Here we go again

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by maril, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. maril

    maril New Member

    It is 3:30 a.m. here, as I sit and wait for my son to come home. I would prefer to be sleeping! He left, once again, in the middle of the night, and I don't know where he is. His cell phone is off. He regularly manipulates to work situations to his advantage, even with interventions in place over a very long period of time.

    In one instance, some weeks ago, he left the house after curfew on a school night. I warned him not to leave but he ignored me. I then locked all doors and did not answer the door later when he (finally) arrived after 1 a.m., thinking that would make a difference to stop future occurrences -- silly me! He chose to break our cellar door in order to get into the house.

    We are in the process of trying to get home-based services, (after many other attempts to help our son with his challenges); these services being recommended by his psychiatrist, which will be through the same case manager I was in contact with at the end of last summer (when we were experiencing similar problems). At that time, that particular case manager told me he would give me no information over the phone/would not meet with my husband and I as to options unless my son was present; it ended up my son did not want to attend the meeting we had set up. End of that story. One of many dead ends. I am regularly reminded that my son has rights, options, and choices...tired of hearing that, too, especially when our lives are turned upside down by our son's antics.
  2. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    I don't know how old your son is . in my humble opinion we can't control our kids , imposing consequences just causes power struggles , let the law take care of that. All we can do is try to foster a good relationship , help the child find a mentor or other positive young people and we nurturing ourselves. It is not easy, the starting point is just to talk , you listen and him talk , about anything , let him feel understood , focus on his concerns - why he wants things, what's up and then talk about yourself , what makes you happy, sad , frustrated , how you nurture yourself , your needs as a person. Maybe start over a treat , talk to him like you would to your 25 yo neighbours kid

    check out the work by Byron katie

  3. maril

    maril New Member

    I thank you for your reply and respect your suggestions. by the way, my son is 17.

    I do talk with my son and actually am probably more considerate than some others I know when it comes to my son's feelings. I truly think, though, that in order for him to become a responsible adult, he cannot constantly shirk responsibility, break rules at home and school, and be noncompliant. As far as the law, we have spoken with local police officers regarding our son, and they cannot do much; they refer us to seek social services. My son has reminded us more than once that the law cannot do much to him, since he is a minor.
  4. maril

    maril New Member

    Well, now that I am wide awake, I can get some work done while I wait to see where difficult child is. Luckily, I am off today, so if I have to catch up on sleep later in the day, I can.

    In the past, I couldn't function when difficult child was missing at night; frozen with fear. These days (usually) I can function and cope. Fortunately, my husband and son's girlfriend are on the same page about helping difficult child. That makes a difference.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    At 17, at least here, the law no longer treats one like a minor. If this were me, and i went through hell with my now 24 year old daughter, he'd have one foot out the door unless he was ready to comply with treatment, which would include going to that meeting and getting help. I don't know if he's dabbling with drugs or not, but it sounds like he is, and he certainly is being very disrespectful and cocky. My guess is he believes he can do whatever he wants to do without consequences. If you don't think your son is doing drugs, in my opinion you are probably fooling yourself. It's possible, but unlikely.

    I would tell him that he either followed my rules or made plans to leave the house at 18. He can make the decision himself. He is blatantly disregarding everything you tell him, making you sick with worry, and refusing all help. We told my daughter she had to get help or leave. We were lucky that she had a place to go because she wasn't up for treatment. But as soon as she left and had to live with her straight-arrow brother and knew it was her last chance or that she'd be on the streets, she straightened up fast. Unlike us, her brother wouldn't put up with any infractions. She towed the line or she was out and she knew he meant it. He wouldn't cut her any flack. It was HER choice to go though and she was the one who called and begged her brother to let her live with him. She had no car and had to get a job and walk to work each day, and it was in another state so she had to make no friends and a new start. It worked. NOTHING was working in OUR house.
    If your son wants to act like he can do what he wants, in my opinion he needs to take adult responsibility for his actions. That means being on his own. I'd cut out all money, car insurance, and, if he's not paying for that cell phone, I'd stop paying for that too. He can work part-time. Even my daughter did that, high on drugs and That was her money. We wouldn't give her any when she started using it for drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. She had access to our food and basics, but anything else she had to pay for herself. She still did her thing, but WE didn't pay for it. She did.
    My daughter turned it all around. I believe in tough love for kids of that age bracket because, unlike younger kids, we have no control over them other than giving them money and a home. Therefore, they sometimes have no motivation to change unless they are faced with a hard choice. I know how hard this is because I lived with it. My daughter would take out her window and climb outside at night and be running the streets, getting high, and this would be after we were all asleep so she didn't get caught for a long time. Even the police and being on parole twice didn't stop her. She was headed for a terrible life. We felt desperate and decided that if she was going to destroy herself it wouldn't be under our roof and it wouldn't be easy. We wouldn't let her be comfortable while she self-destructed. We were lucky that she turned it around as soon as she was told to leave. Not all kids do that. But something has to matter enough for these kids to change. (((Hugs))) Good luck!
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  6. maril

    maril New Member

    MWM: Thank you for your support and wisdom. It is much appreciated.

