trying to detach

23yo difficult child is going downhill after being stable for several months. He still has no job and is not in school, being content to spend his days in front of his easy child. He did something stupid, dangerous, and illegal this weekend. His brother's friends were involved in the incident at a party, and his brother ratted him out to me. difficult child is angry that I don't believe his side of the story, and as a result he is giving us the cold shoulder, stopped taking his medications, and said he doesn't plan on keeping his doctor appts. It's extremely difficult to ever get any information out of him (even his therapists have said so), so I don't know exactly what his thought processes are, but I feel like it's out of spite. He wants to punish us for calling him a liar and taking the car away, and the only way he knows to punish us is to make us worried and angry.

I'm toast. Done. I told him that if he wants to continue down a path of self-destruction, he needs to hold his own hand because it's not fun and I'm not doing it anymore.

If he doesn't get his head out of his ass, I *will* throw him out. This requires a 30-day written notice in my state. Call me soft, but I don't want to throw him out in the dead of winter. He really has no place to go. If it comes to this, do you think giving him until Spring is a bad idea? That's like, four months to get his :censored2: together. Then, if he ends up on the streets, he will have the warmer months to acclimate.



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Is he a danger to you or others in your home? Is this t he man who pulled a knife on his friends and may have tried to run them over? Is he safe to you and yours in your home? Can you safely l ive with him? Will you need to lock up your valuables? Will he abuse you in any way or those who live in your house? These are the questions that would be running through my head.

About being told to leave: Yes, it's very hard. But our kids tend to find places to stay. There are shelters, if they are willing to follow rules. If not, it's their fault. There are also tent cities, which have no rules, but they burn bonfires to stay warm. Food isn't an issue, although they often call us saying that they are starving, usually so we will send them money. They learn from the street community where to get food. They can also apply for welfare and food stamps. But should you make him leave? This is up to you.

I suggest you keep posting in Parent Emeritus because this particular forum is for minor children, and it is different. PE is for parents of grown children.

Hugs for your hurting heart.
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greenstockings -- I agree with MWM's post.

1) Is he a danger/threat to your safety? If not, I think you are well within your bounds to ask him to leave. In fact, I think it's wise. I'm not in your shoes, so don't know all of your specifics. However, you have a right -- ethically, legally, medically -- to be safe in your own home. 23 is legally an adult (even if they don't act like it). The law is on your side.

The law in your state requires a 30-day eviction notice for someone living in your own household? Does he have a lease under you -- such that you are his landlord?

2) Yes, difficult child's figure it out. Yes, it's hard (believe me, I feel you there). But it's even harder if they stay long-term as adults.

I'm sorry to hear it's been so rough on you. I've been there, myself, and it's just brutal. Sending best wishes your way.


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If your instinct is not to let him back home due to his behavior, then I'd pack up his belongings and drive them to wherever he is.

I personally (this is just a vent) think it is insane that an unpaid person who is an adult can be forced to stay in the house you pay for just because he was there before. I know it's true though.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Greenstockings, I am so sorry you are going through this. I agree with MWM. If you feel he is a danger to you or your home I would think the police could have him removed. He is 23 and not concerned about your well being or feelings. You have to do what is best for YOU. I know how hard it is. Hang in there.


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Staff member
There is a 30 day eviction law in my state too. You don't need a lease and it covers your kids too, a 30 day eviction for everyone, no matter who it is.

I'm sorry you have to be in this position Greenstockings. It's so difficult for us. It may be prudent, as long as you feel safe in your home with him of course, for you to figure out what it is exactly that you are willing to do and willing to deal with and exactly what you are not. To be very clear about what your boundaries are. He has to make contributions to the household, he has to work, he has to take his medications, he has to be respectful, he has to go to the Dr. etc.........your house, your rules, end of story.

At 23 he is a man, an adult, not a 14 year old boy who gets to bum out and have a temper tantrum because he got caught. If he cannot abide by the rules you set forth, which he should agree to without incident, then perhaps, if it feels right to you, get that 30 day eviction notice going. Find out a list of the local shelters and give it to him.

