My grown son is an embarrassing bum! Hot Conversation

I am ashamed of my grown son, a 33 year old bum! Where did I fail goes over and over in my mind. I’ve realized recently I’m obsessed with this situation and must let it go, but how? It’s so hard!

He was three years old whenever his father and I divorced. It was bitter to say the least. It drug on for months. In the end I settled for joint custody, frankly I settled because his family got involved and they had more money than I. Joint custody. What a joke! It didn’t end there, the battle raged on.

Soon we added wife number two into the mix and she hated me more than my Ex MIL. They made things so difficult there were times I concidered walking away and letting them have him. I know that sounds horrible but he was being pulled apart. By the time he was five he was angry with me almost the whole time he was with me. I could tell by his behavior they were brain washing him against me. I to remarried and that brought on even more challenges. A new stepdad & stepbrothers was alot for him to adjust to, but he seemed to calm down and even wanted to come live with me. Things were still difficult.

His puberty & teen years were horrible. My EX MIL passed away whenever he was 12and his grief for her was very hard on him. I didn’t know much about grief at the time and didn’t understand what turmoil he was in. He was so bad my EX sent him to live with me. That only lasted a year before he wanted to move back to his Dad’s. For the most part he seemed to settle down for a while. He got into trouble for drinking and driving just before his eighteenth birthday and I found out through that ordeal he had also been doing drugs. He flunked his final exams and wasn’t going to be able to graduate without going to night classes to make up the credits so he gave up & got a job, but that didn’t last. With many fights, begging and crying, even bribery, he ended up going to the night school and earned his diploma. That took 3 years.

By that time he had moved out on his own. He moved around living with friends. He even worked out of state a while, but he wouldn’t keep a job long. During the time he was moving around his grandfather had moved into a nursing home, so whenever he lost his job out of state he came home and his father allowed him to move into his grandparents home, and that is where he is today. Living rent free in a 100 year old house that’s nearly falling to the grown. Him, his wife, and 16 month old baby.

He married at 29. I really had hopes his party days were over and he was serious about settling down. He had a good job, the new DIL was hard working sweet girl. She worked full time and was in college earning a business degree, things looked good for them. Or so I thought. I thought they were saving for a new home, when one day I get a call from him asking if he could borrow money for their light bill. What? Well he said, he had lost his job and didn’t want me to know, because he didn’t want me to worry. DIL had been sick so she had missed some work and we have just gotten behind.

This is where I fell in the black hole! I gave him money! And more money! Next thing you know she’s laidd off, and can’t look for work because she’s in bad health, and he can’t find work because of the poor economy. During the past 3 years they have lived off money from her family, his family my family, and myself. They have state healthcare, food stamps, and unemployment and still hit people up for money! The house they live in is horrible! Falling down, filthy, inside and out and my precious grand baby deserves better. My son has grown up better. They are out of their minds!

I have finally said enough! No more money from me! Now they can’t stand to be around me. They let me keep the baby every week, because they need a break! Really? Thanksgiving they didn’t hang around long because a few months back I finally told them how it is. I will not give you anymore money! I took him to the woodshed and gave him a come to Jesus preaching about his ways. I spelled it out pretty good for him in that 30 minutes speech. I told him he really should be ashamed to live like he does, and to not provide better for his precious baby is a sin! I really don’t know if that helped, but he does have a job now.

My dilemma is the baby. They love her no doubt! She’s always clean whenever I get her, and they fuss over the food she gets. They keep her up to date with her immunizations and all, but that shack they live in. My dilemma is what do I do about that? Anything? I’ve asked myself what would happen if the authorities were called? Would they remove the child? I think they would. Will they hate me and cut me off if I give them an ultimatum of 90 days to get her out of that house before I call the authorities? Should I wait until after Christmas?

What to do?

Posted in family & relationships, other topics.

