The Atlantic

Dear Therapist: I Don’t Know How to Help My Angry, Unmotivated, Adult Son

My 26-year-old son has been through a lot. Is it possible to support him emotionally and financially while nudging him toward independence?
Source: The Atlantic

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at

Dear Therapist,

My 26-year-old son has been through a lot in his life, and I think he has some anger-management issues as a result. He was adopted as a newborn, though stayed in touch with his birth mother, who went on to have other children. His father and I divorced when he was 9, and a few years later his father got cancer and passed away. As a child he was diagnosed with ADHD. When he was a senior in high school, he came out to me as gay. (I was very supportive.) I don’t think he has really emotionally processed much of this.

For many years, he took Ritalin and did well in school. He was accepted into the arts college of his choice but, once at college, he stopped taking his medication and struggled. Last May, after seven years, he graduated with a

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