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How to deal with a teen that doesn't want to do anything


GypsyHomesteader
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I am sure there are umpteen threads on this. I haven't looked at them all.

 

My oldest will be 18 in January.

 

She does nothing... and I mean nothing... but either watch anime videos on youtube or read fan fiction all day.

 

If I ask her to do anything... anything at all... I get met with surliness and snark. To the point where I don't ask because I can't deal with it.

 

I have work right now that I am doing, that she can do as well. She won't do it. She just won't do anything. I have tried talking to her, telling her that it isn't right that she does absolutely nothing. I have told her (in nice terms) that she is basically being a freeloader. She doesn't care.

 

When I say watch videos and read, I mean she is on the computer from 8 in the morning until 9pm at night. She *might* eat, and she will use the restroom a couple times a day. I don't think it's healthy.

 

My dilemma? What do I give her to do? I am riddled with guilt over the fact that she has no friends (which is partly her fault, she won't try to build friendships). We live in an RV right now and that does make it difficult. However, to be honest, she was this way when we has a brick and mortar house. Just she was in her room doing the same thing.

 

She says she has plans. She wants to join the military and then work her way up to an officer. Great! However she needs her GED. Does she study for it? Nope. Just watches her anime and reads her fan fiction.

 

Should I take her computer away? What do I give her to do? How do I handle the repercussions of her attitude? I need some real suggestions on how to handle this. I want to be direct and to the point with her. I don't think she should be acting this way. Her father and I work about 55 hours a week between the two of us. Not to mention all the chores I do and grocery shopping and cooking etc.

 

I need real help with her. I want her on a different path. I don't want to cringe and feel like a ostrich with I have to ask her to do something. I know it will be tough but if I have a plan it will be much, much easier to deal with.

 

Help?

 

 

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Honestly. 

 

Assuming that she doesn't she that she has a problem, and isn't willing to get help for it then fall back on this basic rule: If you don't work, you don't eat. 

 

If you have trouble enforcing that rule simply remove all food from the house. You and Dh can eat at work and go out to eat. 

 

You will provide food if she works. Depending on circumstances this can be school work, chore work, getting mental health help, ... 

 

Kid: "We have nothing to eat, and I mean nothing."

You: "Well if you want something to eat NICELY load the dishwasher for me and I'll give you money and you can go to the store and get something".

 

 

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My oldest is 17 and I run into similar issues with him. Tbh, I now have him working with a college advisor/counselor. A 3rd party speaking with him works wonders. When the counselor says what I have been saying for years it is the smartest thing ever.

I think that part of the doing nothing is fear. Fear of growing up, disappointing, the future. It is a lot of pressure and the fear is paralyzing. And they don't know how to talk to us about it.

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I am sure there are umpteen threads on this. I haven't looked at them all.

 

My oldest will be 18 in January.

 

She does nothing... and I mean nothing... but either watch anime videos on youtube or read fan fiction all day.

 

If I ask her to do anything... anything at all... I get met with surliness and snark. To the point where I don't ask because I can't deal with it.

 

I have work right now that I am doing, that she can do as well. She won't do it. She just won't do anything. I have tried talking to her, telling her that it isn't right that she does absolutely nothing. I have told her (in nice terms) that she is basically being a freeloader. She doesn't care.

 

When I say watch videos and read, I mean she is on the computer from 8 in the morning until 9pm at night. She *might* eat, and she will use the restroom a couple times a day. I don't think it's healthy.

 

My dilemma? What do I give her to do? I am riddled with guilt over the fact that she has no friends (which is partly her fault, she won't try to build friendships). We live in an RV right now and that does make it difficult. However, to be honest, she was this way when we has a brick and mortar house. Just she was in her room doing the same thing.

 

She says she has plans. She wants to join the military and then work her way up to an officer. Great! However she needs her GED. Does she study for it? Nope. Just watches her anime and reads her fan fiction.

 

Should I take her computer away? What do I give her to do? How do I handle the repercussions of her attitude? I need some real suggestions on how to handle this. I want to be direct and to the point with her. I don't think she should be acting this way. Her father and I work about 55 hours a week between the two of us. Not to mention all the chores I do and grocery shopping and cooking etc.

 

I need real help with her. I want her on a different path. I don't want to cringe and feel like a ostrich with I have to ask her to do something. I know it will be tough but if I have a plan it will be much, much easier to deal with.

