Brief synopsis. My honor student 16 year old discovered WoW and started on what I saw as a downward slide (he still won't admit it was a downward slide) which culminated in him leaving home at age 18 last October and dropping out of high school in January, stating he would finish through independent study. He didn't. I didn't think he would last this long on his own and he'd fall flat on his face, but we were wrong. He has managed to support a mediocre lifestyle.
Good news: One of the high school teachers contacted us and him about a 'credit recovery' program sponsored by the school district. It is computer based and students work at their own pace. He agreed to check it out. I took him to the district, the site. Afterwards I asked him if he thought he would do it. He answered with this smartass question "Why wouldn't I?" I left it unanswered because my answer would take 10 minutes and it would just be confrontational.
He heard last week that he had been accepted. So, now, instead of walking a mile to the neighborhood high school with all his childhood friends and teachers, he has to make his way across town using the train, the bus, his bike or feet, 5 days a week and sit at a computer for 4 hours a day. I think the commute will take him 45-60 minutes each way. He has five classes to complete. The tests are open book. He also has a few essays, maybe a novel to read and a senior project to complete. If he misses three classes, he is expelled. When this is done, he will get a high school diploma. It will not be a GED. It's a good second opportunity. I will be encouraging and supportive, but am not going to make this happen either. He is the one who messed up his senior year so he is the one who has to fix it. I have no doubt that he could crank out the work required in less than two months if he applies himself. Does he have the drive to finish? Time will tell.
Our relationship has improved slightly. He has come by the house and told us about his life. I took him out to eat and talk last week. We were cordial and friendly but honest with a few disagreements. Says goodbye and hugs me. Wants our approval. He says he wants to come to the family reunion with us.
Bad news: He quit his minimum wage, fast food job. He had been complaining about way the place was managed (this is his second job, so not sure what his frame of reference is). The boss said he was argumentative and didn't like authority. So, now he has to find a job that will fit around this school schedule from an employer willing to hire an 18 year old high school dropout who may not get a good recommendation from his former employer. He is now on his third roommate. He let some guy move in who he finds "annoying" just so he'd have someone to pay half the rent. He let me see his apartment recently. A huge mess. I am not sure he has found the trash cans or can use a vacuum. I didn't dare go into the bathroom.
I bought him a bag of groceries and some soap and laundry detergent and cleaning supplies and new underwear. He said he has a job hunting outfit. He also has $800 in the bank which would cover his share of rent and utilities for July. Not sure what he'll eat since he doesn't get a free meal every day anymore, but he does like Top Ramen.
A friend of mine who is an alcoholic said that many people with addictions often stop maturing emotionally if they become addicted at a young age. He refuses to learn from others and is choosing to learn from his own mistakes, but he doesn't think he has made any mistakes. He is living on the edge of starvation and homelessness, yet quits a job without having another. And thinks he can easily find a job when he is competing with younger high school students looking for work, without a good recommendation, in an economy with rising unemployment rates. I would have suggested temp agencies who hire construction day labor, but there isn't much construction going on now.
I am keeping on with my life. Stopped taking the anti-depressents. I'd take him back in a heartbeat, but was reminded of how difficult he would be to live with when we had a bit of an argument (about video game addiction) during dinner the other day. I did suggest he try to take a close look at his style of interaction (confrontational) and see if he can find patterns of bad behavior. Not sure he is mature or humble enough yet. Some friends have suggested that a girlfriend would help straighten him out, but I am not sure how much I could respect a girl who has such low expectations that she would find my son a good choice, at this point in his life. I could see her posting on the other section of this site, once the bloom wears off the romance. Lucky for him, he has always been drawn to intelligent girls, so the girls he likes might not like to have an unemployed high school dropout for a boyfriend.
That's it for now.