Newbie asking advice on how to deal with gambler son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, May 1, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Hi!

    I'm newly registered here though I have lurked here some time before and learned a lot. I haven't registered before, because I have felt I would be whining about too little. I live outside of North America and English is not my first (or second) language but try to bear with me. While telling our situation I have to be somewhat vague in some details due to privacy reasons, but if needed I will try to elaborate in the meaningful way. I'm sorry this is very long.

    My difficult child is my oldest child, 18 year-old, turning 19 later this year, son, who has been difficult all his life. First he was colicky and cried and cried four months non-stop. After that, he fell ill and needed hospital stays. And even after that, he was never quite like other kids. I don't know how much was about my son and how much was dysfunctional family situation (my husband is not a biological father and that has been the huge problem over the years even though he at that time thought he could love the baby like his own. He haven't.) But whatever the reasons are, my son has never fit in, anywhere. He was alone and in trouble in kindergarten, was bullied and bullied others at school, played truant, has always had very difficult time making friends, doesn't fit in with peers, is bad in teams and comes off as an arrogant a**hole to most. Has always tries to befriend and impress the wrong people or the right people with the totally wrong methods. His social skills are weak. But he was always borderline case. Yeah, there were many problems but he had also always a lot going for him. And that more or less prevented any interventions.

    He is gifted in many different ways. Academics are piece of cake for him (if he ever gets to them), he knows his manners when he wants to and the situation is not too complex, he is very talented athlete and can work hard when motivated etc. When he was younger he was evaluated few times, but nothing concrete came up. He has probably ADHD, but it doesn't hinder him enough to get a diagnose here (he would probably had gotten one in the USA before he was 4, but it's different where we live), he has more asperger traits than average person, but they are not hindering enough for diagnose. He definitely has some sensory issues, but they are not hindering him enough for diagnose. There may be some weird learning differences but they certainly are not hindering him etc. You get the drill.

    Family dynamics certainly play the part. We also have a younger son, who really is the perfect child in every way (I first thought easy child meant 'political correct' child, my younger one is that too) and whom their dad loves unconditionally and is very involved and close with. The easy child is smart, good-looking, athletic, socially awesome, very popular with peers and adults in his life and doing very well everywhere. It's difficult for our oldest to be compared to his little brother. Luckily they still do come along with each other. But partial treatment from their dad has left some noticeable scars to our older one even though my husband has tried more or less enthusiastically to be fairer and be involved also with the oldest. And I have overcompensated and spoiled the difficult child and that shows. We have lacked consistent discipline on him and that also shows. So we got a challenging kid and did an 'how to screw a kid for life in five easy steps' to the tee. No wonder we and others have problems with him now.

    As I said he is very talented athlete and currently in the transition from the junior level to the pro level. Current mess started few years ago, when our son found gambling. Poker etc. was very cool thing for him and his friends. Our son got hooked. After some flirting with it, he managed to make himself a serious gambling addict in few short months. That was around two years ago. Because of the addiction he did some disgusting things and broke the code of his team in the way, that let them no other option than kick him out about a year ago, when he got caught. They were good with it, kept the reasons and that he was asked to leave out of public, confronted him, made him apologize and plan was made for how he could make amends (and that plan has also been followed.) He was picked up by the other team (that were informed about the problems) and he moved out of home to the other town on his own. The new team does support him in many ways and provides him services to deal with his issues. They have been very good to him and this year away from home has done a lot of good for him. First we helped him financially (but also the team paid him a roof over his head and some food and pocket money), but currently he is mostly self-sufficient because of the sport. We give him gifts at times to help, though.

    He still has problems. In the new town on the junior team he is in the situation there almost no one on the team even talks to him. Partly due to his current behaviour and partly due to his past behaviour. Things are little better in the pro-team that he is most with currently. But he certainly is not a well liked team mate. He also lies easily (and has been in huge troubles with his coaches because of that), can behave sulky and entitled, can be a jerk to others and still comes off too arrogant, especially when scared. Good thing is, that he is very focused now. He really wants to see, how far he could get with the sport and works hard and is much more humble about it than before. He has worked hard and has come a long way in the year and is doing better than we dared to even hope for. He has matured a lot but is still immature to his age. He has also found a girlfriend with whom he currently lives with. The girl seems nice and smart and their relationship appropriate considering their age and life situation.

