So...now what?!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by persephonebones, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. persephonebones

    persephonebones New Member

    This is my first post here. I have an 18 year old difficult child son, and an 11 year old easy child daughter.

    I struggled many difficult years with my son. The struggle was centered on school. He never did work, lost all his homework assignments (meaning he never knew what his homework was because he lost where he wrote it down), and failed almost all his classes. His teachers always passed him though on some extremely crazy "extra credit." It was always because they didn't want him back.

    His behavior was never violent, almost never disruptive, and he had friends at got along with everyone. He is quite charming when he's not trying to avoid any kind of work. I'm pretty sure he has tried drugs, but he doesn't display any symptoms of doing them continuously.

    We went through many therapists, many attempts at diagnosis, and many medications. None of the therapists could figure out what was going on and much less what to do about it. No diagnosis stuck because none of the treatments worked. None the medications that we tried made any differences besides negative side effects.

    When he should have been an 11th grader and still didn't have any 9th grade credits, we got him approved to attend Youth Challenge Academy. (boot-camp style program teaching life skills and getting them ready to take and pass the GED) After 3 months, when we picked him up for the Christmas holidays, they asked him not to come back stating they didn't have the resources to deal with him.

    That's when I made him move in with his dad. That was disastrous. He had a few jobs but got fired from them all. He moved out of his dad's on his 18th birthday. He moved in with friends and got a part time job. I was elated that he did so hoping that being on his own will teach him what I never managed to do.

    Well, he's lost his job and his friends are asking him to leave if he is unable to pay his bills in December.

    I know that I am not mentally or emotionally capable of taking him back in. He refuses to live with his dad.

    I want to steer him towards something that will help him. But I don't know what kind of resources there are for someone like him. So....now what?
     
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    Unfortunately, there is no resource in the world that can help him if he is unwilling to participate.

    Is he looking for another job?
     
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Persephone, I'm glad you found us, but I'm very sorry you are going through this with your son.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. It's helpful.

    Unfortunately, once our kids are 18 and refusing to change or make any good choices, there is really little we can do but begin to detach from their choices. It's tough to do, but as you've already seen, it doesn't get any better until THEY decide to change. Nothing we do makes any difference.

    You can "steer" him towards the local shelters in your area, however, keep in mind that many of our kids can't adhere to the rules presented at shelters either. Some parents get their kids a room in one of those cheap hotels, it you are willing to help him for a little while. It doesn't sound promising, he sounds completely unmotivated which means he will do NOTHING to help himself and rely on you or whomever to help him. Our difficult child's are very resourceful and usually quite manipulative so they usually land on their feet or couch surf. Keep in mind that you do not have to steer him anywhere, he is where he is because of the choices HE made, you do not have to step in and fix it for him. That is a choice you make, it is not a responsibility, a duty or an obligation and it is often difficult for us parents to discern the difference between enabling and loving kindness.

    I'm glad you've recognized that he can't live with you, that is generally a disaster for us.

    My advice is always to seek out professional help for yourself, however that looks to you, therapy, 12 step groups, NAMI, (National Alliance on Mental Illness---they have excellent support and resources for parents and can be accessed online) parent groups, whatever you can find to comfort you and give you the tools you'll need to begin to let go of trying to fix, control, help, enable, rescue......any of it..........none of it is helpful to him or in any way healthy for you. Keep posting, it helps. I wish you peace.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Did he ever see a neuropsychologist? I am thinking that in his case there may be very real reasons why he can't do schoolwork or hold a job and without a diagnosis he won't be able to get any adult services that are offered. A therapist can not diagnose. You would need a neuropsychologist. He would need to be willing to be tested.
     
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Dear Persephone -

    Welcome oh Queen of the Underworld. (awl hail) lol ---Looks out the window at the Fall Scenery....Well I see your Mother is sad again and you are obviously back in your "Southern Home" -Hows Hades?? Too Hot to handle? hahaha (looks behind her as she types something fell ....not so funny now is it?)
    So ....You kicked old Dionysos out of the crib huh? (I went with that given the terrible fate we all know that went with Zags....figured you'd rather name your kid Dio than Zag anyway. Soooooo....now you're trying to figure out what happens to him....what HAPPENS to HIM?

