New here, don't know what to do with 18 year old son

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Amiranda2, May 7, 2012.

  1. Amiranda2

    Amiranda2 New Member

    Short version: son was stealing, smoking marijuana and doesn't really care if he graduates. He had to drop out of regular high school due to truancy and enroll in an alternative school where I thought he was doing ok until I found yesterday that he also missed a few days and now has been subpoena for the 3rd time for failure to attend school.
    Im not sure how to help him. I know that part of his problem is watching his father struggle with drug addiction. His father has since gone to rehab and has been sober. We attended family counseling sessions as a part if his rehab. The counselor recommended continued counseling for him but he has refused to go.
    I don't know what happened, since 9th grade he has been making wrong choices. He used to play sports, have good friends.
    U have begged, cried, pleaded, yelled and talked calmly with him about his choices and how they will affect his life. He doesn't seem to care. He has a job a fast food and has kept, not sure how because he does go in late and calls in, has a girlfriend who is in no better position than he is, she was court ordered to get her GED because of truancy. He has no plans for his future.
    I just don't know what to do, how to motivate him. We had an argument because of the subpoena he received. I don't know if this judge is going to let him graduate. He technically has received all his credits for graduation all we are waiting for is results of the state test, if he passes then he graduates.
    The last thing he said to us was I'm sorry I'm not the son you wanted. Any advice on how to handle this. Some people have told me to let him fail but it's so hard watching your son fail in life. U just don't know how to help if he won't let me.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    So sorry you had to find us, but really glad you did. there are many many parents here in your similar shoes. I am not one of them, but I do know what it is like to raise a difficult child, that is one thing we all can support and encourage each other about here! So, just wanted to welcome you and tell you to hang in there, people will see your post and check in, I am confident of that.

    (not to diminish any of your situation in any me on that, but I did chuckle a little, and felt an old pang of guilt too.... I am not even a difficult child and I used the "I'm just a disappointment" guilt trip on my parents too, yeah, that is a classic! Not saying his feelings are not upset for real, but for sure he knows that is not what this is really about.)
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    You may want to move your post or post this again on Parent Emeritus where the children are over 18 and the parents all have similar problems with "legal" age children. Most of them will tell you that if he does not want to get help at his age, there is really nothing you can do to motivate has to come from him. If he is rejecting treatment, it may be a good idea to take away any money you give him, stop cleaning his room (if you do), take away car use (he could be driving while intoxicated), and stop paying for a cell phone (if you do) in an attempt to at least wake him up to the fact that he is 18 and that, since he isn't in school and has no ambition and is using drugs a nd making poor choices, he will have to fund his own activities and toys. You should maybe also set up a list of chores he has to excuses...since he is still living at home. Those of us who have had or have children who abuse drugs have found that coddling them most often just makes it easier for them to continue their self-destructive lifestyle.

    You are probably familiar with narc-anon due to your ex, but, if you aren't, it's a really good community of people who are going through what you are. They are a wonderful source of support and ideas. The first thing you have to accept is that you can not change him if he doesn't want to change. At 18, there is no legal way to force him into treatment so he would have to be compliant. But you CAN change your reaction to his behavior and how you live your life in spite of his resistance to getting help. Some parents find we have to show our grown children the door. It is always a terribly difficult and heart-wrenching decision.

    I highly suggest you check out parent Emeritus. Also Substance Abuse would probably help you a lot. Although the ladies on this forum are wonderful, many have not raised a child to eighteen yet. It gets, well, different once they are in their upper teens, when we don't have much control over them...and it can be a very frightening time. The biggest problem is that kids that age often think they are adults (legally they are) and refuse to go for any psychiatric evaluations or help, even if that is at the core of their drug use. Although nobody here knows for sure, my guess, because of the stealing, is that he is using more than pot. Kids usually start stealing for the harder drugs (my daughter did this...we thought she was only smoking pot too). She was actually doing meth and other scary drugs, but we didn't find out until she quit drugs and told us. These older teens can really fool you!

    Welcome to the board, but so sorry you had to come here and very, very sorry you are going through what so many of us did or are going through. You get big hugs and a TON of empathy from me. been there done that and it tears a mother apart. We tried everything we could and nothing worked well until she herself was out of the house and decided that she was wasting her life...we thought she'd end up either dead or in jail. It didn't happen. There is hope!
  4. Amiranda2

    Amiranda2 New Member

    Thank you for your suggestions, I did repost this on the other forum you suggested. I do pay for his cell phone, have taken it away several times. As far as his car, we just got it back, he was using mine to get to work. Found out that he was smoking pot in my car! I'm 9 months pregnant!! I just feel like a failure as a mother. I wanted to watch my first son go to prom, graduate and be successful. He doesn't care about any of that. Says all he wants that stupid diploma so he can do whatever he wants. Thank you again, I hope I can relate to parents on here are who are struggling withe some of the same issues.
  5. Amiranda2

    Amiranda2 New Member

    Thank you for your kind words. At this point I'm looking for anything that would help our family.