I'm so discouraged...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by therese005us, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    I tried to get His Lordship up at 8.00am as arranged. No go! I stormed off, and said, it's easy to say 'sorry' but your attitude doesn't change. I took the german student to school and left cherub at home with daughter. she had a temperature and bad cough. He surfaced around 8.45am.... when he felt like it.

    We talked about how his attitude doesn't change, despite threats, punishments etc. and his apparently being sorry. He tried to excuse it by saying he was tired (poor thing!) Sorry, I'm still cranky, and very fed up with this.

    Anyway, I took him to his appointment with the job services Centre. He has to report fortnightly. On the way I talked about attitude. He says I'm controlling, I pointed out, he is the one controlling his destiny by his attitude. (That's a fair comment, isn't it?)
    We got there, and he expected me to announce his arrival. I refused. He said "F...K you" in front of everyone. I should have just made him walk from there!

    The appointment went well. She talked straight to him. Told him he has to pull his weight at home, he's got it too easy, blah blah! blah! He says ' yeah, yeah, yeah' In one ear and out the other I could tell. Talked to him about how he's got it good, paying so little in board, somewhere to live, someone to run him around...

    Talked to him about how drugs will affect his life badly and negate his medication etc. and alcohol... still just sat saying yeah yeah.

    So, we get home, he asks what can he do? I gave him some tasks, but my heart wasn't in it. I'm so emotionally wrung out. He worked precisely about 90 minutes and said he didn't want to do any more! He is tired, he doesn't want to work more than an hour or so for me.

    I had previously told him he can negotiate the time he starts doing some work for me, i.e. 8-3pm or 7-4pm that he would not have power for his dvds and playstation till 7pm each day (after the dinner time) nd he was expected to do his tasks cheerfullly and well.

    So, we're back to square one. Me fed up of arguing (so I won't) him not willing to concede. So, no dinner. And I had already said he wasn't to have power before 7pm each night till 10.00pm as I don't want him wasting his life on PS and DVDS. I want him in the real world. Also told him no more smoking on the property, he has to be outside the boundary.

    I am just so worn out with arguing with him, so I am refusing to. That's the best I can do. My energies are depleting fast.
    I even told someone I wanted to end it all tonight, though that is quite out of character from me. Maybe I'm more desperate than I think?

    I just can't think of one nnice thing to say about the day, or how I feel. Me, who usually has to buoy up others, I can't do it anymore.

    I don't even know how I'm going to handle tomorrow, every time I see him, I want to run in the opposite direction from possible confrontation.
  2. idohope

    idohope Member

    I dont have any concrete suggestions but wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you that you will find the strength you need to face the next day and make whatever decisions you need to to deal with your situation.
  3. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    It is so frustrating to watch a child make things so hard on themselves (and you) and there is little you can do about it!

    I guess I just wanted to say you are not alone. It is so hard sometimes. I hope tomorrow is a better day.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry. It sure sounds like you, and even the counselor, are more involved in his life than he is.

    It is NOT right for him to sponge off of you the way he is. He will NOT stop until such time as he is FORCED to stop. The word force brings up ideas of strength, not taking No for an answer, making something change.

    In THIS situation the change may need to be His Lordship moving out of the family home. Give him a deadline, say 2 weeks or 30 days to get his stuff together and find a place to live. Do NOT let him take ANY family electronics (things he did NOT pay for with money he earned ) and verify everything he takes from the home is OK to leave.

    Then you simply MUST change the locks. He may steal or copy a house key at some point if you don't. Our difficult children don't respect anything of ours so this is to be expected.

    Be SURE to check with the counsellor and the police/sheriff to see if you must formally evict him or not.

    Until such time as he is not living at home he will NOT face his responsibilities and choices. Why should he? You can not MAKE him do anything. ALL you can do is follow through with natural consequences. He is not a good housemate, he is an adult, and there is NO reason he should continue to live the lifestyle that YOU and husband work so hard to create for yourselves.

    It really sounds like this may be the point you need to do this. It is NOT abuse of him. It is teaching him to cope with reality. Give him a list of numbers for shelters, housing assistance, food pantries, etc... If he refuses to use them you cannot help him.

    You have already led the horse to water. Now you have to lead him far enough into the water of the real world to have him either drink the water, swim, or sink.

    He will NOT change until you do. He may refuse to leave, which means you pack his stuff into grocery bags and put it off the property. Then you have the Sheriff escort him off the property. It may actually end up being the kindest and best thing you can do for him. Because it FORCES him to cope with the real world results of his actions.

    If he spoke to a boss or landlord teh way he spoke to you and the counselor he would be fired and evicted. So far YOU are his landlord and his employer. Time to treat him like an employee who refuses to do his work.
  5. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    I basically agree with Susie. We set our oldest free to go his own way the day after he turned 18 when he failed to adhere to a set of basic rules of the household - all of them oriented toward safety (his or the family's). We waited til the day after he turned 18 because here we were legally obligated to provide him a home until his 18th birthday but not after that.

    It was the best choice we ever made - for him and for us. It was not a perfect solution but it was the best one available at the time. Our son was even more disabled than yours due to severe physical disabilities and he has managed on his own for 8 years now. He's not living a life I would have chosen but it is the one he's chosen and he's generally very happy.

    Personally, I wouldn't wait 2 weeks or find him a place to go. I would give him a very specific short written list of rules, a statement of the consequences for breaking the rules (at all) and require his signature that he understands the rules and consequence (eviction). If he refuses to sign then the consequence happens immediately - within 2 hours no more. The very first violation of the rules he's out. No warning, no whining, nothing. You just ask him where he'd like to be dropped off and that he has 1 hour to pack his clothes before you drop him off there.

    If he receives public benefits of some kind and you are his payee (i.e. you get the check and give him the money) you need to immediately - I mean today - start the process of handing off this job to an agency or other program that provides this service. Do not continue in this role - it will defeat your efforts to enable him to become independent as long as he associates you with the source of his money.

    It also messes up the boundaries of your relationship because you attempt to control how he spends his money. It's his - he needs to learn how to manage it without your "help". In this he is the one that is correct - you are trying to control him and he will fight you more and more viciously if you continue to do so.

    Disconnecting completely for now is your goal. It's a painful leap of faith but you are not doing him any favors by letting him think you will always be there to rescue him or that it's OK to treat family members (or anyone else) like dirt. He's allowed to call you to say hello once a week but that's it. You can make sure he has a list of phone numbers for social service agencies or other programs that will help him but do not call those places and arrange for them to help him.

    Do not give him a bunch of money either. A small amount is OK but not enough to do more than buy a little food and get a place to stay for one night. And, no, you will not be giving him anymore when that is gone.

    I would change the locks now and force him to come and go when you are home. Lock him out of the house when you aren't there. This will absolutely send him a very clear message that you mean what you say. If you don't do this then you will need to get the locks changed before you leave the house after setting him free. Expect that he will try to come back and get in - possibly break in. You might let him know that you will call the police if he tries to break in.

    This may sound harsh to you. You may feel that due to his disabilities - esp. the schizophrenia - he's not responsible for his behavior or capable of managing on his own. Our son was also psychiatricly impaired in addition to be dependent on a power wheelchair for mobility. But he has gotten along for 6 years now and we are all much happier with him on his own. I suspect that if you are honest with yourself you will admit that your son is able to modify his behavior based on the situation so you do not need to be responsible for him in any way.

