What works????

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Im a Believer, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Just curious ~

    I am a gluton for punishment ~ I keep pushing the 12th floor button expecting to get off on the 13th floor ~

    Does loving them - encouraging them - always willing to be there when they say they want to change ever work?

    Is the best thing for our troubled adult children to walk away and let them fall?

    I'Tourette's Syndrome hard either way ~ I'll do whatever will work ~

    I'm tired of the guessing ~

    Someone tell me what to do?

    Can you tell I'm at the end of my rope?

    The anxiety is killing me ~
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Every child is different, every circumstance is different. You have to do what you can live with. But I do believe that generally speaking, adult are responsible for their actions, and must be held accountable for those actions. If we as parents constantly "rescue" our adult children and never allow the lesson of natural consequences to even be taught to our them, we do them a great disservice. If they never have to figure out how to fix things, because we always fix things for them, what incentive do they have to ever learn how? None.

    Throw mental illness or substance abuse into the picture, and it does get murky. But that does not absolve anyone of responsibility for their actions. With substance abuse in particular, I think it's even MORE important to step out of the way and let natural consequences take over, as difficult as that can be at times.
  3. missy44

    missy44 New Member

    Hi there,

    I'm so sorry that you are going through this, and with 6 children!

    I'm curious to see the answers as I'm always anxious and waiting for the other shoe to drop too. I've tried quite a few things with my difficult child. I've brought him into my home, found him a doctor and psychiatrist, worked with drug counsellors (who told me he didn't have a problem), found him jobs (all of them he's lost within three months), have found drugs on his person (in my home) and still worked with him to stay so he could be safe and cared for. Through all of this I have been a complete mess. He has been asked to leave my house on 3 different occasions (once he was gone for 8 months - living with whomever), the 2nd time he was gone for about 2or3months (living with his girlfriend until she dropped him) and now he's been gone for 3 weeks (bumming with friends or sleeping on the streets).

    The only thing I haven't completely followed through with is NOT letting him come back when he's down and out and promises the world. His only options at this point are treatment, the streets or living with his dad (out of province). I'm not sure if it will work or if I will push him further down the path of destruction, but I do know that enabling him (even though I thought I was helping) wasn't working and it was tearing my family apart.

    Please take care of you first!

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    ((((hugs))))) Believer

    Please make sure you're taking time for breaks (even if it's a short walk or soaking in a hot bath) for yourself.

    Parenting adult kids can be so darn hard and it's just not like parenting children. With mine.......I try to let them do it on their own with as little interference from me as possible. I do try to be there to be supportive, to listen, and maybe offer helpful information that might lead them the right direction. And sometimes I'm forced to call them on behavior even when they definitely don't want to hear it. That usually doesn't make me very popular at the time.

    This last down spiral of Nichole's, I had to bluntly and directly point out to her the behaviors I was seeing and how it was directly affecting innocent people around her. I couldn't even be kind about it because I had to get her attention. Her response was vicious, meant to hurt. But I hadn't expected her to like what I had to say......so I let it roll off my back. What I said did get her attention and snap her out of self destructive behavior. BUT it could've easily gone the other way and I may not have talked or seen her again for a very long time. Sometimes, that is the risk you have to take in order to do what is the right thing for your child and their situation. In those situations I'm working on faith that one day down the road they'll see that I did it out of love and concern. And with mine........I've found that eventually they do come to see that.

    Even my addict bff whom I refused to do anything that might enable her to get more drugs told me more than once (depended where her mind was) that she understood why I'd had to set limits and boundaries that I couldn't let myself cross in order to attempt to help her. Watching someone bottom out (while hoping that they'll seek out treatment) is one the the hardest things I've ever done. But until they reach their own personal bottoming out point, they aren't going to be motivated to change their behavior.

    There are some articles here on learning to detach (in order to cope and not enable). Hopefully one of the mods will be able to direct you to them as they've helped a lot of us. And keep posting. I don't know what I'd do without the support of the parents here on the board.
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Parenting an adult child is so much more difficult. There are lines that can't be crossed. All of mine are adults now. My oldest and youngest are easy child's. Of course they have had their typical teen moments, but they are without the issues that my middle son has presented. I have tried to treat them all the way they needed to be treated at the time. difficult child has always been more needy. I tended to (and still do) enable him the most. Why? Because he really needs me more than the others. Because emotionally and socially he is years behind in development. He is better because I have detached more and more. When he calls and is in the middle of a rage, I hand up. I will no longer let him live with me, although he is welcomed to come and visit. I do provide gas and food when he runs short, because he is working and trying to build a life---when he stops, the support stops. There is no "answer." I feel my way through and hope that what I am doing is right. When I see that it isn't, I change. I have found the thing I can change is the way I react to the way he acts. That has been the biggest help.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Generally speaking, I think natural consequences works. However, like what was said, throw mental illness into the picture and the waters get murky.
    However, even those who are ill, have to work to the best of their abilities and be accountable for their actions.
    You have an adult child who was a substance abuser, who is now doing better. What helped your son?
    Like someone else also said...not sure there are really any black and white answers. Each case is different and we do the best we can.
    I do know that once our children become adults (especially) it is wise to pull back, draw boundaries and to embrace all the good we can from life. It is ours to richly enjoy.
  7. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Thanks for all your replies ~

