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  • Oldest kid failed out of college!

    I know this is a financial site but this Is definitely causing a financial hit. My 18 year old graduated high school in May and went to college in the summer. She two C’s in her two classes and we told her she needed a 3.0 to stay away at college. This full semester she is failing everything. We’ve spent $3,500 on summer now $8,000 for this semester. Our only option is to bring her home. She has always been a strong willed kid and made plenty of mistakes but she met our minimum requirements to go away to college and got in. She’s not depressed she basically got up there and partied and did no school!! Does anyone else have experiences with kids that did not do the typical route that we hope for with getting an education, getting a career and being self-sufficient. How do you motivate them and when do you cut the chord. I don’t want the “30 year old living in my basement scenario”. Any pointers will help.

  • #2
    Sorry to hear. I have no first hand experience with a family member but this pretty much describes all my best friends growing up. Sounds like your child needs to decide whether or not school is really for them or not. If you all are pushing it but it isn’t for them or isn’t for them right now then make it clear the cord is cut - sends a message to your other child(ren). Otherwise if they are really wanting to go to school I’d keep them close to home. As a follow up to my friends’ situation, two went on to get their masters and have successful careers and the other is a bartender. Smartest bartender ever though. Sometimes they just need time to get serious and find their motivation. In all of their situations partying hard invariably meant drinking too much and/or smoking weed. So keep an eye out for those signs as well.

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    • #3
      • Do everything you can to withdraw before the failing grades go on her transcript! That includes a letter requesting withdrawal for any "condition" (ADD, depression etc.) that you can dream up. Those "F's" will follow her forever in her GPA. That will be partially fixable in the future.
      • So you have a daughter that isn't ready to follow the traditional route. Your role as a parent is to help her find her own route. She failed in your eyes, not her's. That is probably because she did not "own the goals", thus the partying. Find out what she wants to do.
      • By no means think of her as a failure or cut her off in any manner. A welcome home, food and shelter is always available and advice and support as she works through this. Spending money and transportation is not an investment in her future. That is a vacation. You will be willing to invest in her future when she decides the young adult she wants to become. Privileges and support come with responsibilities.
      • It could have been worse. Like I want you to meet your new grandchild or bail me out. Keep the communications open and honest as possible. Your bird will fly, just not in the direction you hoped for. That is not bad, it's simply different. Accept it and move on investing in her future when she has a direction.

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      • #4
        You & her need to sit down & figure what does she want to do with her life, & is college needed to get there. Then she needs to be invested in the costs; some portion of the bills she needs to be personally responsible for.

        Good luck OP.
        $1 saved = >$1 earned. ✓

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        • #5
          Great advice. Thx. I wish I would have known about that withdrawal thing sooner. I’ll check if it’s too late. It def could be worse. She has no idea what she wants to do so I have to just give her time to figure some things out. My type A personality is having a hard time dealing with it but it’s not the end of the world, for sure.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tim View Post
            • Do everything you can to withdraw before the failing grades go on her transcript! That includes a letter requesting withdrawal for any "condition" (ADD, depression etc.) that you can dream up. Those "F's" will follow her forever in her GPA. That will be partially fixable in the future.
            I’m sorry, but this is horrible advice. Assuming OP’s kid does not have a disability interfering with education, this is just further enabling and subsidizing bad behavior. It’s also disrespectful to people who have an actual disability but keep grinding.

            OP, it sucks. I’m too young to have experience with this, but I think a good Sitdown about expectations is warranted. No point in sinking money into a student’s education with no direction.

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            • #7
              I feel for you. My brother (a lawyer) had this happen with all 3 of his kids. Sometimes I think this is rebellion that I simply cannot relate to.

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              • #8
                I think a lot fewer kids have the maturity to handle college on their own at 18 than we realize. Some aren't cut out for it - period. Yours is obviously not mature enough yet and maybe not even cut out for it. There could be any number of reasons, who knows.

