First Post - New member

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MikeStreet54, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. MikeStreet54

    MikeStreet54 New Member

    I am a 51 year old mother of two children... one, a 19 year old boy, and the other an almost 16 year old girl. My 19 year old is pushing me to my wits end. I truly don't know what to do with him anymore.

    He graduated from high school last summer, and spent the summer doing absolutely nothing. He had planned to join the service, but changed his mind when he got a girlfriend who he didn't want to leave. She is 16. Still in hich school. Her parents are very strict and won't let them see each other much. He spends all his time sitting around in his room waiting until the next time he can see her.

    We finally just FORCED him to register for community college, but I don't think he ever studies, and figure he is well on his way to flunking out. He fights with his sister and with us all the time... is disrespectful, and generally treats the house like a boarding house... comes and goes as he pleases... I want to throw him out... and i feel awful about it... but i spend all my time with him arguing, and he just defies me at every turn. He is supposed to be taking medication for anxiety, and when he does, he is a bit easier to take, but he won't take it lately, and is just an ass most of the time.

    It makes me so sad to remember the sweet little boy he used to be. Sigh. He does have a job, and does not drink, smoke or take any kind of drugs that I am aware of... I know he could be hiding it... but I really don't think he is.. so I feel like I should be grateful for that...

    how do you get past the guilt of not LIKING your own child?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    We have ALL had moments when we don't like our relatives very much - kids included. (And to be fair, I'm sure your son doesn't like YOU very much you are even. Nothing to feel guilty about there!)

    I am wondering why you would force an unmotivated person to attend college (which, I assume is) at your expense? THAT can't be helping your emotions as you see him literally wasting hundreds/thousands of dollars by flunking out of his classes.
  3. MikeStreet54

    MikeStreet54 New Member

    To be honest, I don't know what we were thinking... perhaps that he needed to be doing SOMETHING with his time, and that we'd prefer it was something constructive... we won't be doing it again, though... after this semester, any college classes he takes will be at his request, not ours...

    I don't want to just back down and let him do whatever he wants just to keep the peace... but I also don't want to spend hours a day disciplining a nineteen year old...
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Well, I happen to like my 19-year-old son much more when he lives 3 hours away... Though right now I'm just heartached because his struggles and how difficult time he is having and how devastated he is right now. But in general I do believe that it helps with relationships between parents and their young adult children, if they don't live together.

    Your son is in transitioning age and you don't want him to get stuck. It is perfectly understandable for you to ask him to have a plan over this time. Ask his grades and make it clear, that you are willing to let him live with you (with certain rules) while he goes to school and some transitioning time after that. But you are not willing to let him play eternal teenager on your house. So he has to prove he goes to school, he has to follow house rules etc. or he has to find his own place.

    His girlfriend is probably a big reason why he is getting stuck. If he is not sure about his career path etc. (and that is perfectly normal in that age) any kind of program that would get him out of home town and have new experiences would be great. Maybe after they break up? Or if the girlfriend would encourage him? Some kind of career counselling could also be good. It is really difficult to transfer from childhood to adulthood and few do it without any struggles. But still enabling him to get stuck isn't a good idea, but it is better to help him to take next steps. He will still need your emotional (and maybe also financial, if you can do that) support and that is perfectly normal. But you want him moving forward.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I hear ya! Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to "discipline" an adult.

    If he breaks the law, you can call the police. You can set some rules for your home and if he does not abide them - you can ask him to leave. But I think that's about it.

    Yes - it would be wonderful if he decided to pursue success and chase a college degree with gusto....but it sounds like that's not what he wants right now. And unless he wants it for himself - there is not much you will be able to do to make it happen.

    As far as "throwing him out" goes...I think when one says that, one pictures kicking their child in the behind as they shove them out the door into the cold and rain with a box of personal belongings in their hands. Instead - why not think about "transitioning" him to independent living?

    Our difficult child is 17 and will (knock on wood) be graduating high school this year. She has no interest in college (and to be honest, her scholastic performance thus far has been abysmal - so no sense wasting money on failing college courses) but IS working and doing well at a job (again - knock on wood).