    We do occassionally bring our sone home for a weekend visit or out of town to see grandparents now but it was several years before we reached that point. So don't assume that things won't get better with time because probably they will.

    Here are some questions that may help you clarify your thinking and feelings in regards to this advice.
    Are you meeting the needs of the other children in your home?
    Are they victims of your oldest's bad behavior?
    What example are you setting for them?
    What happens to them if you continue to get more depressed and god forbid, in a moment of deep despair, hurt yourself?

    Please take action today to protect and care for each of your children and yourself. Each child needs something different from you - right now your oldest needs you to stand firm and show him how adults treat each other and what "normal" expectations are for a grown man. And no matter how you feel in your heart, he is indeed a grown man as far as society is concerned.

    Best wishes,
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    G'day Mate.

    I don't know how old his Lordship is, but whatever age he is over the age of 13 he is quite capable of getting himself up and ready for school, unless he is mentally retarded. This was the stern words I got from our therapist. Actually he said that any 10 year old child could be given the responsibilities of an alarm clock but since our children tend to be emotionally younger, I could add three years to most 'norms'.

    This was very hard for me to do and for any parent to do because the first thing we like to think of when our children fall short of THEIR responsibilities is HOW IS THIS GOING TO MAKE OUR DAY AS PARENTS HARDER? For example: If HL doesn't get up for school at the sound of his own alarm clock - and get to school on time - what would happen to him??
    a.) He misses school
    b.) He misses the days work and falls behind
    c.) He misses school, misses the days work, falls behind and fails the year.
    d.) He all of the above AND becomes truant - then gets taken to court
    e.) He all of the above AND you as the parent gets in trouble with the law

    And up until selection e.) it was natural consequences for him - but when you throw parent gets in trouble with the law - then he drags you into it. So what can you do legally?

    This is where you have to get the authorities involved and tell the courts "I have a child that is XX years old who is incapable of getting himself up for school, would rather sit home on his dead bum and do nothing but sleep all day while I'm at work than get an education, does not care if his parents get in trouble with the law and that's why we're here. Maybe you can get him to attend school in juvenille detention."

    I didn't have this problem with my son - he LOVED to go to school. We made home SO boring - he couldn't wait to get up and go. But we had other MAJOR problems that left me also feeling defeated. When his behaviors became too, too much to handle we had him removed from the home at 16. We had his caseworker find a placement and sent him off to stay in one of the most horrid places he'd ever been at. He had an awful time there, and learned quite a few lessons that were invaluable. Eventually we had the place shut down it was so bad. Then we had him placed in foster care where he still is.

    My point is...You do NOT have to put up with a child running YOUR household and berating you, and bullying you. Think about it like this. If he were ANYONE elses child, would you allow him to come into your home and treat you, or your other children like he does? No. Then why do you put up with his behavior and let him get away with the things he does now? Fear? Retribution? Is that a reason to keep him there? Nope. If he can not abide by your rules then do like Susie* said and set a date for him to be out - and house rules for him to start following with consequences IMMEDIATELY and stick to them. No more second chance. He crosses the line - THIS WILL OCCUR. Then follow through.

    Threats can't be used any longer - time for action. Time to draw a line in the sand and mean what you say. Time for you to stop being bullied by your child and stick to your guns. Time for you to listen to your girlfriends and let them empower you to be strong and help you be brave and help you detach, and ultimately help your son become a stronger, better, less dependent person on you. If you weren't there tomorrow - who would do all this for him. (therapist asked me that too) I had to let him start doing it for himself and stop treating him like he was an invalid. I'm glad I did. He's grown a lot in the last year. I think most times it was harder on me than it was on him. (I know it was)

    Hugs & EMPOWERMENT!!!!:smug:(thats the power symbol)
  7. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    Thanks for all your supports everyone. I don't feel so bad today, although the day didn't start brilliantly. I thought? How much longer can I feel so low, without one nice thing to say about anything? That's pretty low for me, I can usually find a glimmer of hope.

    Anyway, His Lordship (I like that, I think that's what I'll call him for a while) told me his psychologist told him to move out and get a job in I**** This after only two appointments? That made me a little mad - so I put a call in to him to see what he really said. Anyway, I asked HL what he felt about that, especially since he's been working towards an apprenticeship in butchery out this way, has a job out this way, etc etc. He didn't know. Do you have $*** saved to start your flat? Are you ready to pay $** for rent, electricity etc? Nope! I pointed out that this is what I want for him to be independent, but he has a few more things to learn yet, and that's why he needs to improve his attitude.

    So, the record played a few more times, same song, same song. Then, miracle of miracles! There was an immediate improvement of attitude. He did tasks asked willingly, (even going to fetch the cows home when daughter asked him to) and was respectful all day (I left to go to the city around 1.30pm).

    Later this afternoon he rang and told me he'd had a call from Woolworths to offer him an interview with a view to an apprenticeship. These were the people who had to retract their offer several months ago. Could i please take him? Tomorrow? Great! So, now he has 2 possibilities.

    He wanted to wear XXYZ. I suggested, wear his black pants and shirt that he would be expected to wear for work anyway. Shave, wash hair etc. by the morning (I didn't get home till a little while ago) and be ready for his job early so I can pick him up and take him to a service station or something to wash and change for the interview.

    HL receives benefits, but although I have authority, I have chosen not to have control of his money. It goes into his bank account and he spends as he wishes. I do occasionally insist he save $ and have set up a separate account (in his name, under his control) for this. He pays board of $50 a week which he hands me himself.

    I have authority for his medications, doctors appointments etc. and to see into his bank account, check his benefits entitlements etc. I have responsibility to get him to put in his forms etc. It's tiresome.
    I have tried to make him responsible for his own things, but he's not capable - or too lazy? Maybe a combination of both. He won't read forms, but he doesn't understand them. He has auditory processing problems big time. He needs constant supervision to keep on task. I don't know how he'll go, but Woolworths is an equal opportunity employer, which is why it is my preferred option. They have a policy to help disabled people.

    His road to independence is a ways off yet, which is a burden at times. I get low like this once in a while, I'm glad I can finally pull myself out of it.

    I want to try a chart/points system. Does anyone have some ideas? Jobs, for points, points for rewards (but in this case, he will earn his trip to the video shop, or the ride to work, or his meals etc. ) I tried to look one up on the internet, but I'm very challenged in this area. Could someone tell me, 'click here' and I'll find it?

    Thanks again girls, I appreciate your patience and advice.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't mean to be rude here, but I must ask this.

    Are you truly doing a sticker chart for a 19yo man? What, exactly, do you think will be the result of using a method that usually doesn't work with people over the age of 8?

    He is an adult. I know he has all the disabilities and disorders, but he also had got a Mom who does most of the things he should have to do for himself.

    You don't want him to move out until he can pay for a nice life? He HAS a nice life at your house. No wonder he won't do anything. HOnestly, he doesn't HAVE to do much. Every once in a while do chores nicely and mommy is willing to do all those nasty forms and deal with all the rules and drive him all over.

    You really NEED to step back and STOP treating him like a 6yo. You are keeping him from growing up. Unless he MUST pay regular bills and MUST pay his own way he is NOT going to see what you mean.

    Infantilizing him is NOT helping him. At. All.
  9. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Trish -

    Is there someone in your life that you trust to give you good advice? Someone perhaps whose children are now adults out in the world? If you do, maybe it would be helpful to you to talk things over with that person.

