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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Thoughts---


Wherever you are, be it near or far from family, I am wishing you a restful, pieceful ((and peaceful too!)) day!

There isn’t a lot of activity over here at Quiltville, but that is fine with me. I’m enjoying the end of my “week home” before I head off to the wilds of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

This week I’ve cleaned, I’ve puttered. I’ve read, I’ve sewn. I’ve sat on the porch swing. I’ve walked the neighborhood. I’ve loved on Emmy the Cat, and Sadie the Dog, and watched a movie on Netflix.

A bit of this, and some of that, and in between I’ve done normal things like laundry ((Yes, finally washed that bathroom rug and hung it over the porch railing to dry)) and I’ve gone through some closets and pitched out in an effort of spring cleaning, organized a bit, but not too much.

Yesterday I even treated myself to a sparkly-pink manicure, AND a nap!

But this is where I get real because I need to vent.

Holidays always have me waxing a bit reflective. And there are some things in my life I’ve really been butting heads with. Many of you have emailed with support before when I've broken down in frustration over a “should be grown” child who is just not finding motivation in ANYTHING. And it is still very difficult. It’s difficult when I feel like my hands are tied from “saying anything” because I am told to back off, back down, take it easy, just relax by a DH who has different ideas on parenting than I do. Many have said “TOUGH LOVE” is the answer….throw him out, let him fend for himself, find his own way --- ((I’m talking in reference to the son, not the DH here!)) and yet, my hands are tied.


I have a 21 yr old son who has dropped out of a GED program 3 times, can’t seem to find a job, ((Oh, I’ve heard it so many times how no one is hiring, yet no one is out LOOKING?!)) and seems happy to stay home and play video games and watch TV in his room all day.

And I’m feeling piney through this holiday, with memories of the kids growing up, with so much potential, and feeling like no matter how much you give a child, train a child, teach a child, love a child, anguish over a child --- does it really influence who they turn out to be? To have a child so unhappy, so unmotivated, so unfulfilled --- is more heart breaking to watch than anything I have experienced in my life. I feel hopeless.

89 comments:

karenfae said...

Sometimes you have to be tough - if he doesn't find something soon he won't even try looking. I would encourage him to even get a job at McDonald's if that is all he can find - it will get his foot in the door of employment. We know a young man who when he got out of college he couldn't find a job with his degree - his father told him not to take just any job, but to wait until he found something that went with his degree - well needless to say after awhile he stopped looking. He stayed home for years, then started to date our daughter about 15 years ago, they got married 4 years ago and he is a house husband - they do not want any children - he takes care of the house and all that goes with it - it works for them but I do think he would have more respect for himself if he was working. He is 39 years old now and has never worked and his father never encouraged him to do so - his mother told me years ago that one of the biggest mistakes they made was not encouraging him to take a job even at McDonald's if that was all he could have found.
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Teresa in Music City said...

Oh Bonnie! My heart breaks for you! Motherhood reminds me of a twist on a familiar quote: "It is the best of times; it is the worst of times." Never have I flown so high as when one of my children soars. And never have I flown so dangerously low as when one of them seems to flounder and stop even trying to fly. There is no magic advice to give that I know of, but on this Easter day especially, I would encourage you to never give up the gift of Hope. Jesus' resurrection reminds us that it is usually in the darkest hours that our brightest future is being planted and sown. Keep praying and believing in your child's future and never give up Hope!

Tammy said...

oh Bonnie, this post fills my eyes with tears. As soon as a person becomes a parent she/he agrees to let her/his heart walk around outside her/his body for the rest of her/his life. Nothing hurts more or cuts deeper than our children's pain. I read somewhere once that most of us need love the most when we are the most unlovable. I hope your son finds his joy and passion for life soon.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie,
Hang in there. It's hard to stand by and watch a train wreck without running to push them off the tracks onto safety. They have to move off the tracks themselves, in their own time. My brother is going through the same thing now with his youngest step son, who is in jail. It was drugs that derailed the boy, which led to crime, which led to jail. It happens. You can raise a number of children all the right way yet they all turn out differently. We'll all pray for you and for him.

flynqltr said...

What you are going through is so hard. We have been there. But don't give up. After years of doing nothing our son woke up at 22+ years and started going to school and working part time. For him it was seeing his friends graduate from college while he had nothing to show for the last few years. For us "tough love" meant seeing that he had a bed and food but not much else. Having no money get's real old when you want to be out having fun. Good luck and never give up!
Kathy

Impera_Magna said...

Sending you a (((HUG))) from Pinehurst...

Bonnie K Hunter said...

flynqltr, that is where we are. he gets no extras from us...he has a bed, and food. a place to wash his clothes. Odd jobs if he needs gas for the car...but that's it. I am hoping it gets old. I'm tearing my hair out. Tried to talk to him, and he storms off.

Idaho Quilter said...

Oh Bonnie I feel for you, I hav been through it. What you really need is for DH to back you up on "tough love" Take away the games, TV and $. He will hate you for awhile and maybe even leave. Some just take longer to find there way, mine was almost 30 married with 2 kids before he quit floundering. I know how your heart feels. And yes it is good to vent to your friends!

Sharon said...

