Latest on my difficult son

Yesterday we had more difficulties with our problem child. On Wednesday night, he invited about 5 friends over. We told him to keep the noise down and absolutely no vaping (e-cigarettes) in the house. We also asked him to make it an early night. (My husband has some medical issues which flare up if he doesn't sleep well or if his sleep is interrupted.)

They were pretty quite but at 3:30, husband had to go downstairs to the basement and break up the party. Our son was vaping and the room was full of vapor which you could smell in the second floor hallway. Son didn't argue about breaking up the party, but told my husband that one friend would be staying over night because he was locked out of his house. Son had only met the "friend" that day and husband wasn't comfortable having the guy in the house. Son also said that a different friend's kitten would be staying with us. There is a long story to do with the kitten (which the friend had no place to keep) and we had previously told son he couldn't keep this kitten. Husband said that kitten had to go home with his owner.

Next day (Thanksgiving), son stays in his room as usual. He had already told us he would not be joining family for dinner. He comes downstairs around 3:30 with the cat in hand. Husband was already not feeling well from having his sleep interrupted. He reprimands son (no yelling) about the cat. In support of hubby, I tell son that he has to find another place for the kitten. Son storms our and says he might not be coming home.

Later in the evening, son returns home to get the kitten's litter box. We try to give him his medicine (anti-depressant), he refused. He hasn't refused his medications in 4 years. He came home at 3:45 a.m., showered at 6:30 a.m. and left the house. I tried to give him his medication before he left. He refused. I asked him why he was so mad. He said that everything we f****g do pisses him off.

A couple of hours later I called him at work. He seemed less angry and said he was very tired because he hadn't slept much in 3 days. This is true. He has also been drinking a lot of energy drinks to stay awake. He just got home from work and refused the medications again. He is now in his room presumably sleeping.

I spoke to his therapist who is our of the country on holiday. She is worried about suicide risk and was talking about whether we should consider calling 911 for an evaluation. He has not said anything about suicide. He is almost phobic about the idea of being hospitalized and so calling 911 is a last resort. Calling unnecessarily could break whatever particle of trust he still has in us. My gut feeling is that exhaustion and lack of sleep is the big problem here. I'm most worried about getting him back on medication.

Does anyone have any advice on how to keep problem children on their medications?


Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Unfortunately, you cannot force your son to take his medications. Some people will sneak them into food but I have never liked that idea.

He has also been drinking a lot of energy drinks to stay awake.
These drinks are toxic! So many young people drink these in excess and they can have health related problems.
My gut feeling is that exhaustion and lack of sleep is the big problem here.
Listen to your gut feeling.
How is getting the energy drinks? I think these are part of the problem. When he drinks these he gets pepped up and with that "elated" feeling he probably thinks he's fine and doesn't need his medications.

You may need to make his taking his medications a condition of him living in your home.

I wish I had a better answer for you.


Well-Known Member
The primary thing that kept my daughter medication compliant (and pretty much house rule compliant) was her set of truck keys. That was her currency. I only remember actually having to pull the keys three times.
He woke up and showered. Then he left again refusing to take medicine. I told him that I might need to go to his workplace to make sure they have my emergency contact info. He said if I did that he would quit. So now we are at an impasse. His car and phone are the only leverage we have with him. He needs both for work. Work is the only thing going for him right now and I don't want to take that away.

So now I guess we just wait and hope for the best. My husband thinks that the fact that his more functional twin brother is home for the holiday may be aggravating the situation.

I alternate between being stressed and numb.


Well-Known Member
In the big picture, we need to let go of whether or not they take medication. Eventually they will quit if they want.

Interesting many who won't take medications think pot isn't a drug and is the answer to all their ills.


Well-Known Member
Does he say why he doesn't want to take his medicine? Side effects, doesn't like the way it makes him feel, etc.? Perhaps an appointment with his doctor to find a new medication would help?
We have a very hard time getting him to talk to us at all. He has never said that the medications make him feel bad, just that he wants to see what he would feel like without them. Another problem we have is that he is almost phobic about psychiatrists. I don't really know why. Last time we got him to go see a psychiatrist was about a year ago and although the visit seemed pretty benign to us, he was actually sobbing in the car on the way home from the stress of th visit. My heart just breaks when I think of this.

It feels like he is using this last incident to break the last ties with us short of moving out (and letting us pay for his phone and car insurance). He stayed out until until 5:30 last night. I asked home today to at least text me when he was going to be out all night. He refused. We really have no more leverage with him. Work is the only positive thing he's got going and I don't want to jeopardize it by threatening to take away car or phone. I guess we just need to let this play out.


one day at a time
Hi Concerned Mom & Dad, I'm sorry you're going through all of this right now.

My son used energy drinks a lot too, and I saw nothing but bad from them. For people who are addiction-prone and are using alcohol, weed and other drugs, I think cigarettes and energy drinks are just more addictive behaviors on the list for them. Even coffee. They are always trying to "feel different" than they feel. They are always self-medicating.

Most of our kids are very uncomfortable in their own skins, for many different reasons. To cope, they self-medicate.

I would suggest that most of the people in the world self-medicate with so many things, including most of us. Work, exercise, success, other people's troubles, etc. It's all unhealthy and it's all just to cope with the harshness between our own ears and in the world at large.

Having said that, I finally got to the point where I said I'm not buying any cigarettes and I'm not buying any energy drinks. This stuff is really bad for you. I'm not going to be a part of it.

I don't know if that's right or not. I used to agonize over these types of things. Once I decided, then I revisited it over and over again in my own mind.

18 year old boys are a tough nut to crack, on their best day. You are seeing what lack of sleep, refusal to take medication, etc., do in just a few days. I read on your other thread that he struggles with suicide ideation.

My son used to threaten suicide all the time when he was using drugs. He too had anxiety and depression and still does, at times.

Does your son play sports? Is this an option?

I agree that you want him to keep working. I understand the car, he has to get back and forth, but can you take away the phone? Does he have to have the phone to work?

We have to have some leverage over them. We have to find it somehow. That still may not matter, but watching someone who is making bad decisions just keep on and on, and we feel helpless to affect a single thing, while they are living in our house...isn't good for them or for us.

We're here for you. This is all very complicated, and we realize that. Warm hugs today.

Snow White

On the Mad Tea Party Ride
Concerned, I just wanted to send my support. I wish I had an answer for how to keep your child on medication but sadly, mine quit hers the day she turned 18. Haven't been able to talk her back into anything - although she has no issues abusing anti-anxiety medication.

Hugs to you.


Well-Known Member
My one son Sonic had open heart surgery as a baby so, although the surgery was great and he has no restrictions, his cardiologist had told him in front of us that nobody should drink energy drinks...thst they are very bad for even s healthy young heart! Scared Sonic.