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23 Responses

  1. Generic Image baby51 says

    PS, I feel her “bad health” is an excuse. I’m not being cold hearted here. I’ve had 3 back surgeries myself,  I know when your back is hurt you can NOT ride a 4 wheel ATV all day and come home laughing.

    0 like

  2. She Cat She Cat says

    This is my advice, you can take what you want and leave the rest. You and the rest of the family have enabled him to the point that he doesn’t know how, or won’t stand on his own two feet. He plays the system, and so does his wife. Well, if she can go 4 wheeling all day long, she can’t be that sick,

    I have COPD, PTSD, Asthma, Fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpel tunnel in both wrists, and I manage to work. And I am almost 60. So I would say that your DIL is just playing the system.

    If you make the call to the authorities, be prepared for not seeing your granddaughter for awhile. I say this because if your son and DIL find out that YOU turned them in, then they will most likely cut you out of their lives.

    If you feel you can live with this, then make the call. You need to do what you feel is best for the baby, and what you feel you can live with.

    Good luck.

    3 like

  3. Generic Image arden says

    Maybe you should do nothing except for keeping watch and calling only if things deteriorate more. If the babe is well care for and thriving, I doubt if the authorities would remove her anyway. There are probably lots of kids living in worse places that are not as well cared for or loved. And, should the authorities at some time, step in they might find them better housing or they might just leave things as they are because the little one is not suffering. The authorities would also look for family members to take the child first and you would probably be the first asked. However the parents could object to this if they thought you were the person who phoned.
    You know I grew up in an old farmhouse with no heat aside from a stove on the main floor. We would wake to frost not only on the windows but on the inside walls and sometimes even on our blankets. There were twelve of us crammed into four bedrooms and we all thrived despite the decrepid house. As I said, if the babe is doing well, let things be.

    6 like

  4. Generic Image Anita says

    Unless the child is in danger, uncared for, not getting fed, or bathed etc, then you are endangering your opportunity to keep an eye on her and be in her life. They will NEVER forgive you if they find it it is you. 
    I would say quit the  lectures about money and his life and let them get on with it.  As others have said family is enabling them, and rescuing them from the consequences of their own choices.  If they need money just say sorry you are not able to and  give them the phone numbers for variety or orgs/services etc that might help them. It’s tough.

    4 like

  5. Generic Image Claire says

    I understand your pain and concern. I have been divorced for a long time and my kids have also suffered from the instability and acrimony this caused. It sounds like you have done the best you can, it is so difficult fighting with the ex and his family for what you think is best that at times it feels overwhelming. Sounds like you should leave your son to live his life in the way he wants to now, you won’t change his mind now at his age, he has to wake up and smell the coffee for himself although this is so difficult to do as a concerned mom…………Good luck.

    5 like

  6. Generic Image baby51 says

    Thank you all! My fear has been if someone else calls the authorities, will they wonder what kind of person would let their grandchild live in such filthy conditions and not allow me to take her. I’m making peace with the situation. I know I can’t make that call, I can’t live their lives. I have trid not to enable them. Whenever I’ve given money I had him mow my yard, wash my windows etc.. I’ve have only became a soft touch since the baby. But as I said I’ve cut off the money. I will continue to keep the baby as long as I’m allowed and hope he will wake up and smell the coffee. I’ll have to learn to deal with the embarrassment!

    0 like

    • Snowcloud Snowcloud says

      What is there to be embarrassed about. They are living within their means. It is their choice to live like this. They are grown adults and sadly they chose this. This has no reflection upon you.

      1 like

  7. Generic Image Linda says

    Hi……I would say ‘back away’.  No more money!  You could suggest that if they needed assistance in getting the place in order, you would help them, but other than that, there isn’t much you could do.  Just be there for your grandchild and hope when she grows up, she’ll be a strong individual and not put up with this sort of thing.  Good luck…..I feel for you as a grandmother as I am one too……and it is so very hard to keep our opinions to ourselves as we do it out of the love we have.

