Grown kids in trouble

moonie_57December 13, 2006

So, I have a grown son who is single, no kids, and hasn't lived home for 8 years now. He got in some trouble off and on from the age of 16 to his early 20's. These last couple of years he has done fairly well but now has gotten himself in trouble with the law again. A marijuana misdeamnor which came down to a fine. He didn't pay the fine and they issued a warrant and he turned himself in. Easy enough to take care of with a couple hundred dollars, if only that was the end of it. Now, he's under suspicion of a break in. This is just rumor floating around and the police has nothing on him... yet. Here it is Christmas time and I hate to see him sitting in jail, whether it be true or not. If it came down to just paying the $200 fine, I might would do that. But it could come down to more legal issues in the end and if that were the case, I don't think I should financially be available. We've done about everything we can to help him get straightened out. I'm just not sure how much we should do at this point especially because we thought things were getting better for him and apparently they aren't.

I think this is why I love my pets so much. Kids.. bah! Dogs, yaaah!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Do you have anyone else to help you with your dilemma ?

So he is sitting in jail, because he hasn't paid the $200 fine, is that correct ? How long will he sit there ?

My advice would be to deal with the facts of the matter.

I would not consider rumours, because they are not facts.

I think you have answered your own question when you say "I don't think I should financially be available".

All the best to you.

and your Son.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 12:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Popi's right, you did answer your own question. And I'm going to refer back to another post. You're doubting that statement because you're feeling guilty for saying that (Is my guess). Don't. He's over 18, and adult and made his own decisions. If he didn't pay his fine, he's wrong and still has to learn the lesson. if that lesson has to be learned over Christmas, it's sad, BUT it is his lesson to learn, his consequence for what he did. I am a true believer in not bailing people out, let them learn on their own. It does a couple of things...they don't rely on me to bail them out in the future, and makes them think. Don't doubt your self.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 3:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Moonie - We faced a very similar situation with my adult stepson. Similar repeated minor legal problems due to a series of judgement errors. Time after time. Same ole' stuff (bar fights). Then he "allegedly did" something much more stupid with potentially serious jail time. Facts are in dispute, so we don't know exactly how wrong his conduct was -- but it was stupid, and avoidable, and within his control. (No one was hurt, but they could have been.)

Several months earlier, DH and I had agreed that he was finally on his own financially, and had discussed that with him -- giving him his vehicle free & clear that he still owed on, expressing confidence in him, and wishing him well.

Well, when this happened, he needed a large sum of money right away (just a loan -- yeah right) to retain a 'top notch' criminal lawyer, because court-appointed lawyers "aren't any good" and are "only for indigents". After discussing it between ourselves, wonderful DH reminded him of his 'adulthood', and clarified that in fact, he WAS indigent. We wished him luck and offered him moral support, but no financial support. Of course he was furious, and we didn't hear from him for several months.

He got lucky, and the court agreed to a commuted sentence -- probation and community service, with the provision that if he gets into ANY trouble with the law, ANYTHING, then he's off to real jail for real time with a real conviction for a real crime. And fortunately, that seems to have been the cold-water-in-the-face he needed to wake up and grow up. He's finally started to invest himself in his job, has been trouble-free for about a year and hasn't asked us for any money. And he's resumed a real relationship with his father, though to my knowledge, that topic still is kind of 'off limits'.

Hold firm Moonie. Don't let the FOG (that Vicky so wisely refers to) make you doubt your judgement.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you don't pay the $200 how long will he sit there? How will the situation be resolved?

I agree with others here that you should not help him. I'm a big believer in "natural consequences" as being the best teacher. But I know you are tempted to do so because of the holidays (and because you're a mom!). If you do, make it crystal clear that that will be the extent of financial help.

So sorry for your trouble.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 5:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey, girls. Thanks for posting. It helps to have support from those with no emotional investment.

My mother got him out today with stipulations, of course, so we'll see how that goes. So far there has been nothing come up concerning the break in. From what I have been able to find out... from people around the neighborhood, not the police... is that it is still being investigated.

Tomorrow I am going to post further because we're having some family problems due to son. Right now I just really want to go to bed. Anyway, thanks.

Sweeby, I wish your stepson well.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 11:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, my son is sitting in jail on this Christmas Eve, for the breaking and entering that I mentioned he may have been a part of. My feelings are torn, although I think it is best not to bail him out. I have stayed strong for 6 days. He has a court date for the 2nd. I'm not going to let his actions ruin our day of celebration tomorrow. I'll put on a big smile for everyone elses sake, but I will miss my son terribly.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 11:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry Moonie, I know the day must have been sad for you, in your heart, whilst you put on a brave face. He's your little boy, no matter what is going on now.

