19 years old wasting his life.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hockeymom112, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Hockeymom112

    Hockeymom112 New Member

    Hi there. I've been reading this board for some time and decided that maybe writing my story might help, since there's a real depository of wisdom here.
    My story is similar to many of yours. My son, now 19 years old, started heading downhill when he was 15. At first it was just smoking pot. Then came the lower academic performance, behavior changes, talking back, aggression, verbal abuse, etc. etc. He got arrested once for possession of drugs at school and got sent to an alternative school. That seemed to help for a while, but then it started all over again.

    Fast forward to present day... he is enrolled in an online school, but he's not making any progress. He had a few part time jobs but quit each a few weeks after starting. He sleeps most of the day and spends his nights out with his friends. We had him in therapy but he stopped going once he turned 18. No goals or plans whatsoever. He talked about joining the army for a while but did nothing to actually achieve that goal. Right now he talks about moving in with his friends, who are all unemployed druggies. He got arrested again and is on a diversion program. He left home for a few days a few weeks ago after another tantrum, but came back a few days later.

    We drew some inspiration from this board and made a list of our expectations of him - finish school or get a full-time job, no drugs, therapy. He started yelling and threatening to kill himself because he "can't work" (if you're asking me it's not that he can't, he just won't). Every time I bring it up, he threatens to kill himself and storms out. I was terrified of him actually going through with it until my 16-year-old walked over to me after son stormed out, and said very calmly, "you know, people who really want to kill themselves don't announce it for the whole world to hear, they just do it". I was stunned. She was totally right. He's just manipulating us all over again.

    I am sad. I'm worried he'd never snap out of it. I used to doubt myself and my functioning as a parent, but looking at my other two kids (who are both successful, one older than him and one younger)... it takes two to tango and it's not just us. But we are part of the equation. I look at his siblings - older brother's about to graduate from a good college, works part-time and has a job lined up. Younger daughter in a dual-enrollment program (she takes courses at our local university instead of high school courses).

    I don't know what to do. I'm just worried that two-three years from now, we'll find ourselves at the exact same spot.
  2. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Hockeymom. So sorry you are in this...many of us have been where you seem to be. Please read the article on detachment at the top of parent emeritus forum.
    ...or 8, or 10, or 20 years...
    Try to set some boundaries now, it will give you a little piece of control and help him to see you mean business. He, even at the young age of 19, is playing you, playing the way the world works. It seems disrespectful to him for you to let him believe this is how a person can treat others...and it hurts you so much, doesn't it? To live without responsibility for his actions while you support him is unacceptable. Would you take this treatment from anyone else? Of course not. You also have a daughter in the house to protect.
    We can have expectations but they are just OUR pipe dreams without consequences. Drugs change who our sons are at their core. I hurt for you this morning, it is beyond painful, especially as they ramp it up to keep this lifestyle going. They seem not to care who they hurt along the way. I know your heart is breaking.
    Hugs to you today, hold tight. You will get through this. Prayers.
  3. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    The pot is the problem!

    And kicking him out of the house might not be a good idea if he is going to go live with his drug "friends". So what to do?????

    I think I would say he could live with me, but only on the condition he get drug tested regularly and go to counseling.

    So far as the suicide threats, call 911 EACH AND EVERY TIME he says it! If they want to hospitalize him, say yes. If he is faking/manipulating, that will cure him with a quickness! If he is serious, then he will get the medical attention he needs.
  4. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there Hockeymom.

    My family is a couple of years behind yours in this awful journey, but the path you describe sounds very familiar, up to and including his strongarming us into allowing him to attend online school (our difficult kid is 16) and after granting permission, watching him refuse to do his assignments there just as he did in traditional school; promising to get a part time job but then not following through; and reacting very negatively to even the gentlest of reminders from us to get his act together. Our kid also talks of joining the military or police force, but he cannot tolerate anyone telling him what to do, even high school teachers, so I can't see that going anywhere even if he finds the initative to actually try to enlist/attend the academy. He has become violent in the past when pushed too hard to do anything he doesn't want to do and so far, nobody has stood their ground with him and enforced consequences. If he ever assaulted ME that would change, but so far he has not.

    I am a stepparent to this child, and he doesn't live with us, so his custodial parent is going to have to set any limits that are going to be set, and well, you can read my previous posts to see that there's little hope of that ever happening. He is headed down a path that will see him taking a menial job and continuing to live with his custodial parent well into his adult years unless something changes. He has a new girlfriend who might light a fire under him.

    One thing I will say is that it's going to be very important for you to detach from him. Your son is already a legal adult and you aren't under any obligation to keep him under your roof. You would be within your rights to haul his things to the curb, change the locks, call the cops and report him for trespassing if you felt that was necessary. I realize that sounds (and is) extremely harsh, but some people need that level of harshness in order to turn their lives around. But only you know your situation and whether something that drastic is something worth considering. He is his own person on his own journey and you are also on your own journey. It is hard to transition from being a protective mama bear with a tiny cub, to thinking of oneself as the parent of an adult who is failing to thrive. Just remember that your son is going to have to learn responsibility eventually, you won't be around to protect him and shield him from the consequences of his choices forever, and it will be worse if he doesn't start learning sooner than later.
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  5. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    What are your son's interests? He's probably going to say he doesn't really know and wants to party for the first year out of high school. Is he college-ready as far as grades? You could go to the community college website that shows every major, class, etc. See if any of it appeals to him. Maybe you could arrange for him to talk with an Army recruiter. Another thing would be to Google a trade school and show him all the different welding careers, etc. he in which he could become certified.
  6. Worried one

