I don't know anymore if there is anything to be done to improve the situation

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Biscuit, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Biscuit

    Biscuit New Member

    Hello all,

    I am new here, I am not parent but step-dad to a 18 yo adult child and a 8 yo one.

    And today I decided to post (sorry, english is not my first language) here because we have great difficulties with the older son.

    The kid was great when I met him, he was 13, he was doing quite good at school, was a good kid at home, and when I moved in with my wife everything was running smooth.

    When entering high-school he did a nervous breakdown, he was cutting himself, was put in therapy, and we were very concerned about his future. He was in a relationship that broke at the time. After that he started to become friend mostly with teens in failure. We warned him about the dangers but he still continued to be friend with those guys : kids in rich family with little rules, their own appartments at 16, doing drugs & alcohol.

    His results at school started to decline very fast, he started to have a lot of new girlfriends, and to be less and less respectful to his mother. His father is going nuts about him also, and he has probably some good reasons.

    At 18 now, I don't know what to do. He is failing (hard) school. He is in the bottom 5 of his class. He has a new girlfriend, who is also in a difficult situation at school, and whose parents are letting totally free.

    He started to sleep over to her mother place, the mother is very happy to have them there, so the kid is now asking to bring his girlfriend home at night.

    The last time we agreed to let him our home because we were away one night, we found cigarettes and weed at home, our dog was totally sick when we came home. So I am not happy at all with that. He does not do any chore anymore.

    He says he does not do drug or whatever but we have no reason anymore to believe it. He asked today to his mother if his girlfriend could sleep at our place, she said no, she said we agreed to say no, that made him go crazy and he started to judge his mother saying she was bad, that his girlfriend mother was much nicer etc... We said no because we have a small house, 1 couple is already not easy in, and this is not a hotel for them.

    We also received a letter from the school saying he had very poor results, he missed days. He said he does not want to go to school anymore, but he does not want to work either, and to be honest, he does not have any skill or whatever so I don't know what he could do.

    He lies to get what he wants, he dropped therapy saying he wanted that his mother go to therapy also (!!). He has no interest in anything else than going out or watching tv shows.

    Honestly I don't know what to do. He has violent angers sometimes, breaking his things, he broke his desk. We tried to support him but whatever we do, it seems it never pays.

    I am very scared about the future. I don't know what he will become. He will not get to college, I am quite sure of this, he has no money, don't want to work.
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    So sorry you are going thru all of this. Maybe therapy with his mom might be a good thing, if the therapist will be neutral and understand that parents deserve to have rules door their home.

    I am not sure in your country what the laws are about when parents are no longer legally responsible for an adult child. Teenage years are difficult, that is when my two perfect kids practically turned into strangers.

    you are in a hard place, because as a step parent, you need to let your wife and his dad set most the rules, and then try to follow their lead and support their decisions.

    I am sure others will soon post with better ideas than I have. Just know you are not alone. KSM
  3. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    He wants privileges? Well he will ONLY get them when he gets good grades in school and follows your rules. Simple as that! If he is a legal adult, may want to show him where the door is or drive him to a homeless shelter / suggest he move in with his girlfriend since that family is so nice.
  4. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    We have a 20 year old son that we had to use tough love on after five years on and off of drug abuse and not respecting our home, being lazy, not thriving. My son also has anxiety and depression which is another factor but from what you've said you need to make rules that he either follow or he cannot live in your home.

    That sounded harsh to me at first (now looking back I'm not sure why) but it's the only thing that has helped us and helped him. We had to present a united front (his dad and I). They try to play one against the other and especially with a step parent. It sounds like you are a very caring person.

    The people on this forum will give you great advice.

    Good luck.
  5. Biscuit

    Biscuit New Member

    Thanks for your answers...

    Today we had a phone call from the school asking his mother to come at school to get the results, and saying that he was spotted outside the school while having faked a doctor notice saying he was sick, which was done by his girlfriend.

    When confronted to this he said "okay", and he started to be a bit sarcastic and isolated himself in his room... He knows this has gotten too far I think. His father also found pictures of him on the internet in nightclubs while he was supposedly sleeping at a friend place so I think difficult times are coming. His father is convinced that he is using drugs, weed or ecstasy.

