Treating them like an adult is confusing...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I expect him to work, save his money, deal with his student loans and bills, do his community service. I expect him to clean up after himself and feed himself, bathe and act like a respectable person.

    But that doesn't stop me from reminding him of most of these things over and over. I try not to...but I do it. "Don't forget to call your student loans. What time do you work? Do you have a clean uniform? You should do laundry."

    He's 21. We started off with letting him drink in the house. Then one day he came in with a 12-pack and announced his intention to drink 6 while playing video games in his room. My reaction did not make it a pleasant evening for anyone. I mean, there's a big difference between sitting in a bar with your buddies or at a party with other people and getting buzzed (assuming you aren't driving) or having a glass of wine to relax after a long day, and drinking a six-pack. Isn't there?

    So we told him we're not comfortable with his drinking and he just wasn't allowed to bring it into the house again.

    But of course, Jabber and I drink. Not much, but some. He came home the other night and we were having a glass of wine. So ... does it make sense to tell him he can't? What restrictions are reasonable restrictions? I keep trying to point out it's not the act of having a's the act of drinking too much! That just goes round and round, since he insists that he wouldn't be drunk drinking six beers over several hours. Maybe he wouldn't. It still smacks of sad old drunk to sit alone and drink until buzzed...even if you're playing an on-line game and chatting on Facebook or something.

    Today Jabber comes home to six beer cans on the counter. Apparently, he had a friend come by before he went to work and they each had a couple beers. At noon. Before work. Okay...seriously stupid to drink before your 2 p.m. shift, but...I've had a drink at lunch and gone back to work. Is this different? Why?

    Jabber wants to simply say, "No drinking in the house. Period." But it would of course be only HIM...WE can drink. So isn't that treating him like a child? We wouldn't make that a requirement of any other adult in the house. He's only with us a few more weeks...maybe a couple months...until he's got the money to move out.

    I'm just so conflicted about the whole thing. It's so hard to treat him like an adult while still making "rules" that really have nothing to do with being a good houseguest. We have to sit him down and have a talk about the housekeeping...or lack thereof as it is. I'm just not happy about any of this.
  2. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    I think what you describe is just how living with our children in our home beyond the age of 18 is. It's just so much better when they can be self-supporting through their own contributions and then we as parents don't have to witness the things they do. I think the natural progression of children leaving home when they are supposed to gain independence is a good idea but unfortunately children who fail to launch makes it a difficult situation. I watched my mother and my brother do this dance. He finally gained independence when he was in his late 20's when he sobered up. She still had to pay for his housing early on though but when he got his nursing license he was finally able to take care of himself financially. I've often thought of building a tiny house on skids and parking it out back for my child to live in so he wouldn't have to be in my house. He just couldn't stay out of trouble thus he now has a bed in the county jail.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    in my opinion your house, your rules. You have a right to be comfortable in your house and if he is making you uncomfortable then his behavior should change. Also, having had some sub abuse issues, not drinking in the house is an acceptable rule. If he had not had sub abuse history then you would not be uncomfortable with his drinking, would you? Also, he clearly isn't a grown up yet or he would be supporting himself. When he is a grown up then he can make the rules for his house. Until then, he is a child in your house, or at least a dependent. Dependents don't get to make the rules, in my humble opinion.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, this is how I see it. Take it or leave it.

    As you know hubby and I dont drink. Hub used to (alot) but he doesnt anymore. We allow drinking in our housr. Jumpers boyfriend is productive, hardworking, mature and 24 and he has one Bud Light here sometimes. Jumper says he never gets drunk. Most people can control the amount they drink.

    But not everyone is ABLE to drink sensibly. Some people cant...they are not able to have one drink of wine snd stop. They have to keep drinking once they start.

    They are the worlds alcoholics. The can't be taught to drink responsibly. Alcohol is poisen to them. Its legal so these people can buy it...and get sicker and sicker.

    Your son is a substance abuser. He uses pot daily and constantly is in an altered state. If he were my son, and I drank, I would treat your son the same way I'd treat anyone who is a substance abuser who was in front of me. I'd treat him exactly as if he had gone to rehab and was home on a visit. Because he is at risk to go there.

    I would not drink in front of him. Ever. If you do, it causes all kinds of questions as you are facing now and he will feel perfectly justified drinking in your house in front of you which, with his enjoyment of an altered state and genetic predisposition to alcoholism, might make him like alcohol enough to go out to bars too. I would want to show him that alcohol isn't necessary for a full life. Hes already latched on to pot.