I have no children, I just typed and deleted a whole rant about what you "should" do. I'm not walking in your shoes so what do I know. You are smart, hard working and loving and generous. Your son will continue to live his life with his choices, but you are not responsible for his decisions at this stage of his life. You can only set your family boundaries, but both parents need to be on the same page. (((hugs)))

Janet said...

Oh, Bonnie! I am right there with you. I have a 21 year who did finish high school but has dropped out of 3 colleges but it was what he wanted. Now he's working a job cleaning restarant duckwork. He hates it and doesn't get alot of hours but will do nothing to better himself. We were paying his rent because he was in college but we finally said enough is enough and next month he'll be on his own to come up with rent. We'll see how that works out.

Brita said...

Words of wisdom from a judge to my husband about his son who was in trouble, again. "Some make it, some don't. He makes his decisions. Do not blame yourself." Doesn't make you feel any better right now, I know. But you have to accept that he has to decide about himself, you have to decide about whether he continues in your house while he decides. Hugs.

regan said...

Bonnie....you are good mother, and a good wife. And you have more patience than I'll ever know.

I keeping thinking of my MIL, who STILL has her 50 year old son, and 15 yr old grandson, living with her....he never finished his GED, can't hold a job for more than 2 seconds, and has fathered 3 children, from 3 different women (scanks, really), and my MIL is doing everything for them. Still!

We've spent 30 years begging her to give him an ultimatum.....you're either employed, or actively enrolled in school....or you're out! She just won't hold to it, though....so it's never worked. She finds 400 reasons why he couldn't keep the job or the classes going....and it never ends. She's miserable, the house is constant chaos, and at 80, she should be spending her time and money on her own stuff....but it doesn't happen.

Just wondering if you could give a similar ultimatum.....with a deadline of Sept 1, or something.....so he has the summer to figure it out, and then do it. Sometimes a deadline is enough to get someone to move on something. Just a thought.....and know that we are all thinking of you, and wishing you were not having to deal with this. If only life could be so simple, right?

Patricia said...

We all feel your pain and our hearts go out to you. Holidays always intensify these feelings. I learned a lesson from a story about the eagles. When it is time for the their eaglets to leave the nest they start removing the feathers and soft lining and let the sticks poke more and more so that the nest is not so comfortable anymore, until they prefer to be out on their own (something like that). It's not mean mothering to let them do their own laundry, cook their own meals, fend for themselves, until they think "hey I might as well be on my own" and the lightbulb goes on. Peace and happiness are my prayers for you and your family this Easter season, Patty in NV

Lori said...

It's none of my business to tell you what you ought to do Having said that... I think you and the DH ought to go to a neutral place and talk about what HE expects from this child. No accusations, nothing like that, just probe his mind (scarey, I know LOL) and maybe decide on a plan and a timetable you can both get on board with. THEN you present it to the young man as a done deal, not something he can negotiate. And it's hard!!! So, if you can't get there right away, that's ok too. But it's important that you and the DH keep the communication open about this. Lori in VA

Jannis said...

Being a Mother or parent is so hard. I feel your pain. The only thing that I learned from a very similair situation as yours is that for some reason our kids are growing up and maturing a lot slower than we did at their age. At 21 I was married an expecting my first child. Now at 21 kids are still finding themselves and most ot them icluding mine still don't have a clue as to what they want to do in the future. My only advice (and this finally worked in our family) my husband and I together set our sons goals and wrote down what we expected(I gave in a little and DH gave in a little) and we gave them to our son. It was a timeline and we stuck to it. He found a job, kept the job and is now living out on his own. It took 3 years but it was worth it!! Good luck to you and your family!

lori said...

So many excellent comments... I agree with it all. I have 7 kids. Youngest is heading to college in the fall...they each have chosen different paths. With more or less success-the only thing I can say is that *I* don't have much say in what those choices are! I just rejoice, cry, rage, grin etc have my heart broken or uplifted...because I do love them all so very much... and they keep muddling through with their own lives.
I think you can just keep being you, doing the things that fulfill YOUR life and hope that with time your son can find his joy. Protect yourself, however, so that you don't allow the joy and fun you find day to day to be wiped out by worry... change what you can, accept what you can't change and all that. I Soooooo understand exactly what you have expressed - ah parenthood. What an impossible life! I admire and enjoy my contact with you and your thoughts - I send you hugs!

farmhousequilter8 said...

Bonnie, I know how you feel. We have been dealing with a son on drugs for 10 years now, in and out of jail. You think the next time will be the last time for jail but it never has been. Be glad it is not drugs, they have effected so many families.I will never give up on him and I know there is a higher plan for his life so each day I wait. You are in my thoughts today. Remember you can not help a child (man) anymore than he wants to help himself.

Betty said...

The only advice I can give is to let him know that no matter what happens you love him, but you do not love or support his bad decisions. It might be easier if DH were on the same page as you. Sometimes hubbies need "tough love" too! Hoping you have a 'pieceful' day also and that "this too, shall pass"!

GerryART said...

Hugs,
Gerry

♥ ♥ ♥

YankeeQuilter said...

As hard as it is to believe there is hope...

Anonymous said...

Laurie says: Just LOVE him and do what you feel you can do without making it worse. When my stepson was being that way, I tried to be grateful that he wasn't involved in drink or drugs or crime or or or.... He eventually got tired of trying to live on a beer budget and went to college.

Jo said...

