difficult child has now sold (ebay) all the gifts he received from us last year...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Signorina, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I am sure he's also sold lots of things we don't know about from year's past. He took everything from his room - including some religious jewelry he had received and his football championship ring. We live in a smaller town and I have a saved search on ebay of things located in our zip. difficult child's seller ID popped up (same as his email) one day and I added him as a "favorite seller." On that day (august) he was selling the $$ sunglasses we gave him for his Confirmation (no big deal-he never wore them) I don't check ebay often - but I did about a month ago and he was selling the blue ray player we gave him for his birthday last March. Checked again today and sure enough his Xbox, his phone and Xbox accessories and games are for sale. And when we visited his apt last month, his TV was not there. (Christmas 2010)

    On one hand, "a gift is the receivers to do with as he pleases..."

    On the other hand - we are giving him a new laptop (desperately needed) for Christmas/birthday and his grandma is giving him an ipad. I wonder if we should even bother... likely they both end up being sold...

    Can I say something like - "let me know if you plan to sell it - I will return it instead and give you the cash?" Not that I want to give him cash...yet I hate to see expensive things going for a fraction of what was paid originally...

    We are not financially supporting him otherwise and I guess I know he likely NEEDS to sell stuff to stay afloat in his current situation. I suppose it's better that he sell his stuff legitimately and get money honestly. We are all ready a bit tormented about getting him Christmas gifts given everything we know - yet treating him differently from his brothers (at this point) would be hurtful and probably inflammatory.

    I JUST HATE THIS SITUATION ENTIRELY. And fighting the urge to kidnap him from school and lock him in his room at home until he comes to his senses...WHY IS HE (WILLINGLY) MAKING SUCH A MESS OUT OF HIS LIFE???

    I guess I am not looking for answers as much as I need to reach out...none of this makes any sense to me and this is hitting me hard right now.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I can't tell you if you should give him those gifts or not.

    But I can say this is why katie, moron man, and the 3 grandkids didn't receive anything that cost much last year or the year before. What is the point of going through the trouble of picking out a nice gift if they're not going to hold on to it at all? The first xmas we were back in touch we went all out to buy the grandkids a really nice xmas, and spent over 200.00 to send it to them. Three or 4 months later she left it all behind when they moved into another motel room. I could have climbed through the computer screen and phone lines and strangled her. (it wasn't the first time) The next year I sent them each a 20.00 gift card. Last year was another big xmas, except we found the cheapest way possible to purchase the gifts. They got a LOT but I spent very little. I just wasn't taking the chance.

    difficult child's gifts this year are no small expense. If it were me, he'd get a 20.00 gift card to walmart or something. Nothing expensive he can resell for cash.
  3. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    You're right Lisa. 100% right. And I think that's why I feel so tormented.

    Yet, at the same time, we've spent $0.00 on him in the last 4 months-no tuition, no allowance, no living expenses and yes - HIS CHOICE to give that all up. And he is willingly coming home and living here over Christmas break. He's agreed to live by our rules while he is here. A $20 wal mart gc could burn the fragile bridge we have. (And YES HE SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT ALIENATING US.) But I am not ready to burn that bridge yet...

    Looking for that rope that is long enough to reel him in yet not long enough to hang him... did I mention that I HATE THIS? LOL
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    hugs.....BIG hugs....
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Then if you're not ready, you're not ready. You have to do what you're comfortable with because in the end, you have to live with yourself. Know what I mean??

    And I agree whole-heartedly that it svcks major wind.

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh Gosh I can empathize.... speaking from experience, my guess is although he may be using some of that stuff for regular expenses there is a good chance he is selling that stuff to buy drugs.... so I don't think you should get him expensive gifts for Xmas either.... could you put the money you were going to spend into an account for him and tell him when he is showing you that he is doing the right things for himself you will give him the money for a laptop???

    I just found out from my difficult child today that when he was kicked out of the last sober house they made him leave without packing his stuff... so he lost most of his clothes, his ipod etc. I did call them that night so he did get his phone but lost his charger! Sigh over the years he has lost so much stuff due to his bad decisions.. I did call them today to see if they could send his stuff to me... they did not know where it was but were going to check... and in the conversation with my difficult child he told me basically they were physically pretty rough with him when they were kicking him out. Of course he may not be telling me the whole truth but still I found it upsetting.