Just let him know you are there for him, no matter what. But the money issue is his to sort out.

I hope you have clarity in thinking, and come up with a way of helping him, to settle your anguished heart.

All the best.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 1:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm sorry to hear that Moonie -- I can only imagine how hard it is for you. But please feel strong in your conviction. Only he can turn his own life around; and he'll only do that once he hits his own personal 'bottom' -- the point where he decides he needs to make a change. And spending Christmas in jail may be that point. If it is, you will have given him a very valuable gift indeed.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sweeby, you are so right. I'm so sorry, Moonie. I know it's hard.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really do appreciate the support you all offer. I've chosen not to share this with with co-workers and neighbors, and it's a touchy family situation so its nice to be able to just talk about it here.

Popi - thanks. I will be there for him except in a financial way. And having said that, I did give the jailer money for his night time snacks, but that's not quite the same thing, right? What do you think?

Sweebie - I'm with you on that one. Hitting rock bottom doesn't have just to do with drugs and alcohol. Although there seems to be some talk concerning drugs, so we'll see. My other son expressed some concern because of his brothers friends. Of course it was denied, and he certainly doesn't seem to be having any withdrawals in jail. I visited him on sunday.

socks - thank you. And I recognize you from the pet forum. Don't you have an older cat with health problems? I spend alot of money last week at petsmart and wondered if I shouldn't be saving the money for an attorney. Yet another subject to broach..... court appointed vs retained. There's the financial issue.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Moonie, I don't actually have any advice to give you because I've (thank GOD!) not had to walk a road as rough in the same way as yours. But I can imagine that it must be terribly hard to know that your son is in such an unpleasant situation and to try to use restraint and wisdom to help for the long term. I wish you the very best outcome. I hope your son will learn and grow on account of this and that, in time, he will fully know that you were deeply concerned and trying to do the best thing for him.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How's it going Moonie?

"there seems to be some talk concerning drugs, so we'll see. My other son expressed some concern because of his brothers friends."

I'd listen to this one... Odds are good your other son knows FAR more about his brother's drug and alcohol habits than you do. If there's a big 'activity gap' between them, he might be off a bit, but odds are good that your son's 'chemical' habits aren't that different from those of his friends. No signs of withdrawal are good, but you can still get in plenty of trouble without becoming physically addicted...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bnicebkind is it going?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 9:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for asking.

I will be posting more this week. He'll go to court, although I really don't know what to exact. Maybe just appointing an attornery? Not sure.

Other than that, I'm really trying not to dwell too much as it is out of my hands at this point. I'll update probably on Tuesday.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 11:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems to me that most of these "kids" have no self esteem. My brother died at age 42, after being in trouble with his family, the law, and everyone else. He never did get his life together and died of alcoholism. Way too young. He had such low self esteem.

My good friend's nephew died this week, age 35. He had such low self esteem and drank way too much. My friend always said she thought he would die young. He not only died young, he first shot his wife of two years and then shot himself. He took the life of a young woman, took away a child's mother, and then took his own life. I could look in from the outside and it was so easy to see that he had so little self esteem. He was a nice person..

It's one thing to take his own life, but to include her was unthinkable...

We need to help these people with counseling, not money.

Take care Moonie.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sharb - I have to agree with you sooo much. My son has low self esteem! For the life of me, I can't figure out why but, something very few people are aware of, his dad is actually his step dad. Perhaps this was the start of it. Son wasn't quite 2 when we got married and he's never really known his bio father. We probably made a mistake by not telling him this until he got school age but we were young and unknowledgeable! He was grown when he saw his father for the first time.

Anyway, he went to court today. It was a probable cause hearing so next court date is for next month. They dropped his bond and later he called and asked if I could get him out. I told him I couldn't. He might be able to get out via a bailbondsman. I don't know. If he does, I'll give him a place to stay. DH says he'll have to have a drug test coming in.

This is extremely difficult situation to be in. Of our 3 children, this son is our most loving and compassionate. He's the kind of person that people, old and young alike, gravitate towards because he is so pleasant to be around. Everyone likes him and he could go along way in life, in a career, if he would just grow up.

We need to help these people with counseling, not money.

I agree, sharb. Counseling needs to go hand in hand with the drug testing -if- he manages to get himself bailed out.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm going to share a personal experience in the hope that it may help.

