My friend's son

mamameeaAugust 11, 2011

I have a friend that I've been friends with for over 10 years. My two oldest teenage boys are the same ages as her two teenage boys. The two youngest went to preschool together, that's how far we go back. Well, her oldest is 18, and he's always had social issues. He was diagnosed with a very mild form of asperger's, but is extremely functional. He drives, has a full-time job, has friends, but can sometimes be irritating due to his lesser ability to read social cues. He calls and texts all of us frequently, sometimes late into the night. There really aren't any more symptoms we see of the asperger's. He's always hyper, but I'm not sure if that's related. My kids have always tried to be nice to him, but most of the time it's a bit of a strain for them, as it's out of obligation since I'm such good friends with his mom. Don't get me wrong, I've known this kid for so many years, I can be looked upon as kind of a second mom to him. But that doesn't minimize how difficult he can be to be around. Through the years, he has done a number of things while over at my home that his mom has overlooked. When the kids were much younger, my two boys had a go-cart that they would drive around our driveway. He got into it and was a bit too rough with the pedals and permanently broke it. I did get a sorry from his mom, but that was it. My boys were so disappointed. There have been so many more things since then...rough-housing in my upstairs hallway, he threw himself and put a big hole in my wall. More recent things have been, he lit the tiki torches I have attached to my deck and went to pour regular tiki torch fuel into the lamps that required gel fuel only. Luckily one of my kids came in and told me what he was doing before he lit it. I came out and told him to stop because it was the wrong fuel, and he immediately started to pour the fuel back into the container right over my freshly stained deck. He stopped when I told him to. He was adjusting my new garden hose sprayer and turned the adjustment ring too hard and broke it. We had a loose screw on our deck, and the board was up a little too high; I was afraid someone was going to trip on it, so my son got the the electric screwdriver to try add another screw to tighten the board down. He took the screw from my son and positioned it so far to the edge of the board, the board cracked, and now I have a hole there. He was playing around with my water inlet valve in my pool, changed the direction of the water flow, luckily didn't break that. He had his iPad plugged into our boombox on our pool deck so he could play his mp3 music through the stereo. He wasn't paying attention to how far he had the iPad from the boombox and pulled the boombox face first right onto the deck, badly denting both speakers. His mom was there for this one, they both said sorry...but didn't say a word to me acknowledging how damaged the stereo was. The stereo incident happened last week, and I'm to the point where I'm nervous about the next time he comes over. Any advice on what I could do here?? Thanks.

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1) Learn what a paragraph is.

2) How come you're allowing this uncompensated mayhem to continue? Is that your idea of a "friend"? In addition to the expense, you've described some pretty dangerous stuff. He's 18 -- it's going to be getting worse.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:42PM
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His mom isn't just my "friend." She's been my best friend for over 10 years. The issues I have with her son is just one negative among mostly good. Are you saying the solution here would be to drop her like a hot potato? That's what I should do versus trying to talk with her? I just know where talking might go, though. She's always been extremely protective of him, has felt she's needed to be. And I can't think of one nice way to tell her her oldest son is like a bull in a china shop.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 2:06AM
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I didn't say anything about dropping anyone like a hot potato. However, you did describe an issue that requires resolution. You're the suffering party. You're the one that has to make the move. It won't fix itself.

I would think "best friend for over 10 years" would enable you to talk about pretty much anything by this point. You know her better than anyone. She may be protective of him but YOU should be protective of YOURSELF and your household. If you're not up to it, what you described will continue until everyone leaves. If they are going to be up-and-out before long, maybe you're willing to wait it out and not make waves. From what you described, I would have made waves long ago.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Thanks so much for your responses here. It helps to have input on this.

If this were you, I understand you're saying you would have addressed it long ago. But what exactly would you have said and done, if I may ask? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 1:36PM
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I don't know your situation or your friend's so I'm not sure I can offer anything that would be directly applicable. I will offer one situation I, myself, did have with a close relative that may show some similarities.

Talking about people their 60's, here. I am a full-time care-giver for my aged mother. When our relative came to visit, it took me an hour to clean up the damned bathroom after he'd left us. I have too much to do already to have this thrust upon me as well. He's a fine fellow -- always has been -- but this had to stop.

