To drive or not to drive....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by vligrl, May 12, 2012.

  1. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    Not sure if I am posting for advice or to help me come up with my own answers, but this is the question. I just bought myself a car and my husband has one. Sold the one I had for my son two months ago because he was smoking pot in it and had various items related to pot in the car which I said if found, would sell car, which I did. Didn't really phase him the way I thought. The positives that he is doing....has a job, will start working full time after this week when Jr. College is out for a landscaping co. He has kept his curfew. My husband has let my son use to car ocassionally to go see his girlfriend that is close by and to work and back. Has caused a lot of anxiety in me for some reason denying his use of the car more often because I feel his total lack of understanding of why we restrict this. My husband always uses the excuse that he can't use it because he has errands to run or will go fishing, but never has come out and said it is because he smokes pot and doesn't want him driving under the inflluence. All of his friends indulge as well. All college kids. My son will just say that he won't smoke when he uses my car and no one will in the car....but I know that will not be the case. He needs to get to work and friends will not always be able to pick him up like they have to do when we won't let him use the car. Am I just too soft feeling so much anxiety now that there is a second car to use? My son considers this "our car" since I sold his car. I am just antisipating the confrontation before it has happens now that the new car is here and am sick to my stomach having to deal with this subject. He will not stop smoking, see's nothing wrong with it especially now that it is like a traffic ticket if you are caught with the legal amount. He is home right now...time to face the music.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    This is the problem.
    Your son just doesn't get it. With husband always using other excuses, your son may never get it. in my opinion you should just tell him flat out why he can't use the car, and not let him use it.
  3. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    What Kiesta said. Yur car your insurance, and it is you who will take thefinancial hit if he has an accident. -RM
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Don't give in. What others do is irrelevant. Unless son PAID for the car, his insurance, all his expenses, and all his spending money etc... then he has NO rights to the car. There is NO way the car is in ANY way 'his' but he wants you to not think of this or realize this.

    Someone under the influence of pot is just as dangerous as someone who is drinking when it comes to driving. Many states treat it as even worse in that you get bigger, harsher consequences. Who is going to pay for his fines and atty fees etc... when he is caught driving under the influence?

    Say no, make no happen, and don't mince words. You do not have to give him a reason. It is your car, your belonging, and you are under NO obligation to let him use it at any time. You are also under NO obligation to take him to work, a friend's house or anywhere else. He is an adult. He can save his $$ and buy his own car when he can afford it. He can also pay rent. I realize many people don't think pot is a big deal. Heck, most think alcohol isn't a big deal. But it does become a big deal when you are operating a car or some type of heavy machinery, esp if you have any type of anger issues. Your son won't believe this or thank you, but by not allowing him to drive the car you are protecting him from the lifelong agony of guilt that comes from having hit someone with your car. This is guilt that is a problem for the rest of your life, even with a LOT of therapy, even when the driver was in NO way at fault. I know a man who accidentally hit a teen on a bicycle the first month he had his license. The teen on the bike was dark skinned and wearing all black from head to toe, on a black bike with no reflectors, on a stretch of road with no streetlights. He rode out into traffic to cross the road with less than 20 feet between his bike and the car. There was no way my friend could have NOT hit him. A lengthy police investigation happened because my friend is white and the community screamed racism. The facts were just as clear as day though. There was NOTHING that could have been done by my friend to avoid hitting him. It wasn't much consolation to my friend when he was 16 though. He has had nightmares ever since, and almost 3 decades of therapy. He is a lot better, but he wll ALWAYS feel some guilt and a LOT of regret that it happened at all. He even gave up ice cream for almost 10 yrs because he was on his way to the store just to get some.

    If nothing else, you do NOT want that for your son. It took a LOT of hard work for my friend to feel like he deserved anything good in life. He was pretty self destructive for a while. That is NOT what your son needs.

    So if you cannot tell him no just because it is what you want to happen, because you know he will NOT refrain from driving while intoxicated/under the influence, will NOT keep people from smoking in the car, will NOT treat your car with respect, then tell him no to do what you can to keep him from having to spend the rest of his life dealing wth that guilt and regret. It was that bad for my friend and he was clean and sober - had never even had beer at a party or stayed at a party if someone started using drugs and he found out. How much worse would the guilt be if he had been impaired? Your son iwll blow this off because he is a kid and he is 10ft tall and bulletproof at this stage. But you know better.

    Plus the smell of pot tanks the resale value of the car. If you are driving and the cops pull you over for ANY reason and smell pot in it, even old pot smoke, they can search the car. Even one seed or bit of stem or tiny bit of leaf could get YOU arrested or given a ticket for possession. After all, it IS your car. In some areas if the owner isn't in the car but pot/drugs are found in the car, even in sm amounts, the owner is also given a citation or charged. What would that do to YOUR life and YOUR career? Why would a loving son take that risk? It is unlikely that you would be charged/cited if your son was the driver, but it isn't legal to allow him to use the car if you think he is using. If he is in an accident and the other party can PROVE that you now/knew that he used in the car, and that you knew this before he used the car, then you my bear some of the liability for the accident. I am SURE you have more assets so they would prefer to sue you than your son.