When my youngest son was a senior, he dropped out of high school. It broke my heart. I insisted that he had to get a job if he wanted to live at home. I took him in for counseling. The counselor said he was probably clinically depressed, but he couldn't help if my son refused help. He occassionally got a job, but then would stay out late partying, sleep in late and eventually get fired for being late/absent.
He was in trouble with the law from about the age of 14 - I bailed him out of jail three times...
Finally, when he was 20, I drove him to a cheap hotel, paid one week's rent and told him he was on his own. Then I went home and cried my eyes out.

But it was a turning point. He figured out that life was a lot simpler if he stayed out of trouble. He got into the building industry as a laborer. A few years he got married. Today he is a wonderful father of three, owns his own business, and is a human being I am proud to know.

It sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing. Be steadfast.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would like to talk more about self-esteem.

I heard a man talking on the radio, who helped homeless people, and he said most of them had low self-esteem.

How can we help people who are like this ? As, parents how do we help our children who are like this ?

Hugs Moonie, I hope you are doing fine. I hope 2007 is the year that you manage to inspire you son, to feel happier about himself.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Popi, I strongly believe that self esteem comes (ONLY) from a true sense of accomplishment. When we see ourselves do something positive - especially if we were not sure we could - our self esteem grows. It is not something we can "give" our children; they have to earn it for themselves. All the "good job!" comments we make won't do it if the child knows he/she really didn't make an honest effort and achieve.

Of course homeless people suffer from low self esteem! Generally speaking, they are living with the fact that (for whatever reason) they have failed to provide basic necessities for themselves. Somehow our minds don't give us points for "well, I tried" or "I wouldn't be in this mess if they hadn't downsized". It is accomplishment or nothing. (Some people whose failure can be blamed on something or someone else may develop a more belligerent attitude than the typical, hopeless, depressed one we associate with low self esteem but it is all the same underneath. And I believe that a lot of those who appear to be egotistical or full of themselves are just covering up low self esteem. Just my opinion.)

As parents I think we should praise real effort but not everything they do. Adding undeserved praise to halfhearted effort only adds guilt to poor self esteem. And sooner or later they get the idea that we are either too stupid or too uninterested to really know what they are up to. Our praise can be used to direct the child to challenges that will really contribute to his/her sense of pride and accomplishment. But if it is constant and not differentiated the child will soon discount it as false and worthless.

We should find ways to allow our children to do things for themselves and to stand on their own feet. We should not be so quick to provide everything or to spare them the consequences of their actions. Going through rough patches and coming out the other side can do wonders for a shaky kid. When we are too fast with "help" we are actually telling the child that we have no confidence in his/her ability to meet the challenge.

Moonie, I think the way you are handling this situation has enormous potential in this regard. You are letting your son do it himself. He can get a lot more from that than from a handout from you. Be sure to acknowledge his efforts - those with really low self esteem sometimes fail to notice that they really have done well (feeling like a failure is self perpetuating).

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 8:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Many thanks Linda for your comments, I agree with you. I appreciate you taking the time to give us your thoughts.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 2:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think this a call for tough love.Not to sound all "programish" on you,but you are enabling him to be this way if you continue to bail him out.

Prime example is my husband's cousin~who is 32 (!) and his dad has helped him over and over...Where is his son going now? JAIL as well.

All of you all thought I was too hard on a 14 year old for not giving her presents when indeed bad behavior was my reasoning for it.
But if you dont displine your kids...society will. Sometimes you cant be the nice guy.

If you stop helping him everytime he gets into trouble,he might say to himself, "Maybe I should stop getting into trouble cuz if I do no one will be there this time"

Hey,I used to get into (some) trouble too.As soon as I realized that I wasnt getting anymore help,I straightened up
REAL FAST. Just my take on the matter.

I think you're a wonderful parent,but ya gotta learn when to say enough is enough.Or you may find yourself with a thrity something child living with you and taking full advantage.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 2:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Back to reflecting...

I think all of us as parents learn better parenting skills with each child that comes along, so it's unfortunate sometimes for the oldest child. All of us can agree that parenting is the hardest job anyone can have and the fact children are often born to children puts society at risk. I was 20 when my first was born and more child than adult. Back then I -thought- I was a good parent and I did do the best job I was capable of, but knowledge is everything! And there was so much I didn't know.

As a mother, I was available, involved, a good disciplinarian, a good role-model. Where I failed was in the nurturing department. To nurture a child isn't just giving and teaching love, kindness and respect... it's also giving them the freedom to fail, or allowing them to accept math will never be their strongest subject. To push push push to be better, will in the end, only hurt their self-esteem. Some kids need pushing to some extent, but GUIDIANCE is a much better approach. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until my second child.

