My son is choosing to be homeless, I am heartbroken.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Kailoani, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Kailoani

    Kailoani New Member

    My son is 18 and has been sleeping in his car for the past 2 weeks. He did not graduate high school, just 2 credits shy. I've enrolled him in an alternative HS, where he could graduate in just 2 classes per day, in 1 semester, provided clothes, supplies, haircut, mobile phone, gift cards for gas and food, a gym membership and made appointments with psychologist and psychiatrist in attempts to stabilize him. Hoping he would see how irrational he has become. And still he had every excuse not to go to school or comply with medical attention. He had been staying with my mom, since my father (his only solid male figure) passed away last spring. It seemed to be a good solution at the time. My son and I haven't had the best relationship for a few years, especially after I remarried. Unfortunately, my children's father has never been much to mention, completely unsupportive in every way. My husband is amazing with my two daughters and his children. My son didn't successfully bond with my husband at the difficult age of 15, despite all of our efforts. Now his grandmother has also lost her patience with him, ofcourse he was enabled beyond control while with her. He is now sleeping in his car and refuses to get the psychological assessments and/or address his self medicating (with God knows what). I fear he has been depressed for sometime and I can only assume, this situation will exacerbate that. He refuses to complete HS and respect family and home, which are the conditions of him coming back to our home. The prospect of that scenario is hardly a comfortable solution for my husband and I, as I have 2 other daughters and he has 4 younger children that are with us on the weekends. My sons disrespect of us, our other children and our home are just some of the reasons, he went to live with his grandmother. I certainly do not want to enable him and I've probably afforded him too many comforts despite his poor choices. He refuses all support links I send to him, telling me to stop sending him info. But, he is my son and I am guilt ridden and having a really hard time with this. Am I alone in this scenario? Am I making the right choices?
  2. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hello Kailoani
    I just saw your post and do not have much time, but wanted to acknowledge your post and
    welcome you to this forum, although I am sorry for the heartache and difficult child problems that have brought you’re here. It is a safe place to tell your story and vent your despair and frustrations and confusion and sorrow. We understand here, and it is such a relief to be able to share your grief anonymously and know it is safe and that you will find comfort and support.

    To help us understand more, could you explain if your son uses street drugs or has been diagnosed with some mental illness. Did his difficulties start with your remarriage, or had you noticed problems earlier? Does he hang out with other youths of similar behavior? Does he have any friends? Does he work at all?

    If you have not already done so, take time to read and re-read the detachment article at the top of this forum. It helps us to not feel so guilty about wanting to detach and stop enabling, and to understand the need for loving detachment. Here's a link:

    Your son is so very young. I understand how it hurts you to see him this way, and how you want to help and how you wish things were different. The high school graduation is so important and it is hard to see him bypass the assistance and support you and Gram are offering in that regard as well as in other matters.

    Keep reading the others' threads here and keep posting with us. Rading others' thread will reap a lot of insight and ideas and experience to learn from. It really helps to connect here often. Others will soon be along, who will offer more specific wisdom and guidance and experience in your situation. Hang in there. We support you. You are not alone, dear. Take care. Malama pono.
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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Trust me, I understand your pain and frustration with your son, but, being an outsider in this, my gut tells me that for the moment it is just alienating him more to send him anything...if he wants to go back to school, for example, he knows how to do it and he can get.his GED when he is in a better place. Obviously right now he is in a stubborn, self destruct mode, refusing to follow anyone's rules, and that mindset is unwilling to change until he has a personal change of heart. So I would only give him advice if he asks for it.

    Like more young adults and teens than we like to admit, sounds like perhaps he, unlike his siblings, was not happy about your remarriage and maybe stepsiblings. Is this when it started? My kids were none too happy when I remarried, so hubby and I decided that he would not get involved in and ex did that...and that helped. After all, he isn't the father and I picked him, my kids did not. That helped their relationship. It is 21 years later and my kids like him now.

    I wish I had magic words for you. Your son is very young and could change. But since he is a legal adult, you can't force him to do snything. So detachment is helpful. Fighting with him, if you do, hurts you and stresses you out and probably doesn't make him see the light. He has to do that on his own.

    Big hugs.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  4. tandemdame

    tandemdame Member

    Kailoani, my heart goes out to you. We are struggling with a similar issue with our daughter, without the added complication of younger children, and our daughter is older than your son.

