Please help; kid in trouble and I don't know how to handle it...

Old 07-01-2007, 02:15 AM
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Unhappy Please help; kid in trouble and I don't know how to handle it...

It's nearly 4am and I am sitting here wondering just when my 19-year-old son is going to roll in. He is home from school for the summer. I am really at a loss; I don't know how to handle this. I am still in the early stages of recovery from my codependent ways with my ex. Things are going well in that area but it took me half my life to figure it out......I don't want to make the same mistakes with this kid that I made with my husband.

I was getting ready to go to bed at 11pm when he walked out of his room, dressed up and smelling good. Said he was going to a club with some friends to dance....... Can anyone yell 'trigger' with me at the top of their lungs????

I don't believe he is drinking/drugging. Not yet anyway; but I know he has that tendency in him. He went through a period of drinking during his senior year in high school and on into his first semester in college. I didn't handle it well-yelled, shamed him, "how could you do this to me", etc. He did pull out of that rocky period basically on his own when he figured out he was about to lose his full scholarship and end up working at a fast food joint or something....

But he is SO much like his dad. He is wonderful and sweet and funny; and irresponsible, undependable, and lazy. I have to wake him up over and over to go to work and he often shows up late there. He doesn't follow through on things he says he will do. I have caught him in some lies lately, not big things but lies just the same. I didn't call him on them because I didn't trust myself to handle it well.

I have laid awake literally hundreds of nights in my life waiting for his father's headlights to come up the driveway and going off at him when he finally got here. We all know had that worked out.....

I am such a baby at this boundary thing; I didn't even realize what a boundary was until about a year ago. I know I need to set some with him, but how? He's living in my house right now, I'm feeding him, doing his laundry, etc. He doesn't do much of anything to help out. He will be leaving to go back to school in about 6 weeks (thank goodness), and then he will just have to sink or swim. But in the meantime, I know I need to do something.

Why do I feel so flippin paralyzed here?????
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:30 AM
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Duet, being childless, i am woefully unqualified to give you much comfort here, but since it is so late there is probably noone else around, I'll give it a shot.

He is probably fine. It sounds like he is not an addict or anything so he is probably hanging out with his friends. does he have a curfew? I know I worried my parents sick when i was a teenager. Many times i rolled in when they were having thier morning coffee. Maybe he met a girl?

I guess you feel paralized maybe because like you said, you used to wait up for the H over and over and this feels kind of like that? That is one thing I can relate to as well, sleepless and worried waiting for the exabf to come home.

Well, I'm sure he will come home ok. Meanwhile maybe you could take a tylenol PM or something like that to help you sleep?

I can imagine how stressed you must feel.

you cannot control the situation, though, unfortunatly.

Maybe when he comes in you can make him scrub the floor...that's what my mom used to do!

I hope he comes home soon so you can have some peace of mind!


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Old 07-01-2007, 04:26 AM
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I will, childless also, wade in with my $0.02 and suggestions:

1.) Your house = your rules. Doors are locked at midnight. Doors do not unlock until 6:00AM. Change the locks, you get the key.

2.) At 19 he can do his own laundry and, BTW make his own meals and help pay for groceries. He is going to college. I went to college too. I lived at home and drove to college BTW to save money on living at

3.) At 19 he is old enough to get up and go to work w/o Mommy telling him to. There are these things called radios with a wake up alarm. If he get fired, his butt.

4.) At 19 he is expected to help with the house and yard work. Yes. Grass, cleaning, dishes etc.

5.) Your house, your rules, his room is to be kept clean and neat. Bed made b4 going to work etc.

6.) Who's car is he using to go to work etc.? Yours? Well, that has use limits too and they do NOT include weekends. Work only. He wants to go out with his friends, he can find his own way to do that.

6.) If he cannot follow the house rules, which you will POST on the refrigerator with a list of chores he is to do with a calendar so he can check the jobs off each week as he does them b4 going back to school, he is not welcome to stay at your house any more. Period. End of story. He is welcome to visit and you do love him, but those are the rules.

