Help is needed!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by worriedsister, Feb 23, 2008.



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  1. worriedsister

    worriedsister New Member

    I only just discovered this website this morning in hopes of finding help for my sister and her son.

    My sister is a mother of an ADHD child, who just turned 18. He is a senior in high school with not much chance of graduating.

    He is extremely ADHD, is now openly using pot daily and defiantly (not a good idea with his disability), he refuses to accept responsibility and blames others for literally everything. He has now begun to get extremely aggressive and argumentative with his parents, to the point of threatening in a physical manner. They bend over backwards to establish the house rules and/or compromise, whichever seems to be the best tactic at the time. Every form of action on their part, whether it is "tough love" or compromise, does not work. They even sent an email to his teacher requesting that he inform them of any mood changes, etc. that would indicate drug use. The teacher emailed back the most amazing message, telling the parents that they need to step up and basically be better parents! That the son is acting out because of their abuse or neglet. THAT COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. Which becomes evident that my nephew has spun a ridiculous scenario.

    Now that my nephew is 18, he has decided that he is an adult and will do what he wants. He is still in school and still being supported by his parents, but refuses to come home, staying several days in a row at a friends house.
    That friend, who is only just 16, lives alone with a single father who supplies and smokes pot with the kids.

    The most difficult delima is that IF they throw their son out, he will be most welcome in the home that supports and encourages his behavior.

    My sister has spent years trying every therapy measure, diet measure, supplement measure she could lay her hands on to help him. None of which provided to be effective. Due to the measure of his disability, he will more than likely not be able to fully support himself as an adult, simply because of his inability to focus.

    From my own experience with my children, I realize and told her that he is going through that hormonal teenage stage, coupled with the "I'm 18, and I'm an adult" stage (which in my experience, it passed), but she has a double whammie with his disability and influence of a juvenile pot smoking parent.

    WHAT CAN SHE DO? He has always been an incredible sweet young man.
    But there is real fear of where he is going.

    I am hoping that someone out there can provide some insight through your own experiences.

    Thank you and I appreciate your reading to this point,

  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Hi worriedsister. Welcome to the site!

    I closed your poll because it looked as if it was not meant to be there. We don't use them much here.

    Have you checked out the 'substance abuse' forum on the site? These parents have all been there done that with the drug situation.

    I am sure your nephew has spun quite the tale at school for the teacher to respond as such. I would schedule a meeting ASAP to get teach on the right page.
  3. worriedsister

    worriedsister New Member

    I'm sorry. But I'm new to this and don't understand all of the lingo. What is been there done that. Also, what it difficult child and what does thread mean? I don't mean to throw all of the questions at you, but trying to find my way. What does it mean that you "closed my poll"? I know I sound silly, but please help.

  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hi Worried. been there done that is been there done that. difficult child is the term we use on this site for our "challenging" children. God's fragile gifts. A "thread" is your initial post (the first message you sent to the site) and the all of the subsequent replies to it.
    And closing the poll...somehow your message got onto the site with a survey-type attachement that made it look like you were taking a poll.
  5. worriedsister

    worriedsister New Member

    Thanks for the info. It helps this novice to navigate further!!!
  6. dcwsaranac

    dcwsaranac I hear music...

    Sounds like ADHD+ODD+'Eighteenitis'

    ADHD and ODD are difficult enough, but add the 'eighteenitis' and it's beyond mere parenting.

    I've seen this type of behavior in dealing with troubled teen boys before. (have experience in fostering troubled teen boys)

    I was lucky enough not to have to deal with it first hand, but can tell you that the only success stories have been with parents that either called the police or got them in for an involentary (sp?) committment to the regional mental health hospital.

    Neither is easy, but the first step to stopping the behavior is to stop enabling it. The fact that he is eighteen makes it most difficult - he's immature and not ready to take on life on his own, but legally an adult.

    I'll be praying for them.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi! It sounds as if your son has you and his parents pulling for him to make a decent life for himself. I am sure that you (the family) have problem tried most things under the sun.

    The rules have changed for that young man. He is now 18. That means your sister is not REQUIRED to give him anything more than changed locks on their door. No clothes, no food, no house to sleep in.