    I am so glad for you that the choices you made helped your daughter and she ended up turning things around! That positive outcome is encouraging. It sounds like it was a rough road for you all.

    I, too, think tough love is a good motivator.

    My son is a substance user and was recently suspended from an outpatient D&A program, due to none other than (not surprisingly) ... noncompliance with rules about leaving the facility during break time! I have to give him credit, though, due to the fact that the adults in charge at the facility said he was respectful, participated in the program, and a "nice kid." in my opinion, he just wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, it seems; big on manipulating behaviors.

    We have discussed more than once with our son, who will be a senior in high school next year following his 18th birthday, that he needs to get prepared (get a job, make plans) because he will have to be moving along once he is 18, if he refuses to comply with house rules, continues to be chronically late for or miss school, etc. In particular, my husband seems to be counting the days until difficult child turns 18. At the same time, my husband is agreeable to seeking help for our son.

    Thanks, again.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Have you considered filing a CHINS/PINS petition? It may be too late given that he's almost 18 but it is one way to get some services.

    So, how is he paying for the broken cellar door? If he has no money, I assume he has things. I used to have some garage sales. The only items sold were my daughter's things. The minute I had made enough to pay for whatever was damaged, the garage sale shut down. It took a few sales but she did quit breaking things when she couldn't have her way.

    There is something so lovely in this country that gives our kids a sense of way too much entitlement. I think we parents also fall into the trap. In Ameica, many of us aren't parents, we're friends to our kids. If we are the stricter parent, then our kids get to see that other kids get away with murder and decided they will, too. So, regardless of how we try to parent (friend type or parent type), our kids really do feel they can do whatever they want, especially as they get older.

    For my daughter, it took joining a carnival and being homeless a few days for her to figure out mom meant enough was enough. She's now working as a server, paying her bills the best she can and becoming more of a responsible adult every day. She's still a slob and lazy as all get out when not working but she doesn't get violent, doesn't steal, rarely lies. Tough love can work.

    The next time he is out past curfew, lock the doors and tell him you will call the police if he tries to break in. It will be up to them whether they arrest him but at least he'll see that you are keeping your word and mean business.

    You are obligated to provide shelter, food, clothing. You are not obligated to give him good stuff. You are not obligated to let him keep good stuff that he might sell for drugs and could for damage to your home. Since he refuses to follow the rules, I'd start playing by the rules to the letter of the law. That means nothing good. His clothes can come from Goodwill. Water is an acceptable drink. Hey, if our prison system can feed an inmate for $3.50 a day, surely you can do it for a little more and still give him nutrition. Vitamins can help in that department. If he has any electronics, they are now yours. I'm sure he owes you for more than just the cellar door. Heck, he doesn't even really need furniture in his room. A mattress on the floor is really okay. Sides, the less he has, the less he can hide.

    I hope you can find a way to rein him in. I know how hard this age is. They really do think they're almost adults and can act accordingly. It gets even worse when they're 18 because the law says they are adults. At that point, it really is a my house, my rules or get out and that is not an easy way to go.

  8. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Marilynne ~ I hope you are sleeping now ~

    I am so sorry you are going thru this - I remember those days/weeks/years - oh too clearly ~

    In my state - legal age is 19!!!!! Can you imagine????

    I will share this - when my difficult child # 3 started this behaviour I had gotten an education myself.

    The police/state/whomever will not typically get involved when your child is so close to being an "adult". When my difficult child #3 and difficult child #4 started their whinning about their rights I felt "stronger" because of being informed by the authorities that when a child is 6 months out from being an adult they do not get involved.

    In fact a few times when police were called the officers stuck up for my husband and I and told the difficult child's that since they wanted to be a "BIG BOY" they should go ahead and leave.

    I do not envy you ~

    Now that both my difficult child #3 & difficult child #4 are out of my home (they are 19 & 20) I get alot more sleep and although I will always "worry" about them as their mother - It is alot easier to "not" when they are gone.

    Hugs to You ~ Judy
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hun, go to a Nar-Anon meeting or an Al-anon. You and hub will get GREAT support and wisdom in person. You don't know how hard it was for me to kick out my daughter. I thought she'd be walking the streets. I didn't know she had called my son and that he had reluctantly agreed to let her live in his basement as long as she towed the line there. And he made no bones about it that she'd be out on her "A" if she even smoked one cigarette in his house. He expected her to do chores, get a job and walk there, and pay rent. He was tougher on her than we ever were, but she responded to him because she knew he meant it rather than us with our guilt and sometimes empty threats. She had nobody to hang around with, in her new state, other than him and his geek Nobody even drank. She had no bad influences on the streets, and she knew that if she left the house after hours or the police got her for anything, she'd also be gone with nowhere to go. It worked! If she HADN'T had a brother who was willing to give her one last chance, we still would have made her leave. We have two younger kids and the constant chaos and visits from the police and seeing her in handcuffs a few times was traumatizing them. They didn't need that. We were willing to get her help, but she refused it. In Nar-anon we were convinced that the kindest thing we could do for her was to make her responsible for her own behavior and that any money or comforts we gave her was enabling her. I think they were very wise people ;) Some were ex-addicts themselves. Today, my daughter's motto is "Never trust a drug addict. EVER." She is clean now. It has been about six years.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Marilynne, I hope you are catching a nap right now, but I have to send sympathy. I would have locked the doors, too, and would have been surprised and angry about the cellar door being kicked in. I like Meowbunny's idea about selling difficult child's personal items to earn $ to pay for the repairs. If he won't participate in the sale (chances are, he won't) you just do it yourself.
    I am so sorry.
    You've gotten some great advice and ideas here. I suspect I will be in a position to take the same advice myself, with-my difficult child son.
  11. maril

