Any Success Stories or Do "Difficult Children" Ever Come Around?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mamato3, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. mamato3

    mamato3 Member

    As I am reading all of the posts here, I have many thoughts running through my mind. One thought I have is, do any of these "difficult children" ever come around? Please don't think I'm judging or insinuating that the "battle" is not worth it, but I have read many, many, many threads here and it appears that we (parents) have fought so hard for our children and many of them continue to be "difficult children" as adults. Do the treatments work or are they just postponing the inevitable? Or, are many of those who are here parents of "difficult children" who simply haven't come around? I am not trying to be negative at all, I've just noticed that I haven't read many "success stories".
     
  2. kim75062

    kim75062 Active Member

    My journeys just begun with my difficult child.

    There are many here with success stories! You usually see them in the comments for others going through a difficult time, not so much in a thread of their own.

    As for is it worth the fight or do the therapies, interventions, counseling, etc. all work? Who knows, there's really no way to tell. No two children are alike so there's no way to compare really. We all just do our best and hope for the best. Out of everything we do for our difficult kids the most important part is accepting and loving them for who they are. Everything else can only help ❤️
     
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  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    After living in a war zone for way too many years, Miss KT graduated from high school and started college. She attended one year at the local community college, one year at a private college that went bankrupt, and for the last two years, she selected a college out of state, about 800 miles away from home. She graduated, got married, has a really good job, as does her husband, and they are saving up to buy a house.

    I don't see her very often, but we talk or text nearly every day. That was absolutely the best move for her; I didn't want her to stay in our area since there are few jobs with possibility for advancement. Unless you're in the medical, education, or public utilities fields, you're asking people if they want fries with that.

    In our case, we didn't have addiction to overcome before the growth could begin. There are just so many variables. As for the "success stories," many of us, once our difficult children are grown and gone, fall away from the board. I check in a couple of times a week, just because.
     
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When they are young, WE NEED to fight. It made a huge difference for my now adult autistic son who is very high functioning and on his own.

    For adult children THEY NEED to fight. Most come around after they are on their own and hating it. We cant fight after they turn eighteen. Its all up to them. My daughter did quit drugs but only after she was told to leave...she totally refused all of our "help" and did it herself. Twelve years later she is still good.
     
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  5. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I think the hope that there will be a happy ending or silver lining for our adult "children" after all of this is what keeps many of us going.

    The anguish of not knowing how things will "end" can be debilitating. It takes tremendous energy to brace for bad news but maintain hope as well.

    All we can do is take care of ourselves in whatever way that works for us and love them from afar (for some of us) and pray that as they grow and mature things will get better/easier.
     
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  6. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    They are their own people. Some of them do "age out" of their most problematic behavior, others may not but in every case WE have the choice to allow their actions to control us, or not......

    My Difficult Stepson is railing against the wind at the moment, and I know some of that is developmentally appropriate at one month shy of 17 years.....the part of it that is temperamental will hopefully be tempered by experience. But I don't have a working crystal ball. I can say that a few things WE did have helped our relationship with him - radical acceptance that he isn't the Model Child my wife hoped for being at the top of the list.

    Hope this is helpful....
     
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  7. mamato3

    mamato3 Member

    I agree! I have an adult autistic son who is very high functioning as well. He is not completely on his own, but he lives with my mother who recently lost her husband (my step-father). My 19 year old son stepped in to help my mother care for my step-dad who had dementia (early onset, he was only 60 when he passed). My son is now 20, in a band, works part time, and is going to college. My mom does take care of some things for him, but in a sense, he is mostly independent.
     
  8. mamato3

    mamato3 Member

    Very helpful, thank you!
    Yes, I agree that we have to let go of expectations. When I was in college I remember a professor telling us that we should never tell a parent we thought their child had (fill in the blank-ADD, etc.) because that was pretty much like telling them that their child was dead.
     
  9. LavenderShoremaid

    LavenderShoremaid New Member

    It's encouraging to hear that things do work out for some people. Stay strong everyone even if it it only for yourselves!
     
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  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Everyone's situation is unique even though there are many commonalities. I think there is always hope that our difficult adult children can become less difficult. We all have free will and choose how we will live our lives. No matter how much we tried, no matter how much counseling we went through, no matter how much money we spent, my son chose to live his life on his terms which is being homeless, drinking and drugging. He is currently in prison due to his lifestyle choices.
    I will always have hope for my son but do not allow it to consume me. I too have a choice and I choose to live my life to the fullest.
     