    Worried one New Member

    Reading this, it could be my own 19 year old sons story almost word for word. Except he has held a job (pizza place) since this past October so I'm glad for that. I do not give him any money what so ever anymore. He was expelled from school his senior year & now has to finish online but as far as I know hasn't done anything. He's on probation for possession of pot & alcohol (1st offense) found in his car. He's belligerent with his Dad & I all the time, swearing at us & etc.. He refuses to tell us where he's going unless he's at work. He stays out as late as he wants & pry sleeps all day. (We are at work all day) I even find empty beer cans & vodka bottles in his room- he don't even try to hide the evidence!!! As of today I've told him (written out) some basic rules we expect followed or he'll have to move out. No swearing, be respectful, be home by a certain time or the door will be locked... I'm sure it's gonna get worse before it gets better. He too has used the 'I'll kill myself' line when he's ticked off at us. We used to fold & beg him to calm down but the last time I just turned my phone off & went to bed. He's supposed to start paying for his own insurance & phone this month but I've yet to get the money. I will cancel both if I don't get it. This helps knowing we are not alone though.
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  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    If he is drinking, you should NOT, under ANY circumstances, be paying his insurance, especially if you have him on your insurance.

    You are exposed to potential liability if he has an accident and hurts/kills someone or causes property damage, which is much more likely if he is under the influence.

    If he is using a car in your name,that has to stop immediately, again for liability reasons.

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but he is an adult, and at this point, your first mission is to protect yourself and your family from risk, not to cater to his needs or wants.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    He has been using pot, and is allowed to drive. You must stop ALL access to vehicles. In some states (mine for example), if someone is of driving age and lives in your home, they must be on your policy if they are your dependent. This does not mean you must TELL him that he is on your insurance. Or that you must allow him use of your car. If he has a car that you allow him to drive, disable it immediately. I can give you directions to do this if you would like. it is not hard to pull fuses in most cars. Keep keys to other cars locked away from him,

    You are endangering everyone else on the road if you permit him to drive.

    As for his suicide threats, those must stop. Each and every one must be met with a call to 911. A 3 day psychiatric hold as a danger to himself and others isn't a lot of fun (if they keep him) and make sure they know that HE is responsible for the bill as an adult. He is now an adult and not a minor, so those bills are NOT NOT NOT your problem. Yes, you CAN refuse to be responsible for bills for his medical care now.

    You have to set limits and boundaries. His life won't change until you make him uncomfortable enough that he changes. It may be that he leaves because he thinks life out of your house will be better. Guess what? No one else will pamper him and pay his bills the way Mom and Dad did when he was a kid. If you cut off the gravy train, no one else will turn it on without demanding some sort of work from him. It is your job to enforce this. He is going to be angry because he thinks tantrums will get his way. Make sure they don't. If he damages property and does not repair or replace it in a short time period, call the cops. It is a natural and logical consequence. He desperately needs those.

    You also must stop paying for anything extra for him. Pay for basic food, but don't buy things that are special just for him. Do buy things just for your other, younger child because that child is not just a minor, but is following the rules. Do not buy new clothing for your difficult child. I am sure he has more than enough clothing in his room and he doesn't need more. If he destroys them, he can buy more with his own money. Do not give him money under ANY circumstance. If he asks for it, say no. If he gets upset, tell him to go get a J O B. Do not pay for games or music. Turn off cable or tv service to his room if you can. Heck, turn off internet to his room if you can. Think seriously about shutting off his cell phone until such time as he can pay for it himself.

    Why do all of these things? To motivate him to get a job and start to live like an adult. To help make him bored. Yes he needs internet for online classes, but he could do those outside of his room, and he surely isn't doing them inside of his room. So why does he need the internet in his room? He can have the internet back if/when he has made serious and substantive progress on his online schooling. He can have money when he earns it from a job. He will just use it for the pot and other drugs he is using. It is rarely only pot that people use, though I could be wrong.

    I know I seem harsh. But easy hasn't worked. You might wants to read Parenting Your Teen With Love and Logic. I found it incredibly helpful.
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  9. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    This is my story also. I would use the quote Oprion but not sure how it works.
    Suicide threats
    Yup call 911 each and every time. Our son no longer says he is going to kill himself.
    We are in the same boat, son is facing possession charges and is 17. He has been in an out patient rehab program since being arrested for breaching his bail. He had a good run for a few days and we discovered him brokering a drug deal last night. I am truly ready to put him out on his own. Rehab and husband don't agree so it gown on and on and on.
    Detachment is a great suggestion...I am learning from so many here, that we are not alone, it is not our fault, and only they can change. So many wise comments and support!
  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Just caught up on the posts. How are things going with your son? Is he following your rules?

    None of it sounds good. Disrespecting your home is a big omen as to how they are developing in my opinion.

    My son is almost 22 and read my signature. Nothing changed yet for us even though he'd go several months at a time being "good" and we thought the "worst was behind us" and that is why he was in our home until the age of 20. I didn't want him to have to leave. We had to do it though or else go down in flames.

    We sent him away last year and he seemed to be doing better in rehab/sober living but just had a major relapse.

    It's tearing us up but our home is peaceful and for right now that means the world to us.
  11. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Sorry you have landed here, Hockeymom112. I just came across your post and am wondering how you are doing? It sounds like you are living in a whirlwind of chaos.

    Our daughter also uses the suicide threats often. Each and every time I call 911. I've even used it to call for 911 help in foreign countries. She doesn't do it as much now because she realizes I won't tolerate it. She hasn't worked in over 3 years and lives off of friends, what we have given her and the cons she has set up. She, like a lot of our difficult children, feel entitled.

    I'm hoping that you and your husband have been able to set up your boundaries/limits and that your house has become a little more respectful.
  12. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I'm sorry you are going thru this. Its no fun, mine is a 19 year old daughter. Hugs.