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    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #1

    Jul 17, 2017, 10:07 AM
    Boundaries for family with our adult children
    I have a 22 year old son who has been in a world of trouble due to some very poor choices when he was 18-19. He totalled my car, then his father (we are divorced) helped him purchase two more cars. He totaled the first, the second was seized by the police when he didn't pull over for a traffic stop timely. My son started smoking cigarettes and pot, and pot for him has been a total disaster, contributing to his other behaviors in a very significant way. He now vapes, and has a history of switching between pot and regular vape solution in whatever vape pipes or water pipes. On pot, he is raging and psychotic - not an exaggeration. No boundaries, no motivation, no self control. Many people have told me this doesn't happen with pot, but I have conferred with countless experts and new pot can have this impact. He has tested clean for absolutely everything else, regularly, for two years (regularly tested - he is on felony probation - and agreed to share the reports with me).

    He has started to turn his life around and after kicking him out two years ago, I recently permitted him to move back in with me base on him having succeeded in meeting the terms of his probation, testing clean for pot for two years, and otherwise cleaning up his act. There have been isolated incidents of extreme disrespect which have been related to him vaping in my condo, which I do not allow but the improvement is tremendous since last time he lived with me.

    At 22 he has a smoker's cough from the vaping habit. It seems to sweat through his pores and he stinks. His cothing and everything in his room have a haze on them which reaks of the fake vanilla vape solution he prefers. Vape solution contains vegetable oil, and that oil makes everything sticky and disgusting. His doctor told him he has developed an allergy to the vape solution and needs to stop before he contract pneumonia or has an anaphylactic reaction, and I just can't stand, as a mom, to see him with yellow teeth, smelling like dead rear-end, coughing his head off and walking around in a cloud.

    Now my sister has decided to try vaping as an alternative to her heavy smoking habit. I asked her long ago not to commiserate with, smoke with or otherwise bond with my so over smoking. I asked her never to borrow or lend cigarettes with him, etc. as I want reinforcement on the disapproval for his smoking. I told her she can blame it on me, as in, "your mom would no like me giving you a cigarette and I'm not interfering in her parenting". She agreed.

    Well, now she has determined my son is her go-to expert on vaping, and is using him as her consultant to learn all about the product and how to use it. I was present when this started and said, "Any vape store can answer your questions. Please don't involve my son in your new habit." She considered me "unsupportive" of her "effort to quit" by vaping.

    All present argued the point with me, I thought stupidly. I cannot stop my son from smoking at 22, but I feel it's reasonable not to allow it in my house and to ask my immediate family to not support the habit in any way. I have had minimal discussions with my son, telling him that keeping it out of my house, car and presence is imperative and that I agree with his doctor an hope he will continue the positive changes he has made in other areas and stop smoking entirely. My sister is always quitting smoking and every scenario she comes up with involves her continuing to smoke in some way "I'm cutting down", or builds in reasons she can recommence the habit such as, "well, if my husband is supportive, and work doesn't get too crazy, and....I might be able to quit, but I might still smoke on weekends". This has gone on for decades and this is just the latest non-effort to quit. I am not suggesting it's easy to quit by any means, and I never nag her about her smoking. I'm just tired of entertaining all the endless excuses for it. I'm not asking for an explanation and it's such bull, I'd rather not hear it. But she's now roping my son into this ridiculous thing. He fashions himself some kind of expert and has convinced himself that vaping is great and his doctor is old fashioned and on and on, and she feeds right into his stupidity.

    I am interested in what others think of my request of my sister.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,890, Reputation: 5430
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    #2

    Jul 17, 2017, 10:17 AM
    It's your house, your rules. How old is your sister? And what are the consequences if your son falls back on his old ways?
    Oliver2011's Avatar
    Oliver2011 Posts: 2,606, Reputation: 746
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    #3

    Jul 17, 2017, 03:06 PM
    You know I've thought about this and reread it several times. Your sister and son are adults and as adults they are going to do what they please. It is your house and you decide what you allow in your house. It sounds like you did a very nice job pointing out the positives when your son started turning his life around. I would continue doing that and see if you can't bring him back to finally growing up. A lot of boys remain boys until they finally grow up. We have all seen it. Your sister sounds like a lost cause. From an outsider looking in, I would guess this isn't the only nice attribute your sister has. But that's just a guess on my part. I would remain consistent with your rules. They aren't difficult rules to follow.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #4

    Jul 17, 2017, 03:44 PM
    'On pot he is raging and psychotic.'

