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Old 01-19-2011, 09:05 PM   #61
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Another childless person weighing in with non-advice.

Every time, I meet a good kid (I recently met Nord's terrific daughter) or see how well my niece is doing raising her kids and think gosh I screwed up by not having kids, then I hear stories like Katsmeow that convince me that this parenting business is hard work and the results are unpredictable. Frankly I think it is easier to predict the direction of the stock market in the next decade than figure out which 10 year old will be a joy and which one will be a nightmare as 20 year old.

FWIW, I do think it is admirable that you and DH established rules and are enforcing them in timely fashion. It seems me that many parents give uncooperative boomerang kids several years before ultimately throwing them out.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:09 PM   #62
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OK - reading responses, and I suspect I will react to many of them

My son told me one day about 3 years ago that he knew some of his decisions were bad and he didn't know why he would make them - despite how many times I told him not to do it. He said and I quote "there are just some things I have to do and get burned by. I don't know why - I just do. You telling me to do something or not do something is not going to change anything. I have to learn some things the hard way."

That was the day I realized and accepted I was not responsible for all of his bad decisions. But yeah, it is real painful to watch.
My dad told me when I was about 16 or 17, that his dad got much smarter when he was about 23 or 24. Sure enough my dad got much smarter when I turned that age. Not sure what cause parents IQs to increase dramatically when their children stop being teenagers and start to be adults. I think it must be related to your sons honest revelation.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:19 PM   #63
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...........At one point he said, "how much are you really going to charge me anyway!" ha! When we told him, he was shocked (I think it was $500 - rent for an apt around here would be at least $700, let alone utilities etc).

LOL - and people told me I was tough because I charged DS $400 a month during one of his "at-home" stints when he was not in school. Maybe it was because I also added on an additional $200/month reality fee (which we put in a separate account and gave back to him when he moved out). We just wanted him to prove he could afford to live on his own before he did. Of course, when he quit his job it made it a little more difficult for him to afford it....

I forgot to mention DS's "professional poker player" ambition. When he dropped out of school, his plan was to support himself playing poker. Yes, his father and I were so proud.....

The thing is, he was good enough, but he soon found out grinding 16 tables online for 6-8 hours a day was nowhere near as much fun as he thought it would be....
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:30 PM   #64
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“My son told me one day about 3 years ago that he knew some of his decisions were bad and he didn't know why he would make them - despite how many times I told him not to do it. He said and I quote "there are just some things I have to do and get burned by. I don't know why - I just do. ..”

Until I retired last September I was a law officer for the past 41 years. The mind set displayed by that young man, his making bad decisions even in the light of sound information that there might be negative consequences to his actions, has been my bread and butter for most of those forty plus years I served as a police officer. And, although I’ve witnessed such inexplicable actions countless times by so many of the people I came into contact with, I never could understand the underlying thought processes that permitted these bad decisions to be repeatedly taken.

Just one very small example. When working in narcotics enforcement in the NYPD, we’d send out an undercover officer for street “buy and bust” operations. The officer, acting like a local drug purchaser, would attempt to buy narcotics from a street dealer. Very often the dealer would make some comment to the undercover such as, “I think you’re a cop!” then sell them the illicit drugs anyway. I think it fair to state that fully 90% of the dealers then arrested would tell the arresting officers “I knew that guy was a cop” in a tone of voice indicating how "street smart" they were. When asked why he then sold to the undercover officer there would be no answer.

Go figure.

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Old 01-19-2011, 09:43 PM   #65
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............He had a debit card and at the time the Bank put everyone on this automatic covering of debits even if there was no money. So the first time he overdrew the account and to pay a $35 fee I was calm and explained to him how it worked. He insisted he had called the banks automated line and it had said he had $X in the account and he spent less than that. I explained to him that the automated line didn't always have ever expenditure instantaneously after he met. He insisted that the bank should have it. I told that nonetheless he couldn't just rely on calling in. I suggested he keep a check register.

The next time it happened I asked him how. Same thing. He called the automated line so it ought to be right. Sigh. Of course, he refused to keep a check register.

It took several hundred dollars in overdraft fees before he finally learned that lesson.
I think your son and my son went to the same school of logic......

True story - my son went into a store. Cute girl told him he could get a 50% discount if he opened a credit card. So he bought a $5 hat with the new credit card...paying only $2.50. Except he didn't pay the credit card bill when it came in.

So the $2.50 hat cost him close to $50+- dollars.

My response - "Seriously, honey, I love you, but are you really that stupid?"
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:52 PM   #66
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Thanks, KM for the been there, done that.... It is great to read of a successful outcome (and yours does fit that bill).

When DS came home in December and I told him about his grades I asked him to really think about what he wanted to do. He floated by me the idea of living at home this semester while working and saving money and then going back to school in the fall. Internally, I was worried about it because I didn't feel he would follow the rules but I felt that we would need to give him that opportunity and then deal with it if (when) he didn't.

DS is his own worst enemy because within a week he made it clear he couldn't even abide by our over Christmas break rules and said he would rather live in his car....