 

Help?

 

How did this happen? Has she always been homeschooled?

 

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Anxiety. Depression. Fear. Barely eating or going to the bathroom and lack of friends suggests something more than just laziness.

 

I've had times when I just binged on fanfiction all day. It was times I was sad and afraid and overwhelmed. There's ways to cope, but it's tough.

 

Does your insurance or employer cover therapy? I suggest starting there. You can ask the therapist for suggestions of weaning her away from the computer.

 

Whatever your thoughts of her joining the military, you can offer your support for her accomplishing what she needs to do to make that happen. Does she have a recruiter? It may help to go to a recruiting office with her and asking someone to lay out exactly what they expect from her. Brainstorm with her to figure out ways she can meet those expectations. Don't blame her for the past ("if you would've just been math already....") just move forward.

 

 

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Anxiety. Depression. Fear. Barely eating or going to the bathroom and lack of friends suggests something more than just laziness.

 

I've had times when I just binged on fanfiction all day. It was times I was sad and afraid and overwhelmed. There's ways to cope, but it's tough.

This. I'm known to spend too much time in fanfiction or on the internet when I'm overwhelmed with life.

 

Please find a way to get her outside help. Sounds like it's time.

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Our local CC offers free classes to prep for the GED.  My son may sign up for a few.

 

However, another mom and I are going to run our own GED classes for our kids first.

 

She may need more motivation than self study.  There is a lot online and I can link some things later if you are interested.

 

My son has Asperger's and several LDs, combined with anxiety issues and depression........we finally had to give up the credit requirements.  He simply wouldn't do them.

 

He sits around a lot too and I worry.  He does have a few friends and does do a few activities, but they are few and far between.

 

Dawn

 

 

I am sure there are umpteen threads on this. I haven't looked at them all.

 

My oldest will be 18 in January.

 

She does nothing... and I mean nothing... but either watch anime videos on youtube or read fan fiction all day.

 

If I ask her to do anything... anything at all... I get met with surliness and snark. To the point where I don't ask because I can't deal with it.

 

I have work right now that I am doing, that she can do as well. She won't do it. She just won't do anything. I have tried talking to her, telling her that it isn't right that she does absolutely nothing. I have told her (in nice terms) that she is basically being a freeloader. She doesn't care.

 

When I say watch videos and read, I mean she is on the computer from 8 in the morning until 9pm at night. She *might* eat, and she will use the restroom a couple times a day. I don't think it's healthy.

 

My dilemma? What do I give her to do? I am riddled with guilt over the fact that she has no friends (which is partly her fault, she won't try to build friendships). We live in an RV right now and that does make it difficult. However, to be honest, she was this way when we has a brick and mortar house. Just she was in her room doing the same thing.

 

She says she has plans. She wants to join the military and then work her way up to an officer. Great! However she needs her GED. Does she study for it? Nope. Just watches her anime and reads her fan fiction.

 

Should I take her computer away? What do I give her to do? How do I handle the repercussions of her attitude? I need some real suggestions on how to handle this. I want to be direct and to the point with her. I don't think she should be acting this way. Her father and I work about 55 hours a week between the two of us. Not to mention all the chores I do and grocery shopping and cooking etc.

 

I need real help with her. I want her on a different path. I don't want to cringe and feel like a ostrich with I have to ask her to do something. I know it will be tough but if I have a plan it will be much, much easier to deal with.

 

Help?

 

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Can you have a few recruiters come visit her?

 

Sign her up for the GED course and let her know when it is?

 

I honestly wish my father and/or step mother would have held my hand through some things. I was like that at 15/16 (had dropped out of high school) and had no direction or motivation. (Got pregnant at 16, went back to school, graduated on time (through a teen parenting school), but was only able to take sporadic college classes because I didn't know how to manage baby and school beyond the safety of high school)

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One of my kids was like this for a while.  Talk therapy and medication have helped a lot. Even with that, sometimes anxiety and fear of the future can be overwhelming.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed and I am the adult! 

 

I think that having getting some direction and ideas from someone outside the famly can be very valuable.  For example, what is she doing to prepare to join the military? What does she have to offer?  A counselor can ask questions like that; often the parents just can't ask without seeming (to the teen) hostile. 