    I remember being very concerned for our daughter at the beginning of her problems when she was around 20 years old, and spent lots of time worrying, sleepless, and anxious. It is normal that you are concerned and frustrated that he won't accept help. It's hard not to want to step in.

    It is very difficult to detach oneself from a near adult child who is in the beginning stages of adulthood. Hang in there. There's always the hope that he is mourning his grandfather's death and has not quite adjusted to the addition of a new family, and this is how he is coping.

    I agree with what others have said, that the banquet of help is in front of him. I spent way too much time being frustrated with my daughter's inability to stick with any kind of help offered, and it took a long time to see that it was her life, not mine.
  5. mcb1964

    mcb1964 New Member

    No, you are not alone.

    My son has been homeless for 5 months now. He has been provided names, numbers, addresses of both mental health agencies and rehabs. He won't go. Tells me that he's not ready to clean up and doesn't think he needs mental health services.

    Every time my husband extends information to him, he gets pissed that our son won't do it.

    It's his life. He turned 24 yesterday. I can't do anything other than let him know that we love him and hope he pulls it together soon.

    Hang in there. You are not alone.
  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    You are not alone - that is an understatement.
    Most of us here are dealing with some stage of what you are dealing with.
    My son has been self destructive for the better part of 5 years and we continually wait for him to turn it around. Like you, we've done everything we could do. We have just recently stopped helping him and letting him see what he will do on his own.

    This is not easy and there is no rule book on how to parent these kids that don't follow the norm. I think the advice here from other parents actually living it is priceless. It has helped give me the strength I never would have had otherwise.

    You need to take care of yourself and your family also. Your son knows you love him and are there for him but he really needs to figure this out on his own unfortunately.

    Keep posting and reading others' stories. It helps.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Kailoani,

    I'm glad you found us here but sorry you had to.

    Your son is a legal adult now even though he may not be acting like one. While your family dynamics may have played a role in his behavior it is still no excuse for him to be disrespectful of you or your new husband. I understand that he may not like that you remarried and his feelings about that are valid, however, he still needs to respect your choice.

    I do hope you can get him to agree to some counseling as they can help him to work through and process his feelings. The problem is he is self medicating to remain numb so he doesn't have to acknowledge his feelings.
    He is still very young so I hope he will come around.

    One thing I will suggest is that you need to have very clear boundaries with him. What you will and won't put up with. Make it clear to him up front and make sure you stick with it. Our difficult children are really good at reading our emotions and they will use them against us. Be prepared for him to ramp things up with threats.

    I agree with what the others have posted.

    You are not alone in this. Stay close to this site and read other stories, you will gain strength.

    ((HUGS)) to you.............................
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  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Hello Kailoani. I am sorry you had to find us but glad you did.

    I echo what the above moms have said. My son is 23 and is also homeless. Needless to say, we don't understand why he chooses to live this way, despite repeated efforts by many to help him.

    Goodness, from your post it sounds like your son has grief on top of anger on top of blame on top of resentment and who knows what else? Sounds like maybe he is in punishment mode a little bit too? He is so young, even though he is legally an adult.

    But since he is an adult, all you can do is what you have been doing, Kailoani. Just show him you love him and care and will be there when he is ready.

    Do you think there are any drugs or alcohol contributing?

    I am hoping he is "licking his wounds" right now, if that makes any sense, and will do some soul-searching and realize he needs to reach out.

    My heart goes out to you. What a difficult place for you to be in. Keep posting and reading. It really helps.
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  9. Kailoani

