The coming Thanksgiving crisis--home from college

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by DejectedDad, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. DejectedDad

    DejectedDad Guest

    18 yo difficult child has been on the east coast at school, freshman year. We had many issues with him over the past few years, he has problems relating to other kids, friendship issues etc., which ultimately led him (along with an extensive family history of substance abuse) to getting into binge drinking, lots of pot use and cigarettes, especially his senior year of high school. His grades plumetted senior year, but stronger years before that and good test scores and references landed him at a very solid private university on the east coast this year.

    During his last semester in high school he developed a lot of anxiety and depression, started seeing both a pshychiatrist and a behavioral therapist, taking zoloft etc. He then refused to continue treatment, saying that smoking pot was a far better approach than taking medication, seeing therapists etc. Over the summer he didn't have a job (impossible to find one), and did a lot of smoking we are sure, both pot and tobacco.

    We weren't sure he'd make it to college. He did, at first seemed like he might have adjusted ok. He complained that they don't "party" enough there and true, the social scene is a little repressed due to a conservative administration. Still, according to him he was having some fun and doing ok in classes, he is in a very tough major.

    Comes home for fall break, has gained some weight, isn't thrilled with school but is ok. He says. Hangs out his drug friends who didn't leave town to go to college or who are taking classes at community college. We are glad to see him go back to school. Our lives at home, including for easy child, are infinitely better without him around.

    He tells us by phone that he hasn't attended one of his classes, a required religion type class, since the second week of school. Teacher stinks, too hard for the major he has. Fine, he drops that class. He makes noises about wanting to transfer, or attend community college so he can apply to a UC (he was admitted before, but didn't go, now can't go until jr. year under their policies)

    Got a call today from the health care clinic at his college. Are told he's been treated for "asthma" since the beginning of November, almost every day. Two types of antibiotic. Inhaler. Tent for breathing. They are reluctant to let him fly home. He's had some of these issues, more minor, before, clearly exacerbated or even brought on by smoking. Hey, it isn't good for you. He has refused to do anything about it. He is lying to the doctors at school, told them he couldnt remain on campus for treatment this weekend because he was going to a family wedding in Baltimore. Ha ha. Nothing of the sort.

    So, he is flying home. He is self medicating we think.

    What do we do? Pull him out of school? At $50K per year it is not a trivial expense. We don't want him to live at home. It is intolerable and he won't cooperate with us. We don't have the power to commit him anywhere, he is age of majority. If we send him to a treatment program (a) he may not go and (b) how do we afford it? We have money but are planning to use it to retire, my job is very precarious, etc. We feel like the psychiatrists/psychologists we've seen have been no help at all. It is an impossible situation.

    Reaching out for any thoughts from this group. I'm sure some would say "cut him off" or "make him get a job." Not so easy to do. Don't want to ruin his life. We think he is killing himself......
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would point out that the only person who is capable of ruining his life in the scenario's you have presented is him. My advice is to not try to fix it for him. And to not let him come home against your wishes...
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Dear Dejected Dad,

    Hi and Welcome to the Board.

    I wanted to start by saying that I think you are a wonderful Father. Your son is very lucky to have both parents that are still so supportive of him despite all the things you have described. These repeated behaviors are destructive, debilitating and have your son spirialing downward. It sounds between the lines like your son may have some self-esteem issues from way back. Maybe there are things in HIS mind (not yours) that have caused this for him. Sounds like he felt a little left out in school and maybe was a bit socially awkward or unaccepted. Not a complete reject, but just his group of friends was different than you would have hoped for and didn't understand why he was drawn to those types of kids. Trying to figure it out now is nearly a mute point BUT - it has a great lot to do with him now and how he feels about himself.

    The fact that he attempted to give college a try I think speaks volumes about where he wants to be in life because at his age? If he hadn't wanted to go; believe me he wouldn't be there. Whether you demanded it of him or not. Money or not. So I think you have that in your favor. That and the fact also that he has been thinking ahead and mentioned community college. It's not Ivy league, but it's not the end of the world. Again - not where you would like to see him right now, but still getting an education in something. I'd allow him to explore this because (shrug) whatever his major was in? Maybe what he really needs to do here is speak with a guidance or career counselor and think about changing his major. He's gotten a taste of school now, and perhaps there is something else he's considering, but feels he'd be letting you down if he chooses community?

