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Well I’m back after two years and it’s not good.

Tm's picture

Well I'm here again after two peaceful years lol. To give a brief summary my SS came to live with us two years ago because things were getting to hard for my SS at his mommy's house. That didn't last long though he complained we had too many rules and cried and begged his mom to come home but we made him finish out school first. He also was caught smoking weed in our basement with his friend and looking at porn. So we sent him on his merry way. Now currently today he's begging to come live with us again. His mother has now said she can't handle him anymore and he cannot get his GED there which is a flat out lie. He has failed 10th grade twice now and he is nearing 18 next year. He's way more concerned with having sex and smoking weed. He also has threatened suicide and was placed in a facility for a couple days. I am currently homeschooling my other children and I am very uncomfortable with the thought of him being here and me being responsible for all that mess. He's on meds and has to be reminded daily, he has no life skills and he also runs away. I don't trust leaving him alone with my other kids or even by himself. Am I wrong for not wanting him in my home? We have talked about putting him in military school in January but I told my husband he cannot live with us until after he completes the program. Is that a smart thing to do? My husband makes me feel guilty for saying no but I've told him I'm just not comfortable taking on an almost adult man child. I have to younger ones to worry about and I deal with medical issues too. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ESMOD's picture

My thoughts are that your DH should have held more firmly when he was in the basement acting out.. and actually parenting and not giving in to his kid's request to go to a home where he knew parenting and expectations were at the very best .. not any better than his own.

"kicking him out" vs dealing with it then.. even sending him to military school then would have likley had a much bigger impact than the almost adult mess he is facing now.

I don't blame you for not wanting to risk your other kid's safe home.. and honestly.. your DH probably feels bad because he didn't help him earlier.. and now it may be too late.. but a military school for a final year.. may help.. but who knows.

Tm's picture

My husband has tremendous guilt and thinks that somehow if SS moves here he will change. Not to mention it will all be placed on my shoulders because Husband works. I'm not comfortable with that at all. And yes military school should have happened a long time ago. I feel that this is not my issue to worry about though.

ESMOD's picture

what is that saying.. i'm going to hope in one hand and crap in the other and see which fills up first?

I get your DH is probably very concerned at this point.. and likely guilty knowing that he, in part, has failed his son.  The threats of suicide are very concerning and he likely is terrified that his son could actually go through with that..and not be able to "grow out" of his youthful stupidness.

But.. just hoping that his son will "SOMEHOW" straighten up with a change of scenery? nope  DH.. we tried that a few years ago.  You didn't do much to help him.. let him make even more poor choices and let him aggravate you to send him back.. which you did.. in no better shape, maybe worse, than you got him.  And.. not saying that to make him feel guilty because while hindsight is 20/20.. that opportunity is gone now.  and he needs to face the real options that he has now.

LD has given you some ideas of what those options are.. your financial circumstances may limit which ones you can take advantage of.. but some may be low or no cost.. (looking at his school's/districts options for intervention for example).

And.. of course... most of everything is only going to be as successful as his son allows it.. therapy and family therapy with his dad.. even if he doesn't move (is the distance too far for dad to be involved if he stays at his mom's?)

Tm's picture

The distance is too far to do in person therapy, I'm wondering if there's a possibility of doing it over the computer? I know in person is better though. I've also thought about my husband taking a large vacation and maybe staying in the same town where his son is for a bit. At this point I'm exhausted with it all but I cannot allow him to live here at this time.

ESMOD's picture

Lots of companies are offereing telemed for good rates vs in person visits through their plans.  Your husband should contact his company's EAP (employee assistance program) if there is one and seek help through there.. they may have good resources for therapy and other programs they could suggest.

lieutenant_dad's picture

This.

OP, I understand hindsight is 20/20, but your DH doesn't have a leg to stand on now. He made the decision to send SS back to BM versus military school when SS was 15, or moving out with him to straighten him out, or getting him into therapy, or really anything. The consequence of that is a young adult with no skills and no path in life, and that's not your fault. Nor should he make you feel guilty for not wanting to repeat what happened two years ago, especially when it sounds like he doesn't have much of a plan for SS if he were to move in with you all.

Your DH still has a lot of choices: get SS into therapy, send him to military school, call the cops for his drug use, talk to his school about alternative programs, move out and deal with him (not ideal, I know), go to therapy for himself on how to better parent and get over the guilt, etc. The only option off the table is moving into your home with you and your mutual kids.