    maril New Member

    Thanks, meowbunny! I have tried Googling CHINS/PINS petition but haven't hit anything specific regarding the state in which I live. I wonder if the case manager we are waiting on can address that? The psychiatrist, who had recommended home-based mentioned we should file for medical assistance but don't know if we would qualify.

    My husband had an old door, which he used to replace the broken door; luckily, my husband has some pretty good "fix-it" skills.

    We don't give difficult child "fun money" anymore. If he needs money for school lunches, clothing, etc., I write checks or give gift certificates. I do my best to not enable his "partying."

    by the way - very good idea about the garage sale!

    Thanks, again.
  12. maril

    maril New Member

    I look forward to the day when difficult child will be on his own and we won't have to be in this position. I have a 23-year-old, who lives away from home; I do miss her but know she is well and also realize what you are saying about it being easier to not worry when they are gone. Anyway, she never pulled the tricks that our son has.

    Thank you so much for your support. It is appreciated.
  13. maril

    maril New Member

    On the substance abuse board, I had received some information from others (maybe you, too) about Nar-anon and Al-anon. I haven't pursued this yet but am waiting to settle into the New Year.

    I do understand your point about enabling and it is a very good one.

    I am happy for your daughter that she was able to get and stay clean. I bet you are so proud. :D
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm very proud. Your son can turn it around too. Many MANY ex-drug users do quit!!!!
  15. maril

    maril New Member

    Thank you for your kindness and sympathy. Also, I hope you won't have to face any of this with your son!

    I like the garage sale idea, too. My husband has already taken away some of our son's things and is holding them until he gets paid back for money my dear son had taken from husband earlier this year. difficult child has a TV and a dirt bike (both items we had paid for) that husband wants to sell. I told him to go for it. husband and I go back and forth about the cell phone; we pay for it and could easily cancel the service. However, I have hesitated because it has been my way of getting in touch with my son over the past months in the midst of all this upheaval; though, I do recognize it is a luxury and our son benefits from having it. It is one more thing that helps to make it easier for him to continue with his lifestyle.

    difficult child finally came home not so long ago, about 10:30 a.m. I wouldn't answer the door or his ensuing phone calls. He finally gave up and left. No broken door this time. Earlier, I had texted him and let him know there would be consequences for his actions.

    He is not the same kid he used to be. Substance abuse probably has a lot to do with his personality changes.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    cell phone; we pay for it and could easily cancel the service. However, I have hesitated because it has been my way of getting in touch with my son

    Yes, this is a hard one. I know the feeling. Right now, my difficult child is only 12 and uses his friends' house phones to call me. So far, so good.

    I had texted him and let him know there would be consequences for his actions.

    He will probably get a bit more violent, temporarily, until he realizes that doesn't get him anywhere. Just be prepared, and don't back down. It's your house.

    He is not the same kid he used to be. Substance abuse probably has a lot to do with his personality changes.

    Yes, what a shame. If only they could see themselves as we see them. :(
  17. maril

    maril New Member

    Well, difficult child came home in the afternoon with some friends and we would not let him in the house. He broke the kitchen door to get in this time. Afterwards, I heard commotion and threats coming from upstairs and called the police; didn't end up needing them to come here, as difficult child packed a bag and left the house. The local police have already told us when we had called before that we need to contact a social agency to help us, which I have in the works but can't get moving until the case manager comes back from vacation.

    I wish we had more control over the situation. I am sick of living under these circumstances.
  18. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    Marilynne ~ Oh my Goodness! What stress during your holidays ~ You are so in my thoughts and prayers ~

    Try to do something for yourself -

    Hugs -Judy
  19. maril

    maril New Member

    Judy - how kind you are.

    I almost feel like an idiot after reading my posts and admitting to the world just how messed up my family is. There are the normal family problems ... and then there are ours.

    Your wishes are much appreciated. I will be trying to get out and do more. My daughter and I get along well and talk frequently, which provides a good diversion. She just graduated from college and is doing very well. Thank goodness she doesn't have to be subjected to living here! She has an apartment and keeps very busy.
  20. Please don't feel bad because you don't have a Brady Bunch home...not many of us do! You would be surprised by the number of families who are touched by the chaos of a child. This is one place, however, that you can open up, unload and not feel judged. There is strength in these women (and men) here that I and many others have drawn upon.