Wednesday, February 02, 2011

explaining my son coming home

Here's what I wrote to Paul's former advisor:

Paul did so well last spring when he transferred to Presbyterian College, but it took him a lot of effort. Several things have gotten in the way since, including losing a week to flu last fall, but I think fundamentally he couldn't keep up the effort. He got off track after the snow days and stopped going to class. He and I talked at length and agreed that he would try to get his act together, but if he didn't go to all his classes and appointments that week then he would come home. I heard last Tuesday that he didn't show up for his appointment with the academic coach and I started the process of withdrawing him.

At the beginning of this term I hoped the issues might have a quick fix with an antidepressant that had more anti-anxiety effects, but now I think that Paul needs to find what he cares about before he will be ready to continue college. He and I have talked about how he may just not be ready for college yet, or at least for how college requires increasing responsibility each year. Hopefully it is a matter of brain development and he can go back in a year or two. In the meantime the plan is for him to do volunteer work and take one or two courses at a time at the local community college.

It is an interesting path we are on because of John's illness. I had been trying to protect both kids from having to deal with their father's slow downward slide, but now Paul has ended up on a different path. I'm going to be treating Paul more like a partner in the household than like a child because I need the help. So far he has cheerfully done everything I have asked him to do. Maybe being home will be the maturing experience he needs. He seems relieved more than depressed to be home.

People at Presbyterian college were very kind through this whole process. I'm glad Paul had that experience of the semester where he did well because now he knows he can do it. If in a year or two he wants to return to a liberal arts college, I will encourage him to go back to Presbyterian.

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