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At A Loss Of What To Do Regarding My Son's Drinking and Irresponsible Behavior

by Cari
(Iowa)

I have written before about the current demise of my 19 year old son and his bad decisions to drink and the severe legal consequences he has had to deal with. After repeated nights of coming home drunk and not obeying any house rules, I told him he was "out".


I haven't seen him for 2 weeks. I know he's with "friends". He quit his job; the only one that would hire him with his background. He has/had plans to attend college in the fall, but he gave up his chance of on-campus housing because he wanted to "wait and room with 2 of his friends". Needless to say at the end of July, he is now on a housing waiting list.

He has no car, so driving to campus is not an option. No job, probably no school in the fall, he has messed up every plan his father and I have made to get him going in, maybe not the right direction, but A direction.

I am a teacher and it seems quite hypocritical of me to return to school and have high expectations of my students, when I have raised a failure and prove not to be an expert of knowing what's right for any teenager.

I am depressed, but it's silly to expect any anti-depressant to help when the real problem is a "person". I gladly accept any advice.

Alcoholism-and-Drug-Addiction-Help.com Answer



Hi Cari

As a teacher you'll know that the success of your students is only partly attributable to your skills and input as their teacher. Because you can only do so much - the ultimate success of your students depends on how much effort they put in away from the classroom, i.e. whether they do their homework, study hard for tests/exams.

So you may be a brilliant teacher, but if one of your students simply isn't prepared to put in the work and effort to get good grades/maximise their potential ... there isn't much else you can do.

Likewise as parent, if your son isn't prepared to take responsibility for his life and behavior ... you can say/do all the right things, but they will make very little difference because he simply won't be taking on board anything you're saying.

As the proverb goes - you lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

So all you can do is control the controllables. Namely being the best possible parent and teacher you can be. The rest is out of your hands. And sometimes the only way we learn is from our mistakes and the consequences that come from making poor choices.

That's what you're forcing your son to do now, and hopefully in time he'll realise that he's wasting his life with his drinking and irresponsible behavior, and so reach the point where he's ready to change things. But he has to reach that realisation himself. You can't reach it for him.

By creating boundaries and not enabling him however, you'll hopefully help him reach that point faster than would otherwise be the case. No parent wants to see their child wasting their life, but you don't know what destiny your son's life holds ... so hopefully one day he'll learn from this and become a better person for having been through it all.

Take Care

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