    Our most pressing problem with him right now is how to handle his money issues. After him getting caught of gambling and things he did because of it, we have kept tight rains on his finances. We handle his money, pay rent and bills and give him little money for food and necessities for a week at the time. He agreed to this and with other steps it has made it almost impossible for him to gamble. He has had few small slips, but he has mostly been clean for the last year. And he does want to be clean and understands he has a huge problem that could destroy his future and is working with the issue. But us having control over his finances has been a constant battlefield and very taxing for me. Now he wants to give a control to his girlfriend. We find that to be a very bad idea for many reasons, but he doesn't listen. His team is not thrilled about the idea either. My son still really needs someone to do it and he admits it himself, but he doesn't want it to be us. I don't want it to be us either but even less I want it to be the girlfriend. Maybe someone from the team could take a task (and it could be easier to our son also), but that would give them even more power over him and I'm not sure if that is in my son's best interest. They have been good to him, but his value for them is still in the fact, that they hope to get the same service from him in one fourth or third of the price than they would have to pay someone else. He is young and stupid and I should be the one who always do have his back. But I'm tired of constant drama.

    About his schooling I don't even want to start at. His grades are excellent thanks to local politic of grading the outcome, not the work. His work... well... if he has finished his homework on time ever, I don't know about it. It has been twelve years of constant fight to get him to school, get him to stay there, behave, do his work etc. And if he does something he certainly is not doing it right. Luckily there has never been the exam he has not been able to ace. Typical example was two years ago. He was to analyse some Charles Baudelaire's poetry. He did analyse porn films and compared them to the poems and claimed they are essentially the same in many different levels. That probably tells everything you need to know about his attitude towards school and his teachers. He is shrewd, but also immature, smug and petulant. And he still has little bit of school left to our, his teachers and his coaches dismay (most serious athletes and musicians etc. here take an extra year to finish the school and schools are very accommodating with their timetables.)

    I'm sorry I ranted like this and wrote this huge whiny post. But I really can't talk about these things in real life to anyone. We don't want these things to come and bite our son's butt in future. Me and my husband only fight over our son, my in-laws only blame me about all this etc. And after spending the evening trying to explain to my idiot child, why it's not a good idea to give the reigns of your finances to someone whom you have known less than the year ("even though you will be together rest of your life, I know that, honey") is not a smart move. Argh!
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to the board, but I'm really sorry you have to be here.

    My own opinion is that he is eighteen and gets money for playing a sport. If you don't get to handle his money, he doesn't get any more money from you...not for rent, not for food, not for anything. If he wants his girlfriend to handle his money it is likely because she will take it and give it to him more leniently and I'd cut him off. Why even argue about it? If son gives money HE makes to his girlfriend and she blows it for him, then he learns a lesson (we h ope). If YOU give him money, knowing he will hand it to girlfriend, then it's your fault, not his. You can say "no more."

    As for your in-laws, it may be a good idea to put a distance between you and them. If they are unpleasant to you, why even talk to them unless you have to and if they start talking about the son, walk away and let their own son deal with them. Don't let your son or your inlaws throw you around. You have a right to make decisions that they don't like and to feel good about making them. You son is a young man now, regardless of his immaturity, and you no longer have to tend to his needs. In fact, doing so can hold him back from growing up. It's time to let him reap the consequences of what he does...as hard as it is to just stand by.

    I really hoped this helped...a little :)
     
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Gambling can easily turn into an addiction. And as such, should be treated/viewed as you would any other addiction. It doesn't excuse his behavior, it simply explains it. He still makes the decisions.