All kids come in unique packages. We have five and my husband always comments on how they can be so different yet come from the same gene pool. Like you suggested, we are a tough love family. My husband and I both were raised VERY old fashion and from farm families. We learned early on to work. We have tried really hard to encourage all of our children to at least contribute enough to "pay for their keep" (a statement both of us heard from our fathers). If your son isn't motivated to "go out and get a job", can you require that he work at home? Could be doing the post office errands for you? Could he be filling book orders? Could he be doing some meal prep, dishes, and lawn mowing? Can you tell him that living at home requires that he work for the two of you so that he "earns his keep"?
I totally feel for you. Issues over children can be so tough on a marriage. Most of our arguments have arisen because of the kids.
Unfortunately there are no easy answers. I am thankful that you have sewing to occupy your hands and mind. It's wonderful therapy. Keeping you family in my thoughts.

Karin said...

oh Bonnie, that is such a tough thing to be going through. My mom has 4 kids, and one still lives at home at age 34. He does work in the summer (mowing lawns), but that's it - when the season's over, he doesn't do anything. He's gotten 3 DUI's, so he has no car and no license. He drinks so much that he shakes when he hasn't been drinking. It's painful for all of us. I think there is hope for your son though - if it were me, I'd just not give him anything else other than the necessities to live. It will get old for him to not have a car and/or money and/or cell phone. Don't buy games, don't pay for subscriptions to online games, etc. On birthdays, buy him clothes and things he needs to LIVE. ::HUGS::

Anonymous said...

Oh Bonnie it's so painful to read your post even though I've been there.

Ended up changing the locks on the house (he was closer to 30 by then and I'd lost all patience with him). It was the hardest thing I've even been through leaving him stranded as by then he'd burned his bridges with friends and other relatives. Sometime later when he was employed and had a place of his own he called me and said it was the best thing that ever happened to him and thanked me for doing that. Over 10 years later now he's still working the same place and now he's purchasing a home. He's still single and says he loves it that way.

It's so hard and yet so rewarding being a parent. One thing to remember is that it's probably not your fault. We can't get into someone elses head and know what's going on with their way of thinking.

sandiqltr said...

Oh Bonnie, so many wonderful words of advice have been given already. I, too, have a child with absolutely no ambition, and it pains us (DH and I) to watch him throw away the gift from God --his mind-- the way he is. You are doing all the right things by loving your son and encouraging him to choose change. The other way you are doing the right thing is by continuing to pursue your dream and share the wonderful talent and goodness you have been given. I so appreciate you for all you do for us - your followers. You have a most generous heart!! Thank you, Sandi in Chattanooga

Cathy said...

I have a very dear friend who is going through almost the exact same thing with their middle son. They did the tough love thing, and said to him, that if he did not earn his way in the home, then it was time for him to find somewhere else to live. He did, and they didn't know where he was, and if he was alive or dead, let alone what he was doing, for 2 years. It near to broke her heart. Then, he came home, a changed person, for a while. Now, he's back to the same tricks, but she can't bear to go through the same heart break again.

Angie said...

"And it is still very difficult. It’s difficult when I feel like my hands are tied from “saying anything” because I am told to back off, back down, take it easy, just relax by a DH who has different ideas on parenting than I do. " ---Bonnie
Bonnie, you and your husband need to have a time to sit and talk seriously about your son' future. Staying in your room most of the day playing video games and watching TV, lack of interest in life in general. Nothing educational happening. No job, coupled with his attitude towards you is not healthy. I would be worried, and frustrated as you well should be. I'm sorry this is happening to such a caring person like you, but avoiding these issues and waiting them out will not be helpful for your son. It sounds like your husband is avoiding these issues too.
Have you ever thought of involving your son in some aspects of your quilting business? Traveling with you on occasion, Helping with packing and shipping. Doing photography work. Prepping the car for your upcoming trips. Help with luggage in airports. Wouldn't it have been great if he had been with you on your recent long road trip. Would he consider doing this with you, and you with him. You could reconnect with him in totally different atmosphere. Something to think about----

daveandlo said...

Bonnie,
I have a nephew doing much the same thing as your son, but he graduated from Carnigie Mellon with a degree in computer science. If I were you (or my brother and sister-in-lwa) there would at least be jobs to do at home. I bet you can think of plenty of things he could help out with/take charge of that would give him some sense of accomplishment and actually accomplish something. Good luck! Lois

Patti said...

Parenting is sure a double-edged sword, isn't it? Lots of great advice from others...
Jeff's withdrawing to his room is concerning. Sometimes depression can manifest itself this way, particularly if he's feeling defeated with life. Kids have this way of tuning out their parents but are often willing to listen to an outsider. Would he be willing to talk with a counsellor or someone trained in the area of mental health? Depression is very common and being given the tools to understand it might be the all the encouragement he needs. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel and understand the complicated emotions and twisted series of what if's going through your mind. When it comes down to it, he's there where you can see him and you can love him. He could be anywhere and he's there. He may be a new soul that just doesn't know what to do, or he may be a soul so shocked by life on this planet that he doesn't want to venture out...who knows. What we do know is that each life is one alloted time frame and I know there are others. Love your life now. Ho'oponopono "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. and Thank you."

Tanya said...

