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Old 08-03-2008, 03:27 PM   #1
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I'm the parent of two grown sons. I thought I'd done a pretty good job raising them but now I'm starting to have second thoughts. One of them just doesn't seem to want to grow up. I'm one of those guilt ridden mothers that wants to fix everything . . . but now that I've been here two weeks visiting, I'm not so sure that I can fix this. Maybe it's just a case of letting him fall flat of his face and pick himself back up - as hard as that would be for me to watch. I've been visiting and observing and now I feel like I need to say something about his irresponsible behavior, but when I've tried, I've been met with an attitude and I don't want to have a fight with my son. He's 27 and he's living like a college kid . . . or worse. Drinking, partying, blowing money . . . I don't know what is going on with him or what he's thinking - but when going out is more important than paying his car insurance, I have a REAL concern. He's asking me not to go back on the road - to settle down here - as he has no family here. Actually, we have no family except each other and his brother who lives in New York. He doesn't have a lot of close friends - and I know holidays are rough on him since there's no family around. But I REALLY am not ready to come off the road permanently right now . . . there's too much I want to see and experience while I still can. But this is my son - and I can't stand for him to be unhappy. Ugh . . parenting!!
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:27 PM   #2
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I'm the parent of two grown sons. I thought I'd done a pretty good job raising them but now I'm starting to have second thoughts. One of them just doesn't seem to want to grow up. I'm one of those guilt ridden mothers that wants to fix everything . . . but now that I've been here two weeks visiting, I'm not so sure that I can fix this. Maybe it's just a case of letting him fall flat of his face and pick himself back up - as hard as that would be for me to watch. I've been visiting and observing and now I feel like I need to say something about his irresponsible behavior, but when I've tried, I've been met with an attitude and I don't want to have a fight with my son. He's 27 and he's living like a college kid . . . or worse. Drinking, partying, blowing money . . . I don't know what is going on with him or what he's thinking - but when going out is more important than paying his car insurance, I have a REAL concern. He's asking me not to go back on the road - to settle down here - as he has no family here. Actually, we have no family except each other and his brother who lives in New York. He doesn't have a lot of close friends - and I know holidays are rough on him since there's no family around. But I REALLY am not ready to come off the road permanently right now . . . there's too much I want to see and experience while I still can. But this is my son - and I can't stand for him to be unhappy. Ugh . . parenting!!
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:08 PM   #3
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GraciesMom,
You've walked your mile(s) and now its up to your son to walk his. He wants you there to take care of him -- sorry son, its time for you to grow up and accept responsibility!

I've got three sons, two in the military, and one that the military told not to come back. Unfortunately, he was more interested in partying and raising a ruckus versus his career. We had a cussing, fussing, discussing session and I told him in no uncertain terms that he was on the wrong track and I wasn't going to bail him out again. He has since grown up (mentally) and is succeeding with a multi-national firm.

You stay on the road and enjoy yourself as you've earned it! Tell the kid to get a life.
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Old 08-03-2008, 05:13 PM   #4
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GraciesMom,

If you go off the road to stay with or near your son, 10 years from now he will still be the same and you will be one very unhappy person. He will need to discover on his own that he needs to change his ways.
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Old 08-03-2008, 05:15 PM   #5
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GraciesMom,

You know the answer to your question. The right decision is not always easy. Sometimes the most difficult word to say to our children is no. Enjoy your travels.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:18 PM   #6
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I, too, feel compelled to respond to your post. I can't however, say it any better than those who have responded before me. At 27, he needs to take control of his life. If you don't enable him to discover "consequences for actions", then you are enabling him to become an irresponsible adult. Choose carefully what you want to enable him towards... hugs to you and good luck!

Brenda, of...
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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I feel your pain. I have a daughter -39, who chooses to live on credit. She has 3 children and a drunken husband. It's hard to watch my grandchildren grow up in poverty, but it's her choice. She refuses to get rid of the drunk, even though he has wrecked every car she has owned-while drunk and driving without a license.
Every time wife and I have attempted to help, it's like burning that money, all we get is smoke. Talk to her you say? While doing so, all I see is a vacant stare in return.
Tough love is right. I think it's toughest on wife and I though. The drunk has banned wife and I from ever seeing our grandchildren.
We will live our remaining lifespan on our terms, as our beloved daughter chooses to live hers.
That's way too much personal stuff from me; sorry, but your thread struck a nerve.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:43 PM   #8
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It takes tough love, and if you're an enabler you need to stop.

I'm speaking strictly from a male parent's point of view.

If they can't survive on their own now, how will they survive when you are no longer alive to help then, and all monies they may have received from your estate is gone.

It's not an easy task but you need to teach them how to survive by no longer enabling their present lifestyle.

I wish you the best of luck and God Bless
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:52 AM   #9
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GraciesMom -

Although I do not have children, when my parents died, I became the "matriarch" of my family of 3 siblings who look to me for guidance...and help. So I feel that I can add to the answer you are searching for.