 

I would not cut off access to food.  I probably wouldn't have favorite treat type foods around though (if that's even an issue). 

 

:grouphug:

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I agree with those who say it may be anxiety/fear/depression related.  We have a somewhat similar situation with youngest DS and are still in the process of getting it sorted out.  He was never surly or snarky, but definitely wanted to hole up in his room. He's been on medication for about six weeks and it has already helped tremendously. Even though he was started on a low dosage and that's been increased very slowly, we're "seeing" a different young man now. :)

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I am sure there are umpteen threads on this. I haven't looked at them all.

 

My oldest will be 18 in January.

 

She does nothing... and I mean nothing... but either watch anime videos on youtube or read fan fiction all day.

 

If I ask her to do anything... anything at all... I get met with surliness and snark. To the point where I don't ask because I can't deal with it.

 

I have work right now that I am doing, that she can do as well. She won't do it. She just won't do anything. I have tried talking to her, telling her that it isn't right that she does absolutely nothing. I have told her (in nice terms) that she is basically being a freeloader. She doesn't care.

 

When I say watch videos and read, I mean she is on the computer from 8 in the morning until 9pm at night. She *might* eat, and she will use the restroom a couple times a day. I don't think it's healthy.

 

My dilemma? What do I give her to do? I am riddled with guilt over the fact that she has no friends (which is partly her fault, she won't try to build friendships). We live in an RV right now and that does make it difficult. However, to be honest, she was this way when we has a brick and mortar house. Just she was in her room doing the same thing.

 

She says she has plans. She wants to join the military and then work her way up to an officer. Great! However she needs her GED. Does she study for it? Nope. Just watches her anime and reads her fan fiction.

 

Should I take her computer away? What do I give her to do? How do I handle the repercussions of her attitude? I need some real suggestions on how to handle this. I want to be direct and to the point with her. I don't think she should be acting this way. Her father and I work about 55 hours a week between the two of us. Not to mention all the chores I do and grocery shopping and cooking etc.

 

I need real help with her. I want her on a different path. I don't want to cringe and feel like a ostrich with I have to ask her to do something. I know it will be tough but if I have a plan it will be much, much easier to deal with.

 

Help?

 

Gently - it sounds like  your family is in crisis and your DD is severely depressed. She is very isolated! You need outside help here. Please get her in to see a counselor BEFORE she turns 18 and you have less power to compel her to do so. Probably you need to be involved in therapy to learn how to support her as she changes in a healthy way.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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Just to answer a couple questions... she has been homeschooled since she was 8. She hasn't always been isolated and she really isn't now. There are kids her age at the parks. She just has no interest in even saying "hello" to them. Even when she was in clubs she never would foster friendships this isn't something new. She always waited for them to invite he places to do things. I would tell her, why don't you ask so and so to the movies etc. She wouldn't.

 

Right now therapy is not an option. Number 1, we live in an RV. We are looking for a rental but we don't yet know where we are going to settle. It jsut depends on where we can get a rental. Number 2, she would never, in a million years, go for therapy. Never. She has made known what she thinks of it, not for herself but in general. I don't honestly think it has anything to do with needing therapy. I think it is pure boredom. She is very, very smart. (Yea yea most parents say that) She needs to be occupied. I was looking for ways to get her to help around the house and get off the computer :) Not really take her to therapy. I was telling what she is doing to give a picture of what I was up against.

 

As for my previous thread, I couldn't find it. I looked in my history because I thought I had posted something but since I couldn't find it I posted again. I will take a look.

 

We haven't talked to a recruiter. That is an excellent idea and I think that will be the first step. She still says that is her goal so I will facilitate that. Perhaps that will get the "blood flowing" so to speak.

 

 

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Just to answer a couple questions... she has been homeschooled since she was 8. She hasn't always been isolated and she really isn't now. There are kids her age at the parks. She just has no interest in even saying "hello" to them. Even when she was in clubs she never would foster friendships this isn't something new. She always waited for them to invite he places to do things. I would tell her, why don't you ask so and so to the movies etc. She wouldn't.