So, I sort of think he had his chance on that and now he gets to make his own way. I'm not angry with him. He will be welcome to come over for dinner and such. But I can't see him ever living with us.
I wouldn't call my son a success story yet - but I am far more hopeful than I was even 1 year ago.

As I caught up on the thread, it sounds like you have a plan that you both feel you can live with and that is key. Although there is lots of good advice here - the bottom line is you know your son better than any of us and probably know what will work best for him. Many people told us we should "throw our son out" when he dropped out of school. But I knew there was more going on than pure laziness and throwing him out was not the answer.

No two kids are the same and you can raise two kids the exact same way and one will go left and one go right. You can raise two kids differently and they will both go right. Some nature - some nuture. In any case - it sure isn't easy when you get a challenging one.....
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:00 PM   #67
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[QUOTE=KM;1026559]LOL - and people told me I was tough because I charged DS $400 a month during one of his "at-home" stints when he was not in school. Maybe it was because I also added on an additional $200/month reality fee (which we put in a separate account and gave back to him when he moved out). QUOTE]

We were aiming for an amount that would get him closer to reality...but alas, he changed his mind and decided school was a good idea! I think the best dose of reality was the job paying $400 net/month and he is working hard.

Bet we could have a whole thread about tickets and late fees with these kids too - many parents or the boys themselves have told me about how they recently racked up thousands in those - boggles my mind! But then my dad said, well you had quite a few when you were in college... maybe it's a brain defect when you're on your parents dime. Luckily our kid had his own money to pay his ( racked up over $1000 in a couple months) and even recently found him sleeping in on street sweeping day!
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:28 PM   #68
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There are just times when you have to close the wallet and let them learn the hard way. There was a common theme here about closing the wallet and watching them leave. He will be fine! A few weeks of crashing at a buddy's house will get old (probably for the buddy)...love him, feed him on weekends and holidays, but do not continue to enable his mooching and lazy behaviors. Some lessons need to be learned the hard way. He'll respect you when he becomes self sufficient!
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:53 AM   #69
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Another childless poster here but, after reading this thread, just wanted to thank my parents (who passed away more than 30 years ago) for teaching me the value of work and independence.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:46 AM   #70
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It was never paid back.
What is this "paid back" of which you speak?
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:17 AM   #71
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What is this "paid back" of which you speak?
Reminds me of DD. She was in town and going out with friends. I hear "I left my bank card at home, can I borrow $20?". My response was "borrow, as in pay back". Her's was "can I have $20?".
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:20 AM   #72
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First.. this is going to sound like I am attacking these parents... but I am really not trying to do it... so, disclaimer...

I am really surprised on how many parents here allowed their kids to live at home even when they were adults... IMO, the BEST thing that a parent can do is kick the kids out... as long as you keep letting them back in when they have a small stumble they do not take responsibility for their actions... if they get in debt... let them pay their way out... here is a suggestion... get roommates... live in a low class/low cost area... if this does not motivate them to try and do better nothing will...

As long as they have a bed and food... you have taken away a few of basic needs that an adult needs to provide... heck, I even know of one guy who just needed this and has lived at home for the past 25 years... (he is early 50s)....

Now, I am not saying that if someone is going to college, making good grades.. and actually on a course to graduate (not a 10 year plan)... great.. let them do what they need to do... but once they stop progressing... stop the benefits....

As to the OP... I bet you that if your son started to live in his car... his attitude would change.... and what if it did not... well, then NOTHING you can do would motivate him either... better to learn it before wasting a lot of money on a lost cause...
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:19 AM   #73
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She was doing well but would drop classes at a whim and was extending her time in college. One summer she talked him into paying for summer school and he found out she dropped her class and went to Mexico on vacation instead. When she came back he told her she could pay for her 5th year of college herself. He signed over the car title to the car she was driving to her and said insurance and everything was her problem.
Wow, keep 'em coming everybody. I'm taking notes on avoiding the pitfalls.

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I did all that bad stuff in HS, so that's why I'm trying to shield him from it, but he is going to encounter all the drugs and drinking sooner or later so I guess I just need to tell him to get ready for it.
I took the opposite tack with our kid-- telling her all my sex/drugs/rock&roll stories in explicit age-appropriate detail. I also explained that we're cheap drunks her genome and gender do not metabolize alcohol very well, putting her at extreme risk during most social situations. I think she's decided that she's rebelling against what she views as her parents' wasted lifestyles. But we'll need another 10 years or so to be sure.

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Every time, I meet a good kid (I recently met Nord's terrific daughter)
She so totally pulled the wool over your eyes!

They're the same size & shape as adults. Surely they should be expected to think & behave as adults...
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:00 AM   #74
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This is more of a general observation. As someone grows older, you have to treat them increasingly less like children and become increasingly less their parent and relate to them more on an adult level. This essentially means that you're handing over more and more responsibility.