    I suggest this because my experience with e-mail and on-line posts is that the emotion, the physical contact, the tone of voice which add so much to our understanding of another person's words cannot be conveyed well by words on a screen. Sometimes thoughts shared out of caring and love can be misunderstood or seen differently than as intended. My words are intended to support, to speak that which is often unspeakable among those who do not have a difficult child in their lives, to encourage you to challenge the status quo and to consider the possibility that there are other ways of looking at your situation and your son's behavior.

    I see your experience through the lens of my experience. Perhaps I am projecting things onto your situation that are not there. It's hard to know. What I do know is that we have been through a similar struggle with our own child. It was painful, it was scary, it was at times a nightmare. But we made it through and learned some powerful lessons along the way.

    Our son struggled to express his need for independence and self-determination. He didn't use "his words" - instead he used actions. He was so extremely disabled and we had taken care of him for so long you see. We decided almost everything for him, we did almost everything for him. We made what, in retrospect, were clearly token and patronizing attempts to include him in decisions about his life or to hand him responsibility for his money or his time. We made many mistakes.

    Our son has a severe bone disorder. He is about 2 feet tall because his legs are fixed in a seated position in front of him. He has extreme deformities of the arms and legs. Each of his fingers is a different length and width. He can fracture an arm by turning it the wrong way - something that happens often because his elbows and wrists are fused and his arms are shaped like a distorted S. On top of these physical disabilities he had significant learning disabilities, he was paranoid and depressed. Because of his lack of insight he expressed his severe internal conflict through his body - pseudo-seizures, paralysis, loss of sensation.

    He resorted to behavior that was much more extreme that what you are seeing with your son. The week before he turned 18 he attempted suicide every single day. He threatened us with knives and tried to run us down with his power wheelchair.

    He has been on his own for 8 years now. We have been horrified at times by the choices he has made. He has been homeless more than once. He takes incredible risks that put him in great danger at times. But he is happy. He is independent. He is an adult - not always a very competent one but an adult nevertheless.

    Given where we have been and where we are now I want to say to you what no one in our lives had the insight or knowledge to say to us during those dark, dark days. Take from my words the parts that make sense to you and leave the rest. So here is what I think.

    I think that this conversation is really about you -
    • about how scared you are for your son
    • about how accustomed you are to your role in his life and the way it imposes shape and purpose on your life
    • about how you feel when you let yourself wonder what you will do when you don't have to take care of him anymore
    • about how you will manage when you don't know what he's doing every second of every day
    • about facing the possibility that you have made parenting mistakes that will make his life harder - something we ALL have done - it's part of life
    • about resisting recognition of your own entrenched patterns and how those patterns may be effecting the people you love - especially your son - in unintended ways.

    Here in the USA it would be a significant sign of disrespect to refer to an adult male as "His Lordship". Maybe it's a cultural issue but coming from you it sounds passive-aggressive. It sounds like you resent him but won't set appropriate boundaries that would allow each of you to respect the other.

    He's holding down an apprenticeship as a butcher and you want to do a sticker chart for him to earn his trips to the video store?

    It sounds like there is a huge disconnect between his behavior and your expectations at home and his behavior elsewhere and the expectations other adults have for him - places like his apprenticeship. Are they doing a sticker chart with him? Would they look at you like you were crazy if you suggested it?

    My daughter has severe auditory processing problems. Yes it is challenging. Speech therapy has helped a lot but I think that having adults in her life who expect her to do what it takes to be successful (and letting her get on with it) are a big part of her success and her exuberant self-confidence. I don't actually take much credit for this - she is an amazing child and has many adults in her life who encourage her independence.

    About the psychologist - why should you be mad about what the psychologist said? Is this your therapy or your son's? What are you doing in the middle of that relationship? Perhaps I misunderstood you but the way you describe this sounded inappropriate to me.

    Ask yourself: who's in charge of his life? You or him? It should not be you any more. You say you want to be free of this "burden" but your words and your actions are not congruent.

    Smiling while gritting your teeth and pretending that everything is swell, complaining to others without making any changes in your actions, enduring public abuse, involving yourself in his therapeutic relationship, making up sticker charts to motivate him, giving him control of his money and then insisting that he "save" some when and how you tell him - does this sound like you are modelling a healthy relationship between a 19 year old man and his parent?

    It appears that you are sabotaging him big time Mom. Unless he's mentally retarded - and I mean IQ 50 or less kind of MR (I don't see that listed in your description anywhere) YOU are not behaving appropriately. His behavior may be obnoxious but you're the one who's been an adult for all these years and should be able to take the longer view.

    It's very scary to let them fail, to watch them make mistakes that you know are going to cost them dearly. Hopefully you grew up in a home where you experienced independence as a young adult. If so, you survived didn't you? How are our children ever going to learn those lessons if we don't let them fail?

    You may be quite amazed at the resourcefulness your son displays when he has no one to rescue him. We were. What will he have to feel proud of if you spend your days and nights arranging his life and fixing things for him? That he did what you told him to do? Don't you want him to experience the sense of accomplishment that only comes with overcoming life's challenges on his own?

    And what will he do when the day comes that you are no longer there to take care of him? It could be tomorrow or next week or next month. If he can take care of himself then, he can probably take care of himself now. If he is truly so mentally handicapped that he cannot care for himself without close supervision, then you need to be looking for a sheltered community for him to live in or some other arrangement that gets him out of your house and into a supported program run by professionals. He deserves the dignity of being treated as an adult no matter what and he's not getting that with you.

    I understand completely how hard it is to step back and let them go. But you MUST do it. If you don't your child may never reach his potential, your relationship with him is likely to become distorted with anger and resentment, and, in the end, he may not have the tools he needs to live life after you are gone.

    Have faith in him. Believe that he can handle things himself. Envision the smile on his face when he discovers he's a good employee. Let yourself imagine how he will feel when a decision he made on his own turns out right. Think about how he might feel when a decision he made turns out wrong and he can't blame you for how things turned out - just think what his therapist can do with that kind of ammunition!

    He won't do everything right. He may end up living a life you would not have chosen for him. But it's not YOUR life. It's HIS.

    People don't grow without a certain amount of pain, suffering and frustration. Take away the hard times and you are likely to get something stunted and deformed - haunted by self-doubt and self-pity. It is the painful times that give us insight into ourselves.

    There's a lesson in that for you personally. You are not finished growing, changing, giving, loving. You have potential of your own to fulfill in this life, gifts to give to the wider world, new ideas to explore, new places to go, new things to see and experience. Can you continue to mature into the wise, loving woman we know you are without releasing your son to find his way as an independent adult?

    Do not become two flies trapped in amber where the only way out is to shatter the stone. Reach for possibilities. Take a leap of faith that everything will somehow work out for the best. Trust your son to find his way. This choice does not mean you will never see him or that you will not be there for him in times of trouble. It means you will take a different role in his life - that's all, really.

    Many hugs and please forgive me if I have come across as critical or unkind. That is not my intention at all.

    Best wishes,
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We do NOT mean to be cruel or mean in any way. We just do not think you really SEE what your behavior is really saying to him and the rest of the world and what it will do to him and his life.

