Mental illness or manipulative?

Kelley - posted on 09/23/2012 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My son recently turned 21. He still lives at home, doesn't have a job, and seems fine with having nothing. We stopped giving him money some time ago although I know my husband still buys his cigarettes (which I disagree with). He rarely wants to leave the house and has terrible personal hygiene. He has a couple of friends that he's had for years that come by and share their pot and alcohol with him. When I talk to him about change or looking for a job, he says that he feels anxious all the time and angry for no apparent reason. When I suggest counseling, he says he'll look into it, but never does. Sometimes it seems like he plays the mental illness card when pressured to do something he doesn't want to, but still....he does show symptoms of depression. I don't know how to motivate someone who seems perfectly content with their life and not at all willing to change it. I know we are enabling him, but do not know what to do or how to change it. He is the oldest of our four kids and financially we are strapped. It doesn't seem to bother him in the least and he doesn't feel he should contribute or help out with anything. It's as if he were still 15 but he is 21 with absolutely no responsibility....

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Bobbie - posted on 09/23/2012

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You have stated the answer, you are enabling him. I believe your question was if he is manipulating you or is it depression. Millions of working Americans suffer with depression and still function.

My suggestion is this.....You need a plan and new way of looking at the full situation. If you look up crazy the meaning is repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome.

He has his warm fuzzy cocoon with mommy and daddy footing the bills and allowing him to break the law, drink and lay around dirty. Gee, why would he want to fix anything?



Here are things to discuss with your hubby to bring you two together on all issues that deal with this son. Hopefully he will see that your son also pits you against your husband with his pleads for purchases that take from the family income. As long as your son has any pull with one parent or the other he has you both at a disadvantage

FACTS

- As the eldest son he is showing his siblings what you and your husband will put up with

- By knowingly permitting him to use an illegal substance (pot) you are setting poor/low standards for all of your family about breaking the law

- When he smokes in your home, not only is your money truly going up in smoke but his siblings are getting the second hand CAUSTIC AND MOST DANGEROUS smoke. In children second hand smoke causes real physical damage

- When he lays around and doesn't provide anything for the house, financially, or by lifting your burden in other ways, he is what is commonly called a deadbeat. To allow this behavior is to set him up to fail at life. Providing him all he needs without effort or advancement in social skills and life skills, you are setting him up to be helpless, hopeless and down on himself, that is calls DEPRESSION.



If you get your husband on board and know you are a team you can provide an environment that is positive for all of you. When your son has real goals that he must achieve or suffer the real life consequences, he will sink or swim. If he pouts and doesn't want to act grown up with real daily routine then he will threaten to move out. Let him move out to a buddy's house. BUT THE GROUND RULES MUST BE SET FOR HIM NEVER TO RETURN WHEN HE LEAVES! he has already proven to you and your husband what his sees as fair in his little cocoon. To allow him to return would be mean a repeat to his current actions no matter what he lies and says he has learned or how he has grown up. That is always bull. When they have no proof of skills learned, such as a JOB, but rather want to talk you into believing they have been trying that is just blowing smoke.





these rules are to be followed starting as soon as you give them to him/ with everyone on board with them.

NEW GROUND RULES FOR LIVING WITH AND RESPECTING YOUR HOME AND FAMILY

* You have no adjustment time frame the rules start now.

Breaking the rules will not be tolerated. As an adult you will follow these simple requests and will have the consequence dealt out to you immediately and without letting anything slide



* #1 Shower by 9:00 a.m. - Out of the house until everyone returns home from work and school. Use this time to go to job fairs, local job placement agencies and the library to research jobs available. A bus pass will be provided for transportation (but I bet you just handed him a car as well)

Consequence - When we arrive home you will be asked to leave until the rest of the family have eaten our dinner. You will have to fend for yourself as to a meal elsewhere



* #2 No visitors / company of your friends male or female in our home - visit them elsewhere

Consequence - Your friends will be asked to leave immediately and not with kindness.