Now I have said all these things NOT being a Mom.. but I was a kid and those were my rules! They worked. I OWNED MY OWN EXTERIOR PAINTING BUSINESS to make money for school in the summer.

No one paid my ticket for anything. My parents helped me by allowing me to live in their house and it was a HUGE PRIVILEGE to do so. They made me aware of that. they also made it clear from day one what the rules were. They were not wealthy. They could not pay for things. Living at home at any time was HUGELY to my advantage while going to college and, as hard as I worked three or 4 jobs to pay for school, I was eternally grateful for the living space. Their rules were NO problem.

Laziness is a kid trick. Unreliability is a kid trick. Both need to have consequences.

Again.. my opinion. You can give a kid too much. I had my own business for 20 years. I hired a lot of kids. The ones who I kept were the ones who were not left to their own devices and who were not handed much of anything and whose parents had house rules.. and I did not keep them for those reasons.. I kept them because they respected me, their job and were reliable.
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Old 07-01-2007, 04:41 AM
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I can't add a thing to what Elana said, expect, I think she right.
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:19 AM
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at 19 or 90, it is your house, set some boundries if you feel uncomfortable with him coming in at wee hours of the morning.give him a list of chores that you expect him to do.i know being a mother we are adapted to do all for our children that they can do for themselves.i have a 19 yr. old grandson that come homes home at all hrs. of the nite & i just know he is not doing anything wrong.lots of times he & his friends are in HIS yard all nite long working on their cars, lots of times he is at his g.f.'s house & has fell asleep looking at a movie.he works every nite till is just his way of doing have to let go.he gets himself up when he is away at college,he CAN get himself up to go to work if he does not have his mama there to wake him. his job,his consequences. sending prayers for your son that he will stay on the right path.hugs,
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:39 AM
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Well, Duet.....I left home at 17 never to go back...but my bro' did stay at home past 18. I remember one time when I was visiting and he came rolling in at something like 7 in the morning. My dad was sitting at the table waiting for him. With that SERIOUS look on his face. The law of the land became that you will not worry us and cause us to sit up all night wondering if you are dead in a ditch. You will call and tell us if you are going to be out late, where you are and when you will be home. And he didn't get to just go to bed. Dad put him to work. I dont' think he ever did it again, either.

My son was pretty considerate. He would go out with friends on weekends....17 but the one night he didn't come home until 5 am...there was mom, sitting up worried sick and when I told him that all night I had wondered where he was dead in a ditch and where to drive around and look for him, and cried, cause I was that exhausted and scared. And then he still had to go to work at 6 am, but he all ready knew he had to do that...he worked on weekends. Well, it never happened again.

My dad's favorite trick about us not getting up at first call was to say I guess you need more sleep and bump the curfew to earlier. Every teen hates that! So we got up all right!

Love and discipline go together, it isn't harsh, authoritarian etc.
It is respect and cooperation.
I always told my kids...this isn't a is a benovolent dictatorship LOL
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:51 AM
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I ditto what everyone else said. I dunno what time he came in, but when he did was he drunk or high? Or did he and his friends just go for a bite to eat at an all-night diner after the club? If you don't want him to use your house as a hotel, then say so and set boundaries. Is he working for the summer? If not....tell him to GET A JOB.
GOing out and staying out late on the weekend is normal 19-year old behaviour, but if he starts screwing up with drugs and alcohol, that is something else.
Just make sure if you "point the gun, you can pull the trigger".
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:56 AM
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I lived at home until I got married at 23. I worked from the time I was 13, and had to get myself up and even my parents to take me to work. When I graduated from high school I still had a curfew, midnight. If I was late man did I hear it, and I had more work to do around the house, and work 2 jobs on top of that.
He is like my son never wanting to get up, I would call him once and if he didn't get up I went and got cold water and would throw it on him, he had to change the sheets before he left the house. If the cold water didn't help it was his problem to explain to his boss why he was late, or to the school why.
He is living in your house so make him do things, he is lucky you are allowing him to stay there, if he does not like your rules he can find someplace else to live. He can come and visit but can not live there. If the car is in your name he can not use it after a certain time. If he is not home by the time you set lock the doors and he can't come in, let him sleep outside.
My parents did that to me a couple of times too.
I know how hard this is for you, so I will praying that your HP gives you the strength to set the rules for your son, and to help you through the next 6 weeks
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Old 07-01-2007, 06:08 AM
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I also have a daughter home from college. This might not come out right but, alot of her friends work until 10 or so then they usually want to shower before going out. So they are heading out when I'm ready for bed. They are used to those hours from college. I totally understand your concern. It is hard when they haave been able to come & go as they wish & now they are like what do you mean I can't stay out all night. I am trying to figure out a time that would be fair for her, but also get her off the road before the bars close.
Hey rock.
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Old 07-01-2007, 07:29 AM
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I understand your concern and the suggestions here are great, but Jen, one thing I want to add is please try not to add to your stress by projecting that he is going to become his dad. It won't help you with your worry and he may sense that too.