    The more you help him, the more you risk enabling him to continue the behavior. So you have to really think about any help you offer, as in Is it really Helping? If you control his finances, how does he learn to handle them himself? If say you help him cover a bill or lend him money because gambling caused him to go over budget.......is that really helping him, or just teaching him it's ok Mom will cover his back? And no, that part doesn't even have to involve gambling.........he could just blow it and have the same results.

    Parental favoritism isn't just something that occurs in step situations. It happens often in bio families too. It's nothing new. My husband swore that his dad favored his brother and barely tolerated him. And honestly, while his dad wasn't mean to him.......yeah, it did sort of seem to be the case. And like you, his mom (wonderful woman), overcompensated and tended to spoil him to make up for it. Her intentions were pure and good. Only it became a pattern of behavior for the both of them. He'd not manage his money and blow it.......make a call to mom and she would "fix" it every time no matter how lame the reason. Worst still, husband's behavior only got worse with time.......and Mom was picking up the tab far far more than she should. Eventually, I put my foot down and put a stop to it. I made him confess to his mom he was blindly out spending money (taking it away from the family) knowing she'd pick up the tab. Then I told her that if she loaned him another dime he'd be on her doorstep because I would be filing for divorce. She stood by me and never loaned him money ever again. But it was ROUGH after that trying to teach a then nearly 50 yr old man how to NOT blow money like water and actually pay bills on time........ Trust me, that is NOT the appropriate age for someone to be learning those life lessons. ugh

    Instead of controlling his money, maybe coming up with a plan to ease him into taking on the responsibility a bit at a time would be better. If he runs short of cash......oh, well, too bad you should've watched where the cash went. Natural consequences can be very helpful motivators. But he really needs to learn that now, not later. What if, god forbid, something happen to you? Then what would he do?

    And your post is not whiny, hon. difficult children come in all shapes and sizes with a wide variety of issues.

    Welcome to the board. :)

    ((hugs))
     
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    I don't know if it's possible to do this for ongoing income, but look into hiring a trustee. I know it exists for when an estate is left to a financially irresponsible person, but by the same token it should be able to be set up for and ongoing basis. Since he's an adult and it's his money mostly, he'd have to sign to agree to set it up. These same ppl would be able to warn him of the dangers of handing control over to his girlfriend.
     
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your kind replies.

    I'm not sure, if letting him handle his finance all by himself is an option. First of, giving the power to handle finances to someone else is recommended both his therapist and also other professionals when it comes to gambling addiction. Idea is that together with self asked banns to the gambling sites and other places to gamble (son gambled only in web because he was under-age and it was illegal for him. He could not had been able to make it to live casinos but somehow manage to get to the websites) and anti-gambling software to your computer and timelocks in computer (if he feels a urge to gamble, he can lock his computer for certain time period and make it impossible to follow the urge for that time) it helps him avert relapses. Think of Antabuse for alcoholics. It also gives him time to learn other coping mechanics for feelings and situations he used gambling to manage.

    In his case it was clear that there were two different main dynamics in his gambling. It was way to escape reality and handle difficult emotions and on the other hand it was plain neurological dependency. Gambling sites are planed to keep people gambling and him being under-age, late in neurological development for his age and having neurological structures he has, was almost sure case for addiction. So the long term plan is for him to work on with healthier ways to handle his emotions, learn to handle frustration better, gain better impulse control etc. Some are things time and brain maturation will help, others are things he is working with therapist. But for now it is also very important to keep him away from gambling. The more and longer he does it, more difficult it will be in future to not go back to it. Luckily the time he gambled was rather short (around half a year) but it was intense and he was quickly deeply addicted. After that he has slipped two times that I know (both under heavy stress.) Slips have been just few hours long and money spent has been small and he has been able to stop it to that and even confess it, but he does recognize how quickly he would be back to the situation he was. Which is kind of good.