    Nomad - You asked a good question ~ what encouraged my oldest difficult child to change? ~ Life! He has had a hard road ~ He was out of my life off and on for MANY years and within the past 2 years - he has put himself thru Tech College for HVAC and recently got an awesome job ~ He is living with us again - we offered - so he could save some money - but, he has "obeyed" all our rules - is respectful and so far it has been working (4 months now).

    Missy ~ My prayers are with you in regards to your son. {hugs}

    Every woman ~ Like you - my middle child needs me more - or at least that's my perception. He was abused by his father and I was always his protector.

    I have been thru this so many times with so many kids - you would think I would be immune by now.

    Like all of you ~ we know what we need to do - why is it so hard?

    I guess that's why they call it Tough Love ~ The tough part is on us - doesn't seem to effect them ~

    Thanks for the support and encouraging words.
  8. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Even though I am very much at the beginning of this (my daughter is only 18 and the "adult" thing as well as the difficult child thing are fairly new to us), i've been plagued witht his very same quesiton for some time.

    I guess there's not a recipe for us to follow, so we have to lean on each other, learn form each other and know that we know our difficult children best. Fromt here, we have to follow our instincts. Wish it were a little more cut and dried? Me, too.

    Lately, my difficult child (who, for most of her life, was quite attached to me) wants little or nothing to do with me. Her biggest beef of late is that i would not release her savings account (transferrred from joint to my name when she left college, got into a car with a guy she'd met three weeks before on the Internet, went across state lines and declard she was leaving school to live with her love) so she, jobless and in debt, could go live with her "boyfriend" in North Carolina

    Get a job. Work and start paying off your debts. I'll release your funds so you can buy a car. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    She's furious, but she's safe at her dad's (who is now guardian of the funds, as I transferred them to him, and is saying the same thing). She spends her days watching tv, playing on the internet and lollingin the sun.

    I will be moving back to my home in May following a devasting house fire in October. She plans to move back, but she's in for a BIG shock. No job? Good morning, daughter! It is 8:00, at 9:00 y ou will be going out to paint the fence, the shed, the garage doors, the porch rails .... for six hours a day five days a week. There is grass to cut, and gardens to weed and a great deal of unpacking to do. Pay you? I think not. There's a roof over your head and a full pantry. Be grateful. Like it better at dads? You can come for the weeknds then. And you'll still cut the grass.

    That, my dear, is known as work.

    Don't like it? Get a job.

    And I know none of this will be easy, but it's my plan for now. My heart will always be open to her. She will always be my daughter and, in this case for now at least, will always be welcome in my home (living by the rules).

    I realized recently that, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father doesn't go looking for him. He doesn't send him bus money....but, when the son returns, contrite and ready to contribute, he is welcomed. Makes sense to me.

    Sorry for the long ramblel.....
  9. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Dash ~ Love your strong attitude ~ Maybe I can learn from you ~

    I love the story of the Prodigal son - in almost every version the wording is "when he came to his senses..."

    My son who is my current issue - wants to come home but with an attitude of nobody has ever done anything for him ~ it has been everyone else's mistakes that have contributed to his situation....

    He can not return - He is living with his grandma right now (my mom) - I have given him MANY resources of places to call to go for help. He has turned down 2 of them - one of them was an AWESOME 1/2 way house that accepted him - they offer counceling - drug rehab - it is a beautiful mansion that has been bought for the this purpose.

    When he was interviewed by the people that run it - they accepted him - then he was interviewed by the other people that live there - and they rejected him.

    I'm not sure if it was his attitude - He claims they are all hoodlums and bad news.

    I don't know what to believe.

    I am tired of going around the mountain about it with worry. I know I need to let him figure it out but as a mom - I know you get it ~

    Praying for you and your daughter. That's awesome you get along with your ex - I am envious ~
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Ya know...I heard you say that "life" taught your other son. And that he "put himself" through school. We had (thank goodness) a brief period of great difficulty with our son and we did tough love with him. Ya know what, it served him and us well. Today, he is super easy child (thank goodness, crossing myself and lighting a candle!). I DO wonder if one can expect the same results with an adult child who is mentally ill. Again...the waters are murky. I suppose, for the sake of humanity, we can provide some guidance with reference to medical and health care. But, it seems to me that by and large, the same rules apply. Like you said....a moment of truth a moment of coming to their senses. What will make them come to this realization? What will make them weigh the pros and cons? What will tip the balance? Sometimes counseling will help, sometimes tough love will help....but it seems to be something internal in the end and although we can provide some guidance, they have to do the work and I guess they wont do it until they are good and ready to do it. Even more reason for us to detach and move forward with our lives....
  11. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Nomad ~ That why I struggle with this son - he was abused by his dad and I know he is having some post traumatic depression from that but you made me realize - my older son who is doing OK (right now) had abuse too. Not as bad as my 22 year old - but abuse - just the same.

