Should I pay?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marys5452, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Marys5452

    Marys5452 New Member

    I am brand new here and just read a few random posts to see what the concerns of the parents here. From that very brief observation I think my daughter's behavior and issues are not as severe as some of those I see here but nevertheless I feel confused, conflicted, angry, disappointed, anxious and frustrated over my daughter and her situation. By the way, what is difficult child? To be brief; my daughter is going on 24 and has a complex history. I adopted her at age 7 and did the best I could. She needed and got years of therapy, private special education and as much extracurricular activities as we could fit with her therapy etc. Jumping ahead a few years, once she discovered boys she latched onto romantic relationships to the exclusion of everything else. She was always an indifferent student so getting her to graduate from HS took a huge effort. She got engaged at age 19. Two years later that relationship fell apart and she landed in a locked psychiatric unit under a 72 hr. hold. Once out, she discovered a new set of friends who introduced her to drugs. She went thru 5 different rehab attempts, the last one ended about 18 mos. ago. She has a new fiance' she lives with in a house with several other people. When she was in treatment I paid everything. When she got out of inpatient rehab she went into a sober living house. I told her I would continue to pay for that but if she left to live with the boyfriend, I would not pay. She went back to smoking pot and living with boyfriend so I stopped direct financial assistance. That was about 18 mos. ago. I pay for psychiatrist, medications and phone and for things like Christmas and Birthday presents or an occasional trip to the grocery. She is not working but does get foodstamps.
    Right now, I don't know how much pot she is smoking. I doubt she is doing anything stronger right now but she is on a cocktail of psychiatric medications.
    Here is my dilemma: I live out of state and I want to have some regular communication with her. The thing is, I can call/text 4 or 5 times over 4 to 7 days and she will not return my calls/texts. She does call when she needs something like her medications. Sometimes I get lucky and she picks up when I call but mostly not. I chide her gently about this and she says she will do better but nothing changes. Having a relationship with her is challenging but I want to keep lines open but I feel demeaned when she does not return phone calls and of course I become anxious and frustrated. I considered turning off her phone but I think I am the one who would feel that most. She is somewhat isolated where she is. Other than the boyfriend, she has no friends and it feels like she is sinking into an ever deepening pit and sliding away from me. Perhaps, our attachment to each other is impaired by her early childhood and adoption. But she needs someone and someday she could land back in the hospital and will need support then. I have been considering paying her to call me. Say $10 a call with a max of 5 per week. She would get some cash and maybe we could slowly improve on our relationship. I know paying your kid to stay in touch is unconventional but I really don't know what else to do. I am trying to wrap my brain around this idea and see if there are some unforseen consequences. I would have to accept that when she calls it is not because of any attachment to me but for the money. But I hope that over time that could improve. Opinions anyone?
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello Marys and welcome to the site!

    You may want to repost over on the Parent Emeritus board here on the site -- that's where our parents of difficult child's over 18 meet for support and advise. Here's a link to the board:

  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Marys.
    So sorry you are going through that. Actually, this is a very good place for you, specifically on the Parent Emeritus board.
    It sounds like she still needs help. This sort of thing can take years, into adulthood. Many hugs to you.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome, Mary,

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I also have adopted children, although mine were adopted at a younger age.

    It looks like you provided every reasonable opportunity (therapy, education, loving care, activities, etc.) to secure a warm and stable life for your daughter. Unfortunately, even the best efforts and intentions don't always have the desired results, and when drugs enter the mix, well, it's even more difficult.

    She is 24, and must learn to live with her own choices. I don't think it's a good idea to start paying her to call you - I know you're considering this out of abundant love and concern for your daughter, but I think that sends the wrong message. Providing financial support when she is doing positive things is fine, if you are comfortable with that. I think you should also consider a Al-anon group or parent's therapy or individual therapy to help you through this difficult time, if you've not already done so. It is so challenging, but hearing others' experiences and advice can be helpful. Posting here has been very helpful to me as well.
    difficult child stands for "gift from God" - it is the term used here for our challenging children. easy child is for "perfect child" - which we know doesn't exist!
    Again, welcome, and you can feel free to post again over iin Parent Emeritus, as your difficult child is over 18.
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Mary and welcome. I am so sorry you are going thru this. I know it's utterly heartbreaking.

    Personally, I would not pay. My son left TLP and went out on his own at age 18. I didn't hear from him for 3 months. It was extremely hard on us to not know how he was. I resorted to checking out his social web pages just to make sure he was still alive. When he did finally make contact and we saw him, he looked *awful* - had lost a ton of weight, was doing who knows what drugs - but I really believe that waiting for him to contact us was the best thing we could have done. Trying to force contact would have been pointless, in my humble opinion.

    I definitely would never give a kid cash, for any reason, if I suspected drug use. My difficult child was really malnourished, which just killed me. We did buy him groceries and took them to him. But never never would I have given him cash.

    I think in some ways by *not* forcing contact with her, you would keep the lines of communication more open. I also think it's important, when she does contact you, to not interrogate her about her life. I know that most of the questions I really wanted to ask, I *really* didn't want to know the answers to - and my kid would've told me every gnarly detail of his life if I had asked - so I kept it light and simple and basically just made sure he was okay (without the gruesome details) when he did call me.

