So what happens when difficult child turns 18?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Robinboots, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Robinboots

    Robinboots New Member

    I am soooo stressed right now. The tension is unbelieveable. This kid can call me up and appear sooooooo normal when he wants something...or even in person, sometimes. Then he pulls his usual b.s.

    One-year countdown has begun. 11 months to go till he becomes an "adult". What to do? He applied for the state university, but just failed four classes at community college. Just found out he got fired from his job, as late as Saturday, probably before. Said he had a few days off. Spends money like there's no tomorrow. Lies all the time, about everything. Gets in involved in teen drama that's none of his concern AND, as a bonus, has people threatening to kick his butt all.the.flippin.time. On probation since last March.

    Seriously - what happens? Does he leave? Do we make him? What does he do? How/where does he live? What is the solution?

    He won't take any direction from us, or anyone, anywhere, ever. He pays lip service to advice, and goes his merry way.

    ??????????? I feel like I'm going to explode, or melt, or run screaming from the house!
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, I can tell you that my rule was, once they were 18, if they weren't enrolled in school, they paid rent. That was my parents' rule, also. Once he's 18, living in your home is a privilege, not a right. My oldest, I ended up "kicking out" at 19. Youngest, ended up pregnant shortly after she turned 18 (and dropped out of school) and won a bit of a reprieve ... although she did work before and after the baby was born.

    As for what he does, or where he lives? That's up to him, really. If you are kind enough to let him live with you, he gets a list of rules that go with that. Otherwise, he has plenty of time to make other arrangements.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hey Bootsie,

    (MMMM mmmmmmmm and MMMMMMM mmmmmmm mmmmm)

    Hard to talk with duct tape over your mouth held there by 100 pairs of hands.

    I am not allowed to give advice on this subject to you. My 19 year old lives at home.

    My best suggestion however (I AM NOT TALKING I'm TYPING)

    Read some of the posts in Parent Emeritus for strength.
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, it has been a hellacious ride, RobinBoots, but my 20 year old difficult child daughter is living at home. At times she lived in NY with her dad, at times she crashed on numerous friend's couches and in between there was a lot of yelling and screaming, crying, taking away of the car keys, cancelling of insurance, etc.

    <Knock on Wood> My difficult child daughter seems to have settled down a bit this past year. She is now gainfully employed full time, dating a nice man, follows the house rules, helps me out at home, pays her own insurance and even a bit of rent to old mom. But to save myself from the insanity before all that, I had some work to do - learn how to detach with love. Very diffifult to do, but like Star has suggested, go read up in the PE forums. There you will find many parents and guardians who have been where you are, ARE still where you are, struggling, learning and teaching, not to mention the monumental amount of support you will also receive there.

    Sending lots of hugs - you need them, I know. After you learn to detach a bit, it get's a little easier - the worry, pain and anguish may not go away completely, but at least you will still have some modicom of sanity.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im with star. Come on over to PE. We have all been there done that with this junk. We finally had to push our baby bird out of the nest. Best thing we ever did and long overdue.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I was gonna suggest you throw a party (bad girl, bad!) but then, I ain't even close to there yet so I'll MMOB. Good luck over in P.E.!
  7. Robinboots

    Robinboots New Member

    Great idea! I'll send you an invite!
  8. Bean

    Bean Member

    Set reasonable boundaries and if they are violated, have realistic consequences (and the bottom line might just be giving your child the boot).

    I've got an 18-year-old (turned this summer). She has not lived with us since she was 17. Basically she disrupted our household completely, then went to jail, then tx. We decided that if she was to continue with the gangs and drugs, she could no longer live here. Because she could not prove she was finished with banging and drugs, she went to my parent's house. She's been there ever since. It's tough and I'm sure it is hurtful to her, but it is her choice.

    Work or go to school, be clean and sober, honest and gang-free. Period. I have other children to consider, and my marriage.
  9. XerSib

    XerSib New Member

    Robinboots - read the thread in Parent Emeritus about my 40 something year old difficult child sibling.

    That might help you decide what you need to do.
  10. Robinboots

    Robinboots New Member

    I did read it and I can understand your fears and concerns. But I think we're coming at this from very different perspectives.

    First and foremost, your difficult child is a sib, mine is my son. Second, I'm not sure why your sib is still living at home, if it's because of his functioning level or parental enabling.

    As much as you may love your sibling, it's just not like having a child in the same condition. Period. Don't mean to be harsh, just the way it is.