My parents were a little nieeve. I'd keep an eye on him. My brother had cash money handed to him and was able to purchase things other than gas. Beer, pot etc.. Not saying that your son is but making things difficult might just push him in the right direction. So mabye putting the gas in the car and saying it has to last 2 weeks instead of handing him the money might put a little more strain on his lifestyle. Both of mine couldn't drive unless they had a job. From the age of 16 they both found employment. Basically we drove them around to several places untill they got an interview. This is tough love and time consuming. I feel for you Bonnie. But most of all tell him you love him. Some days his world may seem crashing down and he needs someone to fall into. My granny always said "I might not like your actions but I will always love you." I like what Angie said," take him with you" I think it might help you reconnect.
Tanya

Kristy said...

Bonnie, we have so much in common I think we could be long lost friends. We are close to the same age and so are our children. My girls are 23 & 24. my oldest has her degree and has started a good job in her field. She pays her own bills, bought her own car and supports herself and 2 kitties. My second has had problems since she was in high school. She was always a great student and she graduated high school, but she likes to test every boundry. She can get a job, but she doesn't keep it for long. I keep hoping she will find her passion. She does not live in the same state that I do. She didn't like the rules here. I try not to support her, but it is hard when she is always needing money. the latest think I am trying, is that she has to start seeing a counselor. I have made it a condition of me helping her.

Jory said...

My brother graduated high school, went to work at a glass factory until it shut down, then remained jobless for ?20 years. He has HUGE regrets now.

Your husband is doing your son no favors. The best thing parents can do is teach their children that choices have consequences -- some of which are very far-ranging.

Another thought: is your son depressed? Would a therapist be of help?

My thoughts go with all 3 of you. . .

Jory

Patricia said...

Bonnie, I know this may seem silly to some but, have you ever thought about teaching your son to machine quilt. He could learn this and quilt for the public. Money would be earned. Just a thought.......

Kate said...

Oh Bonnie - my heart goes out to you. We have so much bombarding us about what we should and shouldn't do and what a child should and shouldn't be...it's so hard. So many well meaning suggestions and ideas already mentioned - maybe one or more of them are right for you - I don't know. What I do know is that you and your husband are great role models, and you have to trust - trust that it will work out for you. A million hugs.

JCnNC said...

What a heavy conversation we have going and what a lot of great ideas coming out. I wonder when your son lost all of his self respect and respect for others. I feel that so far he is the only one getting any gratification from your home situation and you and DH are giving him permission to continue being dysfunctional by not setting limits. If my son or daughter had ever been disrespectful to me and walked away, it would have been very much to their diadvantage. He seems to continue to seek your love and support by staying at home and making everyone miserable, but he is also asking for someone to make a decision because he can't. Whether good or bad behavior - each require parental attenion. I do feel that he should definitely be evaluated for depression. His lack of joy and his hopelessness is not healthy. First step - it could be a requirement for him to stay in the home. It becomes pretty scarey when teenagers/young adults act out this way. IMHO only - wishing strength to see this through. Judy C

Anonymous said...

I do not have any children, so I'm not going to offer any advice. I've seen several friends going through the same thing and it's heart breaking. I guess I am going to say one thing, just don't let this situation come between you and your husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
cindy

Anne Simonot said...

Wow - no advice from me - as I have such a similar situation going on in my own house. How insightful of you to express that not only is it frustrating, extremely so, but also very sad to wonder where all that potential and joy and energy went? I'm finding that it's also leading to increasing conflict between me and my significant other - making me feel even more anger and anxiety. Hopefully someday these boys (why is it always boys in this scenario?) will find their way. If you ever need to vent to someone who can understand, please feel free to email me. :-)

gail.designs said...

Hi Bonnie, I feel for you because I've been there wondering where hope was. But just know that this too, shall pass (evenutally!)

I will pray for you and your DH to come to a meeting of the minds. It is easier for two to tackle a difficult situation than one alone.
g.

Anonymous said...

To some of our friends we were horrible parents. From age 18 - our kids had to work to pay us rent unless they were in school. Curfew. My house - my rules. Don't like my rules - leave. But make sure you want to leave - 'cuz once you do - you can't come back - under ANY circumstance. Tough love. They are both out and on their own - as it should be. Last I heard one friends' daughter and grandson were back living with mom and dad. I like our way better.

rubyslipperz said...

Lots of good information and advice in all of the previous comments. Each child/young adult is different. It does seem that there might be some depression and or something making him feel tired...and not wanting to get out and "do" stuff. Food allergies, too much sugar, or vitamin deficencies...have played a big role in my behaviors...depression, lack of energy and unclear thought processing. I'm 58 years old and I can still see the effects of food on my behavior. I have to be very careful with sugars, refined carbs and artificial flavorings/colorings.

I will be thinking of you and hoping that your family finds strength for the hard times and also some solutions to make things better. =0)

hugZ,
annie
rubyslipperz106.blogspot.com

Chris H said...

Happy Easter chick.
We too have a son going through all that too.
It is heartbreaking... I know.

Annie said...

I don't know what will work for you but I had to get tough. My son was not "college" material (ADHD) and was having a hard time keeping a job. And I ended up having to pay his bills. I finally hit the end of my rope and he either had to go to truck driving school .... the military or get out. I gave him 2 weeks to decide .... he took truck driving school. It was an 8 wk program .... he got his license and was able to stay at home (and take over paying his own bills). That was 8 years ago and he now wouldn't think of being without a job or living at home!!! He has flown the nest .... finally!!!!