    My wife said earlier that she did not expect to have to have the "if you're not happy with the house rules you will have to move" so soon, like a couple of weeks after he turns 18...

    I have to take care also of myself because my stress level (and I work a lot) are very high due to this...
  6. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    So sorry you are having such a hard time with your step son. My husband and I are blending our two families and we both have a child who is difficult. We discuss everything so we can be a united front for the children. It hasn't been perfect, but we learn from our mistakes and keep trying. We no longer give my older son cash for fear he is using it for drugs. If he needs gas for his car, he has to do extra chores. We do not tolerate any distespectfulness from any of the children. We had to kick my older son out because he would not live by the rules of the house. He is back home now and is very careful to be respectful. It's hard to kick them out, but it shows them how serious you are. Set your boundaries and be firm and consistent. Hopefully, your step son will see how serious you are and change his ways.
  7. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Biscuit.

    I wanted to take a minute to point out the positives in your situation. First, both the boy's mother and father are aware that this behavior is unacceptable and willing to take steps to give him consequences. At least all of you are on the same page. That gives me hope for his future.

    I support your decision not to allow the girlfriend to treat your home like a hotel room (perfect description). It's a pity that the girlfriend's mother allows him to stay over. I'm also pretty shocked that some of your son's friends have apartments at 16. Obviously, those parents are not understanding about boundaries. You can't really control who you son chooses as friends, though.

    If you and your wife decide, you can stop giving him money. If he is going out to do drugs and party, then he should find his own way to pay for that. You can also stop paying for a cell phone, cable service, any other bonuses that he likes but has not earned. As a child, he is entitled to food to eat, clothes to wear and a place to sleep. You and your wife own all those other wonderful goodies. You can choose to keep him from enjoying those things since he is not getting good grades or working.

    My son used to break things in anger. Every time he did, I made him pay to replace whatever it was.

    I also want to mention that your wife will be extremely sad and upset that her son is behaving so badly. She may cry a lot. Remember that she is grieving for the loss of the dreams that she had for her baby. Be patient with her sorrow.
  8. Biscuit

    Biscuit New Member


    Thanks for your support.

    As you said, it's a good thing the mother and the father are aware and agree on the situation. We organized a "meeting" with parents + step-parents (including step-mom) this weekend after discovering new things.

    Basically, we all share the same views on the situation. The adult child is still trying or believing he can fool us. He lied a lot about going to sleepovers, we found a lot of disturbing content about his parties.

    The kid is totally disconnected from the reality at the moment. His father thinks he is smoking weed on days before school and at school as all his friends are heavy stoners. That could explain some things. He basically said that he does not want to study and not want to work. He said it without any anger or any provocation, just like it was normal.

    He has no interests anymore : he used to watch TV, play console, be good at sports, interested in shopping. Now, the only thing that matters is going out.

    His results at school are terrible. He is in bottom 3 of his class. He does not care at all about his post-graduate future and does not want to complete his college application.

    His parents proposed him three different jobs for the summer, including a dream job for a youngster, at an ocean club, working day and partying night, he just said "no no, I won't work this summer". No one is giving him money anymore so basically he will soon run out of cash, and he just asked his father some money for him to take vacations in summer.

    We were shocked. Like, how can he even believe he will get money for that.

    So, parents decided that if he does not graduate, he will probably be kicked out of the house and sent into a country high school.

    I really don't understand. His parents even proposed to him to do a seasonal touristic job at mountains the winter + work at summer for a year, but he also said he does not want to work.

    I have known a lot of friends in trouble at this age, etc... But I never heard such a speech. He simply decided to do nothing of his future.
  9. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    He sounds depressed...and perhaps, as you suggest, smoking a lot of pot. My older son fights depression always, and the more he smokes the lazier he gets. When I cut him off of all money (unless he works for it) that is when he decided he needed to get a job. I got him his first job...he walked out six months later because of the drama (bad supervision of employees). I understood why he walked out, but counseled him that he should have given two weeks notice even though the conditions were unreasonable. I told him I am all out of friends that can give him a job, so he will have to do it on his own. He did! He just started a new job this past week. It's fast food, but it's something. Now I just have to find a way to get him motivated to go to the community college to start working on a trade.