* #3 No illegal drugs to be brought into the house, all found will be flushed

Consequence - no chances. If drugs are found they will be your ticket to finding another place to live. No drugs will be tolerated in our home ever again



* #4 No alcohol brought in to our home and no alcohol consumption

Consequence - you will not be permitted to live in our home. Alcohol is a depressant.

Your father and I may consume it as we pay all the bills and the rules are for you



* #5 No smoking inside or outside of our home - No purchases will be made.

Consequence - You will clean every ash and butt found and every cigarette found will be broken up and thrown away. (if you smoke make sure he knows it doesn't matter. This isn't about judging your habit and saying he can if you can, it is about responsibility and respect. No child should be permitted to smoke in the home. Setting guidelines for those other children to follow suite)



Good luck,

As you can see I didn't mention the silly things like clean room, help with chores and the like. He needs to be forced from the home on a daily basis to establish a healthy hygiene and work ethic. If he has to be out of the home all day he will feel better about himself rather than laying around on the sofa thinking , poor me.

Maritza - posted on 10/14/2012

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Don't get ur response





God forbid!! I wouldn't want to know that moast our men serving our country not only might have mental issues but also inlisted because a parent didn't have a better salution to addressing they're child's problems!

Michelle - posted on 09/25/2012

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Hi I think that your son may be manipulating you because he sounds like his behaving like a teenager and not a 21 yr old. Would it have been ok for you to do to your parents what your son is doing to you? I think a 21 yr old either needs to be working or studying. I suggest you sit down and have the career talk with your son what type of job would he like? Then figure out what he needs to do to get that career. What things are he passionate about? Does he know how to do a Resume up and do Cover letters or does he need help? He may just not know what to do to get his life started. Sometimes kids aren't ready to be functional adults. You know your son best what career path do you think he would be able to do and enjoy? As for Mental illness other than not know which direction he wants his life to go what other signs are there? Does he have high days and low days? Does he have a good self esteem or was he bullied at school? Has he ever expressed suidicial thoughts? To help your son you need to rule things out. Good Luck.

[deleted account]

Your job as a parent is to get him help. If he is willing, get him to a psychiatrist to be evaluated first. Getting him to go is half the battle.His behavior isn't normal and he already told you that he does feel anxious and you think he does have signs of depression. He needs help.

You make think I'm being harsh with this next comment but here it goes...What the Hell are you thinking letting him smoke, much less buying him cigarettes???? Your husband may be doing it but you are just as guilty letting him. Not only are cigarettes DEADLY and cause many health problems and diseases, but the nicotine causes nervousness and anxiety!!Buying him cigarettes is abusive...it's hurting him!

Go to a doctor and get him on the patch to quit. Also, how could you let friends of his come into your home and give him pot and alcohol? It is your house!! Take charge of it! Don't let it cross the threshhold. If you think they are going to bring it in your house, then don't let them in.

I would not kick your son out of the house.It will not do him any good. I would make rules and stick to them.Does he have a car or do you pay his car insurance? Don't let him drive until he quits smoking. This is his health we are talking about. Don't let him do drugs or drink in your home.Tell him you care about him and want him to get help. Make an appointment with a doctor and take him there and stop enabling him...help him.Kids with brain disorders are about 5 years behind in maturity, but they need help to survive in the real world and get their life back on track.I kicked my son out and I should have been more patient and helped him longer. I had rules, don't get me wrong, but kicking him out back fired. Get your son professional help that he obviously needs.That's being a good parent. :)))))) Good luck!

Bobbie - posted on 09/24/2012

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@Kathy,

I had teens yes. I also have a different take on a grown man, age 21, that is not a teen. He is being disrespectful to the family by 1- thinking they owe him everything 2 - not being productive in any way 3 - having bad hygiene 4 - using manipulation to get a fix for his habit (smoking)

In addition the reason for not having friends visit -

#1

HE IS THE ELDEST MEANING THERE ARE REAL TEENS IN THE HOME WITNESSING HIS MANY POOR HABITS. THESE TEENS WILL WANT TO PARTY WITH THEIR OLDER BROTHER WHEN THEY AREN'T AT THE LEGAL AGE.