I've watched them sink into substance abuse, debt and a lifestyle that would make my parents weep if they were alive. For many years, THEIR crisis became MY crisis... Bail brother out of jail for drunk driving, loan money to the sister who squandered hers, buy school clothes for the nieces and nephews.... and all the while thinking I was helping them while ignoring the true cost I was paying physically, mentally and emotionally.

It's the hardest thing you'll EVER have to do is to set the ground rules and stick to them. We're raised to "take care of our own" and we feel that we are abandoning our responsibility to our flesh and blood, but after a certain point in life, we all become responsible for our own actions.

My brother is still a drunk living on the street, my sister will never be out of debt or living on her own means, but I have learned through 30 years experience that I cannot enable their lifestyles. It was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do and even harder to work through the guilt, but my life is so much more peaceful when I made my stand.

Please do not give up everything you've worked hard for .. make your stand and he'll make his.

Sandy
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:33 AM   #10
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You don't say in your post that your son expects for you to bail him out. We have 2 girls, 27 & 32 and they have gone through some tough times but now are pretty much in good places in their lives. I always figured we couldn't control much about their personalities after they hit the ripe old age of 12. But what we could do is always be there for them. Not necessarily in physicality but in our hearts and minds. I agree with the tough love in certain ways (don't bail him out, let him make his own mistakes) but when he needs someone to talk to, to ask advice, just to listen let him know you are there. I would continue with my fulltiming lifestyle but I would try to be there for holidays or special times. You need to enjoy yourself and your life too. But it's hard not to feel when your children are hurting.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:54 AM   #11
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GraciesMom,

We've experienced much of what you are going through and share your pain and anguish. The advice you have received is spot on. Being your son's enabler will not help him get his life together. As painful as it may be to back away, you should enjoy yourself and live your life to the fullest and let him live his. As someone suggested, try to be around or include him in holiday and birthday plans, so he doesn't feel abandoned.

You're in our prayers.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:51 PM   #12
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I HAVE bailed him out - last month and this month - but I have told him that I am leaving the first week of September and all my money is going with me. So he is going to have to step up to the plate this month and save his money to pay his bills or he's going to have to suffer the consequences. And he will HAVE to repay me for the money I've spent on him since he's been here.

The problem is partly because he's been a waiter since he dropped out of college and the price of fuel has made the prices of the food go up - and the clientele go down. So he's not been making what he's used to making. He's got another job lined up that will pay hourly with regular hours - but that won't start for another 3 weeks or so.

He says he's working hard and I know he is - but it's money management that's killing him and his "social life". I had a come-to Jesus meeting with him today and told him no more beer in the house, no more cigarettes in the house (ugh) - if I'm paying the rent, the rules will be mine. And he is to bring me every dollar that he makes and I will show him how to budget while I'm here - but after I leave that's it. He will be making enough money to pay his own bills - he's just got to budget.

He has always been a hard worker - and always dependable about paying me back whenever he's borrowed money. We have always had a close relationship.

The main problem, and I know this sounds ridiculous - is that his step-dad told him that if he didn't get his college degree, he'd end up being a garbage man or something. He told him that when he was in Jr. High and it's stuck with him - so he feels like a failure and has the lowest self esteem imaginable.

But you are all right - I cannot enable him - I'm here for the two months to coach, fuss, guide and help. Then I'm gone and he's on his own. He wants me here because he loves me and wants his "family" close. Not because he wants my money. This is the first time he's ever asked for major help - when my mom died and I did all that stuff for him, it's because I wanted to - not because he asked for it. And I don't mind helping - but when I'm asked for help and I see that the problem isn't the lack of money, but the lack of self-control to budget the money, that is disturbing.

So - I am heading out of here in September no matter what. Lets hope I can get him somewhat on the right track before I leave!!!! Thanks for all the support - you guys are so great!~!
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:17 AM   #13
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Gracie, Thank You for opening your HEART to the rest of us, as you see you are not alone with problems with your kids.
We all have some type of problem with them no matter how good or bad they are. Yes you are making the right decision of letting him know it is time for him to grow up and take on his responsibilty and that it is now your time to enjoy life.
We have always told our kids they are on their own and the the money tree died, but they also know if something happens we will be there for them.
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Old 08-24-2008, 06:25 AM   #14
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You must let him go. It's like buying a drink for a drunk. Tough love will only help him. If you stay you will only get sucked into his world that you say is horrible.

We have raised six children and sometimes you just want to cry about tough love. It worked for us and we have six responsible adults now with families. We didn't let them sponge the life out of us.
He is not a kid anymore and time to grow up has begun, unless you stay and let him suck your life away.

Get on the road and enjoy your life. Don't become an enabler. When he sees you aren't falling for his unacceptable behavior he will then take notice and change, or he'll chose not to change. It's his right to chose for himself.

Happy trails to you and be safe.
Good luck

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