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  11. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Yes, there are success stories.

    Look in the archives. "Child of Mine". Her son made a complete turnaround after years of dysfunction.
     
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  12. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    My daughter is now 30 and has developed into an independent and responsible adult. Her late teens and early 20's were years of stress. I was stressed out and worried about her night and day, especially when she'd disappear for weeks. Bad choices and risky dangerous behavior. It was a very tough parenting journey, but she got through it and has become a reliable totally functional person now. This community was the only place I had during my parenting struggles where I could find other parents that understood what I was going through.
     
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My son is a total success story! He was difficult and incredibly violent as a child and teen. We had to make the incredibly difficult choice to have him live with my parents when he was 14. He kept trying to kill his little sister and it was just too dangerous to have them living in the same home. Someone was going to end up dead or in prison. My dad had just retired from teaching junior high and wanted a chance to turn his grandson around, and Wiz was not ever violent with my mother, so we all agreed. It was the hardest thing my husband and I ever did. I cried for months, couldn't even look at pictures for the longest time. In a way it was like my oldest child had died. He wouldn't even speak to me or look at me.

    He is 25 now. He is amazing. He has his own apartment, a full time job. He chose not to finish college because it didn't have meaning for him. He is moving up in his job without it. He is happy, he has friends. He is now a great big brother to both of his siblings. Each time he sees me he gives me a big smile and a hug. Even when he is at work!! He has changed a great deal, and the only thing I would ask is that he forgive himself for the things he did as a kid/teen. He was growing up then, and they were mistakes. WE have forgiven him, now it is his turn.


    My son does have Aspergers, ADHD, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He is on medication and sees his doctors regularly. I am really proud of him for that. He chooses that because he likes himself on his medications.

    He is a HUGE success story. And someday he plans to give me a kangaroo as a grandbaby. He is saving up. I have wanted a kangaroo since I was a little girl. I never told him, but I am SOOOO excited!! when he told me it was supposed to be one of those "in your face" pronouncements. So I had to hide my excitement and be all calm. But inside I was jumping up and down and squealing like a little fangirl!
     
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  14. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    My kid is an absolute success story. We started therapy when he was 4. His first hospitalization was at age 6 (over 25 hospitalizations total). Special Education started in 2nd grade. Multiple diagnoses, multiple medications over the years. Extremely violent kiddo. Drug use started at age 16. Between age 9 and 18, he lived at home for 6 weeks. The rest of the time he was in RTCs or a transitional living program. He lost funding at 18 and dropped out of high school. We refused to let him come home because his behavior/choices had not changed. He spent 2 years doing who knows what in Chicago - we saw him occasionally, did buy him groceries, but didn't ask questions. He looked awful - emaciated, pale, just heartbreaking.

    Things started to turn around when he hit 20. He moved home, got his GED in short order, attended a local community college. Followed rules. Asked for help when he needed it, both from us and from professionals. Survived the suicide of a long-term girlfriend. Ultimately became a licensed EMT and worked at that for about a year. Moved in and out of our home a couple of times (girls, LOL), and moved out for good at about 24. Turned into a responsible adult, taking care of all the "adulting" kinds of things on his own. An utterly delightful man to be around.

    I'm not sure if all those years of interventions did a whole lot for him, but I'm not sure they didn't. He does have excellent insight and totally gets his illness. Is pretty decent at self-care and knowing when he needs help. Something a therapist told us when he was 8 seems to have been the most accurate info we ever received - my son would change his behavior when it became too personally expensive (in terms of quality of life) for him to continue on the way he was. It took a very long time for him to hit that point, but once he did - he's never looked back.

    He's 26 now. He moved several states away in May of this year, with his girlfriend. He got an interesting job with a good chance of promotion. They live in a very nice apartment (nicer than anyplace I've ever lived, LOL). He is kind and loving and opinionated and sarcastic and witty and wickedly funny, and just wonderful. I miss him like crazy, but I'm so unbelievably proud of what *he* has done with his life.

    When he left for his first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in 2000, I gave him a small stone. I told him that as long as it took for that stone to be made is how long I will love him. When he said goodbye to us this past May, he handed me a stone from the state he was moving to. All he said was, "Remember when you gave me that stone when I went to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) #1?...", and then he was out the door. Cue massive waterworks, LOL.

    Interventions, therapy, medications, sheer dumb luck... I don't know how he managed to survive the really bad choices he was making, but he did. We did. I think, for me anyway, the lesson in my son's path is that where there is life there is hope. It is never too late for change.
     
