Creative approach or neglect?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dharmamama, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. Dharmamama

    Dharmamama Guest

    Several months ago my husband and I made a difficult decision. We decided that since our difficult child wouldn't allow us to parent him and repeatedly stated that he just wants out of our home because we are so horrible to him, we would give him the master suite of our house and turn it into an apartment for him. He has a bathroom a kitchenette and, until he broke the law, relative freedom to do as he pleased. I also buy his groceries every week. We installed a door to the outside of the house as well.

    This allows the rest of the family to have a respite from the hitting of sisters, stealing of property, cash, credit cards and the utter lack of peace in our home.

    Our rules: no drinking or drugs in his apartment, no girls home by legal curfew and at the family dinner table by 7pm (he's still loved, after all).

    His response: he has informed everyone we know that we are neglecting him and had someone call CPS because we told him he couldn't live at his drug dealer's house. He drank in his room, refused to follow curfew and slept with his sister's friend while she was sleeping over (I checked in at bedtime and all was well).

    CPS found the charge unsubstantiated eventually but we were told that we couldn't lock his door to our house. We explained that it was a necessary boundary and that unless we were violating the law, our home would remain off limits to difficult child except at dinner.

    Are we wrong to implement this strategy? The girls are happier, difficult child supposedly got what he wanted and all of his needs are being met so why do I feel guilty? What more can we do for the kid while maintaining the right to security and peace for the rest of the family?

    He's not welcome in our home and, yes, the whole idea of that is wrong, but I'm tired of hearing my daughters make excuses for why he hits them and catching him rifling through my drawers looking for stuff to steal.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Neither, in my humble opinion. Although I will tell you up front I couldn't even read all this given my brain feels half gone right now and partly because as I scanned over it, it looked to me like this kid has completely taken over iand is manipulating the **** out of you. I think it is more a matter of entitlement and manipulation that you are dealing with. But again, I didn't read this word for word.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It sounds like an excellent solution. I was told that in our state that at 17 we could set Kanga up in her own apartment and as long as we had an adult check on her once a day, provided her with food and a way to contact 911 if needed (even just one of those 911-only cell phones) that we were fine unless/until she got arrested and then we may have to directly supervise her if she was place on house arrest.

    How old was the friend he slept with?
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, what a creative solution. Ingenious.
    On one hand, it does give you peace. on the other hand, he's still running you ragged. He needs to be working and/or going to school. Doesn't sound like he's doing either of those things.
    Isn't it amazing how Soc Svs tries to run your life? They don't have a clue.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Guess I'd call CPS back and beg for help. I'd call and send a letter.

    How long til he's 18?
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You dont know how often I have thought of this as a solution! Including bricking in the wall into the rest of the I wasnt sure if I was going to make the apt for me or the kids though. About right now Im ready to just block off my master bedroom into my own little apartment and dare anyone come in.
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I would certainly not call this neglect. I wouldn't say it sounds like its working out ideally, however at the same time, it has provided security for your property and for your other children. And that says a TON about the rationale of your decision to set things up like this. The drinking in violation of the rule, and the sex with a girl spending time in your home is a sign of disrespect that would send me over the bend. Yet, I don't see anything in that behavior that he couldn't have pulled off while still residing in the house with you all as he was before.

    For some reason I can't see signatures on profiles on the site any more (No clue why) so I'm not sure how old your difficult child is. However if he is 16-17, he is nearing the age he's going to be legally old enough for you to say no more and have him move on his own if he can't meet some normal expectations (no drinking, curfew, etc). This sounds like a opportunity for him to learn how to fend for himself while still having the luxury of parents providing rent free accomodations and groceries. I guess in terms of his rule breaking, I'd personally find consequences that you can control given that he is in a "apartment" and supposed to be learning to cope on his own etc. In other words, grounding etc probably won't fly any more in that apartment as it would have in your home, and adding more stress to your own daily life is part of the reason for having him in "his own place" anyhow. So what consequences? This may require creativity. I would start with sattelite or cable removal if he has it. Perhaps not the t.v itself yet, he could watch dvds if he wanted. But it is a luxury to have paid for cable or dish. Since he pays no rent, he gets the roof and the meals. Not the luxury because he is disrespecting you by violating rules, therefore you don't feel inclined to provide the "treats" in life. When buying groceries, take the literal "treats" off the list. No snacks that aren't fruit, veggies, yoghurt etc. No soda or potato chips or popcorn. Just healthy food he can prepare for 3 meals a day, and some healthy snack type things. I'd also buy him the basic personal hygiene items, but not the luxury items. He can get a job and pay himself if he wants name brand shampoo, quality razors and shave cream, hair gel, name brand deodorant etc. I would supply toilet paper, cleaning supplies for the apartment, inexpensive "budget" type personal hygiene items and groceries. The power is on for him. He has heat when he'll need. He has a bathroom and a place to sleep and a way to prepare food. He doesn't "need" cable. He doesn't "Need" internet. He doesn't "need" laundry done for him, he can do it himself. He doesn't "need" a telephone except for 911 purposes. These are luxuries afforded to those who work for them or are children and dependent on their parents. He will of course flip out. But really, he can seethe by himself in his "apartment" and none of YOU all need to put up with it. I would respond to his outrage by stating "You don't want rules of living with parents. You wanted independence and to be treated as an equal and a adult. You want to not follow basic respectful rules. You want to act as an adult by having sex, drinking alcohol etc. Therefore you can TRULY act ADULT. Get a J-O-B!". I would probably also offer him an "out" if he isnt feeling compelled to work ;). Such as: you can go back to being a "child" in this family when and if you come to me and tell me you realize that you are a dependent, not independent. At that point he can move back into the family home, back into a regular bedroom, back into "dependent" mode. But with that, comes following rules that those dependent on others are expected to follow. Period. And if that happens and he refuses to comply with the rules, then he will be back in that space. And back to basic groceries and basic needs, no internet phone cable etc.

    Sometimes a full immersion experience into premature adulthood and responsability can do a lot to wake a kid up. Seems to me a very brilliant set up for this type of idea. You can teach him the adult world of "Do To Get", while knowing he is technically under your roof. I actually think in the right family and with the right situation, this could be genius. I think it could be equally wrong for certain kids. However since you and husband made the choice to give this a shot, I gather you both thought this might be a wake up call for difficult child. So he's probably a good candidate.

    As for CPS, well they certainly can't balk at a roof, healthy meals, basic needs provided. He isn't neglected without luxuries. He isn't across town in his own apartment with nobody around for emergencies. He isn't in danger of eviction and homelessness for lack of payment of rent. He has his "needs" provided. And he can then CHOOSE to be part of the family unit and all that being so entails. Or he can CHOOSE to play the victim. But at least he will have no audience stuck putting up with his antics.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree with MM. Sorry I came across blunt in my first post yesterday.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think he's young enough to "neglect" but can YOU get into trouble with CPS?

    How soon before he turns 18?