Handling the holidays.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Lil, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thought I'd start a new thread. It's sad that having my son come home is more distressing than having him gone. I know you all understand. My son came home today. We hadn't expected him for another week. He's still not enrolled in the spring semester. His adviser was the teacher for all the classes he failed and he says he hasn't responded to any of his emails or calls. The adviser's wife passed away very recently, so perhaps he is behind...or maybe he just isn't making time for someone who blew off his classes and failed them all. Or maybe my son didn't actually try to get in touch with him and he's lying. Who knows. He has until January 6 to get enrolled. He knows that no college means he'll be going back down to clean out his dorm room and living with our rules, so we'll see.

    We were right. He'd not only sold his TV, but also his $150 mini fridge we bought him. I mean WTH! Deep breath. It's done and we won't replace any of it.

    He has a friend "J" with him. This is not a friend from college, but a boy from high school we actually had live with us for our six or seven months our son's junior year of school. He's a boy you expect to have problems. A good kid, extremely talented guitar player, but from a broken home, mother who picked her internet boyfriend two states away over him, father who lives on some type of disability he can't get along with. He'd been living with friends who kicked him out of their home, so we let him stay with us to finish up the year, but took him to his father's at the end of the school year. It was the very next day we caught our son high for the first time. We had known J was smoking, although he denied it, which one of the many reasons we took him to his dad - the kid never did anything bad, he didn't steal or disrespect us much - but it just was too much to have two teenage boys to worry about. But J will be here just a couple days, until he can go to his cousin.

    So...how to cope with our son? That is the question. Right now we've kind of decided to just try to take a deep breath and try to relax. He's been thoroughly warned - and J also - that if we find anything illegal in our home he's out on his ear, Christmas or no Christmas. We just won't have it. We can't prevent what he does outside of this house, but we won't have it in it. Otherwise, we're thinking we'll just kind let him come and go as he pleases, invite him to join us for dinner/movies/whatever we're doing, and see how it goes. We have a lot of plans in the next couple weeks, breakfasts and dinner parties and church commitments and I guess we'll just go on with our lives and hope for the best.

    I truly don't know what else there is to do.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    I would lay down rules-for-living-at-home NOW, if it were my son, and he would not get any more chances if he refused to listen to them and one rule would be that he can not sell his things. Kids usually do this for drug money. I sure wouldn't buy him anything big or worthwhile to others for Christmas. Clothes maybe. As for J., I'm not sure why you added to your stress by letting him live in your house. You certainly don't need to add him to your plate...even if you feel sorry for him (and it sounds like he makes his own problems...a lot of kids have divorced parents and do fine), he is not your responsibility. I'd make him leave. That's like having two two rocks instead of one to push up a steep hill. YOu have to take care of yourself, a concept which is hard for many of us to accept. We are kindhearted and want to help, but we MUST take care of ourselves first. J. needs to help J. You can't fix him. You can't fix anyone except yourself and your own reactions to life. Remember, YOU can't fix your son either. Only he can do that. It's his choice.

    I would not expect your son to participate in holiday festivities. At the same time, don't be naive about what will go on when he is alone in your house. He could steal from you or throw a party...this happened to us. We came home to find our daughter having a big drug party. We had surprised her by coming home early. That was our final straw and she was finally told she had to find somewhere else to live. She was nineteen. Once she was no longer enabled, she quit all drugs including even smoking cigarettes, got a job, went back to school, met a nice guy, bought a house and right now she is pregnant...and straight...and not at all entitled in her mindset. I'm one of those moms who feels that housing them and giving them things only makes things worse, but you have to make up your own mind what to do about your son. J. I wouldn't even give much thought to. He is going to become your son's partner in crime right under your roof. You can find homeless shelters and give him a list of places to go, but if it were me, I would not take him in as a free boarder.

    Hugs. I know how much your heart hurts. Been there/done that a few times.

    in my opinion the best way to cope with your son is to become a better and happier YOU, in spite of him. Learn to detach from his drama. Go to Nar-Anon or a private therapist who is focused on helping YOU, not your son. And, in time, perhaps you will have to ask him to leave in order to save yourself and the rest of your family, who also have to deal with him. But you have to be ready to do that. Most of us started out thinking that we could never do that to our child, but most of us changed our minds...

