18 year old son won't leave

Rebecca - posted on 12/18/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Hi Everyone~

I am new to this community and hope to find that we are not alone. I am the mother of 4 teenagers. My oldest, while not without challenges is in his second year of college. My daughters are both in high school. My 18 year old son is a senior and a huge challenge to our family.

He was long ago diagnosed with ADHD and we have had an OT tell us he has sensory processing issues. His behavior has always been a challenge but the last 1 1/2 years have been horrible. He has had a major concussion playing football that left him with worse mood swings than ever before and was also diagnosed with sleep apnea. We managed as a family to weather that storm. It was six long months followed by some relative peace, as long as we weren't too restrictive with him.

This past summer we saw his behavior escalate again, tried to get him into drug rehab or into a a long term mental health situation. We hit roadblocks at every turn. I continue to be stunned at how hard it is to get help for a child.

He is now 18. He has had a pretty good stretch of manageable behavior. Over the last two weeks he has decompensated. He has had horrible mood swings, spent an evening with his family at dinner dropping the "F bomb" in front of his grandpa and is aggressive and rude to all of us at home. He has total lack of respect for anyone in a position of authority He is a large boy and physically, no one can make him do anything. I am fearful that he will provoke a fight with my older son who is home for Christmas break or with my husband.

I want him to leave, but he wont. He just hunkers down in his room and comes out for food. When he gets like this, he generally refuses to go to school too.

I am at a complete loss. So far he hasn't hurt anyone, but I am fearful he will. I feel like I need to protect my younger daughters. Does anyone have any suggestions? I love my son, but really need him to understand that things cannot continue as they are. Thanks in advance for any advice and in general, just for a place to write out my frustrations. I feel like such a failure.

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Donna - posted on 12/24/2012

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Dear Rebecca, You are not a failure! and I salute you for dealing with a large family and a special needs child for 18+ years! Wow! Yes, the mental health care in this country is terrible, and once the child turns 18, your rights as a parent become almost null. Is your son on medication? The right medication can do wonders (I have a 15 yr old with ADD who, without medication is very irritable, verbally abusive, always angry, completely unreasonable, moody!!!!!!! - with medication, a much happier, reasonable and sweet! child) Under the care of a psychiatrist/psychologist? Do you have a psychiatric hospital in your area? Any mental health community services in your area? Who is the head of the Office of Mental health in your state? I would research all of the above and pay them visits to find out what is available (the community services are free) and if all else fails, I would write to the head of the Office of Mental health (or whatever the department is called in your state), tell them your story and ask for advice. They will put you in contact with the right people. There are services out there - you just need to find them - and then get your son to avail himself of them. And they will be a tremendous support to you as well. Good luck and God Bless!

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