 

Right now therapy is not an option. Number 1, we live in an RV. We are looking for a rental but we don't yet know where we are going to settle. It jsut depends on where we can get a rental. Number 2, she would never, in a million years, go for therapy. Never. She has made known what she thinks of it, not for herself but in general. I don't honestly think it has anything to do with needing therapy. I think it is pure boredom. She is very, very smart. (Yea yea most parents say that) She needs to be occupied. I was looking for ways to get her to help around the house and get off the computer :) Not really take her to therapy. I was telling what she is doing to give a picture of what I was up against.

 

As for my previous thread, I couldn't find it. I looked in my history because I thought I had posted something but since I couldn't find it I posted again. I will take a look.

 

We haven't talked to a recruiter. That is an excellent idea and I think that will be the first step. She still says that is her goal so I will facilitate that. Perhaps that will get the "blood flowing" so to speak.

 

I'm not sure why living in an RV means you can't find a therapist, but if she's dealing with anxiety or depression, a regular doctor can prescribe something that could help immensely. Therapy isn't the only course of treatment.

 

I've had OCD and depression since I was a teenager. My mom had NO clue. None. She thought I was just a lazy, angry teen. Not getting the help I needed cut off I don't even know how many opportunities.

 

No one can diagnose your dd over the internet, of course, but please take it seriously when those of us with mental health issues tell you that what you're describing at the very least warrants a trip to your family doctor. 

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OP, I am concerned that your quick to dismiss outside help moment will obscure the real needs.

 

Your dd has a list of concerning behaviors that all speak to depression (possibly anxiety). She needs help from licensed and trained people. Something is not working right.

 

I think Mom may need some help and support, too.

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Just to answer a couple questions... she has been homeschooled since she was 8. She hasn't always been isolated and she really isn't now. There are kids her age at the parks. She just has no interest in even saying "hello" to them. Even when she was in clubs she never would foster friendships this isn't something new. She always waited for them to invite he places to do things. I would tell her, why don't you ask so and so to the movies etc. She wouldn't.

 

<snip>

 

She is still isolated.  The fact that there are people around who could do things with her doesn't take away her isolation if she's not actually doing things with them! 

 

My kid with the similar problem was the same way about friendships.  That passivity was one of the things that worried us.  I would suggest inviting so-and-so from this or that group over, but the child wouldn't do it.  The fact that the child was in close proximity to people and/or in clubs with people didn't take away the social isolation, since there was no interaction with people outside the clubs. 

 

Honestly (I mean this gently and kindly) I think you are in denial about her problems.  Your daughter needs someone outside your family to help her. Start with the regular doctor.   Write a letter to the doctor ahead of time outlining your concerns.  A family doctor can do a lot to help, even for someone who is reluctant.  In a few months you won't have this option left. 

 

Mergath said it so well:   "No one can diagnose your dd over the internet, of course, but please take it seriously when those of us with mental health issues tell you that what you're describing at the very least warrants a trip to your family doctor."    I'll add those of us with kids who sound a lot like yours.

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I have a 19yo that sounds similar and it is anxiety and depression that stands in the way. The chiropractor helps a little but therapy made a huge difference. Sadly after a couple years their therapist moved and we haven't found a new one and now as my child is going on 20, I have less authority to push the issue though I do make suggestions.

 

Having people their age where you live doesn't mean they aren't isolated. If making friendships is a struggle then at this age is really hard to not feel isolated.

 

For my oldest, I finally made them get a job -- like filled out the app and drove them to the in person interviews until a job finally happened (it took a long time). Also going to college (community) was expected if they were going to stay home for free. The job has really helped open up new relationships and also they have money to do things but things still aren't perfect.

 

You're getting suggestions to get medical help because the red flags are glaring. This isn't an issue where you're going to lay down some ultimatum and suddenly everything will improve.

 

In the meantime I would expect family time several times a week (means parents need to make the effort) and have her go with you to the store or wherever errands need run versus just being home all the time. My oldest doesn't enjoy this but I can't stand the endless hours in front of the laptop.

 

I would also make them food or have stuff available they will eat -- and this is after tons of personal regret that I left oldest in charge of their own food and they stopped eating. I wanted them to grow up and do it themselves but finally realized that not eating and making poor choices wasn't helping their moods either. But then now at almost 20 it is a little too late there.

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I would also make them food or have stuff available they will eat -- and this is after tons of personal regret that I left oldest in charge of their own food and they stopped eating. I wanted them to grow up and do it themselves but finally realized that not eating and making poor choices wasn't helping their moods either. But then now at almost 20 it is a little too late there.