I'm using the terms parent, child, adult in this sense:
Transactional analysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The problem, again very general, is that some never grow up. I've seen examples of people at 15 being more responsible with their money than people at 60. Now, can you act as a parent to someone who's 60? How about 40? How about 20? Acting like a child in some matters knows no age---maturity is only loosely correlated with chronological age. I don't think it's ever a good idea to play the role of the responsible parent though---you'll only end up doing it again and again.

For this reason, I'd personally stop the hand-outs.

That said ... and I don't know how to bring this point across for this very specific case, but there are three major pitfalls to avoid in a situation where there's no forward direction/demonstrated responsibility.
1) Don't get into debt (credit cards).
2) Don't get married/anyone pregnant.
3) Don't get arrested.
If this can be avoided, the starting line will stay at zero in the worst case. Any of these three will move it back.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:31 AM   #75
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............
The problem, again very general, is that some never grow up. ...........
Not to scare the OP, but to reinforce the idea that immaturity can be an ongoing problem, not just a temporary crisis, I throw out these family observations.

My nephew is 41 and just came home again, jobless and with no teeth. His mother has remarried and is retired, living a good life. She has arranged for him to live in a homeless shelter and I know that every time the phone rings she jumps, expecting the worst.

SIL is 52 and still depends on leaching off family to make her budget. MIL is 82 and still works part time so she can give money to SIL. When SIL feels resistance to contributions she makes grim references to suicide or puts herself in an emergency situation - "I'm being evicted tomorrow unless I come up with $1000".

I wish I had a good suggestion.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:55 AM   #76
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/snip/ I've seen examples of people at 15 being more responsible with their money than people at 60.

This reminded me of something my boss said about his oldest daughter....

"She was born an adult"...

IOW, she has been very responsible her whole life... I think she is now 14...

My son is 13, and a bit lazy... but is very responsible... He will tell us that we need to get home etc. for him to finish his homework.. he does most of his chores without being told.. if he wants something bad he offers up his own money to buy it or help buy it...
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:07 AM   #77
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Take away: 'Children are like a box of chocolate; you never know what you are going to get.'

I've never had children, happy I didn't and the world is probably better off also.

Having watched the children of others grow up; I would say the take away is a bit off. I've noticed that there are some very strong correlations between the personalities of the parents and the child.

So I'm wondering if some parents of wayward children have seen some of their own or their spouse's wayward behavior in their children?
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #78
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Take away: 'Children are like a box of chocolate; you never know what you are going to get.'

I've never had children, happy I didn't and the world is probably better off also.

Having watched the children of others grow up; I would say the take away is a bit off. I've noticed that there are some very strong correlations between the personalities of the parents and the child.

So I'm wondering if some parents of wayward children have seen some of their own or their spouse's wayward behavior in their children?

The question is this strong correlation is due to genetics or upbringing...

I think that some people (when they adopt) forget that there are some genetics involved... I have a friend who has adopted two kids... one has lots of problems with socializing with other kids and even adults.. if she does not get her way she puts up a fit.. bites etc. etc... she is a very wonderful kid except for these tantrums... the other kid seems to be perfectly normal... but has had a few bouts of tantrums since he saw his sister doing it all the time... but from what I have heard... has never hit or bit anyone... it is just not in him...
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:11 PM   #79
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I don't forget the genetics, but things are sometimes more complicated than that. I am myself an adoptee and now have one biological child and two adopted children. My two adopted children are biological siblings. One of them is the son we are talking about and the other his sister. The difference is that the son was almost 9 when we adopted him and our daughter was only 3. They are actually quite different in personality. He, of course, remembers a great deal about his first family and his early life. She remembers nothing. So, yes, certainly genetics matters but it isn't everything.

As an adoptee myself I was always very different from my adoptive parents. To myself I often attributed it to my being adopted (I was adopted at birth). Yet, when I was in my early 40s, I searched for and found my birthmother. There are certainly things that are similar. My adoptive mother has always sort of felt that being a night owl is a moral failing and nothing but laziness would keep someone from getting up by 7:00. It was sort of nice to find out that my birthmother is a similar night owl to me. OTOH, I always sort of thought that the fact that I always tending to be a little overweight and struggled with weight was probably genetic. Come to find out that my birthmother struggles to stay above 100 pounds....
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:44 PM   #80
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Cardude I have experience in that. My first job was at 14 being a busboy, dishwasher at a restuarant. Worked there for 3 years until I went to college. Let me tell you he will be exposed to everything! Workers smoking non stop, would have alcoholics sneaking their bottles in, even a few blowing weed near the out vents! Im not saying they are all like that( or that it happened all the time there), but my experience was that and that was in the 80's mind you. That being said if he is grounded in his upbringing values, he will probably be alright. I actually liked most of my coworkers (everyone was older) and enjoyed working with them. I just politely turned down offers and didnt judge them. In fact it reinforced my desire to go to college and make something out of myself. Learning the true value of a dollar "EARNED", not given to me was invaluable. It also taught me that I wasnt "above" any job. You wouldnt believe how many teenagers "are too good" for their first jobs to be in fast food or restuarant.
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