#2

ALCOHOL IS A DEPRESSANT. HE CLAIMS DEPRESSION AS HIS REGULAR EXCUSE

#3

SINCE HE CAN NOT PROVIDE FOR HIMSELF THE LAST THING HE NEEDS ARE FRIENDS TO COME OVER AND "PROVIDE HIM WITH POT AND ALCOHOL".

#4

HE SHOULD REALIZE THIS IS A FAMILY HOME!

HIS PARENTS AND SIBLINGS ARE SUBJECTED TO HIS LAX BEHAVIOR AND HYGENIE. SO I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT 21 YEAR OLD ADULTS WHO DON'T HAVE A JOB, HOBBIES, AND EVEN WANT TO TAKE A BATH DAILY AREN'T GOING TO HAVE "FRIENDS COME OVER" THAT ARE PRODUCTIVE, OR SUPPORTIVE TO HIM FINDING HIS WAY. WHEN SHE SAYS THEY COME OVER AND SUPPLY HIM WITH POT AND ALCOHOL THAT SOUNDS DESTRUCTIVE.

#5

AS AN ADULT IF HE WISHES TO SOCIALIZE AND BECOME ACTIVE IN HIS LIFE HE NEEDS PUSHED BEYOND HIS COMFORT ZONE OF LAYING AROUND HAVING EVERYTHING BROUGHT TO HIM,.....ESPECIALLY FRIENDS.



**I had a large part in raising my two much younger siblings. Sister 15 years younger, brother 17 years younger. One is now a doctor, the other owns his own company. I then raised 5 teenagers into adulthood. As 21 YEAR OLD ADULTS they were all out on their own. 3 didn't attend college therefor didn't receive the extra years of support both financially and by living at home as the others who attend school did. My baby, a son, was asked to ready himself to move out by his 19th birthday. I told him this a year in advance. He was a lazy student, a lazy person and though I loved him dearly, he had to fly on his own. He was a sweet manipulator. Saying things like calling me to say "hello beautiful, how is your day" when he wanted something. That last year living at home I taught him how to balance a checkbook, pay bills on time, create a budget and even made him pay me $50 a month for rent ALWAYS weather he held his job or not. He needed these lessons to strengthen his resolve to grow up. ALL MY CHILDREN purchased their first homes before the age of 30. They have strong values and a good work ethic. They were deeply loved, cuddled, and given all the hours in the day to be held to cry on my shoulder if they needed me. They were offered rides no matter the hour of the night if they got into trouble and needed a ride. I have been through light drug use, sneaking out, breaking curfew and the like. My daughter had multicolor hair, strange clothes and piercings in many places. I let my children express themselves and find themselves with my support. They had cars, great clothes and an allowance and didn't have to keep their rooms clean, or help much around the house. BUT, they were raised with utmost respect for home, family and each other. They made their mistakes and shouldered their consequence without trying to blame others. My son was sensitive and showed early signs of OCD. He saw a therapist once a month through out his years in high school because he told me he got so much out of it and really liked talking to someone about his emotional stress triggers. So he was given that added support as well. My baby is now 27. He has a newborn baby, a nice home, a good job, and the pride that can only come from doing things on your own. He would not have these things if I had continued to let him be himself, lay around being lazy and having his just as lazy friends come over and lay around with him. I thought being 18 and not having a job or plans to school was beyond disrespectful. Why should he get a pass and live at home just because he would rather not grow up? Children can not grow into well balanced productive adults when they aren't shown that they have within them all they need and they can succeed. To tap that resource there has to be boundaries that no one, regardless of their place in the family, is allow to abuse.