    We have been helping her practice putting paychecks into a savings account, and teaching her about budgeting, planning ahead for expenses, doing her taxes, that sort of thing. We've also been amassing some household things for her such as a kitchenette set and a futon - with the understanding that she can use these things to help furnish an apartment. We've made it clear that "laying around doing nothing" is not an option - she must start functioning like an adult.

    You are heading into the holidays and toward the end of the semester at school. If he flunks - you can tell him that come January, he'll need to head into the next pjhase of his life....with your support (emotional support - you are not paying for everything he needs).
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome. I'm sorry you are going though this with your son. Many of us here have adult children we're attempting to teach how to take flight on their own. Some of our kids have a real failure to launch and in all fairness to them, those transitions from childhood to adulthood can be very tough on some kids. If he isn't doing drugs, smoking or drinking, perhaps he is afraid of what the next step is and taking that out on you. Or he has no idea what to do next and is taking it out on you. Have you considered getting him some kind of counseling? I agree with DaisyFace that forcing him to attend college when he is unmotivated is likely a waste of your money.

    Teenagers really don't know how to voice their fears and concerns, I think that might be more so for boys who are supposed to be tough, so there may be a lot going on under the surface for him that he is unable to communicate or even understand himself. Some neutral party, like a therapist, clergy, family friend or relative he can trust may provide a forum for him to get real about what he wants to do next. He may not confide in you at this point for fear of disappointing you.

    I may be totally off base, this is simply my experience and what I have seen. Others who have kids who are using drugs or alcohol may weigh in with different opinions.

    As far as not liking your child, that may be more common then you believe, you may have just landed there for the first time. Teenagers by definition can be remarkably unlikable, so I'd say unload that guilt and concentrate on looking past his actions and trying to see what is really going on with him. He may just be procrastinating growing up. I saw on Facebook the other day a sign that said, "Don't grow up, it's a trap!" It made me laugh. It's a challenging transition for some. I know it's hard on you too, hang in there, we know how you feel. You've joined the ranks of the Warrior Moms! (((HUGS))))

    Oh, and I want to add, perhaps the next step is to figure out what you can live with while he is living with you and set some boundaries you are comfortable with. This is a transition for you too, a time for you to learn what you can live with and what you cannot live with, and make that clear to him.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This sorta made me laugh. My middle son went into the Marines when he was 18 and when he came home for a visit at one point during that first year he just sat there and looked at us and said "I dont know why I was in such a hurry to grow up. Its not all its cracked up to be. Being a kid is a whole lot easier!" We laughed like hell at him. He also shook his head a bit sadly as he said he knew he would never be coming home again because that time had passed. He was right. In Feb it will be 10 years ago he left home. Lots of stuff has gone on in his life.

    Boys do need to grow up and be their own man. Being a perpetual teen just doesnt help them. It is especially hard if they have a father figure in the home because they start to fight over who is man of the house. Oh heck, you cannot have two roosters on one yard!

    You can help him figure out what to do but he needs to get motivated to do something. If girlfriend is only 16 and her parents are strict then the military sounds wonderful. She can write him, he can come home now and then, they can talk on the phone. Perfect! Im a big believer in the military. It gave my middle son his great career. He would have never had a chance without it.
  8. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Your son is 19 and his girlfriend is 16 with strict parents? Have you had a discussion about the fact that because he is over 18 and the girl is not, he runs the risk of being charged with statutory rape if he is not careful. You say he has job so he has money so he could start to make plans to move out if things become to stressful for everyone.
  9. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Pasajes, I think it depends on the state.
  10. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Welcome, and sorry you have to be here. I have a 22 year old daughter that sounds like she could be your son's sister! Community college was a disaster for her. The only thing that really works with her is if I write out VERY specific rules and expectations about what she has to do to live at my house (she has a 2 year old daughter, so count your blessings you don't have that to worry about). I also have to give her the VERY specific consequences of her actions, like if she breaks 2 rules she has 10 days to find another place to live. I literally have to keep in this behavioral box or else she acts like a lunatic. She is in counseling now, and I would suggest you encourage him to do the same. He may be depressed, which makes it hard for him to take action, which makes him more depressed.... It's an endless cycle.