    Chances are, he was smoking one of over 500 synthetics out there, sold as pot (or spice or K2 or countless names), really chemicals sprayed on herbs. Some damage the brain, the kidneys, you name it. His kidneys sound ruined. I'd see if you can get him a complete physical. If he's on SSD or SSDI, he is encouraged to get one a year.

    You son and sister are both adults. You can order them around in your house, but not out, so you can't expect your sister to obey your wishes. You can tell her that if she continues to vape with your son, then he gets kicked out again.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,216, Reputation: 10853
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    #5

    Jul 17, 2017, 08:57 PM
    I think your real problem is your son lives with you and his growing pains are driving you nuts. That just raises your worry levels higher than they need be, since you deal with it everyday. Unfortunately, as others point out, you cannot control other adults, and like it, or not your son is one. And of course it's easy to also resent your sister for not being on your side, and supporting YOU trying to keep your son on a better path. It's frustrating to the max.

    Get out of their relationship, they obviously bond in their misery, and keep some Febreez for your son's stinky clothes, as well as hand soap, or lotion. Make him use these items. You really should balance this out a bit since you said he is trying and succeeding in honoring his probation so don't be so hard on the young guy, since you do not have the luxury of leaving him alone, so tell your sister to leave you alone, since she has her own demons and life, and cannot support what you are trying to do.

    Yeah I know, that idea kind of sucks too, but it's your space, and you allow other flawed humans into it, family or not. Sorry, but that's all you can CONTROL. Just tell her you have enough problems without hers adding to it. I doubt she understands, but I doubt this is the first sibling conflict between you, either. She really should know better than getting between a son and mom during a tough time, anyway.

    Agreed?
    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #6

    Jul 25, 2017, 03:01 PM
    My sister is 54 so no age-based excuse. My son was using regular pot - tested. Tested to the degree possible for the synthetics as well, with his consent - they checked for various toxins like those you mention above, Joy - they cannot eliminate it definitively but his behavior is also consistent with the strength of regular pot today. The active ingredients are many times more concentrated than they used to be. I believe he was smoking what's called skunk weed - aptly name.

    My primary question isn't what I can do if I lay down the law - obviously, my son's an adult, my sister's an adult. I could be done with both if I wished to be. I'm more interested in the take of others on whether it's reasonable of me to ask my sister to find a different expert resource for her vaping habit, and whether you think that her hanging on my son's every word about the subject is in a way her support of his habit. And I'd be interested as a side issue in knowing if any of you have ever known anyone who ultimately quit smoking entirely by switching to e-cigarettes as a step-down. I haven't and think she's full of crap.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,216, Reputation: 10853
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    #7

    Jul 25, 2017, 04:12 PM
    I'm more interested in the take of others on whether it's reasonable of me to ask my sister to find a different expert resource for her vaping habit, and whether you think that her hanging on my son's every word about the subject is in a way her support of his habit.
    Addicts are like birds of a feather, and they hang together. They both need help from a professional 3rd party intervention, but if they are not willing to seek the right help themselves, it's reasonable to suggest such help, but don't either of them to go for it. Us addicts are frustrating to those that love us.