    Drinking in front of him is your right. You and Jabber are not at risk to abuse. But your son is not as lucky. I truly think youll be glad if you only drink away from him...or he will start drinking more. And with your soft heart you could blame yourself. It could escalate fast. Sometimes, to help friends and family, we have to do things we'd rather not do.

    I would not eat a big piece of french silk pie in front of my friend who is dieting. I woud eat it after she left. For the same reason.

    Also, in all but age, your son is a child dependent on you. He is expected to grow up...but he isnt close yet. He is more like a youngish teen with similar lack of motivation and impulse control and is not living an adult existence. He lives in your house, on your dime.

    If you dont want to do this I am out of ideas...but i do wish you lots of luck. This is an issue for many people.
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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Actually yes. For two reasons: 1. His biodad was an alcoholic. 2. It's just "weird".

    No, no, no. He WAS...before college. He still occasionally smokes, I know. But he does NOT use it daily and is definitely NOT constantly in an altered state. He would not be allowed to live here if that were the case. I'm quite sure he goes days without anything to drink (or smoke) at all. 50/50 maybe? I suppose when he goes to a friends, he has a beer. But the other day when I picked him up, he hadn't ... he'd been hanging out and playing video games, but not drinking. So it isn't a constant thing anymore.

    I think that this is actually more of an issue for Jabber than me. I don't mind the occasional beer or wine or whatever. Occasional as in one, once or maybe twice a week; NOT every night, NOT six at a time. I could live with that and would prefer it over him feeling he has to leave the house every time he wants a drink or to hide it.

    But it's still weird.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  6. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I think it is different. He just started this job. He is drinking before starting his shift, not working in the morning, taking a long lunch, then finishing the 2nd half of his shift. It sounds like the intent was to get a buzz on, not to nurse a drink over a leisurely meal and socialize. That incident and the 6 beers while playing video games alone raise red flags with me. I agree with SWOT. It escalates quickly.

    I am obviously not one to give advice right now, but I can tell you that if Difficult Child was living with us, our drinking was very much an issue to him, even though it was done responsibly. Several times Difficult Child called it a "double standard."

    Since it agitated him and gave him an excuse to do it (always to excess), we elected to keep it out of his line of sight. Even at that, he still searched our garage and cellar and found alcohol we had hidden long ago.

    Because he is only staying with you temporarily and there are always more than enough battles to pick, I agree with Jabber. It seems easier for you and Jabber to just do it elsewhere for the duration.

    Also, am I understanding correctly that after the 6 beers alone situation you told him no more alcohol in the house, but then Jabber came home and found 6 empties on the counter? If so, I would have a "my house, my rules" meeting. Backing down on a rule you already set is dangerous precedent, I think.

    Just my very humble opinion.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lil, I understand your confusion. You know in your gut and your heart that him drinking in your house (or anywhere else for that matter) isn't a good thing for him. That's why you're confused I believe.

    I drink some socially. I like to have a glass or wine or a beer in my own house. Today, when Difficult Child is there, I don't do it. We just don't have alcohol when he's there. I was confused about that for a long time, and sometimes I did drink when he was there, but today I don't. It just seems better, to me, not to.

    My ex-husband---Difficult Child's dad---is a recovering alcoholic. Difficult Child is a substance abuser. I know he drinks beer right now, sometimes, because he says he does. I think that is a really bad idea for him, but there is nothing I can do about it. Except, when he's at my house, I don't have to provide it to him or drink it in front of him. I can't control what he does elsewhere.

    We often say here: my house, my rules. My house, my sanctuary. As long as Difficult Child is in your house, I would make rules that reflect your own beliefs and values. He doesn't have to like them or agree with them. He just has to go by them as long as he lives there. Once he moves out, he can make his own rules.

    Warm hugs. Your post goes under the headline: It's hard to have our adult children---DCs or PCs---living in our homes with us.
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  8. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    True, true, true. even under the best of circumstances. husband has often mentioned that it is just plain difficult for adult offspring to live with their parents.

    With Difficult Child's, it brings on a whole other universe of cautions.

    With my (very, very) Difficult Child, we would not drink when he was around. Of course, when he was living with us, he was never here from about 4PM until perhaps it was never an issue. And, us not drinking around him, made not one iota difference. When Difficult Child finally moved out, I found many empty Jim Beam bottles in his room. We had no idea he ever had one bottle of Jim Beam in his room.
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  9. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Your house your rules. this day and age many young adults live at home, for many reasons. If you think an occasional drink is ok, map out the rules. I would not be ok with my kid having other adults over in middle of day for a drink. If you do it's your house, you have shown responsibility.

