At the end of my rope and just lost...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    This is probably a much longer story than I should properly put in a pot. I’ll try to pare it down. As you may be able to tell from my signiture, I've been here before. :(

    Our son is 19 now. We really started having problems a couple of years ago. We thought we had a good kid, with just the usual teenage stuff. But he pretty much kept curfew, didn’t beg for money, etc.

    Then when he was 17 we came home from church to find him stoned on that artificial pot stuff. After he sobered up, he left home, stayed gone for a week, came home again. We tried to work on things, did some family counseling…three visits and the counselor thought we were doing fine, so we stopped. He did try to join the Marines at that point, but they wouldn’t take him because of the drug use – my husband went with him, so he couldn’t lie. He wouldn’t even try another branch. That was actually more over a girl than any real desire to be in the military.

    Last summer we discovered he’d stolen and returned some things to the store that we'd purchased. He once again left home, came back after a week in a very depressed state…enough that we brow-beat him into the ER. They gave him antidepressants (which he pretty much refused to take unless I stood over him and then quit entirely as soon as he got to college). Things were actually worse for a bit and then we got him to a counselor and they seemed to improve. Short version is he lied to her all summer, telling her he was getting along fine with us and “working on trust issues” while stealing from us. He was given gas and an allowance. He really didn’t need money – so I assume it was going to pot. One week before he left for college he pawned his father’s guitars – he takes a lesson every week – there was no way not to get caught. We told him then, and mean it, that if anything else goes missing we will file a police report and he can go to jail if he did it. While we've found a number of missing items, there's been nothing since the guitars. Of course, he's been away.

    Anyway, we went ahead and sent him to college. We’d signed the lease on his student housing and he got a loan for the rest and we were already paying for it and thought getting him out of Jeff City and away from us and his stoner friends would be good. Again, we were sending him spending money – and we discovered he sold his laptop, his fridge, his TV, basically everything of value. He promptly made friends with some guy down there just like the ones here. After his 1st semester we found he hadn’t attended any classes and failed it all. He appealed his suspension. Again, we were on the hook for the lease, so we agreed to give him one more chance. He used his left-over student loans from 1st semester ($700) to buy a new computer. He then asked for his other loan money - $1600. We told him if he got that we would no longer send him spending money. He agreed. The $1600 was gone in about 4 weeks. We sent him no money until school was out. Then he got a part time job and needed a haircut, etc. Of course had no money left, so...we figued to get him started...we'd help,but he would have to pay us back. Then he broke his phone. Then he needed laundry and such. In the end he got about $200 in May. I should mention, he also attended no classes second semester.

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  2. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Finally, we said we were coming to take his car. It’s not his, it’s ours. He was offered two times to be given the car. When he was 16 he was told if he got a job and paid the insurance and gas we’d give it to him when he turned 18. He never got a job. Then we told him when he went to college if he’d just stay in school, complete the two year program, we’d give it to him for graduation. Since he did neither, the car isn’t his. Of course, then he lost his job because he didn’t have gas money, had no place to live, and came home. His plan had been to get an apartment in West Plains with his friend down there, but the other guy never got a job, and one boy from up here who was going to move down - that fell through too and I don't know what's going on there.

