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#1 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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19yo SS....

lives with us.

I got invited to join facebook. When I logged in, it actually goes through your email addresses and shows you who has a facebook account. Well, who pops up but my dear ss... his picture showing him doing a beer bong.

Just couldn't be more proud. I was so embarrassed. There are people from our church that are on his friend list, not to mention his younger two cousins that totally look up to him. And here he is with a funnel hose to his mouth.

Husband told him to change his picture because I am a teacher and anyone who searches our last name will see that, not to mention that we are very actively involved in our church. Not that we really have any control over his actions, but still.

I've just hit an all time low with this. It's a little thing, to be sure, but it's just one of those "straw that breaks the camel's back" type of things that I'm sure we've all had.

Then to top it off, he asks to stay out last night. The stipulation was that he show up for church this morning on time, in physical capacity to stay awake, etc. because we had family here. Didn't show.

I really had to bite my tongue to tell DH "told you so" because there was no way in you know where that I would have allowed him to go out. But, DH felt that his recent good behavior should be rewarded... and unfortunately, I was right. When DH said "you were right" I didn't even feel smug or justified. I just felt sad that our beer bonging DSS had disappointed the great measure of faith my husband tried to place on him. He was irked and upset. I just didn't have the heart to be self-righteous. I just felt sad and MAD at DSS for being such a jerk.

It's just so bad, but I really have moments when I am ready for this sophomore in college to get out of our house and be on his own. He wants to have more freedom than he can have living in our house, and when we do try to give him the trust, he takes advantage of it and then I see my husband disappointed and irritated.

And the confrontation... well, we'll just say that DSS is super good at not taking responsibility for anything. And most of the time, he just doesn't have to. But DH was really angry with him and seriously let him know. I was proud of that, and a little surprised.

Anyway------ GRRRRRR!!!!!! :

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#2 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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#3 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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Hi ... and

When I was a 19yo college sophomore still living with parents ... well, it was totally up to me if I wanted to go to church.

If I was out with a friend and decided to spend the night at her house ... I just called and let my parents know where I was. It was seen as totally my choice, calling was just a courtesy so my folks wouldn't worry.

I did have my first (yucky) beer around this age. I decided to keep the bottle 'cause I thought it was pretty. Mom noticed it on my bedroom dresser and asked if I'd started drinking. I told her I'd tried it but didn't like it, and she said, "Well you're old enough to decide for yourself," but I could tell she was glad I didn't like it.

I never became an alcoholic or did drugs. I remained a virgin 'til my wedding night. I didn't need external rules to keep me out of trouble -- and, well, I know enough people who did "everything" in spite of very strict rules, to realize that rules and punishments mean absolutely nothing to a young person who's intent on breaking them.

I think you'd be less stressed if you stopped trying to regulate your dss. For better or worse, he's a young adult now and is going to do what he wants whether you "let" him or not.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#4 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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"I think you'd be less stressed if you stopped trying to regulate your dss. For better or worse, he's a young adult now and is going to do what he wants whether you "let" him or not."

So long as he does it in his own space. You give up control when you don't cover your own room and board.
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#5 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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I went through similar issues with my parents at that age when I was living at home and going to college. The thing is that I was doing what pretty much every other college aged kid living in the dorm was doing. It's just that their parents could be in denial about it since it wasn't in their face. The struggles with my parents prompted me to move out on my own and finish school. It was the best decision I ever made because my parents were not going to relent on wanting to control me.

I would say that you and your DH need to sit down and decide the kind of relationship you want to have with your DSS while he is still living under your roof. Are there some things you can look past that would make him more willing to do the small things you ask of him like coming to church with the family? It just seems like you all need to renegotiate some things to make the situation work for everyone. Hang in there. Parenting emerging adults is not an easy thing because much of your relationship has to be redefined. I do not look forward to it.

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#6 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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Maybe I am just more liberal than some, but honestly, I wouldn't expect to control my 19 yr old. He's an adult, but at a tough stage where he still depends on you to some extent. That's hard, imo.

I'd personally have a chat with him and ask him to take the picture down from facebook, then forget trying to force him to be at church on time. I'd have seriously resented my parents trying to enforce that sort of rule upon me at that age, and it would have really damaged our relationship. They did stop me doing some things that honestly werne't bad, and it still bugs me now, twenty years later.

My kids will be welcome back home during vacations when they are in college, and I won't expect to control them. I don't think it would help our relationship. I'd hope for common courtesy and manners, like not waking other people up when you come in late, but wouldn't ever expect them to have to ask permission to stay out late.