    When he left home, we had to help him financially. He was under-age and we were obliged by law to support him. We also promised his new team we would support him after he turned 18 to make it possible for him to survive. Now he has earned a raise big enough he can support himself totally. Him leaving outside of home was in fact much cheaper to us than supporting him at home (he is a big boy, who trains a lot. He also eats really a lot.) The whining about money got worse in this point, because a) it is his money b) not all of his money gets used. He is given what he needs and after paying for damages he caused before getting caught, there is more money than it's decided he needs for necessities. Whining has mostly been about needing little bit more to necessities and non-specific entertainment (movies, eating out, going out etc.) If he has a bigger specific purchase in mind, he can now look for it and ask that specific amount of money to use it (and show me a receipt after purchasing it.) That has not been a problematic part.

    In fact I'm rather proud how he waited until he had paid the damages, saved for the emergency money and then saved for the nice bicycle he wanted and not a peep about the matter before the money was saved and he had found the bike. And how much pride he took of it (and how much relief it will be for the summer, when he doesn't have to sit all those hours indoors on exercise bike but can exercise outside.) In fact he did take his 'reduced circumstances' with much more grace than we ever thought he would. He really hasn't come and straightforwardly complained once about that. He has tiptoed on the line few times though, but backed off immediately after he has been reminded that it was his own doing. He used to have lots of very nice stuff (as I said he was spoiled) which he first sold to finance his addiction. After he had nothing to sell, he started to steal. Well anyway, then he left home, he had nothing nice left. We gave him things he needed, but it was not nice. My years old very cheap reserve phone, his dad's old, not used laptop, my old and out of use mp3-player, grannies old bike, that was older than my son (he was not old enough to drive then he left, so he needed something aside public transport and his feet to get himself from place to place etc.) We already presented him with a new laptop for Christmas because he had worked hard and done well a year at that point and we felt such encouragement would be good for him and show him he is regaining our trust and that by continuing in making good choices he can earn back the things he lost. But now I'm rambling again.

    My point is, that while learning to handle his own money independently is a long term goal for him (though many gambling addicts can never do that), no one thinks, he himself included, that he would be ready yet. But maybe it would be a good time to look at other possibilities than me being the handling it. Not his girlfriend though, but maybe someone from his team or his agent. When we started this, he was minor and we were his guardians anyway, so it we were the clear choice at the time. But maybe it would be better for him now, if it would be more professional situation. Though at times his whining kind of reminded me of his younger brother, when he started kindergarten and had to sit still so long that it took all he had to be good at school and then he came home and was impossible. The difficult child has also had to give his all and little more to make it work there. Calling mum and having a temper tantrum just because it is so hard kind of fits to that logic.
     
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Myself? I wouldn't trust someone outside of the family who doesn't have his best interest at heart to control his funds. If someone else needs to do it, then it needs to be someone who will not be tempted to abuse the power that comes with it. I myself, don't think I'd trust his team/coach whatever. Nor would I trust the girlfriend. Girlfriends come and go. Maybe a future wife (because then she has a vested interest) but not a girlfriend.

    Money corrupts. Sadly, it doesn't take a lot of money for it to have that effect either.

    If he needs someone else to handle his funds and you no longer want the job and there is no one else to step up to the plate, perhaps there is a way to set up a Trust Fund type of arrangement where a lawyer handles/safeguards his funds and doles out a set amount each month??
     
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You may be right in this. In this specific situation it may be more because of principle than any real danger but it is still something we may want to drive through to difficult child. Just now he is much more valuable to his team and coaches than his pay, so they really don't want to screw him over. But in future that situation will not always be a case.

    He is in very risky part of his career for his team right now. Even without his issues coming to the way, he may have a lot of consistency issues. It's common for athletes in his sport/position in his current development stage. If everything goes great, peak of his career would be expected to be at ten to fifteen or to even twenty years from now. His current pay is low and if the team would need to hire someone else to do the same job, they would need to pay double or more if it would be someone in same development stage and same level. If they hired someone older and less risky (with less upside but more reliable current performance) they would have to pay four or five times more. Also for his coaches his development and performance is important. Especially so for the coach my son works a lot one on one with. Great development in my son could be a very big deal for his own career also. And if things go perfectly and the difficult child ends up leaving the team and going to the higher level after his time there, the team will be compensated very nicely. So right now they do have my son's career very much in their interest.