    And I'd be interested as a side issue in knowing if any of you have ever known anyone who ultimately quit smoking entirely by switching to e-cigarettes as a step-down. I haven't and think she's full of crap.
    That's marketing HYPE in my opinion, and if a person is serious about changing bad habits they seek the right help. Few can do it on their own, and vaping is but an easier softer path... to where I don't know, but changing one habit for another, seldom has good outcomes. Not defending them, but recovery ain't easy.
    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #8

    Aug 1, 2017, 02:43 PM
    My son and I attended a party with mutual friends where my sister was also present. She obsessively returned the topic of the conversation back to the news that she had "quit" smoking. She never put the vaping thing down the entire evening. It was in her mouth or her hand the entire evening - for hours. At least she used to go do other things for five minutes when she smoked regular cigarettes. And again she roped my son into discussing all the details of vaping. He was visibly uncomfortable. I told him, "my sister's being an idiot but I can ask my son to respect his mother - next time she brings it up to you, tell her you're not discussing the subject because it upsets your mother." He didn't go that far but he did pretty aggressively and repeatedly attempt to change the subject.

    My son had another doctor appointment and got a good talking to about it. Also at the party were my three friends who are pharmaceutical chemists and who talked to him as well about how dangerous it is to coat his lungs with vaporized vegetable oil, and explained that he really needs to stop. He likes them and respects how informed they are and it seemed to have some impact. We will see.
    Oliver2011's Avatar
    Oliver2011 Posts: 2,606, Reputation: 746
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    #9

    Aug 1, 2017, 03:24 PM
    Good luck to you and your son. I went out for lunch today and saw a pregnant woman using the e-cigarette. It can't be healthy for the baby.
    rs266821's Avatar
    rs266821 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Aug 2, 2017, 12:51 AM
    1. Encourage working children to contribute part of their pay for room and board.

    2. Don't indiscriminately give money. Providing spending money should be contingent on children’s efforts toward independence.

    3. Develop a response that you can offer if you are caught off guard. Agree that you won’t give an answer for certain time whether it be the next morning or at least for 24 hours. For example, the next time you get an urgent call that says, “I need money,” respond by saying, “I’ll have to talk it over with your father (or, if you are single, “I’ll have to think it over”) and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.” This will allow you time to consider it and give you a chance to think and talk about it beforehand. It will also show that you are remaining steady in your course while presenting a united front.

    4. Agree on a time limit on how long children can remain at home.

    5. If you can afford it, offer to help pay starting costs of rent on an apartment.

    6. Make an agreement for decreasing contributions to rent until the child is fully responsible.

    7. Remember that you always have the right to say, “I changed my mind” about a previous promise.

    8. Set limits on how much time you spend helping your child resolve crises. Encourage the child to problem-solve by asking, "What are your ideas?”

    9. Remember you are not in a popularity contest. Be prepared for your child to reject you. He or she will most likely come around later.

    10. Attend support groups if your child has a substance abuse or emotional problem. Only give spending money to an adult child consistently involved in treatment.
    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #11

    Aug 7, 2017, 03:00 PM
    RS - thank you.

    As mentioned, my son now lives with me - after I kicked him out two years ago - because he cleaned up his act and is doing as expected. I do not approve of the vaping and he now only vapes legal vape solution - he has tested clean for drugs for two straight years. He does not take advantage and when he moved out, he supported himself.

    I invited him to move back because the financial burden of surviving on his own without a trade or degree was keeping him stuck, and I want him to move forward as does he. He has some obstacles to getting back to school but is chipping away at them, and he is working. I don't charge him rent because he has some debt that I want him to pay off in preparation to either return to college or join the military, and he has to prove to me that those bills are paid timely by showing me the invoices and bank records documenting proof of payment and the dates thereof.

    I'm a pretty tough and consistent parent. I did make him move out before because he would not follow the house rules, and he had to go find his way. It was very difficult for him and for me, but he needed the boot.

    I actually really enjoy my son and am proud of his sobriety. But I have known many people who have struggled with such habits, and don't want my grown sister roping him back into more negative habits when he's making so much progress without her stupid interference in my parenting.

    I understand that my son is an adult on the calendar but any parent of a young adult will tell you, parenting doesn't end on a particular birthday. Parenting ends over a long period when the child no longer needs the advice and guidance. My son is not yet at that point. The objective is his independence but he needs some professional skills or training to get there, so I'm trying to facilitate that and guide him to finishing up with cleaning up his messes from the past.

    Thanks so much all of you for all the insight - well apprecited!

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