Sue a family member for enabling my son to do marijuana?

Daniel01!! F. asks from Port Costa, CA
18 answers

Hello, I am a married mum of 3 kids. Don’t know where to start.... we had a normal life living abroad and my husband would come home evernight after work hours etc.. ( he’s in the airlines) ok fast forward.. I had this craze to go back to the US but in order to do so my husband would have to take a commuting job and we only see him 12 days out of the month. Well little did I imagine how hard Things would get for me to raise 2 teenage boys and a girl on my own for 90 of the time. My oldest was like 15/16 and started meeting bad friends, would skip school etc. It was the turning point of a night mare about to begin. Gosh the story is so long so I will stick to the foundation so as not to bore all to tears. Well I have a sister who is married, never could have kids cause her husband is I fertile. Well when she say I made a huge effort to feed my kids home cooked nutritional meals she would always give them sodas and bags and bags of junk. Just to be the cool one. Don’t get me wrong. A little here and there is great and how it should be. But it is out of love and respect that you stay on the same page more or less. We used to go to the US in the summer and the kids would stay w her and about 12 hrs day of play station, non stop. Ok... my son started developing ticks, not sure if that had anything but it may have contributed. Anyway the year we went to live in the US and my then 16 year old son was giving me a hard time, I called my sister and confided. She was so nice, kind, agreeing to everything, like a normal person would see things. I was telling her that my son wanted to go to a Kanye West concert and I said no cause he’s been missing school and his grades were low, further more, it was like 200, and in Oakland. She thoroughly agreed. A week later day of the concert, he just leaves. To see, her and her husband western unioned him the money. That is only the beginning. My son started smoking marijuana and she knew it. She had smelt it on him one time she was in town. I would limit his money to just 10-15 dollars a week. Well long story short, she would wire him 80, 90, 300 dollars some weeks. He got so deeply into marijuana and it showed in his behavior
I suffered so much as he would escape from the window, no clue where on earth he was and I worried and then there was the violent episodes where he just couldn’t care less as his Aunty was always his back up in life. Well a LOT more happened after that. But I was wondering if I could sue her for all the pain and suffering she caused. We had to send him
To a involuntary facility that cost almost 15,000, as he got caught smoking in school and refused to go to
Court. And he night mare just continued. His school
Would call all the time complaining and there were incidences of things being stolen. He had no love and respect. He had his backups. Not blaming anyone, but she was his mighty strength. It’s been
2 years and she still is. Not so much for him but for her hatred and jealousy towards me. ( another story). Do you think I have a basis for suing
Her for pain and suffering because I suffered so much and still am cause she is still in the picture. PleAse help. Thanks

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your insightful comments I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. When you hear things from a 3rd party it always seems way more focused and clear. I will heed your advise and lay low. Yes he is 18 now. We sent him to a private college in Europe and gave him some trust. But after a month he met some foolish friends and started smoking weed and ended up not going go school and getting kicked out I couldn't care less if he didn't give up and effect his life, but he literally stops everything and is extremely dimotivated. He came back home (he lived 6 hrs away) and the same day he went w his local friends and came back home completely high. I told him we would not tolerate it and to stay at his friends. He made one call to his aunty in Los Angeles and 2 days later he was gone. She sent him a ticket . I was heartbroken. I would have liked to have him go for therapy. So he is still there and let's see how it goes. Thank you all for listening.

18 Answers

Wild Woman

answers from Reston on

Welcome to mamapedia.

I think you changed your name since I originally read this. I have been bothered by this post because as I was reading it? I felt like you were more concerned about YOU than your son and how much YOU were put out by the situation.

1. I think you need to re-think your situation. I'm sure if there was a statute of limitations? It's expired by now. It happened three years ago.

2. if you were so concerned about your son THEN, why did you allow him to GO there?

3. WHY didn't you speak up when you noticed the problems?

4. WHY didn't you speak up when you put him in rehab and paid for it? If you felt then that she was responsible for this, why didn't you speak up then?

No. You should not sue. You might consider counseling and therapy classes for yourself. You need to get resolution to your "me" mentality. You ASSUME she's jealous of you and hates you...might you be mirroring your angst against her?

