Can't tell when to help and when to step back!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by galadriel, May 4, 2009.

  1. galadriel

    galadriel Guest

    I have two 17 year old twins who have been spoiled by me from the beginning. They always got everything that they wanted, they were late in life kids and I have an “absentee” husband/dad who works 80 hour weeks. Many times I just gave in and continue with that pattern today.

    Boys did great in school up ‘til the end of junior high. Once they got into high school their marks started to slip, in good part because they left any sports or other activities and got into smoking weed and cigarettes. One boy got into trouble with the law a couple of times in quick succession in late 2008, when he was in the middle of a “medication wash” for his ADD and bipolar diagnosis. (He had abused his Ativan and pysch NP pulled everything!) He then had a great spell of remission while on lithium and off the weed due to a mandated 90 day drug treatment.

    Once difficult child’s 90 days was up, he went back to the weed and is now easily triggered into hypo-mania. NP won’t change his scrips because “it works just fine when you aren’t smoking dope”. The other kid is not in any legal trouble but essentially does nothing, he goes to school on an irregular basis and both go late everyday. (I have to drive them, and they frequently make me late for work, as well.) They are both failing junior year, and have yet to look for work, either fulltime or summer. Why work when you are being supported by mom?

    A lady from my work lives up the road and recently retired. She talked about doing a walking program in the mornings and I would love to do this. However, that would require lumpy boys to a) get up on time b) catch their school bus at 6:50AM and c.) not have to be nagged by mommy from 5:45 ‘til 8:00 when they finally get up.

    Would it be neglect to “walk away” from my children and do something for myself every morning? They are like overgrown 6 year olds, heck they got up better when they were six!

    On another matter,
    difficult child has a Probation officer because when he got in trouble I urged him to take preemptive action and go in to Probation and sign up for a PINS (person in need of supervision) voluntary Court diversion program. Of course the local Justice was impressed and gave my kid a conditional discharge that runs ‘til December ’09. (difficult child’s accomplice who ignored a letter to attend at Probation got three years of full-blown Probation and 80 hours community service). Guess which kid is still testing clean and starting to act mature! Yes, the one whose parent didn’t tell him what to do. Guess whose kid is about to end up with the same three years Probation – mine.

    I feel like everything I do turns out wrong, and if I don't at least to get them to go to school, I will have given up on them. :(
  2. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi and Welcome to our group. You'll find a lot of support here and great advice. I guess from my perspective it looks like you are invested in your boys' academic success but they aren't. I think at this point any "help" you give them is really just taking the responsibility away from them and putting it on you.

    I remember with my difficult child 1 that we did everything we could to keep her in school and to keep her out of trouble. It didn't work. The more we helped the more helpless she became. She didn't really take on the responsibility for running her own life til she was kicked out of our house at the age of 18. I don't like a lot of the choices she made but she does run her own life now and she showed she was capable of a lot more than I thought she was.

    Since your boys are not doing well in school anyway I would not be driving them--they should be totally responsible for getting up and getting to school. If they don't they face the consequences. For Heaven's sake, why can't you be able to do something for yourself every morning--they are not small children who need to have you there every moment. And this is not a good example to set for them--they sound like they feel very entitled. That is not healthy for them or for you. I think you are going to have to get tough and stand up and be the mom. You will lots of help and support for that here! :)

    Others will be along soon! Best of luck to you!

  3. My daugther was not in the mood to get up this morning until she noticed the T-shirt lying on the chair. The next thing I heard was the front door closing and she was off to school (I called. She got there).

    Next year your teens are 18. Then their lives is up to them. I would try a last little effort before making an announcement to them that they should start looking for a small apartment for them because their days in your home are over. It doesn't have to be the truth but they should realize their time as a child is over.

    Some takes a huge detour in life before finding their choice of business. It is not our task to judge them but only encourage them to make most of the potential they have.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Sorry you're suffering. Been there/done that, but I want to set you straight. You do not have children. They aren't ten. They are young adults and you most certainly SHOULD live your life. Just because they are choosing to be irresponsible doesn't mean you have to cater to them.

    Tell ya right off the bat, in my opinion you should make these two almost men grow up and do things themselves. My daughter did drugs. You have no idea if your boys are just smoking weed or more involved in worse drugs. Your NP is right. Nothing works when they're doing drugs or drinking. In fact, ADHD drugs are very abused--my daughter abused them. THey are crushed in pillcrushes and snorted either alone or mixed with other drugs from cocaine to some OTC stuff.

    My daughter had to ride her bike to school or walk. If she didn't go, she dealt with the cops. I give her credit: We cut off all her money (and I think you need to stop supporting the boys too except for essential food and necessities). She got a job, even while using drugs and she quit--and to this day she has a very good work ethic! I think you are making it very easy for your boys to do nothing but do drugs and goof off. I made it as hard as possible for my daughter. At eighteen, when she refused to get help for drugs, we made her leave, and that's when she quit.

    Nothing good comes of doing everything for seventeen year old boys who don't do anything for themselves. What are you going to do when they are eighteen and still asking you to drive them around? I hope you don't allow them to get driver's licenses, unless they pay for it and their gas and insurance, while they are using drugs. My daughter got her license and paid for her own insurance and had to buy her own car. She cracked it up, and she then had to walk until after she was eighteen and after she moved out and quit using drugs. It didn't hurt her. It helped her. If you asked her, she'd say you are making things very easy for your boys and she would probably still be goofing off if we had made it easy for her (we did not).