    I would sit him down and map out exactly what you expect....have him sign it, then figure out what will happen if he doesn't clean up? As for his work uniform and such...let him grow's hard, but if he can work and keep a schedule, he can run a washing machine.

    I can tell you are all a very loving family, talk and write it out so you can feel at peace in your own home!

    Hugs! Just my thoughts
  10. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Drinking alone in his room...and consuming a whole six pack...not good.

    Drinking during the day...and before work...not good.

    He's drinking at inappropriate times. Not to say that he has a problem, or maybe it's in the early stages. It will all come out eventually, whether you drink in front of him or not.

    That being said, we can't ever drink in front of my son for along, long time, and maybe forever. We didn't drink in front of him after he first went to rehab 5 years ago, but it didn't make much of a difference in the long run, as we moved him out a year and a half later and he went to rehab and then sober living, where he remains. So we don't have this problem anymore, as he doesn't live with us. When we go out to dinner as a family, it's a booze free affair. I don't like it, not one bit, but that's the way it is.

    But your situation is not as severe, and should you not be able to do what you like in your own home as long as it's not immoral or illegal?

    Maybe you need an opinion from a professional. Although I am reluctant to bring issues about drinking to my therapist because she's biased....she's a complete teetotolar...Lol!
  11. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I'm of a different mind. Either you allow drinking or you don't. I don't think you can set your limits on what you think is appropriate limits on someone else. I also don't think you can tell another person over 21 that they can't drink, while you still drink.

    ...and with the "reminders." I'm going to tell you this from an alternate point of view. I grew up with a nag. The only thing nagging says to someone is, "I don't think you are capable of doing this on your own." It bothered me a lot being nagged. It always made me feel like my mother thought I was too stupid to do things on my own. The message you send by nagging is, "I have no confidence in you." If you want someone to grow up and take responsibility you have to allow them to do it. Nagging them to do their laundry or call this person or make that appointment is doing the exact opposite. Even into early adulthood if I was nagged about something I would put off doing it just because I was nagged.

    If he doesn't do his laundry or make his appointments that hurts no one but him.

    For things like house rules I would make them and make consequences for not following them. I guess that is more difficult with adults living at home. I'm guessing the only consequence is "move out."

    I have little kids. Punishments are easier.
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  12. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Ditto for us. Even when he was home after rehab and we were being extra vigilant, we had no idea he was drinking at all, much less the extent. When he moved out we found many empty bottles.
  13. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I don't drink, smoke, or do illegal drugs. It did not stop mine from doing all 3 of those.
  14. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    In our case, he isn't hiding it. In our presence or in our home, it isn't to excess. So I have less of a problem with it. I think for Jabber it may be a respect thing...we said we didn't like it and don't do it. End of story. I tend to be much more wishy-washy about stuff like that.
  15. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    You have concerns about treating him like a child with the alcohol. But isn't it also treating him like a child with reminding him of what to take care of with student loans, asking what time he has to go to work, reminding him to do laundry, etc. Let him do this on his own. I know you are scared he will fall. But if not now, when? What happens when he moves out? He has to learn to "remember" to do things on his own. Yes he is required to do basic housekeeping chores and not leave things for you and Jabber. If he leaves things not done, pack it up in a garbage bag and put it in his room. Don't do his cleanup.

    The alcohol issue: It is your house. You and Jabber work all day and should be able to come home and have a drink if you want to. You drink responsibly in your own home. YOU shouldn't have to give it up totally- he is not in rehab. If he was- I would say, refrain until he moves out.

    BUT- maybe the rule would be for him since he is 21. Maybe say you are allowed to drink in our presence at a minimum. But no drinking before he goes to work and no drinking in your home when not there. I fear he will drink and drive outside the home, fo to sneaking it in the home, in his room, etc then you have bigger issues if he gets stopped by police.
  16. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm trying. I really am trying, to quit reminding him. It's harder than any other part of this really. It's second nature for me to nag. :p It's a work in progress.

    This I don't worry about...he has no car. I did let him take mine last week because he had a date. The did dinner and went to a friends and he came home sober as a judge. So...there's that.

    Also, the ONE beer that was left in the fridge from last week (and he had 2 before work, there had been 4 cans, not 6) is still in the fridge. He hasn't touched it.
  17. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Oh Lil, that is awesome to hear about sons date, dinner, coming home sober and beer leftover. YES, so many positives but it's progress. Fret not on the reminding- hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel and your fruits and labors:). It took me 16 years to see my Difficult Child finally to get his life on the right path.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Him liking his job is HUGE.

    Crossing fingers, but it seems he is way on the upswing. Lils Son, if you are reading this, Way To Go!!!!!