    The lure of coming home per se and attending to be near drug buddies? Well - that is going to be something that you and your wife and son will have to work out now. I would think he could apply for some on campus housing of some kind and maybe THIS is the opportunity he needs to force his hand and make him work 20 hours a week while going to school. Not anyone's dream to be in school, get foodstamps and have a 20 hour a week job, but a great many scholars DO this. It would also teach him to budget his money, food, and be responsible for HIMSELF. Instead of Dad and Mom paying for X, X and X. Not saying you couldn't put his college money back for him or even alot him a weekly allowance WITH stipulations, but I think to just hand a college kid $$ without any show for it is a shame on you - you teach him nothing by giving him anything. You teach him a great many things by allowing him to earn it, and when he earns it himself? He feels self-worth, sense of accomplishment and takes care of things. Besides - you can't buy pot, AND eat if you only have $25 a week allowance. At some point you have to make choices. Your friends won't let you couch surf forever - it gets old. And no girl really wants to "take care" of you - so that wears off no matter how good looking you are.

    The only other thing that I can say and will say is that if you are so readily willing to stand up and say "Dont tell me to NOT DO this, this, and, this with my son?" then YOU are doing him an injustice as well as yourself. I have not suggested here above that you cut him off, but I'm curious why you feel that making a (what I summise to be 19, 20 year old man) work for his food, his shelter and his dignity is ruining his life while he chooses to use what money he has to buy drugs? Not pointing fingers - just asking you to see the tough love side of this. I give YOU $50.00 for school. You take that money alotted for your education, and buy illegal drugs that I know will ruin your body, and possibly get you incarcerated. You come to my house and say "I'm hungry, I need notebooks, pencils, a car, gas, insurance, and oh by the way - I've cut class, can't work because I've got this monkey on my back and life is tough." So I get in my wallet and repeat the process over and over with you. Eventually you come to me and say "I need $100.00 - cost of notebooks has gone up." and I hand it to you and you take it and spend it on pot KNOWING that next week I will give you more money. Eventually somewhere along the line? I have GOT to stop supporting you and cut you off for your OWN GOOD. Otherwise you become dependent on me, my money, and you learn NOTHING of the value of work. It's not ruining your life it's teaching you a lesson.
    Along the way of this lesson you can make it as hard or as easy as you wish.

    Now does this hurt ME? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT DAD. It hurts like nothing you can imagine. Does seeing your son strugging, and going hungry not tear your heart out? Yes. Does it make you less of a Father? NO. It makes your son, more of a man because he quits begging YOU for money and the idea is that yes - he's not going to come to you for a while, he WILL go to his friends and tell them ALL how horrible you are, and he will couch surf, and borrow from them - but eventually life will teach him a lesson - the same one you did. His friends aren't going to hand him 50k for college. His friends aren't going to buy his supper every night, they aren't going to buy his clothes, pay his bills, turn his lights on, give him a car - or even put up with his baloney as long as you did. So what happens eventually (even though you think it never will and he'll hate you forever but will NOT) is that they come back - and they come back appreciating you. And they appreciate the lesson.

    IF THEY DO NOT??????? If they do not come back appreciating the lesson then YOU have that much time ahead in your detachment skills that honestly would have been wasted in trying to save someone that was NOT interested in saving himself but was seriously ONLY interested in playing you, the system and everyone else around them in seeing how long he could make svckers out of everyone. In that case; sad to say - the sooner he's on his own the better. If it's the former? Then you are how ever long AHEAD of getting him on the right track.

    Since he feels he needs no therapy - That is his choice. I would have suggested E.M.D.R. therapy. It's a faster-deeper type of therapy that for some reason just seems like something to me that would be of interest. The only other thing I would recommend in this and only because we (I) went for 15 years is a family thearapist. Had we not seen him? I would not have a son at all. I would have molly-coddled him, bent to his every whim, and been on my own thinking WHAT CAN I DO TO SAVE HIM. When the question I needed to ask was "How far back do I need to step to let him fall on his own before he sees what a mess he's making of his life yet still be supportive enough to let him know I care, but won't pick up the pieces for him?"

    I hope this reply has not come off to you as offensive (shrug) It has never in my 11 years here EVER been an intention of mine to give anything but my own observations based on my own lifes experiences - which were like walking through hells fires most days. However I can tell you that the more you (YOU) try to figure out how it is that (YOU) can save your son instead of figuring out how it is that you can detach and allow him all the scraped knees he can't possibly handle now? The harder it will be for EVERYONE as you all age year by year. I remember the nurse in the state psychiatric. hospital when my son was 7 telling me - she used to work in the prison for adult men, but she switched because she felt she could do more good with the younger kids - you know 'get em while they were still young enough to make a difference. Then she told me I could either pay now (meaning leave him there) or pay later (meaning leave him behind in prison). When I walked out of that place mister? I felt like someone ripped my heart out of my chest and used it for a football. I can't even begin to tell you how painful those 200 steps to the car were that day. I didn't think I'd make it. That was just the beginning....

