Drove 4 hours to talk to difficult child yesterday, went well. He comes home Wed for TGiving...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Signorina, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Back history: A month ago, I met with difficult child's (former) counselor to discuss "parenting strategies." At the time we discovered difficult child's paraphernalia purchase, we called the counselor and he emphatically supported our decision to not support difficult child (financially) so long as he is using. When I met with the counselor last month, he was VERY surprised to learn that difficult child had actually stormed out, never to return. He gave me two recommendations -
    A) To be prepared for difficult child to be arrested as a best case scenario and decide what we were willing to do when (not if) the call came
    B) To break the ice with difficult child before he came home for TGiving, to set firm standards of living in our home, rehearse and memorize them and emphatically spell them out to difficult child before he came home for break.

    So, we drove 4 hours to accomplish B. H gave him a heads up earlier in the week that he would be in the area on business. I texted him that morning and said I decided to tag along. We picked him up in his spotlessly clean apartment (complete with empty liquor bottles lining the space above the cabinets), heavily scented by air freshener and took him to lunch.

    He & H watched the game, difficult child picked at his lunch and when the check came, I pulled out my legal pad and H and I vocalized our "standards of living." We started out by saying that our hearts and trust were broken and that we wanted to take this first step to begin to mend them. And that we love him very much and nothing could change that.

    Basically, be home before 12:30 on weeknights, 1:30 on weekends because WE need to sleep, if he will be late he needs to sleep elsewhere, be a good example for younger brothers, do not promote drug or alcohol use or provide either to them, if we find drugs or paraphernalia in our home we call the police, no porn or sex or profanity in the house, no driving our cars at all because we know he could test + for marijuana use. And that so long as he followed those guidelines and respected us as his parents, our home would always be open to him.

    Interestingly enough, he did not say "boo." Did not ask for clarification, did not deny that he is using. In fact, when H explained that the vehicles are off limits - he told us he planned to buy a scooter to use for work (in my opinion acknowledging that he was & would continue to use)

    It was not a warm reunion but it wasn't ice cold either. No hostility which was a relief. Seems to be living pretty high on the horse, so I am not sure (well, I don't want to know) how he is affording it all. Remember my "mommy heart" sent him some basic groceries last month? I asked him if they made the pancakes (I included pancake mix & syrup) He told me they got blueberries & strawberries, chocolate chips, cool whip and caramel sauce to go with them. Not quite a grocery list for a guy who is broke...he also traveled to North Dakota to visit a friend, and has gone to a few Big 10 (ticket $$) football games at neighboring schools (gas money$). *Sigh*

    In the car on the way back, he asked to read my notes and then asked if he could keep them. Said something to the effect of "you went to the trouble of writing them"... it struck me as WEIRD. I know I need to stop trying to read into things - but I also know you guys understand. It made me feel unsettled - he didn't say it appreciatively and it's not as though he was euphoric about us allowing him back home - so it's doubtful he wanted to memorize them to be a brown nose. It was just odd. H felt similarly. I almost feel like he is looking for loopholes or to hold it against us. (Like "I can do this because it wasn't on the list") Time will tell. Maybe he intends to put em in his pipe and smoke them. Or keep them as proof of his hyper controlling mother to show his therapist when he is 40.

    I was very glad that I had written out the notes on the ride up instead of carrying in my computer copy...I wrote them longhand because I didn't want him to immediately become defensive when I pulled out a typed set of sheets! My typed set (in my purse) was a long work in progress and had the detachment statements plus some gems from you all on them -- as well as my notes for future conversations... ( I like to think things through by writing them out. My typed notes were actually pages from my laptop journal that I printed)

    We sat PC17 down today and told him everything we said to difficult child so we could keep him in the loop. Also tried to emphasize we are happy to pay for his education & the costs associated with it so long as he got decent grades and behaved himself. And we reminded him that he has been a delightful kid and that he does not need to be perfect. difficult child has used up all of his rope...PC17 hasn't even used an inch of his own. And that we appreciate it very much. I had an older brother who was a difficult child and it made me scared to death to screw up in front of my parents.

    Anyway, not much to report. Glad it's over with and we will see how it works out - I am mostly concerned about his month long winter break Dec 23-Jan 24.

