am I being too unreasonable/controlling?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by therese005us, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    DS19 went to work today. His latest obsession/compulsion is hiring out DVDs, about 10 at a time each week, plus maybe some games. He claims some of the DVDS only have 20 or 30 mins on (but I know better) and are series of so many episodes. However, when he has these DVDs out, then he is compelled to watch them in one week - 3 or 4 hours or more at a time - so that he can return them without penalty. So, therefore, he is not willing to do anything else to help about the place (bear in mind that I only ask him to do minimal tasks like watering the animals, feeding dogs; bring in wood etc) as he's busy watching tv. He also then is treating me more like a hotel, only coming up for meals, not socialising or treating us like a family.
    So, when I dropped him off, I told him he was only to get 4 DVDs out max.
    When I picked him up, he smelt like alcohol already. Which indicated he'd finished work early and called in at the pub or bottle shop. I asked him how many DVDs he got out, and he said 6 so I said he'd better cross the road and return 2 as I'd told him only 4. He refused. Short version, I told him to hop out of the car, if he wasn't willing to return them, as I wasn't taking him home until he did.
    Argument ensued. He eventually hopped out, I drove away. Home.
    he messaged, he had returned them, would I come back? I said, sometime, now I am runnign late (I had so much meat to put away yet) and I would pick him up later. He said he'd go to the pub then. I said, well, I won't pick you up at all if that's what you're going to do, you think alcohol will solve everything.
    i picked him up an hour later and forgot his medication (today was his doctor day) so couldn't take him for the needle. This often happens the day of or befor ehis needle, that he's more unreasonable.
    He accused me of being controlling. I tried to explain that there's more to life than watching DVDs, I need help about the place. He sees that I want him to do jobs, and he doesn't want to do jobs. He really has no friends, he a hanger on. The 'mates' he thought/thinks he has don't want to have him around, and don't include him. He only manages to get them to include him if he's buying 'stuff' or alcohol for them..... they don't include or invite him to their parties or other outings. He's on the outside all the time. This is what it was like when he was younger too.
    So, I picked him up and drove him home and went into town.
    When I got home,I apologised for what I'd said/done and reiterated that I didn't want him wasting his days watching DVDs. I know it's part of who/what he is that this is his current obsession, but I'm trying to change it, is that so wrong? or unreasonable? I'm struggling.
    Sometimes, I feel he's controlling me because I have to constantly follow after him, remind him of his appointments, take him there, breathe for him practically, as I hold his hand every step of his life.
    He's hoping for an apprenticeship in butchery, but I have to ring up for him, beg for him.... knowing that he won't be able to keep the job even if I manage to talk them into taking him on. For interviews, I have to nag him to shower, shave, wear tidy clothes, tell him what to say, etc etc. Is this familiar to anyone? I'm struggling.

    Anyway, thanks for reading this vent. It's nice to know people care.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he's 19, I would consider telling him to leave home if he doesn't want to pitch in. I don't know the laws in Austrailia, but in the US, you can pack your kid's bags at 18. I wouldn't baby him at all. He's too old for that. in my opinion it's best to make him grow up. On the other hand, as long as he gets his chores done and either works, goes to school full time, and pays the rent, I wouldn't monitor how much television he watches at his age. But if he's out drinking all the time? Not on my dime.
    Has he ever been tested for possible Aspergers? He has A LOT of traits and that would explain why he needs you more than most kids his age would. But that doesn't excuse him from chores and work.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    He does sound very Aspie-ish, especially the extent of this obsession. That's why I was suggesting you move his TV into your main living area, so at least he's socialising somewhat with you; you could watch a documentary together, for example, and then talk about what you watch.

    When my kids were little and reading a lot of books, I made a point of reading the same books so we could talk about them. This meant I read all the way through Babysitters Club and other similar books (my brain felt like mush sometimes) but it was interesting seeing what my kids had picked up on, and what they had missed. The social situations described in the books gave us things we could talk about. "What do you think the girls should have done? Where did she go wrong in how she handled the situation? What do you think would have happend if she had handled things differently?"
    You don't have to agree, simply having the opportunity to talk was valuable.