    I do not like my own child and I used to feel incredible guilt about it. Then one day I thought how if she was a co-worker who treated me like this I wouldn't like her, so why should it be different just because she's my child? It shouldn't and I have explained to her repeatedly that just because I am her mother doesn't mean I will tolerate disrespectful treatment. I had to really lay down boundaries for her to get it, but it's been better. It sucks- it's like having a 14 year old in an adult's body who has a toddler. :sigh:
  11. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Hi Elizabrary,

    I just posted my first post last Friday and am greatly relieved to find this group. Welcome.

    We wrote a contract with my son over a year ago specifying exactly what was expected of him to live here and we included a list at the end of the things we were paying for (to give him an idea of what life REALLY cost). I applaud that you got this to work for you. We didn't and I am sure it is because we did not push our son hard enough (but who knows).

    And no, we do not like our son very much either lately. Hard to say but it is the truth. He is arrogant, angry, defiant, and constantly lies about even the most mundane things. I realize now he has been hiding drug use and drinking for many years while I kept believing him when he declared 'no way he would do alcohol or drugs' to my direct questions. He kept saying we were so lucky he wasn't one of the kids at school who went to parties and got completely wasted. Little did we know he was doing this at home.

    I look at him sometimes and wonder who he is? I guess our children can be ugly and unlikable to the ones they know will always love them - through thick and thin.

    My prayers go out to you.

  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. :)

    Nineteen is not a really hot age for males, especially when they have not yet found a direction for their life to keep them occupied and somewhat focus, and not having that "direction" yet is not so uncommon. I understand the desire to force him to do something instead of sit around all day, because I couldn't handle the just hanging out trying to be a perpetual teen thing either. But I don't think I'd have forced the college issue, whether community or 4 yr. I would have, though, insisted he found a job at the very least. Forcing college when the child isn't ready can turn into an expensive disaster. And there are many kids who just aren't interested in college.

    I think if it were me, I'd sit him down to talk and see if he's given any thought to where he'd like to be in 3 yrs, 5 yrs from now. What are his interests as far as careers? What are constructive ways to make the one he chooses happen for himself? (this does not always mean college, trade schools train for very good careers with a huge variety and many of these careers are in high demand simply because everyone has it in their head now they have to go to college) I'd in no uncertain terms made him know that he is expected to take steps toward long term goals.

    Childhood in my home ends on the 18th birthday, from that moment on you're considered and treated like an adult. (mine were prepared for this to happen) There is no lounging around all day being the perpetual teen. One is required to work full time or go to school full time (with passing grades working toward a realistic goal). They get to choose, but it has to be one or the other or they have to move. They are required to follow house rules. My house, my rules. If they don't like it, then there is the door. Living at home as an adult is a privilege, not a right.

    I'd also talk to him about the new girlfriend. I don't have a huge issue with the age difference except you do need to check the laws in your state (or he does) to make sure he runs no risks of being charged with statutory rape. I understand the girl's parents are strict, but when there is the will there is always a way. I was uber strict AND I insisted on parental supervision because Nichole's now husband was 3 yrs older than her when they met and she was under 16. (she was not allowed to officially car date until 16) With parental supervision those two found a way ( his parents walked in on them repeatedly and were so embarrassed they just walked back out without saying a word to anyone!) and Nichole was a parent by 16. Don't assume. Find out. I could have, if I'd so desired, charged her now husband because she was 15 and not legal age of consent due to his being 18. I didn't, deed was done and it was obvious it was consensual.

    There is nothing wrong with him having a girlfriend, but putting his life on hold for her is not reasonable behavior. He's behaving like a teen, not an adult. He can easily work toward his life goals while waiting to spent time with this girl.....which also lets him practice learning adult skills that he needs. (same thing the girl is doing, she is not sitting around waiting on him....she's going to school) While this may develop into true lasting love (Nichole and her husband have been together 7 yrs now), due to the girls age it might also be the love of the month or whatever and be fairly short term with difficult child left kicking himself for putting his life on hold and now trying to catch up. Nichole's husband worked part time and went to school full time all the while they were dating until he graduated college. Trust me, they still had plenty of time to spend together. lol

    I see a lot of 18-20 yr old males get an "attitude" (easy child or difficult child), I think it's the inner desire to fly the nest and try on their own. But that is a huge step, a scary step for many, so they cling to the familiar and get moody. You'll see sons clashing with fathers, when maybe that really has not been an issue before. I used to call it the testosterone wars.