I told him I'd love him 'til the end of time but I didn't think I had to clean up after him like this. It really was something he needed to pay more attention to because I already had too much to do. Perhaps similar to your good friend, my relative and I are very close although our lives are lived differently. In this case, perhaps as with your friend, this was an issue of his that had become mine due his obliviousness. He just wasn't paying attention, and my bringing it up to him caused him to pay attention. Didn't dwell on it, just laid it out and dealt with it. We haven't spoken of it again. Everything's fine, now. The close relationship didn't change.

"Friends" should be able to handle stuff like this. Most stuff we just let go but if a "biggie" comes up -- and that's what you've described -- I don't think it should be let pass.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 2:17PM
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I think I understand what you're saying. Perhaps I'll talk to her about it in the context of bringing up the tiki torch fuel situation first, since that's the most obvious concern...what if I hadn't come outside, you know? I'm just worried that if I start pointing out the hole in my deck and the broken spray nozzle and the damaged stereo speakers that she will be offended in some way.

She has always been an extreme penny pincher. Our four boys went to an amusement park this summer, and my son asked her second oldest son to hold onto his cell phone in the same pocket that he had his own phone. He wasn't careful enough with how he put it in his pocket (is our guess) because he lost it, they believe, on a roller coaster. Never did we get a sincere willingness to help pay for a replacement phone. It was just dropped. So there's a history here of not wanting to take financial responsibility for things such as this. I'm not saying that this is all about money, because I'm not sure I would even be able to take money from her for any of this...but it sure would be nice for it to be offered.

Thanks again for all your input.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:03PM
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"I'm just worried that if I start pointing out the hole in my deck and the broken spray nozzle and the damaged stereo speakers that she will be offended in some way."

If you choose to bring it up with your friend, I'm going to recommend you specifically do NOT withhold that information. She deserves to know the source of your annoyance. This is EXACTLY the issue. You're "worried" about offending her, you said. On the other hand, you, yourself, have been incredibly and repeatedly offended by her son's actions and her utter disregard for the damage caused. Does she not care if YOU'RE offended? It seems to me she must be either unaware or she's not the friend you think she is.

If you're OK with bearing it without complaint, OK. That's a choice.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Point well taken. Thanks again for hearing me out and lending your advice. I will certainly now discuss these issues with my friend.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 4:38PM
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I would be very concerned about safety issues and keep him in sight when he is visiting.

Would you allow your boys to do the same things he is doing? Explain that to them, after all is it YOUR home, and you have the right to ban him from horseplay. She may not know about the late night calls, tell him you do not allow calls after a certain time. She should offer to help make the repairs.

The cell phone is a different concern. You should not expect someone else to watch out for your property. Sorry for your sons loss, but next time HE should keep up with it.

I know an adult in his mid 50's that was diagnosed with Asperger's and in my opinion he thinks he can do anything and be just as rude as he wants to be. People avoid him like a plague. His counselor has told us when he acts like this to say to him this is unacceptable behavior and you are being rude.

Honest conversations are hard, even with close family members and friends.

Good luck!!!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 2:44PM
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Yes I agree about the cell phone. The phone is the responsibility of the owner and his to keep safe. You can't blame someone else for its loss. One would expect things to fall out of pockets when on rides at the fair.

Asolo has done a terrific job in advising you about your rights in the situation with the boy.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 5:53PM
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In complete agreement, that the cell phone responsibility falls on your son's shoulders--especially since, from what you've posted, this boy has been a bit irresponsible for a long time now.

One suggestion I'd make. When you approach her, why not take the tack, "We have a problem (describe it, but try not to be too agressive about it), let's work together to solve it". People often respond better to being asked for their input than they do for being preached at or criticised. You're an adult--you know that you like to be treated with respect--she surely wants the same. Another facet to include is the fact that you're very concerned about her son's safety (danger of using wrong fuel, possible injury when he thrust himself through the wall). Let her know you care, and that will go a long way toward helping keep the conversation civil. And by all means, ONLY start the conversation when you're both calm and relaxed.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 1:32PM
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