    How about WHAT happens to MOM??? Because from where I'm sitting, and given your name? Whether it's fitting or not? Lady you need a break. He's 18. Do you see the people that he CONSIDERED his BEST friends going....oh wow....we're so worried where you go from here. GOSH let us get you some resources, let us fix you a to-go bag. Nah. It's not even a thought. They're all like.....DUDE HERE is where we are with this. WE get up, we go to work, we keep our mouths shut even when it gets bad and we want to lash out and we get a check and we pay our bills and we buy groceries and we .....survive. HARD lesson. Mommy doesn't take care of US anymore. And here's a harder lesson.....If you steal? If you take things because you don't work? You go to jail. Yeah. That is life. Welcome to it in a big way. SLAP


    Sometimes the world will wake our kids up in a way that we couldn't reach them. NOT in a way that WE wanted it to, but in a way that shakes them sometimes like a rag doll and says.....YOU do this - you get THAT. YOU don't do this - you don't get to eat, or sleep, or take a shower, or have clean clothes. And that basically stinks. Reality bites. In the mean time....When it's 20 degrees outside? And you have to find a bathroom to sleep in or a hallway - or find out where all the homeless people are hanging tonight via a set of secret codes, or stickers, or sleep in your truck. THEN and only then will they appreciate the .62 box of Walmart Maccaroni vs the WHY do you ALWAYS get the cheap stuff why can't we have KRAFT macaroni? Or Getting the Duplex Creams from the Dollar Store cookies for 1.00 vs the $3.49 bag of Oreos -so that you could have cookies instead of nothing----and they get mad at you and make you feel guilty for not being a "BETTER MOM" ....
    A better Mom-----paid the bills as best she could without child support....a better Mom, paid the electric and went without razors and name brand deodorant, and perfume and bought her socks from the bin at the Goodwill and her shoes most days too.....a "better mom" found out how to do oil changes on her car, and change spark plugs and plugs and wires and patch her own tires.........so her kid could have new shoes. and extra dollar for the soda machine like all the other kids at school. A better mom ---said with a lump in her throat and fought back tears....."take him" to the state....when no one else could handle his outbursts or his rages and he destroyed school property. She studied on line and found this site for her sanity...and she still tries...and hides tears....and fights back emotions in court...when the judge said .....no probation...prison. And she helps her friend.....and she stays strong, stronger and strongest when it comes to her kid (always a kid) when he had no place to go, no place to live....and said ----I'm sorry you can't come here. I guess you're going to prison. .........Because it's what we do---because these were THEIR choices. Not ours. And in the mean time we take care of OURSELVES.

    Somedays Persephone....I feel like my 47 year old teddy. His arm is near to falling off, his eyes are those old orange buttons from the 60's, scratched and one of them I just keep pushing back in the hole when I hold him and hug him....for strength...because it falls out. His ears are tattered, and in spots he's bald. (like me) and if that bear could talk? Wow....haha. I'd be in so much trouble. But you do what you have to do to make sure your kid knows...NO BACKSIES. YOU LEFT, YOU ARE GROWN...YOU MADE YOUR CHOICES....and NOT until you show yourself that you are making (any, some) change in your life on your own.....can I even begin to be there. Support sure....but help?? WHAT HELP? Not when you can't help yourself. No sir.

    Give yourself permission to allow him the opportunity to grow up. You've laid all the ground work....your work is done. He's just never used ANY of the tools you gave him. Tell him now's the time to see what he can do on his own. And in case you think we all (ALL) haven't considered the morbid reality of.....COULD he die out there without me? Yes he could. So there now that's said and out of the way. I cut my son loose and my x tried to kill him. he tried to commit suicide a few times and I'm sure there are other things I will hear about later in my old age that will surely stop my heart. But I didn't cause ANY of those things. THEY WERE HIS CHOICE. I know one thing. If I had kept him at home...He would have NEVER ......EVER gotten the chance to change. Things would have never ever been any different. That would have been a greater sadness than dying in my opinion. And I think I know something about that because I take calls EVERY day at a 911 center....with Mothers and Sons .....Mothers in their 60's sons in their 40's .....and the things that are said in the room about grown men treating their moms like you hear in your headset and over the dispatch....is absurd. But then again....the mothers who refuse to put them out and keep taking them back? ....Makes you think. There but for the Grace of The Conduct Disorder Board...........and it's many members, and wisdom and my umpteen years of counseling......and my desire to not look like I'm 50....at 49.