    My suggestion is to pull your money and driving. They have to be allowed to fail or they will never succeed. My daughter is in college now and she and her boyfriend just closed on their first home today. She even quit smoking cigarettes (which, by the way, we never allowed her to do in our house). We also used to check her room on a routine basis. When using drugs, I would not allow the boys to have privicy.

    I digress: If you are paying for cell phones, stop. If they buy them nice clothes, they can work and buy clothes at resale shops or garage sales or Walmart. I have no idea what you mean by spoiling the boys, but it hasn't worked and if YOU don't change, THEY won't change. They have no incentive to change.

    Maybe you need to go to some Narc-Anon meetings. I am guessing that they are probably more involved with drugs than you think. All parents are told "I just smoke weed" and most parents want to believe that. But if kids are getting into legal trouble and failing school it is most likely more than that. Not that weed is good, just that it usually isn't just weed if things are that bad. One kid was already abusing Ativan. Assume he is probably abusing other drugs too.

    I think Narc-Anon is a good place to start. You have to learn to be strong to do what is right for the boys.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sending caring hugs and support your way. No big post of advice tonight but want you to know that I udnerstand. DDD
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Hi, Galadriel! I was in the same predicament, ident. twin boys, a husband who worked way too much and left parenting to me. They were lazy, terrible students, doing weed, thought we owed them everything, showed no gratitude what. so. ever.

    I suggest that it is time for your sons to realize that they will soon be adults in the eyes of the law. That doesn't give them much time to grow up. I wish I had been a stronger and more decisive parent. You are in for a bumpy ride! Please keep posting.
  7. galadriel

    galadriel Guest

    Thank you so much for the responses. You are verifying what I know I need to do: stop protecting and doing for these guys and let them holler all they want. The difficult child uses intimidation (we had an order of protection for a while there) to get his way, which is one reason why I haven't stood up to him before, but:

    We just started (last night) with an in-home multi-systemic therapy counselor who stressed several times that she is there for me, the caregiver, not the boy(s). I was sceptical at first but having met her I think this will be of great help. She is available 24/7, will be in place 3 - 6 months, and promised me we were going to have a great summer.

    Thank you for being here - there have been several times I came to this board to read up and realized I am not alone!! :peaceful:
  8. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Galadriel, pm me if you feel the need. difficult child 2 STILL uses intimidation, he's 23!
    This past week-end we went to easy child's play and a toddler was in the row behind us. I heard his little voice say "mommy! mommy? I love you, mommy!" I had a hard time holding back my tears, sounded like the good old days when difficult child 2 was full of wonder and magic.
  9. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I can relate to the syndrome of doing everything for your kids and having it backfire (note my screen name).

    You are responsible for your children until they are 18, and by responsible I mean to give them food, shelter, an opportunity to go to school and medical care when necessary. Anything else is a privilege.

    Shut off the stream of privilege to them until they shape up. Don't pay for a damn thing, no clothes, cell phones, walking around money, etc., since they are old enough to get a job and earn their own spending money. Don't give 'em cash at all if you suspect they are spending it on drugs. A social worker told me I could be charged with neglect for giving my son cash, even in exchange for chores, when he was 15 and smoking weed.

    Instead, put the focus on yourself. You cannot motivate another person, they have to do it themselves. They are responsible for getting themselves up on time and to school. I did all that b.s. driving them around and it wore me down to a nub.

    Save yourself while you still have a pulse! And come here for support when you need it. (I commend you for walking in the a.m., if you do it. I used to go with another doormat mom, around a high school track at 7:30 a.m, with our water bottles or hot tea, depending on temperature, and the time went by so quick while we were gabbing about our sad little situations. I got firmer thighs from it.)
  10. galadriel

    galadriel Guest

    hi RD and all, things are getting there, or at least I'm feeling stronger! We had a family meeting today and I told the three of them that I was tired of having 20-something social workers tell me what I should be doing when I know perfectly well from what my inner voice tells me (and this board backs up with experience).

    I told the boys that they had to go to school, and that there are two chances to get there in the AM - a bus at 6:55 and I would be willing to drive them - at 7:20 ONLY. If they miss both chances, I leave directly for work and take the offender's computer tower with me. :smug: difficult child will also have to deal with his PO, who has mandated school and a return to SA treatment which starts 6/2. His SA counselor will recommend inpatient if he doesn't get clean.

    I also told them (and both do this) that anyone who expresses anger needs to do so appropriately and not with obscenity, etc. They thought that if they had a punching bag they would have a healthier outlet. ( I found one on craigslist already, waiting to hear back from the seller. If they think that's a fix, good! I can always use it if they don't ;) )

    Thank you again!! Lis
  11. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Good for you! I am patting you on the back for drawing a boundary and letting them know the consequences. Bravo!

    I'm right there with ya. The first time they have to walk or take the bus to school they will know you mean business.

    My 16 yr old difficult child has been able to manipulate me by making me feel sorry for him and giving him more second chances. However, now that he has a P.O., he can't do that anymore. If he fails one more drug test he has to go inpatient and he does not want to go away from home again. He actually had the nerve to beg me to buy him a "flush" (some kind of herbal remedy that is supposed to mask marijuana use, I think drinking copious amounts of water also does pretty much the same thing but experiences SA counselors can tell by the creatinine levels in the urine if someone is messing around), tried to make me feel guilty for sending him away again if he fails. I stayed firm and told him that his dad and I do not want him using illegal drugs at all. When he turns 18 and wants to smoke a joint he can move out and do it in his own apartment, but not under my roof.

    It's exhausting to try to stay on top of sneaky teens, and you've got it times two, but you will feel so much better knowing that you are doing the right thing by your kids and by yourself. Hopefully, that knowledge will keep us strong.

    Good for you! Stay strong.