Here's an Interesting Topic of Discussion

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hound dog, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    What do you do to an adult kid to get him to conform to house rules when throwing him out on his arse isn't really an option?:faint:

    I don't ask for much from Travis. Mainly because due to his dxes and disabilities he can't do a whole lot. And most of the time he does ok with house rules. Except for a few major areas.

    I walked into his room the other day.........Now understand, I avoid this boy's room at all cost. Getting him to clean it is like Mohommad trying to move a mountain. This is not all laziness on his part. Not according to the neuro, anyway. Most of it's due to brain issues. No organization, brain overloads and shuts down to where he can actually forget what he's doing..............And yeah. To say the room is a stye would be an understatement of the century.

    He's not allowed to eat or drink in his room. Food containers, empty wrappers and soda cans are everywhere. Oh, and 2/3's of my dishes are somewhere among that disaster.

    He's not allowed to smoke in his room.

    This one is huge for me. One I have an overwhelming fear of fire. husband and I haven't lit a cigarette in a bedroom in more than 15 years. (when I finally put my foot down with husband) It is just plain dangerous. Add in the blindness, epilepsy, and the fact that his room has so much trash in it that it would go up like a torch..........Well, I haven't slept well the past couple of nights.

    If husband or I "help" him clean his room (help = sit there and keep him on task) and then I inspect it daily, that will be solved. Tackling his room with school schedules and work schedules has been the tough part.

    But the smoking.......I have a feeling he's gonna sneak no matter what I say simply because it's easier for him to lit up there than come downstairs every time he wants one.

    I've been trying to come up with a feesable conscequence for this one. Normal ones I don't think will work. My usual tactics are to stop rides to work and meals. But he's looking for an excuse to quit krogers......and while the meals might'll probably just make him more careful about hiding it. I dunno. Sometimes hitting him in his stomach can work wonders.

    So? Any creative ideas? If push came to shove, I'd evict him. Don't know where he'd wind up other than our already over full homeless shelter. (he doesn't make enough for an apartment) But somehow that just doesn't seem right considering his various disabilities. Nor is he doing these things to simply be defiant, even the smoking. He just doesn't get why it's even an issue, and I'm not getting thru to him.

    Why does this one always, always have to be such a challenge?:faint:
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    OK - I'm going to go out on a (dangerous) limb here.

    I'm of the opinion that we are too quick to allow a diagnosis to 'excuse' behaviors.

    I can see that keeping his room clean might be a difficult task for him. But, rather than allowing him to use his diagnosis as an excuse, perhaps he would be better served if he understood that it just meant that he had to work a little harder at his room than the next guy with-o the diagnosis.

    Smoking in the bedroom? How does his diagnosis disable him from following a simple household rule? This sounds more like a respect issue to me. (FYI: My son smokes - but he knows better than to do so in our home or our vehicles)

    Living in your home is a privilege at 22 years old - regardless of his diagnosis. Until he understands that, he will probably continue to disrespect you and your rules.

    I'm sorry Lisa if that sounds unsympathetic - but I do think that in spite of his issues - you are also dealing with- some level of defiance.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    gg no problem. I need input for this.

    The smoking is a defiance thing. Or rebellion type issue, let's face it, there isn't much the kid can rebell with. I do get that. I just haven't figured out how to solve the issue.

    The cleaning.....well........the neuro can explain far better than I. Let's just say after years of war and getting nowhere except a miserable kid....I believe the neuro. And honestly, even I had to get multiple opinions before it would fully sink in. He's ok with daily maintenance as long as someone makes sure he does it. But once it reaches the level of messy (even long before it's at the stage it is now) is when it causes problems. He'll clean just fine with either husband or I "talking him thru it". No objections either. We don't do a bit of the work, just keep him on task.

    I do try hard not to let his dxes and disabilities be an excuse. I'm not perfect at it though, and I know it. And his are so darn involved between the brain damage (extensive) and all that it gets awfully complicated at times. On one hand I do have to allow for the things he simply can't do. Even simple ordinary things we never even think about. Yet on the other, I have to push him to do the things I know he's able to do as much as he is capable of doing them. Often it's an extremely fine line to walk.

    Which is what drives me crazy with this kid. It always has.

    But I've got to solve the smoking thing because it is a fire hazard and I can't tolerate that.

    Yet simply tossing him out on his arse isn't a solution either, as it would be with your normal 22 year old. Travis is not normal. His maturity level hovers around age 12, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Add in all the other dxes and such........and the option of kicking him out for disrespect equals tossing a babe to the wolves. So I don't even feel able to use the threat with him.