    When he came home gave him rules. They are as follows:
    **You will keep your room in clean, if not neat, condition. You will NOT leave dishes, wrappers, cans and bottles in your room.
    **THERE WILL BE NO SMOKING OF ANY KIND IN THIS HOUSE! We know what our house smells like. It will not smell like it did last summer. There will be nothing illegal in this house. Period.
    **You will assist with normal household chores. If you dirty a dish, wash it. If there’s paper on the floor, pick it up. If your laundry needs done, do it. Don’t gripe if asked to carry out a bag of trash. If we are: raking leaves, shoveling snow, trimming bushes, mowing, painting or fixing things, etc.; you are expected to OFFER help even if you don’t think we’ll accept it. You don’t have set chores and you don’t have an allowance. You do not do these things for money. You do these things for the same reason we do them: Because you are an adult who lives here too and they need to be done.
    **You will not lay in bed until noon. You will actively look for work. You are expected to have a job of some kind within 30 days. This deadline may be waived if we are satisfied you are making a serious and determined job hunt. Toward that end, you should be able to show some proof of where you have looked if we ask. You will do whatever is necessary to get a job, including taking the advice of people who KNOW how to get a job, wearing clothing you don’t like, and pulling back or cutting your hair, NOT smoking pot so you can pass a drug test! If you get a job you hate you can look for other work on your days off. You do not work because it’s fun. You work because people pay you to do so.
    **The car is ours, not yours. You will use it only when job-hunting or when given permission. If we feel you are misusing this privilege, you will all lose access to the car and will job hunt on foot. Once you get a job and are paying for your own gas, then use the car when you like. While we are paying for it, it is for job hunting.
    **Most importantly, YOU WILL TREAT US WITH RESPECT. You will not scream, shout, complain or argue with us. You will not slam doors or punch things. You will not lie, steal, or otherwise disrespect us.
    **If you have a problem with us, you will discuss it with us – calmly – like an adult.
    **You are an adult. You do not have a curfew. Come and go as you please. Until you have a job, you are welcome to use the blue bike, as you won’t be taking the car running around. I would appreciate a text if you are going to be gone overnight, just so I don’t worry. But this is OUR house. WE say who can be here and what goes on here.
    **We are not obligated to give you money, food, clothing, shelter, or any other material thing. ANYTHING we give you, including a roof over your head, is a gift. We do things for you because we love you and want you to be a decent, happy adult. You should not EXPECT anything from us as a matter of right, other than being treated in a decent manner. Your past behavior has led to a complete and utter loss of trust in you. You must recognize that this will take time to rebuild as a consequence of your past behavior.
    **If you cannot abide by these rules, you are welcome to go elsewhere until you decide to respect us.
    **Get a job and save your money until you can afford to move out. We will help you succeed if we can. We do this out of love.
    Do not abuse our love and willingness to help.

  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    It’s been a week. While he has said he’s looked for work, I don’t actually believe him. He has not bathed. I don’t believe he’s brushed his teeth. He’s still in the same pants and underwear he came home in. He’s changed shirts once. He sits in his room watching Netflix. He lies about everything. He lied about taking a shower. (I know because my mop has been in the shower for three weeks - I never took it back out after using it) He’s lied about reading the rules! (Said he did Sunday and then Tuesday finally said he had just read them - because he was not happy about them) We aren't home - we both work - so we don't have any way of knowing what he's doing all day, but it doesn't seem to be much. He says he’ll do laundry and it took three days of me insisting for him to do one load. Yesterday, he called asking for $20 so he could hang out with a friend. After a discussion with my husband I gave it to him, but I really don’t feel good about that. I don’t know what to do. We don’t want to kick him out. I don’t want my son homeless. He says he plans on selling his computer again…this is a $1000 computer he paid $600 for…and it’s his, he can if he wants, but that isn’t going to help. I'd think he was depressed, but sometimes he seems fairly normal - just lazy!

    At a training I was at yesterday, a part I found very interesting was the thought that lying and other behaviors could be genetic. My husband is not my son's biological father. We met when he was 4, married at 5 and he adopted him at 7. His bio-dad was a liar, cheat and theif and I mean that literally. By that I mean he lied when telling the truth was easier and got him in less trouble. He was a drinker - I don't think alcoholic is too strong. He would not work - nearly bankrupted me - and finally left when my son was 10 months old for a woman who wouldn't try to make him get a job. He never saw my son after he turned 5 and died when he was about 7 -8...suicide while in jail. I have never spoken ill of my ex, except to tell his son about the drinking problem in an attempt to alert him to the propensity. He finally asked how his father died a couple years ago and I told him the truth, as gently as I could, coloring it as "I think he thought they would find him in time." He has no memories of his natural father to speak of. My ex was not violent, but he was extremely manipulative. It's terrifying how much my son is like him...My husband and I are honest, hardworking, educated - he doesn't get this from us.