Beth in TN said...

Bonnie, I had some of the same thoughts as Jo above who asked about him doing "chores" for you. Would making him feel useful be a boost to his self-esteem? If he's rudderless at this point in his life, maybe a talk just asking him to brainstorm his hopes and dreams might let him explore some possibilities, especially if he knew that you and your hubby would support him in chasing his dreams if only you knew what they were! There are many (free!) career counseling/vocational aptitude places for him to explore (online, through agencies, through the military, etc.) that might help him sort out his thinking. If you can't have a conversation without having it escalate, have you tried writing him a letter? I have OFTEN broached some of the "big issues" with my son through letters because it allows me to revise my wording carefully without any emotional overtones. Good luck! And FWIW, my own father, who was a wonderful father, and who always held a job, lived with his mother until he married my mom at age 27 :)

Anonymous said...

I would suggest the book "Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children" by Allison Bottke, web site http://www.allisonbottke.com/. I don't think her situation was the same as yours, but it does help. It helped me with my daughter. You have to know that you're wanting to help your son and do the best for him. This may be painful to see what he will go through, but it's best to not wait for years before taking action. My very best to you and your family.

Leeanne said...

You made me sad, as I thought of my nearly 21year old who won't speak to me, it has been 3 years.She is fading like she is not my daughter, but she is, who is this person who I played with, read stories, cuddled and cried with, laughed with and still love...I hope one day the sun will shine on our relationship.Best of luck Bonnie.

Leeanne said...

P.S I have have SARK's book, bought it years ago, pre children....it is fun.

soren2go said...

It took me a long time to learn to not be an enabler with my youngest son. The best advice I received was to reply to his requests with "I'm so sorry to hear that. What are you going to do about it". He wasn't living at home but he didn't always make decisions that his dad and I felt were best. We bailed him out on many occasions. My son passed away two years ago from metastisized cancer. He was 32. He had been originally diagnosed at age 18. Was that a factor in his behaviors? Absolutely. Do I regret taking a "tough love" stance during his last two years? Absolutely not. It gave us both a chance to grow up and respect each other for who we are. Do I miss him? Everyday.

Leeann said...

I think you and DH really need to be on the same page. I know the times we have had trouble with our boys it was because we weren't on the same page. You have to work as a team and back each other up. Sounds like there is a lot of depression too. Can DH take Jeff cycling? Exercise is good for depression. I like the idea of taking him on a quilting trip to help you. Maybe seeing his Mom as a 'Real' person and not just his Mom will help. I remember when I was a teenager and left home I realised that my parents were people and not just my parents! It made a big difference to our relationship, in a good way.
Good luck, sometimes parenting is just plodding along.

DonnaJ said...

Oh Bonnie, I do know where you are coming from. That's why I quilt. It helps me keep my sanity. My daughter married someone that won't do ANYTHING. It's an endless battle. So when you are doing a retreat, always know that there are women there, smiling, sewing and your great tallent helps them get away from all those things that they have to deal with on a daily basis. So you're helping all of us in a great way. An Ole wise man told me once, That you can't fix everything...

ceiohson@yahoo.com said...

Been there done that. All you can do be there when needed. Some day he will find his way. Don't give up.

Pam said...

Bonnie,
If one has a broken heart,there is always prayer. I, and many others, will keep you in our prayers. Psalm 139 is a comfort to my soul and perhaps it will be to yours. God listens to the broken hearted and those who are without hope.
(I never post but read your blog daily so am not sure if i am doing this right or not but my prayers are with you)

Marge said...

Bonnis, my heart goes out to you. A close friend is going through the exact situation, and all I can do for her is listen. Whatever you decide, just keep letting him know that you love him unconditionally. You can't say that enough.

Laura said...

Just wondering if he could be depressed? A child of mine (19 now) has been struggling with mental health issues for a while. Things have improved some since he's been seeing a therapist. It took almost a year and a half to find the right one, but it seems to have helped a little. If you were here, I'd give you a hug and a glass of wine! Every mom I know has struggled at some point, wondering what to do to help her child. You need to know you are not alone.

Vivian said...

I haven't read all of your comments but we have a daughter that started working at 16 and hasn't stopped. She even upped her hours to 40 hours during the summer (at a fast food rest.). Our son, on the other hand, who is 2 years older, worked the summer he graduated from high school. Then his college counselor suggested he not work the during his freshman year at college and he had summer school every day that first summer. The only way he could get through his program in 4 years. So he didn't work for the next 3 years. We gave him gas money to go to school, money for food at school, and food and shelter at home. We did not give him extra. And he was fine with that. (He was in college.)

The clincher came when he got a girlfriend. He realized he needed a job in order to date. Was hired at Walmart within 2 months and has worked ever since.

I think you're headed in the right direction. Maybe that right girl needs to come along. Seriously.

Katie said...