    Does that make sense?
  4. judi

    judi Active Member

    I think you have to pick your battles. If booting him isn't an option (or at least the very last one for you), then the smokingin his bedroom is the biggie. That is a huge safety issue both for him and YOU. Are there any group homes in your area? That might be one option. What about disabled housing? I know in my rural area we have them but the waiting lists can be long. However, by getting him on the waiting lists for the appropriate place, he will see you mean business and doesn't appear to be an empty threat.
  5. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi DL, I can appreciate your frustration. Re cleaning, maybe paring his room stuff down to very simple things would help streamline the task. Fewer clothing choices, less to drop on the floor, etc. (I don't know if this is a big part of it or it's more the food dishes.) The food stuff sounds like defiance at a basic level - if the rule is no food in the bedroom then even one dish or item is not ok - but the smoking issue is the big one. Safety, as you say, for you and husband along with T.

    How does T get his cigarettes? I would do everything possible to limit his supply and/or control its location. We have a rule that no chew can be in difficult child's bedroom. I search his room whenever I wish (although it's much easier when he's out) and if I find any tobacco or tobacco products (like spit bottles), in the room, he loses his computer. If he argues he loses it longer. If I found cigs in his room he would lose it for good.

    I agree with Judi that finding out about group homes/disabled living arrangements in the area is an idea, probably an important thing to do if T isn't willing to observe safety rules. When you have a Plan B it becomes much easier to stand firm, and I can't see how you can do anything else on the issue of smoking in the bedroom.
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Given your circumstances, I think I'd make it a rule that cigarettes are parked downstairs the second he walks in the door, with gentle reminders to leave them by the ashtray or wherever smoking is allowed. If you find cigs in his room, they are immediately tossed. If you find that he smoked, he loses a privilege of some sort like computer time or the like.

    I've yet to be able to stop the eating in bedroom issue. I do, however, fine her $1.00 for every dish or utensil I find in there. At least that stopped the dishes and silverware from disappearing.
  7. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I also agree with Judi and Katya. If Travis knows you're looking into other housing arrangements for him because of his refusing not to smoke in his bedroom, it just might dawn on him that you mean business. Just maybe, if he thinks he might have to move out, it might be enough to get him to stop doing it.

    Also, I think it's reasonable that you ask him not to eat in his bedroom and to keep it somewhat clean. I agree with you and the others that this seems like a control issue. In my house, difficult child 2 is expected to keep his room clean. Like Travis, he has an extremely difficult time with keeping things organized. However, we don't let him off the hook. At times we make suggestions about where he can put his belongings, but it is up to him to clean up the mess. difficult child 2 knows that if he doesn't pick up his room and make his bed, he'll lose his Reward Time.

    Now, I know there is a big difference between Travis, a grown man, and difficult child 2 who is still a minor - he'll be 17 shortly. Unfortunately, I don't know what you could use as an incentive to make him clean up. Once again, the only thing that comes to mind immediately, is if he knows you're looking into an alternative place for him to live.

    I know the cleanliness of his room is a very minor issue compared with the smoking problem. However, if Travis is going to be living with you on a long term basis, in my humble opinion, he needs to respect the few things you ask of him.

    I hope you find an answer to the smoking problem ASAP!!! I would be afraid to go to sleep at night too. Sorry I don't have any other suggestions. WFEN
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Thanks guys. MB good suggestions. Think of any more shoot them my way.

    As for the housing....... we have group homes right across the alley. Couple who owns them won't consider Travis because they frankly believe he'd be miserable there as the other residents are far more delayed and lower functioning than he is. However, I'm tempted to ask them again. The only other option on the other side of town is a facility I wouldn't put my dogs in, no way is my son going there. At least not until they change owners and staff.

    But....I might ask the woman who runs the one across the alley if she knows of any elsewhere. Hmmm There's a thought.
  9. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I don't usually read or post here but I am bored and wandering around the site. What if you were to get a very sensitive smoke alarm to place on the ceiling of his room. It could give you some comfort in the event something awful were to happen or (I would hope) it would go off whenever he smoked in his room?
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    What about, no smoking in the house AT ALL?
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Kathie the smoke detector idea is great! I could put it right outside his door. :) We're in an old Victorian. He wouldn't be able to reach it to remove the batteries. Awesome. We already have one there, but it's not sensitive enough to go off for cigarette smoke.