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  15. mamato3

    mamato3 Member

    I LOVE these stories! Thank you so much for sharing!! Sometimes it is hard to have hope, but these stories totally do! :)
     
  16. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I hopefully have a success story in the making. Daughter, who will be 26 next month, moved out. This happened a couple of months ago. She now shares a lovely condo in a gated community in a neighboring town with a long time friend. She has always held down a job, but struggles mightily with depression and mood swings. Money is tight because she makes just above minumum wage, but she's delighted to be on her own and determined to be self-suffient.

    I found this board when she was 11 and threatened to stab me with a knife. She's always been a challenge. She was never in treatment, but we ran the gamut of doctors, therapy, and medication. She engaged in a lot of risky behavior during her teens years and events happened which left her traumatized as a young adult. Once she was 18, she refused all help. Drinking, drugging, and more risky behavior in the years after. Lots of arguing with us about her behavior and her life in general. She was never violent or stole from us, fortunately. She and I were very strained in our relationship for many years. We still struggle, but it's better. Finally, she decided to try and turn things around. Found a therapist and started seeing her regularly. Then, found a Dr. to prescribe medications to stablize her moods. I set boundries for myself to let her handle it. I call it "gentle support".

    For all those years she claimed to want to move out of this "h*** hole!" and never left, she came to me and calmly stated she was ready, and wanted, to move out about six months ago. "Of course you do! It's normal to want to be independent and strike it out on your own." was my response. I reminded myself, "Gentle support, gentle support". Lots of ups and downs when they were apartment hunting. There were tears when they were rejected. Rents are high in our area, and although Daughter has good credit and a stable job history, she had no rental history. It took perserverence for many months for them to find an affordable and decent place. I was nervous when their first months rent was due. I kept it to myself, but honestly, I don't want her to move back home! Love her, but she was lazy, careless, and a complete slob in our home. I have to spend thousands to hire a contractor to get her bedroom usable again long with the plumber to get the bathroom she used back in shape.

    I do appreciate her "Miss you" texts I get on occasion now. So, I suppose I am what you might call cautiously optimistic at this point for her future.
     
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  17. mamato3

    mamato3 Member

    Fingers crossed that this big move is successful for you and your daughter.
     
  18. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Mine's kind of a success story. Evolving, I hope.

    Sober for a year and a half. Takes his medications, sees psychiatrist and therapist. Lives alone. Works at his part time job. Takes care of everything but his rent, which we help him with. We get no more frantic phone calls or texts. Has become much more independent.

    Still struggling with career issues. Needs to get a better job. Lacks self confidence, much anxiety. Working on this with therapist.

    Not letting him come home after he was in the hospital for the third time, four years ago, was the best thing we did for him.
     
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  19. Rosenbergio1

    Rosenbergio1 New Member

    Once again forced to a cross road. Our 29 year old son has been a nightmare. We have enabled him in every step of the way. He has lived in my mother's villa for almost 5 years just paying association dues, light,water not much at all. The association has been threatening him for 3 years to park his truck in the garage. Well it finally happened, he is being evicted. He has horrible credits, no license because he failed to pay for his car insurance. He does work but spends all his money weekly. He has to pitbulls he rescued off the streets and now I am mortified as to what is going to happen to those dogs. I am sure he will show up at our door soon enough. This is the first time I have ever joined a group or really talked about it to anyone outside of my family. Any advice would be appreciated
     
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am sorry for your pain and like you, as a dog lover, worried for the dogs. Knowing me, I would probably take them in. Son...I would not take in a 29 year old man who refuses to try being responsible.

    You have added your post to the end of a long, older thread and it may not be seen. I advise you to post your own post. Click on "new post" and start, or click on a moderater's handle and ask them to make this a new post instead of the end of someone elses post.

    Trust me, you will get good feedback on enabling. The dogs are innocent and can not survive without help. Unless your son is severely mentally disabled...he, on the other hand, can take care of himself...he is a not-so-young 29 year old man who...not sure if i got this right...refused to park his truck in a garage so he is being evicted??? If so, this is his fault and a really silly issue to fight on his part. He blew a good place to live for almost free.

    But we all have grown kids who tend to self sabatage and burn bridges. We wouldnt be here if we didnt. Some are more self destructive than others. There is one universal truth: our "help" doesnt help. And most of us are in various stages of letting go but if you believe in a higher power, give your son's welfare yo God.

    More will come along. Start taking care of YOU first. Your son is too old to keep being rescued. One day he will HAVE to stand on his own.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017