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How to handle witnessing your adult child making toxic decisions

 
 
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:15 am
My 21 year old son is choosing to date, maybe even move in with, a 38 year old woman with at least one kid. I am just not coping well with this lol. Am I over reacting?? I do know "partying" lifestyle is involved. He has no vehicle of his own, currently unemployed. Very defensive when I try to communicate with him about it. I am afraid I will cut all ties I have left if i push
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 314 • Replies: 16
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maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:46 am
@Momof2Adults,
Your son is an adult. He makes his own decisions. He faces his own consequences. You have to accept this.

I don't think I would ever "cut off all ties" with my kids.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:50 am
@Momof2Adults,
If my adult child were doing something harmful to other people (i.e. abusing his children) I would step and stop them.

If my adult child is making life choices I think I bad... I will tell them my opinion once and then accept that isn't my choice. I may refuse to support these choices (i.e. I am not going to provide money for my child's trips to strip clubs).

In any case, I will leave the door open to a relationships with my children.
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Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:50 am
@Momof2Adults,
Sorry about that - I have two "adult" children - 22 and 18. I put "adult" in quotes because depending on the individual, although legally considered an adult, 18 -25 years old their mind is still that as an adultescent - average age of having a more adult mind is 21 -22; of course boys tend to mentally mature at an older age. This is coming from an experienced counselor.

Any way - I think your instincts are correct. He is making a bad decision and you will push him away if you come across the wrong way. Although a completely different situation - I have and still am to a certain extent dealing with a young adult making bad decisions. As a parent you want to protect your child no matter their age. As a young adult, your son wants to be independent and feels he is an adult. It is an explosive situation.

We did meet with a family counselor - and basically said about what I wrote above. We made compromises - she was to tell us where she was and check in with us - counselor made it clear that parents need to know their child is safe, but we had to give her room - room to make her own mistakes and decisions but while we had some comfort she was safe.

Of course your situation is different. My child is still at home at the moment and her decisions are not quite as severe as his seem to be. However, it seems the premise is the same.

He is an adult - is at your home now? If so, I think maybe working out some sort of compromise - one that you both can deal with and be respectful of one another. I know you would not want him moving in with her so hopefully by making a compromise you will have some influence over him. First off - is there a reason he is not working? If he is not a student and he does not have a reason to not work, is there a positive way you can get him to go get a job? As far as going out and partying - you have little control over that other than not allowing it in your house. If he is at home, tell him you as a parent need to know he is safe. You love him and want to ensure this. If/when he goes out - that he lets you know when he will be out and when he plans on coming home and if this changes just to update you. That is fair as if he doesn't arrive by next morning and he is just crashing over a friend's house - he doesn't want you calling the police, hospitals and everyone he knows.

I do not think you are overreacting - you care and love your son and you know he is making bad decisions. But and this is hard I know because I am going through some of this - he might just need to make these mistakes to learn from them. Let him know you love him and care for him and will be there for him. Have rules in your home - that are reasonable and shows mutual respect. Let him know that you will respect (although not agree - that is ok to not agree with his decisions) his choices as long as they are legal, but he needs to respect yours as well. If they are reasonable on both sides he may not like yours either but you are more likely to get buy in.

I think the more you show you respect him (maybe not agree) the more influence you may have on things like encouraging a job - i.e. if you get a job you would be able to buy a car of your own...point out the positives.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:52 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:



I don't think I would ever "cut off all ties" with my kids.




I don't think she meant that she would cut off ties - it sounds like she is concerned he will cut off ties with her - I think she just wrote it a bit incorrectly to make it sound the opposite.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:55 am
@Linkat,
Yep, I think you are right (sorry for the misunderstanding).

In that case I wouldn't "push". I would make my opinion known once. I would set any limits that I need to set (i.e. I am not going to give you money if you are doing drugs). I would offer support for when they decide to make good decisions. Then I would leave it.
Momof2Adults
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 10:53 am
@maxdancona,
Oh yes, please don't misunderstand...i definitely don't want to cut off ties. I am afraid he will. He gets very defensive and is quick to make irrational decisions
0 Replies
 
Momof2Adults
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 11:04 am
@Linkat,
Thank you so much for you response! Sometimes I feel like i am drowning and no one wants to toss me a life preserver 🤷 I definitely don't want to cut off ties. Quite the opposite. It hurts me to say that he is an immature 21 year old with no ambition. Partially my fault raising him...i babied him, helped him avoid any sort of consequence (if that makes sense) I know he is a daily marijuana user and I know that isn't "horrific" but he admits he is dependent on it now. As for working, his job is seasonal, so there is a 3 month furlough every year. Oh, did I mention this 38 year old woman is his supervisor at work!! So, they're just getting stoned while he is playing video games at her apartment. I'm sure he's loving it!! 😁
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 04:08 pm
He is her “ boy toy” right now and will soon tire of him.

You’ll be there to catch the fallout. But hopefully, you will have some standards set for when he comes home i. e. job, contribute to expenses, limit the pot, etc.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:17 pm
@PUNKEY,
Well if she dumps him and he reports to.her at work...he is in a position to make a bit of money ... He should keep any evidence of this relationship because not only is it completely inappropriate for her ..it
Is likely against company policy as well as potentially a basis for sexual harassment.
Momof2Adults
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 09:58 pm
@Linkat,
Good point!
0 Replies
 
Momof2Adults
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 10:00 pm
@PUNKEY,
That's what I am praying!!
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 11:39 pm
@Momof2Adults,
How does he have a supervisor at work if he is currently unemployed?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2021 11:49 pm
@maxdancona,
Oh, yeah. That!
0 Replies
 
Momof2Adults
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jan, 2021 05:56 am
@maxdancona,
They are both currently unemployed...they go back to their positions again when the season starts back up in the spring
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Jan, 2021 08:29 pm
@Momof2Adults,
The hardest thing we mothers have to endure is patience! I have looked at my own kid to make bad decisions and only could cringe and bear with it. I learned not to say much and just hoped the light bulb goes on eventually and you know what? It did!! My kid did almost a 180 and has become that amazing person I've alwaya envisioned. So hang in there, just let him know that you're there for him and sit it out. I know it's hard, but it's the only way - they need to make their own mistakes and they need to learn their own lessons as hard as it may be. Hang in there, I know it's not easy, but he'll come around! Good luck!
Momof2Adults
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2021 02:27 pm
@CalamityJane,
Thank you so much! I appreciate your insight! I pray to have the same result and trying really hard to be patient. I worry more about my kids now that they are grown than I did when they were little lol
0 Replies
 
 

 
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