All in all? You're his mom. YOU are responsible for his "turn out". You say you don't want to blame others, but you ARE. I don't think you see that.

your son left. Does he keep in contact with you? If not. YOU might be the problem. You might have held the leash too tight and his aunt did not. He has to make mistakes in order to grow up. He'll be learning the hard way.

I can't stress enough that **YOU** need counseling. You're very "me"-centric and while you say you're concerned about your son? I think you're more concerned about YOU and the affects this situation has had on YOU. You have assumptions that your sister hates you and is jealous of you. Yet here she is taking in YOUR SON. Could it be to "get even"? I don't know. I know you have a ton of issues that need to be resolved.

I wish you peace. You will need it. I hope you're not taking this out on your son or anyone else.

5 moms found this helpful

Anne L.

answers from Rome on

Reread what Annette D. wrote. She's been where you are now, minus a few specifics. Most importantly, take steps to assess the damage on your younger children which has been caused by the chaos in the household from their older brother's addiction. In families with addiction, one of the most destructive dynamics is that all the attention goes to the addict and the other kids end up forgotten. Maybe they're behaving perfectly and seem just fine... they're STILL hurting. That's one way that people in an addictive situation respond. Anyway, the healing for you will come from Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings, where you can start sorting out the effects of your son's addiction on YOU. Believe me, the meetings will have more parents of addicts/alcoholics than you ever could have imagined exist. Wishing you much luck along the way.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Eagle River on

She sent him money. She is allowed to send her nephew money. YOU are his parent, you are the one responsible for him. Time to accept he needs some help and get it for him. Stop trying to play the blame game and take responsibility for your son.

Added: I just saw he is 18 now, an adult, and no longer living with you. Now you just have to let him make his own way.

3 moms found this helpful

Annette D.

answers from Saint Paul on

He's 18 now. So I'm sorry to say, there is nothing you can do about your sister giving him money, or helping him in any way. He hasn't hit his rock bottom. He doesn't want to stop using drugs right now, and you are powerless over that fact. I'm sorry. This is reality for right now. But that doesn't mean it's forever. There is hope. Recovery is possible, and is a reality for many people.

I think you should go to a Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meeting. There are caring people there who know first hand the trauma of a loved one in active addiction. My heart goes out to your because I too, know the pain of opening a 17 year old's bedroom door, only to see she has fled out the window desperate for drugs. And not knowing if my not reaching her means she's gone forever. I am lucky. My daughter has survived and is over year clean and sober. But that trauma is real. It was the worst thing I've ever gone through in my entire life, and I still work on PTSD issues every day related to those dark days.

My advice for you is to let go of the idea of suing your sister. If your son was a minor, you might have been able to file an order of protection against her on his behalf, but since he is adult, you no longer have any legal control.

How are your younger kids doing? I highly suggest you pour your focus into them right now. I'm proud of you that you set a boundary and told your oldest he cannot stay at your home while using drugs.

There is always hope. If you have any way of communicating with him, you can let him know you love him, and you are ready to support him at the point he is ready to stop using. His brain is hijacked right now, ruled by addiction. But never underestimate the power of your love. Always let him know you love him. And change is possible. Recovery is possible. There is a road back from hell.

By support, I don't mean you drain your life savings into more treatment, I mean primarily emotional. In the future, if he's really to seriously give treatment an honest effort, I'd offer to pay for it using his college funds, if you do have any saved for him. Obviously you aren't ready for that conversation right now, but perhaps sometime in the future. It sucks but there is no use for college money for a drug addict in active addiction. First things first. I have hope for you and your son for better days to come.

10 moms found this helpful

Kesha G.

answers from Providence on

I... Don't think you can sue a family member for that. Unless she was buying it, sitting down with him, and smoking with him. She probably didn't care either way and just wanted the kids happy. She also probably didn't give him cash for the Mary Jane. He could have said he needed clothes, money for a class in school, and so forth. At least it's just pot and he's not doing cocaine. It must be a hassle, but maybe not leaving him for over 12 hours at a time with her would be a good place to start. And also, talking to him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Stone Mountain on

you want to sue someone for what? something that happened 3 years ago?