    We don’t know if the best avenue is tough love – make him move out? What if this isn't just bad behavior? What if he's really depressed or has some mental problem? With no job and no place to live and no car, he’ll dump the computer at a pawn shop, spend all that, and have nothing. He has very few friends and none worthwhile and his best friend here is literally homeless. He has nowhere else to go. He says he’s no longer smoking anything but cigarettes so he can pass a drug test for a job. I don’t know if I believe that. I know it's only been a week, but ... we didn't want him home any more than he wanted to come. He's our only child and we love him more than anything, but we don't trust him and we are at the end of our rope here. I can assure you he’ll say no to counseling. He’ll say no to military. He’ll say no to … well anything. I just no longer know what to do.

  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He would not have gotten the 20 or be using the car. He just got the message that you do not mean what you say.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Wow. Other than the drugs this sounds familiar.

    All I can say is stop giving him money if you think it is going to drugs. Other than that you can look at putting him out of the house if he doesn't get than job

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  6. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    We don't KNOW that there are still drugs involved. He says no. We haven't noticed any really suspicious behavior. I thought maybe, Tuesday night, he was acting kind of messed up, but I wasn't sure. Frankly, I was so angry at him that night I might have been elevating things that weren't really there to suspicious levels.

    We never said he'd get no money at all, just no allowance. If he asks for money we can say yes or no. He isn't entitled to it. The car is for job hunting. To my knowlege he hasn't used it for anything else, but his two times "job hunting" were - iffy. We can't know if he actually put in any applications while he was out. The worst part is we just aren't home! We have no way to know what he's doing all day. My husband and I both work. He could be doing anything and we wouldn't know.

    I'm actually worried his behavior is caused by something other than drugs. Depression? Something else?

    I don't want to make things worse. I just don't know what to do.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Force him to follow simple rules for adults his age, even if he does have depression? Nothing is worse for depression (I have a really hard time with it) than doing nothing except feeling sorry for yourself. But...

    To me, from my experience with my daughter, it sounds like he is playing you and still using drugs. And on top of it he is acting irresponsibly, disrespectfully and like a person half his age, which is normal for our adult difficult child kids. You can't make your son any worse. You can't make him better. Only he can decide to get whatever help he needs and it sounds like he is rejecting all help so you're kind of at ground zero. But you don't have to enable him not to change. My opinion is that you cut off the fun money once the adult child is eighteen unless he is terminally ill, in school, or working full time and following the simple house rules most of us expect.

    Unless you stick to your rules like glue, he will break them, like a little kid, and refuse to grow up or go to rehab, if needed, or get counseling, if necessary. You are nicer than me. His behavior would not fly here. I have an austistic son and he started working part time at seventeen and now still works and is getting his own apartment and paying for it himself. I am a big believer in teaching our kids, at a young age, self-reliance. I've had problems with some of my kids, but refusing to work or sustain themselves is not one of them. My child who took drugs got no extra money from us so she actually got a job. And she has always had a good work ethic, even while taking drugs. Go figger. Eventually, she had to leave because she had continuously broken our house rules after being on parole twice for pot (she was doing more than pot, but we didn't know it). She actually quit not only her drug use but smoking cigarettes and has been doing great for a long time now.

    From my perspective, which is not universal, it is very hard to do tough love because we love our children. I cried for weeks after I made my daughter leave our house. But I felt I had to do it for the sake of h er younger siblings who saw her behavior and for herself. I thought the opposite of you. I thought that if I didn't force her to live a hard, uncomfortable life she'd have no incentive to we did it. And she changed. Not saying it works for everyone, but it worked really well for us.

    I highly recommend going to a Twelve Step Meeting and reading Codependent No More by Melody Beatty. Great book. Opened my eyes. I was that person who felt like I had to fix everyone and put myself last and, as far as my kids went, my life WAS them. I had no life or identity apart from them. I had a lot to learn, especially when I got blindsided by having one very difficult son and a daughter who used drugs. I had to totally learn a new way of coping to help both them and myself. I am still working on myself.

    Gentle hugs for your hurting mommy heart. I get it. We all do.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thank MWM, and everyone else. Actually, he seemed a bit perkier yesterday and I sat down and tried having another talk with him. I asked what was up with this sitting and doing nothing. I asked if he wanted to be sitting on his butt in his room in six months or if he wanted to have a life. He told me that that pretty much as soon as he had no choice but to move home, his friend got a job where he had been. I suggested if he wants to go back there, he can, but he can't take the car. He also said he's just been trying to come to terms with being broke and having nothing to do. I said, "Well, job hunting IS something to do...and when you get a job you end up with something to do AND money! See how that works? But you have to get up, get clean clothes, take a shower and brush your stinking teeth! We gave you 30 to get a job, don't think that waiting 25 and then looking will be good enough. You haven't been showing us much and you know it. You've wasted 7 days sitting on your butt in this room. Sitting here watching Family Guy 24 hours a day is not going to change your life."