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26 Comments

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Kelley - posted on 11/01/2012

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Everyone....I so, so appreciate your comments. Sorry I haven't responded but I do check in and read responses ever so often. Thank you for your comments and truthfully I go back and forth with him. No, he's not outright disrespectful, but I do feel he should contribute for his own sake and self worth. This has been going on for years. When he was 17, I had him seeing a therapist. He was prescribed antidepressants. He hated them and prefers to self medicate I think. I just don't know. My husband is definitely not on board with any tough love tactics so I feel helpless presently. At his age I cannot legally make him a Dr appt or have any input in his mental health at all. He has to do it and he obviously isn't going to without some ultimatums.

Rachel - posted on 11/01/2012

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I would stop letting him stay there.

Tell him he needs to be out on his own by a set date and stick to it.

If he does suffer from depression, he should want to go get help for it. At this point, he's doing nothing to help himself so you guys need to put your foot down and tell him either get some help or get out.

Kristin - posted on 10/30/2012

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Oh geex most of the world has been or is depressed at some point in their lives. Go to a doc get the meds and get on with your life, Being depressed is not an excuse to sit around and do nothing. I myself suffered depression but i went to the doc got the meds and functioned. I still went to work everyday, took care of my kids, cleaned my house, paid my bills showered etc etc. It is survuival of the fittest and as parents sometimes our kids need a swift kick in the ass to be motivated. I gave my kids chores at young ages and i even heaven forbid make them play outside and in sports. I do not allow them to be lazy all that often. Schook work comes first and they are to study every night. No way in hell would I be ok with my 21 yr old adult son sit around and do nothing all day long. before you know it he will be 40 and still living off of mom and dad. Parents are meant to guide and support are children to become productive members of society not to baby them and enable their bad behavior. Plus in your case kelly your oldest is not being a good role model at all for your younger children and be prepared for them to follow his steps. I would give my son a time frame that he had to be out or pay rent. They may kick and scream at tough love but sometimes its the only way to go and later in life they will appreciate it, when they have nice homes good jobs and nice families.

Now dont get me wrong i will help my children if they need it but im a firm believer that one must help themselves first.

Rebecca - posted on 10/21/2012

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Kelley,



As an adult (I'm 44 now) who has suffered from depression all her life, this sure sounds like it could be to me. I go thru periods where I don't want to leave the house, sleep all the time, un-motivated...etc. Some people may call it laziness. @Bobbie....Unless you have walked a mile in a chronically depressed persons shoes, don't talk what you don't know. I have a chemical imbalance. Some days I feel worthless. I don't use it as an excuse but there are days the black cloud is worse than others. I'm currently on meds, have been to several counselors and plan to go back. I do plug along, going to school. Of course, you can't enable him to act any old way or use it as an excuse. Give him some ultimatum about the counseling/psychiatrist. Alcohol and pot will make you more depressed too.

Maritza - posted on 10/14/2012

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Kelly!! hopefully your not responding isn't bad news.

Text me . I'll always be honest , and non judgmental . I never give up on people!!

Maritza - posted on 10/14/2012

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Hey ladies, why hasn't this mom responded to any of this advice? What's the point ?

Maritza - posted on 10/14/2012

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Hey Kathy, "Really I hope ur kids do well.As I am an advocate for all ages!! I feel there should Be within this amazing website a guideline grouping mothers at least in age. experience ! Meaning you have same age children or have gone threw it. it would be more detremental in helping one another.no offense I would not want your advice if you didnt have children the same age as mine.The mentality between a young teen an even someone in thier late teens is huge. Let alone a twenty something.I wouldn't take myself to a pediatrician ifI where an adult.

Erika - posted on 10/08/2012

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no its called tough love and no a majority of military personal are fine. Your son needs to grow up and act like an adult because he is one . Why do parents especially moms feel like we can not allow are children to struggle at all so that by the time they become adults they can cope they need to learn how to fall and pick themselves back up and keep going. Quit making excuses for him.

Kathy - posted on 10/08/2012

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Move out or enlist in the army…wow, just wow. The army is dangerous. People die in the army. if you feel called to enlist, and want to do it - go for it - but no ones hand should be "forced" that way. Imagine the guilt you would feel if he came to harm!