    So a really long post with no real news to share...see what i said about thinking things out by writing? :groan:
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Really brave and amazing. I am learning so much about life from you parents who are fighting such an amazing fight for your kids.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    S -

    Sounds like you have as much handled as you can. Congratulations. Without sounding 'lame' -this down-time? Do you suppose since you like to organize and such; could you perhaps create some family oriented events that include difficult child and the rest of the family? Perhaps make a list of scheduled family events and ask him to participate with you all as maybe a welcoming home type "new" family thing? Ice skating, skiing, movies, church social, family game night, things of that nature? Everyone I see is practically grown so maybe this could be under the guise of 'Mom' would like to have us all together as long as possible you never know when it will be our last holiday season type of thing - and presented to the boys by their Dad?

    Just thinking out loud so that maybe you can keep an eye on him by keeping him in the loop and see if he is open to new family outings thus keeping him out of new experiences on his own?

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thats sounds awesome star. I know I miss having my boys all together now. They do too now that they are all grown up. They really love it when they are all together and its not some tragic event. I love sitting back and watching my kidlets just play together like overgrown puppies. LOL.
  5. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    What an inspiration for all of us. Good work. I pray for the same strength!
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you and husband handled that extremely well. He knows the rules now. What you said to easy child was awesome, you really showed him you cared about his feelings in all this and assured him he was ok.

  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Thanks for the responses.

    Star - I am one of those corny Christmas moms. Traditions and scheduled family outings are my favorite things to do at the holidays. We've even taken to calling them "Forced Family Fun" or FFF. We decorate Christmas cookies, make ornaments, go to a holiday movie, go ice skating, build snowmen, start a puzzle, etc. St. Nick still brings the boys (and H) matching pajamas every year (Dec 5) to wear on Christmas night.

    Unfortunately, doesn't sound like difficult child will be participating much this year. He is working his landscape summer job on Friday and Sat this week, (Comes home Wed night) and on Sunday, he has to go to the local ski hill to fill out paperwork for his winter break job before heading back to school. I guess he will be teaching snowboarding and ski patrol over Christmas break. Not thrilled with the idea - that snowboarding/skateboarding "culture" is a big part of his problem afaik - plus his doctor recommended he stop any activities that could lead to a 3rd concussion. (But then the dr told him to live his life) But it's legitimate earning potential and it will keep him out of my hair.

    But thank you for the pep talk - it's a really GOOD reminder to me that even though difficult child (and soon-pc17) are moving past our holiday family fun - I still need continue the family traditions and activities for PC14. Not to mention - FOR ME and H too.

    H and I both longed for childhoods filled with corny Christmas traditions - so we created those childhoods for our boys -- who now roll their eyes at us and take it totally for granted. H and I went BY OURSELVES to pick out pumpkins and drink cider this year. I hope I love long enough to witness a little appreciation some day. LOL
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    S - Sounds like you did an awesome job... Is he just home for the holidays or for a longer period of time? You have laid down the rules which sound very reasonable to me. Stay strong and stick to your guns if he breaks them. I don't get the feeling that your son has always been defiant, more just recently when the drug use started? My difficult child has always been defiant and he tends to look for ways around the rules..... which of course gets him in trouble with the law etc. When we set down simlar rules he figured out ways to take our car in the middle of the night without our permission... of course he did not get away with it... and that was what finally did it for us and we kicked him out.

    So stay observant as he may try and figure out ways to get around the rules... or he may not.

  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It might come back in a back-handed way... not in direct appreciation, but in what they do for their own kids... and that will still be worth it.
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How did Thanksgiving go Sig?

    I'm faced with making new holiday traditions this year also. This will be the first year in forever that I don;t do to my Dad's since he has estranged himself along with my sister from us because of difficult child. Neither difficult child or easy child are living with us so it will be very different. I bought a new smaller christmas tree so I don;t have to lug the 7 1/2 ft tree up from the basement. No one helps me decorate it anyway so I decided to make it easier on myself. I think this year husband and I will make some new traditions.

  11. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Nancy - funny - we did the same thing!! The tree just seemed to take over our family room every year so husband was suggesting a small tree this year. I am only doing gift cards for Christmas anyway, so there won't be the traditional "Christmas morning" so I figured why not?
    I went to Home Depot and bought a live baby tree so I can plant it in the yard after Christmas. I went to Hobby Lobby and got mini ornaments, a snowflake for the topper and a string of 50 lights. I also got some sparkly silver fabric to cover the pot in. It looks awesome and takes up very little room!! I am actually starting to get into the spirit! :)
    My son jokes that the tree is just my size and that I can actually reach the top.....I am a little height challenged..... :)
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We didnt get into quite as much family fun as you were able to simply for lack of funds but we had our basic family traditions at Xmas that we did without fail. On Xmas eve we always went out to see the lights, came back to have hot cocoa, then made oyster stew. When the boys were very small they had chicken noodle soup but as they grew up they began to like oyster stew.