    3 like

  8. MEL810 MEL810 says

    If you truly believe the baby is in danger or otherwise at risk call the toll-free anonymous child abuse and neglect hotline that most states have. They will protect your identity and if you give them sufficient details, they will send out a social worker to do a Family Assessment. At the time of the assessment, the worker will offer them services to help them get their lives together and will set up a Safety Plan for the child. 
    If the situation is truly horrible, you could consider trying to get custody of your grandchild.
    I agree with the other posters. Do not enable the son and DIL any more and do not feel guilty about your refusal to help. He is a grown man. It is up to him to solve his own problems and not use his childhood pain as an excuse for adult problems. If his childhood issues still bother him he should seek counseling but that is his issue, not yours.

    4 like

  9. MEL810 MEL810 says

    Oh to the DL: I am 62, have Hep C, Kidney Disease Stage 4 and Fibromyalgia and I am working full time.

    3 like

  10. Generic Image baby51 says

    I do not think the baby is in any immediate danger or I would have already done something. I don’t want to be the one to do anything period! I had hoped by talking to him, I could open his eyes, not just about him working, but about the unsanitary, mold riden house. The baby is sick alot. In her short life she’s had meningitis, hand foot mouth twice, strep & so many ear infections she’s having tubes next week. I may not be responciable for him but I still love him and don’t want to see him hurt. I had rather him be pissed at me than to see him go through the heartbreak of loosing her, and going through the system to get her back. I’ve warned him of the posibility, and that’s ALL I can do. The rest is up to them. No more leactures. I know from the past he has other family members that will call & not blink if they get upset with him. I can only hope now that if that day should come he will know I tried to help.

    1 like

  11. MEL810 MEL810 says

    An unsanitary, mold ridden environment is dangerous to growing children. Given your description of the child’s health problems, it sounds to me as if he is being neglectful by refusing to do the needed sanitary upkeep.  Your son is a grown man and can do something about his own miserable situation but apparently, for whatever reason, refuses to do so. The baby is helpless and caught in his situation. She can not help herself at all. Therefore, a responsible adult should help her before her health deteriorates further.

    3 like

  12. Generic Image baby51 says

    Thanks MEL810, I agree that something needs to be done for the baby. I believe they are all sick from the house. He has breathing problems, COPD, a horrible cough. DIL has sinus & migrane headaches. They blame the babies sickness on orther children. The pediatrition has told them to keep her away from those children, but they think it’s natural childhood illness and it’s not that bad. They have an excuse for everything. It’s very frustrating and why i’m at the place I am. Questioning what to do? The big questions are can I deal with the fall out if I make the call? Can I live with myself if I don’t, and the baby comes down with something even more serious? I’m not sneaky, I can’t/wont lie about it! At this point I feel it’s best to wait until after Christmas and give them the ultimatum, get her out or I’m making a call to codes. I seriously believe the code department will comdemn the house and I don’t think there’s as great a possibility codes will involve child welfare. If it comes to that, then they’ll have to deal with it. Given the situation do you feel I have any other choice?

    0 like

  13. Generic Image shirakon says

    Guess what…  they are adults…they make their own way.  you can’t save them, or change their ways…  you need to come to some peace in your life over this.  if the child is in imminent danger then call authorities.  you need to step back and let them fail or succeed on their own
    sorry to be brutal here but you are still being a mother wanting him to act the way you feel he should.  you did the best you could when he was growing up, now he is, so step back and stop driving yourself crazy….:)

    2 like

  14. Generic Image baby51 says

    shirakon,  Not as brutual as I’ve been on myself! lol But point taken. Thanks! :

    0 like

  15. Generic Image Sandi says

    “My dilemma is the baby. They love her no doubt! She’s always clean whenever I get her, and they fuss over the food she gets. They keep her up to date with her immunizations and all, but …”
    “The baby is sick alot. In her short life she’s had meningitis, hand foot mouth twice, strep & so many ear infections she’s having tubes next week.”
    So they will  fuss over the food, but allow their baby to live in squalor? and mold, and filth??  What other children is the baby with all the time that spreads all this sickness??  Excuses. Given this situation, sadly you really don’t have any other choice but to step in.
    Mel810 says it best…the baby is helpless and a responsible adult needs to be her advocate.

