“My son is struggling to finish his college semester back home. How can I help him?”

Hi, how do you help your once independent college student find, rediscover his sense of purpose
during quarantine? That is today's question on Tips on Teens. My name is Kenton Toussaint.
I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. I'm the founder and clinical director of Teen
Therapy Center in Woodland Hills, California. I'm also the executive director of the nonprofit
organization, Child and Teen Counseling. We're both organizations focused on helping kids,
teens, and families live happier lives. Every Wednesday at noon, I come here to your Facebook
Live and answer your parenting questions. And today is, we'll hear today's question. Like
so many other college students, my son is home now trying to finish his semester. He hasn't been
doing well. He seems depressed, can't focus on his work, and is in danger of flunking this semester.
He's usually a great student. We try to help, but he just gets mad at us. He lies in his bed and scrolls
through his phone all day. He's 20 years old and

was living independently before quarantine. I feel like taking this phone away is treating
him like a child. What do we do? This is a really common problem. I'm seeing a lot in my practice.
I know some other colleagues of mine are seeing it in theirs. You have a 20 year old young man who
is independent, was living on his own in college, having, you know, the time of his life, and
comes home and kind of loses all that momentum, all that purpose. And I it's important to recognize
that, you know, he's not 16 anymore. He is 20, and while his brain is not fully developed to a full
25 -year -old brain, I understand that, but you can't just take the phone away because if you
do, you know, it's going to cause more problems than it's worth. I think the more, the better
way to approach this is instead of trying to dictate to him, instead of trying to tell him what
he can and cannot do, have conversations with him. You know, try to reach out to him, connect
with him. If you come across as judgmental,

you come across as trying to push, he's going to pull away. And I can only imagine what's going
on with this kid or this young man. You know, he had his independence. He was at college, he was
doing his own thing, and then it's all taken away. Another possibility is maybe he wasn't doing
as well as you thought he was in college. Maybe he wasn't having the purpose and the drive and
the great experience, maybe he was already declining and quarantine pushed it down even further,
which made him go, well, forget it. You know, that calculus homework, I don't care about anymore.
It has no meaning to me anymore. You know, that paper on ancient Egypt, I don't care about anymore.
Even though it was part of my major, I don't care. So, you know, something's going on where he's
lost his sense of purpose, loss of drive. And I think the more you have an emotional connection
with him, That may help him self -reflect and think about it. You may also want to think about
getting him, you know, someone to

talk to. You know, a therapist, myself, and every other therapist I know, we're all doing online
sessions. It's not the perfect way to do therapy, but it's good enough, especially in this time
of quarantine. Many people are also seeing clients individually in the office. I know I have
a couple clients who come in because they don't have a safe place to go online, and we're very
careful on, you know, people wearing masks and people are wiping down door handles and all that
stuff. So we're everyone's taking precautions For this quarantine situation. So if he needs
to see someone face -to -face, there are options. There are plenty of options. See someone online
You just want to make sure that the person he's seeing online is in the same state He is in because
I know is California. My license extends to the edge of the border of California So I'm not able
to do therapy for someone outside of California. So same thing probably with your son and his
therapist Um, anyways, I would encourage you

to get him some help, uh, try not to tell him what to do, try to collaborate with him, help him,
you know, ask him questions, see if he can see how it's getting in his way. What does he want? Does
he care about this semester? And if he does flunk this semester, it is not the end of the world.
There are plenty of ways to bounce back, whether that's going back to the second semester, I'm
sure there's going to be a lot of leeway that college is going to give for people for this semester,
and if not, there's other colleges you can go to, you know, it doesn't matter what college you
graduate from, it just more matters that you graduate and have that experience. So there's
no end -of -the -world situation here. But you also want to consider, you know, is he suicidal?
And if you're wondering, you may just want to ask him. And if you ask him, that's not planting
the seed. You're not going to say, hey, do you ever think about hurting yourself? You're going
to say, hey, I haven't thought about that,

but that's a great idea. That's not how it works. He'll either say, no, I would never do that.
Or he'd say, well, I don't know, maybe. Which means he's already been thinking about it. Which
means it's good to get him talking about it. And as much as that may scare you as a parent, and I
get why, you don't wanna jump into, no, don't do that! Because you're just gonna push him away.
You wanna help him feel supported and secure and safe. And that's what's really important.
Anyways, that is our question for today. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for sending in your
questions. We'll be here next Wednesday at noon on Facebook Live. If you have a question you'd
like me to answer, you can email me at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com or direct messages
right here on Facebook. We love your questions and thanks again and we will see you next time.
Have a great week guys, stay safe, bye bye.

For many college students, COVID-19 meant leaving school and moving back home for the last semester. And while learning on campus has stopped, exams and coursework haven’t. The switch from being in a structured academic environment to being stuck at home can pose a challenge for even the hardiest student. So what can parents do to help? This week’s #TipsOnTeens question is from a family wondering how to support their son as he wraps up his college semester:

“Like so many other college students, my son is home now trying to finish his semester. He hasn’t been doing well. He seems depressed, can’t focus on his work and is in danger of flunking this semester. He’s usually a great student. We try to help, but he just gets mad at us. He lies in his bed and scrolls through his phone all day. He’s 20 years old and was living independently before quarantine. I feel like taking his phone away is treating him like a child. What do we do?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.