An update, just because

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Lil, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    So last time I posted, my son had headed back to college the day after the worst Christmas of my life, to appeal his suspension. He did and he's re-enrolled (we called the college and checked to make sure he wasn't lying about it). Why they'd let him back in when he didn't go to class for the better part of 3 months and failed everything is beyond me, but whatever.

    He is still living in the off-campus student houseing and we're still paying for it. We have to pay through May (lease) whether he's there or not, so at least he isn't at home. His student loans pay tuition and any books. He still has the car, and we were still sending him spending money ($40 a week) until a couple weeks ago, when he called asking for the $760 in student loan money we were holding. He said a guy was moving out of the dorm and had a gaming computer he'd built that he wanted $600 or $700 for. Our first reaction was "Ohhellno!" But my husband and I sat and discussed it. We finally told out son this, "We have no reason to trust you. You've lied to us every single time we've spoken to you for the best part of a year. You don't have a computer because you sold yours...the one we helped you buy. You don't have a TV because you sold yours. The one we paid for. You don't have anything, because you keep selling stuff...even if it doesn't belong to you. We're tired of lying. We're tired of the entire situation. IF we do this, there are conditions: You will NOT receive another penny from us. From now on you live on your student loans. (So you better talk that kid down, because it ain't much.) In 3 weeks, you get $120 from us. That's about all you'll have left from your loan to last you until the next check comes in and we don't know when that will be. If you run out of cigarettes, you'll just have to not smoke. If you don't like the food there, you'll go hungry. If you have no gas, you won't drive. If you call and ask for money, I will say no. If you shout and argue, I will hang up on you. If you have a TRUE emergency - defined as something unexpected that could not have been prevented by proper planning on your part, like a car break down or a medical bill - you will call us, give us proof of the expense, and we will pay the provider directly by credit card. We won't pay you. And if we find out you are lying about this computer, if you don't buy it, if you blow this money on something else, you will have burned your bridges with us. We will never trust anything you say ever again. Finally, if you don't attend classes and pass, you will be expelled as you are on probation and since you are on student loan warning, you won't be given additional loans. So you better get your head out of....and do what you're supposed to."

    His response? "I accept those conditions."

    We gave him the money. His account now has 68 cents in it. It's not my problem. I know that he has shelter and food and even free medical care. He has a phone and computer access, whether he bought that one or not. So it's done. I actually feel better now that it's done. It was his money. He borrowed it, he'll have to pay it back. I no longer sit around wondering when the phone will ring and he'll ask for it. So far, we've had a couple of chatty texts, mostly about him being sick or such. He says he's going to class. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. I've decided it's not my problem.

    He's been told that if he comes home he will have rules and that violating those rules mean he's chosen not to live here. Much like if he takes off with the car, or if he ever steals from us again, he will have chosen to go to jail. At this point, I'm comfortable with the situation. I'm still dreadfully disappointed in him. I mean, I'm a lawyer. My husband work for Corrections. We're so law-abiding that we walk back into the store if the clerk forgot to ring up paper towels. (Really, my husband's done that. They look at you like you're crazy.) In a way I miss my son. But I've missed him since he was about 16, when he stopped caring about us. It's easier to have him not be here than to miss him when he's in the next room.

    I guess we're just taking things as they come these days...kind of wait and see.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you and your husband are on the same page and the same paragraph!
    Way To Go! Most of us have had difficulty trying to find rules that both parents could even discuss, lol.

    My husband and I are majorly into following the world's rules. My husband has truly driven back to the grocery store to return an extra quarter that he was given in change, lol. Our much loved easy child/difficult child always followed our rules and the rules of the world until he began with substances. Honestly it makes me sad that he (and a few of the others) actually have to analyze choices that we automatically make because they are moral and right. Sigh!

    I wish you well as you have to wait and see what comes. Sadly, however, we do not have blind confidence in any level of the justice system. After being lied to ourselves we had to modify our reaction to the comfortable process of trusting those in power positions. I'll cross my fingers for you. DDD
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Great post Lil. Not long ago I was holding some gift money given to me for my son for grandparents and aunts and uncles. What a burden.

    We, who will go back to the store to pay for a $.89 roll of paper towels, have such a conscience that we don't want to keep somebody else's money from them. Also he wanted it badly and was bugging me to death over it.

