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Advice | Ask Amy: My adult son doesn’t want to move now that his life is back on track

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dear amy: At the beginning of the pandemic, my husband and I were traveling across the country. Our adult son was laid off because of the pandemic and struggled with depression. We decided to invite him to move with us to help him get back on his feet.

It took him a while to find a part-time job, and now he was finally hired full-time. We are very happy for him. However, he gets upset when the topic comes up that he needs to move out and be alone. He tells us that because of his depression he is afraid to live on his own and that he needs family around him.

He’s already on antidepressants, but won’t continue to seek help. We are approaching retirement and do not want to have children with us when we retire.

We also have a younger son who lives with us and attends a local university. We are happy to help him until he graduates. We just don’t know how to get our oldest son into a place where he can live on his own. What would you suggest?

Worried: You need to take this in careful stages. The message to your oldest son should be, “Our goal is for both of our sons to live independent lives and develop rewarding pursuits and relationships. We help you get there.”

Your oldest son has already made great progress​—he has moved across the country and is now working full-time. That’s big. He is honest about the impact of his depression, but he can also use his depression as a support.

The pandemic has proven to be a serious setback for many young adults.

According to a study published by the Pew Research Center, “At the peak of the pandemic, more people under the age of 30 were living with their parents than single…the highest rate since the Great Depression.” Many of these young adults are now struggling to get going again.

My point is that your son is not alone. His depression is certainly a factor, but he’s also nervous about undertaking a big change that seems lonelier than that first big step from college to adulthood was.

Your son should see a therapist. You can start therapy yourself and invite him to join you and your husband, with the aim of discussing how he is coping with his illness, including the fears and challenges he expects, and ways you can be helpful (perhaps if he lives nearby). or living with his brother for example).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is an invaluable resource. Check out the family members and carers page for ideas and professional and peer support (NAMI.org).

dear amy: Unfortunately, we have a growing homeless population in our city. I understand the causes and feel great compassion for the difficulties they face as individuals.

What I struggle with is how to respond when asked for money – often it’s very awkward. I can easily afford to spend a few dollars, but is it the right thing to do? How can we as individuals best help?

John: I don’t believe there is a definitive answer to this. Because you are both aware and concerned (good for you!), you could do a lot of good by helping homeless organizations through financial support and/or volunteering. Instead of cash, some people give out socks, gloves, or gift cards for small amounts that can be exchanged for food.

I think the only important thing is to look someone in the eye and at least acknowledge their humanity, even if you choose not to give them that day.

dear amy: “New job, new me” had previously worked for a well-known company and did not know how to respond to the extreme curiosity of new colleagues about the previous job.

I worked for a prominent New York City socialite who was married to a powerful man. After I left and started looking for a job, everyone I met (from my doctor to friends, recruiters and potential employers) wanted to know what she was like.

I avoided those questions by saying that I had signed a confidentiality agreement (which I had) and was not free to answer their questions.

That usually stopped the questions. “New job, new me” might try that excuse.

Do not talk: Good advice. (I’ve been trying to guess the identity of your previous employer for the past few days now.)

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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