Bright Child Leaves College

catlover_ksDecember 3, 2006

Our "bright" child (National Merit Semi-Finalist,etc.) has dropped out of college. We are extremely upset by this. Does anyone have any words of encouragement?

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Hugs to you. Often "bright" kids in high school actually have a very difficult time in college, you see, they never learned to study. Professors are different than teachers, and they struggle and don't know where to turn. Their solution...leave, run, get away from the offending creature (school, not themselves). Plus many are in a school that is many times larger. Encourage him/her to talk to you about the struggles they were having, maybe taking a semester off is the answer. Maybe taking less credits is the solution, maybe going to junior college, closer to home is the solution. Encourage them to make the choice that is right for them. Point out though the problems (the loss of health insurance, student loans that are now due, etc). It is tough, but stand by their decision.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 8:19PM
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Yes, we have pointed out the problems to her and as everything has always come easily for her she thinks that things will just work out because she wants them to. It is true that she never learned to study. She does not want to live near us so that is out for the time being. She says she is young and wants to have fun and adventure and travel. Huh?!? So she is living with friends (so far, rent-free) and has applied for a job as a waitress at a coffee shop. She has no car. She is "in love" (third time in three years). She is 19. She thinks she is an adult but is acting like a child. She kept the leftover money from her father's loan for this semester in college (even got a partial refund when she withdrew). Friends say not to emphasize the money but just to stay in touch with her and not estrange her, so we know where she is. We got her a cell phone on our account for this. She has about $6000 in money that was to go to college tuition etc. We are angry and disappointed. She has about a year and a half of college credits at this point. I honestly can hardly believe that she would give up college as she has always loved learning new things. I work for the public schools and I know so many kids who would love to have her abilities and opportunities and don't. She had no plan, really, just moved to the town where her internet "friends" live. I visited and I think she is "safe" for the time being but her behavior seems bizarre to me. She has always been headstrong and unusually independent but I believe that she is being extremely selfish (keeping the money) and immature (moving without owning a car, having a job, etc.). People say that this is not unusual for people who are 19 but I have my doubts. I know that we have to let her get a "reality check" but emotionally I am just unbelievably disappointed in her lack of maturity.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 9:18PM
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I am so sorry for your situation. I can sympathise, as I have a 19 yo girl, and she is brilliant as well. I would say that she does know how to study, and thankfully she is still at college, in your part of the world, in fact (I am in Australia).

I can imagine how I would feel if she packed it all in and did what your daughter has done, I would be very distressed, as well. In some ways I feel, that because she is so clever, she MUST become educated and do some good for the world. I know this sounds awefully pushy, but I have mentioned this to her in passing.

If it seems out of character, and it appears to be, then I think I would be very concerned. But what to do ??

I think I would keep a very close eye on her just to check up that there is not anything dodgy going on. Like drugs etc, etc. Is she easily influenced by other people ?

I think I would make it very clear that the time has come for her to support herself, no more handouts, no phone etc.

I would also make it clear that if she changes her mind she can continue with her education (if that's what you want her to do).

I think I would try to keep my cool, I would think of the situation as something I had to deal with, without emotion. Just be really practical, and put the ball in her court. Ask her questions about how she will support herself, what are her plans, can she come home once a month for a family meal. Perhaps letting her float around for a while is all it will take to get her back into college.

I think our children do not realize how fortunate they are to have this jewell of an education there in front of them. I am sure she will come to this realization, when she has worked as a waitress for a while!

I know you are upset, but try to look at the big picture, she may only wobble around for 6 months, or so, she will get tired of her friends, and the job, she'll be back, and when she does come back, you will be there with open arms, encouraging her, as you always have, and she will get back onto that train to tertiary education, and a brilliant career.

Let us know how it goes.

Take care, fellow mum of 19 year old girl.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 2:30AM
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My son did the same thing (in some respects) catlover, at that age. He said "college isn't my thing", so what can you do, you let them. 1 year later he was still looking for a job, since he was living at home we "forced" him to find one. He wasn't happy, but found one. 6 months after that we "Launched" him. Time to move out (you lazy bum, but didn't say that out loud). He now wishes he'd stay in school, as a matter of fact he is now trying to get student loans so he can go back to school. Problem is we will not co-sign (we told him that when he dropped out last time). My heart goes out to him, but he has to accept the hard facts of life, and he is. What makes them do this. They are tired of studying. They "Don't know what they want to do with their life" and they are all of the sudden given too many choices, their brains in a way short circuit. Popi's daughter got to combine the "Travel and study" WISE choice. Personally, I'd emphasize the money (but that's me). Get that money back to put back on that loan...don't pay interest on her fun!!!