Great ideas above and I do agree with Helpus that kids are used to those hours while in college...kinda like being babies again; they get their days and nights mixed up, lol. Since you feel new to this boundary game, what of all the suggestions given, can you do and stick to? Perhaps start there. When my daughter was staying with us, I told her the curfew boundary was for me, not her. I needed to know she was home and safe or I could not sleep. She respected it more once she understood that it was not an attempt to control her. She was curfew was midnight during the work week and 1 on weekends. I told her that her friends were welcome to come home with her to stay over or to quietly talk.

The part about not continuously waking him up is hard, I know...but I think that is a consequence he has to face. If he knows he can count on only one call or just his alarm; he'll get there...He has to at college, right? I suspect your other son will support you in that boundary.

As to chores...well, I realized that my version of clean was far different from my kids, so I had to be specific in my requests for assistance. If I was and I provided a reasonable time frame to get something done, i usually got positive results. Not necessarily done to "my standards" but as long as I had no expectation that it would be "my" way, no sweat

Good luck Jen...I know it is hard when this is new, but if your motivation is to relieve your own stress and have a more relaxed home life rather than to control your son, I think he'll understand and respect boundaries a bit more. Hugs and prayers.
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Old 07-01-2007, 07:35 AM
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Well, thanks everyone for all the input. Those of you who pointed out that I am projecting exah's behavior onto him are right, and I do realize that. He is so much like his dad was when we met, minus the pot, coke , and alcohol of course! LOL!

He got home about 4:30, and he was neither drunk nor high. I am confident of that; I can spot that very well. As it turned out, he was just with friends. One girl in particular. No, not a romantic interest, but a friend who has gotten herself in some trouble. One of son's friends had been dating this girl, then suddenly dumped her about three weeks ago. No one knew why. Now we do-she's pregnant. Son's friend wants nothing to do with it, the girl is scared and unsure what to do about the baby, son was trying to calm her and help her. He does that all the time, the helping people thing. He is also an awful lot like his mom.....he tends to try to 'fix' things. *sigh*

I think that those of you who said he is just being 19 are right, as are those of you who said I need to set some rules. I intend to do that; I did tell him last night that I realize he is 19 but this is my house and I won't be worried like this.

As I reread my post above, I think I should clarify that he does help me out in lots of ways, like transporting his little brother and taking him places or just hanging out here with him. He has taken over the few things that his dad used to do around here, and will be mowing for me starting next week. (His dad had taken our mower but had to bring it back due to the contempt charges I filed). So he is not totally useless..the kid would give anyone the shirt off of his back...

Elana, I like your ideas but you know what they say about not setting boundaries that we can't keep. I will have to do this the 'baby step' way. *grin*

As for the vehicle, it is his truck. My dear old ex bought both of our sons brand new vehicles as soon as they turned 16. What an idiot thing to do! Of course, they both promptly wrecked said vehicles...The title is actually in his name, which was my doing, though. When I was getting everything ready to file for divorce, I went to the courthouse and had it changed to get my exah's name off of it. Like I knew he would, he threatened to take said truck away from the boy because he 'didn't care' about his poor, misunderstood father.

Anyway, thanks again for all the input. I will be talking to him today about some rules. Off to church.

