Join Date: Jun 2005
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BTW, unless he's pre-med or studying engineering, college isn't that tough especially if he isn't working during the school year so the idea of him needing "time off" is totally lame, IMHO :-)
Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.
I don't think your son's current lack of ambition is a predictor of anything.
I won't deny that there are people out there who sit around all day and never "grow out of it," sadly. But I think there's more people out there who kind of "stalled out" at around 18. I was one of them.
I graduated high school at 17. Didn't get into my first or second choice college, and kind of gave up. Went home and enrolled in the local state school. My parents paid it all, books and everything. I got B's the first semester and didn't study at all. I mean, I did SQUAT. The second semester I stopped showing up for class. To this day I can't explain what the hell was going on in my head. I actually would drive to campus and then just not go to class. It wasn't a real decision, like "I don't want to go anymore." It would be more like "OK, it's time for XYZ class... here I am... maybe I should go see if so-and-so is in her room or something, I can always catch that class on Tuesday." I got a failing notice in the mail and my parents opened it, and they were not exactly thrilled iwth me, but they didn't go overboard. My mom went with me the next day to unenroll me. They didn't put a bunch of guilt on me, thank god.
I was in fact depressed during that time. I had a crappy job at a drugstore, but when my mom's best friend was dying in another state, I quit the job and went with my mom to stay with that family for a while to help out (the friend miraculously lived). When I came back, I didn't get another job. I sat in the house all the time. I watched a lot of tv, played some computer games. I think this went on maybe 2-3 months. Finally, my mom SUGGESTED - i.e. didn't pressure or anything, just plain suggested - that I look at getting a job through a temp agency. I figured what the hell, went, applied, and got a nice little office job for about 6 months. I moved into an apartment near the college campus with a friend (though I didn't go to college anymore). I paid my rent, food, gas, all my expenses. When my parents moved out of state, I went with them, and thus moved "back home" but I got a really big-shot city job and was a responsible person by then. Then I went back to college, got married, got another big-shot job, had a kid, blah blah blah. I promise you, I'm extremely responsible, and I am a very productive person.
The family friend who almost died, her daughter was similar when she graduated high school. She went to school (and actually went, unlike me, lol) but changed her major like 3 times then dropped out. She wanted to spend the summer in Europe, but that never happened. After a year or two of slopping around, having some crappy part-time jobs but not being really motivated, she finally pulled it together and decided she wanted to be a nurse, and now she's almost done with the program and doing well, no sign of changing her mind.
I think a lot of people go through 12+ years of "mandatory" school and look forward to "freedom" so much. And then it's a shock when they are out of high school and they realize they don't have a clue what they want to do. When they have the ability to make some actual choices - what do I want to major in? What kind of job do I want? etc. - they just don't know. 17-19 is sort of an aimless period. I know so many people who, during that time, picked pointless and fleeting majors - at that age, who knows they want to be engineers or accountants or teachers?
Wow, that was a long-winded post. You know what to do, but all I will say is that I'm grateful my folks allowed me the space to be aimless for a bit. I would not have expected them to finance any BS (and I would have understood if they asked me to pay back the tution for that second semester, though they never did) but I think nagging will never, ever, ever get someone motivated.
|He is a classical music major, so he does have a bit of a busy schedule, but it's not overwhelming|
|I wish it was more accepted for teens to take a gap year or two before college just to figure out what it is that they want to get out of life.|
Um... Ok... Uh... as a previous 18 year old full time college student... I completely understand where your son is comming from. try to think of it this way...
12 units = full time
1.5 hours IN CLASS/week = 1 unit (x12 = 18 hours/week IN CLASS)
+/- 1 hour / Day HOMEWORK = 3 units of homework (x4 = 12 units = 4 hours/day, x7 (yes 7) = 28 hours/week on HOMEWORK)
= 46 hours/week on class assignments
add an add'l 2-4 hours/day rehersal = 14-28 hours week (we'll say 21 as a happy medium) so = 21 hours/ week PRACTICING
so now he's "working" 67 hours a week...even at 14 hours a week, that's STILL 60 hours a week of "work"...
and you're right, there is a huge tendency towards kids getting really REALLY depressed especially their first year away from home...
Maybe you don't feel like you should pay for extras, and you're right, there's not a requirement for you to do so. But also, remember that they are now saying "21 is the new 18" and "25 is the new 21"... in other words, he's shown that he has the ability to be responsible, but he's not really ready to be out on his own. He still needs his parents...
In highschool, my freshman english teacher told the parents that we (her new students) were just like toddlers, needed just as much sleep as toddlers, and needed the same parenting as toddlers and were going through the same developmental stage of autonomy/dependency just in a bigger package... She went on to remind parents that we needed love and understanding and that we would hopefully have to relive this stage again in 4-5 years as we entered college.
in other words, your son is just needing you and yet trying to find his feet in a very big and scary world. He did it in his home, then he did it in his town, now he is doing it in his state... soon he will be at the place where he is doing it in his country, getting his big job, becoming part of the economy, being the man he is becomming, eventually finding his place in his world...
If he comes back over the summer, it's normal (think of when he was two and he would run back to your lap when something was new and fun/exciting/scary/different/etc this is the same thing, bigger package), it's also perfectly normal for you to say, "look you made it through your first year of college, we're so proud of you!!! Now, go get a job for the summer so you can have spending money next year." (you could even throw a "first year graduate party"-that freshman year is hell & finishing it is a big deal.)
Your son isn't going to flunk out of life. He needs your love, support, and guidence, just like he has all along. I hear so many "adults" (because i still refuse to say I am part of that catagory) referring us "kids" to the song "You're Gonna Miss This", well, you're gonna miss this. Soon he won't be coming home, asking you to be his safe haven when the world is a little overwhelming... He'll have his own home, his own haven, and he won't need you to be there to hold his hand.
So for right now, take him out front and throw a ball, go for icecream and a movie together, go for a walk... and start to build that relationship you want ten years down the road when you are waiting for your first grandchild to be placed in your arms - and waiting for him to call you and ask why the baby is crying and pooping and whether he needs to feed it or change it first and why (oh WHY) is mama crying and and andand... what is he supposed to do?!??!?
edited to say.... maybe it's not overwhelming because he doesn't have a job on top of it all... Just a thought... when I got a job on top of school my freshman year, I ended up having to drop half of my classes because i was so busy... then cutting myself because I felt like a failure because it didn't seem like it was that much to anyone else and I should be able to handle it... BUT I did have a really crappy support system too. Eventually I ended up working (15 minutes shy of) full time & still going to school part time, providing my own transportation through pedal power because it was faster then the public bussing system which is included with most school ID's for free...
Ann-Marita. I deleted my usual signature due to, oh, wait, if I say why, that might give too much away.
I have just a few thoughts..
Is he sure he wants to be a classical music major? Does he feel pressured into this? Could he be depressed? Lack of motivation, no longer finding joy in things you used to enjoy are signs/symptoms..
Depressed or not, he needs to carry some of the weight of this situation. I am not going to finance "extra" things.
I have an 18 year old who lives at home, doesn't work, doesn't go to school, and whom I have to threaten to get him to do anything around the house. But I give him $20 a month and that's it - I do not pay for ANYTHING for him, besides his food and shelter, which I will always provide my kids with no questions asked if they need it. He has a cell phone that will probably be getting cut off soon, and other than that he doesn't really have any expenses. When he needs money he'll get off his butt and get a job, but I don't bug him about it. He's trying to figure out where he's headed in life right now, and I'm perfectly willing to let him be lazy for a while. When and if he goes to school, we will pay his room and board but not his tuition, books, or other living expenses.