November 28, 2009,
J.M. asks from San Jose, CA on November 24, 2009
18 Year Old Son Advise to Make Right Choices
My son just turned 18 and though he is the oldest, once upon a time he was the only sibling now he has a brother and sister. He has always been spoiled. and though through the years of going through the different adolent phases and challenges we have always been firm as parents on our expectationsand usuually the out come is some exposed scene for the the younger childeren. to be exposed to . Even though they get sent upstairs they sill know what is going on. He has struggled for many years in in his schooling and we have invested allot of money in tutors and outside sources. on resources that never could be saved in hopes of his success. The school has already said he 18 if he doesn't pass his classes they can kick him out of school.We have given him realistic curfviews and he has always came up with some random clever way of getting around what we ask of him. Well he doesn't work, doesn;t pay for his cell phone,he doesn't pay for his car insurance and he depends on the gas money we give him for school to see his girlfreind who is 6 months older than him and he is always wanting to see her. Especially on school days. Well yesterday he got permission from his after school teacher to leave a class early after I had personally told him not to go after school to see her . ( It was there 4 month anniversery) He had already took her too school and made her lunch. that same day. that I gave him permission to do a long as he was not late to school. Well he still went down there and I was very angry and displeased he didn't listen. rather he though he he could not get caught but a freind tiped me and told me he left early... he didn't anwser my call, he claims he never got it. so I called the girlfreind and I didn't cuzz at her on my message but I did say you know he went donw there to see you and and is not anwsering my calls. and if he would of came home and showed me he could follow rules he could of went down there with permission instead of lying or hiding the truth. so he is struggle in all his classes and this is wrong of him to encourage this and you if you are...
I know you cant control love. but there has to be some kind of guide on the out come.
He came home ranging mad. becasue of it. and decisded he didn't want to be at home anymore. He couldn't handle the rules and that every time he does follow them the get unnoticed and so he left the house. ( leaving me a vm that he was just getting air and getting dinner for himself and that he was coming home to later call again and say he is not coming home.I am sure he is with the mom and her two girls. ( so his father said if you cant come home then stay there. He had decided he was leaving i think from the get go.
he has been calling to talk to me and I don't feel ready to tlk to him becasue we did say once he left it was for good. I feel we were giving him simply rules to follow and I am not sure what we should do. I feel like he has chosen a girl he has known for only three month over parents. that have always been very supportive. and leasy on his choices and behavior.
what to do?
J.C. answers from Phoenix on November 25, 2009
Can I ask why you're giving an ADULT gas money and paying for his insurance? If he can't earn the money, he should walk to school. Same with the phone, that's not a need in any way. You don't say why you don't like his girlfriend, but honestly, I would say get over it. He is an adult and is allowed to make his own friends regardless of your opinion. I know it sounds harsh, but you've had 18 years to mold him into who he is now. Trust that you've done everything you could. I would start trying to befriend her, invite her over to dinner with your family. And calling her to complain about your son? That's so out of line regardless of age. This is between you and your son, not her. Give him the space he needs to flourish and become an adult. You need to transition yourself from overly-protective/controlling mother to support and friend.
1 mom found this helpful
G.A. answers from Phoenix on November 25, 2009
I would tell him that if he is chosing this girl over living at home then so be it.
Sounds like now is the time to do a little tough love.
Call him and tell him to come get his belongings.
Tell him you are also canceling his car insurance and shut his phone off.
I would also change the locks on the home.
He will now be responsible for getting a job and paying for it himself.
I am pretty sure girlfriend will not like paying for that stuff for him.
He needs to learn that everything is not just going to be given to him.
I am praying that all works out for you.... I will be going through similar situations in a year. Hubby has informed our son that as soon as he is 18 it is bye bye birdie time. Son also thinks that everything should be given to him and thinks also that working is a waste of time.
Feel free to talk to me.