    So take this for what it's worth. I don't belive allowing him to come home is a good idea either, but I certainly could not abide with paying for an apartment/flophouse/drug buddy commune while he does a few community college classes, and doesn't work. Maybe finding a family therapist and talking it out with him/her would be of great help or a pastor? Whomever - I think 3rd party non-partisan person would be immeasurably helpful for you all here.

    Best of luck -
    Please do come back and let us know how things are for you and your son.
    ps. Rehab? Not going to help unless he wants it more than anything in the world. What he seems to want more than anything right now is a free ride. Sorry to say , but we cut our 20 year old son off last year and JUST -----JUST mailed him a box of used clothes for a part time job he got. By the time the clothes got there? He didn't have the job anymore. Of course it's because the man can't drive so far to get him. (whatever) But thats how long it's taken me to be pulled into "help me" since cutting him off. And oh yes there have been the "Im hungry, I have no place to live, I'm homeless etc calls." It really kills me to hear it, but I keep asking myself WHO put him in this situation? I'm not getting those calls anymore. I just keep saying "Sorry to hear that, that's too bad, wow that's tough - well what are you going to do?" It's what I was told by the therapist to do. Amazingly 3 days later LIFE is wonderful - and I keep thinking - "and I would have sent him HOW MUCH?" UGH.

    Take care.
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First of all, I want to respond to your comment "don't want to ruin his life." Please remember that HE is the one "ruining his life." You really don't have anything to do with that. If he chooses to continue down the path he's on, that's on him. Receiving natural consequences for his choices are all on him, even if those consequences are ones that you might set into motion. It's very hard sometimes as parents to separate our children's choices and "failures" from ourselves... it's easy to feel as though you're the one failing, and to agonize over the choices they're making because you can see the road it's leading down. Thing is, parents end up doing all the worrying and agonizing, doing all the "work," while the kid just goes along his merry way, oblivious. That's something I've come to realize lately with my own child; I'm "doing all the work" worrying FOR her about her situation, whiel she doesn't do much of anything and doesn't seem nearly as concerned as I am .. and what good is that? So I'm stressed out over HER life, while she's not? Wow. What a waste of my energy!

    I'm not clear from your post as to whether he's passing his classes at college. If he's passing, even if not with the grades you'd like him to have, I'd be inclined to ignore some of the other stuff. If however he's flunking out because of self-medicating etc., you have to think seriously as to whether you'd like to keep pouring money into a program that he may not pass. For me, it wouldn't be worth the risk of throwing that money down the drain. If you choose not to pay for that any more, I think him working and going to community college, as a condition of living at home, is very reasonable. Again, his choice. You set the rules, he can choose whether or not to comply. If he won't comply, he'll have to make other arrangements. No, it's not easy to do... in fact, it's darn hard to do. But I think it's a very loving thing to do, to force kids to take responsibility for their actions, and to allow them to suffer the consequences of those actions instead of rescuing them.

    I encourage you to attend a support program like Al-Anon/Nar-Anon/Families Anonymous if you haven't already, this is a time when you have to gather all the support resources around you. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, especially at the holidays.. it is never easy.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board :D

    I also want to this point, you can't ruin his life. He is an adult (doesn't matter if he is or isn't acting like one). Only he can ruin his life at this point, and sounds like he has his feet on the wrong path at the moment.

    It stinks no matter which way you look at it.

    He is very lucky to have a wonderful caring Dad. Too bad that at the moment he's taking you and the family for granted.

    You could keep him in school and shell out all that money. But you can't force him to attend classes or get passing grades. And if he doesn't.......all that money goes right down the drain. So then you're out all the cash, but he is not in a better position, nor has he learned anything.

    You can attempt to get him into some sort of treatment program, both for the drugs and the depression. But only he can decide to go. Only he can decide if he is ready and wants to work the program. If he doesn't.........again it is a wasted effort.

    Our first instinct with our kids is to rescue them. It's a good instinct much of the time, but not all of the time, especially when concerning grown kids. Natural consequences of their actions teach valuable life lessons even when it is very painful for us to sit by and watch the events unfold. Rescueing grown kids tends to teach them nothing and they resume their behavior assuming they will be rescued again in the future. They usually don't see their behavior as being a problem because to them it isn't a problem. At least until having to face the consequences of their actions starts taking it's toll.