JMO, but I think you'd all get along easier if you sat down and had a chat, and accepted that he is an adult and that trying to force him to do things like go to church is most likely going to backfire on you.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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*hugs* I can tell you are struggling, but I can't say I would stress over the same things, so I might not be the right person to offer advice here...

I think at 19 all I would ask of my kids (if they were still living here) is:

*** if you go out, let us know when you return
*** have a steady job to pay for your own expenses (I would help, provided he/she is working and trying)
*** don't leave disgusting messes around.

That's it.

Demanding for a kid to come to church at 19 with everyone is a bit too much, imho.

It is most certainly your house, and your rules, but consider where you are headed: a lot of resentment on a part of emerging young adult, and none of understanding. If you want meaningful relationship with your child, it might be time to let go. It doesn't make sense to be controlling a kid who is old to be putting his life on the line for his country, yet not old enough to decide on his own whether or not to go to church Sunday morning?..

Sounds like he should be moving out some time soon, and everyone will be happier *HUGS*

Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear...

P.S. I would not add him to my Facebook if his picture was a problem. At the same time, unless he has problems with alcohol and is either getting drunk or is endangering others with drunk driving, he is most certainly old enough to make certain decisions on his own.

New endeavor coming soon...
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#8 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"I think you'd be less stressed if you stopped trying to regulate your dss. For better or worse, he's a young adult now and is going to do what he wants whether you "let" him or not."

So long as he does it in his own space. You give up control when you don't cover your own room and board.


Yep, that's it. Our house, our rules. He can go as he pleases, but part of his CHOOSING to live with us instead of his mother means he chooses to play by our rules, and treat our house/requests with respect.

We only ask that one thing of him, so it's not like we expect him to do all sorts of things. Just ONE.

Married to my best friend, expecting #1 6/09. Little angel came early- 4/10/09, 2lbs 5oz. Lilah Grace:
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#9 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No need to be slammed just because church is an important family event. And he's not forced to go, but we have made it very clear that we expect him to attend. He stays out any other night he wishes, providing that he calls/texts, etc. We just prefer it not be on Saturday evening.

As a family (and for many, many generations) church has been a big part of our lives. Read here- DH was at one time a minister, my father is a minister, grandfather and grandmother, etc, etc, etc..... That is a family value that is important to us.

We do not try to control his behavior- we can't do that. Even if he comes home, he's still going to drink and all that- even though he is not of legal age, and yes, he does drive. But we do have a resonable expectation that the one thing we ask of him, he do.

Anyway- it's been a very trying past two days. I was hoping for some understanding, and not to be slammed. He has chosen to live here, and as such, I expect to have him be respectful of our beliefs. That is not too much to ask from a young man. That is why we said yes last night- the fact that he *asked* instead of just doing, well- we thought that was commendable and that he could be trusted to do the right thing. Apparently not.

Yes, I do believe he has a drinking problem. Even to the extent that he has been drinking in both our house and his mother's house since he was 16. We have taken his car away, etc. But to see a picture of him on the internet as a 19 year old engaged in an obviously under-aged activity and NOT address it is irresponsible on our part.

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#10 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 09:02 PM
 
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I expect to have him be respectful of our beliefs.
Have you considered respecting his beliefs? Maybe he doesn't like to attend church. He is an adult now, its his choice whether or not he goes to church with you guys every Sunday.

I get that this is a very big part of your family but, it doesn't seem to be a big part of his. I don't see anybody slamming you, you put up a vent and people are giving their opinions of the information you have given us.

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#11 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 09:24 PM
 
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I didn't see any slamming going on.

I agree with ma_vie_en_rose about the dorm analogy.

I guess it hinges on whether you see a college education (or some other kind of parental assistance beyond 18) as just a "perk."

Personally, dh and I want our children to feel welcome to live with us for as long as they want to. But they'll have total freedom to come and go as they please.

Sure if there's a special family event and we'd really like them to be there, we'll say so -- as a request, not a command. My parents made similar requests of me and I had no problem being there.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#12 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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musiclady ~ I can see where you might feel less then supported in this thread. I think that others are just trying to give you their personal opinions without telling you that you are bad. Each family needs to do what works for them.

However, I am with you on this one. Your DSS is being supported financially by you and your DH. Therefore, the expectations are set by the two of you. Your DSS knows this and can choose whether to abide by your expectations or not. If not, then he can choose to move out. Simple as that -- and I would tell him so, as well.

It may seem heartless to some, but I really don't think it is. Your DSS will have no respect for you if you allow him to disrespect your values with his actions. Boundaries are important -- they let people know what to expect and what is valued by you. If you let him compromise your values, then he will not respect you in the long run.

