As you were raising your children, you imagined how they would be as they grew up. Maybe you pictured them going to college and getting a good job. Or maybe college wasn’t important but you saw your child getting a job and learning to live on their own. Maybe you envisioned them beginning their own family.
As our children grow up we teach them how to take care of themselves. We teach them about doing their wash, cooking, and cleaning. We teach them because we understand that one day they will leave our home. But sometimes they do not seem to be ready to leave. What happens when parents have their adult children still living at home? What happens when they can’t seem to hold a job or can’t seem to take care of themselves? What happens when parents begin to doubt that their child will ever be able to live on their own?
It may be that their ADHD interferes with keeping a job. Maybe they have additional mental illnesses, such as depression or bipolar that interferes with their life skills. Maybe they are struggling with finding something they would enjoy and they are good at. Both the adult child and the parents become frustrated with day-to-day living. Parents may become resentful when an adult child sits around the house each day, seeming to not care that they do not have a job. They may be angry at the mental health system for not offering more support or services. They may be angry with themselves for not having better prepared their children for the grown up world. The adult child may become angry at their situation, blaming their parents and their disability or at the world for not accepting them. They may be angry with themselves or see themselves as a failure.
As resentment and anger build, the household can become unbearable. Frustration and anger can lead to strained relationships or bitter fighting each day. It can be hard to find somewhere to turn and someone to help. There are a few national organizations and programs that might offer some assistance. Your situation and your child’s abilities will determine which programs can help. Social workers in your area may be able to provide you with additional resources available.
JobCorp is a federally funded program. They provide youth up to age 24 with job training and skills. Youth are housed in a campus atmosphere at various locations within your state and they choose a trade to learn. Some programs are located in areas where the youth are able to attend local college classes. This program is free. To learn more about the JobCorp Program, visit their website.
There are numerous Clubhouse Programs throughout the country. These programs are for people with mental illness of all ages. They offer support, advocacy, and education about mental illness for people looking to rebuild their lives. Some clubhouses provide transitional employment (the one in my area has it’s own catering service and offers jobs to members of the clubhouse.) There are staff members that can assist in finding housing or job search skills. The goal of the Clubhouse Programs is to focus on individual strengths, not on their mental illness.
Independent Living Centers normally offer advocacy, peer counseling, life skills training, and additional assistance for self-sufficient living. There is a directory of facilities at the Independent Living Research Utilization website.
Sometimes thought of as “the hospital without walls,” an Assertive Community Treatment Plan is used when traditional mental health treatment has not worked. This is an intensive treatment plan carried out within the community. This is not available in all areas, although it is gaining popularity as an option. You can contact the Assertive Community Treatment Association at 810-227-1859 for further information.
If you are struggling with an adult child at home, take the time to look into the above options to determine if one of these may be right for your child. Please let us know if you have additional resources.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.