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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1696
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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My son who is 22 yrs old just graduated from college. He is

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My son who is 22 yrs old just graduated from college. He is back home working part-time while looking for career job. He has history of bi-polar and has been moody, disrespectful at times, etc. He is a binge drinker. Likes to give his opinion regarding everything including how we're raising our 7 yr old bi-polar daughter. Thinks he knows answers. I recently wrote letter to him letting him know I was concerned about all these issues and maybe he should consider seeing a doc about going back on meds. Now, he is basically staying away and hasn't wanted to talk about issues. My question: should I wait till he comes to me, or should I call and tell him we need to talk immediately. He is a very loving, compassionate kid and this is breaking my heart. Did I make a mistake by letting him know my concerns?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.

Dr.Keane :

I can help you today.

Dr.Keane :

Has he been on medication for his bi-polar disorder? and is he on any meds now?

Dr.Keane :

When you wrote the letter did you tell him what you think about him in general, that is, that he is a loving compassionate kid?

Customer:

He was diagnosed at age 9 or so and was on numberous meds till he was about 17. He is not on anything at this time

Customer:

yes, let him know we were extremely proud of him and his accomplishments. Told him he was a wonderful son whom we love uncondionally.

Dr.Keane :

okay, first thing is that you did not make any mistake letting him know you are concerned. So don't think that was a mistake. As a parent, even though he is 22 you are always allowed to let your children know you are concerned for them. The difficult part is that he is now an adult and you can't force him to get help.

Customer:

Told him he had a lot of great qualities, but were concerned with his current attitute towards his girlfriend and our family, ie; very 'short' with us

Customer:

had irrational outburst last week when talking with me and his 15 yr old sister.

Dr.Keane :

there could be other factors at play here, like not having a full time job, that is what we told our kids to expect, get an education and you will get a good job. Unfortunately the situation today is far from that.

Dr.Keane :

How did you react to his outburst?

Customer:

Told him to settle down....he kept telling sister to calm down, cuz they started in on telling each other they were off base. His anger was irrational for circumstance

Customer:

we were talking about something and both my daughter and i started explaining situation at the same time . he became unglued cuz he couldn't hear either one of us

Customer:

he jumped off counter and started yelling, cussing at us, telling us we need to learn how to talk and take turns

Dr.Keane :

I wouldn't call him and say you need to talk however I would stay in touch with him, even if you don't hear back. He sounds really frustrated. Not surprised that he camed unglued with both of you trying to explain something. If you know he may react then you need to stop the conversation all together. I know it's not easy but he was probably feeling "attacked"

Customer:

i think a normal response would have been... okay, now can just one of you tell story

Customer:

instead of becoming enraged

Customer:

we didn't know that we were going to get that reaction....it was like we were both excited to tell story...wasn't about him or anything. he just became frustrated out of nowhere..very suddenly

Dr.Keane :

I agree and this is a good example of his anger and frustration. He would be well served to have some therapy or perhaps go back on medication. The "shortness" of his fuse says he needs to get some help. But again, he's 22 and "knows it all". This is difficult on you as a parent I know.

Customer:

and then the other behaviors; being very inpatient, rude remarks, etc.

Dr.Keane :

I would let him go at his own pace and you see him in a calm moment then I would suggest he get some help. Offer to go to family therapy if necessary..be right back...

Dr.Keane :

sorry

Dr.Keane :

you can also let him know that you are not going to allow him to talk to you the way he does and that if he wants to be part of the family he has to act appropriately. He will give you a flip reply to that I am sure but he'll think about it. Be consistent in what you will accept and not accept from him in terms of behavior and let him know you expect respect and will treat him with respect too. Listen to what he has to say, don't try and "fix" him, validate that you hear him.

Dr.Keane :

while at the same time he needs to listen to you too...

Customer:

and yes , i know he is very concerned about job search, etc. His girlfried has told me that he is 'short' with her and rude at times . As his mom, just wanted him to realize that his attitude and behavior were a bit out of line and to work on it and cut down on drinking. He needed to work on relationship so he doesn't lose her

Customer:

okay, so I should prob wait till he is ready to talk?

Customer:

should i still text him to see how he is doing and let him know im thinking about him?

Customer:

should i tell him im sorry i hurt his feelings

Dr.Keane :

The drinking is a concern but again, he's an adult and doesn't want to be told what to do. When you try to tell him that his attitude and behavior is less than appropriate he immediately gets defensive. I would wait until he is ready and tell him simply and calmly. Say it once and let it go. Give him a list of doctors if you want but let him lead himself to the help. Yes, you can text him but don't ask any questions or make any suggestions just yet. He needs to realize his behavior is unacceptable and his girl friend should do the same.

Dr.Keane :

I would tell him you are sorry that the situation got out of control (since both of you got your feelings hurt), don't take the "blame" and if you apologize that YOU hurt his feelings he will think it was entirely your fault which is not true.

Customer:

okay....any other thoughts

Dr.Keane :

If you want you can in the near future suggest the family have a few sessions of therapy together to learn how to communicate better and respond better with each other. Make sure you set the boundaries that's important. That's about it.

Customer:

Thanks

Dr.Keane :

please accept when you leave the chat so I get credit for my answer..good luck.....

Dr.Keane :

you are very welcome

Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1696
Experience: Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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