As far as her behavior seeming unusual, I don't think it is. She has had the world cater to her (let's face it, kids high school, and then really in college). She thinks it will remain. NOW she will grow up. She will not live rent free for long. Remember to remove her from your medical as of the day she dropped out, or you may be liable to re-pay the back medical from the time she dropped until you do notify your HR department (whomever carries the medical...ask me how I know this one!!!) She feels she's an adult, GREAT, make sure you are treating her like one. SERIOUSLY. Adults pay their own cell phone bills (or use pay phones), their own insurance, etc. If you "carry" her you will perpetuate illusions for her and she will not grow up. You are not punishing her for what she did, she is, yes "suffering the consequences", but then again, you are allowing her to live in "the real world", not in a play world that she is making up. She wants to live in the real world, you have to let her live in it. It's a hard lesson (believe me for us adults as well as for them), but people grow from lessons.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 7:27AM
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I appreciate the comments and you make a lot of sense. I agree that when you have "gifts" you should use them for the good of humanity. I also agree that she has so many "gifts" that she does not know which way to go. Her first year in college she was in chemical engineering and her second year she was in philosophy. Now, in her third year, she has dropped out and says she wants to be a cosmetologist. There is nothing wrong with being a cosmetologist but I still think she should continue with her undergraduate education. She disagrees. She also says she needs time off before going to cosmetology school. Her dropping out of school coincided with a breakup with her boyfriend and her move was to the city where her internet friends were. Her priorities seem way off to me. Yes, I think we definitely spoiled her when she was growing up and only now am I seeing the results of the mistakes we made. We tended to let her get away with things because she was always "so different" and we felt that we had to make allowances. Well, now I think she should have had many more "natural consequences" than she did. For some reason I always thought her thirst for knowledge would somehow keep her on the right track. I definitely agree about the cell phone but all my friends say that it is a concession to make in order to be sure to stay in touch. It is only 20 dollars a month and otherwise we would have no way to reach her, so that is the reason for that. As for the money, that is terribly disappointing. She says it will be a nest egg for cosmetology school and therefore will go for her education but I have serious doubts about that. I called the university and in fact we can NOT get it back so that's that except that I don't see how we can trust her with financial support if she does want to go back to college or school in the future. On the brighter side, the "kids" she is now hanging around with actually seem to be a more positive group than the ones she was with in college. The college group were into drugs (in Canada, where things are a lot more liberal than the US) and several of them were not even in college. Her current friends are in the military (they are young -- all 20 years old), having enlisted to get money for college when they get out (in 2010). They seem to be responsible, intelligent, polite, they already have a year of college credit, and their apts are very neat and clean, etc. etc. She is living with a married couple (both husband and wife are 20 years old), the husband of which is the best friend of her current love interest. She is now back in the states although still 1300 miles away (she was 1950 miles away when she was in university in Canada) and we still have some communication. Still, this whole thing has been quite a shock. Even though I know she is "safe" for the time being, it is very, very difficult to see her behave like this.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:18AM
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Every child has a surprise in them, it is just when that surprise will come out. SOmeone told that to my husband, and it has held true for two children. We're waiting for the third's surprise!!!

My DD#1 is a cosmotologist...let her go for it, even if she doesn't stick with it long after she graduates, it is a profession she can use her whole life. My DD#1 is luckey as it is the profession of choice and she loves it completely!!!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:10AM
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I know how you feel. My very bright son dropped out of college after one year. It broke my heart.
All of the advice you've been given is good advice. I have nothing to add except this - it's very hard to let go and let your little bird fly. But for her sake, you must.

Let her know you love her and try very hard to find something else to focus on. As far as the money goes, I'd not pursue it. Eventually she will come to you for a "loan" and then you could say "you've already had your 'loan', there's no more"

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:33AM
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I think education will set them up for life.

She has been a "good girl" up until now, I think you should encourage her to keep going with her education. Even if it is a second chance, and has cost you lots of money. I know there comes a time when you should cease doing all that for her. But she is still young, and as a parent you need to guide her.

I have seen young people dither about for years when they leave school, but it really is best to get on with it, work hard, get the degree and then sit back and reap the rewards.

But letting, and funding, my DD trip overseas, she has been given a taste of what life can offer her, her career will certainly invovlve travel, and now she can do it, she has the skills.

Your daughter is acquiring skills, now, so try to see that as a positive.

You will get over the shock, and disappointment of it all, she is happy, and that's what you want, isn't it ?

In Australia, we have a very good public health system, so students can rely on that, and it doesnt cost them money.

So maybe it is a bit easier to dip in and out of university.

All the best, Catlover.

Don't worry, it will all work out.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 6:39PM
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Thanks all, I appreciate your comments. I just talked to my DD tonight and she told me that her tuition refund (really her dad's loan) and her money order from Canada (the money she had already that she brought with her to the US in the form of a Canadian money order) will not "clear" for four weeks and she only has $125.00 in US money right now. She has applied for several jobs but has not heard back on any of them yet. I did not offer her money and I am suspicious that it would take that long for a money order to "clear" even if it does have to "go through the mail" to Canada.