 

:iagree:  A healthy diet isn't going to magically cure depression or anxiety, but eating lots of fresh produce and getting plenty of vitamin D, B vitamins, and iron can take the edge off the symptoms. It's not a replacement for medical treatment, of course, but can help get the person to the point where they're able to handle getting up and going to the doctor/therapist/whathaveyou.

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I had a child who did something very similar at the same age. She is incredibly intelligent and gentle and personable and a wonderful young woman, but anxiety and depression combined with being overwhelmed by the expectations of adulthood really threw her for a loop, and she just went to bed and stayed there.

 

This is not laziness or boredom.

 

Please get her some outside help. Insist. 

 

Instead of letting the obstacles defeat you, figure out how to overcome them. Living in an RV? Look into low-income counseling services, or find a counselor who will work with her temporarily and transfer you to someone closer if need be once you find more permanent housing. She won't go? No internet until she does.

 

Family counseling in addition to individual help would be ideal, as you could get some ideas about how to help and when to support and when to push.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug: :grouphug:  

 

Adding: YMMV, but I would not restrict access to meals. One thing I have always told my children is that (barring serious issues like active addiction or dangerous/abusive behavior) in my home they will always be given food, shelter, hygiene (clean clothes and showers), respect, love, as long as I have those things to offer, no matter whether they're 9 or 90. But technology, activities, snacks, treats...optional.

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My oldest is 17 and I run into similar issues with him. Tbh, I now have him working with a college advisor/counselor. A 3rd party speaking with him works wonders. When the counselor says what I have been saying for years it is the smartest thing ever.

I think that part of the doing nothing is fear. Fear of growing up, disappointing, the future. It is a lot of pressure and the fear is paralyzing. And they don't know how to talk to us about it.

 

 

I'd make an appointment with her PCP and shut off the wifi.

 

 

See the bolded.  Young adults don't always know where to go from here and don't know how to get started.  It doesn't matter if you literally hand it to them on a silver platter, some really just don't.  I've found that if you can get the ball rolling it greatly helps.

 

Can she find a job?  Even a part-time or babysitting one?  Could you set up the GED date and purchase a study guide?  Or set up an appointment with the military branch she is interested in?  

 

Our birds sometimes need to be coaxed out of the nest a bit to realize they have wings to fly on their own.

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My oldest son was really struggling last year. I have him several options for counseling, but didn't give him the option of whether or not to go. It has been a rough road, but very good for all of us. Sometimes dh and I go with him and we are able to all talk about issues that are bothering us. I high recommend it.

 

If you and DH both work, maybe she'd be happier in school? Or maybe night school? Most cities have adult night school where she could finish her diploma instead of a GED.

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I really would get rid of the wifi as well. Inactivity feeds depression and it can be a vicious circle.

 

I'd also have some requirements for supporting her. Therapy might be part of that. School or work is definitely part of that. Our oldest daughter is nineteen and she lives at home. However, part of that deal us school and good grades. She isn't required to have a job (she does) but if she wanted her own car she needed to be able to afford part of her insurance and gas. So I think dangling carrots paired with encouragement and motivation as well as getting rid of a couple things that are really crippling her could be absolutely key. Has she taken the ASVAB? I thought the Army was now accepting homeschool students?

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I really would get rid of the wifi as well. Inactivity feeds depression and it can be a vicious circle.

 

I'd also have some requirements for supporting her. Therapy might be part of that. School or work is definitely part of that. Our oldest daughter is nineteen and she lives at home. However, part of that deal us school and good grades. She isn't required to have a job (she does) but if she wanted her own car she needed to be able to afford part of her insurance and gas. So I think dangling carrots paired with encouragement and motivation as well as getting rid of a couple things that are really crippling her could be absolutely key. Has she taken the ASVAB? I thought the Army was now accepting homeschool students?

 

I'm pretty sure the military is being super-picky these days, and kids who would have easily gotten in a few years ago are out of luck.  I wouldn't dash dd's dreams by telling her that, I'd let the recruiters do the dirty work, but I'd make sure she has a Plan B before going in for the ASVAB.

