Gee, when you allow unlimited access to an obsession

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by susiestar, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    the obsession takes over.

    Does that seem logical? It sure does to me. My parents took difficult child in, and allowed him the D&D, Manga, and Magic the Gathering stuff that we had forbidden. Part of the reason we would not allow it was that if he could not get "new" or "more" of his obsession, he stole.


    Why did they call us to come get him?

    Oh, Yeah! He stole from my dad's wallet.

    I allowed him to be back here, as a GUEST. He is my son, my love is unending, but he cannot live under our house rules.

    My mom and I made arrangements for him to be here for a week. Gpa came and picked him up 2 days early.

    My mom and her cleaning lady spent 4 hours in his room, cleaning and sorting. Mostly pulling out enough Magic, D&D, and Manga stuff to fill a 7 foot tall locking metal cabinet!!!!!

    When they allowed it I told them it would be a never ending need.

    Why do they all treat me like an idiot on this? We worked for YEARS to help him moderate his obsessions, to no avail.

    Now he is allowed to have the stuff on weekends.

    The idea that he would do hard physical labor as a consequence simply does not compute. I am just so confused. All of MY instincts as his mom say this is headed for disaster. And it will.

    I am not sure I will cope if they want to send him back here again. We know he lies because his lips move, no joke.

    And Grandpa seems to work with him around the back of my mom. It all seems so unhealthy. But I REFUSE to live with him, just won't do that. Jess, thank you and I deserve safety.

    I wish them luck. I hope and pray they can find their way through this. BUT I will NOT be surprised if they find him stealing again, and Gpa went around the arrangements, so he can just figure out a way to handle it.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Susie. You know that M had the same obsessions. But then again, so does husband. I wish I had an idea of how to stop it, but withholding sex is the only thing that works for husband and I...
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Witz, you have my most sincere condolences. At least you have found a way to control it though, LOL!!

    I don't have any bias against Magic, Manga or D&D, other than thinking them rather boring. My bias is against MY son's obsessions. We went through the controling them, having to earn them, learning to modify them (can't teach a pig to tango, now can you?), etc.... What it all came down to was having to ban them or have very undesiraeable or dangerous behavior if he had the obsessions.


    I know that in the near future we will have more conflama on this topic. I hate conflama (conflict + drama = conflama)
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Love the word conflama!

    Tink has developed her very own new obsession. Star Wars. She watches one of their movies every night, and she has a CD-ROM that she wants to play all day long. She announced to me that she is going to play it all summer.

    Um, no.
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    You know wm has many of the same types of obsessions. I would no sooner bring wm back into my home if foster mum or dad allowed wm to continue with these obessions or steal from them. (And wm has on a regular basis; however he had substantial consequences for those behaviors.)

    difficult child is making poor choices; the adult caregivers are feeding into, or at the very least allowing him to continue to make those choices. You are not in a position to stop this. I have very little influence in the day to day "parenting" of wm - just the way it is when a difficult child is in a different placement.

    I have had to come to terms with this. If I feel wm is floundering or in danger I speak up. However, I've had to let go of many of the ways I would go about raising my son or dealing with his many antics. It wasn't working anyway.

    Just some thoughts for you this morning.
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    You are in a very difficult situation and to a large extent powerless. Try to let it go and know that you've done the best you could with this. Thinking loving thoughts of you today and always.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hope you don't mind that I will be playing the tough role on this thread. Reading the above two paragraphs, two things jump out at me that I must say.

    First, your statement that you refuse to live with him and that you, Jess and thank you deserve safety is understandable and necessary. However, does the need of the rest of the family for safey preclude or negtate difficult child's need for help? I ask that question because of the 2nd paragraph.

    You say that Gpa went around the arrangements (and we know it's not just this time but time and time again). If your son is not being helped there, by two people who have stepped in and taken on a tremendous responsibility, wouldn't it be better for your son in the long run if he were somewhere else?

    Is your son really being helped any by living with his gparents? It does not appear to be so. Are you, thank you and Jess better off without him living with you? It appears that is also so. Thus the deliema.

    What happens with difficult child if gpa and gma decide tomorrow that is it? Where will he go? Perhaps that needs to be what is invetigated now. Why wait for the emergency to happen before making an emergency plan?

    I understand your frustration and your need to keep the rest of the family free from the conflama (love it!). You have had years of dealing with this mess. I'm not sure it is fair to complain and bemoan your parents dealings with difficult child unless you are willing to step and take on the job yourself.

    That is obviously not an option. Which other options are there? What state, county or city facilities would he qualify for? And if that goes against what your parents want for their grandson, too bad. You are the parent and YOU are the one who will be dealing with this for a long time to come if something is not changed for this boy now.