    BBK if I banned smoking in the house........then husband and I would become the difficult children. We just barely survived the few weeks after Aubrey was born.
  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Honestly, I haven't smoked in a house for over 15 years and am truly glad that I don't anymore. Yes, it was cold in the winter and wet in the summer but I set up a little bistro table and smoked under an overhang back home. Here, I smoke on the lanai. I truly don't miss smoking indoors. I take a book with me and enjoy my cigarette. Sometimes it's inconvenient but my house doesn't stink, I smoke a little less because sometimes going outside is a pain and my non-smoking friends like to visit me. It's also so much more healthy for everyone.

    Other ideas for Travis: he can't "play" in his room unless it is clean. If you feel you need to clean it so you can find your dishes, etc., he is charged for the cleaning. For my daughter, money was a huge incentive, even more so than computer or television time. So, I found financial fines when she got older to work far better than any other consequence. Right now, I'm working on her not taking my hygiene items without permission. She takes them, she has to buy me four of whatever item she took. If I ask her if she took them and she denies it and I then find them in her possession, it is 10 items. Amazingly, I now have deodorant and toothpaste, even when she "visits" for a week and brings nothing but the clothes on her back and a small purse.

    Any chance he could rent a room in someone else's home? usually has some rooms for rent listing in most towns/areas. He might be more willing to follow the rules there and, if not, at least he can see your rules are not all that onerous. It might be worth a try and would be a lot cheaper than any sort of apartment arrangement.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think the smoke alarm is an excellent idea. And a fairly inexpensive one. On the downside, if he smoked at night the rest of you would not be able to go back to sleep easily. It might have an impact on Aubrey.

    Have you ever CAUGHT him smoking in their? If so, toss water on him because you are afraid he is "burning up".

    I think a financial cost might be effective, or taking away his games or computer time EVERY time.

    What about a set of bins/cubbies right by the door, or in the garage to put his cigs AND lighters or matches in. If they are not there and he is home, another fine of some time.

    What would hurt him the most to lose? computer? xbox? what? and is it hockable? Take it to the pawn shop to pay for the "energy" that was drained from you in dealing with this. Also to pay for oust or whatever to get the smell out.

    Give HIM the pawn ticket and if he wants it back he can work to pay off the pawn ticket. But YOU will get him where it hurts - cost him $$ AND removal of his item for a while.

    It also would be good to set up an outside smoking area with chairs, gravel filled can for butts, etc... Maybe even dedicate a blanket or 2 for snuggling up in when he is smoking?

    These are just a few ideas.

    Also call MR/MH to see what adult facilities they have for people who cannot live alone.

    I am so sorry, the smoking in the bedroom is SCARY.

  14. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I think the smoke alarm idea is a good one. Is there one sensitive enough to go off from cigarette smoke? Is there any type of reinforcer you can take away if he does break the rule? Like, if he smokes you take away something he likes for a day, or whatever time length is good. This and the smoke alarm should be enough to deter him. Also, everyone likes a neat room, maybe you can help keep it clean if he doesn't smoke in there for xx amount of days.-Alyssa
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hey, Lisa!! I'm out of my turf over here in PE but counldn't resist reading the thread when I saw the title. I like the smke alarm idea, too! Another idea, but it might create havoc if he's prone to raging- what would happen if you put an exterior type lock on his bedroom door one day when he's not home? A lock that can only be unlocked with a key and you and husband are the only ones with keys. I'm thinking that you go in, get everything out of his room that shouldn't be there (dishes and cigs.), lock the door, and unlock it only for him to sleep in after being checked to make sure no cigs and dishes and food are being taken in.
  16. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member


    At the beginning of your post you said "....throwing him out on his arse isn't really an option?"

    At the end you are saying "If push came to shove, I'd evict him. Don't know where he'd wind up other than our already over full homeless shelter. (he doesn't make enough for an apartment)."

    He is taking complete advantage of the fact that you are wavering in how tough to get on this.

    He has a job and he is able to to take care of many of his needs, you've said so. You're short changing him and you're short changing yourself by making house rules and then just letting him off the hook so easily.

    Sometimes becoming homeless can be the gateway to other needed services, such as life skills training.

    The bottom line is that there is accountability in disability.
  17. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Great timing.
    difficult child is supposed to clean his room and bathroom. He is out of town and so I am wearing my haz met suit and cleaning. Because it's my house and I won't have it.
    difficult child has the same executive function issues as Travis. I give difficult child a list
    1) trash in the trash can
    2)laundry in the hamper
    3) books in the bookshelf.
    4)clean bathroom. toilet, sink, shower, countertop, floor. Wash Floor!!!