    He may go to the pot smokers. But for how long if he has no $$ and no way to get $$?? Pot still costs $$, as does everything else in this world.

    Has your sis called the cops on PotDaddy? HE can go to jail for smoking pot too.

    I am quite sure your neph will be able to go from house to house for a while. But if he is as impaired by ADHD as you say, it won't be for very long. People will get tired of him mooching, no matter WHAT story he spins.

    MAny here have used the "Do to Get" philosophy. In order to Get anything, you have to DO something for us.

    Rehab is probably needed. In the experience of many here, if they are open with pot (or admitting to it) then they are probably doing a WHOLE LOT MORE.

    Just a question, how often do your sister brother in law refer to your nephew as disabled? Is that how he sees himself? I ask only because it never occurred to me to tell my son he was disabled, but I see you have mentioned it over andover in your post. I know you are worried sick, both about your sister and your nephew, so maybe that is it.

    The more disabled a person thinks they are, the less normal functioning they will expect of themself. There are ways he can cope with his ADHD, if he chooses. Our kids have to work WITH the medications, not expect the medications to do it all. (This was a big stumbling block for my son).

    I am glad you are here. Soon others will come along. They will have more advice and experience with this.

    Sending hugs,

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie has a point in how he is seeing himself. And it's not necessarily the label of disability, but whether and to what degree that label is seen as negative.

    My boys know they are on the autism spectrum. easy child 2/difficult child 2 considers herself Aspie as well. For them, that knowledge has been empowering, because we presented it to them that way. difficult child 1 was 6 when told he had ADHD, and his main emotion was one of relief - up until then, he had thought he was a kid who was bad all the way through and nothing could be done. He felt very low about himself. Then when told there was a reason, and he could be helped - he was so happy!

    I am physically disabled. I fought the label for a long time, until I realised that picking up a walking stick, allowing people to push me in a wheelchair, taking on the other trappings of disability - it was freeing. Instead of trying to continue to pretend that nothing was wrong, and to try to "keep up appearances", I gave way and accepted the help. It felt like a huge load fell off my shoulders.

    Not everybody views disability this way, and especially for some kids (and kids of parents who try to submerge the degree to which the problem is impacting their lives) there is a strong sense of shame associated with any impairment. Until you can get past that shame (as I had to) you are hampered by it and see yourself as a failure.

    This lad should be in counselling. So should the family. Sounds like it could be too late to get him into counselling.

    Is there an organisation the parents could join, something like Nar-Anon? They need to know just what they need to do, and be given the backbone to know it is the right thing to do. My oldest sister went through something similar with two of her sons, one in particular. She had to learn to stop enabling him, because all it was doing was prolonging the agony and in fact making it possible for him to get even further down in the dark hole of drug use, than if she had thrown him out sooner.

    He's 18. He is making his own choices. he is legally entitled to do so. By allowing him to continue to break the rules and still stay in the house, they ARE enabling. If they have any other kids, they will be learning a bad message - "I can misbehave, and I will get away with it."

    He is treating them like dirt. For HIS sake, they must not be doormats.

    Warn him. Once. If this doesn't stop IMMEDIATELY, he will be evicted. If he gets abusive or offensive over this, they WILL take out a protection order against him. He can come home only when he follows the rules.

    It doesn't matter whether he is an adult or a child, in this. You can do this with an adult, because it is making him use his adult responsibilities to make wise choices. It's a form of verbal contract, such as you can have with anybody for any purpose. When you own the house, you can make the rules. You cannot dispose of his possessions without proper process, but part of that process is warning of consequences (do it in writing, if you really want to be safe from legal reprisals) and then following through. You ARE entitled to protect yourself from abuse, from physical harm, from threat, from danger. There are legal processes to follow, but if you follow them you should be in the right. Legally.

    Morally - there will be people who will be critical, because he will spin (sounds like he already is spinning) some really nasty tales. (You ARE entitled to sue him for slander, if you want to - you COULD threaten - talk to the teacher who made the accusation of 'bad parenting' and get a statement from that teacher on what the young man has told her about his family life. If there was a witness or more, you've got grounds).
    But be prepared for some people to think badly of you. It will happen. And if you DON'T throw him out - some people will think badly of you, for apparently endorsing his behaviour and allowing his continue presence to corrupt neighbourhood people he comes into contact with.