    But pack to getting them stuff.... now my son needs some clothes and things... he is asking for the practical things such as a bicycle (no more talk of a scooter) and some clothes to interview in etc. He originally suggested maybe I get a gift card but he knows I wont give him any money... and I asked him to send me some links to clothes he likes and I am going to go and buy him some clothes and send them to him. He also mentioned an etiquette teacher at the place he is at... and he seems to be paying attention which is good.

    Anyway until your son is trying to do the right thing i would be careful about buying him expensive gifts. You don't owe him anything. I understand you want to get him some gifts like you get his brothers... so get him some gifts to open, but keep them inexpensive. And I think I would tell him right out that you know he is selling everything on ebay and so you don't feel you can get him expensive things right now.

  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    TL - you're also right...

    But ...

    He has expensive committments right now (350/m rent, $3500 tuition bill + living expenses) to which he is bound. No way he can do that w a $7.50/hr pt job. I am pretty sure he is still in school. Part of me is glad he is (FINALLY) feeling the pinch. Maybe it will turn the tide? Yes, I hate that he is selling things he wanted and we gave him. But on the other hand, maybe it's a lesson. For him? (For us? I dunno. )

    I know I don't want to give him cash. But I am not quite ready to treat him differently than his brothers. We chose to give a laptop bc he needs it for school. So, it supports the " go to school" choice. I guess if he sells it, shame on us. On the plus side, it's a Christmas + birthday gift, so we're off the hook til next year, lol.

    "The lady doth protest too much." I hate when ppl ask for advice & then defend their point of view which is what I am doing!! Really, you all are posting my inner conflict. I hate that this is so hard. Thanks for your insight, really.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Another option would be to pay part of his tuition bill for him... make that the "major" gift. It also "supports school", without giving HIM the money. Helps with the longer-term crunch, but not the immediate one...

    Just trying to brainstorm a bit.
  9. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Well, we will be happy to pay his tuition for next semester so long as his first semester GPA exceeds a 2.5. (C+) but it was his choice to fund his own way away at school & I am not going to back peddle on that. We wil reopen the tuition discussion when his semester 1 grades are available. He is aways welcome to live at home & go to school locally on our dime.

    Backstory-we had a deal: all expenses paid state uni degree so long as he got good grades (3.0 which was HIS caveat) did well, went full time, stayed out of trouble & was clean. Came home from uni in June w 2 drinking citations and a 2.2 GPA plus a "W" in lieu of an "F". Tested + for marijuana. We looked the other way until he rented an off campus apt with-out our knowledge & placed a lg order of weed paraphernalia to be delivered to new apt. We offered to let him live at home & go to school locally as a last chance. He stormed out, we pulled financial plug.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You said a laptop and an Ipad. I have an idea. what about a fairly cheap laptop that you can get used...Ebay anyone? LOL and watch on 1saleaday for a cheap 100 tablet if you are dead set he needs a tablet. I just bought a tablet for that price and it works very well. I can do just about anything the Ipad can do and there are directions online to root the thing to have it do more. I can access the amazon market place. Its android based. runs gingerbread. Its a good tablet for the price. I actually got mine on amazon. I can give you the name of mine. Coby kyros. I actually got it for my 5 year old granddaughter and Im hoping she can figure out how to use it. I have movies on it, music, videos, apps, a keyboard.
  11. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I'm with Janet. For school, unless he's in architecture or a degree program that's heavy on graphics, he needs a basic computer that has internet access, word, excel and power point (maybe outlook if that's how his school does email). That's it. Look at sites like Tiger Direct - we got a netbook there several years ago that was great for my son in the Navy. Cheap and sturdy and it's still going strong. Don't know why he would need an Ipad - if he needs some type of tablet I'd go with a cheap knockoff.
    Then if he chooses to sell them, he can use the library.
  12. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    It's a basic laptop. Snagged a great package at best buy. He does need it for school-his current one is 6 years old & barely chugging. He is a chemistry major Fwiw

    Grandma is getting all her (6) grandkids an iPad this year. A splurge for sure-but the gkids are in college or soon to be (except easy child 14) and she wanted to knock their socks off! Like us, she felt conflicted about difficult child's gift too but how could she exclude him? And no one wants to give him cash.

