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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 12-20-2017, 01:28 PM
singledad99 singledad99 is offline
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Default 18 years old son behaving totally out of control

Hello group

I have been gone for several years, just busy with new wife, kids, job, other stuff.

So ten years ago I got divorced and ex gave me the sole custody. She then challenged her own consent. OCL involved, she got her support doubled, OCL supported status-quo and she eventually lost interest in the case, blah blah blah. I moved to terminate the support after 3+ years, she resisted then consented. Things gradually became normal. Here is the new twist.

Even while ex and I were married she used to tell our son (let's just refer to him as S) was a habitual liar, very rude and obnoxious etc etc. He was an exemplary child whenever I was around. Some of our close relatives also echoed what ex said but it was completely opposite of what I believed based own my daily dealings with S so I dismissed their concerns.

S was 8 years old when divorce happened. He didn't show any trauma or similar emotional problems at the time of divorce. All he wanted was to play, enjoy and have fun. He has now graduated from high school with low 70s. I found out just before graduation that he was an occasional (not addict) weed smoker. He was once with another friend and the friend got caught shop lifting. S knew about shop lifting but did nothing so he also got trespassing notice. Anyhow, as soon as S turned 18 he started showing his true colours, colours that were previously unknown to me but everyone else had seen them.

Last month he dropped another mega bomb on me by telling that he was no longer into the line of education he had just chosen in September and that he had quit the school. However, while he was NOT attending university he was still coming home every weekend, getting the laundry done and packing the food for next week until he ran out of money that he had saved from summer job.

So all he was doing at his room was to have fun, party, order-in food, play sports, learn new spots but nothing like drugs, alcohol or anything else.

Now after quitting school he is back at home, says he is looking to do extra courses that are needed to apply for the program that he likes NOW. Fine. But reality is he is not doing anything except eating, sleeping, hanging out with friends, be with them on the phone all nights. He has got a part time job. He has also got a small limit credit card in his own name. My guess is he has already maxed his credit card from the things he has been purchasing online.

His relationship with my new wife used to be okay but recently I have noticed that he is exploiting her because a) he is very good at observing her psychology and b) he knows I tend to believe him over other people. So again he pretends to be very well behaved but as soon as I leave home for work (and I live in other city for work) he starts to do subtle things that will annoy her (not speaking to her, wasting stuff, staying up all night or gone out without telling her and much more).

He seems to be very loving older brother to my two new kids but it seems they too have learned how to tell white lies from him. That's what's bothering me now. I asked him (rather told him) that if he really wanted to have full independence he would have to move out and be on his own. At home, I can't have two sets of rules - one for him and other for younger ones because they just don't know the difference of age and demand same liberties as him. (6 and 5 years old).

He has brought me to a point that I blame the whole divorce and failure to raise him as an honest, trustworthy citizen as my fault. This is constantly bothering me and apparently my health has taken a hit.

The more I probe the more I learn that he took full advantage of the divorce and exploited both parents to his benefit. This is very frustrating. He is very cold, non-emotional and shows almost no feelings about anything. I have been occasionally in touch with ex and she is just as shocked as me.

Anyone has had similar experience. What is the best advice to deal with this? Or am I overreacting and this whole thing will go away in couple of years with his maturity level?
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2017, 02:18 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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So kick him out. Or charge him rent. Discipline your kids when they pull those stunts and tell your wife her answer to him is “ask your dad”.

If hes not abiding by your rules or doing anything with his life you’re free to tell him theres the door. There are plenty of kids who start this crap at this age and think they can get away with it. Youre the parent, be a parent.
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Old 12-20-2017, 03:23 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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tough love approach. You think he will get better with age but he may just get better at manipulating you. You dont think he is using drugs or drinking but you also didnt know he dropped out of school. You only know what he lets you know.

You have to think of your marriage and your two youngest. You need to set firm boundaries with clear punishments then stick to it. He will continue on the path he is on unless you stop making excuses for him. Stop blaming the divorce and yourself for the way he is. As you said when you first divorced he didnt show any signs of it bothering him. It is his choice to lie and manipulate. It seems he has been this way for a while and is quite good at it.
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Old 12-20-2017, 03:26 PM
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arabian arabian is offline
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He's just being an ahole and likely needs a parental tune-up. Most kids maximize attention during divorce. They know parents are positioning and understand all to well how child support works. He hasn't moved on past the child-of-divorced-parents to independent adult status.

Hopefully you can encourage him to return to school. In the end if he succeeds he would be less likely to be a life-long leach.

You have to ask yourself if you and your wife would have someone who was a unsociable, unemployed, dope-head staying at your place for a lengthy visit? Initiate a weekly meeting/discussion with him and your wife (he will hate that) to review his progress and jointly agree on time-lines for going to school or obtaining full-time employment and payment of rent. He wants to be an adult then treat him like one and make sure he does his own laundry while he is a GUEST.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:00 PM
denbigh denbigh is offline
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I think you are being a little harsh is saying that he fully maniputaled the situation, maybe he is now, but he was only 8 at the time.