    He is resourceful enough to have conned you into doing his stuff for him so chances are he is more resourceful and able than you perceive. My mom and I call this "creative incompetence" and find that the males in our lives are Grand Masters at it. This means that they will do a job so badly or half-tushiedly and make such a HUGE deal about how hard they worked and how they never get appreciated that we just fix it rather than fight about it. They may even pick fights about not being appreciated enough when they do things. All of this makes us FAR less likely to ask them to do that chore, and after several rounds of this we stop asking them to do almost any chore. It is easier to just do the chores than listen to them and cope with the lousy job they are doing. So we slide into doing the chores ourself and resenting the living daylights out of them. Soon they are happily doing nothing and all it cost them was a few poorly done chores and some loud gritching about not being appreciated or able to do anything that you think is done "right".

    It really is shooting ourselves in the foot when we do this. I have had good luck turning the tables. When husband or my dad starts moaning about how I never appreciate that they put a new roll of tp in the bathroom (because they throw the used up roll onto the floor and put the new roll on TOP of the holder, or they put the new roll sitting on top of the old roll on the holder), I start moaning about having to pick up all the garbage off the floor. I start doing only PART of the dishes and I make dang SURE that his favorite dishes have a film of grease on them or if I clean them completely I either use them or smear some dishsoap on them so his meal tastes funny. Or I have just stopped doing ALL cleaning tasks. The bad part about THAT is that I have to be able to live with a mess for about a week. That is how long it takes him to see what I am doing. Or it did. (When I got so sick he stopped doing almost any housework because first he thought I was faking it. When he realized I was NOT faking it and could make myself really really ILL the house was too far gone for him to catch up. Hence hiring someone to dig us out. NOW I gripe about anything out of place.

    For just a few moments close your eyes and think about when you were a young adult. Did your mom control everything you did so nothing was hard on you? If so, how did that make you feel? If she did not control your life the way you do your son's life, how did you feel about that? How did you feel when you were faced with a problem and you solved it? Do you really want to rob your son of those feelings?

    Can you now see some of the bad habits you slid into and how it happened? It was NOT EVER EVER EVER done out of a desire to hurt or cripple your son. You NEVER woke up and asked yourself "How can I mess up my kid or hurt him so that his life will forever be a misery?". You only ever asked yourself "What can I do to help him so his life will be good?". So start off by forgiving yourself. difficult child needs the wood to build his own life. Feeling guilty is natural but difficult child will use it against you when his life becomes uncomfortable. So do what you can to put guilt out of your life.

    Maya Angelou (I think) pegged it when she said "We did what we knew to do. When we knew better we did better."

    Now you could, if it made you feel better and wouldn't give difficult child too much power to guilt you into things, apologize to him. Tell him you were wrong to do so much for him and control so much of his life. Tell him that from now on you will allow him to live out his own decisions and will let him make his own mistakes and solve them. YOU are now out of the business of telling him what he needs to do and out of the business for fixing things so his life will be comfortable.

    IF his decisions will create hardship on the family, or abuse the families generosity or break the house rules ( yes, you still have rules, even MORE of them aimed at being a good housemate. The same as you would have for any roommate, including pulling his own financial weight.)

    Tell him that you expect him to be a considerate housemate, list specific rules (Marg is good at outlining rules that will help define each of your roles at this point in life, you may want to ask for her help here.) and let him know that violating the rules will have him forced to move out.

    He WILL break the rules. As many as he can. Do NOT give second chances, DO follow through with the consequences. Once he moves out he will HAVE to face new challenges and the real world. As a parent this is what you should WANT. It means he will learn to handle his mistakes and revel in his successes. He will probably be angry at you. It will pass. He will eventually see that you and he were too enmeshed and the separation is good.

    Just don't give in to guilt. It is HARD, dang hard. But YOU must learn and grow and so you must also let him learn and grow. It will set a path for independence for you, and for all of your kids.

    Many hugs, and lots of support will be here as you go through this process.

  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A clarification here - the "His Lordship" tag was suggested by Star, until now Trish has referred to him as "DS19" which also gives his age.

    We use all kinds of tags here for our kids. Doesn't mean we use them to their faces.

    From my own experience with a now-adult and (allegedly; attemptedly, anyway) difficult child, I can assure you - some of them DO NOT mature when other so-called "normal" people do.

    However, I do agree that a sticker chart wouldn't be a good idea. A variation on it, though, something that we used to have in my workplace, might be an idea, Trish.

    In some ways our workplace was similar to a farm. We had a lot of physically demanding work to do, a wide range of chores in a wide range of locations. Some of it was interdependant (as in, "Do A first, then with the results of A, make B work.").

    So we had a blackboard (you could also use a whiteboard) and on it we would write a list of jobs that needed doing. EVERYONE had to use that board, including the boss. He of course had his own special chores that we couldn't do for him. The list of jobs would be written up, and the person's name put next to it, who was going to do it. Sometimes we used a colour system (so a quick glance could tell you how much you had to do, and where, so you could coordinate your tasks).

    As jobs get done, they get ticked off. At the end of the working day (or when people are taking a break, or saying, "I'm finsihed now,") you re-assess. IS it all done? To your satisfaction?

    What you nneed Occupational Therapist (OT) be doing with him/for him now, is setting him up for independent living. To that end, you need to be making his environment as close to indepndent living as possible. Part od this is accountability. You are already working towards this with your rules on his access to power to run his games, etc. Seriously - if you must have currency for him, make that currency in kilowatt hours. To earn his allowance of kilowatt hours, he has the basic minimum of regular, assigned (as in written down) chores to do. Your chores (and everyone else's) chores are also written down. He needs to see what he does in comparison to how much you do. He needs perspective. And written down, gives better perspective.

    This technique also more closely resembles how the work situaiotn often functions. You are also setting up a system which, if it works, he can use when he does eventually get a job.

    Now to something I can help with, which is peculiarly Australian. We went through this with difficult child 1 and are gearing up for it with difficult child 3.

    At 16 years old, an Austrlaian kid with a disability can plly for the Disability Pension (or whatever Centrelink is calling it THIS week!). When difficult child 1 was applying for it, a very helpful Centrelink social worker advised us to make sure that the bulk of his pension was 'locked away' from him, because otherwise he would go hog-wild and spend it all. Disability is designed to make it possible for a person to live indepndently, albeit with a struggle. It's frankly way too much for a kid living at home who doesn't know how to be responsible with money. To a teenager, it's a huge amount of money simply for doing nothing. They can go stupid on it and be really irresponsible.

    Now, I don't know how you will be able to set this up, because it does require his cooperation. But maybe his therapist can help with this, because in the long run, DS19 ("His Lordship" - I love it! Thanks, Star) WILL be the one to benefit.

    difficult child 1's pension was paid into his bank account (of course). But we made sure that a certain amount of it (we discussed it together, asked him to list his weekly expenses and included in the amount we required for board) was siphoned off into an investment account. We chose one of those accounts where interest is paid (at a higher rate) ONLY if you don't withdraw anything that month, and only if a deposit is made at least once a month. Now, the pension is paid fortnightly, so there was no problem about making deposits. We did have a problem for a while, because there had to be about two to three business days each fortnight, when the pension was paid in but the transfer to the investment account was not taken out. If difficult child 1 got to his account in that interval, he would clean it out and spend the lot (on toys and computer games). In his mind, if the money was accessible to his card, he could have the lot.

    So for a while (remember, he was 16) we would ask him to give us his card the day before pension day, and we would give it back to him three days later when we knew the transfer had taken place.