    3 like

  16. Generic Image tennim says

    Have you asked whether they have mold in the house?  Offered to buy a test kit (about $10.) at Home Depot to detect mold, if any.  That’s the only danger (mold).  My children grew up in a good house and my eldest got a lot of ear infections, nothing due to the home environment.  My grandson lives in a great house still got hand foot mouth. Meningitis is not, from what I know, due to living in an old house.

    0 like

  17. snickse snickse says

    Hello baby51, I’m late to reading this thread and hope things have developed in a more positive way or stabilized with your son’s job and that you still get to see the grandchild.

    I recognized some of my own concerns in your story because I have a niece, now in her 30s, who has gone through the same cycles and ended up always asking for money.  She and her husband have three children who are now all in grade school, and I relax more because they have the school system of teachers, counselors, etc. to watch out for signs of neglect.  But I have to say the kids are doing well in spite of the parents’ problems.  

    I suggest that if you still consider that the house and condition of the home environment is unhealthy, but not immediately dangerous, maybe you can find a way to convey the information without reporting directly.  For example if the child is often sick but the parents do tell you what is the ailment and what they are doing about it (getting ear infections cleared up, for example) to comment in some way that you “are glad they have found out the cause and what will help.”  I’m only saying do those kind of things if the child is not in life threatening immediate danger. 

    From what you said about your long talk with your son, sounds like you got a lot of what needed to be said out in the open.  And he did get a job, and even though the parents have backed off, they do leave their child with you…and they consider you a safe person, (even if they also “need a break”) and you are seeing some things they are doing OK.  As the little one get older, there will be preschool or community centers, or daycare…and others that can be on watch and will also be mandatory reporters.  

    Keep your eyes and ears open but also remember the power of your influence, just being a presence in the child’s life. 

    Another thing you have done well is cut off the financial help.  You have every right to do this and don’t need to make any apologies or lecture or anything.  I used to “help” my niece but after a few years I said “I don’t give out money anymore.”  I did say that if there was ever a cold winter when they couldn’t pay the heat bill, they could let me know and I would pay a bill for them once that winter, whatever I could afford.  That has worked well; I think they only asked me once.  The bill was high but the weather was extreme, and I followed through on what I said I would do.

    Now the problem that continued on was that after my niece’s dad died, she couldn’t go to him for a little cash here and there, and she started asking my sister/her mom, who is disabled and on a fixed income.  My sis would give her the debit card (!) and say “get a little bit for yourself in exchange for giving me rides, helping me clean up my house”, and niece would take way more money as cash back and her mom would get overdrawn.   Finally my sister drew the line and said she had no more money to ”loan” as sis has to go into assisted living.  She sees her grandkids less now, but niece does bring them to visit sometimes, and niece now has a job.

    People like this tend to live in cycles, go from one crisis to another, then stabilize for awhile.  Their kids probably do not know the extent of their parents’ instability, but they will sense your stability and love…and as grandparents and extended family, we can be vigilant but also provide examples.  

    About money again, one thing you can say is that you are now in the position of preparing for your older years and are being careful with money so that you can take care of yourself and not need to ask them for help.  I know that is easier said than done, but in making such statements you are also planting the thought of preparing for the future by being responsible with your money, without saying that to them about their own behavior.

    Wishing you peaceful holidays.

    1 like

  18. snickse snickse says

    PS  I see that one of my thoughts is unfinished…what I meant by “not reporting directly” is finding out the name of the clinic or doctor and sending an anonymous message about what the conditions of the house are like.  This could result in further questioning when they bring the child in for checkups and procedures.  But since the medical people would be doing the investigation, if you conveyed your concerns anonymously, you could remind yourself you took action but in a way that the parents could not trace to you.  Also, then the doctors can determine if the baby’s health is related to the conditions in the house and educate the parents or take other actions. 