I can remember the little notes that were slipped into the kids bookbags on test days. For my oldest son, they read like "don't get distracted, don't daydream, etc." The other 2 kids got little notes of encouragement like "I know you'll do your best".

If only I had learned better nurturing skills before having a child, my son would not be suffering as he does now.

Having said all that, I in no way take full responsibility for my adult son's problems. He's old enough to know right from wrong, but he sure would have had a better start into adulthood if his parents had better parenting skills from his birth.

Pushing is an assault on self-esteem. Encouragement BOOSTS self-esteem. It's hard to find confidence in yourself if those that love you most don't show confidence in you.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm still reflecting...

In those early years, I also don't think I was very happy. My husband and I had a very rough start those first 6 or 8 years. Getting married was a huge change for me... I came from a household of a high average income and was really kind of spoiled. Then into a marriage where sometimes we couldn't pay the bills. There were many times that I borrowed money from my parents, and they were always there for us in other ways as well. I don't think as an adult child this did any harm to me but we were more driven towards goals than some adult kids might be.

One of the things I always say to my husband is to remember what my parents did for us...

We have always helped our two adult children alot, and in some cases, too much. My younger son has learned to stand on his own two feet for the most part... my oldest son hasn't.

I think DH and I both had alot of anxiety and probably low self esteem as well, in son's earlier years. So, emotionally, I wasn't a very good parent.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I guess you are very lucky then. My mom has never helped me,in fact,no one ever has. I moved out of my place when I was 16 and have been supporting myself ever since.

My mom is more the child,and I'am more the parent in our relationship. I help HER out when she needs it,along with my sister,and I'm about used up.

My husband and I have fought for everything we have,and we met~we had nothing too.

I guess I just feel disapline and structure are so important because I never had any really.When I was 16,my mom would be gone for days and I could pretty much do whatever I wanted,which included getting into trouble.

If you feel like you werent there emotionally as you say for your son.Then maybe the thing to do is,instead of bail him out or keep helping him,say things like,"I'm really sorry this happend to you.You know how much I love you right? But I just dont have it to be able to help you anymore"

That way you are being there emotionally,but not giving him money or enabling him.

Parenting is dont beat yourself up about it so much.

My sister is the same way.She's 27 and gets in trouble and always expects me or my mom to help her. I have finally told her enough is enough. I love her,but I wont continue to do everything for her anymore.She needs to do for herself,she an adult.

Stay strong...I'm sure every parent has something they thought they could do better on.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 7:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

moonie, I think that when something goes wrong with our kids, we look back and try and figure out what we did wrong. But the bottom line is as Oprah says: "We did the best we could, with what we knew at that time". I think if it goes back to anything, it goes back to when he got involved with the drugs. When his "friends" gave him the drugs, and he went along with the peer pressure. For so many with drugs, it is so hard to get their life back on track, and the struggle continues for a good part of their life.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

coolmama - I know lots of people that "mothered" their mother. Most of them were born to a young mom. Is that your case, as well?

It's not that I don't feel as if I were there emotionally for my son, it's just that there are so many aspects to the term "nurture", and I think it was only a partial failure. Sheesh, I'm sure you don't understand what I'm trying to say. :)

bnicebkind - I am not at all sure that he has been doing drugs. This is something that my other son has speculated on. Just want to clear that up because I sure don't want to visit more troubles on him if that isn't the case. If he has been doing drugs, it's a recent thing.

I do appreciate the encouragement you all have given me. Son got out of jail yesterday with a bailbondsman. He's staying at my mom's house until his next court date in February.

zone8_grandma - I seriously considered the cheap hotel, pay a week's rent thing. It keeps popping in my thoughts. Congrats on your son doing so well now.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes,my mom had me when she was 18 and my dad was 17...guess she never had a chance to be young.Now she's in her fourties and partying all the time (going to a bar several times a week) I have done stuff like loaned her my car,and helped her move,and taken her to the hospital.Stuff I think your parents are supposed to be doing for you! But I've accepted my mom for how she is and know she probably wont change and just love her for who she is. Although,it would be nice for me not to have to be so responsible all the time.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 4:09PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Abusive Adult Children
I dont know how much more I can take. I have a 30 yo...
Coping with the Estrangement of Adult Children
Sadly, my adult children and I are estranged from each...
A harness for a child that old ?
Looking for a safety harness to keep an escapist toddler...
Nearly 10wks pregnant & have questions
This is my first pregnancy at 24. I don't have many...
Please help me!
I have been dating my boyfriend for about 2 years....
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™