Question: Dear Luise: For the past 7 years I have been in an on going struggle with my oldest son, who is nearing 20. In the start I was a single mother – I gave him all that I could, but material isn’t all he received. He had a warm, clean, home. Always food on the table and always clean clothes to wear. When he was 6 a series of changes occurred, I was married and we had a baby boy. My son adjusted well, just as the rest of the family did. He moved out the summer he was 16, he drank, smoked pot and nearly killed himself in a roll over vehicle accident. He moved home. Dropped out of school at 17 and started to demonstrate more of a narcissistic attitude. He moved out again – things went downhill faster that you can imagine. He was always in a loving environment where there were rules and morals. Now at nearly 20 he’s just moved out of his first apartment into a house that to me looks like a squatters den. There is a mother there, though the house is disgustingly filthy, much like herself. He’s dating her 16 year old daughter who like him, is a drop out. She’s odd to me and goes by the name “Rainbow”. The other two living in the house are over 19 also … no one works! They sit around and smoke pot and steal to support this habit. Those are their priorities and goals in life. I raised my son better than this … I’m sick with worry, shame and even guilt. Guilt with what, I’m not sure. How can I let him know how disappointed and worried I am without pushing him away. He has 2 other siblings who think the world of him, but I won’t let them go around him unsupervised … can he not see what he’s doing to himself and to the family? Or am I just being a witch? I’m so lost in what to do. M.
Answer: Dear M.: Please bring this issue over to my Web-forum for women with issues involving adult children and extended families. We are at: www.WiseWomenUnite.com . We raise our children with values and are role models of those values. However, many other things also influence them…peers and teachers, neighbors and yes their own personalities and genes. Marvelous individuals sometimes come from terrible homes and visa versa. All any of us can do is out best. When the time comes for choices, they make their own with or without our consent; sad but true.
Your son already knows how you feel and has discounted it. You can’t change him and he will go where he wants to go and do what he wants to do, whether you push him away or not. Protect the rest of your family and let him go. He’s actually already gone. Love him but not what he’s doing. Create boundaries based on that to protect the family.
Depending on where you live, your son may also be breaking the law by “dating” a 16 year-old “child.” I totally agree that the other kids shouldn’t be left with him unsupervised. Focus on them and your own wellbeing. You deserve so much better. Blessings, Luise