    Susie, I do not assume to know your pain, years of frustration, or what you go through with difficult child. It just appears that difficult child's life is a merry-go-round. Sure, it's of his own making. But how is he being prepared for the future as he is living now? It appears his whims are being catered to (by gma and gpa) and there is no consistancy in consequences. I think it's a grave disservice to difficult child and the ultimate society-at-large who will have to deal with him when he reaches majority. Our challenging kids have such a tough time with personal responsibility and consequences. How is he going to learn how to handle himself out in the adult world, in just a few short years, if this is not "ground" into him at every turn now? Seems like life with gma and gpa can feel like country club living for him. That distorted view of life doesn't cut it.

    I hope that the withholding of that which he covets will help. You don't seem to hold out much confidence in that though. Sending hugs that something gives soon.

  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    LittleDude'sMom has some good points, so I won't add anything to that.

    I just have to say we have obsessive people in our house, too. For husband, it borders on addictive behavior, and I worry about the difficult child's falling into that cycle with the stuff they are into. As the parent, I have a bit of control in trying to teach self-regulation, addressing medication supports, therapy, consequences, etc. But as the spouse, it's a little more problematic because there's a fine line between enabling and keeping the peace for me. Sometimes I'm tempted to hold up husband to the difficult child's as an example of what happens when impulse control is not in check (like husband's gambling that sapped our finances and put us in debt, so now we don't have the extra money for things difficult child's and husband want).

    I see gpa as an enabler, and gma to a lesser extent by virtue of her giving in on the weekends. I really do believe that until that impulse control skill is more solid, you really have to do a cold-turkey cutoff from the addictive/obessive behavior. There is NO middle ground for people with these problems. None.

    I guess you just have to decide what you want to do... wash your hands of everyone involved, or put a backup plan in place since things appear to be unravelling with the gparents, like Learning Disability (LD)'sMom said.

    Not easy. Hang in there!
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911


    ja' ever wonder what would happen if you just STOPPED helping your Mom and Dad raise thank you? What's the worst that could happen? If you just totally backed off and let them run the thank you Show - what do you see in the future for thank you?

    I totally get that he can't live with you (I have one of the quints remember?)

    What would be the best thing for thank you? I wonder if it wouldn't be a therapeutic foster home. Like where Dude is. It's cheaper than Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and it's actually better - because things are dealt with right then. No one in my house is stressing out over Dude and his day to day behaviors - we have so much more to stress out about with his court junk (lol)

    But seriously - I think EVERYONE needs a break from thank you - and I think thank you could use a break from everyone. It may be a win win situation for you. You have to go through an area program called Mentor. It's working well for us (me and DF) as the TFP are trained to deal with kids like Dude -and well they are getting paid for it.

    Dude is doing well most days - I guess. No one calls me so nothing to worry about. Maybe that is what you all could use. I think your parents are saints for even trying to deal with a difficult child. I have no idea where they are finding the patience - but I would say despite your attempts to cool the manga and stuff - they may be using it as a reward because they may be at wits end about his behaviors too.

    The option to conjure up a toad still stands. :)

    Hugs & Love
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First of all, Star, thank you is the youngest, NOT the difficult child. thank you has his issues, but not this set of them.

    For the most part I say very very little about difficult child's life. I do, maybe once every 2 months give him a $5 fastfood gift card.

    We were in process with the courts to get difficult child put into Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or fostercare. My father had a fit, and has funds to prevent this. In our county (maybe state, but certainly this county) if a relative wants them they can have them. Even if my father drank and beat him on an hourly basis, he would get custody.

    And that is NOT what my dad is doing. While my dad has changed drastically since I was a child, that is not criminal. I mostly am so frustrated because there is no way to help difficult child. My father will interfere with any limit HE does not put in place.

    But you all do have good points in your comments.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have allowed our kids to have access to their obsessions, but not unlimited access. For us, by allowing some controlled access, I feel we've been able to cope better (and so have they).

    We have the Star Wars obsession too, with difficult child 1 - his friends bought him a ticket to the premiere of the last movie as a 21st present, and he went - in costume - then told us how he enjoyed discussing the fine details of Star Wars trivia with other fans before the show - and his knowledge of that trivia is extreme. But he also has other activities, other ways in which he functions. He has complied with our rules, he has done further study, got himself a couple of jobs (currently working) - so in this case, what we have chosen to do seems to be right, for us.

    Clearly it's not right for you. But from what you say - I don't know what would be.

    If your parents try to dump him back on you, can you pick up the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stuff again from that point? What would g'pa do then? Can you work out a written contract with them, so if they do try to hand him back they then have to accept the inevitability of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and support the application?