She currently has the idea that she will work two jobs--one in the daytime and one in the evening. I asked her about transportation (since she has no car) and she says that she can get a ride home at night and that the places are "only an hour away walking."

She also says she might start taking community college courses. I can't believe that she is still so naive. How does she think she is going to do all this?

She also told me today that she opened a bank account with the same bank as her father so that he can "direct deposit money for her" easily.

When I visited her over Thanksgiving I begged her to come home at that time and go back in January -- but she refused. She said "I am staying and I don't want a lot of hostility about it." Now she is wanting a plane ticket home for the holidays. At Thanksgiving I told her she had a free ride home and that if she chose to stay where she was no one would buy her a plane ticket for the holidays. She said she would buy her own ticket but now she says the money will not be available soon enough. Based on her most recent behavior I don't think there is any chance the money will be paid back, and I did tell her that she needed to come home with me in the car during that trip. So I don't think she needs a ticket, right? (Just FYI, last year she spent the holidays with friends and not with her family, by her own choice.)

I think she needs to stand on her own two feet so I did not respond directly to ANY of these things. I just said that I hoped she got the job(s) she wanted and that I missed her and love her.

When I talked with her dad I asked if he was going to give her money and he said he did not know. I think that we should not give it to her. She has a limited credit card from the bank she went to today and she can pay it off when her money comes through, in my opinion. Am I on the right track here? I am betting that her dad gives in but I am hoping he does not.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:13PM
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--It would be much better if her health were covered during all of this. To me that is a major issue because if she is not in college and not in a job with benefits she will have no coverage.
--Yes, as a matter of fact my mother's sister was a cosmetologist (back then called "beauty operator") who owned her own shop in a small town for many, many years. It is quite possible that she would really love it. She colored her own hair blue when she was 16 and got thrown out of school until she changed it back to a "natural" color--never mind that many of the other girls at school had unnaturally red-red or blonde hair. :)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:18PM
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Forgive my ignorance, what is a cosmetologist ? Something to do with cosmetics ?

I love the way she has made it so convenient for her dad to direct deposit money into her bank account, by opening an account at the same bank ! That's so 19 year old, isn't it?

Is she planning on living on the $6,000 ? Is this her money, or is it from you ? Sorry, I am a bit confused about that.

I think you just gotta let her be, its tricky the Christmas issue, but as you said, she didn't spend last Christmas with you...

Do you have other children ?

I think we like to think that our children want to be with us, but at 19, I am not so sure...if I think back to when I was 19 (so long ago!!) I don't think I gave my parents a thought. I knew they where there, and that was comforting, but gee..I wanted to get on with my life. I guess she feels like that, a sense of freedom.

What do you think she would think, if she knew her story was being discussed on this forum ? I think my daughter would explode, if she knew I was talking about her to the world !


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:44AM
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Popi, Cosmotologst is someone who works with hair..cuts, colors, etc. I'm not sure what they call it "down under".

Catlover. You told your DD (First D may not stand for Dear right now) your terms...I WILL NOT pay for your ticket home on the need to stick by that or she will pull this on you until you do stand by your word (could be a long time depending on how long it can take you to become stubborn). Hard, yes, but lessons are not easy always. Sounds like you and Dad are not together, you cannot control Dad, but if you can be "on the same page", it will be best. If not, you will still have to decide YOUR PRINCIPLES AND STAND BY THEM, that is the only way you will teach them to her.

Direct deposits to her account...sorry Charlie, not when you're not in college full time. Ain't happening..and going back negated that contract. Sounds too like she's changed her mind again? (Or is the community college classes she's talking about the cosmotology school). I understand she's in turmoil right now, lost so to speak, but her best bet would have been to stay in school. She chose to pull the "I'm an adult and can make my own choices" card, so now she has to live by them.

The only other option is to say IF you go back to college FULL-TIME we will go back to the way it was THIS ONCE. If it happens again, you are on your own. But remember, since she is currently no-longer a full-time student, health benefits are lost, they cannot be re-instated, even if she does re-enroll in school full-time.

We as parents (I say we because I have done it) want to protect our children so much we forget that growing up sometimes means letting go and letting them fall. Remember growing up is like learnign to walk. Remember how hard it was to let them fall, how we wanted to always catch them so they wouldn't hurt themselves. How we eventually found out that was impossible, and how they learned to walk better, quicker when we let them fall. That is how LIFE is. They have to fall to learn. If we keep catching them before they fall, they don't learn. It's hard, we can comfort them if they fall, but we have to let them fall. We can't make the hurt go away, but we can be there to SAY "there, there, it will be okay" is what YOU have to do to make this better...NOT Mommy/Daddy will fix it.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 3:19AM
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Catlover, I really can relate to your situation because it was my own just a very few years ago. My dd was in an honors study abroad program at the time - far enough away that my fear for her was magnified many times.