    Another light bulb - 3 of my children were abused - 3 were not ~ Looking at my signature - every other one.

    I have never noticed that before.

    My #4 child who is now a easy child did go thru some rebelliousness but not for long.

    WOW! I never realized that before.

    Back to your comment - I guess that tells me the mental issues probably need to be treated the same - of course by an individual analysis.

    I deal with MAJOR guilt - I was married to the father of my children for 20 years - to hear him - the kids struggle because I broke up our HAPPY HOME ~ My guilt is for leaving and for staying as long as I did.

    Did I mention I'm in counseling? LOL

    Thanks again everyone - So Thankful for this site!
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Wow, eerie.
    I just had a conversation with someone very special to me who advised me to dump "guilt" (his exact words) and dump it fast. He said it is not appropriate and it is a poison to the body.

    My guess is you did the very best you could when your children were younger and there were great difficulties going on. And furthermore, it sounds like you have made it clear that you would be willing to help them as you are able and if they do their part.

    You can not do more than that, nor should you.

    Many of us, if not all of us, have had our own set of hardships in life. In our youth, in our adulthood and heck, what about now? IT is what it is. We pull up our big girl pants and move forward.
    Why should it be any different for our kids? We handicap them when we think it should be different for them.

    Yes, guilt be gone. I always say that as hard as this is, put one foot in front of the other and keep walking forward.
  13. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I have to agree about dumping the guilt--if I could do things over I would not have parented from a "guilt" standpoint--I think it impaired my ability to be a strong parent to my difficult child. I did stop when she was 18 and she hasn't lived with me since--she has been homeless, lived in shelters, etc. and though I have felt sorry for her I have let her fall and pick herself back up. At one point she was very angry because I wouldn't let her travel 3000 miles when she was 6 months pregnant to "visit" me. I told her I knew what she was up to (moving back in with us) and she didn't speak to me for a couple of months. But she eventually got over it and we do quite well now.

    I am helping her financially right now because she has a knee injury and is not supposed to work. I feel okay about it because I know she is trying her best to make ends meet and she doesn't come to me for money very often.

    Anyway, let the guilt go--if for no other reason than it is what is best for your difficult child and other family members.

  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Lots of wisdom here!
    Also noticed Believer that your ex is filling you with Guilt. Hmmm...seems you are getting it from all angles. You will have to arm yourself to to the hilt.
    by the way, you mentioned your ex participated in abuse and yet he dumps guilt on you. Interesting.
    I would push that aside asap.
    So glad you are going to counseling. Awesome!
    p.s. Take a look at this website....really good stuff, in my opinion: http://www.livestrong.com/article/14700-self-affirmations/
  15. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    JaneBrain ~ Thanks for sharing about your daughter - that's why this site is so awesome - to hear of others who are not only going thru the same thing but have taken the tough Love approach and life goes on for both you and the difficult child.

    Nomad - Thanks for sharing the Affirmation site - We all need a little help from our friends ~

    Have a PEACEFUL weekend ~
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Sorry I am coming in late to this. Been a busy time for me...whew!

    I have no idea what works with each kid or each person with issues. In my home there were lots of different issues going on! I have bipolar, borderline personality disorder and a host of physical disabilities. My oldest son has some learning disabilities and is somewhere on the very high end of functioning on the Aspie scale. My middle son is ADHD and then there is my youngest son who is bipolar and some personality disorder that no one can figure out.

    I do pretty well with the mental issues on any given day, on any given hour. I have gone through years of therapy and psychiatric care to get my medications adjusted. I just started new medications this week. Its always a work in progress. I never know what the next week, month, year will bring.

    My oldest son seems to be doing well. It took him till last year to learn to drive because of deep seated anxiety. He now works full time and has started dating. We joke about how he has now become a late teen...lol. He was the easiest kid to parent though. He would do exactly what you told him to do. I guess that should have been a red flag.

    My middle son was constantly on the go as a kid. Hyper was his middle name. He had no real behavioral problems other than typical kid stuff. Still he drove me batty and kept me on my toes! He did well though and went into the Marines and now is married with 2 kids and works as an Animal Control Officer. Works for him.

    My youngest is the biggest problem. Nothing worked with parenting him. You didnt parent him. You tried to contain him. He knows it now. He is so sorry for what he did to us. He doesnt live with us anymore and the real world bites him frequently. I love him fiercely. He is so much like me it is scary. He just wont listen to me often but he is starting to more and more. Maybe one day he will get it. I hope so.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

  18. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Nomad! I am printing this out and pasting in each room in my house until it sinks in ~

    AWESOME information!

    Thanks so much!!