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Just an aside on the idea of a child majoring in music...
Old 08-11-2009, 11:05 AM   #41
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Just an aside on the idea of a child majoring in music...

I have a female cousin who is about my age, and grew up right down the street from me and was like a sister to me. She wasn't unusually accomplished in school, but was a "people person", quite pretty, and crazy about music. She majored in music despite huge battles with her parents about it. She always had a job teaching music lessons. She taught lessons on piano, guitar, and other instruments throughout college and she could fit that part time job around her class schedule. That was good since her parents were not funding her college education due to her choice of major.

Later in life, when she married and was pregnant, and then dealing with little ones, she stayed home with her children and still had some income from teaching music lessons and theory classes. She took "gigs" playing in bars or restaurants when they came up, and even though she was not terribly successful at that, she always had all the gigs she wanted and meanwhile met a lot of amazing musicians and made lifetime friendships.

She always had the income from teaching music lessons to fall back on. She organized a big choir at her church and persuaded them to buy the church an organ, and she had a decent income from the church as the organist and choir director until she moved on. Even though she was a "stay at home mom", she had a steady income from the music lessons that was enough to live on after her divorce.

I would imagine that her lifetime income, while never staggering at any one time, probably has not been too bad because she could always find work that would fit around her schedule, on a moment's notice, even after moving to another state.

What is more important is that she has had such a happy life, surrounded by the music she loves during all of her life.
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*Update*
Old 07-10-2010, 03:43 AM   #42
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*Update*

The past half year plus has been a total roller coaster. He did well in his classes (easy GE courses at CC) and seemed on track. Then got his GF prego and boom - we're grandparents!

Baby was born recently and is adorable - they are both doing a good job in terms of taking care of it (learning how), even as their relationship status varies.

He'd taken the summer off school to adjust to his new life of baby care and new job (PT gig). When I asked about fall registration he had no idea - I asked why - just said, "I haven't been thinking about it."

Well over the course of the conversation we learned he thought he should just not go to school for now - given that we had always told him it was either school or work/rent.

But, given it took over 8 months to find the dinky PT $9/hr job -we told him it would be really challenging to make ends meet - pay rent and other expenses etc and had he thought about any of that (aside from contributing to the care of his baby!). He said, "how much would you really charge me anyway..." If I could only jump in his head and peak at what he was thinking fair rent would be!!! Today I showed him a budget w/ income and expenses broken down for likely items - just so he understood in real numbers that he would fall far short...

Uggg....

Well, I'm inclined to let him work it out - find full time plus work and learn the hard way. His dad is freaking out a bit and wants to order him back to school - "it's not an option" and saying the baby changes the game.

Dad comes from rough/poor background, he never finished CC even and feels like it was a "missed opportunity" so that drives a lot of his worry. He also works with very high income clients and feels like those things are more attainable if you have education (I don't really agree and I have pretty great education!). He's always been overprotective of him - which I think contributes to son's inability to make good decisions on his own...

Son's goal is to move into apt w/ GF and baby...for now they are going between both grandparent's homes...but I think the honeymoon/newborn window will close at some point.

Ultimately, the kid will do whatever he wants - I'm just trying to gauge how dramatic the emotional fallout will be for dad, son and everyone else- as we try to support but also maintain some boundaries/consequences...

Trying to keep my level head...
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:31 AM   #43
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I realized as I read your posts that I was thinking "I wept because I had no shoes 'till I met a man who had no feet"
I have two wonderful hard working children who are having trouble "getting established" despite doing everything a parent could ask.

It is a truly miserable environment out there. Getting courses at the CC is almost impossible with faculty layoffs and cutbacks.

What is happening is that higher qualified people are "stepping down in class" to take jobs normally filled lower on the pecking order. The gentleman who runs our copy center has a Ph.D.

Lawyers from "top ten" schools are taking jobs normally filled by graduates from "regional" schools

Some of our BS engineers are getting split jobs .5 Engineer and .5 technician.

I do wonder when you say "Then got his GF prego" , since it suggests that she had nothing to do with it.

IMLE it is more often young women, not young men who see getting pregnant as a way of getting parents "off their back" by presenting them with a situation that is unsolvable with traditional parenting.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:58 AM   #44
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Bright eyes....

Without knowing your 'social status' (and I can be stepping into deep do-do with a lot of people here)... it might be hard to give advice... you say your husband does not have a degree... what line of work does he do? Is he a hard worker?

I say that because I have in-laws through my sister and another group through my niece that seem to fit what is happening to your son.. in their case, neither parent had 'education'... but they did work hard... but their children seemed to be with enough other kids and such that their thinking was 'warped' compared to others. We call it a 'blue collar' mentality. As Emeritus said, some of the girls WANTED to get prego so they could start getting food stamps, housing etc.... that was a way out of their horrible lives (not that it was really horrible... just that they thought it was)...

