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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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My son, now almost 22, was bullied in high school. Since

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My son, now almost 22, was bullied in high school. Since then we've had major issues with depression, drug addiction, low self-esteem. He has seen different doctors, therapists, etc over the years but now refuses to go anymore. He has minimal friends, can't keep a job, and now lately is pushing us, his parents, further and further away. He is very difficult to live with and is bullying us now. We just really don't know what to do. We don't believe he will survive to go out on his own again. Any suggestions.....thanks
Hi and welcome to Just Answer,

The situation you find yourselves in is difficult in that as a parent you want to help your son but he is not compliant to the help you offer. If he is bullying you now it will get worse if it isn't stopped. He doesn't accept the help that has been offered to him, therapy, doctors etc.
His pushing you away is him saying he can take care of himself, let him. Unfortunately, at this point he is the one controlling the situation. One suggestion, which is very tough to hear and execute, is to tell him he has to leave. He is 22, an adult by most standards and you cannot allow him to treat you this way. Tell him that until he is back in therapy and seeing a doctor for medication he is not allowed in your home. There has to be "rules" if he wants to be part of the family. I know it sounds like a very harsh solution, after all, this is your son, realize it is for his own good, as painful as it is for you to accept.
As far as your fear that he may not survive being out on his own, you will never have peace if you don't let him go his own course. It's a very difficult decision to make and I suggest you and your husband gets some supportive counseling during this time. It can wreck havoc on your lives. Let him know that it is because you love him that you are doing this. Enabling him by letting him stay will not help him at all. Give him the ultimatum, we love you and you are welcome here as long as you follow the basic rules of respect. A therapist can help you make up a list of what needs to be done in order for him to live in your home. I am sorry you have to experience this situation and hope this has been helpful. I am available for follow-up if needed.
Dr. Keane
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Dr. Keane,
Thank you for your quick response. We have done the Tough Love route before and that is when he ended up on coccaine. He has agreed to trying college yet another time, third time, and that starts next week. Right now we are in the process of him earning back privileges - car, cell phone, etc. If he leaves, I can't allow him to take any of those with him. At this point we were hoping he could manage to get back into school and take a positive direction with his life. I really don't understand why he's so angry with us; because we hold him accountable for his actions? We were hoping that if he does well with this first semester then maybe we could pay his rent somewhere while he continued on with school. This would get him out of the house and maybe give him the true college feeling again. Of course, I don't know if he could handle another failure in his life again. Does this change your previous answer?
It changes the "flavor" of my answer, you found another solution for now and that is great. You know some kids take longer than others to grow up. If he finds success in doing something such as school it will be a big boost to his self esteem and maybe help him get back on track.
I would let him have access to his car, cell phone, etc. all at once, he's 22 and needs to be treated as a 22 yr. old. However I believe part of the "deal" should include seeing a therapist. His anger towards you could well be due to accountability. But that is his problem, not yours and one he should examine in therapy.
You sound like you know what you are doing. He needs to be aware of the "plan", so he can begin to make the right choices. One thing many do as parents, which we need to be aware of, is that we offer solutions, You need to (fill in the blank) You do this, if you did that etc. when all the kids want us to do is listen. Validate what he is saying, you don't have to agree with it just listen. Once the kid hears "you" (anyone for that matter) it puts them on the defensive, saying "you" is viewed as an attack. Instead, nod, I hear you. I "feel" differently about that etc. Talk about the issues, don't give opinions, and if it starts to escalate into an argument, agree to stop and come back when everyone has cooled down a bit.
I see a lot of young adults, late teens, early twenties..and many are still under their parents "wings"....financially and emotionally. It's a tough place to be for both parent and child. In your case. you may want to make sure he has guidelines to live by if he gets his own apartment, that is, grades and maybe part time job. Be open to listen to alternate ideas from him as he progresses. I hope this works for you, it does sound like a good plan. Good luck!
Dr. Keane
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