I also think it is entirely reasonable to have a different set of rules for the adults in the house compared to the kids. Even little kids get that they live by different rules. I doubt you have rules that your 18 year old has to go to bed at the same time as the little ones. Maybe you just need to spell out clearly what those rules are. Little kid rules vs adult rules. He is an adult so treat him like one. Adults pay there own way in life. You can say if you are not going to school, the room and board to live in my house is X. Help this and that chore and cook supper once a week for the family. If you dont have a job to pay the rent by X time with rent due on the first of the month, find a new place to live. And follow through. if you are not going to school you can live here, as long as you are contributing. Wouldnt we all love to live somewhere where the rent was free, the meals made for us , the house cleaned, and we could just sit around and do whatever we wanted to? That is not reality for most adults. I have a cousin who did this and he is still in his parents house and he is almost 30. I would nip this in the bud.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:37 AM
singledad99 singledad99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denbigh View Post
I also think it is entirely reasonable to have a different set of rules for the adults in the house compared to the kids. Even little kids get that they live by different rules. I doubt you have rules that your 18 year old has to go to bed at the same time as the little ones. Maybe you just need to spell out clearly what those rules are. Little kid rules vs adult rules. He is an adult so treat him like one. Adults pay there own way in life. You can say if you are not going to school, the room and board to live in my house is X. Help this and that chore and cook supper once a week for the family. If you dont have a job to pay the rent by X time with rent due on the first of the month, find a new place to live. And follow through. if you are not going to school you can live here, as long as you are contributing. Wouldnt we all love to live somewhere where the rent was free, the meals made for us , the house cleaned, and we could just sit around and do whatever we wanted to? That is not reality for most adults. I have a cousin who did this and he is still in his parents house and he is almost 30. I would nip this in the bud.
I have tried every possible scenario of rules but he just does not cooperate. His entire focus on finding loopholes and then we are back to discussion table again. I have offered him to go to counseling together if that helps but he has refused to do so. For anything to work in an adult environment, both parties have to acknowledge and respect each other.

The fact that he hid his vicious side from me successfully for so long is what is bothering me. I know doing nothing is not an option and doing something needs his cooperation. So I am left with only one option to let him move out. I offered to pay his rent until he has stable source of income but he just does not care. He is tight lipped all the times and most of his sentences are not longer than 1-2 words or 3 sometimes.
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Old 12-21-2017, 12:30 PM
v3ktors v3ktors is offline
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I would suggest putting together a very clear contract with your son. Make the conditions very black and white (and measureable) and the consequences laid out. If he is willing to work with you on the contract, you could possibly negotiate some terms. If he is not, then establish some clear expectations and be willing to follow through with the consequences if the expectations are not met.
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Old 12-21-2017, 12:35 PM
v3ktors v3ktors is offline
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One more thought...there is a common saying used at my work...if you want to drive change, you need to create discomfort with the status quo. In your case, as long as your son feels comfortable with his current lifestyle, there will be no drive for him to change.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:53 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singledad99 View Post
I have tried every possible scenario of rules but he just does not cooperate. His entire focus on finding loopholes and then we are back to discussion table again. I have offered him to go to counseling together if that helps but he has refused to do so. For anything to work in an adult environment, both parties have to acknowledge and respect each other.

The fact that he hid his vicious side from me successfully for so long is what is bothering me. I know doing nothing is not an option and doing something needs his cooperation. So I am left with only one option to let him move out. I offered to pay his rent until he has stable source of income but he just does not care. He is tight lipped all the times and most of his sentences are not longer than 1-2 words or 3 sometimes.
I would offer him first and last months rent. What you are offering is to pay for him to live somewhere else and there is no inventive to find work as long as you pay his rent.
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:38 PM
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Definition of vicious:

adjective
1.
deliberately cruel or violent.
"a vicious assault"
synonyms: brutal, ferocious, savage, violent, dangerous, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, callous, cruel, harsh, cold-blooded, inhuman, fierce, barbarous, barbaric, brutish, bloodthirsty, fiendish, sadistic, monstrous, murderous, homicidal; More
2.
literary
immoral.
"every soul on earth, virtuous or vicious, shall perish"

Perhaps reconsider your description of your son as "vicious" - upsetting? Yes. Vicious - No.

I think a better word to use would be "manipulative"?

If you follow-up your house rules with something in writing there would be no "loopholes" would there? Be sure to indicate time-lines.

If you travel frequently then you are relying on your current wife's description of events. As always, you must look to facts and not conjecture.. you don't know for certain about his credit limit/potential credit abuse.

You are an absentee parent? Who/where/what/when are important when communicating with anyone, particularly teenagers.

Complaints about his "exploiting" your current wife kinda sound trivial to me. Of course he is going to stay out late (that is what they do when they reach the age of majority). Where are you when this is happening? Her anxiety might be misdirected and is simply her frustration that you expect her to play babysitter to a grown adult? Same goes with the laundry part.

Many people start in a program at university and want to change. Were you around for him to discuss this with?
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