    His agent is someone he hires to handle contract and some financial stuff. Good and long career for my son and keeping him a happy customer is in agent's best interest. And if he would screw my son over, it would end his own career (license taken away etc.) So for now also the agent would be a totally safe choice. He wants his provisions in future, not the peanuts my son is currently paying him. But there has been enough of cases there the agent has screwed their top athletes over, it may be wise to teach the son not to trust too much. And of course the agent may not be willing to spend so much time to one of his smallest customers right now.

    So yes, me handling his finances for now is many ways the least risky choice. But sometimes it just sucks emotionally. It keeps me in-the-know, but it also means those conflicts. I would probably always wait for other shoe to drop anyway so having access to the information that proves, he is not currently (at least badly) relapsing is kind of comforting. But it also keeps me involved and in risk for all his drama. And he has always been the drama queen extraordinaire.
     
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    What a complicated situation, I can see how it can be so stressful having these huge hopes and dreams (his, not that you are imposing them) and knowing he could accomplish them, but they are at risk due to his behaviors/issues.

    You said he "can be a jerk to others and still comes off too arrogant, especially when scared." My son is quite disabled and so to most people who actually know him this is obvious...he clearly does not have the ability to do much better at times....but he does this same type of behavior. he is aware enough that he would rather people think he was "cool" or "tough" than that he had fears and panic and disabilities. It is actually pretty sad, too bad they can't just be a little vulnerable and ask for help at those moments.

    Sometimes it is easier (at least for parents looking for help) when there is a more severe and obvious disability that you can do a medical test for, not that I would ever wish that on him but these kids who fall through the cracks can really suffer. I understand and admire you look at your part but please dont beat yourself up looking back on things, you did what you thought was best at the time. You had little support from people who could guide you with a challenging child and situation. I know I really depend on the outside perspectives to help guide me. Any one of the situations you/he faced could have caused significant challenges.

    I agree the girlfriend having control is a terrible idea. It could be a purely innocent and sincere attempt to help but even if she wanted to do well, she would be way out of her league if he had a set back and he needs to know that it would be selfish and unfair to put her in that position. It could have a terrible impact on his relationship with her if nothing else so maybe that alone would help motivate him to find another solution.

    (And hopefully he is not asking to do this because he really is slipping and knows he could manipulate the situation better if it was his girlfriend in charge of the money...sigh.)

    I was thinking of a dear friend in my life. He had an early diagnosis of ADHD and was gifted in most areas. His parents, on advice from therapists etc... encouraged him not to use his medications once older, said it was more for children etc. And there is research that when older the stims. especially do not for some people work as well. But for some people that impulse control continues into adulthood and they do need treatment of some kind.

    I took care of this boy from the time he was 7 and knew him through the beginning of college. He became overwhelmed and started using drugs to self medicate. He was friends with my sister/worked with her/...and told her a lot (she too has adhd, mild)... Sadly he committed suicide because he felt so ashamed and of course he was depressed.

    I certainly am not implying that your son would ever do that, just that since then I have met several adults who continue to struggle with those symptoms and it feeds into so many other problems. I know you said he never met criteria but that does not mean that the interventions used....the things to help with organization and impulse control would not help if he was motivated to learn.

    Just a thought, I could of course be totally off base but I think a parent's feelings about things are probably right and if you felt this is an issue, it probably is.

    Well, anyway, just wanted to let you know I read your post... and by the way if English is way down the line in language for you...well I would never have known! You write better than I do for sure!

    Welcome and I hope you keep in contact, will be wishing wonderful thoughts for both of your children and for you too!