    I used to daydream at how easy my life would be once my kids were all grown. Yeah, that didn't happen. lol :tongue:
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I was once your son. I had all the potential to go to the best universities in this country. My Dad also would have paid out the ying yang to send me. Im glad I saved him the trouble. Partying and friends were just too important to me back then for me to even consider doing the right thing. No one could tell me I was being a fool.

    Thank heavens my Dad had the good sense to kick this little birdie out of the nest.

    Fast forward about 6 years later...I decided my life had to change. I had to grow up because I was in a steady relationship and was having kids. I went to a community college all on my own. Graduated with a 4.0 in Accounting with 3 kids under 6 years old. Ya wanna know who was there cheering me on with the biggest smile? My Dad. He hadnt given me a dime between when I was trouble and then but now I had done him proud.

    I felt such a sense of accomplishment for doing it on my own. My Dad has helped me over the years. I have kids with problems and I havent been able to work as much as I had hoped. He has always stood by me because he knows now my trouble days are behind me.

    The biggest gift a parent can give a kid is wings. Once they soar, normally they keep the parent in their flight path.
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi Dejected,

    Many of us have been in your shoes in one form or another. I really understand the quandary you are feeling, wanting to help him, not wanting to let him fail, worried about how far down he will go if you let him. Unfortunately you really can't help him until he wants to help himself. That is a very tough place to be. You want to prevent long term consequences of his stupid 18 year old actions....but you really can't. Ultimately it is up to him.

    What you can do is figure out what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. You can set limits in your own home. If you don't want him to come then you can state that and why. If you do decide to let him come home then set up some kind of agreement as to the expectations and requirements to live there. If he breaks them then you have to be ready to tell him to move out. If he does not want to be at that college then for goodness sake don't pay for him to stay. That will be a waste of your money.... because if he doesn't want to do the work he won't. It may not be a party school but if someone really wants to party they will find others who will.

    Sounds like he might have a real substance abuse problem. This is scary and heartbreaking and again there is not much you can do until he wants help.... but you can limit how much you do for him. What you want to do is make sure any money you give him is not going for drugs... if he is using it may very well be. I think one of the things to really remember around drug use, as long as you enable him to keep using he will and it will just help him get deeper and deeper into the drug use. So given that you seem concerned about his substance use, you really want to take care not to help him in any way use more.

    It is so darned hard. I know this from experience. My son is now 19....he is currently in rehab. He is finally there because he agreed to go because he spent 2 weeks in jail and he decided he did not like jail!!! It was awful that he was there, and he now has a felony on his record which is not good for his future, but when faced with the choice of rehab or jail he took rehab. I can only hope for the best. My feeling is sometimes money you plan on for college has to go to something like rehab...and ultimately that is more important.
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I say leave him at school, as long as he is passing. It might be worth $50k to let easy child and you & wife have some peace.

    Weird, I know, but difficult child parents think a bit strange.
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello DejectedDad, and welcome.
    You've already received some great advice from the others, so I will just weigh in with a few thoughts.

    If you continue to shield your son from his bad choices, then he never gets to learn why the choices are bad. Natural consequences are just about the best teacher out there. You were willing to put him through school, you likely budgeted for a 4-year program, assuming that he'd graduate, get a job and be self-supporting after that. He's not holding up his end of the bargain, so you're in a good position to drop yours as well.

    At your son's age, he has to start to learn to make good decisions now. On his own. With a lot of our children, that involves learning the hard way (the really, painfully, don't think you can live through it hard way). If you make decisions for him, or try to lead him down a path that he doesn't want to follow, then he's trying to fulfill your dreams not his. It won't lead to a good result.

    At 18, he still has time to turn his life around. The process will likely be a quicker one if it's uncomfortable. If he has a cushy place to live and all his necessities are paid for, then he has no incentive to want to change his behaviour. Why should he, when he's getting an easy ride and doesn't have to make an effort.

    You mention that you, your wife and your easy child all feel much better when your difficult child isn't in the house. That's a very telling statement. Your family home should be a haven from the world, the place you run to, not from. If your difficult child isn't contributing to that peace, then he shouldn't be at home. He's of an age where he can forge his own path. Maybe that's what he needs to do.