    When difficult child 1 was doing his HSC English, it was the first year of the current HSC system. I was surprised at how much the curriculum relied on TV, movies etc. In our day you studied a Shakespeare play or two, a classic novel (such as "Silas Marner"), a more modern play (such as "School for Scandal" by Sheridan) and various poets. But these days they study a topc area and to a large exgent tey canchoose the stuff from their world that connects to that topic area. For difficult child 1, it was "The Institution" and also "Physical journey". The set film was "The Truman Show" and beleive it or nit, we watched Big Brother! Reality TV was part of the curriculum! But it was handled in a way that demystified it, that took out a lot of the sensationalism and media hype, stripping it away until the kids were shown the manipulation that lay behind it all. The question of "what is reality, really?" was then considered, in light of "Truman Show" too. Also as part of "Institution" he studied "Shawshank Redemption". For "Physicla journey" it was the film "Rabbit-Proof Fence" by Philip Noyce.
    Everything else was what he had to find for himself. He had to find another film, a poem, a book, a TV show - all dealing with various aspects of these areas. he had to be able to discuss them, to explain how tey related and how they differed. In order to do this he had to really understand each book/film/poem/TV show.

    Superficially I was not impressed to begin with. But I saw that it made him REALLY think instead of the "let's just walk trough it all by numbers" as we did back in our day.

    So I watched te TV shows and movies with him. I read the poems with him. I read other books and if I found something he could use, I would share it with him. If he found something he thought could work, he would ask me to read it so we could discuss it.

    We talked about so much stuff that otherwise he never would have experienced. It was great. And it set up a pattern of continued sharing of material with discussion.

    Then when easy child 2/difficult child 2 was doing her HSC English, we both helped her. difficult child 1 hada strong sense of confidence in hisown abilities with it by then.

    Now difficult child 3 is watching the educational TV shows on the ABC (10 am to 11 am weekdays during school term). Some of it is "for the juniors" but a lot of it is for senior primary or high school, right up to final year high school. Tuesday mornings there is a fifteen minute program on poetry ("Arrows of Desire - Poets on Poetry"). easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 1 were watching it with us one morning when the program was discussing a poem by Wilfred Owen, "Dulci et Decorum Est". I remember when they had to do it for school, they absolutely hated his poetry. But watching this TV show they both said, "If only our teracher had talked to us about this poem the way the poets on this program do, we'd have understood it and enjoyed it." They watched the program and then for the next hour or so, we talked about the poem and about the wider topic of war poetry in general.

    So maybe this could be a point of balance for you, of some sort of compromise. You watch something together, perhaps while you are in the room doing other things like cooking, then you both go outside to do chores together (I find I get more out of difficult child 3 if we work side by side) and while you work, you discuss what you watched and compare notes on how you thought about it.

    I know it would be a big change in your current lifestyle, but maybe try it for a week? See if it helps?

    Whenever I am watching TV, I am still doing something. I might be darning, mending, or doing a puzzle, or cooking - you don't have to be idle. It gives my body a chance to rest and also gives me something to think about but also to share and discuss with family.

    When I was little my mother used to have me shelling peas or slicing beans while we watched TV together sometimes. TV was very new back then, what was on it wasn't very interesting. Now it's so much better, if you look for the good stuff and avoid the dross.

  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First of all, is he 19? I didn't see his age or other info in your sig. If possible, could you include that?

    What is "his needle"? I am assuming it is a shot of medication meant to last a while. Knowing what the medication is and what it is supposed to help could help us give you advice.

    Is there a department in your government or medical care systems that helps kids who are not in school and can not function well enough to get apprenticeships or jobs? If so, get them involved. Here we call it transitional living, at least in my town.

    He may need some sort of group home for others with his challenges.