    We arranged it so that he was getting $50 a fortnight, and the rest was going into the investment account. Interest was paid monthly and it built up rapidly. By the time he finished school he had $15000 in the investment account.

    Oh, one more very important thing - when we set up the investment account, we set it up with my signature as well as his, BOTH to sign. When he married, we added his wife to the signatory. They have since cleaned out that acccount (but with good reason). He is now 25 and in te 9 years, he learned to manage his money. He finally used a lot of it to buy his first vehicle. Cash. He made a bad choice of car, but tat is another story.

    The thing is, he learnt to manage his money over this time, by letting him have free access to a much lesser amount. This meant he had to work harder to save up for a computer game or a toy.

    The other thing we did - we could have set the transfers up to transfer his board to our account. But we wanted him to learn personal responsibility, so we expected him to withdraw the money and hand over the board money to us regularly each fortnight. Doing it by direct debit is too automatic and too easy, he wouldn't have learned. And now he has learned to be much more personally responsible for his bills.

    If you can sell it to him, use the angle that he is using the bank's own system to help him save up for a nest egg. He will need to pay a deposit for a flat. He will want to buy his own car, pay for driving lessons etc. He will want (eventually) to buy his own butchers' knives and other work equipment. He needs to learn to budget, but he doesn't want to have you write out a budget for him. This way he can learn to work it out for himself, but with some of his money safeguarded for him each fortnight. He really doesn't need all that beer. And he really doesn't need to use his spare pension money to buy beer for his 'mates'. How often do they buy beers for him? Do they really properly reciprocate as a true Aussie male should? I bet not, from things you've said. So again, this should help him learn more realistic social reactions from his 'mates' and he will find out who are the true mates, and who are the ones hanging out for the free beer.

    So there you have my two suggestions - a chores blackboard FOR EVERYBODY (so he doesn't feel singled out; and so he can learn a bit of perspective as well as teamwork) and an investment system where some of his pension (I would recommend about half, at least) is locked away each fortnight in an investment account in his name, but with two to sign. Don't you set it up for him, but you CAN walk him through the process, be with him as it's done. Only step in to advise and help if he looks like he's floundering.

    When difficult child 1 was 19, he really was almost as helpless as His Lordship. In some ways, worse. At least he stayed in our house, but although we banned him hooking his game systems up to our TV, he went out and dragged hom a working TV from the Council Clean-Up pile and used that. There were times when I had to negotiate with him to limit his game time - he would voluntarily give me a vital component of his game system. You already have an option in place - you have access to his on-off switch.

    The other thing - you're probably already doing this but when he does the chores, thank him. Praise him for it especially if he has done a good job. It really can help.

    Hang in there. I hope the Wollies thing works out for him. Actually working can make a difference too. But watch out for Centrelink hassles - he has to personally show Centrelink his first pay slips, then they will start sending him rude letters about how they've overpaid him and if he doesn't p[ay it back they will come after him. But tey only ask for it back, a fortnight at a time. It caused all kinds of confusion and anger for difficult child 1. He would get a letter saying, "You have been overpaid $357, please pay it at your earliest opportunity or a fine will be payalbe. You should havenotified us as soon as you were working" (even though he did). He would pay the $357. Then a week or so later, he would get another letter worded exactly the same. His first reaction would be, "I've already paid this."WRONG. It's a different pay period. And they keep doing this until all pay periods have been covered and re-covered.

    And Centrelink wonders why we hate their system so much!

  12. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    Thank you all. some of your responses were harsh - but I went to bed cryng anyway - the day just gets long at the moment!

    there is a saying, 'you need to walk in my shoes' and none of us should presume we know all the answers or all the situations. We can only write here a shhort version of our lives.

    Marg's right, he's NOT 19 per se, and I've been battling that part ever since day 1. I TRY to treat him as such, it back fires, my expectations are too unrealistic and overwhelming for him. Which is why, 1/ he didn't know the address of his appointment; 2/ nor the name of the person he had to see; etc etc and I got the verbal abuse, because I wanted to let HIM take charge of his appointment.

    He would have gone to his interview unshaven, unwashed etc in his work clothes if I hadn't taken his clothes and asked him to do these things before his appointment time. Should I let him? and blow his chances of moving forward towards independence? Some may say yes! consequences for actions. Well, I think we can use that in some of the little things, working towards bigger things - like allowing him to buy a car way too soon, at the beginning of the year - now it's rotting away because he can't drive it.... but it is his money.

    Yes, I suggest he saves, and it's only a suggestion. I won't take marg up on the suggestion of havign signature on his account. There are two parts to it - one is 'spendings' the other 'savigns' the savings part is attached, but he physically has to enter a bank to get that out. I suggeset when I know ther eis X amount spare in there that "should I transfer $ to your savings?" persuasion is heavy though.

    He spendds his money on drinks, drugs and games/dvds/smokes. He resents having to buy his own socks! and food! Hence the term 'his lordship' from my perspective, he manipulates people into giving him what he wants for little return. Waits for his meals, but doesn't offer to help prepare. I'm working on it. I just get sick of the battles, I'm tired, very tired.

    "I'm hungry, when's dinner?" My response (when I can muster it) is, 'well, I can't cook, I have no wood!' filling the woodbox is his responsibility. Same response for when there happens to be no hot water.

    As for the psychologist reaction? That's all it was, a reaction. I'm glad he didn't ring back, you are entirely right, his appointment is his appointment. He is rather a liar, and likes reaction - I give it sometimes too readily. He probably was asked, what do you want for your life? I know, he wants to move out and get a flat he's being sayng that a year now. The psychologist, not knowing him well yet, has reacted by saying - do it then, work towards it. DS19, used that to get a reaction the other day, I gave it. I want him to be independent too, we even made a list of what he needs to save towards. He can't move out indepdnently yet (mainly 'cos he's not) until he's been properly assessed, settled, etc. on medications, job, so on. When he does, I'll still have to care for him somewhat to make sure he takes his medications etc. so it will be semi independent. I don't know yet where to go for that support, but as time goes on, we'll find out whether there m ay be 'drop in' people to see things run smoothly.

    he has his own 'pad' since he's home. He has a caravan for his space and I've tried to encourage him to help make a patio area as well. He chooses to spend all day in there, watching tv, etc. despite my encouragement/pleadings etc. to help about the place, get out more.... it goes on.

    The 'rewards' system you all reacted to is another desperate attempt at getting him to receive for giving. Consequences/action etc. and an outside suggestion from a mother with a child without disability when her daughter wouldn't help about. She charged her $ per hour for what she did. I had no intention of making a 'sticker chart'. I've already given him a daily routine chart - he ignores it. I thought write down what I expect save nagging - doesn't work.
    Give him a calendar to write appointments on - doesn't work.
    Give him a diary to write appointments on - doesn't work
    Notebook to help him remember at home and work (no shame in writing down the tasks to refer to later, right?) doesn't work

    All these things in an attempt to treat him with respect and dignity. no one else has to know his memory is non existent or his auditory processing is below par. But attitude is 110% If he would realise that this is to help him NOT be seen as different.

    Maybe I treated him wrong in the beginning, like a normal kid. Instead of making sure he knew he was disabled? But no, I don't think so...

    Even the Employment counsellor rang me after the appointment I decided not to go to. She said, he has a disability right? It was quite obvious to me, he had no idea what I was saying. Could you come in for another appointment so we can explain it together?