Other people do not value the same things your family does. This does not make you or the others wrong -- just different. That is why it is so hard to get support from people some times. The important thing to remember is that you are open and honest about the things you value and what you expect of him. Then, he can choose what will work best for him. THAT is what being respected as an adult means, imo.

Good luck with this!
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#13 of 21 Old 08-03-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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I don't see any evidence of anyone slamming you. I do see a variety of opinions, not necessarily all that you wanted to hear.

My opinion had nothing to do with it being church you wanted him to attend. It was more that you want to enforce your personal value upon him. I would not make my child come to church with me, even though I might hope that he did.

This brings back a memory for me of a friend I had in college. Her mother suddenly sat down her kids when they were at home for the holidays and told them they either went to church with her on Sundays, or moved out.

They moved out. After that they spent vacations elsewhere. I often wondered how their mother felt for the remaining 166 hours per week.

I wouldn't want that relationship with my kids. I am wondering how does your dh feel? If push came to shove, would he be OK with losing his son over this?

I feel sad for your dss. It seems to me that he chose to come to you not his mother for the vacation, so if it were me, I'd be trying as hard as I could to make it work. For his sake, and for his father's.

And for the record, I am also Christian, and I"m not bashing you because of your churchgoing. I'm not bashing you at all. I'm just offering advice, which you can see as slamming you, or see as constructive. Of course it's up to you. If going to church is of utmost importance to you, then that's fine. But that doesn't mean that others won't predict that this will most likely cause difficulties between you and your husband and your dss.

As for the drinking, it's hard to say. I don't have the issue with alcohol that most Americans have, and a teenager drinking doesn't send me into a tailspin. I want my kids to learn to drink responsibly, not to refrain from drinking. As I said, I'd ask him to remove the picture from facebook.

But as for the drinking, it is hard to say whehter it is a problem, or simply what to most other cultures would be a normal 19 yo having a drink. In Britain, you can get married, have kids, and go to a pub for a drink at 18. Those are the freedoms that adults enjoy. Oh yes, you can die for your country too. So I find it hard to get worked up about a 19 yo drinking beer. If he's on his way to becoming an alcoholic, or drinking and driving, that's a different matter entirely, but you haven't given enough information to make any sort of comment on that.
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#14 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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Err. At 19, he should, I think, be feeling uncomfortable about living with you, and getting ready to push off. In fact I'd go so far as to say that your job at this point is to make him uncomfortable. If he needs a hand with cash, fine, so long as he's actually going to school, but let him go be a half-grown collegiate monkey in a falling-down house with five or six other half-grown collegiate monkeys and their unfortunate girlfriends. Your house is where responsible adults and children live.

I'd give up on the church thing. One thing, though -- who's paying Mr. Beer Bong's car insurance, and who holds title?
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#15 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 09:46 AM
 
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He sounds like a normal 19 y/o in my opinion... *shrugs*

I don't think it is really reasonable to force an adult to do anything, wether it is going to church, or what clothes to wear, or what to eat, or anything...

I don't think him not showing up for church is really disrespecting you... he was likely trying to establish his own boundaries.

I know at 19 I came and went as I pleased, I just had to let my parents know when I wasn't coming home so they didn't worry. Granted, I was also working full time and paying my own bills... But just because you are picking up the tab... I don't think that should equate to a full out "my rules or the highway".... they are a young adult with their own established values at this time. They are past the point of parenting in that nature....

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#16 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Err. At 19, he should, I think, be feeling uncomfortable about living with you, and getting ready to push off. In fact I'd go so far as to say that your job at this point is to make him uncomfortable. If he needs a hand with cash, fine, so long as he's actually going to school, but let him go be a half-grown collegiate monkey in a falling-down house with five or six other half-grown collegiate monkeys and their unfortunate girlfriends. Your house is where responsible adults and children live.

I'd give up on the church thing. One thing, though -- who's paying Mr. Beer Bong's car insurance, and who holds title?
mama- thank you for the much needed laugh. The monkey analogy and the unfortunate girlfriend thing was just great!

We are paying for everything. We hold the title and insurance and have even come to the conclusion that it is better for him to pass out at someone's house than drive and endanger the lives of others as well himself. DH made it clear that if he ever gets behind the wheel UTI that he will loose his car. I really don't think he'd do that (SS). He has a job to pay for his own gas, which is a good thing. We'd go broke otherwise. LOL.

DH and I talked about this again last night. Once the emotions settle a bit... it is clear that he's a bird trying to leave the nest, and although it's taking a while for him to feel like he can actually take the leap (financially- whatever) our job is just to try to be patient while he kicks around. I told him- you know, some birds just give their young a kick. In my head I really do know that a lot of this is normal, "I want to be an adult" behavior. And I want to respond, "So act like one!" He wants to be an adult, but he isn't even responsible to feed his own dog.