Even if you change your mind, you will have gotten the necessary information and started the process, given him his 'contract' of what he has to do to stay and made your boundaries crystal clear. You can show him the eviction paperwork so he gets the reality and ask him to begin getting boxes to store his stuff while he's in the shelter. Maybe, that will awaken him enough to get with the program. If not, you can go through the 30 days and see how you feel at the end of it. If you just can't stand to put him out in the cold, well, you can decide then what to do next. You can always change your mind, there are no right answers here, we can only do what feels right to us. However, starting the whole process may change his attitude when he realizes you are serious. Our kids usually believe we would just never do anything like that. It will also give you time to make your boundaries strong and unbreakable. Don't let your son hold you hostage in your own home. It is your home, claim it.

This stuff is so hard on us Greenstockings. Think about your own needs. Take care of you and the rest of your family. Your son is acting badly. In real life there are consequences to acting badly.
difficult child has spent the entire week in his room, not speaking to us. He has unfriended several of his friends on Facebook and other social media. One of them contacted me because he was worried (he is the child of a good friend of mine....our sons have been friends since age 5). I told him he's done all he can do....he reached out and let difficult child know that he still cares. difficult child responded with "I have no friends." It's a "poor-me" party.

Anyhow, husband and I have been insanely busy this week so we've basically just let difficult child rot in his room. We are going to write up a contract today with our expectations. There are several of them, including getting a job and helping out with the household duties. But when all is said and done, he's basically going to have to have a job in 60 days. If he does not, he will then receive a 30-day notice to vacate.

I'm not sure whether to put "resume medications and therapy" in the contract. I feel like that's in his best interest, but it's not like he's schizophrenic. He has anxiety and depression. My husband has anxiety and depression and functions without medications (only because he's never found any medications that work with tolerable side effects), so I sort of feel like that should be a person's choice?

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Contracts can be a great tool. My husband and I used them with our difficult child. It helps to make very clear what your expectations are and what the rules of YOUR house are. Our difficult child smoked pot and I did not want it in my house. Our contract with him said "no pot is to be brought into our house", so one day I go to his room and say "I'm going to search your room to make sure there is no pot here" to which he replied "your stupid contract doesn't say you can search MY room, this is MY room and you don't have the right" This opened up a heated discussion that it's not his room that my husband and I just let him use it and explained that he doesn't make the mortgage payments, electric bill, etc.... He threatened to call the cops on me saying I was "messing with his civil rights", I said fine go ahead they can help me search. He backed down, I searched his room and found the pot.
Make sure to really think through what you will put in the contract. Our difficult child's can be very manipulative and are good at using our own words against us.
Keeping good thoughts for you and hoping for the best possible outcome.


Well-Known Member
I have to say contracts weren't worth much with difficult child as far as limiting his misbehavior. But they were valuable to me, to remind myself when it was time to tell difficult child he had to leave, that I DID say no drugs, I DID say he had to go to therapy, etc. and he didn't do what he agreed. If nothing else it kept ME honest.
I read your post Greenstockings and cried. We are in the same place and in a word, it sux. I am using the same "guilt reducing" thoughts of waiting until springtime so he won't be too cold. Then someone pointed out, to us they are children but in reality, they are MEN. I'm going to sit by myself for a while and write up a plan - one that he and I can both live with until spring. If he chooses not to go with the plan he can leave now, if he can do it I will be supportive and help him find resources.


New Member
Hang in there and remember that you can always decide to extend his 30 day notice to vacate if the circumstances have changed and he is being more reasonable to your requirements for living in your home. He doesn't have to know tho! :confused:
This is the letter I gave him:

Our house, our rules.

1) You will continue with therapy and follow the advice of your therapist. You will keep your medical appointments. You will plan ahead for transportation. Bus fare will be provided if needed.

2) You will be responsible for two household chores: emptying the dishwasher and taking out the trash and recycling when it's full. You will accomplish this prior to 3pm every day, without being asked. You will take the trash and recycling to the curb on Wednesdays. Failure to comply will result in the removal of your computer from your room.

3) You will keep your room free of rubbish and dirty dishes.

4) You will get a job. If you lose your computer, you may use our computer when we are home in order to look for work and check email. You will have a job by 60 days from today (01/07/2015), at which time you will pay $50/week in rent. Failure to become employed will result in an eviction notice.