    I would search out local AA meetings and start insisting he attend. I would also make not drinking a condition of living at home. It sounds like you feel he has a real problem with alcohol, so those would be my first steps.

    Then I would quit babying him. His clothes don't get washed, or put in the hamper? He wears dirty clothes. He won't call for a job? He doesn't get a job. He also doesn't get any money so he cannot buy drinks or rent movies.

    He wants to go to town? Unless you are taking him to a doctor, some kind of therapy, or AA then he can walk. Whether it is one mile, one half mile or twenty miles he can dress appropriately and he can carry a water bottle and whatever money he has earned.

    Practice saying a few set phrases, things like "How do you plan to handle that?"

    Embrace the concept of "Do to Get". If he wants something then he must do somehting to get it. Wants a ride into town? Does chores to earn gas money and money to do whatever he plans to do in town. If he has not done something to earn the ride, don't take him. Don't let him promise to do something later if you will do something now for him. You know he won't do it later.

    You are going to have to stop sheltering him. It does no good for you or the rest of the family and it does serious harm to him. It teaches him to be less than capable of handling his life. It teaches him he does not have to earn his way in the world, that he can just rely on you to pay his way in the world.

    What if the unthinkable happens and you suddenly are not there to care for him? Will he be able to cope? Will his behavior drive others from him? Your job is to teach him to be a reasonable productive member of society. Babying him won't get that done.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 1 is registered with Nova, who have in the past supported him in getting a job as well as in working with the employer to do the right thing. Their involvement with the client is not as restricted as other disability employment agencies. Also, the type of disability is very broad. It covers EVERYTHING - from intellectual disability, to ADHD, to asthma, to epilepsy - anything. You need to apply via Centrelink but they do have branches in Qld.

    Here is a link -

    They also work with the client (ie the kid on their books - or the adult) to help them dress appropriately, work on a good CV, to practicce interview technique - the whole package. And because it's Federally funded, there's no cost.

    I'm with the others on him getting to town, but I recognise that you're on the edge of the Wide Open Spaces here; but he should be within pushbike range. Of course, that means no alcohol because you can get fined riding a bike while over the limit just as much as driving a car. The bike would need to be maintianed (by him) and he would also have to wear a bike helmet. The physical exercise would probably do him good too.

    We live in a fairly isolated pocket, but we do have some (limited and expensive) public transport in the boat to the "mainland". With the kids needing/wanting transport, we had a long-term understanding of them needing to fit in with everybody's schedule. The local library (in town) became a waiting point while the local cafe opposite the railway station became a rendezvous point. We spent time waiting in the car; the kids spent time waiting also. But the kids knew - as a rule, I would make ONE trip by car a day, that was it. Everybody had to share information on their plans and movements and any changes had to fit in with the schedule or they would be cut loose. If they didn't do their bit (ie keep us fully informed and consider parental needs in all the movements) then parents would be far less cooperative next time. "You want to go out AGAIN? No way, not after the stunt you pulled last time. Either go catch the boat (and be back by sunset for the last boat home) or miss out. And you only have yourself to blame!"

    husband drives home every night, any latecomers had the chance to organise a rendezvous with him. Otherwise - find a friend's place to crash for te night and recognise that you can't do that too often on short notice because friends won't tolerate it all one way only. Whenever someone does something nice for you, you're honour-bound do do a favour in return.

    I do understand the semblance of sheltering though. People reckon I'm too protective of difficult child 3, but I need to shadow him out in public. Partly to help him learn appropriate interaction and partly to be available in the event he is getting hassled by bullies. He is much more of a target andalso still needs a lot more guidance and direction. My eventual aim is for him to live happily and independently. Same with difficult child 1 - although he is married, I still worry about how is is coping and also I still put my oar in now and then to make sure he is 'pulling his weight' in the relationship. His wife is a very independent person so it's difficult to keep supporting/counselling and still have it look like they're doing it all themselves. But I don't want them to have to reinvent the wheel, either.

