Thursday, March 03, 2005

Tough Love or Tough Shit?

I need some opinions people. I have a situation and I am having a hard time being impartial about it because it involves my first born.

He is 18 and a 1/2.
He does not have a job. (He has had jobs but nothing steady)
He resides at Casa de Chong.

He has made some bad decisions.
He has gotten in trouble with "da-man"a while back. (The last time he got arrested I refused to bail him out)
He periodically gets into fights with various people. (Neighbors, girlfriends, strangers)

All of this brings much frustration, aggravation, anguish and conflict to Casa de Chong.

Hubbychong has had it. I am at my wits end. We have talked and talked and talked to him.

It is tough love time. I type this with a heavy heart. You know when your parents punished you as a kid and they would say, "This hurts me more than it hurts you"? Well its true. It does hurt. It is hurting.

Hubbychong wants him out of the house. I can not kick him out. He is my son. In my eyes, I should stand by him and help him thru the bad times. (Although I have been doing that and it has not worked).SOMETHING does need to be done, but I don't think kicking the kid out of the house is the answer. I feel that will only make things worse. On the other hand, I can not take the stress or drama anymore. My other 3 children should not have to see or live with this. I could not live with myself if I thru him out on the street. Am I wrong? Should my heart be hard? Should I say, you made your bed, now get the hell out of the house?

I plan to propose some sort of compromise, that Hubbbychong and I can agree upon.

This is where my readers come in. I am looking for opinions and ideas. I would love to hear from a parent(s) who has gone through this sort of situation, what they did, how it turned out, etc. And even those of you with younger children or no children, maybe you had a sibling or cousin or neighbor-kid, how was their situation handled? OR if you have been thru it yourself that would be cool too.

Please, your comments and ideas may just save my hearts life!


Blogger Pissy Britches said... poor Sissychong! I have a young child but am also a step mom of 2 teenagers. I know this has got to be sooo hard on you..but you cannot let him do this to you and the rest of your family. My ex husband had a sister and they went through this same thing with her. The parents had always been there to pick her up over and over and over again and she never learned anything from it. She continued to be an ass getting arrested, and into trouble etc. Then ended up pregnant get the picture. I am telling you that it is not 5 years later and they regret that they ever enabled her because they see the damage it caused. So, I would say tell him to get a steady job and prove himself. He is 18 and is considered an adult now so he needs to get his ass a job and pay rent etc..If he cannot do this and prove to you and Hubbychong that he is a responsible human being then I would say Tough SHIT and tell him to find someone else to mooch off of. I know you are his mom and are suppose to protect him but there comes a time when it is his turn to take care of himself and show that he can get it together & be a nice addition to society. As my daddy says..HE IS A GROWN ass man...Tell him how it is gonna be.

11:37 AM  
Blogger part-timer said...

Hmmmm... this is a really tough one. I only have small kids, but I am a believer in tough love. I think the worst thing we can do to our kids is not let them be responsible for their actions.

But then, kicking him out ... where does he go? Too bad he's too old for military school or some such thing.

I think a good compromise is to set definite time frames for his progress. You know, baby steps.
Like: In 2 weeks he'll have a job. He'll save 75% of that money (for college or rent back to you or whatever). He'll have chores. He'll have a curfew. If he doesn't play by the rules, he's out.

I'd make sure he knows what "out" is really like. Take him to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter to do work. Call the local jail/prison and see if they have a "scare" program. One that will open his eyes to the reality of his behavior. Also, whatever his interests/hobbies are, try to see he meets those too. So he's fulfilled somewhat. There's got to be a reason for his behavior. Maybe he has to go to therapy once a week or something.

I know this is lots of pointed advice coming from someone who doesn't know you or your family or your son, but it's not fair for one person to ruin a nice life for 5 others. Good luck to you and your husband. I think you'll do the right thing whatever it is. I'm thinking of you guys.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Charlotte in Pa said...

My sister was JUST going through this exact thing, only her son is 19. He had a DUI, lots of fights, drunken behavior, etc. Here's what they did... They told him they were on the verge of kicking him out if he didn't straighten up. Then, they wrote up a contract -and let him give some input. (so he wasn't so defensive) They spelled out in no uncertain terms the rules of the house (curfew, him needing to call if he wasn't coming home, etc.), chores he was responsible for and the expenses he was responsible for. They told him that he either needed to be in school full time or else he needed to be working and contributing to the household. The whole thing is in writing, and he signed it - so if he screws up, he has no one to blame but himself. My sister had to help him find a job, BUT he has been working for the last 3 weeks and things seem to be going well. Plus he's so tired he stays out of trouble! Good luck!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Strizzay said...

I would sit down and make a plan with him. Tell him he has X amount of time to get a job and save enough money for his own place and such. And that there will be no extensions. Then if he doesn't do it kick him out. You can't baby him forever, it won't help him.

As far as his lawlessness....there is nothing you can do about that. He is an adult and has to make his own decisions, and deal with what happens. Just assure him you will be there for him always, just not in the same home.

It seems he wants to act grown so let him be grown. I would let him do laundry at home though :0)

11:02 PM  
Blogger muse said...

Excellent comments already, so I won't repeat what the others have said (lay down the 'rules of the house', have him get a job and pay rent, etc.), but I did want to add that my parents should have done something like that with my sister, but instead they chose to 'love' her (let her mooch, basically, though they had good intentions). She is now 29, living with them, an alcoholic and has only worked for about 6 weeks (2-3 nights a week, at that) in the last 3 years (and not any closer to finding a job now).

I think that if she had been faced with a real, enforced deadline, she would have gotten her act together by now. But she knows that she always has a place to live, free cable tv, free food, free extra money, so...

11:05 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I am a ToughLove (as in ToughLove International) parent and I have been attending meetings for over a year). I believe your best bet is to find the nearest TL parent support group and begin the process of taking control of your life. This will take time but your problem was created yesterday, it was years in the formation. The process will be much improved if both you AND your husband go but either you or he would benefit individually.

By the way, your family dynamic (authortarian father/husband; permissive wife/mother)sounds very similar to the one operating in our house and in most of the TL homes which have not yet ended in divorce.
Sincerely Dan;

3:16 AM  

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