I did as many of you have suggested: a firm stand as to responsibility and independence. It was terribly hard to see her flounder a bit in the beginning. In fact, it took almost every bit of my hope, belief in her basic quality, and self control. But she got herself in hand and began making remarkable strides toward maturity. She has been independent for over two years - taking care of her own bills, etc., without input from me. She found a decent job (after a few very painful ones from which she learned a LOT about working without a degree) where she is valued and respected. She will be moving this week to an apartment OF HER OWN - NO roommate required this time. And...she has applied to and been accepted at the state university here - completely on her own. I did not have to watch application deadlines or gather information (as I did for her the first time around AND for her brother who sailed through university with apparent ease). She is doing it all HERSELF. And she is really reaping a huge harvest of self esteem and satisfaction from knowing that she CAN. Now, if the idiotic financial aid people would just recognize her accomplishment - they require her to submit financial information from me and my husband as the basis for financial assiatance for her in spite of the fact that we have not supported her financially for all this time.

At the time that my dd quit (in summer after her first year at college) I felt that she might as well since she was very near burn out. She always worked very hard in school - not because she isn't highly intelligent but rather because she never would settle for just getting a grade...she actually insisted on LEARNING. After twelve years (not counting preschool) she was very tired of it. And I felt that the best lesson she could learn at that point was what the real world is like when you try to make up the rules to suit yourself. She has learned this lesson very well and I am extremely proud of her. I am confident that she will get a great deal more out of university education NOW than she would have then. It may help to remember that being in college is not a guarantee against disaster. My dd might just as well have had a nervous breakdown under that stress. Another might go off the deep end of drinking, drugs, or other risky behavior. Staying in and flunking out leaves a mark that withdrawing in good standing does not.

Good luck to you and your daughter. I hope your situation works out as well as ours has so far.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:22AM
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I think here cosmotologist = hairdresser, or beautician if fiddling about with makeup.

I think we should all pat ourselves on our backs, because we are such wonderful parents doing the best for our children.

It is hard for these kids to go to school for 12 years, then off to uni for another 3 or more years.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 1:49AM
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Popi, The money was from a loan her dad took out in his name only for her college tuition. It was a $10,000 loan and the tuition was 8200 for this semester; however, she got a refund on part of the tuition and the uni also gave her the leftover 1800 at the beginning of the semester. So it really should go to her dad to pay back part of the loan. It should not go for her to use as she wishes. IMHO

Cosmetologists can have many specialties, but mostly it is hair cutting, styling, dyeing, perming, etc. She is artistic and has always enjoyed coloring her own hair different colors, etc. She has also cut friends' hair. However, she has changed her mind so much about what she wants to do that it is hard to believe she will stick with this any more than she stuck with anything else. We'll see.

She was supposed to find out about some job applications but as far as I know she has not heard yet. I think not having to pay rent is spoiling her as to what the real world is like. However, the people are being transferred in March so it has a natural ending. By then she should be working full time and realizing some of the disadvantages of not owning a car or having rent money. Not that I wish this on her, but as many have commented, she really doesn't "get it" when it comes to struggling for things.

Yes, we have a son. He has always been in his sister's "shadow." He is a senior in high school and will graduate in May. He plans to go to college and become a high school teacher.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 8:32AM
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Yes, I agree with you about the college money, she should give it back to Dad. But Dad's are softies sometimes.

Here, the student incurs the debt for uni tuition, or you can pay as you go. My daugher will have a debt of about $20,000 at the end of her course, which she only has to start paying back when she earns a certain amount of money. The trip to the US college goes onto this debt, although she did get grant money to pay for airfares, and she saved money from working.

Its tough starting out with a debt like this, but at least the parents don't have to be saddled with the debt. Although we do fund her college dorm fees, when she is here.

I did see a wonderful system staring up here, whereby, a student (or anybody), is matched up with an elderly person, living on their own. The student gets free rent, in exchange for being a part time companion to the elderly person. Helping with shopping, meal preparation etc. It looked like a very sensible solution to a problem. The example they showed was a Chinese girl, studying in Australia, so she got free rent, went to uni, and was learning English and Ozzie culture as well, it was lovely to see, the elderly man getting so much joy out of the situation.

The whole program is run by a charity, and people are strictly checked out.

That was a bit off topic, sorry.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 5:59PM
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You have gotten a lot of good advice here Catlover, but like others, I do understand your crushing disappointment. Your dream for your daughter is seemingly crushed, at least for now.