    My difficult child is very independent, at least on average for most 17yos. He cooks, he cleans (well, sorta, but he knows how!), he knows HOW to manage money but chooses not to, he's extremely smart and well-spoken and very, very charming. I seriously canNOT imagine him living here at 40. NO WAY I'd put up with his cr*p for 20+ more years.

    My question wasn't so much "what" to do with him, but what will happen to him. I read here, and elsewhere, that difficult children end up couch-surfing, or living God knows where or moving back home...repeatedly. I can almost guarantee that husband would NEVER, EVER allow that.

    The psychiatrist told me the other day that most of these kids have to hit rock bottom before they can move back up. That they ARE capable of doing what's right, they just so often choose not to. So it's not ALL beyond their control.

    Yes, my difficult child is one of the rare ones who does not appear to have a co-morbid diagnosis, and plain old CD is not a factor in independence. In fact, if I tossed him out tomorrow, he'd probably do just fine, survival-wise. He might get knocked around, or get arrested for various and sundry minor issues - or even some major ones. He might end up under a bridge, but I doubt that. He can be too charming and "normal" when he wants to.

    Maybe I'm just more worried about *I* will handle it, the worry, the not knowing, etc.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sweetie, that is why learning to detach is so crucial. It helps you to move past the point where every move you make is taken only after you consider the effect on your child.

    in my opinion it is not very healthy to continue to worry about an 18yo the way you do a younger child. It wrecks your health and happiness and it can hobble his independence. It also gives the newly hatched adult WAAAAYYYY to much power over you.

    If you don't give me/buy me/help me/take me/drive me then I will move out and not tell you where I am going!

    Can't you just hear your difficult child saying that? All of can, I think.

    So you have to learn to have other interests and to not react to their plans and attempts to make us do something they can and should do for themselves.

    I still remember the first time my now husband came to a family dinner. My gfgbro was in town for the first time since we met. So husband had never met him. You need to understand that any time we had company my gfgbro was compelled to say something guaranteed to caused great worry and lots and lots of discussion. Especially if the gathering was to celebrate someone else's birthday or accomplishment.

    As soon as everyone was at the table eating veggies and dip my bro announces:

    "I am going to walk to Washington."

    My mother is sometimes just amazing. She never missed a beat. Showed no shock and better yet no interest. Her comment was "Where will you put all of your stuff?"

    Gfgbro is NOT able to think fast on his feet. He is brilliant, but not in the heat of an argument. His jaw hit the floor. No one was taking the bait. We were all still laughing and having fun and enjoying each other!!!

    We never did find out which Washington he meant.

    This is, for me, a great example of detachment. It shows how you can refuse to give up your power to their manipulation. In my case my gfgbro did that for fun. It gave him some food for thought because he planned to use that manipulation to get at what he wanted for a long time.

    It also freed my parents from having to hear all of his pseudo plans and worrying about his wild and unrealistic plans.

    Does this make the concept of detachment any clearer?
  12. judi

    judi Active Member

    My son is 24 now. I (unfortunately) have been a member here almost 9 years!

    When I first came here, my son was 15, in/out hospitals, jail, counselors, medications, etc.. We literally spent thousands of dollars trying to get help for him.

    In the end...we have no contact with our son period. We do not know where he lives nor does he contact us at all - no contact for 18 month now.

    Does it break our heart? You betcha!

    Would we welcome him back? Yep in a heartbeat.

    Will I ever live with the chaos again? Nope, never ever!

    This does not mean we don't love our son very very much.

    It just means that when they are 18 and older, they are adults.

    Detachment for me is and always will be hard. I cling to my home phone number because I can't bear to change it in case he calls. We are not wanting to sell the house and downsize, in case he decides to contact us.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am one who thought my kid couldnt make it out there but I was wrong. Actually, having three kids it was a mixed bag for us.

    With the middle boy, he was the first one to leave and it was really sort of natural but also broke our He left at 18 to join the Marines. Gosh was that hard! Felt like we were sending our baby into he lion's den. We were so proud of him but so scared to death.

    Next to leave was our youngest son and that was under bad terms. We really let him stay much too long and he was out of control and he committed some crimes against us. He had finally pushed us past what we could accept and he just had to go. I really think we should have pushed him out sooner and maybe things wouldnt have got to the level they got. But hindsight is 20/20.

    Now, we just have my oldest at home and my SO and I disagree on him. He does have some disabilities but I am not sure if they are enough to limit him to having to live here or not. Its an iffy situation. One I am trying to work on at this time.