    If you can get him into rehab, do it. We had to give an ultimatum to our son: live somewhere else or go to rehab and participate. He chose rehab...we haven't had the perfect outcome, but he is so much better than he was before. Plus, I think it helped set the boundary that we weren't going to put up with his shenanigans.
  10. Biscuit

    Biscuit New Member

    Hello all,

    Well, things accelerated a bit recently... The kid had an altercation with his father. The father asked him to do a chore (washing his very dirty clothes) one time, two times, and had to repeat three times. The third time the kid bursted in anger and the father asked what he wanted and that he looked like he wanted to punch him, and the kid answered "no need" and punched his own face repeteadly until he nearly passed out.

    The father wrote to us that he did not want to deal with him anymore. This happened the day when we had planned a nice restaurant with the kid and my wife. We canceled it then the kid wrote a text to his mother who looked like a farewell text: he did not want to live with his father any more (shared custody) and he understood his mother did not want him (? she never said that or whatever but it is what he fears) and that he was gonna be responsible and goodbye and all.

    So I decided to step in and take the kid back home with my wife. We had a good evening, and some good talks. After that he was supposed to sleep one night at his father place, he agreed, we drove him at his father place but he never went to sleep. He sleeped away at his girlfriend place, driving his father crazy about that.

    So, we took the kid at our home, with strict rules. He was nice the first day, he even decided to totally clean his room, arrange it for better studying, we had nice discussions, and a serious chat on drugs (I am a former weed smoker and have lost some friends to drugs)

    The next day, he asked for something in shopping, we went to his room to put it and it was smelling smoke (cigarette smoke, not weed or hash or heroin or whatever). His mother found an ashtray with old cigs... Not a big deal but as former smokers who struggled to stop, we told him that we never smoked in the house and that he will not be the one to start.

    We also have the confirmation he went to rave parties etc... His best friend is a very clever kid with great results at school, politically engaged, fighting for the "right to party free" etc, he uses drugs but he maintains good results. The kid is following him and I totally understand it but he has not at all the same results and the same personal situation... His girflriend is also very clever and responsible but stepsons girlfriend is not at all in this situation...

  11. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    So many of us are dealing with similiar circumstances in my community. Teenagers that are doing just fine and then "harmless"( NOT) marijuana comes into their lives and things start falling apart. My son began to unravel around age 14 and although we did not know it then, he was smoking weed. Fast forward 2 years and he is still smoking. He has decided that he is not going to college and spends a lot of time mulling over how he can avoid having to work as an adult. It is shocking how much potential and motivation can be stolen through the use of marijuana. He was a talented athlete that now has no outside interests.
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  12. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    Poor boy is having a lot of growing pains. It doesn't excuse his behavior, but from what you have written, that's the way it sounds to me. He's trying to find his independence, trying to find himself, has caused a lot of grief for himself and his parents from his poor choices, and now he feels unwanted and unloved and probably feels shame and guilt because he's disappointed his parents. I see a lot of this in my own son. Some kids slide through puberty easily...others not so much.

    My approach has been to let my son know that I love him, but I will not tolerate any abuse or anger from him. As soon as he acts this way to me, I ask him to leave for a while. If he doesn't leave, I do. I try not to lose my temper with him, but I'm not always successful. I think my anger only fuels my son's. We have a good relationship, but it has been stormy. My son is a late bloomer and didn't start really asserting himself until he turned 18. The last two years have been a challenge, but we're starting to see better changes in him, and a lot of that, I think, is from firm boundaries, letting him know daily how much we love him and supporting him in all the positive steps he takes.
  13. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    I see this all the time with just about everyone I have known who smoke pot on a regular basis. No motivation, no drive, no interest in things they once loved to do. I explained this to my son when I found out he was smoking, and he either doesn't see it or doesn't want to believe it. The biggest argument he makes about not stopping is that he says it makes him feel normal. I've had counselors tell me they understand why because it slows down his ADHD and calms his anxiety. The flip side is he's so calm, he's unmotivated to participate in an active life! Blah!
  14. Biscuit

    Biscuit New Member

    This. This is so true. The whole entertainment society is advocating weed use, politics are de-dramatizing it, but they forget one thing : stoners don't mix with non-stoners. Like an old friend said "this is the ultimate lazy drug", it makes you think you're doing great things while sitting on your couch or bed and doing nothing. It makes you think you don't have to be there, part of a society, that you can just have fun.