3 moms found this helpful

beevusandbutthead s.

answers from Halfway on

1.I would ask your husband if he can change his work hours ,because you need support and this isn't working .

2.I wouldn't sue,because it will only add more stress to your life.It is probable he lied to your sister and she has no idea why he needs the money.

3 He is not taking pot , he is drinking or taking heroin or something. Pot mellows you out.

3 moms found this helpful

Natalie K.

answers from Miami Beach on

This is probably not something you want to hear, and I don't know how old your son is (I assume 17 or more based on your use of the word "my then 16 year old son" to describe his age), but if your sister is so intent on giving him money and a new life away from his "boring, mean, dictator of a mom", maybe you should have her take him in, and have her pay for his rehab too, while she's at it. It is not a good idea to have your smaller children exposed to your oldest son's pot habit, rebelling, and defiance of his parents, or they will copy the same behavior so maybe this would be of some benefit to your family. If she wants to keep enabling him in his bad habits, since you cannot force him to cut contact with her due to his age, then make it her problem.

4 moms found this helpful

Diane B.

answers from Westborough on

I understand your anger at her for enabling him, but I doubt you have a case. Your son has been a drug user for years. If she didn't help him, someone else probably would have. He probably needed more serious intervention at the time, such as an involuntary hospitalization at 16. But that's water under the bridge now.

If your son is living with her and she's paying for everything, he's going to steal from her as well. She'll either get tired of it, or she won't. It's out of your hands. You can stop paying for anything for him (college, etc.) since he's not taking it seriously.

I understand how painful it is to say, "No more." My husband's daughter engaged in many years of destructive and illegal behavior. She hung out with (and was beaten by and still married) a violent criminal. All we could do was say "We love you" and "We'll meet you in a public place but you cannot come into our home with our younger child." You might consider the same. You have to protect the children you have in the house, and that means learning from what has already happened to you so that you intervene much sooner with them, at the first sign of a problem. I would not let those kids go to your sister's, and I would put in a notice at their schools that she is not allowed to pick them up (same with your older son due to his drug use). If you have an opportunity, meet in public at a restaurant or park so that you can get up and leave if you need to, and so that someone else can call the police if there's any out-of-control behavior.

Your sister is not your confidant. Whatever her problem is, she takes your issues and turns them into something where she can be the hero, the popular one. So find other friends. At the same time, find a counselor and try to get one with a strong knowledge of drug use and how to handle it. Go to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon (for families of narcotics users). Be aware that there is a group called Narconon which is Scientology based - don't get them confused. You also can use some help in forming boundaries with your sister and identifying her need to undermine you.

You'll never stop loving your son and maybe he will see the light and get help. But he is an adult and you have no say. You must focus on the younger kids, and do what you need to perhaps to block phones so your sister and your oldest cannot contact them directly. Make them go through you - or prohibit contact for now until someone sees the lights.

You probably need new and stronger parenting techniques for the younger kids - it's not easy but the good news is that these are things that can be taught, and a proper professional will help you feel stronger in your choices.

Also see if there is a way your husband can get a different job so he can be more involved, for the kids' sake as well as yours.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

you have a problem. you allowed things to escalate to a point that you are not happy with and you want to sue someone else for your lack or parenting abilities?!? wow
no. you don't have a case.
pot smoking is legal in many places. so whats the issue there? tobacco is also legal as is alcohol, and i have seen many more drunks causing bigger problems than the stoner in the corner getting high.

family counseling is what you need to look into get help before ruining your sisters life like you did your kids.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spring on

Is this about you or your son?

Can you sue her? I don't know. I'm not an attorney. However, I think there is much more going on besides this. You state you aren't blaming anyone, but aren't you? Your son made the decision to smoke dope. You made the decision to move the family So I think there is plenty of blame to go around.

Cut her off. If she is still in his life, then that is his decision. You can only worry about you.

5 moms found this helpful

TF Plano/Allen

answers from Plano on

I'm not a lawyer but my opinion is no you don't have a case.

Your issues with your son is not your sisters fault. So she did enable him which is not healthy but he had issues way before this.

