Why do I even bother......

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Mom2oddson, May 26, 2010.

  1. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    One of these days, I'm going to learn the lesson of "keeping my mouth shut". Nothing good ever comes from talking to a difficult child.

    For the first time in two weeks difficult child-A was actually home when I got home from work. Usually, we just text each other and he showers/changes/eats while I'm at work. That is usually a good sign that he's back to using pot and/or drinking. I've come to accept that I can't do anything to help him with that issue.

    But, being a Mom.... when the new resturant in the Mall was taking apps and doing interviews, I called difficult child-A to let him know. He thanked me and said he would go right away. Of course, when I asked how it went, he hasn't bothered going yet. Then, because he HAS TO pay on his fine this month or be in default. I made the idiotic mistake of asking if he paid on it yet and when he said no, I reminded him that Monday is a holiday so he'd have to pay by Friday..... His sarcastic response was "I think I'll just go to jail".

    When am I going to learn to just keep my mouth shut and not engage in anything more important than "how's the weather"?

    easy child laughed at me muttering to myself about being so stupid and not learning this lesson. Of course, easy child is going through the same thing. difficult child-A is ****** at easy child because easy child won't go party with him every night. First, easy child works at a golf course starting at 5am, second, he's got a very special girl that he's spending his time with (had to go 2,000 miles away to college to start dating a girl that graduated from High School with him).... Anyways.....

    My heart still goes out to difficult child-A. You can tell he's in a lot of emotional pain. He'll even say that he needs to see a shrink, but when I say "make an appointment".... he says he doesn't want the help. I give him the opportunities to open up to me, to share his pain....and I get a slap in the face.

    On the bright side, my detachment skills are getting better. I no longer have strong emotional reactions to difficult child-A's stuff. Just shake my head at myself for not being at a point where I don't even ask anymore.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's definitely harder to disengage when they're living with you. It's true, he might just go to jail. Maybe he'll hate it so bad that he won't want to go back and he'll decide to get a job. It does sound like low self-esteem, but you can't make a person like themselves better. They have to take that first step. Making a counseling appointment for him won't work if he doesn't want it, so he's kind of stuck in a rut.

    Do you have any minimum standards for him living in your home? Maybe a counselor could help you decide what is appropriate place to start.
  3. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    When difficult child-A moved back in a year ago, husband and I made an aggreement that it was HIS job to take on difficult child-A. I'd been the one and only one doing if for years and I am done. husband has been gone for 28 weeks. And he's had all sorts of ideas/rules he wants for difficult child-A, but I refuse to be the "front-line" guy anymore. Told husband he can deal with it when he gets home. Well, that will be this afternoon. husband can set all the rules he wants. I'll let husband deal with the anger and flak from an anger difficult child-A. husband is big, strong and tough enough to deal with difficult child-A if he goes off on a rant.

    Since I took the back-seat on the "in-your-face" dealing with difficult child-A and since difficult child-S moved out, I really need my anxiety medications. It's been worth it over-all. difficult child-A tends to use me when he's using...only showing up when I'm out of the house.

    Now, difficult child-A will be in for a shock, especially since it is husband that is setting and enforcing rules for a change. husband has decided that difficult child-A will not use us. If you aren't sleeping at our house at night, you don't get to come into the house when everyone is gone. And since difficult child-A is almost 20, if he wants to live at our house, he will be getting his GED or he moves out. ...See why I didn't want to enforce any of these rules while husband was on the other side of the US???
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that your husband is coming home. I bet you are too! I hope that things will be better for you all.
  5. Bean

    Bean Member

    My daughter is the same way. She doesn't live with us, though. Too hard. But any time I try to offer solid, helpful advice she doesn't want it.
  6. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    You know what.....a difficult child in jail isn't always a bad thing. It can possibly teach them a lesson (which I hope is the case in my situation) and the best part? YOU get a break! Maybe I'm detatching a bit much but I prefer to look at the bright side of things.

    Hugs....I know it hoovers.
  7. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Is there such a thing as "detaching a bit too much"? I'm to the point of "out-of-sight-out-of-mind". My problem is when difficult child-A is home the same time I am. Sitting is a room not talking to each other is uncomfortable. And since he insists on sitting in whatever room I'm in (except my bedroom), it gets uncomfortable. So I ask dumb questions like "what are you plans?".... or if difficult child-A starts talking it's about how mean some friends parent was because the parent turned of the teens phone cuz the parent was mad and how unfair/mean/nasty...etc. was that? Since my answer would be "GOOD for the parent!! The kid deserved it" and we all know that that statement won't go over in difficult child-land.... I just nod my head and smile.

