Am I Expecting Way Too Much of My Son in Jail


My son has been in jail for a little over a week now. He has been in trouble with the law multiple times and ironically, this time may not be his fault exactly. I had him leave our house and he moved in with his friend. There was a raid on the friend's house and everyone living there, including my son were charged with all kinds of illegal activity...multiple felonies. Today when he calls, he just doesn't seem to get that you are who you hang out with and that if he had a clean record, he wouldn't look so guilty. I have mixed feelings right now, i really don't want him out until he grows up and takes responsibility and it's driving me nuts that he hasn't. I am hoping that being locked up puts him on the straight course in life but I am feeling a little hopeless. I recommended he go to bible study there and of course it isn't the cool thing to do. Am I expecting too much too soon?


Well-Known Member
You cant force him to change. Sounds like he has been doing this for a while. People pick friends they identify with. Nice, law abiding folks dont hang with criminals.

I think he is an adult and you need to go on with your life. You cant pressure him to change and his heart has to be in it. I was very tough on my drug abusing daughter and she never did end up in jail and she quit twelve years ago or so. I feel its best to take us out of the picture, and also stop with the money, housing, and support/excuses. Your son is there because of his lifestyle and choice of buddies. I feel sorry for you, not him. Nobody made him do what he does.

Take very good care of YOU!
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Roll With It
I think SWOT is on the right track. It is time to get tough. Maybe it is time to change how you think about him. You seem to be stuck making excuses for him, blaming his friends, saying he didn't do that much. He was selling drugs.

You are not doing him ANY favors by thinking of him as your innocent little boy who is being tarred by the same brush as those bad boys who lived in that house. You are not to blame for this. He had choices. He had LOTS of choices. He could have lived by your house rules and had a place to live. There are shelters he could have gone to if he was willing to follow their rules. He could have worked hard at a job and used his money for that. LOTS of people are forced out of foster care at age 18 or out of their parents at age 18 or even younger and they find ways of working one or even 2 or 3 jobs and paying rent and bills and doing it all legally. I know, I have seen it done. It isn't easy, but it happens every single day. Lots of kids follow their parents rules and live at home and work and do what they need to do. Those that don't, CHOOSE to have other consequences.

Your son has CHOSEN to be in jail, and he has CHOSEN prison. I am sorry. I know that it is harsh to say that. He knew the people he was living with. He knew what they were doing was illegal. I don't care what kind of stupid gangster wannabe idiots they were, they knew they were not going to get away with it forever. They knew that the only future in that life was prison. It is a simple fact. You either have to get clean and out of it, or you end up in prison. I know that he may deny this for a long time to come, but it is reality.

Please work on codependence. It really will be a HUGE help to you. You need to move on with your life and be happy. You did NOT choose this. Not one single part of this is your fault. You did every single thing that you could to keep this from happening, but you could not make the choice for him. In addition to Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, I urge you to read Codependent No More by Beattie. You need to let him worry about him and focus your energies on making your own life as good as it can be. You cannot change his life. Only he can do that. the more you try to change his life, the more frustrated and upset you will be and he will be.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

None of us know what it will take for our kids to "get it". There is no magic answer or else this forum would not be needed!

No amount of love or emotional support can fix it.

I am at a crossroads with my son right now. He isn't the son that I raised. Until I see the son I raised emerge - may never happen I don't know - I'm not interested in having much of a relationship with him. I know that sounds harsh and it's actually very surprising even to me that I feel this way. I'm just sick of getting my hopes up and having them crash down on me. I'm sick of all of it. My husband is really taking over and I am thankful for that so I know he's okay but I find that when I'm in the picture being mom son seems to become complacent. I am taking a firm stand this time and I hope that I can maintain it.

Maybe it's time for you to back way off and take care of yourself. Your suffering or wanting him to be a certain way won't work. Trust me I've done it.


Well-Known Member
Unfounded guilt will cause YOU much grief. It also causes us to do things for them that we will regret in the long run.


I am with you guys. If truth be told, my life has been 100% better since I had him leave back in February. I think I am a little sad but just very irritated that he still doesn't get it. The hard part was holding my tongue while he whined because I have given the speech "if you lay with dogs you get fleas" a billion times. But I did point out that this time he may be innocent but his past record totally sucks so if I were the police I really wouldn't believe the whole I am innocent story. The first call last week was good and he sounded like he realized he messed up bad. Today, he was back to acting thug like. Oh brother! That being said, since this is his first experience in jail, I naively thought that a lightening bolt would come out of the sky and zap him into some type of reality. I guess I am thinking too normal.