Now, your DH DOES have an obligation and responsibility to help his son, both for his son's sake and the sake of the rest of society that he'll be dumped into. So he will need to spend time and likely money to get SS straightened out. Again, though, that doesn't have to happen under the same roof as you (but may mean it will still impact your life).

I'd just very bluntly lay out the options to your DH of what he can do. If he is adamant that SS move in, then make plans to move out. Your DH needs a wake up call that his son needs HELP, not just a place to stay. I think if you just let SS move in without any other plan than "if he lives here, he'll get better" then nothing will positively change for him.

Tm's picture

I absolutely agree with everything you said. I have told my husband numerous times he needs to get into therapy and deal with the guilt he has with his son. I think they both need to go together. I also agree he has an obligation to help his son succeed and be a productive human it just can't be in the home we share. I've talked about moving in with my mother for a bit while he handles his son but he doesn't like that. Because he works a lot and it would be easier if I was there to assist during the day but it's not my job nor will I agree to that responsibility. I have zero trust with him and with the suicide threats it makes me even more uncomfortable. Even if it was just an attention thing I'm going to take that seriously.

ESMOD's picture

ideally.. his son should be at school.. or at an alternate location during the day (trade school.. special needs schooling.. whatever).. his dad would absolutely need to 100% be there when he is.. 

The fact that you do have your mom's to go to is great.. because.. I think I might point out to your DH.. that he may not get a do over with his kid again.. he could become past the point of fixing.. or helping.. esp when suicide has been a potential issue.

Your DH needs to treat this as seriously as possible.. if he needs to take some time as family leave to work with his son.. so be it.  Either he is all in and comitted to helping.. or he is going to do what he did before.. which wasn't enough and will push risk on to you and your kids.. which is not fair.

I'm not saying your DH needs to actually quit his job.. but if he needs to get his kid in a program.. and be at home when he comes home from the program every day.. an hour earlier than his normal work program.. so be it.. he needs to figure that out.

Because.. no way are you going to agree to babysit his manchild with issues.. especially ones that are a danger to himself and possibly others.  and no way is this kid going to just "get his GED" sitting in your basement.. that's a pipe dream.

stepmomnorth's picture

I would not take on that burden alone and I think it's an unfair request of your partner. Stick to your guns of finding him help outside of your home, such as military school and all of things mentioned above. This isn't on you to fix alone. Your house is your safe place for you and your children

Tm's picture

Thank you, sometimes I question whether I'm being unreasonable but we have been down this path before and I don't want any part of it. His mother and father need to figure this out.

Maxwell09's picture

I agree that he should not come to live with y'all. The whole bouncing back and forth thing kids do to weasel their way out of consequences is something I am trying to avoid the most as SS gets older. If it didn't work the first time and the child has not made any changes or improvements in behavior then its definetly not going to work this time. In fact, it is more of a legal and health risk for other children now that he has escalated. 

Tm's picture

Yep, I told my husband he hasn't changed or shown any improvements so what makes you think moving here is going to do anything? I don't have the time to babysit a man child nor do I want to. He wants to escape when things get too hard for him and then he would be begging to go back to moms in a couple of months if not earlier. I'm not going to disrupt the household for that nonsense. He has to prove himself first and that's why I said military school.

Harry's picture

First DH is screwed up.  First he has to fix himself before working on SS.   If SS moves in nothing will change, with him. You will be taking care of him. Himself being a bad influence on your bio s. 

Tm's picture

It worries my to death with my other kids especially my son he's in the preteen stage and very impressionable right now. 

stepmomnorth's picture

Kids try to use this back and forth between houses when things get tough... Easy!! Just go to the other house, who accepts them with open arms and nothing changes. The kid doesn't get in trouble at one place for what went down at the other place, is the problem. Therefore.. No accountability. One of the parents needs to settle in and truly put the work in.

I think your partner feels that simply having him at your house, which is a better influence, will be enough alone to straighten this kid out, and that's not how that works. My own MIL says to us all the time my step son would be better off at our house as if everything would be magically fixed. She doesn't understand all of the complexities and behaviors that need to be fixed. 

Tm's picture

Yea it's not as easy as it seems. We have rules, chores, bedtimes ect. that he didn't like. And he has no life skills whatsoever. He also manipulates every chance he gets. He knows his Dad is full of guilt and plays on that. Not me though I see right through all of it. So my proposal will be you start military school in January and if you complete the program you can come live with us but there will still be expectations.