Since it is your step son.... you have to just back up what your DH wants to do... unless of course he wants to support DS and GF and baby... to me, that is a non starter... but hey, I am not in your shoes..
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:49 PM   #45
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It is a truly miserable environment out there. Getting courses at the CC is almost impossible with faculty layoffs and cutbacks.

What is happening is that higher qualified people are "stepping down in class" to take jobs normally filled lower on the pecking order. The gentleman who runs our copy center has a Ph.D.

I do wonder when you say "Then got his GF prego" , since it suggests that she had nothing to do with it.

IMLE it is more often young women, not young men who see getting pregnant as a way of getting parents "off their back" by presenting them with a situation that is unsolvable with traditional parenting.
Totally hear you - that is what we have been trying to express this to him all along but it is hard because he thinks we're just giving him a hard time. At one point he finally realized we knew what we were talking about - after all his dad works with all kinds of people like 40 year olds who wash cars and part of my job is to hire people and I've seen resumes of folks w/ PhD's looking for an associate position- it was a revelation! But still didn't sink in anyway.

As for the GF - she totally had a lot to do w/ the getting preg part! They both have parents who had them at young ages - pretty much the same age as they are now...so destiny collides! Despite a lot of education, open discussions and conversations about what that meant for him and how it affected his life...

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Bright eyes....

Without knowing your 'social status' (and I can be stepping into deep do-do with a lot of people here)... it might be hard to give advice... you say your husband does not have a degree... what line of work does he do? Is he a hard worker?

Since it is your step son.... you have to just back up what your DH wants to do... unless of course he wants to support DS and GF and baby... to me, that is a non starter... but hey, I am not in your shoes..
Hi Tex! Our social status is similar yet different. He didn't finish school (and by that I mean he took some CC classes) but makes over $100-$130k - works for a car dealer on the service side - and he works his butt off - usually top at his dealership.

But when he had his son, he was totally on his own - parents were very poor working class, immigrant etc. By his son's age he was totally independent, working full time and paying his own way for everything.

I'm from a more middle class immigrant family, went to great schools and 4 year college. So it's ironic I support son working his way while his dad wants him to go to school!

I don't think either kid did it for the bennies - I think they both have emotional baggage from their upbringing and it is coming to bear fruit now. They both have lots of support from both families and are not struggling for anything right now - which may be part of his issue. I told him that he knows in the back of his head that his kid will be fine - that it will always be taken care of without him, so his expectations for what and how much he has to earn are too low.

Since I'm step parent I will let dad take the lead here - there are so many deep emotional things brewing here...but am trying to whisper to him that we have to let son start making decisions and deal with the consequences...but it is really hard if that means we'd have to be really firm and make those consequences "happen"...
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:16 PM   #46
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I can, in some ways, feel your pain. I have a son who was an A student throughout high school - although he never really had to work very hard. I never worried about his future. He went off to college and did great his first two years. And then everything fell apart. He dropped out and came home. We told him it was either school or get a job and pay rent. He took some courses at the local university and promptly dropped out of those also (dropped out = I am flunking, because I am not doing anything, so I will drop the classes).

To make a long story short, he went to work full time and we charged him room and board ($400/month + a $200/month "reality" fee that we put into a savings account for him). We also set him up with a therapist (not because we felt he should be in school - but because we knew he was different than he used to be. He did too, he just couldn't explain it.) To his credit, he went - for 2+ years. It was determined he was suffering from depression and anxiety disorder.

Fast forward a few years...he is now back in school. He moved out, moved back in, moved out, moved back in. This last time, we made it very clear to him:
1 - he will always have a roof over his head if he needs one
2 - he will always have food on the table if he is hungry
3 - he must have health insurance, we are not willing to lose our entire retirement fund should he get sick or injured. And I know we would....no matter what, he is our son.
4 - he must pay his own bills, including his health insurance premiums
5 - he does not have to pay rent (as long as he is living with us) if he is in school
6 - we will reimburse him for any class he takes and passes (by paying his tuition for the next course. He came up with the $$ for the first class when he returned to school.)
7 - if he drops out of school, he has to get a full time job (he works part time right now)

How has it gone? Well, he passed his first few classes, but eventually ended up flunking one, He suggested maybe he could borrow money from us to pay for his next class. I told him I didn't think so. He managed to come up with the money, took the course again, and passed.

Even with anxiety disorder, he has choices in life and there are consequences to his choices. I know some days are hard for him - but they are for everyone and he is making choices. I still don't like some of his day-to-day choices/decisions, but I work very hard not to say anything.

As a parent, to watch our child make wrong or poor choices rips our heart out. But at some point we have to come to terms with letting them make their mistakes and handle the consequences. The longer we avoid it, the longer we are enabling them. All in all, my son is a great kid and we have a really good relationship. I am learning to leave him alone and he is learning to make decisions and deal with the fallout (and finding out that it is not a lot of fun).

