Monica faces a dilemma. Her 21-year-old daughter is failing in school. She is abusing alcohol. She’s always had trouble, ever since 5th grade. She’s been diagnosed with ADD. Her daughter refuses to get any help. Monica is afraid that her daughter will crash and burn. What should she do?
All too many parents of young-adult kids these days are facing these kinds of problems. Just when they thought they would be able to reclaim their lives, their kids are getting into trouble. The kids are over 18. Legally, they do not have to do anything the parent says. However, the parents are left with an unenviable dilemma. Either they rescue their child yet again with nothing really changing or they let them fall, which could have dire consequences.
Expect a long road, but have hope.
The solution to this problem is complex, difficult, and never happens easily. At the same time, there is great reason to hope. If these kids can be reached, they can have wonderful, fulfilling lives. Being patient, and understanding that this can be a long-term project, is a good first step.
As this is a complicated and difficult situation, I’m going to break this down into steps that I will cover in a number of articles.
Understand your child’s condition.
It is often very difficult to face the reality that you have a child who’s brain and body doesn’t act like everyone else’s. It is very easy to think your child is bad, lazy, or stupid when you see them stealing your money, failing out of school, and spending the day in bed.
Another reason why parents often deny and avoid their child’s condition is because of their fear that they are at fault. Yes, you are a participant in why your child behaves as he or she does, and you do bear a certain responsibility for things getting to this point. And understanding what your contribution is, is an invaluable part of the solution. But all of that is different than blame. There are always many reasons why this child acts the way he or she does.
As we understand more and more about the brain, we know that problems of focus, organization, good decision making, feeling good about yourself, handling your emotions, and interacting well with others come from many sources. One big one is how that person’s brain and nervous system is wired and works.
It is important to deal with your own feelings that may keep you from fully understanding your child’s condition. You need to deal with these blocks and put time and energy into researching, reading, speaking with others, and getting expert professional guidance in order to continually learn everything you can.
Then you have to work on accepting what you have learned about your child.
This will help you in three ways. First, instead of getting angry because you perceive this to be willful behavior, you will be more compassionate about where this behavior comes from. As a result, you won’t spend as much time being angry. Second, you will understand better what to do. Knowledge is power. Three, the more your child feels understood, the more likely it is that he or she will be receptive to offers of help.
[box] Read Part 2 here. Look for Parts 3 and more to come soon. [/box]
[box type="info"] Do you want to learn more? SIGN UP to receive FREE articles or to get FREE advice about emotional and mental health, love, relationship, sex, work, money, success, and your best body. All from Shrinky, The Life Expert. Purchase the iPhone “Shrinky’s Anxiety Remedy” app, “the best tool to stay cool” on the App Store.[/box]