     
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your very kind and helpful reply. With my son it's not so obvious. Luckily many (adults) do see through him. Part of his problems with his peers is, that they see what they see and take it with face value. Now that he sits in the locker room not only with other youngsters (and still I think he is the youngest among them) but also with men in their late twenties and in their thirties, who have kids etc. and it goes much better for him. 33 year old guy, who has seen it all, lived in several countries, has his own kids just doesn't get offended with teen boy being stupid that easily. For them it is much easier to just tell difficult child that he is behaving stupidly and please, keep your mouth shut or try to be more civil or that he should take also others to consideration instead of totally flipping, talking behind his back and not talking to him any more. In fact some time ago my husband happened to hear difficult child talking to his team mates and being very obnoxious. One older team mate who heard him in fact patted him on the head and told him to cut it or he wasn't going to get any dessert. Everyone laughed. Very embarrassing for the difficult child, but totally his own fault and it also cut off any real animosity.




    I do think his motivation for asking this is, that he feels it is embarrassing that mommy is taking care of his finances. I also believe his girlfriend is totally sincere. She is nice and smart 18 yo girl. Very easy child. Yeah, some of the appeal she sees in my son may be his status as an athlete and that may wear thin quickly. We have indeed tried to point out to our son that it would not be fair to put this kind of burden to his girlfriend and that it may hinder their relationship in the long term. But son believes we are against it, because we don't believe they will stay together. And he is very sure they do. Of course we don't believe that, I can count with my one hand fingers the people at my age I know, who are still together with the one they dated at 18! But I'm not stupid enough to say it to the difficult child.

    I think stimulants are not an option because of the anti-doping rules but difficult child is trying to learn better impulse control, frustration management and organize better in therapy for his addiction. That may end up helping other ways also. I hope!
     
  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I had a very pleasant conversation with the difficult child via phone earlier today. He has been thinking the issue and while he still feels he would want someone else than me handling his money, he does understand that the girlfriend is not the best choice. He will try to find out, if there would be any other options but agrees that for now, it will be best I continue in the job. He also promised to be more respectful with me about the situation. He says he understands why asking the girlfriend to do it would be unfair.

    He didn't say, but I have an inkling that he has talked a little about the matter with one of his older team-mates he has a good rapport with and that he has given him a dose of reality. Or somehow my son had came aware that almost none of the guys in the team is together with the girl they were with than they were 18. In fact I ended up consoling him that while it is indeed rather rare, it does happen and I pointed out those people I know. And pointed out that I wasn't that many years older when I met husband. And that while you never know how and when the relationship will end, it certainly is not the reason not try to make the best of it. And that right now they are in love and they have it good and that's all that matters. :choir:

    Now the only problem is, that my gut screams and all the warning bells are jingling. And I don't know why. The difficult child didn't say anything alarming. We talked about his next week (gonna be busy), practises, him coming to visit next weekend, he asked an advice for the few practical matters (for example about certain dinner dish I often do, he is cooking for his girlfriend and her sister and sister's boyfriend tomorrow.) He was calm and pleasant. Didn't try to hide any plans or something like that. I don't think he was lying. So I really don't know. I just have a feeling there is something he is not telling and that something bothers him. So now I sit here and wait for the other shoe to drop. And worry.:sigh:

    Probably better to just put my running shoes on and go to jog my longest regular route. At least this evening we are having a beautiful spring weather here.
     
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    YAY! so glad he's seen the light with the girlfriend! And in my opinion you gave him amazing guidance in his relationship. In my experience, it is rare, but does happen. Better safe than sorry, though.
     
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Great! Glad he is being reasonable for whatever reason! I'd hate to think what would happen if he broke up with someone who had an emotional ax to grind, and had control over/access to his money! He sounds like a guy who is a really late bloomer with issues but really does underneath it all have a good base (probably all that good parenting!). I dont know you at all, but I have tons of hope for him to mature and do well in life. With you to encourage, be a role model, support, guide....he has a better chance than many!
     
  13. AHF

    AHF Member

    I also have a difficult child who is a poker addict, and also a gifted athlete. The two often go together--these are competitive guys who like strategy and get an adrenaline rush out of beating the odds. It seems as though you're doing the right thing, and you're also a step ahead if he actually acknowledges the addiction. (Mine, though 6 figures in debt, does not.) My only advice is to be aware of the extent to which poker strips away moral values. Bluffing--lying, to the rest of us--is highly regarded. Manipulating others is a big plus. And since enormous shame and loss of social life result from being labeled a loser, poker players will rarely admit when they're down. Eventually, the standards of poker (unless he's licked the habit) will conflict with those of athletics, where team spirit, openness, sportsmanship, etc. matter. Poker also drains away sleep, and athletes need to be well rested. Feel free to PM me if you want to share more on the poker/athletics stuff. Good luck!
     