Sounds like he hasn't found anything to keep his interest. Is he ADD or ADHD? He probably has quite a bit of his mother's artistic creativity and hasn't found an outlet to express it. If he enjoys video games, he's probably alot like me, in that I have an amazing amount of focus and can tolerate extreme situations when it is something I am enjoying. (long hours on my feet, extreme hot or cold, hours without food)
When it comes to "a job" or school. . if there is any amount of downtime or there's another set of rules to follow. . I sorta freak out, and start having paranoid delusions that the world is plotting against me. (lol hey, at least I'm aware of it!) He is most likely a selective genius and hasn't found whatever it is that's his calling. I encourage you/him to seek out a hobby that could bring him financial gain. Once he finds it, he'll know. . and most likely he'll be unstoppable.
In the meantime, you're doing the best that you can, and at least he has the comfort of knowing he has a safe place to come home to and a family that loves him whole-heartedly.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bonnie, So many great comments, so many ideas.
Really like the one about meeting in a neutral place and discussing your parenting ways with your DH and also trying to have a meeting, all 3 of you, and brainstorming what Jeff really wants.
Counselling really could help.
Loved the ideas of involving your son in your day to day living and in your business.

It is such a shame that when those little bundles of joy come into this world they are not ready wrapped in an instruction sheet!

We emailed each other a while ago, when we were both travelling similar paths with boys, mine found his way when he met an married a lovely young Japanese girl, and is now the proud papa of two little girls and has his life on track.
Hope that your son finds his way soon.

As so many have said, 'this too will pass'
Quilty hugs and prayers.

Marie from Rockingham in Western Australia

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

It could be that he is depressed, in which case he should see a DR because depression is a disease that can be treated. But you won't know until he does go to a DR so make an appt. for him if you have to. The best wishes to you Bonnie, I am the youngest of a big family and we are all so very different from each other despite having the same parents/upbringing. Don't forget to take some extra special time just for you and your DH. Cheers! Evelyn

Barbara C said...

I do think your DH and you need to be on the same wave length first. You both may need to compromise, but you need a united front. He may be depressed or have a chemical inbalance of some sort, so if you could get him to go to a Dr for a checkup, you would at least now it is or isn't something medical. How do he and your dad get along?

Paul said...

Bonnie. Your Family will be in my prayers.

God Bless,
Paul

woolywoman said...

I second the idea that he is perhaps depressed. Also, why should you give him odd jobs to pay for gas, or a car to drive? Are they jobs you would normally pay someone o do, or are yo just patronizing his lemonade stand?

Makes me understand your travel schedule. Why would you want to be home with a boy who won't grow up, and a husband who doesn't seem to mind.

Anyhoo, I'm just a random internet stranger who admires your quilting and your blog and is grateful for all I've learned reading you. You sure don't deserve trouble at home.

kynomi said...

Bonnie, just a few comments from someone who taught GED classes for 15 years. One reason Jeff keeps dropping out of GED classes might just be the class he is going to. Sometimes (and we learned the hard way) the classes are just too much like "school" and as we know, school is just not for everyone. If there is an option, maybe he could find another class that would suit his learning style more. Unfortunately, once he does get a GED, finding a job will be up to him. I agree with the lady who said he should be working a job--any job he can find. Learning to show up to work on time and to be responsible to his employer is a valuable lesson no matter what the job might be.

Tamie said...

So many comments but no matter how much situations seem alike, each one is unique. Having said that, we have our own situation with our 22 year old who is now back at home. I sure didn't expect her to be here but as my husband says- at least she isn't living under a bridge. I will echo that you and your DH being on the same page is the most important thing- for the long term. You are in my prayers.

Chris said...

Bonnie, I feel for you. The first things I thought after reading your post was that Jeff may be depressed and also have some sort of learning disability. I'm a psychologist and these things are often hard to see. The GED may just be too hard for him because of some undiagnosed learning problem. I've seen smart kids do really well in school until they hit the wall where their innate intelligence just can't keep up with the demands of school. Then their self-esteem takes a nose dive and they lose all their momentum.
I hope you and your DH can agree on getting Jeff some help. Find a therapist who has a special interest in working with young adults and who can also assess for learning disabilities. All therapists should be able to diagnose depression but not all can assess learning problems, that might require a PhD psychologist.
I have more ideas but this is already too long. Good luck. I know you and your DH will be able to work together on this if you can figure out how to talk about it in a way that makes both of you feel heard and validated.

Grammasheri said...

Hi Bonnie,
Your note brought back so many memories of hard times we had with one son in particular. His 7th grade science teacher said to me once "Never give up on your son. He will find his footing in life eventually. It took me until the age of 30 to find my way." Well, Bonnie, he DID find his way and is now married to a wonderful woman and the father of four amazing little daughters. I don't offer any advice, since each child comes with his/her own set of needs, hopes and fears, and there is no one-size-fits-all parenting technique. But I can pass along the words of the 7th grade science teacher: "Never, ever give up on your son". Hang on to the hope, always.
Hugs,
Sheryl

Karen said...

Bonnie, I totally understand as we were there with our son. He did not finish high school and we seemed to fight all the time. We went to family counseling and did the tough love. He is now grown (matured) and has 2 years of college under his belt, married and a home owner. The tough love was more than "tough"... but it worked for us. The other option in these days is The Job Corps...a federal funded privately run vocational school & GED program for 16 to 24 year olds who need to find their way. There is no cost, in fact they pay the student to go to school (like an allowance), train them and help them find a job. There is over 100 schools in the U.S. My husband works at one here in California and sees kids from all walks of life. He has seen some wonderful success stories. Wish you all the best, and things will get better!!

Carole said...

Oh Bonnie, I can't relate since my daughters are 9 and 7, but I sure sympathise and hope everything will turn out right eventually. Sending lots of positive vibes and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie, I feel for you. I have the same situation, so know that you are not alone. I get so frustrated sometimes, but really there is nothing I can do. Just know that you are appreciated for what you do and have much support.

