Adult son does not want to grow up …

“My son was diagnosed with BP 1 about 7 months ago. He is doing better now, and he is taking his meds. He was a college student at the time of his diagnosis. He now seems to be resisting the responsibilities that come with growing up. He does not seem to be interested in pursuing his career or excited about his future.  I have a great fear that he will never want to complete the important details (certifications, etc) for his degree and move on to pursuing his career (seeking a full time job).  I fear he wants to not grow up and stay as a young child/teenager. He has stated to me that he does not want the responsibilities of a career.  How can I help him with this, if at all?  Can his resistance to growing up and fear of accepting adult responsibilities be part of the disorder?”

Photo compliments of Jamie Harris at

Are you talking about me? Or perhaps a twin brother or something? Because I am so right where your son is! The thought of being an adult, with all those horrible adult responsibilities, seems so scary! As well as unattainable.

I’m 25 years old, I’ve never been able to hold a job for very long, and I have yet to graduate college. I’m finally living on my own right now for about a year. Of course, I lived on my own before and all the responsibilities got to be too great, and I had to move back in with my mom for a while.

I’m going back to school this fall, and am hoping to graduate eventually. Then hopefully get a job in my field of study. And actually keep this job. Notice the ‘hoping’ and ‘hopefully’ though. I’ve been to school before, and had to quit. I’ve had jobs before, and had to quit. I, of course, have no idea if things will work out this time.

I think the biggest thing keeping me from ‘growing up’ and graduating and getting a job and doing all the (not so) fun and happy things that go with being an adult is fear. I’m really afraid that I’m going to fail. What if I put my heart and soul into this, and I just can’t do it? What if it’s too hard, or I have another breakdown? What if I’m doing all this for nothing?

I’m also afraid of change. I’ve almost grown comfortable with things the way they are. Everything may not be great and hunkey-dorey, but I’m used to it being this way. I don’t know what things will be like when they change. I know they will be different, but different how? (Where’s my crystal ball when I need it?)

Another thing I’m afraid of is letting everybody else down. I want to make my parents proud of me. I don’t want to put shame on my family. I want my friends and family to look at me and say “Wow, now there’s a girl who has her crap together. She is going places.” How can they feel these things and say these things when I’m busy failing at everything and doing poorly?

That’s one thing that’s given me some motivation to change. The simple fact that I want my mommy to say good job. I know in the end, everything I do has to be done for me, but in the beginning, I’ll settle doing it for others.

So, how can you get your son motivated? The first thing you have to do, is let him know you love him and will support him whatever he chooses to do. On one condition… He has to work towards bettering himself. Assuming he’s more stable now, and he’s able to do things on his own, then encourage him to do so. Maybe you could help him study for his classes, or do other school work. You could help him put together a resume and fill out job applications. Help him, but don’t do it for him. Let him do most of the work, and along the way, remember to tell him he is doing a good job and you are proud of him.

And don’t let him get too comfortable being in the rut that he’s in. Keep pushing him to move forward. He may get angry or upset at times, and that’s ok. You have to challenge him so he can challenge himself.

I wish you lots of luck getting your son motivated, as well as good fortune to him.

God bless!!!

One thought on “Adult son does not want to grow up …

  1. When I was finally properly diagnosed and medicated I was 37. And I had no idea what to do after that. When I turned 39 I returned to school and began my studies some 21 years after I barely graduated high school.

    The point I’m trying to make with the above example is that now that the mind is cleared, he may not know exactly what to do with his life, as was the case with me. That being said, while I think it perfectly acceptable to take some time to decide on a career path; it is perfectly acceptable that he be expected to maintain a job and help with expenses

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