    Now with the grand kids they do all the things my kids did and we are able to do a bit more for them. One day you will have little grandchildren too and they will so appreciate what you are doing. Grandchildren are different. Hold on. I promise, the better days will come back again.
  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement - and Janet - I would love your recipe for Oyster stew. Sounds delish - oysters are $$$ here (you wouldn't want to eat the kind that come out of Lake Michigan LOL)

    Ds came home around 4pm on Wednesday and actually stayed home that night, ate dinner with us, watched tv with his youngest brother. easy child 2 went out for the evening and H and I actually went out to meet friends for late night drinks - a good friend was back in town after moving away. It was very nice to have an evening out -- I had responded "maybe" to the invitation because I was not sure how things would go with difficult child's homecoming- it was nice to be able to actually go.

    My h and pcs ran a 5k the morning of Thanksgiving and then we headed to my sister in law's for "dinner" at NOON. (hate the early time) difficult child was well dressed and groomed, and very quiet, a little wan. My other sister in law-the recovering gambler in GA - cornered me (nicely) for details about difficult child and I told her about my appointment with the therapist and the trip to college to set the guidelines. About 15 minutes later, my brother corned difficult child for a talk. I'd love to know what he said but have not inquired. I am reasonably confident it was good advice.

    difficult child worked 8-6 on Friday and Saturday (outside in the cold pouring rain) and 10-2 on Sunday. He went out both nights but returned home on time (1:30). Had his younger brother drive him to his destination on Saturday - never asked for the car -which was a switch!

    So, it was pretty much a non event. And I know that's good...and I know you all have far greater worries and experience a lot more drama - so I am not trying to look for trouble or pity. That said, it and HE was far different from son we "had" last year. He was always the instigator of fun, was overflowing with charm, wanted to stay up late to talk, to cook, to CONNECT.

    No connection of any kind. NADA. I wish I could explain it better. It goes far beyond a boy turning into an independent man... He was totally disconnected from us. Not really to the point of in your face rudeness - but like a houseguest we didn't know very well. He slipped that he was struggling in a few classes so I don't know what is up with that and I DIDN'T PROBE. Not my $, not my problem.

    H who had been hardball since difficult child left was all soft and mushy and wanted to stock him up with paper goods and kleenex, cleaning products, etc. I said "sure" but LET HIM ASK first. If he wants help - LET HIM ASK, he has to want us to help before we offer it. And difficult child didn't ask for anything. I did offer him some food for the road back, he declined. H snuck the last of the homemade cookies into his pocket. H thinks he was quiet because he feels like our lives have gone on without him and he is therefore sheepish. I don't agree. I think he has just drawn a line - like we are the bad guys - and will be polite but will not engage. H and I have to remind ourselves that difficult child is USING DRUGS, lying, probably dealing and totally floundering because of it. I wouldn't be surprised if decides to quit school and move out completely in the next year or so.

    I AM SO GLAD I SAW THE THERAPIST AND WE TOOK THE ADVICE TO GO UP EARLY. We were all on our best but guarded behavior, including difficult child. I think if we hadn't gone to see him, we would've been looking for the "right moment" to talk to him and it never would have happened. Or days would've passed. The therapist actually said "if you don't talk to him before he comes home, you will all be "pass the potatoes" like everything is OK." (basically losing our opportunity to reclaim control)

    Again, I thank you all because I know in my heart that he is on the wrong path with drugs and that while your difficult children may have traveled further down that horrible path - my kid will likely get there too. You've given me the opportunity to learn and practice my coping skills and drilled into my head the "stop enabling" protocol and that's what keeps me from sweeping it all under the rug and sending him checks and letting him walk all over us like he did over the summer.

    Thanks again from the bottom of my heart.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig I'm glad you had a relatively calm thanksgiving. A couple things struck me as odd with his behavior, he is very subdued, disconnected, was a far different son that you had in the past. I don't want to worry you more than you are, but difficult child acted the same way when she was smoking pot constantly. Her whole personality changed and she just wanted to sleep or watch tv, very blah and no interaction with us at all.

    Don't apologize for not having as much drama as others. You are dealing with some pretty heavy stuff too and while I am only guessing, I think he is well on his way to serious problems. You are right to disengage and not provoke anything, because if it goes like it did with difficult child that will only cause a confrotation you don't want to have. Your therapist gave you good advice. He is out of the house basically and he knows the rules for when he visits.