The economy in many parts other the world is in the toilet. I think it is reasonable to expect him to try and find a job, go to school or volunteer to build a resume - but find a job and move out or enlist is mind-boggling low in compassion.

Erika - posted on 10/08/2012

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I think he is manipulating you you need to draw a line in the sand with your son. He needs to get a job and move out or enlist in the military within 4 mos.

Starr - posted on 10/08/2012

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Not sure if you work or not but if it were me, I would be damned mad if I got up early and came home from work every day to find a grown man capable of working himself slouching around in my house all day while I'm busting my butt to support everyone. Least he could do is shower, get dressed and tidy up. Show some appreciation. If he wants to claim depression, fine, make the appt and drag his butt in. Then I would apply some if not of Bobbie's suggestions as well. He's not going to do anything unless you make him. He is setting a terrible example for your other children. If you don't take care of it soon he wont be your only problem.

Maritza - posted on 10/06/2012

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I have someone in my family who has similar issues. Important to be on the same page with your husband. Just because he's 21 doesn't mean he's making the right choices, or that he can! Pot isn't cheap! & I dought his friends are treating him. And it's also going to hinder any ambition. You find the therapy he needs and insist he goes. Take him & get a receipt . It will cost almost as much as a pack of cigarettes a day! And the "friends" not allowed over untill he starts going.

Maritza - posted on 10/06/2012

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I understand how you feel, but just because he is 21it doesn't mean he knows what's best.especially if he seems to be going down hill. Better safe then sorry. Do some research and find a phychologest. Speak to your husband and tell him we need to help him in a more productive way! the cigarette's could be paying for his mental help,

Judy - posted on 10/04/2012

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I feel he needs professional help maybe outside counseling from another adult. He would probably feel better about himself and maybe a online college course to start out with and something he really likes. Like a hobby ..music.. sports .. or the gym to get him going.

Don't give up on him sometimes its hard to get out there but once he does he will feel better about himself and just needs encouragement..



Good Luck.

Bobbie - posted on 09/24/2012

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@Kathy,

You may want to reread my original response. I said nothing of kicking him out. I said he needs to be forced to leave the home to venture out into the world on a daily basis. Forced to create those daily routines of hygiene and being a part of the family by being involved in it. She says....

"He is the oldest of our four kids and financially we are strapped. It doesn't seem to bother him in the least and he doesn't feel he should contribute or help out with anything. It's as if he were still 15 but he is 21 with absolutely no responsibility."

So therefor I do not agree with you on any of your points. You state that at 21 it isn't great that he isn't working on going to school. You do realize don't you that 21 is the age at which most graduate into the work force from college?

I also don't see how anything can come from telling him he gets 6 more weeks to sloughing off then he has to get enrolled in school or find a job. Why would she want him to enroll in school? He is an adult who hasn't gone to college. I don't think that he can just go and enroll in a school free anywhere because he wants to choose school over working. He would need to take an entrance exam to even enroll. Then he would be asking for huge handouts from his parents to pay for his schooling, which they don't have.

I think your children being younger (16) gives you a different frame of reference. No one is saying throwing to the wolves!

I also read the stats you attached. They refer to children who MOVED OUT AND THEN MOVED BACK IN / PAYING RENT AND ASSISTING IN OTHER AREAS. DOING SO BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY. ~ such as layoffs, pay cuts and downsizing in companies. BUT!.....PARENTS AND THEIR ADULT CHILDREN WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THE ARRANGEMENT WORK FOR BOTH OF THEM Nowhere in the attached did it address her issue of having an adult who doesn't work, doesn't respect his parents enough to care that the family is in financial crisis therefor he sees no reason to pitch in or worry about getting a job.