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I have an almost 15 year old who sounds like your daughter. We've cracked down on his IT time because we have a family history of depression and he was showing some warning signs. Its classic avoidance behaviour. They know they are doing it and they feel crap about it, even if they are congratulating themselves on getting one over on you at the time. Its not fun - some days its awful. He is my only child and I didn't chuck in my career to spend my days fighting with him. But I didn't chuck in my career to have a kid who does nothing but sit online all day either. So, some tough love. He must eat with the family or he doesn't get fed. He must have his chores done by mealtimes or his meal sits getting cold until the chores are done. He must get up and be ready for school (including chores) or he loses gadget time. He must get his school work done or he loses gadgets. He must exercise and help with major projects or he gets a "when I was in the Army" lecture from either DH or me (he HATES these). He must be in bed by 9.30 or he loses gadget time the next day. No gadgets in bed. Food and IT are his currencies (grounding him would be counter productive and he's quite introverted). He's had a couple of cold meals and we've packed up all his gadgets including his PC once.

 

I don't tolerate snark. This is our home and everyone, even Mum, has the right to live peacefully and be treated with respect. Clever replies, well constructed arguments, smutty jokes, even bad puns are OK. No snark and no win/lose mind-games with family members or friends.

 

I second the idea of taking her to the recruiting office. Ask them to lay out exactly what she should be doing to prepare. She needs to get educated or she will never rise above Private (not a fun life), she needs to get fit and she needs to start functioning as part of a team. The penalties for not being a team player in the Army are really awful. Ask the recruiting people to tell her about them. If they won't, PM me and I'll spill the beans.

 

Meanwhile, you need to get some support. You're in for a bumpy ride and you need someone you can talk to, some physical outlet to keep your stress levels down (I walk), enough sleep, and something you enjoy to look forward to (I garden or read). It will be worth it. She will be worth it

D

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I'm pretty sure the military is being super-picky these days, and kids who would have easily gotten in a few years ago are out of luck.  I wouldn't dash dd's dreams by telling her that, I'd let the recruiters do the dirty work, but I'd make sure she has a Plan B before going in for the ASVAB.

 

This is what I've been told, by family members and friends in the military.  They are downsizing, and the opportunities of the past aren't necessarily there anymore.   

 

 

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Maybe make her get a job if you are going to refuse getting therapy help.  I found this about the military & GED's.  Why not created a transcript? Has she not done the work to complete one?  Maybe get her into some community college classes.  GED"s are really not the way to go for homeschoolers.  GED's were created to help people that have failed or dropped out and that is the association that they have with people.  http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/f/faqged.htm

 

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I'm not one to quote HSLDA but I was looking up information about GED and/or homeschoolers and joining the military. Apparently, it's difficult to get into the military with only a GED. Here's an HSLDA article about homeschool requirements.

 

I also found this article about GED and the military.

 

It's possible your teen is paying lip service about the military to put off doing what she needs to do to become a high school graduate. I understand she doesn't want to go see a therapist, but I'd find a way to get her to at least a career counselor. She needs to really find out what is out there for people who don't graduate. You'll have a more difficult time getting her to see someone once she turns 18. They'll want her to set up appointments and attend them without you, unless she has given her permission for you to be there. If she won't go see a recruiter, see if someone will come out to the house. She needs a kick in the pants because without one, she will not be successful in securing some type of future for herself.

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Sounds possible she is depressed.  It's hard to do much while depressed.  When I've been depressed, I couldn't even pick up the phone to make an appointment.

 

I don't have advice though.  I have no BTDT experience really.  Although my sister was struggling around that age.  She sat on the couch all day mostly.  One day she overdosed on pills she found in the house and ended up in the ER.  That was the start of her getting help.  Not that I want to scare you.  Just saying you could be dealing with something here. 

 

 

 

 

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I've been in a similar situation with a similarly aged child-not the RV, but definitely the self-isolation, total lack of motivation, lack of future orientation...etc.  He was in high school at the time so no excuse for not having friends.  He ignored overtures-until they stopped.

 

I don't have all the answers here but one of the most helpful steps we took was to limit wifi access.  He was ANGRY when we did this.  Fortunately he does not have violent tendencies and our relationship is basically good, and he adjusted.  His grades did not improve, but he was forced to spend more time actually talking to us.  It has been a slow process and I have no idea about the long or even medium term, but taking the following steps helped:

 

-limit computer and video game time

-make sure he is getting at least SOME decent protein daily (his chosen diet is *awful*)

-made him get a job-not easy-but it has helped his confidence a lot

-professional help in the form of meds, then eventually (when he was willing-took awhile-counseling)

 

Best wishes to you.  

