06-13-2022 10:45 PM - last edited on 06-22-2022 03:30 PM by Philippa-RO
I am a single 56 year old father of an adopted 19 year old son. I was introduced to my son through a mutual friend who was trying to help the boy who had been abandoned by his mother and was bouncing from friends home to friends home as his welcome wore out. I gave the boy weekend work with my construction company and after a few weeks told him to move into a spare room in my home. I acquired guardianship and eventually legally adopted. We get along very well and he has followed my rules with little problems until recently. He dropped out of school two years ago and was under a doctors care for adhd when he moved in. Not long after moving in he was released from his doctor because his provider felt it was more environmental in nature and he was well adjusted and doing good now. I also felt the same way.
I will say he does get high from the minute he wakes up until he falls a sleep most days. I don’t see a single day of no weed use. He has been studying for his insurance license but not as serious as he should be. He like most teen boys games far too much. I knew taking him in adjustments were needed in his lifestyle but have been doing them slowly seeing he had no parental authority to follow growing up. Father was never in the picture. Mother experiences addiction. And there was no stable home life. They lived in abandoned homes, cars, tents etcetera.
Up until now we have had a good relationship and he has been positive about being an insurance producer. He’s a happy, loving and caring young man who treats his new grandparents and family members well.
The issue is a few online friends. One he gets high with via online video. If I ask why he feels the need to get so high he gets angry and tells me it’s what he does and of course nothing is wrong with it. I grew up using weed also but out grew it when adulthood kicked in so I am cautious about how I approach this subject and have been doing it slowly.
My big issue currently that I really need advice on is this.. He met a girl 5 years ago who was visiting relatives at a school dance. He was 14 and she 12 at that time. She lives 4 hours away from us. They exchanged snapchat info and talked on and off for several years mostly off. Recently this past month all I hear is her and notice the phone is glued to him all day and night. I see her emoji on the top of his phone is I glance over and have confronted him a few times about why they are texting so much. He said she understands him and they like to talk. I asked why she is not talking to boys in her area and he said that she told him they are not as interesting as my son. She is still in high school and has family issues as well according to my son. Memorial day she visited out state with her mother for the weekend and was staying a few hours from us. My son said she was going to come hang out at out house for the weekend. I firmly said no! I don’t know this girl or her family. We are in a pandemic and have 85 and 90 year olds in the family we are with daily. And generally I don’t want him to even attempt to pursue a relationship with someone who one is still in high school for another year but also lives 4 hours away on a good day. We are in the process of looking for a home across the country and he is studying for his insurance license and will be working with me in a family business. Last weekend she invited him down to her house for the weekend. I again said no. And I have not mentioned he does not have a drivers license or vehicle. He said he would take an uber. I told him to take a break from her and focus on getting done what he needs to begin his career.
I know 19 is a tuff time because I was in his shoes once as well. I also know that in my home which was very stable, parents will be 65 years married soon and I had the same home until I moved out in my mid twenties. My father would be making the same requests and decisions with this girl and I would respect his decision while living under his care.
My father is 90 and said to “**bleep** this in the bud” concerning his online relationship that he is very emotionally involved in. I also spoke with several friends who have children with one being a mentor for his studying and hopefully career who all said they would do the same thing I am doing by saying no and put the girl out of your mind and behind you. She is too far away to consider anything with her.
Sorry this was so long, I tried to give you all as much info as possible. Thank you for reading this.
06-14-2022 06:44 PM
Thank you so much for sharing what is going on for you. I can hear that this has been something causing you a fair bit of stress.
Like you have also noted, it sounds like your son is going through a tough time trying to sort out many personal things. It sounds wonderful that you have been in his life and have a good relationship for him to build that trust.
I think taking a cautious approach and trying to understand why your son is using weed daily or what this relationship is really providing him are good steps to start with. I’m hearing that he is looking for someone who understands him on a deeper level and this relationship is meeting some internal need for him. Considering some of the struggles he faced during his childhood that she can relate to, has he received any ongoing mental health support?
I understand that you are focused on his future and doing your best to get him into a good career path to set him up for his future. It sounds like you are also getting support from others in your life and are really trying to understand your son. It can be a fine balance trying to talk to him, but he is also an adult that is starting to make life choices. How is he taking the idea of moving across the country?
I hope our community have more to add, but we hope to hear more from you!
06-15-2022 02:20 AM
06-15-2022 01:33 PM
That's really great to hear that progress is happening, and sounds like the move will have a positive effect on the whole family.
I can understand your concern about your son's relationship, it can be really difficult to understand how young people can connect so intensely to people online. I'm wondering what part of their relationship is it you feel is unhealthy? We have this article that talks about teens and romantic relationships that might be helpful.
You've mentioned that you're also taking care of your elderly parents, I imagine that's a lot to take on. Is there anything you like to do to make sure you also have time for yourself?
06-15-2022 05:29 PM
I am Mum to an 18 year old son and 16 year old daughter. It sounds like you have a heart of gold helping this young man out and adopting him as your son. It sounds like you have a great relationship, but are trying to nut out what are really difficult issues for any parent, but are intensified possibly given your son's history. When I was young, being understood was very important to me, and given what he's been through, having that connection would mean the world. I'm not sure whether seriousness of a connection can be judged by whether they mix online or in real life. I've been in an extended lockdown and iso situation as I'm vulnerable to covid, and I've been going to Church online and made some good connection and attended small groups there. As a [parent, a long distance relationship suits me fine as the physical intimacy thing isn't such an issue. Someone on the moon would suit me just fine!
There's a danger of building barriers too high. I'm not sure how much say we have in whether they date or not over 18 and being too strict can lead to resentment and not feeling understood. He is a man. That said, guidance is still needed. I also feel that our young people have some catching up after the last two years and we're mindful our son lost a lot of time. We're not putting too much pressure on him.
The weed issue concerns me more, but I've also never been into it. I'm not sure whether you are familiar with the idea that people taking drugs or alcohol can be self-medicating and using these to deal with their problems. I was familiar with the action but not the terminology but I find the word helpful and it sort of says these people are dealing with some stuff.
It sounds to me like you communicate well and are very caring and he's so lucky to have you. I also understand the difficulties of caring for your older parents and the impact of dementia. think we're taking after our kids and our parents and at times neither of them are cooperating. I thought it was a hoot when my mum was in the middle and my grandmother and I would bake together while mum was trying to get us both to lose weight.
I hope this helps.
06-15-2022 08:19 PM
06-16-2022 10:43 PM
06-16-2022 11:43 PM - edited 06-16-2022 11:44 PM
I understand your concerns about your son's relationship with this girl and can only imagine how challenging it is for you as a parent, to try and guide your son into making healthy decisions about relationships whilst he is probably learning all about that himself. I can see that you care about your son's wellbeing, and having his friends and other people in your life validate your reasons for being concerned about this girl would only make you feel more stressed about the whole situation.
You mentioned a few concerns about this girl, I am wondering what it is about her lack of supervision concerns you? It is great that you have some people in your circle that you can talk about this with. They also sound like experienced parents, I wonder if you could talk with them and perhaps seek some guidance around how to talk with your son about your concerns?
We also have a resource here about how to help teenagers have respectful relationships. There is also an article here about how to talk with teenagers about sex, as you mentioned you have tried teaching your son about healthy relationships. I hope the articles help.
It sounds like you have a lot going on and it must be quite stressful for you at times. Please remember to take care of yourself too!