Need advice on what to say to a friend...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mom2oddson, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    My good friends are going through a rough time. Today is their sons 21st b-day and the kid sits in jail on felony assault charges (domestic).

    For the last 4 months they have been taking their son to an outpatient drug rehab to help him. They wanted to get that under control before they worked on his issues. Now, here their son sits, been there for a few weeks.

    My friends are in such pain. They have hired a good attorney for the kid. And they understand that this is where and what the kid needs, but at the same time, they want the lesson to be over.

    They listen when you tell them they need to detach, that they need to let the kid deal with the natural consequences of his actions, and that if they plan to have the kid move in with them after all of this they need to have a contract. (the BM no longer wants the kid)

    I don't know if there is anything I can say that could help without feeling like I'm rubbing salt in the wounds. But, if there is anyone that would have good advice, even if it's "there's nothing for you to say", this is where I know I'll get the best advice.

    Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry that they are going through such a hard time. I'm not sure whether the words about the lesson being over are hers or yours, sadly the lesson isn't over until it's learned. And then there are the consequences, which is separate and apart from the lesson and society's consequences aren't ones that he gets to decide. Of course, he could have a chance at more lenient consequences if he learns the lesson, but... that's in his hands.

    I hope that your friends will be well.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    in my humble opinion, you kindly suggest they do just what you posted, then leave it alone and don't go back to the subject or offer any more advice unless they ask. We all know how difficult it is to go thru the adjustment of accepting that we can't rescue or even help with every situation our difficult child's get into. Going thru the process of understanding that they are a difficult child and not a easy child is a grieving process in itself- meaning it takes time and there are a lot of emotional stages to work thru. This is just my opinion- maybe others with older difficult child's will have better ideas of what might help these parents more.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    For the most part you need to just be there for them. If they ask for ideas or help you can give them info on detaching. We have links about this in the general archives and likely in the PE and Sub Abuse forums and archives as well. You could print the info out and give it to them or you could give them the links.

    But ONLY if they ask for help or your opinion. Otherwise this is a situation where simply listening to them as they work through this is the best idea. They may need to rant or whine or ponder the problems and what they have done, haven't done, or thought about. Sometimes they need to talk off and on for weeks until they get it figured out. being there, letting them talk to you without having you give any judgment or tell them how to "fix" it is often the greatest gift you can give them. They will have many friends who will stop calling or visiting because so much of their lives are focused on this problem. Others will tell them what they "should" do and what they did wrong. If they don't jump on these things the others likely will begin to stop coming around. It is very common. Some people will even think that if they stay around then their own family might "catch" these problems.

    You may be able to offer to help with something. Maybe plant a couple of flowers to brighten things up, or take them a meal if you know they are going to have a tough day in court or visiting him or just getting through the day that he should graduate or celebrate his birthday or whatever.

    I think the only suggestion I would really make is to encourage them to go to NarcAnon or AlAnon. If they have younger kids you might babysit while they go, or give them a ride if they have no car. Otherwise they will have to handle this their own way.

    I am sorry they are hurting so.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think you've done all you can.

    Its a process, and until they are ready, there's really nothing more you can say to help them. Most likely, they will get to the point of understanding the need for detachment, just as we all have, but they have to go thru the process, first, to understand why...I don't think there's a shortcut to geting there. Sadly.

    I think you've said all you can. Other than that, ya know, I'd honestly just send an occassional note that says "I'm thinking of you". They'll know what you mean, and it will keep communications open when they are ready to hear more without pushing them.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you are doing what you can. You are in the same position my son is in with his friend who has a son who is in trouble. You actually feel so badly for them and really want to fix it for them but cant. I know thats how Jamie feels. Jamie actually gave me to the

    When your friend needs to talk, she will know you are there. Thats a good thing.