I agree with others who have suggested you withdraw financial support (including cell phone). The only thing you might wish to continue would be the health insurance. If she needs medical attention, you would surely come to her rescue, and that could be financially devastating to you.

But don't try to distance yourself from her; stay in touch, be sympathetic to what is going on in her life, be a good listener.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 7:34PM
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Well, in our most recent telephone conversations, she first asked for a $500 guitar for Christmas ("if everyone in the family contributes some $ instead of giving other presents. . ."). I said I already had most of her gifts. Then she wanted $ ("a loan") to buy an outfit for her new job as a hostess at a fancy restaurant. She said the cat peed on her good black pants. I did not give in and we talked for about two hours. She is extremely angry at me and says she can't believe I am "acting like such a vindictive I3itch." I told her I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, considering that she is currently not even paying rent or utilities. She feels that I am punishing her for not doing what I want her to do. The conversation did not go well and I do not feel that great about it. Part of me wants to give in and the other part says "Gee, this is what you should have done when she was about ten." :(

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 9:32PM
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Poor Catlover, sorry about your difficult conversation on the phone.

It might take a while before she starts to take full responsibility for her life. You and me in the same boat. I find my DD blames me for most things. I am unreasonable about this and that. Its upsetting, but I guess it comes from always doing things for them. Its important to hold your ground, and I know clearly what I will do and what I won't do.

Although I still find myself doing things, and thinking "I shouldn't being doing this and then getting annoyed with myself."

It will get better, at least she has a job.

Good luck

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 3:03AM
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You did good Catlover. Just learned this in counseling, think of this when she does this to you.. Popi too

F ear
O bligation
G uilt

This is what happens when people are trying to push you to do what THEY want and guilt you into doing things THEIR way and you know it isn't right. They use these tactits. Fear they won't love you if you don't, Tell you it is your obligation, Then try to make you feel guilty you are not doing it. What all this does is put you into a FOG, you cannot think and you usually give in and let them have thier way, then realize later (as Popi said) I shouldn't be doing this and then get annoyed with yourself. So how do you not do this.
1. Relization that they are doing this is a BIG key. You now realize it and have a back up.
2. Do not try to reason with the person, they will keep the conversation..."I'll get back to you on that" STOPS the conversation and gives you time to think (They've had time to think of this conversation, then drop the bombshell on can think of all these great comebacks later, but at the time are in a FOG..this gives you time to get out of the FOG).

3. GUILT. Ah the great GUILT trip they try to put on us. catlover that is what your DD is doing right now. Make you feel guilty "Your doing this because you really want me to do that". Two seperate issues. Yes I really wanted you to go to school, but that has nothing with me not wanting to give you $$. So her guilt is: If you loved me you'd give me money. Reality...You do love her, money has nothing to do with it. Guilt: You need to MAKE me happy Mom. Reality: No I don't. You can only make yourself happy. Make a list. What is her guilt. What is the reality. This is a wonderful tool FOR YOU. It pulls to the surface what you know. YOU ARE A WONDERFUL PERSON. Kids tend to make us not always feel that way. and 2, they can be manulipulative brats, but now we are not in a FOG and can see it. Don't argue their statements (Oh they hate that). A simple...No, I'm not doing that. Gives you so much power. No explaination necessary. (It will feel good).

And personally if my child called me a "Vindictive I3itch" or used profanity of any sort AT me, I'd say this conversation is over. I still love you but will not tolerate being called that kind of language. When you feel you can talk to me kindly you can call me again." (and they know I would do this) and I'd hang up. If you don't you give her free reign to call you that and more. If it persist, she doesn't deserve the cell phone. I think she'll keep in communication, but you have to make sure you keep those ground rules intact.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 5:26AM
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I'm so sorry you are going through this, but Vickey has hit the nail on the head.

Stand firm, be loving, but not a doormat. This doesn't last forever.

(My sons are 39 and 42 - I went through something similar with both of them when they were in their late teens and early 20's. Now I have a very good relationship with both of them)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 11:40AM
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I appreciate the support very much, as well as learning that at least some others have gone through this and it turned out OK. I also basically agree with the things that people (especially vickey and popi) have shared regarding the manipulation, ways to deal with it, and the need to stand firm. I am a person who hates conflict and wants to "please" and I also tend to feel guilty about "everything" and my daughter knows this. Really, she has a LOT of WONDERFUL qualities, but I DO have to establish boundaries about what I will put up with, especially now. You are also right that I should not have continued the conversation after she started calling names. I did tell her that talking that way was not doing a lot to advance her case. Sigh.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 1:27PM
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Stand firm Catlover. Remember the FOG when she calls next time. If she starts using profanity, (and if you have to have it written on a notecard by the phone then do it), say what I said. Believe me you will only have to do it once or twice. I do believe your daughter is great, she's just being poopy right now. I've really been their with my 25 year old. She is great now, but for a while I thought if I either hung her up by her thumbs or locked her in a closet until she was 30 I'd be a lot happier!!! She has actually THANKED me for being a hardnose. Seriously she has! So don't worry about setting boundries, it will be the best thing you can do FOR YOU.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 2:30PM
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I'm a bright child who dropped out of college. You didn't provide any information, but in my case, I decided that my chosen career path- architecture- wasn't all that I expected it to be. For one, I hate drafting. And another thing, I took Ayn Rand too seriously and would have killed myself rather than see one of my designs mutilated. So I dropped out because I didn't know what I was going to do. I hate school, always have, but did well because I had a goal- be an architect. Once that goal was removed, I had no desire to be in school.