    He actually came out of the room to watch TV and eat pizza with us...It's been a year since he's done that. He helped us (read that stood around and talked about it) look for an old cell phone we can activate since he broke his, but we're still paying for a two year contract...something to use until HE gets the money to get a new phone. He brushed his teeth last night. He still hasn't gotten in the shower, but he got his clean laundry out of the dryer.

    We'll see. Maybe it was just depression over his situation that is starting to resolve and I panicked. All I know is if he keeps this might be okay. Keeping my fingers crossed but NOT holding my breath.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    That didn't last long. He was going job hunting. We said we'd put $25 in his bank account for gas and cigarettes and he needed to not get cash, but pay at the gas station. This didn't please him. Then he started in on how he tried to sell his computer monitor at a pawn shop so he could have some money, because he's a young guy and needs money, and somehow it grew into a fight. Apparently, he's on a list at the pawn shops from when we picked up the stolen archery equipment last year. We redeemed the pawn, but it was pretty clear at the shop that he hadn't had our permission to take them. Anyway, at some point my husband left and then after a bit the boy did and I went to the job I work with my husband who was still too mad to even speak.

    In the end, I took a long drive. When I came home I told my son that if he was on a list it was his doing, because he chose to steal from us. Not my problem. I also told him that this is our house and if he doesn't like the rules, he can leave. Until then, he can take what we give him in the manner we give it and be freaking grateful for it. I've been more than patient for the last couple years, waiting for him to grow up and if I have to toss him out of the house with the clothes on his back to make it happen so be it. I pointed out that it was ME talking. Not his father, me. The one who has always been on his side and bent over backwards and I'm done. I told him to push me any further at his own risk.

    So now we're all sitting around, him in his room and us in the living room.

    I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Never, ever would I give any kid money for cigarettes. Just a glitch of mine, I guess. It's such a horrible habit with sol many consequences that instead I used to take my daughter's cigarettes out of her purse and toss them in the trash after dousing them with water. Eventually she did quit.

    I don't think a young man needs money for any reason unless he earns it. He can certainly can get a job. The allowance is completely cut off when the child turns eighteen and if they want money for extras they work. I've never had one child, even a difficult child, who did not get a job when there was no money from us coming in.

    That seems to work. Now some kids steal and sell stuff if they have no money, but that will land them serious consequences. Even my daughter on drugs got a job at Walmart and worked a lot of hours too.
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well, #1. My husband and I smoke. We just don't smoke indoors. Yes, it's a horrible habit and bad for you but I'm not a hypocrite so I'm not telling him he shouldn't smoke. #2. Our town has pretty darn poor public transportation, it's like 95 degrees, and most jobs are several miles from my house(for that matter, the closest bus stop is over a mile). If he's actually going to get a job, driving will be involved. There's not a whole lot I can do about that except regulate the amount of gas he has so he can't just run around.

    My kid did steal before - from us. He does it again we put him in jail. It will completely destroy me if it comes to that, but I'll do it. Obviously, he's trying to sell the only thing he has left of value.

    I just wish he'd pull his head out of his ... and figure out there's nothing else he can do but grow up and get a job.
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Lil. There is a very good article on detachment at the end of my post here. You might find it helpful.
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi lil and warm hugs for you. Your son sounds exactly like my son between 2008 and 2010. I wrote up all kinds of contracts like the one you posted. Honestly Lil they were not worth the paper they were written on.

    But this is a process. One strong piece of advice: stop the flow of money. Stop it completely.

    And keep things as simple as you can. Your son can walk or ride a bike to work. He does not have to have a car. And if he wants to smoke, he can buy his own cigarettes. You buy your own right? Your son is an adult. He is no longer a precious three year old.

    The sooner you learn how to stop, the faster things will start to change, for you and your son.

    Learn how to stop. Make it your second full time job.

