My 18-year-old daughter has “checked out” of life. She quit school in the tenth grade and is continuing her schooling via online courses. She does not have friends and shows no interest in making any. She sleeps most of the day and stays up late reading Internet blogs.
Her father and I were divorced 10 years ago, and she blames most everything on the divorce. I am remarried and have a second child who is 5 years old. My older daughter will have nothing to do with her half-sister and is rude to her.
I have suggested counseling, but she has declined. I have tried to help her get a job, make friends and sign up for more schooling. She lacks social skills and refuses to help around the house. I am afraid for her future.
Your daughter’s online schooling is an unnatural social setting for a teen. Without interaction with her peers, she is missing out on the discussions that teens share about preparing for their future and transitioning into the next phase of life.
At 18, your daughter would typically have a job, be making plans for college, maybe considering entering the military or receiving training to enter the workforce.
She needs responsibilities and chores around the house. Put her in charge of preparing the family’s evening meal once a week. Make the Internet and other electronic communication off-limits for the entire family at a certain time of the day. Help her become more adapted to normal work and school schedules. Have her explore viable job options. Insist that she get this vital experience while you are still supporting her. She cannot wait until she is out on her own and financially responsible for herself.
Your daughter can decline counseling if she can prove that she does not need it. So, let her know what she is required to do to prove her normalcy and if she does not comply, ensure that she attend counseling sessions. This is not optional.
My son is nearly 17 years old. He thinks his girlfriend is pregnant, though he is not certain that the baby is his. He wants to drop out of high school, get his GED and join the Army or National Guard. He thinks this will allow him to support his girlfriend and child while avoiding the stigma and teasing that will come with his girlfriend’s pregnancy.
I want him to finish his senior year, and he needs parental permission to drop out. If I don’t grant it, he will fail out of school on purpose. If I allow him to drop out, am I still legally responsible for him after he earns his GED? He won’t be able to get an apartment until he is legally of age, which is when he turns 18. I am divorced from his father and feel like I am fighting a losing battle.
Without a high school diploma, he will have a difficult time supporting a wife and child. Enlist the help of a military recruiter to talk to your son about this reality since he is not listening to you. The military is more concerned about education levels than in the past. The Armed Forces will want your son to take an ASVAB test if he has not already done so. Those results could possibility limit his schooling and job opportunities in the military.
Stick to your guns and do not let him leave school. Let him know that if he fails on purpose, he will likely ruin his chances of getting into the military. Not graduating will likely guarantee him a minimum-wage job in the real world.
He has engaged in some very grown-up behaviors that will force him to grow up faster than if he was to pursue a college education. If you co-sign for an apartment or car loan, be prepared to pick up the tab if your son cannot pay his rent or payments. This would not be good for him or for you.