Tried out's picture

to think that military school is going to change a kid's behavior at home. The only way that works is if the parent recreates the structure, discipline and consequences at home.

Can you honestly see your DH doing that? My bet is SS immediately slips back into his old habits which dad will allow because he feels even guilter than before for sending his baby away to a place where everybody was mean to him.

And all you've managed to do is get rid of him for awhile and spend a ton of money.

 

Tm's picture

Well this is a free program thank goodness but you are right will it be enough if his Dad can't commit to being strict and have boundaries. I know I will but if he can't be on the same page it won't work and that's why I'm suggesting therapy.

Merry's picture

You're getting good advice. You have other children in the home to protect, first and foremost. Exposing them to your SS's lifestyle will harm them. So, hard no.

And I would not allow him to move back in even after military school. He NEEDS to grow up, function on his own. My SS moved in with us after a drug rehab program, against all advice from multiple professionals because DH "knew better" and was full of guilt. He was going to "help" his son. But putting the son back in the same exact circumstances meant he fell back into the same exact patterns, friends, lifestyle, and addiction. So much for DH's help, which looked to me like codependency. And that led to even more guilt to deal with. (SS eventually found another rehab program and he has done well with that.)

I do think your DH needs to talk with a therapist to help sort out a reasonable path forward. This situation is just too full of emotional baggage for him to see anything clearly. He wants what's best for his son, of course, but he has to have a clear picture of what that looks like.

 

Tm's picture

I've told my husband first thing he needs to do is get a therapist. He has tons of baggage when comes to his son. He is part to blame for the mess we are dealing with now and of course the mother. 

ESMOD's picture

Absolutely.. while he may have some legit ownership to the mess.. diving into a pit of guilt and reacting from that emotional place isn't going to do his son any favors.  A more pragmatic.. well.. we didn't make the best choices in the past.. instead of feeling sorry for myself and my son.. I'm going to take the hard steps to make sure he gets back on the right path.. I can't change what happened.. but I can change the future.. so can my son.  So, if he needs therapy to learn how to forgive himself for his faults.. great.. but he needs to clear that away because babying his son now because of these past actions isn't necessarily productive.

He also needs to work closely with whatever program his kid ends up in.. so  he can learn what the boundaries and rules are and how to apply consequences in his home environment (if it ever gets that far).. 

Shieldmaiden's picture

Nooo! Please don't allow this manchild into your home with your other kids. Let your husband get a second job to pay for his kids in-house rehab, millitary school, whatever. Its not your problem. If you let this kid move in, you will never be rid of him or his problems, and they will affect your life and the lives of your children. You are perfectly in the right to tell your husband no on this.

Tm's picture

I agree we had another conversation today about my stance on the matter and I'm not budging. I will not put myself or my kids through this.

Tm's picture

We have been looking at jobcorp actually and that is an option if he decides he wants to change.

Harry's picture

Going to except an 18 yo in there school ?   At that age he should be heading to the real military.  But he will not meet there standing.   Maybe DH should get a second Job. And rent an apartment  or some group living home for SS. 
Do not let him in your home.  Once he in it's going to be impossible to get him out. 

Rags's picture

Military School is a great idea IMHO. It did me a world of good. It also did my dad a world of good, my brother a world of good,  and my SS a world of good.

My SS turned 30 yesterday and is an honorable man of character.  Military School is a key foundational element of his adult life.

Make it clear that it is Military School or he is cut off at 18.  If he engages at Military School successfully, make his continued benefits from the family resources contingent upon successful HS graduation.  I took two sophomore years myself.  The first I passed only a single class the whole year. The second and beyond for the rest of HS I was the top of every class each year.  I thrived in the structured accountability focused environment.  As did my dad, my brother, and my SS.  I finished HS with more than a dozen college semester hours.  This was an added benefit of the Military School I attended which was a middle school, HS, and Jr. College.  Due to my brain fart first sophomore year, I graduated HS at 19.

It is easy to +' (accentuate the positive) when performance is successful.  Even kids who have struggled can find great success at a Military School.

While there are some that are insanely expensive, there are also great schools that are very reasonably priced.  Do your homework and you have a good chance of driving a positive outcome for your SS and preserving the positive childhood of your own young children.