    I don't really want him on disability allowance. That's what his 'mates' did when he was on the streets. Told him how to get the most out of welfare. Except they pretended to be sick to get it, so they had the moeny for drugs and didn't have to look for work. They even used that to get out of police problems, pretended to go "pschizo" when picked up for misdemeanors. He would qualify, for sure. But that's an easy way out. He can work, in the right atmosphere, with assistance. The woolies people are equal opportunity, so we can disclose his medical condition and they will help him through. He can even do reduced hours on his apprenticeship to help him through. He may not succeed beyond the apprenticeship, but he'll be learning and earning and have some dignity.

    His current employment counsellor wants him to help out more. It's not going to happen. Make him responsible for feeding the dog, don't remind him. Been there done that - the dog nearly starved for 3 days. "Sorry I forgot" is a common phrase - dogs don't get fed, chooks die from no water, water tank gets drained, I try, but it's awful frustrating and tiring running after him.

    His sheets didn't get washed for 6 weeks. Every Monday, put out your sheets - so I didn't nag except to say it once on Monday, 6 WEEKS! same with bathing, it's either all or none!

    I don't want to be here sometimes. But a mother has to do what she has to do.

    He won't go till he's ready. When he does, if he's not 'settled' i.e. job, nice friends, a purpose in life he can handle, he'll be back on the streets again with drugs and drink. I know he smuggles them here, but I'm hoping the change of environment i.e. work, will help.
    If I don't help him now, he's getting older, the chances get slimmer. 19 is considered too old to put on apprentices in some fields, so he's lucky for the chance. 21, 22, etc. with no experience backing on his resume looks bad. It took some careful phrasingn to explain away the blank of 2 years already.

    I'm a little calmer today... though the dam could burst at any time. My DD12 is very worried... she feels a hospital visit is imminent. Thankfully, Cherub's here this weekend too, so I know i have to cope, somehow.
  13. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    He won't go till he's ready. When he does, if he's not 'settled' i.e. job, nice friends, a purpose in life he can handle, he'll be back on the streets again with drugs and drink. I know he smuggles them here, but I'm hoping the change of environment i.e. work, will help.
    Dear Trish,

    I'm sorry you went to bed crying because you felt some of the replies were harsh. No doubt you felt that way about mine.

    If you read it early this morning you may not know that I edited my reply to you later in the morning. Perhaps you might want to read it again so you know more of my background and what has led me to offer you the advice I gave.

    Your description of your son, assuming I am understanding it correctly and it is accurate, implies that he is literally incapable of doing basic tasks of every day living due to cognitive impairment and continuing polysubstance abuse.

    If this is true and your son is showing no interest or commitment to making changes so he can take care of himself then, based on my experiences with a similar difficult child, your vision of his future is clearly not grounded in reality.

    Out of desperation to save him from himself you are running yourself into the ground. You are probably not giving the other children in your home the kind and amount of attention they need.

    Something has to give and it is likely to be you.

    The fact that you have been unable to enforce a ban on his use of substances he has a history of abusing while in your home is really not good. In our case, our son started bringing those friends home when we were not there. Besides stealing from us they started a fire in the kitchen by using the microwave to blast cherry pits. You absolutely cannot trust him if he is using and you cannot help him until he stops using.

    You need to go to Alanon or Narconon meetings or something similar. I am talking today. You need help with this situation from someone who has walked in your shoes and is right there in front of you.

    I suggest you set yourself and your son a deadline. Having a structure can only help don't you think?

    If he has not stopped using and demonstrated that he can perform the most basic tasks required to take care of himself independently by that date (1 month from now?) then you must look for a placement for him outside your home. If you have not found a placement within another month then he needs to move out, ready or not. I doubt he will ever be "ready" as you define it and I don't really understand how you can think that he will if your description is accurate.

    Frankly, I'm pretty sure he would really rather be on the streets doing drugs and living off disability. It's much more fun in many ways. Until he decides otherwise, you cannot compete. Believe me, I know. I have walked and continue to walk in those shoes. You are deluding yourself to think otherwise.

  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Trish, it really is difficult. He does sound a lot like difficult child 1 at that age, only difficult child 1 doesn't have the schizophrenia and never had the drug abuse. Instead, he has found religion. Which only worries me because he is a tad over-the-top with it (gets arrogant about "God is on my side, so I will win my court case because my heart is right with God" - really cheeses me off because in my book, God is not a magic wishing fairy). But given a choice between drugs and God, I know which I prefer. I'm just waiting for the zeal to settle down into something a bit more liveable with. And he STILL hasn't got a job and plays computer games a lot.

    The thing is, the notice board is about all that DID work with difficult child 1. But he at least was motivated to do the right thing. Not sure that your DS19 is.

    Mind you, we went through years of difficult child 1 just standing there helpless while everyone else rushed around to look after him. He even had his baby sister doing up the buckles on his shows. He was 10 before he could tie his own shoes - we had to buy ones with velcro, even when he was in high school!

    People attacked us, too, for "making him helpless". But the problen is - it's not us! It's the kid, he really was that helpless!

    We had to take baby steps, and we had to include him in the choices. We had to keep him on track and keep touching base with what we expected form him - but more importantly, what he expected from himself. HE had to own the process.

    And you are right, Trish - at 19, your son's therapist and psychiatrist will both be saying, "So what are your plans for your life, and what are you doing about getting them achieved?" we went through this with difficult child 1 and easy child 2/difficult child 2. It's what they do, when the kid is this age.

    What I've seen work - a TAFE course. Get him to a TAFE counsellor (the neurological disabilities counsellors are the ones who should help; I made the calls and anyone who told me to stop coddling my child, I said, "YOU take him for a week and then tell me that; or shut up and let me get on with heping him (at his pace) learn to be independent."
    Because seriously - some things we HAVE to do, for them to learn how to do it for themselves. If the whole thing is too hard, they won't try. If we get them halfway, there is a chance they'll put in a bit of effort and get themselves another quarter of the way there. That is better than stagnation.

    TAFE has a lot of options, lots of course. We let difficult child 1 choose whatever he wanted. At the same time, sister in law was doing the same thing. Don't worry about cost - a disability, even ADHD, gets you into a course for free. At least, it does in NSW. There should be something equivalent in Queensland.

    sister in law did a course in Explosives and liked it. But then he decided to study something different, and did a computer course. He liked that even more. In the third year he did the next computer course. And so on. Eventually he got a diploma and this got him into uni, with advanced standing. Or he could have got a good job right away.

    difficult child 1 - at first he studied to be a vet nurse. Then he 'discovered' creationism and finds working with animals puts him around people with whom his religion clashes, so he's walked away from anything zoological. Next he studied Japanese. Hedropped out before the end of the course, because it clashed with a movie he was rehearsing in (the movie never got made).
    Then he began apprenticeship courses and finally worked out what he wanted to do.

    Sometimes the course seems idiotic. But it can lead on to something which is more useful.

    In NSW if you have a disability or get ANY Centrelink payment (I think ANY - check it out), you get one free TAFE course a year. Sounds like it could give your son a focus in life, if nothing else.

    Our kids HATE doing chores for us, but will ahppily do the same chores for a neighbour or girlfriend's family. Especially if they get paid.

    Maybe you need to set up a payment system for him, to earn kilowatts for X hours of farm work for you.

    A thought.

    Not sure what else to suggest. He is a huge headache for you, but you do need to stand firm in your lack of availability. be consistent.