    Your son is likely doing way more I'm the way of substances than you have a clue about. I am sorry to say that but it is likely true. And he will not change until he has to change.

    Learn how to stop lil. It is truly the one thing you do have control over.

    Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app
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  14. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our son went through a difficult child period starting at the very end of high school and six months afterwards. We too had house rules. We also drug tested him.It was rough. But, he got a part time job and counseling and got through it. I mention this because the part time job made all the difference. I'm not sure, but I really think he wasn't ready for a full time job and even had to take college slowly at first.And this PT job allowed him more time to go to counseling and to work through his depression. It was a very rough year. Soon, he went to college and continued working. He changed his schedule working like ten hours a week and taking like two classes. Slowly, but surely, he worked his way up to a full college class load. He commuted from home the first two years, was in the dorm at the local univ. The third year and in a local apt. Commuting for his final year(s). Took him five years, because he was only going PT at first. Everything progressed slowly but nicely. Honestly, he is a super duper easy child young man today, ultra successful in his career. ...has won awards and everything. Just something to consider. That PT job made the difference as it wasn't too stressful, he liked making money, he had plenty of time for therapy and he felt productive and it simply allowed him to move forward at his own pace. And he was smart and strong enough to stop therapy when he was ready...had a cool therapist that didn't try to hang on. Again, things to think about...
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Lil, at the end of your rope is sometimes a good place to be because it leaves you no option but to let go.

    I could have written much of your story, including the rules and even the CAPS to show that I really MEANT it this time. Like COM said, they weren't worth the paper they were written on, much less all the vitriol and anguish that went into composing them. My son knew all those things, he just didn't care. My response was to make more rules, because I just couldn't comprehend that I could care so much when he didn't care at all. But why should he care?

    There are ways to determine if he is applying for jobs or not, if you want to supervise things to that extent. We did that with my son, setting up elaborate timetables, asking him to show us 3 applications at the end of each day, blah, blah, blah. In retrospect I wish we hadn't wasted the time. He never had any intention of finding a job, and as soon as we forced the issue he left of his own volition and couch-surfed with friends for as long as they would let him.

    In my opinion he is old enough that you shouldn't have to wonder whether or not he is doing what he says he is doing. I would tell him to have a job with X hours a week by X date or he will have to make other living arrangements.
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  16. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with those that say contracts don't work with difficult children. They will sign them with no intention of following through with the rules. In our case, our difficult child threw the rules back in our faces. She would say, "You are really going to through out your daughter because of a messy room?" which of course does sound ridiculous unless you know the story behind it.

    Your difficult child's total lack of motivation sounds drug related to me. The selling of his possessions certainly was drug related. Do you really think he just stopped when he moved home?

    Yes, depression may be part of this but you said he refuses to take medications for it. So what are you supposed to do? Have him lay around your house doing nothing to help himself for the next 50 years?

    Your difficult child is very young and it doesn't sound like you are ready to cut him off which is very understandable. It took my husband and I years to be able to see things for what they really are and we are still very much in the process of setting boundaries for ourselves. I agree with MWM that Codependent No More is an excellent book.

    So in the meantime, stick to your end of the contract and see what happens. I certainly wouldn't be giving him $20 to go out with friends. My answer would have been to get a job. For all you know, you paid for his drugs that night which I know is hard to hear. The first time a counselor told us that we weren't doing our difficult child any favors by letting her live with us expense free really opened my eyes. She was working part time and her money was going for drugs. It was the first time that I realized that my husband and I were enabling her addiction.


  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That thinking is what keeps most of us stuck in the hamster wheel of our kids negative choices. If you are not willing to "kick him out" then your only choice is to continue putting up with his bad behavior and he knows it too. And, it gives him the absolute freedom to do as he pleases, because truly, what are you going to do? Keep requesting he change his ways, but there is no consequence if he doesn't, so why would he? You provide everything and essentially require nothing but for him to listen to your requests and then deny them.