    Don't be stone stupid -----but do be a rock.
    Much love to you....and courage
    Hugs & Love


    Starbie - Still trying to figure out Why Zeus hasn't been replaced by a Goddess.

    b
     
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Your post triggers alot of questions. Has he been tested by educators to ascertain if he has a learning disability? Are you sure he can read and write? Has he been to an Opthomologist so you know his vision is aok? Was he ever given a battery of tests by a neuropsychologist to identify strengths and weaknesses?

    Since he has not displayed violence, gets along with others, appears to just be refusing to do academic work and has lost a job it sounds like he is a kid with problems as opposed to a problem kid. I have a now 23 year old grandson
    (he lived with us for around eight years) who is attractive, polite, reasonably caring and did graduate from HS with a tremendous amount of help. on the other hand he has not been able to hold a job AND he wants to work. He lost a job a McD's which sounds weird but he can not multi-task and the degree of activity left him with sensory overload. He also was hired to work for the State but..after two or three days expressed his discomfort there and that was the end of that.

    My suggestions are (l) make sure he does not have an unidentified disability (2) explore Job Corps as a means for him to learn an occupation on his own and (3) see if Volunteers of America has a help center in or near your City. I will send supportive thoughts your way and cross my fingers. Hugs DDD
     
  7. persephonebones

    persephonebones New Member

    Thank you for the hugs and supportive thoughts!

    We did not make it to a neuropsychologist although that is something I wanted to pursue. I can't right now because I don't have insurance (still working to see if the healthcare.gov will work for me). I will look into the Job Corps here, I do know of a young woman who was helped with it.
     
  8. persephonebones

    persephonebones New Member

    As far as I know he is looking. But you are right that if he's unwilling to participate nothing will help.
     
  9. persephonebones

    persephonebones New Member

    Thank you for the hugs and love!

    Yes, Persephone is an apt archetype for me. It has been a difficult journey, and I'm not done yet, but I'm getting better at taking the burden of my son's choices off my shoulders and putting it on his. I realized that nothing I did was going to cause him to make different choices, so out he went. At the time he was 17 and went to his dad's. But only for a few months before he turned 18.

    My mantra now? I did the best I could with what I had at the time. I'm starting to believe it. :fingerscrossed:
     
  10. persephonebones

    persephonebones New Member


    I didn't know about NAMI....thank you!!! And thank you for the link to the detachment article.

    :smile:
     
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are sure then that he did not suffer from learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder, or cognitive issues? He does not sound like the type of rebellious young adult who would be doing this on purpose. And it appears he has not been duly tested. In your shoes, that is what I'd do before I made any demands of him that he may never be able to fulfill. It is hard to think that maybe our children are not capable, but it is cruel to "punish" them if they truly can not hold a job. I don't very often tell parents to be patient with 18 and ups, but this young man sounds like a decent fellow who has trouble learning, and not on purpose as he does not have a rebellious nature.

    Hope you don't rule out this good possibility. If you don't see if he is capable or not, I wish him the best and hope he gets help somewhere...I am not convinced this is somebody who should be thrown out for not working. I was called "lazy" too and it turns out I have many neurological and cognitive deficits and, had somebody not been willing to marry me, even though it was a horrendous marriage, I probably would have ended up homeless simply because I kept get fired from jobs, over and over again, even though I tried extremely hard. I am concerned about this young man. The gap between my parents, who thought I was just a lazy bum, and myself never mended. My mom is dead now and she STILL never got it. She always told everyone how lazy I was.
     
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