Subject: my son
Question: My son is 20 years old. He has been caught minor consuming since age 16. Now, he is being charged with grand theft auto and larceny theft.
I am utterly distraught, he cannot listen to my advice or my husband. Or any other person that cares for him. My heart is broken and I feel so terribly sad and helpless. I feel like saying to him, do not ever call me again. I believe that we raised him in a loving home. How can I help my son? I know that he is calling out for help. Please can you please give me some advise asap.
Answer: Dear Anonymous,
I know you heart must be breaking to see the self destructive choices your son is making. There must be some sort of involvement with substances either alcohol or drugs as this is common with this type of behavior.
I don’t think cutting your son out of your life will do either of you any good. I do believe that letting him know his behavior is unacceptable is important. Telling him that while you love him you will not support him either financially or otherwise as long as he continues to make these type of choices.
Then believe it or not I am going to give you the same advice I would give someone as a two year old toddler. Stop talking to him about the negative things he is doing and start looking for things you can praise him on, some aspect of his personality, something he does or says. Try to find positive things to praise him for as this can be a challenge when an adult child is becoming self destructive.
By all means do not save him from the consequences of his choices. If he faces criminal charges do not bail him out or otherwise take care of his problems for him. Remember to not do for him what he can do for himself.
And lastly, listen when he talks to you. Really listen, don’t interrupt and don’t think about things you want to say, just spend time listening even when you don’t agree with what he says.
Now for you. His choices are not a reflection on you. They are a reflection of whatever is going on inside of himself.