    Big hugs.
  3. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Lil, why on earth would you allow your son to enroll for a second semester if he failed all of his classes? In fact, having been in that very situation w my own difficult child - who failed every class his 3rd semester at school - I would be very surprised if the school allowed him to enroll at all. You may want to check the guidelines; difficult child's school suspended him for a semester and he could have gone back for a semester on probation after a 1 semester suspension , but he was required to bring his cumulative gpa up to a 2.0 to continue beyond that. We did the math, it would have been nearly impossible for him to get the grades necessary to offset the failed semester.

    At this point, I would be telling my difficult child to find an alternate plan including a self supporting job. I also would be strongly encouraging him to request "W"s in lieu of "F"s and to get counseling. That was our advice to our difficult child when we were in your very shoes 2 years ago. My son had a serious girlfriend and was living in an apartment at school and balked at the last moment but came very close to accepting our advice. I wish we could have gotten through to him; we didn't find out he failed until he was a week away from heading back to school. Had I known, I might have started off Christmas break by booking regular appointments for counseling (even just my own- if difficult child refused to go) and setting stronger guidelines but hindsight is 20/20. In my experience, Christmas break started off well, we played nicely but it deteriorated rapidly after Christmas and ended with difficult child leaving us in fury & hatred.

    That failed semester haunts my difficult child and has long reaching repercussions. He wanted to attend uni this year, but can't get in anywhere because of his gpa. He's stuck going to community college on a conditional acceptance basis and he thinks it's beneath him. I doubt that he's even going to class or if so, doing well.(day of reckoning is ahead) He tried to appeal his failed semester requesting a change to a withdrawal status but it was too late by now. So, at the very least; I might encourage your difficult child to do that right away.

    I don't see any good coming from your difficult child heading back to school. I think you should have a backup plan. Sorry to sound so negative. But I've been there done that and it made things so much worse for us
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    J will only be allowed to stay in our home thru Sunday. We took him in two years ago, not recently. I know he does make some of his own problems. He's not a stupid kid, but one of those who's family never cared enough to see that he did his homework, etc. I'm pretty sure he didn't get his diploma. The one and only time I met his mother was when she signed Power of Attorney over to me to take care of her then 16-year-old son. I'd never even spoken to her before. The only time we ever spoke to his father was when we got directions to his house and dropped him off. Why we took him in back then is hard to explain. The thinking was, let the boy see a good home, with stable parents who work and pay their bills and treat each other with respect - what life could be - and maybe that would have some infulence. I think it did, a bit. For a while when he went to his dad he was working and going to GED classes...but it didn't last.

    Anyway, that really isn't that important, he's out the door Monday.

    Our son doesn't really have anything left to sell. There's a 19" TV that is his in his room, and the tivo we don't use anymore. He's been told, bluntly, that if anything of ours goes missing, we will call the police and if we come home to a house that smells like pot, he's out. That's about all we can do that I can think of...and hope it doesn't come to that.

    Christmas gifts are definitely a problem. We were thinking a pre-paid gas card, clothes, maybe some CD's or something. We're kind of stuck trying to think of things with little to no resale value.

    My husband and I both get 6 free counseling visits through our employee assistance program. We used them last summer - we paid for our son's counseling because she didn't participate and we thought he'd like her better but clearly that did no good. Anyway, come January 1, that starts again. We may go back to the counselor. At least I might. We'll see what happens in the next two weeks I guess.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I know it doesn't make any sense to anyone...but we're already out the money. We have to pay for his dorm thru May, regardless of if he lives there. (It's a privately owned student housing with a lease.) So...he says he wants to try again, we're out the money, so we figure, why not?

    He can reenroll, but when grades come out they will suspend him. He then has to appeal his suspension and meet with a committee who will decide whether or not to give him another chance. They may not. It's pretty clear he blew off classes and just didn't try. But they may. So we'll see. I don't know what would happen if he withdrew. I'll have to do a bit more research on that.

