Good article on adult kids who abuse their parents while at home/refuse to launch


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Thank you, SWOT. Definitely worth a read!

(I just realized I abbreviated your moniker to SOW a short time back. I knew at the time that it did not look right. Please accept my apologies. It looks disrespectful, but trust me, I did not mean it!!!!)

Wish I had read this ten years ago. Such down-to-earth advice to deal with a bad situation.

The only thing I read (that we tried) was putting Difficult Child's stuff out and calling the police. Their response was that they could do nothing because "this is his address".

Still, so much we could have tried in this article. Thanks again.



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All three are terrific articles. I also wish I'd read them when our son was about 16 and followed them to the letter. It's always good to see that what you did was really right. We did try to set the rules he outlined. Every word he wrote sounded like my house, from sleeping all day to telling us that we were unreasonable. Every parent should read these.


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I have been a James Leman parent since My kid was 8. His articles and suggestions are very good. He does point out that for children who have mental/cognitive disorders the process might not be as effective. It does give you a framework to work from, and a little success is better than no progress.


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According to him, I was way to lenient.

I know he's right.

And my ex did not do anything at all regarding their upbringings.

The last two kids were so easy it was a walk in the park, but the first three kids did need more rules than they had.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Excellent article!!
This should go hand in hand with the detachment article.
Thanks SWOT!!


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But it's exactly like dozens of others I've read. It's 100% about neurotypical kids.

It doesn't work with complex special-needs kids.


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Well, I'm not neurotypical and I think I needed a firmer hand or some guidance.

I do think most of our adult kids are neurotypical and just abuse drugs. Like my daughter. Nothing "off" about her before or after the drugs, but what a pain while she was on them.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I do think most of our adult kids are neurotypical and just abuse drugs.

SWOT, this is simply not true - please don't lump all parents in PE together on this one. Yes, some of "our" kids are addicts, some suffer from mental illness and are self-medicating, some are on the spectrum, some are none of the above. These can be enormously complex issues and from my experience in reading here, the parents that visit us have kids with issues that are truly all over the map.

That said, I like the article a great deal - thanks for sharing it. I think that even for those that have more complex issues some of the suggestions can work, tailored to a specific situation. I had to use some of them even though both my girls suffer from both mental and physical illness. Nothing is ever as simple as what's laid out in an article!


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Ok. I really, really think you're right. The problem is by their ages, we can't help , no matter WHAT is the driving factor. Mental illness? I know a lot about that. As an adult child your parents can't get help for you. YOU have to do it just as you have to quit drugs on your own. Not neurotypical? I wasn't and am not that either. Guess what? After you turn 18, nobody cares. There are laws to obey and you'd better get the help you need so that you don't do crimes or take drugs or you will be treated like everyone else, whether you are like most people or not. I totally think that our only hope is that our adult kids learn to take charge of whatever issues they have because our country's laws make it that way.
Every person has a personal story. A bad childhood. Abuse. Depression. Autism. Trouble making frineds. Low self-esteem. And everything our kids throw at us is an excuse to use drugs? Nope. You can have all of those issues and figure out how to deal with them without compounding them with drugs. In fact, you could mask the problem with drugs.
The bottom line is that no matter what the cause is, the laws apply equally to all. We are not allowed to help our older kids. We can't tell them what to do and force them to comply. That puts the onus on them.

As somebody who spent ten weeks in a psychiatric hosopital as a young 20, I know life is harder for some. It was harder for me. I also know drugs is not the way everyone goes just because life is hard. Furthermore, the ony one who helped me was me.

Regardless of my diagnosis., the decision not to abuse drugs and to try hard to get help was on one pair of own. The same as it is on all of our difficult kids. And once drugs become a problem, that becomes the primary problem. You can't treat anything else if your adult kid is a drug addict...until the adult child decides to quit. And we all k now that using drugs wrongly cause worse damage to whatever else is going on.

I am so sad at the way we handle mental illness/neurotypical differences in this country. Unless a parent gets guardianship, and sometimes the child is very resistant to the idea, we have NO say in hellping an adult how needs more help than the average person. But the laws happened and nobody can care for our differently wired adult children except themselves and I know it can be done. I'm proof. No, I'm not perfect a nd still have struggles, but at least my struggles are not compounded by drug addiction. Nobody needs to use drugs. It is a choice. The reason doesn't reallly matter as the drugs become the main problem.

But thank you for passionately sharing a very, very good point. Many of our adult kids ARE different and I was too. But there ARE totally normal kids who also become drug addicts. There is nowhere to hide. It is everywhere.

I've done away with my signature due to snoopy family, but my actual diagnoses (the ones t hat have been consistently given to me as I've had a few hodgepodge ones that most did not agree with) are mood disorder not otherwise specified (depressive type), generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and neurological and cognitive disorders not otherwise specified. I almost always leave out the cognitive disorder because people automatically think you are mentally slow and, in a way, they are right...if you have that diagnosis., you learn differently, often at a slower pace and can often be amazing in some areas (verbal) and pathetic in others (anything requiring visual instructions or watching). But, yeah, I had all this stuff all my life and didn't take drugs. On top of it, my family was so non-supportive. They didn't believe anything was wrong with me. They just thought I didn't try. I was surrounded by people who took drugs but never said "I think I will."

So it is possible not to do it, even if you have a harder life than many people. I can understand taking them blots out the hard stuff, I'm sure. But it's a choice, in the end.
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Active Member
Thank you for sharing those articles, I found them to be very helpful. For our 16 year old son, we have eventually ended up having to get the police involved to help us hold the boundaries in regards to verbal abuse and destruction of things in our home. It was a decision that I really struggled with. But since he was placed in a diversion program where the consequences are delivered by the courts we have seen changes in our son. He has been respectful, engaged and clean. He has even begun trying hard to mend relationships with his siblings. I would not believe it, if I wasn't seeing it myself. I guess he finally has met boundaries that contain him. He can't manipulate his way out, like he has done with us.