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Trish, I owe you, and am offering, a big apology. I had forgotten some of what you are dealing with. My fault totally, and I AM sorry.

    I DO think the substance abuse (including alcohol) will negate any and ALL of your efforts to have him reach independence. Until you can motivate him to get clean ALL efforts to help him mature are likely to be useless. I don't know if AlAnon meetings are as common as they are here. In my small town I could pick from no less than 6 AlAnon meetings a day. There are a few less AA meetings some days, but on some days there are twice that many. Not every country is as gung-ho as the US is due mostly to the genetic profile that makes us very susceptible, esp anyone with Native American blood. I don't know if Aussies share that tendency or are more like the Europeans who have far lower rates of alcoholism.

    Given that your son gets a disability check, surely there are services that could take him to a rehab where they would get him clean from the drugs and alcohol? YOUR job will be to make life so uncomfortable that he WANTS to go. I would increase his board fee on any month he is drinking/drugging, eliminate his electricity except for long enough to get physically clean, if he has restroom facilities that are not inside your home don't let him in. Let him have food that does not need to be heated or kept cool, and/or take him a basic meal each mealtime.

    I KNOW it sounds "mean". Really cruel to some. But to be honest, unless you make ALL trips, extras, etc dependent on him being clean, sober and well behaved (clean as in off drugs, not as in freshly bathed) he will neither get off the substances nor mature.

    If he is wily enough to get drugs without being arrested then he is wily enough to find others to manipulate if you stop buying it.

    By all means, this must be tempered by what you can tolerate, by whatever you are legally required to give him, and by what he truly can understand.

    I hope you can see that nothing you do will EVER work until he gets off the drugs and drink. I am NOT being mean or judgemental. I am speaking from sad experience with my brother and dozens of very close friends. NONE of them ever matured while they were using. MANY of them dropped out of high school or college, out of their families, etc.... The ONLY ones who EVER did ANYTHING are the ones who were dragged screaming to rehab and emerged with newly opened eyes and a desire to try not to live that way again. Many had more than one try at rehab. Only one got it the first try. But he didn't walk until he could do it without help, never tried anything half way, and STILL runs at life at 150% power. He is my bro and he is STILL a difficult child, though much much easier to live with now. Prior to rehab he was not allowed in the same building as my children. Period. Now, well, we still do family dinner at my folks every few months.

    It will be hard. No lies about it. He will rant, rave, yell, break things, etc... But, he is DANGEROUS as long as he is using drugs. He will hurt you, the kids, the animals, anyone to get what he wants and to get out of anything that interferes.

    Please start with AlAnon or NarcAnon for yourself. Then ease into what you can once you have seen what is available to him through your government.

    Drug addicts don't keep jobs for long. Not when they are 19, have no real skills, and have his attitude. Hopefully I am wrong. If so I will dance naked under the moonlight with chicken livers taped to my elbows.

    Make time/effort to spend with Rachel this weekend. I would bet that she feels a bit less important because Cherub and DS19 are so labor intensive. I would bet she really feels pushed off to the side, even if she doesn't tell you if you ask.

    I do mean well, even when I get it wrong.
  16. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Marg ~ I think its g8 ur difficult child only has an addiction 2 religion. But in my experience it is not the same as polysubstance abuse in the mentally ill (dual dxd). might be delusional but not physical/emotional addiction

    To accuse me of 'attacking' Trish is misreading my posts at best and starting a flame at worst. I think we r all trying 2 share hard earned lessons we believe r helpful or apply.

    Motivation is evrything. Drug/alcohol addiction, by its very nature, becomes the focus of the addicts life. 2 believe otherwise is 2 deny reality.

    That is y Trish's efforts have not worked. with-o sobriety it is very hard 4 the dual dxd to do the things u r expecting. About the best u can hope 4 is harm reduction. google it

    Trish says her difficult child has already lived on the streets. If that was not enough to motivate him to change why in the world would he do it when his mother is giving him a place to live where he can do his drugs, get a square meal and b chaffeured around?

    Clearly Trish hasn't figured this out yet. When this was happening to us we felt so alone. We made many mistakes we might have avoided if we'd had access to this board and the honest feedback of other parents.

    I'm just trying to offer support ~ the kind that would have helped us. Its not always the kind of advice that's easy to hear.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg, if I read this right your sister in law did a course in explosives and then some other courses.

    You are NOT suggesting that Trish's difficult child study explosives. in my opinion that would be dangerous, but other classes are an idea.

    I do agree with rlsnights that the dual diagnosis in polysub abuse and mental illness will mean that Trish's difficult child will NOT be able to follow through on any course or, in my opinion, even be able to do the butcher apprenticeship he wants.

    The subs are the only important thing. Even guys will prostitute themselves for drug money. This difficult child has a private place to live, someone to cook for him and provide him with a nice lifestyle (to his mind) and he gets free money from the govt to buy his drugs, all for the cost of his minimal room and board and a few chores to earn his computer time.

    Sorry, no course, job, anything will change this dynamic. Trish must change, and work to make difficult child's life unpleasant enough he goes to find his bottom. Then help will work.

    I am sorry. This hoovers.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Patricia, my use of the word "attacked" was actually not in reference to your post specifically. Maybe an Aussie thing - I meant the equivalent of "general community criticism from people who know you casually but don't necessarily really 'get it'." At least people on this board have a better idea because at least here, we can read all the related posts on a particular member's problems before we then give our considered opinion.

    People on this site know me and know I don't seek to flame anybody. Far from it. Trish's set of problems are specifically very difficult and very challenging; the geographic isolation doesn't always help, although I think in some ways, can be an advantage here. As I also live in Australia and also in a somewhat isolated area, I can understand how we find ourselves agreeing to drive our kids here or there, simply because there are no alternatives.

    Most of the attacks we copped re difficult child 1 (and now are getting with difficult child 3) are from close family and one especially close friend (whose own kids are not exactly models of healthy success). I don't want to alienate family members who are really only responding to their own fears and haven't got the perspective needed. Neither do I want to lose my good friend - she is a darling in every other way.
    But I have learned - don't try to justify yourself and your methods to these people. Certainly, think about what they say and analyse - IS there a chance they could be right? Grab any kernel of truth of useful advice you can find. But once you have done this and believe everything else is merely barking up the wrong tree, walk away from bad advice and flawed criticism.

    While my own kids don't have drug problems (apart from easy child 2/difficult child 2 binge drinking several times a week - but she doesn't live at home so I am restricted in what I can do about this) I have seen at very close quarters what happened with my eldest sister and two of her sons (one in particular) as well as another sister whose son, now in his 30s, is literally at death's door as a result of past drug and alcohol abuse. He is trying to stay clean now because he's been told - he will die, if he uses one more time. Just once. And he still could die, if he doesn't actively eat very carefully. He has cysts on his liver and on his pancreas, and last week was told his spleen has now become inflamed as a result of other serious organ damage. He said to me, "I have been such an idiot. The doctor said the cysts are starting to shrink, I don't feel quite as sick as I did at Christmas, but I'm told this is going to take years." He was saying he can't come to easy child 2/difficult child 2's wedding, because he simply isn't well enough yet to leave the house. Very sad. I know he wants to be there.

