Good parents will do anything to help their children in a crisis, even if they are not sure where to start. Desperate to help his unemployed 23-year-old son snap out of a funk, one father turned to social media for advice. Should he and his wife wake up their son with a harsh dose of reality and kick him out?
“My wife and I just don’t know what to do with our son,” the father lamented at the beginning of his online post. “He just sits on his computer and chats online and plays video games all day.”
Five years after high school graduation, his adult son has accomplished nothing with his life. Although the 23-year-old originally intended to attend college, he became overwhelmed by the financial aid application process and abandoned the plan.
The parents have not lost faith their son might someday go back to school: “We kept asking him to keep trying [to study], but he won’t budge.”
He Could Not Keep a Job
Instead, the young man has spent the past two to three years unable to hold down a job. According to the dad, the 23-year-old works less than a year at each position and rarely saves his paychecks since he spends them all on expensive games and computer parts.
When asked why he left each job, the son’s response was always that he did not enjoy the work. On one occasion, the young man confessed to his father that “He finds life to be depressing. He finds the cycle of waking up, going to work, go home, sleep, and repeat depressing, and [he] doesn’t want to do that for the rest of his life.”
The 23-year-old expressed to his dad that he longs to discover a passion, but he cannot find what he would like to do with his life. Currently, the young man barely leaves his room, only emerging sporadically for food and basic human necessities.
What Should We Do To Help?
“At this point, me and my wife want to help him. But we don’t know what to do,” the dad shared with fellow parents in his post. “We’re thinking of kicking him out, but I’m not sure I want to do that. How can we help our son?”
Most online users in the replies were interested in the answer to a single pressing question. “Has [your son] talked to a psychologist?” inquired the top-voted comment. “If not, that’s probably the most important thing right now.”
Fellow Redditors sympathized with the young man’s predicament, recognizing the tell-tale signs of depression in his listless behavior and negative outlook. Many took the opportunity to disclose their own deeply personal struggles with mental illness and the steps they took to overcome it.
“Yeah, I can see myself from years ago in [the dad’s] description, and I was diagnosed with clinical depression because of that. It took that diagnosis to open the door to fixing myself,” shared one empathetic commenter. “I have my life perfectly in line now, but it took over two years to reach this point; what he is going through is not something that can be fixed with one flip of a switch.”
Another user who suffered from a long depression divulged what helped them get better: “I’ve had a job for a year now that I really like, but I am still on a medication … Finding something I was passionate about was very big part of my recovery.”
“The type of reclusive gaming you’re describing could be a symptom of untreated ADHD,” pointed out a different Redditor, who recommended identifying the root cause of the depression. “ADHD can cover a spectrum of symptoms, but some of the most common are a link to depression and difficulty with executive function/reward centers in the brain.”
According to a 2015 study on the relationship between ADHD in adults and mood disorders (like depression), researchers found that: “Untreated ADHD can adversely affect school and work achievements, diminish self-esteem, damage interpersonal relationships, and significantly reduce the quality of life for adults.” Although unable to provide an official diagnosis, many commenters agreed that an evaluation could be helpful.
“This subject is very close to my heart. My daughter took seven years post-high school to find her niche and get employed full-time,” recalled a fellow parent. Her daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, eventually found her passion in life by trying out odd jobs and working for daily pay at a temp agency. Currently, the mom and daughter live together happily and split their household finances in half.
“I can’t tell you how many times my mother INSISTED that I must throw her out! Just like that—toss her to the curb,” the mother remembered, still incensed at the memory. “I gave birth to this child. It is my responsibility to guide her through life.”
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This article Their 23-Year-Old Unemployed Son “Plays Video Games All Day” was produced by TPR Teaching. Reddit source.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.