I am sure adding a grandchild into the mix makes it 100x times. The best advice I can give you is to love/accept him for who he is, offer your advice, and bite your tongue when he does the exact opposite. I didn't read the whole thread, but I didn't see you mention drugs, the police, physical violence, etc, etc. I have friends who have it so much worse with their kids.


P.S. Sorry this is so long. It just really touched a spot with me.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:35 PM   #47
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Congratulations KM on handling a difficult situation very well. My sons have made an easy trip for me, but I have a nephew who has gotten in on all the negative events that you reference at the end of your post. Narcotics, and police scrapes, some serious. In one instance his bacon was saved by his older and much more stable GF who had a skilled criminal attorney in her stable of old boyfriends. With his reduced fee, my BIL was willing to advance the bail and the attorney's retainer.

Now, his girfriend is also pregnant, but everyone other than the father-to-be is happy about this. The expectant Mom has a very stable family and she is a good worker, so once the baby's early needs are handled, Mom can go back to work and her mother will mostly care for the child. My BIL is very happy because he has a good relationship with the Mom-to-be, and now he will have a grandchild. Mom-to-be knows that my nephew as her man is a poor life choice, but she will not marry him and likely he will fade out of the situation. My sister is a poor judge of almost anything but I think that she will also enjoy being a grandmother.

It is down to where a big success would be that this young man can stay out of prison, and can find some legal way to make money.

Being a parent can be very rough at times. But my POV is mainly that as long as they are alive, they are still in the game.

Ha
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:23 PM   #48
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So why isn't joining the Marines on the table?
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:29 PM   #49
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So why isn't joining the Marines on the table?
I really don't know the answer to this, other than to a greater extent than many would suspect, something will be on the table for a grown child if and only if he puts it there. In these family things I watch my back. If I suggested something like this to him, and by some strange twist he did it, for both our sakes he had better come home mentally and physically healthy. I don't think I want to spend my energy worrying about this.

While the Marines might be an excellent strategy at times, there are jokers in the deck, and I myself would not to risk them for a stupid war started and continued by stupid, self-serving people. So I surely would not ask some young person to do that either.

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Old 07-10-2010, 09:43 PM   #50
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So you fill up your Netflix queue with Marine movies maybe starting with Private Benjamin, then work your way through Tribes and others, maybe don't put The Deer Hunter in there. Anyways, with enough Marine movies floating around the house, the kid will get the hint.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:08 PM   #51
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So you fill up your Netflix queue with Marine movies maybe starting with Private Benjamin, then work your way through Tribes and others, maybe don't put The Deer Hunter in there. Anyways, with enough Marine movies floating around the house, the kid will get the hint.
Maybe you missed that he is not my son, he is my nephew. So I am not really in a position to salt his movie queue even if I wanted to which I don't. And, as I thought I made clear, I try to not overstretch the domain of my knowledge. While I might feel that in general, military service and even perhaps the Marines might be a good choice in a situation like this, to know that this would hold true in this particular instance would require clairvoyance, which I unfortunately do not possess.

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Old 07-11-2010, 06:37 AM   #52
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haha, my apologies, I was not talking about your nephew in particular, but in unmotivated kids who have finished high school in general. Military boot camp has been a traditional next step for such young adults.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:48 PM   #53
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Thanks KM I really appreciate you sharing your experience. We have recommended to him that he go to therapy - he went once when he was young and think he has so much in his head that is not being sorted out - all the stuff that he has suppressed from his childhood is coming to bear...and his way of handling it up till now was to ignore it. But now a lot of the choices he is making are affected by whether or how he views various past experiences from his dad, mom and other adults in his life...

As far as we know there are not drugs or other problems in the picture. He is experimenting with drinking, weed and cigarettes - but don't think it is anything serious that we know of...well guess we wouldn't know until it is serious - but since the baby has been born he has been acting much more responsibly than leading up to it! He has an addictive personality and alcoholism in his family - which we've discussed with him extensively so he should be somewhat aware of the risk - he's seen his grandpa act like a fool in front of him growing up.

I'd posted a while back about the military - sure looks like a decent option for him and after seeing what it did for my cousin - even better. But I'm not naive in knowing that some blossom and others are crushed by the experience. I agree w/ Ha's perspective in that I'd never want to be the one pushing him knowing the real-life consequences and current political situations that make it much more dangerous. He knows it's an option but doubt it is very appealing to him - also some baggage from his GF's side about that.

Just goes to show the roller coaster ride may smooth out a little but always another hill or curve up ahead! I just have to accept that...
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:14 PM   #54
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I have been in the military. They are very good at motivation.No regrets from me.
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