    What to do? Like you, I agonized and then gave it to him. Who knows where it went but I can imagine.

    I have asked the relatives not to do that to me and to him again. They hate not doing for him, in their minds, the same as the other grandchildren, nieces etc.

    But you know what? He is different right now. And so the same rules can't apply.

    It sounds like you have a solid plan in place. Write it down, date it and tape it to your bathroom mirror, ready and accessible for the day you get a frantic phone call (of course I hope that call never happens for you!).

    One day at a time. Making the best decisions we can today. Having the right to change our minds. Being grateful for all that is good in our lives.

    And most importantly, staying out of the way.

    Prayers for you all and your son.

    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good for you. We'll see if he sells the computer. They do that for drug money. They'd rather own nothing but get the drugs.

    I hope your name isn't also on his student loan. If it is, you'll probably be the one who pays for it.

    Baby steps :)
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had to laugh at your paper towel thing. My husband is a lawyer too and we would have done the same thing. It does sound like you have learned the art of detaching well. It is sort of a relief. But prepare yourself because from experience I have found that their acceptance of the conditions we give is just way to delay the inevitable. I hope I'm wrong.
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've done that! I was at the grocery store and when I was putting my groceries in the car I realized that the clerk had forgotten to ring up the case of water that was at the bottom of the cart.

    So I wheeled the cart back into the store and got back in line to pay for the water. The clerk thought I was crazy. So did my difficult child who was with me at the time.

    So why do difficult child's grow up with such a skewed sense of what is right and wrong when they have good role models?
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    That is the question that bothers me most. My husband and I don't do drugs, don't drink to excess. We're not against a few glasses of wine or cider every now and then, but we don't get drunk. We do smoke, but we tried very hard not to smoke in front of him growing up and he saw us stop and start and try to quit and fail. We don't smoke in our own home - ever - we go outside. As I said, we're very honest and law-abiding. We would starve before we'd steal. I'm not saying we're saints. We both tried pot in our youth. We both drank to excess in our youth. But we talked with our son, (after all, everyone knows kids will experiment - didn't we all?) and emphasised the dangers of excess and always, always, stressed that work and school come first - party later.

    I once had a friend tell me, when talking about telling our kids about the birds and the bees, "If you tell them, 'We don't approve and don't want you doing this, but if you do use a condom.' you're giving them permission." Sometimes I wonder if our attempts at open and honest talks with him when he was 15 or 16, telling him, "We don't want you to drink, but kids do, so if you do don't drive." or "We don't want you to smoke pot, it's illegal, we know you may, and we don't approve, but if you do at least be somewhere safe and don't drive." Maybe that was giving him permission?

    In my heart I don't believe that...but it does run through my mind.

    My husband and I have tried very hard to handle things as a united front my son's whole life. husband is more strict; the product of a very religious household, the Marines and 20 years working for corrections. But we never argued in front of our son about discipline. Unfortunately, that means my son learned husband is afraid I'll give in and give money. He wanted to close my son's bank account entirely - it's a student account we can access, but he can't access ours. But I refused. There is the off chance of a real emergency. But I've given him my word I won't - and told my son that I've done so - and if nothing else, my son knows I keep my word.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Isnt it funny how us parents strive so hard to be good? I get so much anxiety in me if I know that I have not been charged for an item at the store or receive extra change when paying for something. I dont remember being this way before my son had so much problem with truth and honesty. I dont mean I would have stolen anything but I dont think I would have noticed if the clerk forgot to ring up a roll of paper towels but now I am watching closely that they dont forget so much as a pack of gum.

    Maybe its a way to show the world that we didnt tell our kid to do this. I think it is with me because we live in a small town and much of the time my kid has done something wrong in places we go often.

    About if we gave implied permission to our kids by telling them that we understood what might happen. I dont think that is true. I have three boys and they all were raised basically the same. 2 wouldnt break the law and one does. In fact, I have often told people that I have one cop and one criminal. Other cops I meet have told me that is often the case. My parents never told me squat about sex or drugs and I did those things anyway when I was a teen. They never even explained what sex I actually think if someone had explained things to me in advance I may not have been so naive. Who knows.