  14. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Welcome. You've landed in a very supportive place.

    You say you are not from North America (and, by the way, you are doing quite well considering English is not your first or second language!). In your area, is an 18 year old considered to be an adult?

    If so, then I completely agree with Hound. It's time to allow him to suffer the natural consequences of his financial misdeeds.

    It is so difficult to deal with a child (adult or otherwise) who is intelligent but is making horrible choices. I am dealing with this with my daughter and I'll bet a majority of the warrior parents here would say the same thing. difficult child, intelligence, and really bad behavior seem to be part of the sick package we've been handed.

    Sit down with your son and explain to him that you love him, you know he is smart, you know - and understand - that gambling has become an addiction, and that you are no longer going to be bailing him out financially. It's hard - beieve me, I know. But it is necessary.

    Hang in there. You are not alone.
    Dash
     
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thank you.

    18 is considered a legal adult. But to be honest I'm not totally sure, if parents could have legal obligation to financially support their kids after that in certain situations. I think it may be so. And at least it is very much expected. Our kids start school late (at a year they turn seven) and there are many excellent reasons why they may take more than 12 years to finish. Compulsory part is only 9 years, but because we have very little jobs for unskilled workers and because 16-year-old not doing anything worthwhile is kind of very bad situation, in practise almost all the kids (much more than 90 %) also go and finish the next stage. And that may take 3 or 4 years depending their choices. And because it is quite common for kids to be kept one year back early in their schooling because some problem or other, immature kids whose birthday is near cut-off day put to school year late and kids taking those 4-year options after compulsory part of their schooling, our kids usually finish their schooling in the year they turn 19 or 20. And then there is military obligation for some of them (it takes up to year (most often less but depends and is not something kids can totally control by themselves) and they do have many weekends free during that time and need an permanent address and the place to go for weekends, that is most often their parents place.) So your normal course of action is, that kids live at home till 19 to 21 (to end of their schooling and military) and are more or less supported by parents.

    Our son's school plan makes him graduate when he is 19 and we are okay with that and have always expected to support him financially at least until that. Things changed dramatically after he really screwed up. He left home, but we were still partly supporting him. Partly he supported himself. This continued after his 18 birthday, but now he is able to support himself fully and we are not giving him money in on-going bases. We do however buy him things at times (laptop for Christmas, IKEA-trip on my dime when he moved to new apartment lately, considering something bigger also for the birthday later this year.) Our reasoning in this is, that he is working hard and making progress and if he would be a easy child we would certainly do the same and more. For example if our easy child goes to university after he has finished high school (and military), we will more than likely give him some money in on-going bases to help with the rent and other expenses (tuition here is free and kids get the living stipend but in most cases it's not big enough to live with, summer and part-time jobs help, and often also parents if they have the means to do so.)

    Handling difficult child's finances in practise means he opened a bank account only I and his dad have access. His salary goes there and his rent is paid automatically in correct date (that took us about 15 minutes to program for a year) and every week small amount is paid to his other account he does have an access to. With that he buys his food, gas and other daily things he needs or wants. He also pays those mostly with his debit card (which has no credit possibility) so if I want to, I can see he has used the money to those things and there are no payments to gambling sites or casinos etc. If he runs out of the money before the week is over, that is his problem. His other regular bills are also paid automatically and those that come only once or twice a year he sends to me and I pay them from his account. Situation now is, that his salary is big enough to pay all his expenses and some is left over for savings every month. Time wise this is not a burden. It takes me maybe a half an hour a month to manage this. The problem has been that difficult child has whined about that weekly allowance being too small and that has been emotionally taxing for me. He did promise to do better from now on and also try to find out, if he could find someone else to do the job if he feels he doesn't want it to be me. And he also agreed that I will have a veto in his choice (so it has to be someone I can also trust.)