Judy

JoaninMS said...

Bonnie, been where you are and it has turned out ok. Hubby said a switch would flip when he turned 21, took a couple of extra years. He has been on his own and works the video game industry for the last 5 years. Now says he wants a family at 30 but will need to find a mother/wife and not sure how to do that. They do all turn out differently but still need the love and support. Best of luck to you and him. Joan in MS

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Dear Bonnie, This is so tough. I know. My son has a different set of problems, but he has problems and also suffers from depression. When they are grown up you can't solve everything for them anymore, but you want to so much. I do think seeing a good therapist would probably help him.

madakamom said...

oh Bonnie I'm right there with you I have a 23yo son with disabilities who will always be with us and is working very hard at a job cleaning windows 2x week. But I have 2 daughters that are breaking my heart. As each one turned 18 they also turned "wild" doing totally the opposite of everything we taught them and brought them up to believe. Both have dropped out of college abandoning FULL RIDE scholarships for menial jobs at min wage living in shared apts with boyfriends who have even less ambition. I know the economy is bad, but life and the future is not as hopeless as they seem to think! The hardest part is having to just sit here and watch the trainwreck happen. They are "adults" with their own lives on their own now and can do whatever they want!

Kim said...

I have one too....she moved out and lives with other girls but has no direction or motivation.
She graduated from college near the top of her class, she works sometimes but only in minimum wage jobs with no benefits...she has had no medical insurance for 10 years.

Here are the things I am grateful for....she is healthy, she is not on drugs, she is not in jail, she does not have children, she has a huge circle of friends and they take care of one another, she loves us and visits often and I give her unconditional love. I can not live her life for her.

She has been given every opportunity to succeed in life and now it is up to her...she is 30 years old.

I pray for her everyday but let her live her own life. We are not responsible for our adult children, just love them and let them figure it out.

Happy Spring, Happy Sewing
I feel your pain Bonnie.
Big Hugs

debbie said...

I used to tell my son, I wish that you would tell me why you are making these choices, what is bothering you. I may not like your answer, but I'll be able to understand it and you much better than your present silence. Also that I could not deal with what ever was bothering him, that was his to figure out, but he could not be disrespectful to me or others.
Our situation was similar, but I spent the last 3 weeks of HS making sure he did what he had to to finish. He was not allowed to quit and still live in my home, and was not allowed to leave until he graduated. He tried very hard to not graduate. Then it took another 9 months to get a job. He didn't have a game console or tv in his room, but was more than willing to live in books all day. He would go out with friends, but didn't have a car, license, or money. I didn't give him money for chores, but occasionally paid him for other work such as digging ditches etc. required for building a garage. He was never allowed to be rude to me. I yelled back and refused to take it.
He is a good person and is trying to make his way. He left 15 months after he graduated, 6 months after he got a job. That situation didn't work out, but he refused to move home because we live a little off the beaten path. He has friends that have helped him along the way, but they have also been his enablers. He is working a fastfood job in a small college town, trying to save. He has issues with depression, as do I. He has visual perceptual issues which make some things difficult and he is elligible for special help in his college classes but will not ask. He will not ask us for help financially. He struggles constantly. When he gets a good job something always happens, sometimes out of his control, that causes him to loose it.
My sons biggest problem is his most endearing quality, He has a heart of pure silver, he is very sympathetic to others problems, and has to live in a world where self is most important to most people, a rude and cruel place. He is too tender for the type of country we have become.
I'll pray for your family, but have no advice except expect respect. Maybe by learning to treat others with respect he will learn to respect himself again too. There is nothing he may have done that is not forgiveable, just ask God :o)

Eat, Sleep, Quilt said...

Hi Bonnie, my heart goes out to you as a mom who loves her son! Many years ago my brother in North Carolina felt he had to use tough love to get his son's attention and get him motivated. I realize today's world and economy are different from 20 years ago but my nephew wasn't motivated at all, didn't want to go to school after high school, wasn't looking for a job. My brother said he'd come home and find him lying on his bed with those "big mac" earphones on, listening to music so loud he'd have to tap him on the head to get his attention. He finally told him "you have 2 weeks to find yourself someplace else to stay... you can have a job by that time if you want to." When he told us that, I thought "oh Lord, how cold-hearted can you get!"

Long story short, my nephew somehow found a job as a driver with the Pepsi Cola company and found a trailer to stay in. Fast forward about 9 months, he became a dispatcher... fast forward 4 more years or so, he became a manager, then a regional manager at Pepsi. Today he still works for Pepci Cola; he's married with a nice home on a 5-acre farm, with several horses, an SUV and two trucks.

Just goes to show you... don't give up!

Linda

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

My 21yr old son is in college, but, other than that, he resembles your son a lot. I threatened him earlier this semester that he WILL find a job this summer. PERIOD! Somehow, it seems to have worked (so far). He tried to find a job at school so he could stay there and take classes, but, no job. I pick him up this week, and, he is trying to find something here for the summer. I told him he wouldn't get access to his Xbox if he didn't get a job. We haven't let him take it to school, either. Hopefully BOTH our son's will get a job, soon. It will really make a difference in their self esteem, if they work. Good luck.

Brenda said...