M.G. answers from Phoenix on November 28, 2009
So many of the things you are describing sound exactly like my family!! My 18 year old son had a girlfriend for a year that was "toxic" to him. I tried everything to make him see but it did not work and it only made him cling more to her in a "you and I against the world" kind of thing. I decided to accept her like it or not and began asking her over. I got to know her and I even felt sorry for her although I hated how my son acted when he was with her. They aren't together any more because he finally saw what everyone else saw as soon as he didn't have to defend her anymore. I went to counseling on my own to get help with how to preserve my relationship with my son while still helping him grow up. I have now let him know with complete certainty that we love him and always will but he must follow our rules. Last year in one of his rages he said he can't live here because we are mean, crazy, controlling..... so I let him move out into my parents home. He never acted out over there and they thought he was an angel. I told him he was welcome to live there as long as he and they wanted. It was very difficult for him to be there because being well behaved was too difficult everyday! He didn't want to let them down. He wanted to come home after a week. I told him no. I said once you are really ready we will both know. I wanted him to feel what it was like again not fighting everyday and feeling like a victim. All of the fighting was taking such a toll on our family!! The younger siblings were so sad all the time! They didn't want him to come home yet either. They liked not having fighting everyday. I talked to my son everyday and so did his siblings. We told him we loved him and missed him and I know his heart was broken too not seeing us. I also said this was his one and only opportunity to leave and come back. Once he was back, he could never ask to leave again and come back. After being gone 5 weeks he came home and things are much better! It is not perfect but we made so much progress.
Good Luck! I know it feels like you are alone out there. Everyone tells you how wonderful their children/families are and you question why yours isn't. You are not alone!! This is just something people don't talk about. I am always frustrated by the advise I get from people that have not lived it yet. Tough love is not easy!! Especially with your children!
K.P. answers from Phoenix on November 25, 2009
I dont have any advice as a mother for you but as a child I do. I married my husband when he was 18 and I 19. We both worked and paid for everything ourselves. We also raised our daughter by ourselves. His mom wasnt happy but new there was nothing she could do so she was polite enough.
My brother was dating and later married a girl very young. MY mom HATED HER. Would do alot of what you are with her and her mother. In the end it made them look like the cool people and my mom a control freak. It serously hurt his realtionship with my mom and he lied contantly to her. SHe didnt even come to his wedding. After being married a year they got divorced the girl was sleeping around with his friends but my brother would not listen to anything any one said till he saw what a tramp the girl was. Now him and my mom are working out there problems but she still trys to contol him so he doesnt get hurt and he keeps screwing up because mom is always there to save him. My brothers counsler has told my mom she has to let him go, let him be responsible for his own life and choices it is the only way he will grow into the mature adult he needs to be.
Your son sounds like my brother he needs to fall a couple of times to learn. It is hard for you I am sure I see how hard it is for my mom but it is what is best for your son. Let him fall just be there to help him when he is ready to get back up.
C.H. answers from Flagstaff on November 25, 2009
I think you crossed a line calling the girlfriend with that infomation. I would have just said to have him call you asap. Other than that, I feel for you.
If he doesn't like the rules, then he should strike out on his own. There comes a time when kids need to try on their wings.
Pardon me, but he really is old enough to have a job that gives him gas money, insurance and cell phone. He has rules but no responsibility, so he does what he wants, there are no real consequences. He needs to grow up.
M.C. answers from Albuquerque on November 25, 2009
At some point you have to use tough love. he is 18 now. he needs to understand that there are consequences to his actions and that you will not always be there to fix things for him.
When I was 18 i came home from boarding school after graduation. my adopted mother and I have never been on good terms but it got worse when I moved back home. (a bit of background... she adopted my younger sibling and I but told me from the very begining that she did not want me and that the only reason that she had adopted me was because they would not let her adopt my younger sibling unless she took us both). I told her that I was moving out. i had been accepted at a college in a nearby town and I had a good job. I had been on my own for almost all of my life from my biological family, to foster care, and even after being adopted as I was sent to boarding schools in different states so that she did not have to deal with me. Instead of supporting me she called the police and told them that I was running away. They came and we talked and they saw the bruises on my body from her. needless to say, I got out and I have been better for it. After the first few months my mom wanted to see me again. What I did was have us meet at a public place... a restraunt or something so that things were monitored. This may be a good thing for you to do with your son.
unfortuantly for me, my mother never came around and things just got worse and worse. When I told her that I was pregant she acted all excited and then sent a letter to me saying that I was not fit to be a mom and that she wanted me to give my baby to her to raise. The day after my daughter was born she was taken to NICU for respitory problems due to having amniotic fluid remaining in her lungs. My mom called the NICU doctor and told him to take my daughter away from me because I was not fit to be a mom. i called to confront her about it and she denied everything and then gave herself away by saying that she did not think that doctors were allowed to share what they talked to her about to me. I was the patient. She lived 1000 miles away. Needless to say, I cut off all contact with her because ever since I was little she has always wanted the babies but never me. She has now taken in another child (adopted her) and as always she keeps on trying to get more girls under the age of 3. For me it did not work out but you are the mom here and you really care about your son. Maybe by setting up meetings with him and just reinterating how much you love him reguardless of what he does things will get better. just remember that if he continues in his ways that you may have to keep on showing him tough love. Eventually he will come around. you are his mother.
