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Oldest kid failed out of college!

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  • White.Beard.Doc
    replied
    You mentioned that your daughter is not motivated and you had to push her. Once she arrived at college and you were out of the picture, she did not have the self motivation to follow through on her responsibilities. Just remember you cannot push a string. You will likely want to let her figure out what she wants in her life, but you may also have to remove the option of coming home and lazing about. You may have to make things very uncomfortable for her to step up. There is nothing like the need for food and shelter for clarifying life goals. Just remember to "play tennis on your side of the court". You control your home and your money, but she controls her own motivation and life direction.

    We had to use tough love with one of our kids. She came home after a semester at college, said she didn't like it, and she wasn't going back. Ok, so now what? She kind of locked herself in her room and wasn't coming out. We had to tighten the rules step by step until things got very uncomfortable. We gave her the ultimatum, you cannot sit around in this house with free internet, free food, and free cell phone. Either get a job, go back to school, or get out of our house because you are an able bodied adult.

    Our daughter did not like the tightening house rules, so she moved in with a friend. That only lasted a week until her friend's parents wouldn't have her any more. She then got a job and we allowed her to come back home once she was working. After a semester of low wage work, she decided to go back to school and she graduated. Now the years have passed and our daughter is a highly successful executive with a start up. She has a terrific job, a well developed career path, and most important, she is fully self supporting and has achieved an impressive net worth while still in her 20's.

    There is still hope for your daughter. Everyone's life path is different. Kids mature at different ages. But there are likely some very large, looming parenting challenges on the horizon. Work with your spouse to get on the same page with a plan. Are both of you ok with her living off your dime? Or are you willing to go the tough love route to make a carefree life at home not an option?

    Good luck, I remember those tough times all too well. But the best part of it came much later when our daughter told us, "I hated you at that moment, but when you kicked me out of the house it was the best thing that ever happened to me!" Kicking our daughter out but not telling her what to do with her life led to clarity for her. It was no longer Mom and Dad telling her what to do, it was up to her to figure it out. We simply applied the pressure by making the status quo quite uncomfortable.

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  • Hank
    replied
    The kids get free room and board and tuition paid for from the 529 while they productively are going to school. The moment a kid isn't in school (or in an apprenticeship), we check Craigslist for the going rate to rent a room in this rather pricey neighborhood. For you, son, it's the extra-special rate of 10% more than market rates to rent a room. Unlike other roommates, your mom and I won't drink all your beer and steal your laptop or stereo.

    What were your daughter's ASVAB scores? Does she want to enlist, go to community college, go to a commuter four year school, or secure the best wage earner job she can with just a high school education? Those old job interview questions of "What motivates you? Where do you see yourself in a year? Where do you see yourself in five years?" might be appropriate. Perhaps it will take her a year (or two, or three) before she decides that minimum wage jobs do not a satisfying career make.

    Provide guidance and support, but don't enable bad behavior. Economic outpatient therapy has been the demise of retirement readiness for many high income parents.

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  • Tim
    replied
    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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  • Doc Spouse
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • EH
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • artemis
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


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

    Leave a comment:


  • Drsan1
    commented on 's reply
    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.

  • EndlessSummer
    replied
    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.....

    Leave a comment:


  • CordMcNally
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • jfoxcpacfp
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hatton
    replied
    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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  • SerrateAndDominate
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drsan1
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cubicle
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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