    Personally, knowing the kind of person I am, I would really start to resent paying my own kid to call me in pretty short order. I don't need that kind of anger in my life.

    Just my opinion. Again, glad you found us and so very very sorry you're going thru this right now.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Marys. I'm glad you found us. I'm sorry you are going through this with your daughter. A difficult child is what we call our challenging kids. As others have mentioned, you may want to copy and paste your post over to the Parent Emeritus forum where our difficult child's are over 18.

    Like many of us here, your dilemma is a tough one, sometimes, for whatever reason, our kids turn out differently then we expected and we are at a loss as to what to do. I think it's a natural response for you to become anxious and frustrated when you don't hear from your daughter, it's her responses that are different, not yours. You asked for our're dealing with someone who has a skewered reality, as you mentioned she has emotional issues which at her age now, make your relationship difficult, so for many of us, the task become learning how to detach from our kids and finding ways to have a healthy and happy life. You may want to read the article at the bottom of my post on detachment. If you haven't found them already, NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness is a wonderful resource for parents. You can find them online and they offer terrific groups for parents. Since your daughter is smoking pot, you could also benefit from 12 step groups which deal with substance abuse, and they also offer parent groups. Finding a therapist for you may be a place for you to receive support and find tools to learn how to not only detach from your daughter but accept what you cannot change. The serenity prayer helps many of us too. In other words, you cannot change another, we are powerless to do that, you didn't create this situation and you cannot control it either. I understand how tempting it is to want to pay for her to call you, I get that, but I don't think it's a good idea. You would be enabling negative behavior, it is her choice to not call you. As a child who was adopted at a late age, there are likely already attachment issues which unfortunately you are feeling more then she is. I'm sorry, I know how painful this is for you. Many of us here have had to learn how to detach from our grown children for various reasons because it is so negatively impacting our lives and clearly, we have no control over their choices. It doesn't mean you don't love her or can't help in certain ways, it means you are aware of your own lack of control, you accept that lack of control and you learn to respond differently which offers you peace of mind, It's not an easy road which is why some form of support for YOU is essential, otherwise we roll around trying desperately to save them, fix them, rescue them, control them,.............which is crazy-making and extremely stressful. The hard truth is that there is nothing you can do to change her, all you can do is learn how to respond differently. I wish you peace. (((HUGS)))
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi and welcome! I'm not in your shoes so I defer to those who live similar stories.

    Just wanted to add that if you decided to do this what would the definition of a "call" be?

    "Hi mom, I'm calling. I'm fine, bye."

    Or, what if she is really rude and disrespectful?

    I'm not sure the end result would be "a better relationship"

    Personally, I wouldn't go there. Sounds like she calls when she is needing something. So at least you know she is ok.

    I agree with you, she sounds attachment challenged at the very least. Needing a relationship is an adult symptom. Similar to children who glom on to anyone.

    You sound like a wonderful mother and she is still young, her brain is still developing. You gave her a chance she likely wouldn't have had, and there's still hope. Establishing good boundaries now that she's an adult could be a very good thing to teach her.

    Hugs, this must be very hard.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree that you'll get more responses on Parent Emeritus because that focuses strictly on adult children, which is way different than minor kids as we have no legal control of our adult children.

    First of all, I'm also an adoptive mother and adopted kids of all ages, but the older children we adopted did not work out and were very damaged. Your daughter probably has some form of attachment disorder, which is partly why she was so hard to parent. She may have been sexually abused in one of her foster homes before she came to you as well. One social worker of an 11 year old boy we adopted (which was a nightmare) said that 99% of the k ids in foster care have been sexually abused. If so, maybe that's why she sought out boys so early. At any rate, I'm not surprised that she turned to drugs...maybe addiction is in her genetic family tree...sad as it is, I don't know of too many positive stories about adults that were older adoptees and did well. I'm sorry you are going through this though. Sounds like you've bent over back wards to help her. It's hard when they don't want to quit.

    I would NOT send her any money at all. She will probably use it for drugs. And you don't know how steep she is into drugs. We never do. You may need to learn how to detach, which is a huge topic on Parent Emeritus. At any rate, you do need to and deserve to have a great life in spite of your grown daughter, since you can no longer control her. Maybe you could go to a therapist to learn how to move on while having a child who is putting herself in danger and isolating herself from you. It CAN be done! You didn't say if you are married or have any other kids, but if you do, I suggest concentrating on those who love a nd appreciate your goodness. You deserve to be valued for the kind and caring person that you are. I had to do this when a child we adopted at six from Hong Kong (and gave everything to including our hearts) walked out of our lives when he met a Chinese woman who didn't like us. They are married and I haven't seen him or his child, except for one very unsatisfying time, in six years and I'll probably never see him again. But I do have four other kids who love me a nd a great husband and I learned to detach and go on and my life is actually pretty good right now. It took time and therapy.

    Gentle hugs to you. We're all here for you now.