    I know it sounds harsh, but it is in your and your son's best interest to not allow him to use your vehicle. He is more than old enough to walk, take a bus, call a friend, ride a bike, or find another way to get to someplace he wants to go to. Let him be an adult and figure his own way to where he wants to be.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter, who we thought was only on pot, got into three car accidents, one really bad one. Many "I'm-only-smoking-pot kids" are doing much more and hide it. And if he isn't, pot is still dangerous mixed with driving. We took away daughter's use of our car and insurance once we knew she hadn't quit, as she had told us (with sincerity and tears in her eyes). After we made her leave our house, she had no car. This was the beginning of her healing. She had to find a job, so she walked to and from work and learned to do many things the hard way. And she quit.

    I wouldn't let a known drug user in my car with my blessing. I'd feel like I was at fault too if anything happened to him/her or anyone else while she was driving. JMO.
  6. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    Thank you everyone for helping me be strong. I agree with all of you. Confrontations with my son is no picnic which is where most of my ambivilence comes from, but I will stick to my guns and my husband is in total agreement. Haven't seen him since about 1pm and he is not answering his phone or my emails if he is coming home tonight or not. Looks like another night of a locked front door. Can't wait for Mother's Day.
  7. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    Well, here is a new development where my son may really need to use my car. He is working for a landscape company full time now that school is out, but they go to more than one place a day sometimes which means just dropping him off in the morning doesn't work if he has another location in the afternoon to go to. His boss isn't happy that he doesn't have a car to use. This is the job that would enable him to make good money (paid under the table) and hopefully move out or save for his own transportation. The question is....let him use a car or tell him to find another job? The locations are local by the way. I like this job for him because it is hard labor, not serving donuts or burgers, and will give him a taste of why continuing with his education is a good idea.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I'm sorry - I am not in your shoes...but I can't help but wonder:

    Why isn't the question - How will get get himself around without Mom and Dad???

    There are used car lots that sell beat-up, older vehicles for small weekly payments - no credit needed. There are sites like Craigslist with ads for cheap, used cars. Heck - he can even find a used moped or scooter.

    If he is resourceful enough to find the drugs to get himself high every week - SURELY he can figure out the transportation issue without bothering YOU.
  9. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    You know, not one of his friends have the own cars. They come back for the summer and have jobs using their parent's cars as there is no public transportation out here in the burbs. Maybe after working at this job for a bit, he will have enough saved to get a car, but he has zero right now as he has only worked six days in the last four weeks due to rain.
  10. Well said DaisyFace!!!

    I agree with everyone here as well.

    It is my understanding that if he has an accident with your vehicle and he is impaired then your insurance will not cover anything - at least that is how it works where I'm from. You would have to charge him with theft of your vehicle in order for your insurance to cover damages and any liability for injuries/death that he may cause.

    It doesn't make any sense to put you and your husband in that kind of a risky situation.

    I totally understand not wanting confrontations with your difficult child but this is one I'd stick to. I'd rather have this confrontation than have to charge him with stealing your car.

    Tough situation and I hope it goes well for you.
  11. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    I know what you are all saying but you are coming from the concept that he is high 24/7. He would be leaving at 8am...not getting high, no time before or during work and too dangerous considering using a wood chipper is always in use. I wouldn't consider him using my car except for work. I am 100% sure about this. He wakes up about ten minutes before he has to leave just to go to the bathroom and change then straight to work. This is a strick no drugs tolerated job and is around the owner at all times as it is a small crew that works together.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    If he's high all of the time except for when he is at work, he will use your car to buy drugs on his way to or from work.

    You say all of his friends come home for the summer and use their parent's cars to go to work. I assume they're "coming home" from school in the summer? Does your son go to school?

    Why doesn't he get a ride from one job site to another with one of the other workers? He's getting paid cash, so he could contribute $5/$10 a day to someone until he can get his own transport.

    Does your son have a license? Does he have insurance? Who pays for it?

    I didn't get a license until I was 25 years old and had two children. I worked 18 miles from home doing shift work. I had to take 3 buses to get there and three buses to get home and I lived and traveled through some very dangerous neighborhoods. For years I walked because it was the only way I could get places, and I have muscular dystrophy. It inspired me to get my own car. Having my own car inspired me to keep working so that I would never have to ride a bus again or bum a ride.