    I was a bit of a tearaway when I was in high school, mainly because I knew I could get away with it. My older brother or my cousin were usually at the same parties I attended. One or other of them would keep me out of trouble at the party, then drive me home and pour me into bed. Because I knew this, I had no reason to change my behaviour. Once I was away at university in a town far away from home and family, I was responsible for my own safety and had to get myself home. So I did. My behaviour was completely different, because since no one else was going to do it for me, I had to do it. Along the way, I learned that I was capable of much more than I had ever thought I could do. In short, I learned to be independent.

    I wonder...if your difficult child has never had the opportunity to fend for himself, he might not think that he's capable either.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm with Busy. If he is passing his classes, let him stay. Maybe he'll find his real calling?
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Maybe because money is tight for us, I'd never pay for a kid to go to college to take drugs and slack off but that's me. I also wouldn't let him come home unless he followed our rules, one being that he joins a rehab program because I had a drug using daughter and she didn't quit until I did Tough Love. However, I agree with everyone else that you have no power to ruin his life. He's the only one who can ruin it and he's the only one who can be grateful for his advantages and utilize them the right way. At his age, you have no influence over his behavior, but you can give him natural consequences. This has nothing to do with you, not at his age. He is choosing his friends, choosing to slack at school, choosing to smoke cigarettes (thus making his asthma worse) and choosing to be wishy-washy and irresponsible.

    In the end, it's up to you. I just know that coddling my daughter did nothing to stop her behavior. SHE had to want to stop and that didn't happen until she was told to leave the house.
  12. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I agree with letting him stay where he is. Ok, he screwed up one class. He's still working in the rest. At school, there are no druggie friends, there are kids who have goals and dreams. Let him be amongst those type of kids. The road for him may be a more bumpy than for others and it may take him a little longer, but the rewards be so sweet. If the kid doesn't want help, the help given will be a joke. Seriously, forget the treatment center route.
  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Wait I had the impression that he didn't want to stay there. I think it is fine to let him stay but I don't think you can make him stay.
  14. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Well, I agree with MWM--I would not pay 50,000 a year for a kid to attend college who doesn't actually seem to want to be there. My easy child son ended up getting into alcohol and partying at his college (it cost about 15,000 a year) and was caught and had to do community service to continue. He didn't fulfill those requirements so they wouldn't let him register for classes. He had to come home and go to work. This is when he was 20 yrs old.

    He is now 26, living on the west coast, working, going to community college. He is paying his own way and feels good about how he has taken responsibility for his own life. He says he should not have gone to college right out of high school--he wasn't ready, wasn't mature enough. He wasted his time partying instead of studying.

  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    One of the best revelations I had was that I should not and could not live his life. It was my job to provide opportunities and then let the chips fall where they may. Doesn't mean I didn't parent, advise, and reprimand when he screwed up. His errors are his to contend with.
    Let him complain as long as he is going to school and passing. Stop making excuses for his "hard major". It was his choice. He has the IQ obviously but that is only a number if he does not use his intelligence to problem solve and live a productive life.
    I do not believe you can make him go to treatment. I do not believe you can ruin his life. I do not believe that you can cure him of his miserable attitude or his lying. You can however hold him accountable and put the mirror to his face. Letting parental guilt blind you to the negative aspects of your child's personality will only allow you to make excuses. None of that helps him grow up. You can not cure him of his addictions. He will have to fall into the abyss of addiction and find his way out. You are always available to encourage, give guidance and advice if he asks for them.
    You can however be clear that if he chooses to drop out of the college HE chose that he can not return home to get high with his buddies and go to school that is "easy" for him. He will be the big fish in a little shallow pond. Being around losers makes him feel more powerful.

    He may become successful via education but he may always be a liar and a whiner and an addict. He may wake up and realize he is not likeable and change. However, you can not turn that lightbulb on. Certainly not when you make excuses for him.

    You have raised him to the best of your ability. You have given him choices and many opportunities others do not get. However, he has to take up the mantle of functionality and get on with his life without you fighting with him, or living in fear that he will ruin life in your home. You also have choices.
    Don't let ego "my child is successful" blind you to the bigger problem.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you need to assess the situation when he gets home. Can you find out what his current grades are? My daughter lasted one semester at college before her alcohol/drug use got her kicked out. We found later that she attended classes only the first week and ended up with all F's. If his grades are good and his behavior at home is respectful and drug free then perhaps you should give him another semester to see what happens.

    But I suspect you will find out that his substance abuse is serious and your decision will be easier. It's true that you can't force him into treatment but you can do what most treatment facilities tell you to do and that's draw the line in the sand. Tell him that either he goes to a treatment facility or he can no longer live in your home. The money you planned to spend on his education may have to go to save his life. If he doesn't get treatment he will never finish his education anyway.