    At this point, I just don't know what to do.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you have already paid it may be worth having him out of the house for another semester. When our daughter got arrested for drugs/drinking at college we did not pull her out in the middle of the semester. We let the justice system wheels turn and she was eventually suspended. We relished the two extra months of peace and quiet before she came home.

    by the way make sure you lock everything of value up.....it will be tooo late by the time you find it missing.
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    My thinking exactly on school. Why not? Truthfully, I think he's too lazy to even bother to appeal, but if he does and gets in then we get some peace for a bit before it falls apart. At this point, I'm not in fear for his actual life/death, so not having him home is just more pleasant.

    We don't have much of value...but what we have will not be locked up. (Well, we did hide the church's video camera we brought home to edit a recording on.) I refuse to be a prisoner in my own home. If he steals from us again, he will go to jail. He's been told those are the consequences and if he makes that choice then he does. As much as it will kill us to do it we will NOT be stolen from again.

    That, of course, doesn't mean we don't take inventory as soon as we get home.
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My suggestion is because there are things missing from my house that I had no idea were gone at the time, things that could never be replaced. Some of them I think her friends took because she wouldn't even know the value, like my dad's war medals.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Ah I see. But we actually don't have anything like that. Of things that have both monetary and sentimental value, I have a silver dish that was a 25th anniversary gift to my parents, and my mom's wedding ring. Both are pretty well buried and would be hard to find. But really, everything else is replaceable. My husband's Marine Corps ring is in our bedroom where he sees it every night. It's been there since - yet another - young woman I was helping out (very long story, daughter of a former friend) stole us blind. We lost literally thousands in dvd's and cd's and books and my husband's high school class ring.

    If it sounds like people keep stealing from us...they do. It would be funny if it wasn't tragic. It feels sometime like every time we did something charitable we get kicked in the teeth for it. A long story that has very little do do with my kid.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Just be careful Lil. I am not clear if your son is living in sanctioned uni housing or off campus. And rules vary by campus and school - so my experience may not be yours...

    Withdrawal or suspension ( prior to the semester start) actually negated the housing contract.

    Furthermore, withdrawal from classes during the first x weeks (6?) resulted in a credit to the student's account. A full credit if dropped in the first few weeks and a reduced credit if dropped later.

    So, my difficult child could have enrolled and then dropped classes and he would have received a credit for the tuition we paid. A credit that would be refunded by a check made out to HIM. Same thing with the housing - if he were suspended or if he formally
    dropped out, he would receive a credit for the prepaid housing fees on "his student account" so it would be cash in his pocket.

    Very scary thought. Be careful
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    No...this is off campus student housing, but not uni sanctioned. Basically, it's student only housing, exactly like a dorm: rooms in suites, cafeteria, resident assistants - the whole bit, but it's owned by a corporation, not the university. We pay the rent monthly, directly to the company. He can't ever get that. He has student loans and they are sent by the government directly to the university, which cuts him a check for anything over the price of his tuition. Last semester, he got $700 which is in my bank account. He gets very small loans because we have too much income. If he doesn't enroll, the university sends the money back to the government. I actually can't control the student loans. If he gets a refund, he gets it. I'm quite sure he'll use it to leave the state. Again, I can't control that.

    I'm doing well just getting through the holidays. He still hasn't taken a shower since he got here. He asked me for money yesterday. I said no. I did put some gas in his car so he and his friend could drive around a little, but no cash.

    Tonight he said he'd like the Game of Thrones DVD's for Christmas. We told him we're not inclined to get him anything with a monetary resale value. His response? "Well, I guess I can see that." Which was nice to hear, but doesn't solve the question of what to get him.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When my son is in the state yours is, we got him nothing but some new undies and socks, went to Goodwill and bought some second hand clothes and I think I bought him a book. The first year I actually bought him presents he asked for pots and pans. He was tickled pink. When he found out I also bought some pyrex bowls you would have thought I bought the moon. last year he got a waffle maker. This year due to his circumstances, he is getting a hat I am crocheting and I also bought things for his kids.