Have a happy holiday weekend!
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Old 07-01-2007, 08:12 AM
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My son was a great kid too. Like yours...give anyone the shirt off his back and would help with whatever was asked.
He just didn't realize how bad he scared me that night.
he was just out having fun with friends.
he felt terrible when he saw how scared I was for him.
And he knew it came from my love for him.

Last edited by Live; 07-01-2007 at 08:13 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 07-01-2007, 08:29 AM
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sorry that i'm late on all of this, i think elana had a lot to say and so did the others, keeping you and yours in my prayers
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:35 PM
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I remember being 19 and home for the summer after my first year away at college. It was a fine line between all the independence I had gotten used to and the comfortableness of home I remembered. As I live in Detroit, right near the Canadian border (drinking age is 19 in canada), I was out alot pretty late at night. Sometimes I'd roll in around dawn on the weekends. My Mom, while not happy about it, usually didn't toss down the gauntlet about curfews either.

Since I respected that my Mom was allowing me to stretch my wings so to speak, I always let her know where I was going and if I was going to be really late, I'd give her a call. And usually call her before she went to bed so she knew I was alive.

He sounds like a really good kid, and it's no wonder you worry. You are his Mom, and like you've said you've dealt with many late nights with his Dad and it's easy to slip back into those worrying patterns in familiar situations.

Hugs, you are handling it great!!
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:45 PM
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I work in the school system and one of the young girls that I knew well was the kind that could not make a move without coming down to talk to her mother (the mother was a teacher). I ran into this girl at Christmas break from her first year at college and I asked her how it felt to be home. All she did was complain about how hard it is to live at home when she was so used to making her own rules. She is a really good kid. A lot of parents that I know that have kids in college say the same about their kids. It is hard when the kids are used to being independent to come home and live again under their parents' rules. Hugs, Marle
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:37 PM
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I completely agree with Elana. Your house, your rules. But then again, I'm also childless (for now )
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:35 AM
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My kids used to call the house at the wee hours of the night to let me know if they were going to be late (after 2:00am), but then when the phone rang it scared the daylights out of me, and then I couldn't go back to sleep. Now I have them text message me, and then if I happen to wake up and their not home, I check my cell phone and can go back to sleep knowing where they are. Thank God sometimes for modern technology.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:37 PM
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I kinda read your thread then just scrolled all the way down to write so I'm probably repeating some things but I couldn't resist.

WHY ARE YOU DOING HIS LAUNDRY? oh sorry did I think that out loud. lol
I don't mean to yell but it is a joking kind of yell only because I am/was/am the same way.

I owned a bar and just recently sold it so I'm gonna stick up for him for just one thing, on the weekends the young crowd didn't stroll into the bar until 11 pm I don't know why they start so late but they just do. Just thought that might help to know that.

It's gotta be tough as heck just getting done with your spouse's stuff and affraid that your son will follow suit. How are his grades? do you think he's just playing catch up with friends? I'm only saying these things in case your pulling one of my numbers and worrying about absolutely everything. I sometimes have to ask myself questions like these just to talk myself down from an anxiety attack.

my addict is my 22yr old son, he's doing pretty good now, he's been drug free for a few months now but only sober for a few weeks (he thought he could just drink) he had a relapse on mothers day (overdosed and all ) great mothers day by the way!
anyway I don't have the experience of an addict spouse (thank the lord) but I got alittle bit under my belt as far as kids go.

Good luck and take a deep breath
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:41 AM
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Hi Duet,

Nothing much to add there and being childless too i can't really relate. I can however remember how i was at 19 and i do remember that i was going out and coming back late -especially in summer break!- I also remember my mum would make my laundry and -guess what? she is still doing my laundry when i go visit her!! Shame on me! But somehow i believe i turned out ok, despite all, pheeewww (and so did my mum, she turned out ok despite naughty kids, lol)

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Old 07-03-2007, 07:43 AM
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Louise, what a great idea! Texting is a nice way of being responsible but NOT waking up mom or dad and freaking them out with the phone ringing.

Also remembering back in the day when I used to go out, it was NEVER before 10 pm. I guess before then the bar was too " boring" LOL.
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