    Declining to handle his finances would be a problem for me. It would feel very unsupportive towards him considering this is something that is supposed to help him overcome his addiction and is recommended by his therapist and also other professionals. And the idea is not to bail him out from his mistakes but help him not to do them in the first place.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    If he is making more now and has paid his debts, is there a reason he can't put less in savings and increase his weekly spending amount? I would agree it is not a good idea if it was my plan, but this may be one area where he can learn a lesson and start to have more control to help prepare him for the future. Good decision or not, it would be one area to start to let go a little.....I suppose, it could then maybe take some of that burden off you (hearing the whining)???
     
  17. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That is something we should maybe think about. Current amount was decided in the situation there he was not yet supporting himself fully and had damages to pay. There is little room for entertainment or anything fun in that. Of course part of the reasoning was and is, that if he has no money, he can't gamble. Of course he did gamble with more than he had (borrowing and stealing the rest), when he was gambling. But still having too much money in his hands could be too tempting. But there may be some midway here and I do not want to rob him from all fun when he in fact is making the good choices and going to right direction.
     
  18. keista

    keista New Member

    The reality is, whatever amount of money you hand directly to him, he has the choice to gamble with it or not. If he's been responsible paying back his debt and using the small amounts he gets responsibly, then I feel it is time to increase that amount (again I'm figuring it's a combination of his pay and your support) If he's done all he's had to to make amends but finds now life is STILL too restrictive, he may decide "what's the point?" He needs to learn the responsibility and freedom of spending money wisely. Saving money for an expensive coveted item. Not spending to much when going out with friends. in my opinion this all takes practice, but he won't get that practice if you hold on to the reigns too tightly.

    I'm also thinking that he is staying on the straight and narrow partly because he almost lost it all. Before he messed up he had really no idea what the ramifications would be. NOW he knows. Now he knows he may loose his future.
     
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You are of course right. But now he has to choose, if he wants to have food in his stomach and gas to his car or if he wants to gamble. If there is more money, it may be easier to start thinking that 'it doesn't matter, if I just put this money to the gambling instead of going to see a movie or taking girlfriend to the dinner. And I could win and have money to do both.' But yeah, when he was gambling, it was compulsive and he did anything to have that money (well, I don't think he did prostitute himself but that was about the only saving grace) so if he is back to addiction, having only little money will not stop him. But it may hinder him from slipping. But you may well be right also in that it is time to give him more leash.

    It used to be like this. Now it is all from his salary. He got a raise and doesn't need our on-going financial support any more, so now we are just giving him gifts from time to time.
     
  20. Giulia

    Giulia New Member

    Stimulants in anti doping rules can be managed.
    A system of medical authorization can be put in place for your son, I don't know its name in English but I am sure that it exists. In French, it is called AUT, Autorisation d'Usage Thérapeutique. It means that the person takes a medicine which can be a doping substance because of medical reasons : if your son has this paper, he cannot have any disciplinary procedure because he took this medicine to compete (stimulants for ADHD, Ventolin for asthma etc etc....).
    Alain Bernard, a French swimmer who suffers from ADHD, has had this authorization to take his medicine while competing in swimming (even at Olympic Games).
    Just to make you know that it exists, and don't listen to his coach about any medicine advice : medical stuff are non of his coach's business, your son handles this problem with his doctor and you, not with his coach (a coach is not a MD, nor a psychiatrist, so medical advice from a coach has to be taken for what it is : not the God's parole).
    Your son's psychiatrist has to very carefully document the whole stuff, but it is feasible. So, you're right to take care of it, but don't worry too much about it because your son is not the only sporty who takes stimulants for ADHD in competition (Alain Bernard does the same, and it didn't prevent him to be an Olympic champion).

    If your son has too many side effects or he does not respond to stimulants, non stimulant medication can be an alternative too.
    Just to make you know that it exists.
     
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