    Yes, he is suffering. He is having a hard time realizing he suffers... He wants to be independent, but he does not want to be accountable for anything. And he is now paying his bad habits at studying. He is starting to see "fun friends" succeeding and having a future while he struggles, he tries to study more but he said he definitely lacks basic skills. His mother is also a bit harsh on him sometimes. I had to say to her (not in front of him of course) : "but, listen to him : he basically knows nothing. He is clueless about so much things, he needs to get out, work, and solve basic life issues himself".

    She was the opposite when teenager : quickly forced to independence, on her own, managed to get a nice work etc... So that makes her sad and sometimes mad. But on the other hand, not fixing enough limits, like you said, end up in disasters.

    I even said to him : "look, guy, if what you want to do is organizing parties, or be a sport coach, or whatever road you want to take, your mother said she does not mind, you are lucky, but you need to do something and learn something, even if you fail first, you need to learn. Because no one will offer you the job of your dreams".

    He literally has no plan. Not a single project, nothing. And in that I recognize weed.

    You're right, love is one of the keys of all that. Sometimes it's difficult, with the stress of the everyday life.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean. I have one like that too.

    As far as self-medicating with weed... it DOES work for anxiety - that much, even the medical community agrees on too. But even RX medications don't solve the problem - they just buy time to learn new skills. Anxiety doesn't just go away, we have to change how we think so we can change our reactions. And weed kills any motivation to learn the new skills.

    Weed also calms the impulsivity of ADHD - again, not the most effective drug, but it does work. Problem is, it's not targeted, it's more general, so it has other side effects (like killing motivation). It's hard to get specific dosages using weed so some days you have more than you need and some days less. And for most people, there are really effective ADHD medications out there.

    So, if he "needs" weed to function, then what he really needs is RX medications and a good therapist.

    Not that he's likely to agree with me on that.
  16. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Ah, yes the 2 things that my son has been diagnosed with since 5th grade.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We have been told that the most common substances used to self-medicate for ADHD are:
    - caffeine
    - nicotine
    - alcohol
    - marijuana
    - cocaine

    And the first four are used to self-medicate for anxiety.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Seriously, I have anxiety and panic disorder. I love coffee, but fidnt drink caffeine at all for fifteen years becaused it caused osnic attacks. Not so sure its used for anxiety. Just cant see it
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Anxiety is sort of like cancer - it isn't just one thing, it's a whole category of very different things. For some forms of anxiety, caffeine provides a boost to get going, or to speak up in class, and so on. For others... caffeine just makes the anxiety symptoms worse.
  20. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    What's interesting about weed is that for quite a few users, it can cause anxiety and even paranoia. For heavy, chronic users, these sx can occur when the user is not under the influence of weed.

    Also, with heavily researched and controlled breeding, there are many strains of marijuana beyond the original two species, c.indica and c.sative, which themselves have different effects.

    Modern weed is much, much stronger than the stuff I smoked in the 70s, and as a result, has both stronger psychoactive effects, and stronger long term effects.

    I would be interested in getting a medical card if the law ever passes in WI, just to try modern MJ, as I think it would be good for a lot of the musculoskeletal pain I experience, but I suspect it would be a case of one toke and keel over.

    The stuff has come a long way from the days when Columbia Gold was good stuff.

    by the way, studies are showing that the loss of ambition and drive can be permanent in heavy, chronic users. Studies have also shown frank brain damage in extremely heavy users, a slight degree of cardiotoxicity. These are users who are smoking 1/4 oz or high grade "dank" or more per day for long periods of time.