So I worked in a garage for 5 years. Yep, National Merit scholar working as a cashier in a garage. However, I did eventually figure out what I wanted to do. After I got married to a wonderful man, I started back in school part time.

Now I'm almost done vet school. Former college drop-out, going to be a doctor.

I'd say don't worry. Don't pressure, don't beat yourself up about it. I was a very mature 19 year old too, yet I dropped out. It didn't seem right to be wasting time in school when I could be really learning.

College is not hard. It's mostly busy work, just like high school and grade school. After 15 years in school being bored (you said she was bright, so I can almost guarantee she is also bored), she's had enough. I don't blame her, I was bored out of my mind too. School at any level isn't about learning, and it hasn't been for many many years. It's about memorization, beating the system to get good grades. True thought is not rewarded, it's punished. Only the answer that the teacher is looking for is correct. Originality, creativity, and individualism have no place on the modern college campus.

Trust me, she'll either become the most spectacular waitress in the world, or find her true calling and do whatever is necessary to attain her new goal. I don't believe one can find a true calling in the fantasy world of school. You have to be out in the real world to understand your strengths and weaknesses, to find your passion, and to become motivated to follow your dreams. School just about sucks the life out of me, and being a vet is my passion.

My guess is that you've raised a thoughtful, independent, strong young lady. My mom did too. And yeah, I just about gave her a heart attack when I told her I had quit college and was getting married. But thoughful, independent, strong, intelligent women do not allow themselves to be broken down. Your daughter will find her passion and become the best whatever she wants to be. How can any mother be disappointed with that?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 9:36PM
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I know how startling and disappointing this can be, but take a deep breath. It will work out just fine.

She probably needs a break, a chance to catch her breath, too. She's been in school now since she was five years old, everyone needs a sabbatical. This is probably the only time in her life she can do this. It's much better to have a "young" life crisis, rather than a mid-life crisis. There's much less at stake now.

All three of my children marched off to college, so far, only the middle one has graduated. My middle child got a degree in microbiology, and worked for 5 years for a biotech company while her husband was in grad school. She's now home full time with my DGSC (dear grandson Chris).

My oldest started out in biology, but on the side, she was getting into web design, helping the school with it's orientation web site. She dropped out in her junior year, and has had two very good jobs as a web developer, one for a children's hospital, now for an educational web/software company.

My son lasted part of one semester. He started working as an intern, while still in high school, for a large retirement community company, 10 years later, he's still there, getting his certificates from Cisco, and doing very, very well.

Both of them are making more money than I am, as a nurse with several degrees!

Yes, having that degree is important, but it's not the be all and end all to life. Sure, I'd still like them to finish college, but they all found something to do that they are very good at, and gives them satisfaction and a good paycheck.

As hard as it is, let her be. She's old enough to find her own way now. Sounds like she's has a good foundation and she's smart, she'll do well.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 10:25AM
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meghane and momj47, vickey, popi, zone & everyone else, thanks so much to you all who have taken the time to write replies and encouragement. It means a lot. I have not talked with her since my previous post and I am going to lay low for a while and not bother her for updates, because that just puts her on the spot. I will call in a week or so to say hello if I don't hear from her first. I know deep in my heart that she will (probably!) get through this just fine. And I have to remember that two years after I got my PhD I decided to get certified to teach first grade and everyone thought I was crazy and would be "bored," but I loved it. Then after I stayed home with my kids during their preschool years (later) I went back to school again to get certified in another area (took another 2 and a half years). So people do change their minds. The difference, I guess, was that I tried to finish up the thing I was currently doing before switching, and I see her as going headfirst into something and then losing interest when the going gets tough or when she suddenly becomes interested in something else (or, in my perception, someONE else who happens to live elsewhere -- she has moved twice on this basis). Meghane, I understand what you are saying ~ The Fountainhead is my absolute favorite book of all time and I re-read it every few years. In fact, Howard Roarke always reminded me of my daughter and the way she approached the world. Anyway, that is about it for today and I will update when I know something new, but meanwhile thank you so much for your help in this situation. I am not seeming to get much support locally, at least it doesn't feel that way.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 2:15PM
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Catlover, it's too bad you had that difficult conversation with your daughter, and I know it hangs heavy in your heart, but you did the right thing.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 5:11PM
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Hugs and hugs from across the miles, for your posting about "FOG". I wish I had know all this when my DD was 11, it would have made the last 8 years a lot happier. So many parents stumble around dealing with issues like this, and if we all knew a few simple ways to "deal" with the issues, the world would be a lot happier. I can use this with DS, so thanks very much for your advice.