    And the example I gave in my previous post, about using what we see, hear and read as a starting point for conversation/discussion - it's me, actively working the kids' social skills and testing the strength of their opinions. They know it's not me trying to exert my opinion over them (which is what daughter in law's mother does, which is why I'm tiptoing here) but simply me trying to get them to express their own opinions and be able to defend their views as well as respect that it's OK for people to have different views. We don't aim for consensus, we aim for a full coverage of the topic from all angles.

    I will use whatever my kids are doing, as the springboard here. Which is why I have forced myself to watch what they watch, play the games thye play, read what they read. If I can't get into it, I tell them and we talk about that, too. And in return (quid pro quo can be a wonderful weapon in the parental armoury!) I like them to watch/read/play/listen to my choices.

    We have a family iPod (mostly mine) which we have loaded with a very eclectix mix. Old episodes of "The Shadow" to Goth/rock music by Rammstein. I've also got a few talking books loaded and on long car trips, THE DRIVER gets to choose what is played on the iPod through the car radio. Sometimes I will let the kids choose, but I can always exert the over-ride. On the 3 hour trip to easy child's wedding earlier in the year, we played three talking books including a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories. BF2 had never heard them and found them very enjoyable. He's not used to my parenting style and is finally adapting to not needing to always be RIGHT (the bogan influence - you know what I mean, Trish). As a result he's now a lot more relaxed - not only with us, but with friends. He no longer needs the bravado, the swagger, the need to prove himself. But if he ever makes a statement of 'fact' he knowswe will respond with, "That is interesting - I never knew that! Let's go look it up, I want to know more..." so if he was lying, bluffing or exxagerating, he WILL be found out. He's also learned to apply the "Let's go check it out" for himself, too.

    We do this without exerting dominion over the kids. Neither do we allow them to exertdoninion over us. We have to communicate as a family, work together as a family. In you case Trish, this is difficult because for you, "family" has constantly changing boundaries. This makes it all the more important for you to have strict house rules for YOU to follow, and anyone wanting something from you has to match you in the house rules and meet you where YOU are, not expect you to go too far out of your way to accommodate their whims.

    I'm disabled and need to physically rest a lot. However, I'm generally disturbable and the kids have always been able to come talk to me, ask for help with homework, etc. But they know I'm not necessarily going to launch myself from the bed or armchair purely to accommodate a whim of theirs. They can ask, but they need to justify it to me as well. The body needs to rest but the brain is always active!

    Not always being available purely for teir purpose has meant that when I AM able to do stuff for the kids, they really appreciate it!

    I just printed off ALL the wedding invitation stuff yesterday/last night and I'm about to head off and post it to easy child for her to take it to the next stage. I KNOW that easy child 2/difficult child 2 really, really appreciates what I've done. Big time.

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I know the feeling that he is controlling you, because you are his chauffer and his secretary.

    I have to agree with-Marg, that he sounds more Aspie than schizo. Do you agree with-his diagnosis?

    I feel like I need more info.

    I also agree with-Marg about the changing boundaries and how you need to set clearer boundaries and stick to them.
  7. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    My DS is 19 and diagnosis schitzophrenia. The needle is a fortnightly injection because he won't comply with oral medication. He has a few other labels too, which I will detail here tonight.
    He gets welfare paymetns and works 2 days casual a week. He has to wait for me to pick him up. He won't ride a bike and already was sacked from a job where the boss gave him a bike to ride to help me out, but he refused after the first time and trashed the bike so he was given the sack.
    He could easily ride to work, it's about 12 km.
    He walks to a corner and waits, on the way is a bottle shop and a pub. That's a problem, unless i pick him up door to door!
    I will find out abotu that nova program.
    Today we are going to get a health care plan. I might get more support.
    I don't think I could force him to go to an AA meeting, he would just refuse to go... how can I do that?
    He wouldn't bring his TV into the house, even if I asked him, he would consider that as me controlling him.
    I can't even get him to stop smoking on the property, but I have told him he's not to bring alcohol to the property and I refuse to take him to the shop to buy it.

    More later...