'Tis the Season difficult child Question for others with experience

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BKS, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Christmas Question:

    We asked our 19 year old son to leave in October and he landed at a friends house that is always teaming with alcohol and/or drugs of all sorts. Our family is spending Christmas at my mother's (an hour away) and her house is << sigh >> full of booze. She likes to drink and feels that there is too much alcohol in her house to try to go to the trouble of hiding it when my son (who we have told her has these issues) visits. (This is an issue unto itself.)

    Question: If my son spends Christmas eve night with the rest of the family, how do you thing we should deal with the alcohol issue? It would be for two nights at the most.

    • My husband and I could keep a close eye on him (not a fun way for us to spend the holiday).
    • We could tell him it is illegal to drink in the state where my mother lives and to please honor this.
    • We could tell him we won't tolerate any substance abuse while at his grandmothers. (Which he could easily play off as an insult and this would start the ball rolling down hill on this family visit with him.)

    This is all new to us as we continue to pray that this is a 'stage' in his life that he is going through and that he will wake up and start doing something constructive with his life - by first getting and keeping a job.

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Does he have to go? Could you have a cozy Christmas with you before you leave?
    If he is not ready then maybe that's a natural consequence of his abusing. Will your house be safe while you are gone if you leave him behind?
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I tend to think family should be together for holidays, regardless of difficult child issues, unless there is a threat of violence or some sort of abuse. Even difficult children need to be near family during these important days of the year, shoot maybe more so than the rest of us sometimes.

    in my opinion grandma should not have to hide her booze. It's her house. difficult child's issue is not her issue. For that matter, difficult child's issue with drugs / alcohol is not your issue either. I know 19 doesn't quite seem like it, but difficult child is an adult and responsible for his own behavior. You are not responsible for his behavior. And to be blunt, it's really not your place to tell him what he can/can't do at grandma's house. (that's for her to do) However you can / should set the rules at your house.

    In short, you can't control difficult child. Any attempt to do so would likely turn out bad and ruin everyone's holiday. The only thing you can control is what your reactions to certain behavior will be, what you may or may not do should he drink or use during the holiday with the family.

    How is his relationship with grandma? Usually most difficult child's can manage to hold it together for a grandparents sake........well, just because it is grandma. Know what I mean?? Out of respect. You're not talking about a long stretch of time, so could difficult child hold it together?

    If you don't think difficult child could resist temptation.........then you may decide it's best for everyone to not have him join the rest of the family. If so, perhaps you all could have a early celebration at your home so he is not completely excluded or something.

  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi BKS,
    Holidays are tricky and stressful when it comes to difficult children, aren't they?

    If your son was asked to leave your house, and he complied, he knows where you stand. If he's looking forward to getting together at grandma's, I hope he will keep it together during that time for the sake of the family. If he doesn't, I'm with Hound - it's up to grandma to set behavior limits in her home - you are not responsible for his behavior, even though grandma probably should try to understand and 86 the booze for Christmas since she's aware of his issues. However, real life doesn't work that way.
    I guess ideally what we would want our difficult children to take away from this holiday is that we love them and want them to be a part of our family traditions...that they belong there, despite their current lifestyle.
  5. It is a tough situation to be in. Hopefully your difficult child has enough respect for his grandmother to not abuse alcohol while in her home for a Christmas function.

    I do agree that it is up to Grandma to set the rules in her home.

    You want to be with your difficult child for Christmas but are afraid of how his behaviour might affect the family, the holiday, etc.. Crossing my fingers for a good outcome for you.
  6. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I think it's perfectly acceptable to say something calm and rational to difficult child about not drinking at grandma's. Keep it short and sweet, but to not mention it at all is to ignore the elephant in the room. Leaving it up to grandma -at this stage (remember, he's only been out of the family home since 10/12) - might be too much pressure for her. It would have been for my mom, who reveled in the role of the indulgent grandma.

    Let your expectations be known, and let it be clear that you are confident that he can rise to the occasion for the mere two days he will be there. Once there, relax and don't take on the responsiblity of the behavior police. You've passed that on to him when you spoke to him prior to the visit.

    I'm in complete agreement with including our difficult children in all holiday tradtions (when possible).

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi BKS, yes it is the season for sure. It's always a dilemma with our difficult child's and holidays. Two days can be a long time if you're uncomfortable the whole time. You've already done a very good job of setting your boundaries, so he likely knows what you expect, however, if it were me, I would make it clear that I love him and want him to be there, but it's a holiday and we are all expecting him to behave in a way that is respectful and meets the standards that the rest of the family adheres to. I would ask him if he thinks he can do that for two days? If he says he can, hold him to his word. If he hesitates and is resentful or angry to have to abide by your rules, then arrange a separate time to celebrate with him. There is no rule that says your whole family has to suffer because of one persons actions. Give him the option to tell you if he believes he can hold it together for the holiday and if not, then you know what to do. If he comes and drinks and ruins your experience, then you will know he cannot keep his word, even for two days and this will likely not be an issue again. I'm sorry you even have to think in this fashion, but I do too, as many of us do......(((HUGS))))