It's amazing how we can be manipulated an not really be aware of it. These days we seem a bit "scared" of our children. Shame really, it takes away the joy of it, sometimes.

Hugs again, I appreciated you wisdom.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 1:55AM
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Our son had two classes til his degree - we struggled big time putting him thru, books, etc., had no financial aid or anything, signs up for last semester, decides his new girlfriend is more important, drops-out, keeping the checks they sent back thinking we didn't know - hurts us deep inside, especially since my husband could of put himself thru night-school and we put him on hold. Now son is complaining about his job, low pay, and his "new" wife, can't keep a job so their bills are going late.. oh well...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 4:40PM
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Thanks, Socks. Starfish, That sounds so awful. I just do not understand why they do things like this. I really, really don't. I have not talked with my DD since my last post. Last night my son and I were with friends and they asked how she was doing and I did share some with them. They (the friends) have a daughter who did something similar. She is now married and they have a young child and both she and her husband are working and going to school.

I hope my daughter takes care of her health as she is way overdue for her annual check-up but I guess that is also up to her now.

Sometimes I just don't want to even think about this.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 8:13PM
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I know it's hard, but you have to start letting go.

Just change your thinking, a little bit, say to yourself " I have done all I can do, her health is her responsibility, her life is her responsibility." It will get easier.

I know you are disappointed, I would be too, but thankfully, my DD is still plugging away.

Concentrate on your own happiness, for the time being.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 1:31AM
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Children need to learn to stand on their own two feet...and that requires taking a few falls first.

My husband is a certified genius. And things in life were handed on a platter to him. He also always did what was expected of him. He went to college, and did the degree program that his family wanted him to do (electrical engineering). He hated it. So he stopped going to class, and eventually flunked out of school. It wasn't because he couldn't do the work -- it's because he didn't want to, and because he couldn't deal with his family's expectations.

For the next two years he worked menial jobs at the university where he used to be a student (moving furniture, working as a frycook, etc.) until he a) grew up enough to stand up to his family, and b) realized that he didn't want to work menial labor the rest of his life, and c) finally realized what profession he wanted to enter.

He applied to a different nearby college (and managed to transfer some of the credits from his previous college work over), got a 4.0 while there, and found a job immediately upon finishing school. He paid for college himself, because his parents basically gave up on him when he dropped out of college -- which is the BEST thing they could have done. He "found himself" during the entire process, and has the self-confidence to handle nearly any situation that is thrown at him.

Now his brother...the parents paid for his undergrad, and all his postgraduate work. He hasn't had to work at all for himself. He always has his parents to fall back on for every mistake he's made in his life. So far he has one failed marriage, and he's starting on a second one that is not boding well, and a me-me-me personality that defies description. I could go on and on about him, but I don't want to bore you.

I think parents do a great disservice to their children by constantly bailing them out. Be there as moral support for your child when they hit 18; they get one chance with the whole college education thing, IMO, but that's it. Beyond that, they make mistakes, they need to learn from them, and move on. If you keep rescuing them, they learn nothing.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 2:03PM
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rivkadr, that was interesting, and I know you are right. popi, I am trying. I did get a phone call from her yesterday, and it was a good one (we did not end up fighting). She got a full-time job as a waitress (and so is quitting the part-time job as a hostess--did she ever start?--I didn't ask). Anyway, she had just found out, and was excited and called to tell me. It is a "fancy seafood restaurant" where she hopes to get good tips. I asked if it was near public transportation and she said she thought so, so that is either wishful thinking on her part or, if true, would be very helpful since she does not have a car. I know there will be a lot of ups and downs but she sounded happy and since I was at the house of some friends they got a chance to talk with her briefly also. It was all pretty good and we all had a chance to tell her we loved her. We only talked a short time but I was very pleased that she thought to call and share her good news. As I said, though, I know there will be MANY ups and downs and it will be hard to watch but I know I have to. My friends said that she "knows" that I love her unconditionally but that she also has to do some maturing and she can only do that on her own.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 11:05PM
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Well thats great that she has a fulltime job, and that she phoned and told you. Was it hard to sound excited ? I bet it was lol....

I think your friend is right.