5) You will behave in a civilized fashion. Behaviors that are seen as threatening to yourself, others, or property will be dealt with by law enforcement.

We are available to talk if you have any questions or concerns. We love you and will help you to get on your feet and stay there.


Mom and Stepdad

I'm almost 100% certain that he will fail in following the rules by the end of the first day. This is going to be exhausting.



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Think about it. Your rules are minimal. Most adult kids who are not going to college have to work full time and be civilized and non-threatening. Most don't even have to be told to be that way; they just are.

You are giving him a chance to stay with you. He isn't exactly being asked to do a lot. The only thing I'd probably offer in advice is that I'd probably see what his salary is before I'd set th e rent, but $200 a month is very very reasonable. He won't find it on the outside. The job and being nice are probably going to be his biggest challenges, but he sees what you expect now and if he wants to stay with you, he sees how he can do that.This way if he doesn't hold up his end, and you want him to leave, you can say, "So you are violating the contract? You are choosing to leave?" I wouldn't say "You are being kicked out." It's actually more appropriate to say, "So you are choosing not to live here?" Because, after all, it is his choice.

by the way, I looked at your signature and saw that you have low contact with your former easy child. I know how much th at hurts. We adopted a child who left us completely after he met his wife. I don't know if that is the entire reason why he left. He won't tell us. It hurt a lot for a long time. I hope you regain a relationship with your other child.

You sure have had a lot on your plate. Sending warmth and all the strong vibes I can...
Well, husband and I had a service project today, so we were out of the house for about five hours. When we got home it was 2pm, and the dishwasher was still full of clean dishes. We went to rest for awhile, and when I got up at 3pm, it had been emptied. That's my difficult child for you....waits until the last minute. I feel he does it deliberately to aggravate us, but of course there is no way to prove that.

He has a doctor's appointment. tomorrow. I'm waiting to see if he discusses it with us. I don't think he has any money for the bus. Also, I know his room is a piggish disgrace right now and I'm pretty sure he didn't clean that up yet....but there are still hours left in the day. I don't see why he would bother doing one thing we asked if he's not going to do the other things. Seems like a waste of time.

Yes, other son pretty much dumped all of us after he got together with his girlfriend. The boys still see each other only because difficult child goes out of his way to go hang out with them every weekend. A group of their friends all get together on Sundays for "movie night." Although that won't be happening much now that difficult child has had the car taken from him. DS19 lives at his girlfriend's house with her parents and grandmother, and they live out in the sticks and it's not on a bus route.

I tried very hard not to play favorites when the kids were little, but difficult child was always being "dealt with" and my other son was a sweetie and easy-going. I sometimes think he put pressure on himself to be such a good kid because he saw how much his brother's behavior upset everyone. It was so nice to hear his voice last weekend, even though he was upset and calling me about something difficult child did. I hadn't heard from him since August, and my texts/emails are rarely returned. He dropped several of his friends, too, so I try not to take it so ultra-personally, but I miss him and my mommy heart hurts. His girlfriend's mother and I used to be friends, which makes it a bit harder to take. We had a falling out several months after our kids started dating and don't speak anymore. Our problems had nothing to do with the kids, by the way.


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I'm really so sorry, greenstockings. Sounds similar to our situation...somebody got in the way and suddenly your kid is gone and you don't really know why. It is so puzzling and heartbreaking.
So far, Zeke has been as compliant as I'm able to tell. He had a doctor's appointment. on Monday, and he went. I know because I asked him to get a receipt for the co-pay. I do NOT know if he spoke to the doctor about his medication issue. I don't think I'm going to be able to micro-manage that; if he holds himself together without medications, then more power to him.

He has done what was asked of him regarding household chores. I don't know if he's started looking for work yet. He is only leaving his room when necessary and still is only speaking to us when necessary. He has a cold and is too damned stubborn to even ask us for cold medicine. I'm not offering. I'm only knocking on his door and talking to him when I have to. I feel that his goal is to upset me by giving the cold shoulder, and I'm not going to let him.

My heart is turning into a little lump of coal. :(