IN ADDITION.... A 21 YEAR OLD - BY LAW IN ALL STATES

~ Is no longer eligible for any health insurance benefits from parent's employer. If here were a student the age is 22 (that is the cut off age)

~ no dental coverage

~ no prescription coverage

~ no hospitalization coverage

~ Car insurance coverage is the highest rates for this age when unemployed . Only receives a break when he is able to claim using the vehicle to travel to and from work. If he crashes the car their rates will go sky high. They will be forced to dump him, (insurance company I mean)

SO....BECAUSE HE IS A LEGAL ADULT LIVING AT HOME - If he becomes ill or needs dental work or has a severe car accident and doesn't have his own insurance with his own employer he would devastate the family's finances with the costs.

Kathy - posted on 09/24/2012

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Bobbie - to each their own. I do not think there are clear cut answers to this



Most people I know who have been pushed out of the nest have not fared as well as those supported and nurtured out of the nest. That is my experience and I get it is different from yours.



I would not tolerate disrespect - but he does not sound all that disrespectful. Mooching a bit? Yes. Disrespectful? No.



1. He does not have a job or go to school. Not great - but not partying at all hours, swearing at your parents, having hookers over….. I do think he should work on his issues. He might need a push.



2. His hygiene is an issue. He could very well be depressed. I would insist he showers before leaving his room.



3. If this is a new thing (under 3 months) I would give him notice that he has 6 more weeks of sloughing off, then he needs to enrol in school or look for work. If it has been going on a long time, then he needs to take action, pronto. He may need guidance in how to look for work if he has not done it before. If he is unable or unwilling to do the above, then he should seek counselling. People should want to move forward with their lives (scary and as overwhelming as that may be!); if he won't, he needs help.





Yeah, I want my kids to leave home eventually - and I want it to be when they are ready. I think they will do better if they are ready (perhaps with some nudging) that forced out when they are NOT ready. The young man in question is not ready. He has done nothing to earn being kicked out. She should be firmer on her rules and expectations and help him to grow, but that is it. Counselling is in order if the young adult cannot move forward.







some stats on live at home young adults:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-p...

Kathy - posted on 09/24/2012

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I don't get people saying to ban friends coming over. Everyone needs friends - and as long as they are not abusing your hospitality, I do not see the problem. This young man does sound a little isolated already - banning friends would just increase that!



I would let a 21 year olds drink on the premises - but moderately, and no driving afterwards! They are of age, after all. I would not be buying them alcohol (and particularly your son - no cigarettes either). I would supply a 21 year slacker (said with love) room and board, but I would not supply any extras. That might motivate him to get a job.



I would ban the pot on the premises. I am not, actually, against marijuanna - but it is illegal and there are impressionable children in the house. If he is abusing pot, I would talk to him. Pot does inspire some people to sit around in their parents basements playing video games and smoking up. If he is one of them, he might need to abstain.



Kathy, mom to a 16, 13 and 9 year old.



Edited to add: How long has he been in this rut?

Alexandra - posted on 09/24/2012

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Ok, I think you have to take the first step.

No more asking him things, just do it.

You must talk to him with your rules, since he lives in your house. The rules should be discussed with your husband and chosen wisely.

He needs to go see a doctor if he feels anxious. You must know what is going on for sure.

He must go to school or get a job. Probably both, if he is not sick, which I seriously doubt!

And a very important step that, in my opinion you should take, is not allowing his friends to come over or him having any contact with his friends. He is nto too anxious or sick to smoke and drink, huh? And pot is a bit smore serious than cigarettes.

Just think about it, you say he is the older of 4 children, what are the others learning from you allowing him to have this choices/behaviours? And they can smell the pot too?

Oh boy, please do something soon. It is not to late, but it is really too late.

Hang in there, lots of courage and good luck. It is not going to be easy.

Kathy - posted on 09/23/2012

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Are there any work or even exchange programs for youth in your area? Sometimes a break in a routine can really motivate people and show them what is out there.



You might have to help him find the program and wake him up the first few times.



As per playing the mental illness card - I don't know. It sound like he is depressed to me - whether it is the sort of situational "I am stuck in a rut" depression or something more serious is impossible for me to tell.

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