    I don't know if he's sold his few pieces of religious jewelry. I hope not but try to be realistic. I talked to h about this before we fell asleep and he too is glad difficult child is feeling the pinch. And he reminded me that we had been concerned that difficult child was playing too much & studying too little. Now difficult child's "toys" are gone. He wants to hope it means he is getting his act together-priorities straight.

    On a positive note, he texted me first tonight. Just a "hey mom, be home next Saturday, I love you."

    Time will tell... But I am NOT a patient woman. Probably why I am obsessing a bit right now. I want my "son" back-not the difficult child.
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I am going to disagree with everyone else. I think that if he is paying for his own school and expenses you should just step back and let things be. I would treat him like everyone else and if he sells the computer and Ipad that is his decision and his loss. I know that is upsetting to think about but if he is acting like an adult and taking care of himself, then what he does with his stuff is his concern.

    Please don't take this wrong . . . I totally understand where you are coming from. We are not buying our difficult child anything expensive for Christmas that she could sell but then again we are also totally paying for her support right now. If she was an independent adult, I would see things differently.



    ETA: I would also stop trying to check up on him on ebay. You can't change the behavior and it is just hurting you to know about it.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Signorina, can Grandma adopt me? Seriously I have no advice and I understand the situation you are in. I did not buy my difficult child anything expensive this year either although I got my easy child something I won't say here in case she is reading. I was going to upgrade difficult child's phone but I'm not sure I want to enter another two year agreement and go to the expense of the phone right now when I am unsure of what she is doing.

    But I guess my thoughts are, the basic laptop is fine, it will help with school. The iPad is Grandma's gift and as long as she knows it may be sold and is ok with that then let it be her decision. Unless she knows nothing about what he's been doing and then I have no idea what to do.

    These holidays are so difficult in so many ways.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. Sounds like son is used to getting really nice gifts. Is your son doing well enough in his classes (like showing up, doing his work, good grades) to even deserve a laptop? Don't they have them at school?

    I am suspecting (maybe i'm just too suspicious) that he is needing money for drugs. I could be wrong, but why else would he sell such nice things? For us, money comes hard. If my kids sold our gifts, we would start sending things that were more practical, such as cloches, and limit how much we spent.

    Hugs to you and yours and I hope you can come to a peaceful decision. Unfortunately, as it was for us, sometimes our kids have to break our hearts 100X over before we accept that they are now not the kids they once were. It really isn't until then that some of us change our behavior towards them to who the child is now. I am sorry you are hurting. Remember this because it was hard for me and hub: You can not buy your child's love or respect. Sometimes they respect us more if we draw a hard line. I think you WILL get your son back (most of us do), but it will take some growing up on his part. They see things differently once they are parents.
  16. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Kathy - you read my mind. That's my initial thought and the guiding one behind the gift. We're not supporting him. He is using drugs and floundering in school and as a result, we won't support that part of his life financially. It's a finite consequence. But so long as he is behaving acceptably around us and while under our roof; he is one of the family and will be treated accordingly... at least for now.

    And you're right, I will remove him from my favorite sellers. (Maybe ;-p, no really, I should and will, I think LOL )

    Nancy, as far as grandma -she's OTT - always has been, always will be! It's an unusually generous gift this year - not the status quo. But she wanted to make a splash and feels like the kids will put them to good use at this stage in their lives. Since my BELOVED dad died (4 years ago) at Christmas time - it's a sad time in our family and I think she is hoping for a big distraction and some joy. I won't tell her about difficult child's ebay activity, I am sure the thought has crossed her mind regarding the iPad, but spelling it out would hurt her and she doesn't need that right now. She is all ready stressed about him, almost more than I am at times. He was her pet and this caught us all by surprise.

    Thanks again everyone, I really do find great insight and comfort here. I don't know anyone in real life who would understand this dilemma.
  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    JMHO, but I think the problem is *yours*, and not his. You are more emotionally invested in these gifts, these objects than your difficult child is...