    I look back at how he was and I can assure you (as he would) - NOTHING we could have said or done, could have prevented this. HE had to do this. My sister perhaps allowed him more latitude than I would have - but then, am I attacking her for saying this? Undoubtedly, because I wasn't there. I do know she didn't know how much he was doing, and didn't want to know. But if she had known - she couldn't have prevented. Now he's living back at home, she can at least make sure he gets his meals according to doctor's instructions, with exactly the right amount of healthy carbs, no sugar and no fat. He's frankly too ill now, to look after himself.

    Trish, if this is where DS19 is headed, you can't prevent. But while he is under your roof (or at least, the caravan roof!) he IS dependent on you for electricity, for access to the van, for water. For bathroom facilities. Make your own quiet list of exactly how much he requires of you and how much you can control. Also bear in mind what you legally must provide. You can set down rules (such as "no smoking or drinking on the premises") but can you police it? Does he get visitors? Do they bring stuff in? Do you check the van in his absence and regularly search it? Caravans are designed to have secret hidey holes. If you have a written-up agreement between you both, and he has singed it and agreed to no drinking or drug use while on your premises, then I think you are entitled to search his van and confiscate anything illicit you find. This means ONLY the stuff in the agreement - if you don't include porn, you will have to put the Playboy stash back! But seriously - you DO have leverage on him. Use it, as best you can. Even if you have to get some Monopoly money and use it to pay him for chores, and let him exchange it for electricity supply to the van. I really do think he needs something set up as solid and concrete as this. Anything verbal (including verbal agreements) he is simply learning to ignore, or mentally rewrite to his own preferred interpretation.

    He does sound depressed, he does sound like he's lacking a sense of purpose and direction. I know when we saw difficult child 1 go through this, we were tearing our hair out. He was 15 at the time, still attending mainstream and his teachers were also expressing concern to us. I did cop a lot of criticism from some of them, too, for his appearance. He would turn up to school unwashed and in torn, dirty clothes. But he had plenty of clean, tidy clothes hanging in his wardrobe. Plus I would send him to the bathroom to wash and I would hear the shower running. He just wasn't under it at the time... I finally had to go into his room while he slept and remove his dirty school clothes (risking turning an ankle in doing so). I copped flak for this from family because they said, "He is old enough to do this for himself."

    But "old enough" does not apply, I have found, to difficult children. While I agree (as I know you do, Trish) that a sticker chart would be a bit ludicrous, I think you're on the right track in that he needs something tangible.

    So have a go - do a Prince Leonard of Hutt, declare your property to be your own principality and yourself the absolute ruler. Provide your own currency and pay him in it, to be redeemable at the "national store" for luxuries.

    But a word of warning from my best friend's past experience - don't let him use candles in the caravan. My friend had her site power cut off (a misunderstanding with the electric company) and her tenant in the caravan was using a candle. She set fire to the van, burned it to the ground and nearly burned down the house. Despite the electric company having made a mistake about the power (the bills HAD been paid and on time, too) there was no recompense.

    Go for it, Trish!

  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Actually, I misunderstood this. Trish said he isn't getting disability. And no, I wasn't suggesting DS19 do a course on explosives! (although the course teaches responsible use, safety procedures, regulations - and that you can't get access to any materials except in the employment environment. No taking your practical work home with you!). I was mainly saying, there is a wild range of possible courses, some of them seeming at first to have no ultimate purpose. But eventually, something should rise out of the mix that CAN lead to something of value. And in the meantime, he's learning a work ethic (study ethic) as well as discovering things about himself.

    As for guys prostituting themselves for drug money - I saw my eldest sister's son do this, and a lot worse. I saw my sister have to find ways to deal with this.

    If DS19 is self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, the problem is mutifactorial. First - he has found a way to cope. Not a valid one, but it IS a coping strategy. So he won't give it up lightly, not willingly and not if there is no alternative. He has to get it right for himself, but if his brain is addled he hasn't got the capacity to do this for himself. And the longer it is made easy for him to continue to do this, the longer he will live this way. And the more younger ones coming up through the ranks will see this as a legitimate lifestyle alternative.

    We don't have the same resources here in Australia. We do have some great resources, but they are different. Finding out what you can do and have access to, is tricky. If he doesn't give permission for his case to be discussed with a third party, there is very little Trish can do.

    Personally - I would be bargaining for access and control, in exchange for him living there.

    Trouble is, the alternative - he would leave and live rough - is terrifying to mothers who are worried what could happen to their child, if they force them to leave.

    In my nephew's case, he ran away because (to his mind) his father was too strict. In reality, his father was inconsistent and emotionally abusive. But the boy ran away TOWARDS drugs and crime, not really AWAY from his father. The wya he was going - this would have happened no matter how caring and loving his family. Drugs really were increasingly the one thing he really craved and was motivated to get.

    Trish, one possible option (one I've used) - if you do not have rights to discuss DS19 with his therapists, you DO have the right to feed back to them, your concerns. You can say whatever you like, to whomever you like. THEY can't tell YOU anything without permission, but they can of course listen. I've used that one, I've seen other people use that one, with a family member they're concerned about. Friend's father had dementia and was trying to fool all the people all the time (including the doctor) so friend rang the doctor and said, "I know you can't tell me anything about my father. I am going to tell you about him instead." She then told him what she had observed and finished with, "I leave this information in your hands." and hung up, leaving her contact information.

    You need help andadvice on this one, from someone who knows your region. To that end - someone suggested Alanon. There should also be other groups including Narcotics Anonymous. Or even grief counsellors? You need to talk to someone for yourself, because they can plug you in to some practical resources locally. And if you feel you don't need it right now - then consider it planning for the future.

    Sorry, hon. This is getting nasty. I really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel for you, not at the moment.

  20. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Hey Marg - thanks for clarifying your previous post. I was on my handheld this weekend and had to keep my post short. short is not always very clear. I didn't think you were flaming but I needed to clarify that it was not my intent to attack Trish with my posts. It may indeed be a cultural issue but for me the word "attack" implies malice and the intent to harm. This was absolutely not my intent.

    Back several posts ago, the point I was trying to make to Trish was that she needed to do pretty much what you have described - make it clear who was in charge and what the rules of the family were that he had to follow.

    Unfortunately, the hard reality of this approach is that there needs to be some kind of bottom line - taking away the electricity, no rides, no money for video games etc - those are good IF they work. If they don't - where does that leave you?

    And I firmly believe that you must examine, as honestly as possible, your behavior not just the behavior of the difficult child. How have things reached this point? What have you as a parent done, failed to do or continue to do that contributed to the problem? If you can't or won't look at your own role and what you need to change then nothing will change. The only person whose behavior you really have any control over is you. This is where Alanon and NarcAnon can play an essential role for parents.

    Finally, what about the risk to other family members, especially children. In our case this was absolutely the factor that forced our hand when we made our oldest leave. I have no idea what is going on in Trish's home with her other children but I feel compelled to ask her to focus on that question at the same time she is working on a plan for her oldest. I believe very strongly that it is not right to sacrifice the well-being of the younger children for the benefit of the adult substance-abusing sib, if that is clearly what is happening. Just my opinion.

    I'm so glad that Trish has connected with you - someone who knows and understands the cultural and physical landscape within in which she is embedded. That is a priceless commodity and is probably much more helpful to her than I can ever be.

    I think I have offered all the insights and suggestions that I can to Trish. So I will sign off this thread.

    Trish I wish you the best. You have a hard road ahead of you and it may not get easier any time soon. Be strong and be well. Look for help in unlikely places and grab it with both hands.