    He has to have the list every time. He can't remember these 4 simple actions. : (
    When he does them he misses half because he is oblivious to that sock he was walking over should be in the hamper.

    Anyhow, the room he uses in my house is clean. I'm trying to decide if I should have him clean it everyday with me checking it. I hate doing that but I simply can't stand my house to be dirty, messy and trashy.

    Lisa, if you figure out a way to teach them, let me know. I'm grateful that I don't have to deal with the smell and danger of cigs but what a dump their rooms are.
  18. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Fran, I use the checklist with my difficult child as well. His executive function seems to be on par with Travis's and your difficult child's.

    One thing I find highly entertaining...
    difficult child has a high need to rebel, and likes to perform tasks his own way, regardless of how ineffective that might be. But...when I give him the checklist, he rebels by putting an X in the tick box instead of a check mark. Or if he's really frustrated, putting a line through the item or scribbling it out. However, the list gets done. Weird.

    As far as the smoking and eating in the room, I like the suggestion of parking the cigarettes by the ashtray. And charging him a $1 fine for each stray dish or item of food garbage (e.g. takeout bags) that is in his room.

    With difficult child, his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff do a weekly room toss. Any contraband is confiscated or thrown away, depending on what it is. We have found that keeping his stuff pared down to the absolute minimum (1 or 2 days worth of clothing at a time, only the book he's reading right now, lego bin only while he's using the lego, MP3 player only while he's listening to music, everything goes back in storage when he's finished with it) keeps the creeping crud at bay.

    I also think the very sensitive smoke alarm is a great idea.

  19. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well darn Fran, I was hoping you'd have one heck of a solution up your sleeve. With yours being older, and as you said with many of the same issues. You and your difficult child have done alot of guidance with me and Travis. (and kept me from strangling the boy more than once. lol)

    Once I get the mess cleared out........I have to do daily inspection to keep it that way. He can only maintain on his own for a few days. Like you said, he doesn't make the connection that one sock on the floor he's walking over leads to two....and so on.

    I was hoping to supervise clean up this weekend. But now that I'm sick as a dog, not sure if it'll happen.

    ctmom I realize by my 2nd post that I'd contradicted myself. Didn't quite mean it that way. I meant that if the situation becomes too hazardous and I can't get him to comply I will have to evict him. I will have no choice. The biggest problem is that I can't simply place him on the street. Not won't, but can't. He doesn't have the level of function to survive at all on the street alone. It would be like tossing a small child out. It's difficult to explain. Mostly because it many areas he does do fairly ok with supervision. Yet in important areas he barely functions at all and only with close surpervision. If I was absolutely forced to evict, I'd have to find someone for him to go like my mothers or easy child's or some facility of supervised living.

    But to just toss him, I have to admit, I can't do that. I know that difficult children often do well in that situation. However Travis' isn't just behavior related, but physical disabilities.

    He isn't defiant or out of control. If I could get him to grasp the danger of smoking in his room, he'd most likely stop without arguement. The trouble I'm having is getting him to grasp that it is dangerous, not only to him but to everyone else in the house.

    That's why I thought maybe this would be a good topic to discuss. I know Travis isn't the only difficult child on the board with physical and brain related disabilities complicating parenting even further than gfgdom.

    While I push for him to be all that he is capable of being, I'm also faced with the reality of his limitations. Which I've been forced to accept.

    Most likely if he was defiant or out of control it would spark a whole new direction of discussion. Such as what the heck you do with a physically disabled adult child who is out of control? (cuz I'm not so sure what I'd do then either)
  20. Anaheimfan

    Anaheimfan Blue Collar Boy

    Most smoke alarms made nowadays are desensitized to cigarette smoke just for that very reason--smokers were having problems with their alarms repeatedly going off.

    The trash around his room definitely would make the situation worse if there ever were a fire. Do be sure that the exits to his room are clear, and that you have a rope ladder if you have a 2-story house and your son is on the 2nd floor.

    If he must smoke, provide plenty of Deep, Safe Ashtrays, or a tomato juice can filled with sand or kitty litter. As well, Disposable lighters which stop working when the button is let up on as opposed to a match or a Zippo lighter.

    As for getting him to understand the dangers I think I have a solution for you.

    Explaining that if he happens to start a fire, and either you, your husband or the both of you could get hurt, and he wouldn't have one or both of you to look after him for awhile or Heaven forbid..... might do the trick. The thought of losing a loved one may be the key.

    I hope that helps a bit, I wish I could offer you more advice.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009