    I don't think you would be helping him to be self-sufficient to let him use your car.

    on the other hand - Getting paid good money under the table - oh, so much wrong with this statement that I don't even know where to start. Let's see, heavy construction with no benefits. What if he hurts himself? No work record to build credit to buy a car or rent an apartment with. Not paying into Social Security or Medicare. Why do I have to pay taxes on my income and your son who is already a burden to society does not? I'm sure there's more, but it all seems so obvious to me.
  13. AHF

    AHF Member

    vligrl, I'll go against the flow of these responses and say go with your instinct. Give him a chance to prove himself, but do it in an adults-expectations way. That is, he refills the tank; he takes the car for oil changes; he chips in a portion of his earnings toward insurance; he brings the car home after work and does not expect that it is "his" to use for evening outings. If he lives up to these expectations, great--and your hunch will probably be right, that he's not smoking. If he fails to live up to them, then I don't care whether he's smoking or not, he's not being respectful and will have to learn how to handle his work schedule himself.
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    No Ma'am....

    I'm coming from the concept that he has not EARNED the priviledge of using your car. I agree with Witz....when one hoofs it for miles and miles to get to work - one gets motivated to buy a car pretty quickly. My difficult child is hoofing it to work. Do I give her rides sometimes? Sure. On MY terms - when I want to...and only if she is behaving respectfully.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    But it sounds as if his friends are of in college and BEING RESPONSIBLE. And yes, easy child can go difficult child over the summer but they are easy child because they go back to being easy child when necessary.

    Sorry, if boss man wants him to have a car, then boss man can help him get a car.

    IF you do decide to get him a car, please, please, please put it in his name only and have insurance in his name only. If he ever gets busted with drug paraphanalia, you don't want your name anywhere near that car. And God forbid he's in an accident, you don't want to risk loosing your home because he's caused so much damage.
  16. keista

    keista New Member

    So a woodchipper is too dangerous to operate stoned, but a car isn't? Sorry, I'm not getting that logic.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If he has only worked 6 days in 4 weeks because rain, how great IS this job? Even under the table, there is NO WAY that he made enough in 6 days to support a car or himself for 4 weeks. If he paid his taxes, he could maybe get unemployment.

    WHY? WHY WHY would you let him use your new car when you KNOW he smoked pot in your old one and you KNOW he is NOT WORKING?????

    The big deal is not what other parents do. I know it is cliche, but would you jump off a cliff just because the other parents did it? Cause that is what using the 'all the other kdis use their parents' cars" excuse is - jumping off the cliff into allowing things you KNOW DANG WELL are not just wrong and bad for you and your financial future, but are also bad for your child.

    if you didn't think this was bad, then you would not be questioning it. You would just say okay. But you DO think it s bad. You took a car away because it is bad. what is he doing the other days during those 4 weeks? Laying around? Or looking for a REAL job, one that he actually WORKS???

    Cause if you only work 6 days out of 4 weeks you are unemployed and working as day labor. I wonder if the boss really did call off work because rain or if he called off YOUR SON"S WORK using the rain as an excuse but really because your son's drug use? Yes, landscaping is mostly a sunny day job, but I bet the boss didn't go with-o income for four weeks. Nor did those who rely on him for work because they would find another job if they were out of work for 4 weeks.

    this is NOT a job. Allowing the car for work when he doesn't have a job is really nonsensical, isn't it??

    it is possible to be hurt VERY badly by lawn and landscaping equipment. I know peopl who do this for a living and/or own companies. the ONLY ones who do it under the table dont' give a sh** about their employees. they don't pay for injuries if the employee is hurt - not a PENNY even if a limb is chopped off. they hire the stoned, and don't make them stay sober for work, and when an arm is cut off they say "oh well, too bad so sad," and hire someone else and there is NO workman's comp, NO insurance of any kind, and the boss will agree to pay the bills but by the time the bills come in the boss had 'closed' that business and cannot be successfully sued and is doing the sme work under another name and doing the same thing to many other people.

    So when your son is badly hurt by this guy, YOU will pay for this job injury. You will also pay for the people hwo aer hurt when he wrecks your new car and when he does many other stupid stoned things. but it will all be okay because hte other parents let their kids use their cars (will they pay for the accident your child has?) and besides, your son won't be mad at you.

    Okay, that was sarcastic, but it IS the line of reasoning that you are following. and it is nonsensical to read and idiotic to do.

    let him WALK to the next job. Cause clearly he does not yet have a job.
  18. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    Well thank you so much for your commentary Susie. A bit harsh I feel. Since last writing, my son has gone full time for a different landscape company doing more gardening than tree chopping. He is making more money and has been working full time hours and is very proud of himself and so am I. I have not let him use my car socially. He brings my car home right after work, takes his shower, and either hangs out for a bit or is picked up to see his friends. This is where I will end my thread.
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    vligrl, I'm glad to hear that it has turned out well so far. Susie's comments may have seemed harsh, but they are the truth as to how the rest of the world sees enabling parents of drug addicted grown children. You have an obligation to continue to monitor your son's behavior. If you do not, and if something bad happens, you will be harshly judged. You can't get away from that. The rest of the world will not understand why you chose to take one more chance with your son should something go wrong.