    It's a terribly difficult decision. We had to make that this past summer when our daughter finally agreed to go into treatment or leave our home. She spent 60 days inpatient and is currently in outpatient, having relapsed after almost 100 days of sobriety. It's not an easy road but it's one that will be worth it in the end. I know what it feels like to have peace in your home with your difficult child away at school. We had that for two months and I just won't go back to the chaos we had before. We may end up having to kick her out if she doesn't stay in the program. These are tough choices we have to make.

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  17. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    As parents we want the best for our kids. Unfortunately often their idea of the life they want to live and ours are not the same. You do have some control over your own life if not over his. You do not have to pay for an education he isn't getting. If he is not getting good grades he will be kicked out anyway. Your choice is whether or not to allow that to happen naturally or to stop paying his tuition and save the next semester's tuition. You say you do not want him home because life is too difficult. He is not a minor so you have no obligation to allow him to move back in. Tell him in no uncertain terms that he is not welcome to live with you and why. Tell him that if he drops out of his current college, he can find a job and an place to live and attend school on his own at night. If he has to work hard at it he might appreciate his education more anyway. Lots of kids get a great sence of accomplishment when they earn their own way.

    I know this is hard. I know that you feel like you will be letting your son flounder and fail. I know that it is hard to change your protective parent mindset. I know because I lived it. You do no know my story but I tried every intervention possible to keep my son from ruining his life. I spent a small fortune on legal fees and programs only to have him walk away from them after a few weeks. Once when he was hopped up on drugs he stomped on me and broke my ribs. I was cursed at and had things thrown at me on a daily basis and I still tried to "help" him. I finally had to stop getting involved in his chaos and let him make his own life. I currently have little contact with him. Every once in a while I find out about the lies he is telling in the community to gardner "help" and home from total strangers. He is a manipulator and just moves from one unsuspecting sap to another while never making any real effort to improve himself. I hate the life he is living but I realize it is out of my hands. I have learned that the only thing a person has control over is how they react in any given circumstance.

    What I am saying here is to do what you need to do to keep your home safe and peaceful for you and your wife and easy child. My health and well being and that of my husband and my other son suffered because we didn't do it soon enough. My difficult child is no longer allowed to live here and he is only allowed to come over if he is sober and not bringing chaos with him. I realize that an ongoing relationship with my difficult child will never be perfect. His siblings no longer want any contact with him and I respect that. It is his doing not mine, I no longer try to "mend" the rifts in the family. I make time for all my children seperately. It makes the holidays difficult in someways but better in others. I have also learned that the "PERFECT" family is not anything I will ever realize but that that there can be perfection within the imperfect. Life is full of compromises and difficulties. It is also full of joys and wonders. The key is to embrace them all when they come your way. _RM
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  18. DejectedDad

    DejectedDad Guest

    First, thank you to all who have offered advice. No offense taken, believe me. We've thought and heard it before.

    Second, update and info. We don't know what his grades are; in general at his school there aren't many interim grades--you take a final and see what's what. He reported on arriving home last night that he was doing fine at midterm but has done worse since, as the classes are "hard." They are: he is in a challenging engineering curriculum. He has made noises about switching out of engineering but in the next breath talks about getting an MBA after an engineering degree.

    I think we'll have to see what happens with this semester. We haven't had a discussion, yet, about not going to one class. But he is more than passing, we think. And reasonably motivated (weird, about half of his "drug friends" are attending competitive national universities all around the US; difference between them and him is that they studied harder in high school and seem to know when (or are able, as opposed to substance dependent him), to stop--so his peer group, in part, is actually a plus, but that's the nature of the super affluent achieving pressure cooker town we live in).

    I guess I would not mind if he spent some money on booze in college, or even pot, since I and most of my peers did. Can he keep under control? Just don't know.

    He is pretty sick with bronchitis. Whether this is because he is constantly smoking pot or because he is not sleeping or taking care of himself at school is hard to say. He says he quit smoking tobacco a few weeks back because of the coughing. His mom thinks it is all due to pot. I have no idea.

    So for today, no massive confrontation or cutting him off. But hey, it is only Wednesday, we have three days for an explosion.

    I will report back, and thanks again.
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, hopefully he will make a recovery from the bronchitis at home, and have some revelations during the break. I think you are on the right track. Christmas break isn't oh so far away, and you will know more then. It seems advisable to just keep the lines of communication open at this point.