It's frustrating. He's here because his biomom is just cr-ha-zy. Badly verbally abusive situation, has little respect for females now... ultra-good at blame shifting, not taking responsibility- just had a great role model from her. She gets away with it, so why shouldn't he? Yes, something we've been working with for the past 3 years. But he has some obsessive tendencies, and we worry that alcohol is one of them. Has been to counseling... face it, divorce sucks and the kids are often stuck in the middle.

We talked about last night that we would be ok with helping him financially with a place of his own, provided that he was doing well in school. FYI- he should be a college sophomore, but he has only completed 4/9 classes, and also had to quit his summer courses because he was not responsible enough to check on his financial aid like we repeatedly reminded. But he knew better than we did, so off he went. He also did not complete his courses because his priorities focused around his friends, and most of the time he was too hungover to go to class. So he failed. And we're talking community college. Not a university. He couldn't get in to the university because his SAT scores were low. And he decided that he really didn't need to attend the SAT prep Kaplan course we paid for. Guess he was wrong on that too.

Yes, folks, I went to college too, dabbled in drinking, etc. But I *actually graduated* and knew that attending was about 80% of the battle. In attempting three semesters, he's accomplished the total of what he tried his first semester. : Give me a break. : This kid doesnt' have a learning disability- we've already been that route, and am a teacher myself. It's called priorities. But, we've just decided that it's his education, and if he'd like to move out, we're happy to continue helping to support him. He should be able to go to school and not have to focus on a job. If he decides college isnt' for him, then that's okay too, but let's get a good job so we can take care of ourselves.

We really try to let him do his own thing, insomuch as it doesn't directly conflict with what we ask. His house "chores" really only consist of cleaning his room and bathroom when company is coming. That's it. He has to text or call if he's staying out just so we won't worry. He usually does a good job.

IMO, we ask so little of him, that I can't see the attraction of moving out. He has it made here, minus very few irritations of some parental attachments. Someone once told me that when it's time for your children to move out, God lets them become this irritating little person, and lets you become an irritating person, so that you are prepared emotionally for the break. They weren't serious about the God doing it part, but it was funny.

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#17 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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hmm.. with more background that you provided...

I personally wouldn't pay for school any longer... sounds like he is just wasting it... that isn't teaching him anything either.

I had to prove to my parents that I was responsible enough in order for them to help with college (read, they only paid for books)... so I worked full time, then landed a job that paid for school on a reimbursement program.

Maybe he needs a gentle push into a more "real" reality. If he isn't acknowleding the standards of keeping his grades up in order to be supported, then there should be consequences of that...

It isn't that much of a chore to get to class... I managed to still get to class when I was in severe fibromyalgia flares, not until I was bed ridden that I dropped out...

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#18 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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JSMa- congrats on the I thought your name looked familiar.

In the midst of all this, we're TTC#1. But, that's another board.

And DSS is supportive of that. Isn't it weird that he's really a good kid under it all? He really is, but he does need a reality check.

Married to my best friend, expecting #1 6/09. Little angel came early- 4/10/09, 2lbs 5oz. Lilah Grace:
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#19 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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Thank you! And Good Luck to you! :


He's just a normal 19 year old.... but he certainly needs a good check... skipping class and failing out isn't going to get him anywhere... There are still some decent labor type jobs that do not require a degree... I have actually not finished mine, do to illness and what not, I will eventually... it's a life long goal. lol

So maybe college isn't his thing... but he needs to be doing something other than getting wasted all the time.

You said he has had counseling... is he still going?

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#20 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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Whoo-ee -- it's amazing we let them survive, isn't it? What I'd do:

1. Transfer title and get him off your insurance. This is not a responsible young man yet, but he is legally an adult, and there's no reason for you to go down with him when he does something dumb.

2. Sit down with him and say, "Son, today you are a man. Congratulations. That means you're too big and hairy to live here. You have two weeks to find an apartment. Here's what we'll contribute to your living expenses so long as you're making reasonable progress in school, by which we mean you go to the classes you registered for and pass them, and stay on track to earn a degree by 20__. If you're not making reasonable progress in school, you'll have to get a job and pay your own way." I think otherwise you encourage the blame-shifting -- he knows you're going to keep picking up the tab anyway.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-04-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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The info you supplied now changes the picture somewhat. I'd stop enabling him, but I'd also not try to insist that he went to church.

I don't know that you need to kick him out. I'd try some tougher strategies at home first, over money, the car etc. And I'd tie it into expectations over him being a student. Either he is a student, or he's not. He needs to opt one way or the other imo.

Good luck!
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