A 18-year-old who is in the final year of high school is exhibiting certain patterns of behavior that seem very troubling. He is currently doing well in school, but I'm afraid that these patterns of behavior will soon enough lead him to disaster (academically and otherwise).
- Lack of deep interest in most activities, apart from watching sports or playing video games.
- Lack of interest in any specific academic topics.
Avoidance of any responsibility or school duty until the last possible moment before the (homework/exam) deadline -- to be precise, he does in the end do the job, but goes about doing it in the following way:
- he asks for help from his parents and does it in a way as to imply that it is their responsibility to insure that the task is completed;
- he refuses to go the extra mile in performing any academic task. What is more, he is always ready to cut corners that do not affect "too much" the performance -- one of his favorite saying is "I don't want to do useless extra work" (while actually talking about work whose avoidance will not make him fail, but will avoid him truly going beyond mediocrity).
Complete abdication of responsibility for any aspect of his life, from trivial decisions to more important life-changing ones -- e. g. he has not yet even thought about his college major (or job perspective) after finishing school (to clarify, in my country you have to decide a fixed major before applying to university).
Complete lack of skills and awkwardness in the most trivial/easiest manual activities.
Refusal to complete even the most trivial tasks (even when pressed) -- including showering, brushing his teeth, set his room in (the tiniest amount of) order. This kind of lack of self-care is consistent with depression symptoms, but, in my experience, being forced by an external force to complete such tasks is ralely met with active defiance in depression cases (in those cases it is more of a "letting oneself go" rather than actively resisting an external push towards self-care).
Severe misbehavior and lack of respect towards parents (or adults in general), sometimes to the point of threats of violence or simulated acts of violence. In some cases, I can see where his frustration comes from, but it is still unacceptable.
Unwillingness to learn (in many contexts) from others (even school teachers -- for example one phrase he uses often is "Why does teacher X go on blabbing about this useless stuff, can't he just assign pages from the textbook and be done with it?").
I must say that these things have been a problem with him for many years, but recently have become more and more severe.
One approach to try to deal with this kind of behavior would be to let him be until reality sets him straight. However, I'd really rather not have him suffer the consequences of his actions, because in my estimation they will surely be permanent and disastrous.
I cannot figure out the causes of this situation and when it is brought up for discussion his reaction is mosty avoidance (one phrase that he comes up with a lot in these circumstances is "Don't stress me out" -- which is also used when he engages in procrastination about school or other activities).
What should the parents do to deal with this situation effectively?