                I would certainly not sink any more $ into college but I would give her a deadline to either get a job and pay rent, her own cell phone bill, buy her own car (whether from you or off the used car lot), etc. or leave the nest. And if she opts to stay at home, she has rules, curfew, participates in cleaning, cooking, etc. as a functioning member of the family, no petting or she will be on the road toward being the snowflake in the basement. Yes, I'm that kind of mama bird.
                Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Drsan1 View Post
                  she met our minimum requirements to go away to college
                  This statement kind of caught my ear weird. I'm sure I'm reading too far into it but make sure there are no perceptions (true or otherwise perceived) of being overbearing on your part. Her decisions need to be her decisions. I do agree that a sit down heart to heart would be a good place to start.

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                  • Drsan1
                    Drsan1 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    To an extent with her we were overbearing. She always had this propensity to do the minimum. So we pushed her harder with the goal of education/career/independence. My other two are much more low maintenance and only require a little prompting here and there or less TV time for a missed assignment. Whenever we didn’t pay attention to her she failed things...sometimes horribly. I’m not completely surprised by the outcome of her away at school but as a parent you hope that they will just “get it” even though in high school they weren’t the best. We set minimum requirements and she put forth an effort and met them.

                • #10
                  Some 18-20 year olds simply aren't ready for college life. I wasn't. It was way way too much fun. I failed out of my sophomore year. Spent a couple years sewing wild oats in some amazing places. Matured and went back to school. Clawed my way to graduating Summa Cum Laude from a fantastic university and clawed way into a good allopathic medical school. It was tough and I definitely felt the weight of digging myself out of the hole I'd put myself into. Had many med school interviews where we discussed my "red flags." But I think I'm happier than most of my other mid 30's physician friends and colleagues because of that experience and the perspective it has given me. Work year round doing construction, as a waiter, front desk staff, etc. and you realize how great it is being a physician.

                  Maybe the sky is not falling.....

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                  • #11
                    I have zero advice, but recall those diagnoses of leukemia or horrible car crashes to put things in focus....

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Tim View Post
                      A welcome home, food and shelter is always available and advice and support as she works through this.
                      Emphasis on the word WORKS. If your daughter moves home, she must get a job, pay rent, and do her fair share of all the household chores. If she's not willing to do this, point her in the direction of the homeless shelter. She's an adult now, and adults don't get free rides.

                      Spending some time in the working world may be just what she needs right now. It may help her figure out what she really wants to do long-term, and it may make her feel productive and useful.

                      Good luck, and don't give up hope. Some kids just take longer to grow up than others do. Your daughter can always go back to school later, after she's matured a bit and knows what she wants to get out of further education.

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                      • #13
                        No direct personal experience but had a family member that did this. Being away at a party school was a bit too much temptation so came back home, enrolled in a local community school. Did great and she leads a happy productive life now. Wouldn’t get into med school but who cares.

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                        • #14
                          Hasn't been mentioned yet, but the military often does wonders for imparting a little direction for wayward teens. Let her pick the branch and then go visit the recruiter. They'll be able to give her some recommendations on what type of job she might find interesting. Takes care of any future college, as well.
                          I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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                          • #15
                            One late observation. The need for "independence" comes out differently. You think the "brightest one" has it made. I hear these recommendations of setting the boundaries and enabling poor behavior. Maybe yes, or maybe the same approach for one vs the other would be completely wrong. It might actually be "fear of failure", don't try because your kid thinks they might not measure up to the competition (siblings). The point is you are going to have to work through it and make your choices. The last thing I would want is the independence streak to manifest itself into "moving out to stay with friends".
                            Two kids, distinct paths and personalities. One flunked a semester and one had a hurricane or two, a 100% loss from a fire and a "boyfriend" that "borrowed" a vehicle and cratered about 7 cars in a DWI spree. My kids are different and respond to things completely differently. Sometimes kids play you and sometimes they need you.
                            Whatever you choose to do might need to be different next year. No "correct answer" in raising kids. I learned to get out of their way and be completely satisfied as long as they are putting forth effort. Good luck figuring it out.
                            Pretty sure each has a long long list of better parenting skills I needed.

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