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Oh my.  I'm going to be harsh here.  You can't expect an 18 year old to just go out and make friends in a park. She's not 6.  Teen friendships are complicated and built up over time.   If she just randomly goes out, she's going to be awkwardly forcing herself into a situation where she will be the weird kid that everyone avoids.  You put her in an untenable situation and now you're denying her any help.  You're basically in a situation where any normal healthy child would have situational depression, especially if their parents are not seeing what they are doing to the child, which you obviously aren't.  The problem here is YOU, not her.

 

Find a cognitive behavioral therapist.  Make her go.  That has nothing to do with where you live.  Just do it, even if you have to stay in the RV longer in order to pay for it.  If her depression gets worse, if she is suicidal, you are going to hate yourself for not doing what is right for her.

 

Find a GED prep class.  It could be online.  It could be at a school.  Make sure she does it every day, and until she does, turn off the wifi or take away the laptop.

 

Find a military recruiter and a calendar.  Make a plan, with an end date.  She's working to get out of the house and go to the military.  She'll need to be in shape.  She'll need decent ASVAB scores.  Wishing and hoping and moping the day away won't help with any of that.

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Sounds IDENTICAL to me at that age.

 

I had PTSD and anxiety, and was suicidal. The computer allowed me to completely disconnect from the real world. I still have to be very careful about my computer access as an adult because it's like i disassociate and detatch from reality when I am on it too long. 

 

My parents knew nothing. Still know nothing. I blame them in part because there were dozens of warning signs and they never took them seriously, I was just a lazy, unmotivated teen in their eyes. 

 

If you're going to refuse professional help (I had no access to it since my parents believed I was useless) the number one thing which helped me was getting a job, going to classes outside the house, and interacting with real people and forming real friendships. Going and saying hi to the stranger girl in the park is stupid, awkward, and more likely to get her laughed at than accepted. She needs real situations to form actual friendships, like a class with classmates. 

 

Can she drive? Independence, being able to go out to eat alone when I chose to, being able to go into the city to buy a nice dress, helped me immensely.

 

Also, try creating a list of things to do, I struggle terribly with actually feeling capable of doing basic tasks, when it gets really bad my husband will write down a list of things he wants me to do each day to give me focus and clarity, but this will only work AFTER she begins recovering, not right now. 

 

I know someone who does exactly what your daughter is doing and what I did as a teen now. Except this woman is 30. She has nothing in her life, I'm not convinced she's even fully connected to it. It's bad to see it in a teen but it's so much worse to see it in an adult. 

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I'm pretty sure the military is being super-picky these days, and kids who would have easily gotten in a few years ago are out of luck. I wouldn't dash dd's dreams by telling her that, I'd let the recruiters do the dirty work, but I'd make sure she has a Plan B before going in for the ASVAB.

I agree. I was in the Army. You have to be motivated to advance from enlisted to officer- heck you just plain have to be motivated to be an officer by any route.

 

You have to do well physically, and you have to study for the promotion boards at each level. And you have to go to training all. the. time.

 

Advancing in the military isn't just about how long you've been in. It's competitive and requires lots of effort.

 

I agree with others- it sounds like you all need some intervention/help- and it should have happened a while ago. (Said gently, not snarky)

 

I have no doubt that my son would turn out like this if I didn't force him to get off of electronics and be involved in stuff. He is very active, but he is also inclined to not put forth the initial effort to do stuff, and then just sit around and do nothing. (He's only 11, so not really comparable to your daughter, to be fair.)

 

We require involvement and outside activities. It is not an option.

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Wait. WHY hasn't she finished high school? Working towards a diploma would give her meaningful work to do. I think that should be the priority here. She's only 18. She may be able to enroll in high school. I understand that she's smart, but is she educated? Can she cope in a high school or college level math or English class? Can you pull together a transcript for 9-11 grade? Or register her as a homeschooling 12th grader and put her in a few CC classes? Or issue her a diploma and put her in CC classes. Community colleges can have generous financial aid packages for student who aren't rolling in money. They also have social clubs and basic mental health services available to students. It's worth doing the financial aid paperwork and taking the placement tests to enroll her.