I spoke to my daughter (in the US, I am in Australia), she said that her friends think she derives so much joy and pleasure from all the wonderful sights she has seen, mainly in NY with the Christmas decorations. Well, she THANKED ME for making her that way...isn't that a lovely thing to be thanked for ! I was very pleased to hear that, they just amaze you sometimes.

When they get a bit older, and they are away from home, maybe they start to think about how lucky they are, and how good MUM really is !! lol

Things will settle down now, and she will be fine, things will fall into place, and you will see it all with more clarity.

All the best, Catlover.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 2:22AM
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My older sister is a college professor and has 4 kids. The boys are sharp as can be; her daughter didn't like school and so she got a job at a restaurant. She got a really good taste of what it is like to try to support yourself with no skills. Eventually, she got her education, but she had to see the value of one the hard way.

My middle child was much the same way in high school. He had no idea he is as smart as he is and did not want anything to do with college. Therefore, we let him take various teen type jobs in high school so he can see what income and work with no skills is like. He went on to college and graduated magna come laude (they won't let you spell it right on this site). So they do wise up.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 2:11AM
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A follow-up on our son who did this...he is now enrolled to go back to school. HE realizes it will be difficult, but he wants to get his degree in criminal Justice and become a Police Office (shudder from a Mom's point of view). "School's not for me"..."I'd Like a job where I won't have to think"...guess what, when he MATURED he found was important, and He does NOT like to NOT think at work.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 7:12AM
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Lol, thats great Vickey, good luck to him. A challenging job, lots of variety.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 6:20PM
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We (her mom, dad, and brother) will be with grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. She will be alone on Christmas. I feel sad. Oh, well. Couldn't give in. She sounds OK. I asked if the "boyfriend" had made any plans with her for Christmas and the answer was no. So hard to let her deal with the consequences of her decisions. On a brighter note: Happy Holidays to everyone. Take care, Catlover

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 8:27PM
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Catlover...hang in there. You're doing well...teaching her by not doing for her. Harder on Mom possibly. Call her, wish her a Merry Christmas.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 10:43PM
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Well, she has lost interest in the idea of going to cosmetology school and now says she wants to teach English as a foreign language in either Japan or China. The fact that her current friends are all going there (Japan -- they are in the military) of course has a lot to do with this. She also says that eventually she is going back to college and majoring in music (she is extremely talented in that area). But as I see it she is still flitting from idea to idea. And it is based on "relationships" rather than her own goals and so forth. That is what I really don't "get." Why would she base her plans on other people rather than on her own interests? Anyway, she had a dismal Christmas and worked on New Year's eve. She loses her "free" apartment in March and I think that will definitely be a turning point.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 8:00PM
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You have a busy time ahead of you with your daughter, March being a turning point, as you say.

In amongst her dithering, she still seems sensible, with her music interest, and teaching English, both good ideas.

I have a guy who helps me in my garden a few hours a week, he finished school at the end of 2005, he has done nothing since that time, only worked two hours a week in my garden. I have tried to inspire him, but he is just like a blank sheet of paper. I think his father is going insane with him hanging around. This boy is 19. I guess my point is, there are dithering 19 year olds all over the world, I think you daughter has a bright future, at least she has ideas !

Take care.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 1:56AM
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Thanks, Popi ! >^..^

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 10:52PM
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OK. I am finding this too weird. I thought I was catlover. For some egocentric reason I was sitting here wondering how many posts I had made and another catlover showed up. Scary thing is that I have something to say.

My son -- now 25 -- left college -- Amherst College -- unexpectantly in late October of 2001. We live half way across the country but had been there to see him that weekend in an athletic event. He was -- and is (he is my son) handsome, smart, and athletic.

The Monday we left he dropped a note in the mail telling us he had to leave. He said he was fine. He would be home for Christmas, but we would otherwise not hear from him.

I freaked out, emailing the world. He picked that up and called. He came home. He was sad. He, who was in his 2nd year, saw his education as a waste of our money. He felt he could educate himself. He worried that he was doing what society expected him to do.

He was home for a bit. He worked with Americorp for a while. He sold pizzas far away and lived with a bunch of guys.

He returned to college the next fall. I begged him to do so. I told him he to be anything he wanted -- a vagabond, etc., but please finish college. No expectations would be attached to finshing.

He did -- he wandered through a a bit of an english major, a philosophy major, a math major, and he finally settled on geology (he loves the outdoors).

He is very introspective. He fell in love. He says the best thing he got out of college is his "now wife."

He finished college and taught young children for a year. He is now in an Ivy league law school hoping to work on human rights and consitutional issues as an attorney. Money is not his issue.

Hang in there. I truely believe what makes my son a caring, passionate person is what made him leave school.

Isn't retrospect a wonderful thing? Adele a/k/a catlover

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 12:37AM
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