    One has to have boundaries and consequences, that is real life. You are teaching your son that he can get away with whatever he wants simply by ignoring your requests and pretending for an hour or a day that he is going to respond. You've given him a list of your demands but no consequence if he doesn't comply, other then,

    which appears to be his choice, not yours. I can understand not wanting to throw a 19 year old out, however, there are other consequences. For instance, no Netflix, no money, no cigarettes, no car, no food, no privileges. If he isn't in school, and he isn't working, then in real life, there are no perks, there are no cigarettes, cars, money or Netflix. You can buy him a bike as well, it would provide exercise as well as transportation. That is the consequence of making the choice to do nothing. What moves us human beings to change is usually discomfort. Your son is not uncomfortable, he is lazy. Whether he is depressed, on drugs, mentally ill, has a conduct disorder or is just entitled and lazy is almost irrelevant, he is responsible for his choices, if he lived in a mental institution, unless he was catatonic, he would be held accountable to some degree.

    Whatever we allow is what we end up living with. You are allowing your adult son to do nothing in your home while you provide him with his needs and while you are unhappy and despairing. You have ALL the power here, he doesn't. Your home, your rules. You might look up the local homeless shelter in your town, along with the food banks and as a consequence to his not complying with your list, hand him the info about the shelter and say, you have one more week to get a job and then we drop you off at the shelter. You might be surprised how quickly a job appears on his radar.
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  18. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our son may have been only a semi difficult child during the time period I mentioned early. But, he was heading fast and furious into that world.
    Back then, cell phones were super duper expensive. You were charged for every little thing and if you went over the limits, you would get huge bills. Our son had a phone and of course, he blew it and we got a huge bill. So.....we ended up taking the phone away. Well, he wouldn't be caught dead with-o a cell phone. Totally uncool. That lead to the PT job. And that led to more self esteem. And I found a therapist that had a good reputation working with older teens and he agreed to go for awhile. And he really wanted to go to he eventually went...all eventually leading to very nice changes and big successes.
    It all began with that big cell phone meant getting a job.
  19. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    This is an awesome list! and totally reasonable.

    Why are you backing down from it?

    I agree

    Yes. I agree with this too (if it helps take the sting out of it, I'll tell you that I DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS WRONG with most of the vignettes inf Codependent no More. I was that far is laughable now.

    Yup. This is a totally reasonable stand for any self-respecting person. He will find that same rule at the houses of friends, their parents, new girlfriends, at halfway houses, in jail, in dorms, and yes, even on the street.

    This is true. Nothing will get better til you change.

    This too, sadly, is true.

    Kathy wouldn't, apparently, and neither should you. That is just plain silly. He says he is a young man and he needs money...that is so. He needs a job. fun. No treats. and ultimately, no place to live. He is missing a very critical detail (that he has to work for a living)

    None of us do. And yet many of our sons are. And, my friend, there is a large gap between the place where you kick him out and the place where he is homeless. What happens in that gap is in his control. He can find a job where he lives in. He can find a job that will pay rent. He can share rooms. If he is ill he can get SSI and foodstamps. He can work for the peace corp. You kicking him out (which I would rephrase as "him choosing not to do the basics necessary to stay and therefore leaving") does not equal him being homeless...unless he chooses that.

    I am sorry sorry sorry beyound your imagining that you are in this situation. You are smart to post. You also sound very well defended...try to open your mind and your ears. You know there is something terribly wrong with what is going on and with how you are handling it...that is why you are here.

    Hugs in all seriousness,

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  20. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lil, don't fall for the excuses. They always have an excuse, a friend, too tired, no jobs out there, no way to get there, overslept, if I only had _______, I could do ___________. But they ALWAYS find a way to do the things they want to do.

    I'm not saying you should start out being totally hard and relentless. But please realize that he is no longer your precious three year old. He is an adult.

    Stop giving him pocket money for going out, gas, cigarettes, whatever. Many kids start working at age 16---your son is now 19. He needs to be working at least part time while in school and full time if not.

    Busy people get into way less trouble, and they are tired at the end of the day.

    The more we have to do, the more we get done. We all know that. Same for them.

    You've gotten great advice here. One more thing: keep it simple. You know what is right and what is wrong. Hold him to it. No less.

    Take care and keep us informed. We care and we will support you, no matter what you decide to do. I just hate to see you and your husband played like I know our difficult children do. We're like babes in the woods and it takes us a really long time to catch up to their stuff.

    Reading this site will help you get there faster.
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