*He sounds like his hormones are ruling him right now. most girlfriends in this situation will not last for long and by then I can almost guarentee that he will come back to his mom.
G.D. answers from Flagstaff on November 25, 2009
I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I would start listening to some of the love and logic cds or radio show. You can also contact them directly and they will give you free advise. I believe that all you can do is love your kids and do your best. They will make there own choices and you can only hope that those choices work out for them. Teenage love is hard. Kids don't know how to be in intimate relationships and it feels so good to be in love that they will make a lot of unreasonable sacrifices. I would try to support the relationship, invite her over more, dinners, family movies and parties. At some point things will change with their relationship and you'll have to hope that he will come back to you for support. I would try to back off on setting limits and expectations for him and see what happens. Don't give him a curfew, ask him what time he will be home and let him know that if he's going to be later that it would be great if he could call you. Try to let go of school. What happens at school stays there, let him deal with his problems. So what if he gets kicked out of school. It will make his life harder and give him a tough lesson. The good new is, that if he does become ready in the future, he can always go back and get his degree. It sounds like you need to step up and take the cell phone. If he needs a phone he should pay for it. Don't pay for his car insurance. If he wants to drive he'll have to show you proof. Why would he need to work if he doesn't need to pay for anything? I wouldn't put yourself in a situation that he's choosing a girl over his parents. And if so, that's ok, didn't you when you were a kid- choose friends rather then family get togethers? My suggestion is to be firm on him paying for 'extras', he can ride his bike and does not need to drive. He can borrow phones rather then have his own. Be lenient on other rules like curfew and spending time with friends/girlfriend. This will show him that you do support and trust him....good luck
B.K. answers from Albuquerque on November 25, 2009
For the most part you have gotten some excellent advice here. The only things I feel the need to add are that you have to remember that you are dealing with your ADULT CHILD in this situation. Having never learned responsibility properly you cannot simply kick him out of your house. On the other hand he is now an adult, and if you try to control his comings and goings any more than say a sibling of your own that was having problems and came to stay with you, then he will resent you for it. You need to take the position of a supporter now rather than a provider.
E.C. answers from Albuquerque on November 25, 2009
As parents, we frequently try to prevent our kids from making mistakes because we love them so much. We forget that the road to wisdom is paved with mistakes! I teach a program called Becoming a Love and Logic Parent which came out of Colorado in the 70s. It teaches parents how to raise respectful, responsible kids. I have found it invaluable with my 3 kids (the oldest is my step daughter--12.) The peace of mind and peace in the family is like nothing I've ever experienced before and I would highly recommend checking it out--www.loveandlogic.com.
Please contact me if you would like to attend a free class about this parenting method!
P.S. answers from Phoenix on November 24, 2009
Stop paying for his cell phone, car insurance and gas. Tell him if he wants to live in your home he lives by your rules, regardless of his age. Tell him to get a job and pay for his own gas, insurance and phone. If he won't then take the car. He is an adult and needs to act like one. You are setting the example not only to him, but to your other children as well. This issues is not about what he can't do, it is about what he won't do. I know this is tough, but that's what being a parent is about...tough love.
D.H. answers from Phoenix on November 25, 2009
I think that you keep your home open for him to come home, IF he follows the rules and goes to school and tries to do well there. Don't shut him out just yet. But, at the same time, if he comes home and does not follow the rules, out he goes, even if he doesn't have a place to go. He may yet come around, and you want to make sure that he knows you love him - you just want him to live up to his potential. You could ask him to help you set the rules and the punishments - sometimes they set harder ones than you would want to. Also, after he graduates (or should have graduated) or stays away from home for a month, you should require him to either pay for his own expenses (cell phone, car, car insurance), or he has to give them back. If he won't, then turn off his phone, cancel his insurance, and take the car (if he is bad at that, report it missing to the police). He's not going to feel like he belongs in that other house after a while. Guys have to feel that they are of worth and he will need to get a job. He is (and has been) making his own choices now and he can choose to make it easy by following the rules and staying at home, or make it hard by not following them and finding out what it is like to have to be responsible for everything. He can do it - don't baby him. Please, though, STICK TO THE RULES YOU MAKE! Good luck!