    Kailoani New Member

    Wow, I am overwhelmed by the response and support that my plea to cyberspace has prompted. Though I'm sadddened by how many of our children have chosen such a difficult path in life. Thank you all for sharing your stories, it does help to feel less alone in this. To clarify a few things, I am unsure to what extent my son's self medicating goes. I know there is marijuana and alcohol in the picture, but I am not sure what else. His choice in friends is not ideal and sadly their influence on him is beyond all else at this time. I have made hard boundaries on not accepting this behavior, just as not completing high school is non negotiable, as we have younger, impressionable children in the house. As far as my family dynamics, my husband came into the picture just over 3 years ago, prior to that I had been a single mother with only my parents to rely on when things got tough. My children's father never was a constant in the picture and when he was, he was more trouble than anyone could cope with. So, I really had been a single mom for nearly 10 years, I dated but nothing too serious. So, I suppose with his two sisters and myself, my son was the only male in the house for so many years prior to my new marriage. Although my son doesn't really care for my husband's children, I don't believe he harbors any resentment for my husband. There certainly have not been any altercations to indicate that and my daughters certainly do not share any of the challenges that my son does. As my husband had been nothing but supportive of all of our children collectively, but we are not willing to bend the rules for my son, with so many other children in our care. Nonetheless, I am aware of how these dynamics could certainly be manifesting his behavior. I believe there is resentment and anger with his biological father. And I do believe his grief in losing my father is also something he is not effectively coping with. So, I hope that clarifies any questions, I am inspired by all of your advice. Thank you.
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Kailoani, I feel for you. My son is not homeless at this moment, and I can't say that in the past he chose to be, because I'm sure he didn't want us to put him out...but his behavior was incompatible with living in our home. He is, however, making a choice to be very soon. Granted, he doesn't plan on it being that way forever and I pray he succeeds, but he's moving to another state with a backpack and about $800 and no way to do anything but stay in the cheapest of places and homeless shelters until he finds work and a way to live. It's not what anyone wants for their child, is it? It may sound crazy, but I plan on paying his bus ticket. The fact is, he's going with or without my help. I'd prefer he have the extra $125.00 in his pocket when he gets where he's going. Like yours, I believe my son has underlying issues and refuses to believe that medication and therapy is worthwhile. Like your son, mine is quite young. Perhaps they will both find their ways. Welcome to our community. I'm so sorry that you need to be with us.
  11. Kailoani

    Kailoani New Member

  12. Kailoani

    Kailoani New Member

    I'm so sorry, I pray for his safety. How old is he? Did he graduate, have any skills to work? I know my son is staying local and I would be even more stressed if he chose to move on to another area. He did not graduate (yet) and he has no job skills, he quit his job of two years at the grocery store without notice recently. I don't have the strongest faith, but I feel I am finally starting to understand what "let go and let God" means. Yet, I really feel so helpless, yet I know providing anything to him seems like I am enabling him. But it's hard not to. I let him come over to eat and shower and have him whatever cash I had on me tonight. He says it's for gas money, I hope it is. It's a terrible position to be in.
  13. Kailoani

    Kailoani New Member

    Thank you for the detachment link, I'll keep reading it until I can get through it with out crying
  14. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    My son is 21. He did graduate. At this point I just hope to survive until he leaves.
  15. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    This is something I never understood what jobs skills do any of you want them to have even with a trade school if they did not managed to be exceptional they will not have a guaranteed job so they will have to work entry low paying jobs like a waiter or a grocery cashier basically jobs that do not require skills.
    My advice is do not panic if your son has no job skills they do not really exist in the way you think of, this is for other kind of jobs that are way better paying but with way higher competition for those jobs and those jobs skills that you talk about you have to have them at a level better then average at least. Or do what most people do network and ask a relative or friend for a job this is how most people get a job.
    So do not panic just hope he gets enough sense to do that and no in my opinion if you have someone that can give your son a job use that someone there is no shame in that but only if your son wants to work.
  16. tmatt

    tmatt New Member

    It's hard, isn't it? Especially when we moms can see life through our wise eyes? I wish we could protect them and guide them forever but, alas, they seem to have to walk their own walk and stumble in their own way.
    I hope you can find some peace in your quiet moments and try to not "own" your son's choices. You never know where his path will lead him.
    Hugs to you! Thanks for sharing your story. Please keep me updated as to how you're managing/coping!
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    At 18, your wish that he graduate high school becomes just that: a dream. He is an adult, and his educational choices are his to make; not yours. Stop pushing him. Let him figure out life for himself for a bit. With that goes letting him experience the consequences of bad decisions.

    Given the trauma and emotional upheaval he has experienced and never had treatment for (and is unwilling to accept treatment at this time), I am not surprised he is self=medicating. Do not add guilt or beat him up emotionally.

    This kid's got enough on his plate to deal with MH-wise. Meeting your expectations is the last thing you should be worried about. What's important is him healing enough to be able to set healthy expectations for himself and meet those. He's the one who's got to do that, not you.

    I'd stick to an open offer to pay for MH care if he decides to go that route. You can make support contingent upon his seeking out and utilizing the mental health care options available to him.