    I grew up in a house full of what looked like from the outside as “squalor” but from a variety of influences outside the home, I came to see that my family was very different and began to look at the way other people lived as ways that I might live.  Your grandchild will have that kind of influence from you.

    Also the burden is on your son and probably DIL that even though they will never admit it, because of your “financial contributions” they were able to keep afloat as long as they did.  Time for them to grow up.

    0 like

  19. Generic Image Jean says

    I would not call the child services.  I would let him know the house (is it certain that there is mold?  Is it filty, or just not up to your standards?  Be sure that this is the cause before you go running on suspicion and and assumption – there’s a lot at risk!) could be causing the health issues of the family and encourage them to find a cleaner place in which to live.  Where is the landlord?  ARe there no requirements for rentals?  Urge him to contact the landlord/tenant board or the legal aid soc. to get help with this.
    Unless I had proof that the child’s situation was dire, I would not call child services.  I’m not that confident in the placements they use, and I would not want to risk the relationship with the child.
    I’d give advice, encouragement but would not make the call.  Mho.

    1 like

  20. Generic Image SecretID58 says

    You don’t want to call child services unless there is an extremely dangerous situation going on. I work in Family Court.  By the time the court completes it’s investigation, YOU could be pushed out of the child’s life. Child protective services has extremely high standards about how things should be done.  If you have anything that is suspect in your past, it will be examined.  And often, if the case is “founded”, it could affect the employment prospects of the parents.
    Watch out for the child.  Don’t go to the authorities unless the child is in danger.  A dirty house is not necessarily a bad one.

    1 like

  21. Generic Image Bellasays says

    Unfortunately I am late responding to this post, as well.  However, would like to offer a couple of suggestions that could possibly benefit your grandchild without bringing undue suspicion on you.  You mentioned that the child is clean when you get it, that’s always good. It means that they are making an effort to provide and care for her needs, even thought they may be quite basic.  When she’s with you, check for signs of neglect in the health area, check her teeth – illustrate to her the proper brushing methods, etc; check her hair and scalp, run a bath for her – check for marks/bites/scratches etc that could result from un-clean environments.  Give her a little girl’s (play) mani/pedi, you’re looking for signs of nutritional deficiencies.  Such a practice can serve dual purposes, 1 it will allow you to determine if there are deficiencies in her daily care,  and 2 it can give you an opportunity to properly clean & groom her, while showing her how to care for herself as she matures into a growing young girl.  Additionally, you can create opportunities to have her with you more often, trips to the zoo, children museums, special lunch, girl time, etc. just schedule some event, doesn’t matter how trivial it is, for the real purpose is to get her where you can care for her often – solely for her benefit here.   This couple must not know that you’re questioning their parenting skills, or ability to care for their child – for they will soon realize that this could be a bargaining tool – and start to exploit your love for the child to get your money.  So, you must be subtle when you plan time to spend with your grandchild.  Take care and proceed with caution, remember you mustn’t reveal your deeper concern about the child’s daily care and living conditions; as you could risk being torn away from the child and forfiet being her alternate care giver. That would be the real tragedy.

    2 like

  22. Generic Image Bellasays says

    I ended my post too soon, for I also intended to add that you’re preceptive so don’t second guess yourself about believing there’s trickery going on. It’s likely that your son has been playing on the mercy of family & friends for a mean of extra income (to subsidize the state aide) they’re getting. It’s also likely that his wife, is faking the true medical condition for normally  people who suffers with back problems severe enough to prevent working is also in too much pain to enjoy certain types of out-door activities esp. riding an all terain vehicle. Like many of the others, I suffer with back, neck, shoulder pain; fibromyalgia, and related issues, am over 60 and work fulltime; yes, I agree, your son and his wife is playing you and by extension & use of our tax dollars, they’re playing us too.
    Still, the important thing here is to “take care of the child” as much as you’re allowed.

    0 like

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