Doctor’s son killed himself amid depression battle – Now doctor sends 4 LESSONS to other parents

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Dr Anthony Rostain hit a low life and never remain the same when his 32-year-old son Julian took his own life after he fell into a dark depression from which he never recovered.

Julian who was a talented chef had been suffering anxiety for years, before he lost his job during COVID-19 pandemic.

He had no option than to return home to live with his parents, while social distancing restrictions kept him isolated from his friends and his beloved live music.

Dr AR in his grief has published a book, You’re Not Done Yet, written with family therapist B. Janet Hibbs – it is described as a ‘clear-eyed, optimistic guide for parents with adult children who need help navigating the challenges to launching an independent life’.

AR said, ‘I was blessed to have Julian as my son. He faced many challenges growing up, including having to spend over four years living with us in his early twenties.

‘I learned many lessons about parenting from him which made me much more compassionate in my clinical practice.

Those lessons include:

1. Forget everything you thought you knew about parenting

The tricky period in your grown-up child’s life has a new name: emerging adulthood.

Everything is different for twentysomethings – what used to be easy and fast takes a lot longer.

For instance, from the late 1940s through the 1980s, between 65 and 70 percent of young adults had reached five key milestones by age 30: Finish your education, get a job, live independently, settle down with a partner, and become a parent.

Now, less than a quarter of young adults have got there by age 34.

So use a more open mindset when talking about the stops, starts, and stalls of your child’s progress.

For example, when Tyler – one of the case studies in the book – lost his job, his father Scott’s instinctive response was to find a solution.

However, by using a curiosity-based approach – ‘Can you tell me what it’s been like for you?’ – and avoiding giving unsolicited advice, he was able to encourage Tyler to open up and tell him how hard things had been.

Show appreciation for the courage it takes for a young adult to own up to their difficulties. Help them take responsibility for their actions, but don’t lecture them.

2. Don’t try to win – you’ll lose

In family relationships, when people play to win, there are only losers.

The book tells of a classic mother-daughter conversation in which Jannie and her daughter, Chrissie, 27, clash over Chrissie’s new boyfriend.

‘Oh, he’s part of the Big Quit?’ the mother comments. ‘Third job in a year?’

Chrissie storms back that no one she ever dates is good enough for her mom.

Mom replies: ‘Can’t you take a joke? You’re so sensitive.’

In this battle, neither party is willing to back down or own up to their defensiveness.

To avoid reaching this impasse, say Hibbs and Rostain, pay attention to your body. When it’s revving up for an argument, take a breath, calm it down, and really listen to your child thoughtfully and patiently.

When Jannie tried this alternative approach, she agreed not to try to control her daughter’s adult choices. 

For her part, Chrissie accepted that there might be times when her mother couldn’t be her sounding board. Young adulthood also means accepting a parent’s limits.

READ ALSO: Gisele Bundchen REVEALS how she conquered her ‘severe depression’ and panic attacks

3. Accept that don’t have the control you wish you did

‘Live in the here and now,’ the book suggests, ‘learning and sharing small activities together. 

‘Cherish the laughs and moments of fun. Live each day to the fullest and end each day with an appreciation of what went right. All of us need these times to feel more connected to one another and to get through life’s uncertainties.

‘As you turn your focus to the relationship you want with your adult child, your new lifetime role will emerge — that of collaborative partner.

‘Coming to respect and know each other beyond your early familial roles, you will grow beyond a dusty, obligatory relationship to one of deepened connection as you honor, relate with, and learn from each other.’

4. Don’t forget to help yourself

‘No matter how much you’ve done and hows hard you’ve tried,’ say Hibbs and Rostain, ‘there is only so much that you can do for your young adult children.’

So try some self-care for a change. It will allow you to get over the fact you can’t live their life for them, or bend them to your preconceptions.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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