You and your husband are responsible for raising your children and dealing with whatever issues those children have. Don't play victim... you're not a victim..., get your family the help it needs from good counseling so you learn how to parent and deal with teens.

6 moms found this helpful

Doris Day ..

answers from Miami on

We aren't lawyers, so we don't know if you have a case or not. You would have to talk to the kind of lawyer who handles cases like this.

It sounds like he is now 18, is that right? Did he finish school? If he has, then it's up to him to start his own life, get a job and take care of himself.

Perhaps she does this to get your goat, so to speak. Maybe if you step away, stop supporting him, and let her bleed green, giving him money that he blows on pot, she will start thinking twice about the enabling she is doing and all of a sudden she will realize that he's just using her.

Tough love is hard, and you have to really decide that you are going to stick to it. I recommend that you get counseling to help you. You and your husband should do it together.

7 moms found this helpful

MilitaryMom 6.

answers from Woodbridge on

Interesting thought . . . it almost sounds like tortious interference. Although I can't imagine you would find a lawyer to take this case, I've heard of crazier theories when it came to suing people (I work for a law office).

I guess if a lawyer can claim his client has "affluenza," I don't know that claiming tortious interference against a family member is any crazier!

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful

Suz t.

answers from Sharpsburg on


i'm sorry you are having these very real and difficult challenges with your son, and yes, it sounds as if his aunt was enabling him, but you don't have a case.

it's not a crime to be close to your nephew. it's not a crime to send him money. she didn't give him marijuana. he chose that.

it's always tempting to have a convenient scapegoat for something that has gone this badly awry, and maybe your parenting had nothing to do with it.

but you don't get away with dumping it all on your sister, and you sure can't sue her for it.

6 moms found this helpful

Elayne J.

answers from Mokena on

I can’t tell how long you’ve struggling being an ‘almost single parent’, but it is clearly overwhelming you. You and your husband need to make some changes to your lifestyle, because you and your children need more support from your husband.

Your sister has shown you repeatedly that she is not a good influence towards your children. You need firm clear boundaries with her.

As far as your drug using son, he is beyond able to help himself at this point. Call the police and have courts send him to treatment. If he doesn’t show for court, call police. No longer involve your sister in this.

You sound very overwhelmed. You need to tell your husband and you two need to decide how to solve this as a couple, as a family. You need some support, start reaching out to those that can benefit you in a positive way without adding more stress and drama.

7 moms found this helpful

Margie G.

answers from Portland on

ETA: Read your SWH.

You're worried about suing and your son hasn't even gone to therapy? Is this legit?


I can't imagine .. it's not like she provided him with drugs.

I think the most helpful thing you could do for your son, honestly, would be to mend your relationship with your sister, or at least just let things go for now and focus on helping him.

You say she is his 'mighty strength' and she has 'hatred and jealousy towards me'. So are you saying she has turned him against you?

If she's this toxic individual who caused all this and poisoning him now - then you need to limit her contact somehow (depending on his age). If you can't then I would work on developing a more positive relationship with her - for your son's best interests. You're the one who brought her into his life - well meaning yes, but you can turn this around, with help (get some counseling if needs be for guidance).

I think rather than suing, I'd be looking to move forward in a positive manner. Think of what would really help your son at this point. Positive influence, love and support.

Where is dad in all this? I get you basically single parent - but what's his position?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chesapeake on

You want to blame your sister - and while she's enabling some of your son's behavior - he isn't going anywhere he doesn't want to go.
At this point I don't think moving away from your sister would help.
Your son is old enough that he would run away and go back to her.

Yeah sure - you go try talking to a lawyer about suing anyone.
I don't think any lawyer would take your case.
Best you could hope for was to have her arrested for providing drugs to him - but she's not doing that - she's giving him money (which isn't illegal) - and HE'S buying pot and/or drugs.
So put the blame where it belongs - on your son - and he needs help.

Since your sister is so free with her money - perhaps she can help pay for the involuntary rehab facility.
Perhaps you and Hubby and your kids should go back to living abroad.
It seems your move to back to the Usa has not been a good move for your family.

6 moms found this helpful
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