship and make a woman so happy.
 

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They're 22 and 19, not 30 and 33. They are young! Why do they have to decide NOW what they want?

Mine are 18, 21 and 23, and it's only in the last couple of years that the oldest has had a clue. He spent a couple years out of high school being a deadbeat. If I had kicked him out of the house, that wouldn't have solved anything. It appalls me that parents think that kicking a kid out of the house when they're done high school solves anything!! Let them figure things out. Provide a safe place for them. Have house rules, reasonable ones, but let them figure things out for themselves. They just spent 12 years being programmed by educators. Now they need to start thinking for themselves and learning what's out there that THEY want.
So while your son was being a deadbeat did he have a job? Or did you just give him free room and board and an allowance while he was figuring himself out?

That's the problem today. We consider 18 year olds "children". At 18 you are an adult. You don't want to go to college? That's fine but you aren't going to sit around doing nothing either.

My son at 15 is questioning going to college but he knows that if doesn't do that then he'll have to do something else to earn his way. There's no room for slackers in this house. We all pull our weight here. I give my kids an allowance when they are young but it's not for doing nothing. When they start to work that's what they buy stuff with. I'm not the source of unlimited funds and they know it.

My daughter is 18 and I consider her a capable and responsible adult. I give her a great deal of freedom to make her own choices. I trust her to do the right thing. But, I've always made it be known that she has to adhere to a certain set of standards. You had to earn what you get and that nothing in life is free and there are consequences to your actions.

My daughter has worked since she was 15. She's putting herself through college and taking bartending courses to make herself more marketable. She had no idea what she wanted to do when she went to college but now has decided that she enjoys the food service industry and is looking to major in hotel, restaurant management and minor in business.

I went to college and got a degree in graphic design. I worked in the field for a few years, didn't like it and went on to start my own business on my own. In a few years, once my kids are on their own I'm thinking of changing careers and location and I'm no kid. Life is constantly full of changes and challenges, doesn't matter what age you are. It's how you think and react to circumstance. If you raise your kids to think on their own and expect them to act as independent adults than that's what they will be, despite 12 years of supposedly being "programmed" in a school. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey folks this is the OP, thanks for the responses. As a follow up there has been some changes in the last two weeks.

First off my daughter and her boyfriend decided they had to live together and went out and rented an apartment. That pretty much puts an end to my paying her way. I just paid her car insurance but going forward it's up to her, and as for college there is enough money saved for a few more classes but after that she needs to take out loans.

My son is a little different, he has always been socially awkward so cutting the cord and throwing him out into the world I'm afraid would end badly and I'm not ready to do that. We decided this next semester he will go to a community college and live at home, hopefully I can keep him a little better focused on his classes. A steady job is also a must, currently he has a job so we are good there.

Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Happy New Year everyone!
 
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