Despite issues...why don't they understand the law?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by wakeupcall, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    difficult child pushes to the limit. He has now only one month to complete his community service as well as go to some kind of class. The judge means business, and I don't get it. Does he really, really think he's above the law? He was terrified the only time he had handcuffs, guess he forgot that feeling. I worry day and night, and yes, I know there's nothing I can do, but I can't stop worrying!
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    At 18, the reasoning center of his brain is still not fully formed -- so yeah in a way, he doesn't "understand." Yeah, he probably does think he's above the law. Kids that age (even PCs sometimes, about more minor issues) have no concept of the future consequences of their actions - they feel invincible. They convince themselves things won't happen to them, and then act all shocked when everything falls apart. It's maddening, I know!

    Hard as it is, the only way they will learn to understand is to suffer the consequences of their inaction (yeah, with difficult children it seems to be more consequences of inactions, vs. actions!).
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    That's why mine is locked up. He didn't believe his probation officer was serious.
  4. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    My almost 18-year-old has a court date in two weeks that he's sure will be dismissed because he "didn't do anything wrong." Somehow the judge is going to take his word over that of the arresting police officer.
  5. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Sounds like mine...he wasn't doing anything (looked suspicious), so police ran a license check finding out he had a warrant for failing to appear. I didn't even know he was SUPPOSED to appear. Duh! Like he just ignored the summons...what??? This seems to go on and on and on...forever.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I disagree. Our difficult children don't understand consequences. Our PCs do or they aren't really PCs. There are a lot of teens who want nothing to do with breaking the law, don't get into trouble, don't overly drink or do drugs, go to college to get a career, want to grow up and be independent and have great lives.I've had both. They are like night and day.

    High risk kids tend to be impulsive, defiant, uncaring of the laws (they understand them, but still try not to get caught doing the wrong things) and most teens know they are not above the law.

    My daughter, the older one who got into a bad crowd and made horrible choices from age 12 to 18, has gotten Facebook requests from her old crowd of drug using lawbreakers. In fact, she has gotten friend requests from many of them. Except for one other female who changed, she tells me they are still doing the same dance now as they did in their teens only they are thirty, like her. They are in and out of jail, on probation, doing drugs and a negative bonus is they often have kids too that they don't support and the mothers don't like them. Hardly can blame that on their age, but they started eqarly like my daughter.They just did not feel the urge to change their lives.

    It is my hope that every adult child here decides to change his life and does not end up like my daughter's motley crew of losers. And guess what? A lot of them are still living at home, in between jail/prison time.
  7. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    I think, perhaps, many difficult child's do understand the law (intellectually, that is). In fact, I suspect they may know more about it in some ways (intellectually), than we do.

    I think, however, that many (esp with certain diagnosis's -- Personality Disorders, in particular) may not "understand" the law (or consequences) in the same deep and meaningful way others do. They only understand the logical aspects. They don't grasp the deeper, ethical aspects. They are sometimes (not always) literally "blind" to seeing consequences.

    I once asked my son if he had any "Inner Stop Sign". To which, he replied, "No." I think some are either born without an Inner Stop Sign (disease), have theirs buried deeply and largely inaccessibly by environment (trauma, drugs, etc), or choose to bury it deeply for whatever reason.

    My Inner Stop Sign guides my life every day -- whether tangibly, ethically, or metaphorically. Our difficult child? Not so much.

    I truly have no Inner GPS (which I hear they just discovered there's a physical location in the human brain which acts as one). Well, ok, maybe I have one but it's atrophied! LOL!

    Perhaps (just speculating out loud here)..........just as I have no Inner GPS, some of our difficult child's have no Inner Stop Sign?
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think difficult children just have an even worse time than the "average" teen/young adult at connecting actions with consequences. It seems to take them even longer to figure it all out (if they ever do at all). It helped me when my girls were teens to understand that their brain really didn't have the capability of reasoning, not the way adults do, anyway. Not as an excuse for their behavior, just as an additional "cause." Their mental illness made this even more difficult - maybe their brains take even longer to develop? Once I stopped expecting them to think like me (i.e., stopped thinking "I would NEVER do that?! Why does SHE not get it?") I was a lot less stressed and it was easier to detach.

    Of course, in theory my girls' brains are now fully developed, and some of the old difficult child "magical thinking" is still there once in a while. It's a heck of a lot better than it was at 18, though.

    Here's one of many articles on the brain development thing ... that's what I meant by some PCs not getting it, either. Of course there are many PCs that DO get it .. but I have many friends whose kids are/were not mentally ill/difficult children, and still made really stupid mistakes/decisions. Umm I made a few myself as a teen/young adult ;-)
  9. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Crazy inVA --- Great article. Developmental health (both physical and mental) is a little understood science at times. But, step-by-step, it's getting there. So much we don't know yet. And so much of what is known I don't know yet! :) I'm a fan of Scientific American, though (it's my favorite mag to read on plane flights). Thank you for sharing this and teaching me a little more! So much more to learn!
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I believe that statement is the key.

    I think that is true too. For me, it became easier when I stopped judging the behavior as something that my daughter had some ability to correct, she doesn't. Changing my expectations helped. Not judging and lowering expectations helped so much to learn acceptance. Not acceptance of the negative behavior, but acceptance of simply what is.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  11. B Warren

    B Warren New Member

    Hi. I'm new here. What is a difficult child and a easy child? My son is 18 & was arrested for assault when he was 17. He was told by his lawyer to stay in school and
    do as many community hours as he can before his sentencing date. His sentencing date is coming up, & the last time I brought it up he seemed to have a very hard time understanding how come he has to do community service hours before he is sentenced to do community service for his sentencing. In other words, how come he has to do these hours before he is forced to do them? Its as if something is missing in his logic. He just doesn't comprehend. I tried to tell him that its because he is supposed to feel remorse for what he did and the action of doing community service is supposed to show this. He just stared at me and shrugged his shoulders like he didn't understand me at all.