 

If her goal is to be an officer, it doesn't make a lot of sense to enlist first. She should go to college and get involved with campus military programs. Officers have degrees, and the green-to-gold route is long and involves a career change. It doesn't make sense out of the gate. I don't think she'll snap out of her depression without a serious change of scenery. Also, with situational depression, she may not KNOW she's really depressed until she's out of it.

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 I was looking for ways to get her to help around the house and get off the computer 

 

You are minimizing the problem, imo. Or at least minimizing the potential problem. 

 

She absolutely has to at least start with a medical visit. They can run blood tests to see if any deficiencies might be making things worse, and they can ask questions about depression, general feelings, and so forth. 

 

I would talk to the office ahead of time to make sure they ask the right questions (they should be routine, but knowing of a potential problem will help them be gently persistent) and also order the bloodwork. Then I would send dd on her own, so she can speak freely. 

 

I agree with limiting wifi at home, but please, not in a punitive way. Just in a matter of fact, we all need time away from the internet, kind of way. 

 

Some of the other ideas suggested sound good as well, but you absolutely need to start with a medical visit and go from there. Focusing on getting her to do chores is your own method of avoidance. She isn't 7 and needing a sticker chart to fill out. She's 17, and quite possibly in crisis. 

 

Good luck to her! 

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I have two very close family members who struggle with depression, and to me what your daughter is dealing with sounds much more serious than boredom or laziness, it sounds very much like clinical depression.

 

In your shoes, my first priority would be to get her to a doctor. She may have an underlying medical condition that is causing her depression, and that needs to be either ruled out or addressed. Top priority.

 

Second, I would make her start a serious exercise regimen. My husband firmly believes that there is no anti-depressant or therapy that works half as well for him as exercise, and new research is bearing that out. You may have to make her. If so, take away the wi-fi every day until the exercise is done. You could start a "couch to 5k" running program with her. You can do bodyweights at home if you can't afford a gym membership. You can do "boot camp" type exercises at the park. There is LOTS you can do for free or cheap. But you MUST get her moving.

 

Make sure she's getting adequate nutrition. She needs plenty of healthy fats and enough protein to keep her blood sugar stable. If she eats a lot of sugar or other junk foods, that needs to be reduced or even eliminated.

 

Get her into SOME sort of classes or activities where she is interacting with other people. I don't think making friends at the park is a realistic scenario for anyone over the age of 10. But she does need to get out and interact with people. Check with the Y, the local community centers, the public libraries, nearby churches, your community college -- find *something* for her that will get her away from the computer and with other people. Require her to start with one class or activity and go from there. Again, cut off the internet access if you have to.

 

The last thing I can think of is: take her to a military recruiting office. Don't ask her if she wants to go, tell her you're going. She says she wants to do that, and that's great. So get her started. Let an officer tell her what she needs to do. She'll take it more seriously than if the same info comes from mom and dad.

 

But honestly, it may be that none of this other advice will matter if she doesn't get the medical help that she needs. Please take her to a doctor. Like, today.

 

:grouphug:

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All right.....I'm going to say this.  I've been thinking about it for a few days. 

 

1) You say she is isolating herself.  She very well may be.  But you say that there are other teens at the parks......  That's not how a teen makes friends.  That's a sufficient way to meet the social needs of a three year old, but not a teenager.  It's just NOT.  You've put her in an isolating position.  She's homeschooled; she's not in any activities.....of course she has no friends!  Blaming her for this is adding insult to injury. 

 

2) You and your husband are working 55 hours a week.  I'm not sure if that is each or total, but regardless, it sounds like you are expecting her to educate herself.  That is not a realistic expectation.  It's not fair.  Honestly, I think you should put her in school.  That would force her out of the house/ away from the computer, give her an opportunity to meet her social needs, and provide an education. 

 

3) She wants to join the military.  A GED closes that door.  Not a smart thing to do.  A homeschooled graduate can enlist, but not someone who has a GED. 

 

4) Yes, she sounds severely depressed.  I think cutting off the wifi is reasonable, but I think you really MUST get her to a doctor and a therapist.  And you need to do it before she turns 18.  I think it is really, really important that she at least see a doctor.  This is not fair to her. 

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