    I am about 95% sure that difficult child-A will end up in jail over his fines. I'll visit, bring clean socks and underwear, but I will not bail out or feel sorry for difficult child-A. Nor will I feel bad if he gets caught driving without insurance (a state law-duh)... Nor will I feel bad if he gets another MIP (going to a party-house everynight can lead to that)...Oh and I'm 110% sure that there will be a very ****** difficult child-A at the end of summer when I turn off his cell phone. If he doesn't get his GED and get a job by then...no phone.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    How about if instead of asking him about himself, you tell him about yourself? Now that would make my kid uncomfortable! Girl talk. What pants you want to buy and why. Your shampoo really messed up your hair. And while we're at it, what to do about your hairdresser? The gladiolas are going to be beautiful this year if the sun keeps shining. Should you water them in the morning or at night?

    Make it all about you! He won't be able to stand it!
  9. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I love your idea, Witz!
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I don't think you can detach too much. I think you need to take detachment to a level you're comfortable with, and if that means "out of sight, out of mind", then that's what works for you. I'm in a similar place with my difficult child, and we've been maintaining that holding pattern for years. I'm comfortable with it and see no reason to change until/unless he changes his behaviour and attitude.

    I really like Witz's idea as well. If you feel the need to talk, talk about things that interest you. Keep it light, keep it girly, stick to topics that he's not vested in. My difficult child likes to follow me around when he has a visit home, and lurk in whatever room I'm occupying. The strategy I've adopted is to make him work. If he insists on standing around in the kitchen while I cook, he can fetch and carry, and stir, and run down to the basement, and run outside to tell Dad, and go to the garage to get, and whatever. So, he either makes himself useful or he gets bored with all the chores and goes to a different room. Either way, we've avoided awkward conversations and tension, and I get my work done. I wonder if a combination of Girl Talk and Fetch-and-Carry might work for you.

    I'm glad to hear that your husband will be home and will be taking on the front-line discipline with your difficult child.
  11. Star*

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

    I could be WAY off base here, I mean occasionally I've been in left field....but to read between the lines of your response. You say that difficult child follows you room to room (except for your room) and he talks about his world to you. If you think about that for a minute from my perspective? (outside your walls) to me it sounds like he's TRYING to communicate or have SOME conversation with you, but doesn't maybe know how. He is after all emotionally defunct and most of us would agree that even at their age most difficult child's are about three to four years being where most kids normally would be socially. (I mean at 19 Dude behaves like someone 16-16 1/2) would.

    So what he says irritates you, with good reason. I mean you have this kid, living in your home, doing things that you don't like. That's got to frustrate you not only as the parent, but as the person who is paying the bills and eating the boatload of crud and disrespect from this person. If he wasn't your son would you tolerate this from a renter? Smoking dope, not working, not helping around the house, not doing as you asked? Not being responsible, having irritatating and opposing views on nearly every conversation?

    See like I said - maybe YOU think - he's saying these things to irritate you, but I don't. I think it's HIS way of trying to find some common ground to talk to you about something, anything. I mean if he did NOT want to be around you why oh WHY would he follow you room to room illiciting conversations? (shrug?) So I see this as an opportunity to have a dialogue - but the problem here is that neither of you know how to communicate effectively with each other. You can talk to US effectively - you can probably go to work and talk to your colleagues effectively but isn't it odd that we have these little people we gave birth to in our homes and we have no idea how to talk to them or what to talk about?

    I started reading on line about effective communication years ago. I had no idea that you could say things to people thinking you were being inquisitive about their life or meaning to give a compliment and THEY took it as a backhanded compliment or insult or put down. TEENAGERS hear ----everything. They are looking for accolades without hearing BRAVO - and clapping and stomping and fanfare. But how do you do that like a parent, sound like a peer, and come off non-chalant? You can....takes practice. Doesn't come naturally to most people. I've always said if THEY won't go to therapy then YOU go and learn what you can....and apply it best you can.

    If you can't? Look up and read books about effective communication. I can't tell you what would be a good common ground for you and your son because I don't know either of you that well. I know starting with normal parent things and pushing him to do things he KNOWS he needs to do is NOT treating him like an adult. he KNOWS he needs to find a job. He KNOWS he needs to pay his fines, he KNOWS if he does not he is going to jail. If he does? YOU KNOW - you will have the house to yourself. Is that something you NEED to tell him? NOPE. It's a JUST IS. Maybe a conversation killer when he's complaining about one of his friends' parents would be - "Well I'm glad WE are able to sit and talk." and leave it at that. Then get up and say "I'm going for ice cream - I'd like you to come with, I saw you took the trash out without asking. Thanks." See where that goes maybe???

    Like I said - check into effective communication. Just another idea.