Bonnie - I have a 16 yr old daughter, who basically has no friends, is very anti-social and, well, this post has me woundering if this is what I am heading for......
Huge hugs. And yeah, it's not easy when the other parent does not seem to see it the same way - I have that too.
Thanks for sharing. Appricate this.

Jean said...

I can see that it's a victious cycle... he doesn't have his GED so he can't get a job... he feels like he's not good enough to get a job cause he doesn't have a GED... my only thought is, is he depressed? I will also keep him, and your family in my prayers... take care.
Hugs...

Saska said...

Seems like you've gotten alot of comments, but here's my two-cents worth:
Have you ever sat down with him and established a list of goals? Where would he like to be in 5 or 7 or 10 years? I know you've tried to help him with an electricial license, but maybe there's something he's interested in that he hasn't figured out yet.
Is there a counseling service at the local college/vo-tech/jr. college that could help? Maybe a test to see what his interests are?

I told mine once that I was going to turn the electricity off to the house while I was gone during the day. Told him that since I wasn't there, nobody else could use it either. Made him think!

Anonymous said...

Bonnie, Have you considered that your son may be clinically depressed? Just the way you describe him made me think that this may be a possibility. Perhaps this is an avenue to explore with him.

Lizziebeth said...

Bonnie it's with a heavy heart I tell you this. My baby brother that was just 31 committed suicide in January. He and I was 20 years apart, he was like my own child. We all thought he was bi-polar, manic depressive, something. He wouldn't go to a doctor for help. He has always struggled and I guess it just got too much for him. I don't know what all is going on with your son but if you even think he needs to see a doctor run don't walk to get him help. I wish I would have done things so differently for my brother.

Charmaine said...

Many good suggestions here...our friend was in the same situation and family counseling helped sort things out in a neutral, non-threatening way. Their son ended up going to counseling on his own after that and is making progress. There is hope and help available for your family too. Just reach out to a professional counselor. I'll pray for you all......

bdalward said...

Bonnie, this is just my observation as to why your hubby might feel the way he does. You are gone a lot. If the kid wasn't there, Dave would be alone and maybe he doesn't like how that sounds. He and his son are probably good buddies and he enjoys having him around. I'm totally NOT suggesting you not travel and do your job, but I know my husband would love to have our son back in the nest. My kid is in college, married and living 25 miles away. We talk to him almost every day, and so far, all is well on our front, but if I wasn't home, I think my husband would flounder and be miserable. Take those blasted video games away. They are stealing his brain. Been there, done that. My son is acing college and had bad grades in high school. All he wanted to do was play those games. The male brain isn't finished until they are at least 25. There's time and there's hope. Blessings to you.

Michelle L. Momof11 said...

Offer him all the amenities of a homeless shelter. No TV or video games in his room. No hours on the electronic entertainment when he is not contributing to the electric bill. He is no longer a child, but an adult and he needs to learn that he has to take responsibility to provide for himself. He definitely should be contributing to the household in some way. If he is not working he should be looking for work and helping out with household chores. If he gets a minimum wage job and can't make it out on his own he should continue contributing to the household. Discuss together with him and DH whether he contributes monetarily or just with household responsibilities, dependent upon if he is saving his money for a launching nestegg.

Pam said...

Hi Bonnie,
I just want to encourage you to stand strong in your marriage. Don't let this child become a wall between you and your husband. Your husband and marriage are most important and a strong marriage will do the best at guiding (or pushing) this child.

Praying for your family,
Pam

Life Takes a Turn said...

All I can say are the eternal words of wisdom "this too shall pass". It will. Even though I know from experience that it doesn't feel like it, and will take much longer than you want.

karylsquilts said...

Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce, CoastGuard.. All are motivating, plus have room and board, medical, plus college benifts. Drop some flyers around the house. !!

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

I know that you've had a zillion other comments and piles of advice, so I'm not even sure I should add on, but your post really touched me so here it is anyway. I don't have a grown son yet, mine is young yet. But I have close friends in the same boat as you are with grown or nearly-grown children who just aren't engaged with life. They've all taken different tacks (some 'tough' some relaxed), and it remains to be seen how it will all turn out. But I think that if you can listen to your heart (and maybe tell your brain to stop thinking for a few minutes so you can hear better, ha ha, that's what I do), you will know what you need to do and how to do it. You are still his momma and your heart still knows what's best.

Many thoughts for you!!! I hope you'll keep us all updated.

Best,

~Angela~

Ray said...

Oh Bonnie, I don't think I can add much more - but I do send you hugs & love!!!

Nancy said...

I know you posted this 15 mo. ago but I just now read it, Bonnie.
I am so interested to know how things are going for you all now. We had 3 sons--now ages 42,43 and 47. The oldest one was the very hardest to raise! He dropped out of HS during his senior year (17 yrs. old) and we started talking the Air Force up to him and he thought that would be "FUN" so we signed him in because he was so young they would not enlist him without our permission. He got his GED then.
He then got into trouble with the law and we went with him to court and my DH told the judge that he was going into the military but that this would keep him from going in and the judge let him go. Long story short--all 3 of ours were in the Air force and I can never advise it enough but, of course, yours probably needs to be evaluated for clinical depression first--and treated. I would highly suggest you start with an MD so that he/she can prescribe medication, if warrented. Prayers for you all!!
nankc@comcast.net