The Prodigal SS

mattie_gtOctober 21, 2011

DH has heard very little over the past couple of years from his older son (OSS), the one who decided that he wanted to live with BM as an older teenager. Supposedly this was for educational reasons; in reality, it turned out, it was because OSS didn't feel that he should have to do even the minimal chores he had here (mainly of the "clean up after yourself") variety, and BM wanted to get out of paying CS (this, straight from her mouth).

DH and he spoke a few times, until DH began to realize that OSS was never calling just to say hello, wouldn't talk to DH when he called, and only wanted to visit us when something fun was planned. As in, he'd show up after months of silence, allow us to buy him things and then disappear for months again. In addition there were some serious issues with his (mis)treatment of SS when he had to visit his mother, and DH said enough. He's more than welcome to visit, I know that DH would love to talk to him - but no more of the showing up when the fatted calf is slaughtered kind of thing. (Apparently DH strongly disagrees with that Biblical parable...)

BM has been complaining to DH about OSS. He's been out of HS for over a year, and has been doing - nothing. Nada, zip, zilch. Not working, not even applying for jobs, not going to school, just staying up all night playing video games and refusing to do anything else, apparently. BM tells DH he "needs to do something". DH informs BM that she has his full backing on whatever consequences she feels appropriate.

So. DH has received a couple of phone calls and messages in the last couple weeks. OSS wants to (wait for it) move back in with us. There was no mention made at all of better job opportunities, proximity to college, anything whatsoever along those lines. Rather, OSS informed DH that BM is "mean" to him, that she won't let him use her computer anymore (after his own succumbed to multiple viruses!), that she yells at him all the time.

DH says even several months ago he would have probably allowed it, with very strict conditions (you've got two weeks to find some form of job, etc.) but recent events have changed his mind. His answer was an unequivocal no. (Thank God. We just cannot handle additional stress right now.) DH says if there was absolutely any indication that OSS was making an effort his answer might be different - but at this point he has no doubt that OSS would promise the earth, moon and stars would happen after he moved back here, and when he was firmly ensconced it would immediately revert to same old, same old.

I don't know what's going to happen. I hope that somehow OSS gets his act together and starts to grow up. (Military would be a fine option for him, I think.) But honestly, I suspect that he'll continue to take the path of least resistance as long as possible, and find somewhere else to stay and do nothing until he gets booted, move elsewhere to couch surf, and at some point wake up to find himself in his early twenties with no job experience and no education.

What a mess. I keep reminding DH that, even in families with two completely stellar parents, there are sometimes kids whose attitude and behavior is not what one would have hoped for.

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"I keep reminding DH that, even in families with two completely stellar parents, there are sometimes kids whose attitude and behavior is not what one would have hoped for."

Totally agree. What a mess indeed! Sounds like your DH is doing the right thing by not coddling this young adult.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 11:02AM
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Thanks, Amber. DH says that SS may not grow up to be as he hoped - but DH firmly believes that if he allows him to just run away from any responsibility, there is no chance.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 1:01PM
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--" DH says if there was absolutely any indication that OSS was making an effort his answer might be different "--

Tough place for your Dh to be. This has got to be a hard decision for your DH to be facing.Of course he loves his son, but his saying 'no' seems to show he loves his son enough to KNOW this is not the answer. Moved back to BM because he had expectations at Dad's. Now he wants to hide out at Dad's because suddenly BM has some sort of expectations (no trashing computers, get off buns and stop playing games all day ect). Pfft. Nope, it's time not to keep running from one parent to another but to start taking seriously that it's time to realize either live by the rules or work at having the ability to move out on his own...working, schooling, military. Whatever it takes to get himself up and out.

Sad as it sounds, maybe having to couch surf at friends for a bit...who will not tolerate him and the childish behavior and/or be his friend for long under the situations of no job, no money...might be the eye opener he needs. That no one is going to 'take care of' him like a child forever. It's a scary risk because anything could happen (find trouble, start dangerous habits, get physically hurt, ect). But some people just have to find out the hard way that life is not going to be full of video games, and sleeping all day while others pull your weight. Dh already tried and OSS fled rejectioning Dad's efforts. Now it's BM who is so 'mean'. The kid wants his cake and to eat it too.

He absolutely says 'no' to the military? So it's 'no' to a job, 'no' to schooling, 'no, no, no' to everything but playing games all day ...which is exactly what he'll be doing at 25 or 30 if his BM/Dad keep making it 'easy' on him by letting him hid from the adult world. I can't blame your DH for saying 'NO' here, except for it'd be a different bedroom to snooze in, a different plate to have his dinner served up on, nothing will have changed to truly help this kid move into the adult world (not that you/Dad would not try to help but that he would reject it, he's quit willing to be 'taken care of' and continue on with doing/being nothing). OSS appears from what you say to not be at a point yet where he acknowledges HE and his behavior and/or lack of behavior are the problem.

Besides all that, it'd be a poor role model for YSS to have his brother at adult size and age hanging out doing nothing and likely the brother also griping now about 'mean Dad/SM'. Right now YSS has Dad/SM as role models who are educated, work hard and do all the adult things people are 'suppose' to do. At his young impressionable age it would not serve well to now have a grown man in the house that refuses to not only act a part of the household (rules, chores, going off to school/work) but one who will do nothing but snarl and fight with Dad/SM because they are 'mean' and want him to 'grow-up' and don't plan to enable him to remain a child. YSS is secure in your household, it'd be terrible if YSS suddenly saw you/Dad as the 'evil parents' being 'mean' to his older brother and maybe thinking the way you/Dad are currently raising YSS is wrong, all wrong. It could really set YSS back. Your DH has two sons to think about here. Having one there that will fight you/Dad on every bit of becoming a productive adult could perhaps ruin all the right steps you both have tried to install in YSS.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 9:02AM
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"Your DH has two sons to think about here. Having one there that will fight you/Dad on every bit of becoming a productive adult could perhaps ruin all the right steps you both have tried to install in YSS."

Thanks, JustMeToo. Honestly, I think that YSS was one of the bigger determining factors. We've been trying so very hard to teach him cause and effect, actions and consequences, good actions win increased responsibility or rewards, bad behavior removes them, and static behavior gets you nowhere. (By "responsibility" I mean things that he wants, like being allowed to walk to the playground with a friend or having his own personal small pet in a cage.) If OSS were taking no responsibilities how on earth could we explain that to YSS? And I've got no desire nor any time to have to lock down electronic equipment or snacks to prevent an adult from using/eating them!

OSS says "No" to the military but DH and I still hold out some small hope for that. I really think it would be the best thing for him. Honestly I hope a recruiter gets hold of him and he slides into enlisting because it's the path of least resistance at that time. But I just don't know what's going to happen. It puzzles me because I just don't understand the thought processes that would allow a young adult to sit around and do absolutely nothing and think that good things will somehow follow from that.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 8:49AM
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