    Sadly, I can totally relate. I cannot tell you how many things I have purchased for my daughter, only to have her trade them away for something else...sometimes within the first day or two of receiving them! And it wasn't a matter of something being "not what she wanted"...she DID want them at the time I bought them for her - she just wasn't overly attached to any of the items. So when the opportunity came for her to cash them in - she took it.

    I have found that the solution is to purchase gifts that will not bother me if she trades or sells them. Sometimes this means I buy things second hand at garage sales or thrift stores so that I can feel I didn't spend a lot. Sometimes this means I ask myself when shopping "Will I feel OK if she trades this?"...and if I realize it would bother me? I put it down and buy something else instead. I try to give what *I* can handle...and what will not bother *me*.

    I think that's all you can do...

  18. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    MM- I have no idea how he is doing in school or even if he is attending classes. He claims to be enrolled and that's all I have to go on. Because of FERPA, I can't see his grades or even confirm his status with the school. I am not paying his tuition so I have no moral ground to "see his grades." If we decide to pay next semester's tuition, access to his grades will be a condition of doing so.

    I know he is in a pinch financially, he has a pt min wage job in a fast food place. He's worked his "summer" job while home over Halloween weekend and TGiving which pays well, but that's only 40 hours or so. We cut him off just days before he went back to school-so he didn't have advance notice of his new financial needs or the savings cushion to meet them. He is bound to that lease which is direct debit and to his tuition, so while yes - some of the money may be going to drugs, I have to assume at least some is going to rent, food, etc. The school does not provide laptops and computer access in the labs is not guaranteed. He does need the laptop for his classes and his current laptop is Windows XP and woefully low on memory for current applications. As always, they need the brand new Office 2010 to collaborate and complete assignments. (my HS'ers too, makes me batty)

    I think I am fretting because part of me wants to hope that he IS feeling the pinch and that he may turn around because of it. That was the hope in cutting him off. Yet, I need not to be naive. Gotcha, 100%

    Did I mention that patience is not my strong suit? I really wish I knew how this was going to unfold. He's at the tipping point, I want him to tip to the "RIGHT" side - away from the partying.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, they do not change until they want to. That's the b**** of it :) We had to wait many years to see a change and it had to come from Daughter herself.

    You are assuming that Son would part with his most precious items to do the responsible thing. I'm not sure he's doing that, nor am I sure he isn't. But I do know how far drug users will go to support their habits. I hope he is using the money to meet his obligations and not just on his own "stuff."

    You seem to feel very guilty about not paying Son's tuition. I wouldn't waste time feeling guilty (of course *I* am not *you*) until I saw if he was seriously going to class, doing his work, etc. You can always start to pay again if he brings home some seriously good grades with proof of good attendance. Although he is not obligated to show you his grades, I am guessing that he would, even if only to say "haha", if he does well. I'd be suspicious if he did not show you. To me, it would make me think he probably was not doing so well (again I am not you).

    Unfortunately, every time I thought I saw a glimmer of hope with Daughter, she flushed it down the toilet. For example, during a time we thought she was clean, we allowed her to stay alone in our house while we went on a small vacation. We told her to watch the dogs. We came home early to a drug party. The dogs were not fed.

    I agree with Hound Dog that you can not really do anything that you are not ready to do, but you see almost desperate to have your son's approval. That isn't a bad way to feel, you love him, but it also often causes our difficult child's to take advantage of us and lose respect for us. However, one day at a time, one step at a time. I give you advice after all the mistakes *we* made. It was a long time before we would face the truth and it took some Al-Anon and Narc-Anon folks to help us take steps to change how we treated Daughter. So, like almost everyone here, I understand first hand how hard it is.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont know...personally I want your mom to adopt me. Second, I have a niggling feeling your son may be feeling the pinch. I really think that dream of his didnt just die. It may be a bit cloudy right now but its still there. He certainly hasnt just stormed off and gone off to rob banks and hold up little old ladies. I do believe he is still in school. He might have to take some of these classes over again later to bring the GPA up to get into a good medical school if that is where he wants to end up. Maybe that exact dream has just become a bit difficult for him right now.