    Even now, he will be needing to pay for his pot. How is he paying for it NOW? I strongly suspect he is being encouraged to peddle it, possibly at school. Drug users have little conscience, if it is likely to interfere with their pleasure. There could be a lot more going on with him that would totally horrify his parents if they knew. And it's highly likely that somewhere, people DO know and are shaking their heads at his parents for allowing it (or not knowing it).

    This really sounds to me like a tough love scenario. And if you're wondering how badly he will do at school if the parents throw him out - how well is he going to do as things are now?

    Sometimes the longer you try to hold on to him, the worse he will behave just to make you let go. And sometimes it just delays (and worsens) the end result.

    My nephew left home at 15. My sister did everything she could to prevent it. In the end things became far worse. But when he tried to come home, thinking he could go back to his old ways but with the same old comfortable roof over his head, he was horrified to find the furniture in his room had all been painted pink, for his sister to move in. His stuff (that he hadn't taken with him) was gone. "You weren't going to be using it, why have the clutter?" his mother told him, as she made up a spare bed for him in the garage for the night. "You stormed out, said you'd never darken the doorstep again, so why keep your room how you like it? I took you at your word."

    My sister wasn't tough enough, she let him stay again. He eventually ended up on heroin, in jail numerous times for drug and robbery offences. He's had a number of kids with a number of girlfriends but it took him a lot more years to finally realise he had to stop blaming other people, stop wasting his time and money, and take responsibility for himself and what he had done to his life.

    You can't so this for them. They have to do it themselves. And if it takes them venturing into Hades and back for them to realise it - so be it. They won't work it out for themselves if you're holding their hands for them and subsidising their drug habit with free food and cheap rent.

    But this is a hard message for parents to learn. Nar-Anon (or similar) can help.

  9. worriedsister

    worriedsister New Member

    Thank you for the responses so far. I really appreciate it.

    I agree with all of the input so far. Being a widowed mother of two kids, and having already gone through the trials and tribulations of teenagers and "eighteenitis", I am a firm believer in "all you can do is give your children the tools they need and sit back and PRAY TO GOD they use them". Thankfully my kids came out on the other side and are wonderful caring adults. But I also realize that there are extra steps needed for children that have additional needs.

    I am going to relate the info so far to my sister and her family. I hope she will hear the love and concern that it comes with. Not only is this a difficult situation, but he is her first born (moms and dads, you know what thats like!) and is also struggling with letting go.

    Hopefully I can convince her to check out this website and join the forum. I think right now she simply needs to hear first hand what others have experienced and have the outlet your forum provides.

    Thanks again for your warm words, prayers and advice.
  10. worriedsister

    worriedsister New Member

    Okay, so here it is. I just finished talking to my sister. Apparently, I have overstepped my bounds (regardless of the fact that this is an anonymous website). I was pretty much chastised for being concerned.

    I wish to thank you all again for hearing my story and the support and advice sent my way.

    This is worriedsister signing out!
  11. Cory

    Cory New Member

    Bless your heart, Worriedsister, for being so concerned. But the way your sister responded to that concern is an indication of much of the problem. They are enabliing the inappropriate and dangerous behaviour of their son, and until they are able to be part of the solution, they are a large part of the problem. This may have been going on for years, which were the best time to have addressed it.

    I wish you and your family the very best.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Worried sister, I'm a day late and a dollar short, but you can stay here with-o your sister's permission, just because you may be interested. It doesn't mean you have to give her unwanted advice.
    So sorry she was upset.
    Feel free to stay a while. Here's a cup of tea. (I'd send something spiked but it will gunk up my phone line.) :)
  13. dcwsaranac

    dcwsaranac I hear music...

    So sorry to hear that the advice wasn't welcome. When we are so often accused of being bad parents by people who have no idea what they are talking about, we can become sensitive to the slightest mention that we may be part of the problem.

    I don't know thier history and won't pry. Clearly you love them and care about them, or would not have tried to help. Keep loving them - they'll need it.

    Don't be afraid to stick around and ask more questions. You haven't revealed anything personal and I'm sure you won't. This can be a good place to inquire, and vent.

    God Bless. I'll say an extra prayer for you and your family.