Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adult Children part 1

My four oldest children are close in age.

In fact Tyler and Jessica, both birth children, are 12 months, 3 weeks and one day apart. I wanted them close and Jessica true to her nature was in a hurry : ) With Tyler's delays, they often seemed like twins. Now most people assume Jessica is older. Just one of the quirks of having an asperger child. (Who was not diagnosed until age 15 when someone finally listened to me).

Jeff is 20 months and two weeks younger than Jessica and Adam is 20 months and two weeks younger than Jeff. Jeff's assigned birthday is actually on the exact midpoint between Adam and Jessica's birthdays.

However, Adam joined our family first.

Jeff joined our family just a couple of months before his fifth birthday while we were living in England.

Having children close in age meant they had a lot of shared interests and we could plan activities that would include all of them. (This photo includes two foster children but it was ages ago so not like anyone is going to care). It also meant a lot of sibling squabbles. But that goes with the territory.

Now they are 20, 19, 17 and 16. So they are all adults or almost adults together. We've traded in things like how to get all the car seats, strollers and bags to our destination to how to survive teaching them to to drive, get and keep a job, apply for college and so on.

They have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses. This leads to some issues between them but we are helping them sort out what are personalities differences from what are more serious things like values issues. One child drive the others crazy constantly snapping fingers or tapping on something. Doesn't bother me because it's not important overall.

We are having some more serious issues right now. We have a child who does not seem to have a walk with God. Some of you won't think that's important and that's okay. It's important to me though that kids are real in their faith. One tends to be more legalistic and act out of feelings that God might do something to him if he doesn't do the right thing. I don't like that because I want his relationship with God to be based on grace and a real relationship with Christ. I've seen too many people with a legalistic faith turn from God when things don't work out. He has an overactive conscious and I've been talking to him about that, but I know his faith is real.

It's the child who can give all the right answer but doesn't seem to have a heart knowledge of God that worries me. I've tried to talk to him but just get, "I know all that mom. I'm fine." But he's not. He's watching things that he shouldn't be filling his mind with. He's listening to music filled with sex talk and violence. He's deceitful and rebellious. He is not quite 18 but thinks he doesn't have to listen to us at all. He's been back in the house almost four months now and it's been a hard four months. His computer has had serious problem due to things he accesses. We have our modem set to PG 13 but there are ways to get links to bad stuff through okay sites.

When we try to talk to him he blows us off saying he's an adult now. But he still lives in our house. I ignore the messy room with unmade bed and dirty clothes and dishes everywhere. I even ignore the lying about all the girls who like him and want to date him. A couple of days ago his bike safety became an issue when we saw him bike right through a red light without even slowing down, helmet on the handle bars and ear phones in (illegal in FL). Cars had to stop for him. When I confronted him later he told me "it's not like I'm driving a car, there are no rules. Rick printed him off the FL rules for bicyclists. But I'm pretty sure he knew.

We know he never wears a helmet and have told him as long as he lives here he needs to wear one but with running red lights etc we got tougher. I told him if I saw him without a helmet or running a red light or stop sign again, he'd no longer be allowed to ride the bike (belonging to another sibling). And if he didn't know to stop for red lights he wouldn't be driving when we get his citizenship paper to get his permit. VERY NEXT DAY he's biking down the street, no helmet and earphones in. Another of my kids saw him but didn't tell us until evening when we were together. He'd just gotten off work at that time and would be biking home at the time so since Rick had to go out for meds, he kept an eye out for our biker.

Sure enough, there he was no helmet, earphones in paying no attention to the rules of the road. So Rick pulled up and took the bike. He offered him a ride home but the child stomped off saying he'd just buy his own bike. Rick told him he could buy the bike, but he wouldn't be riding it while living here.

The child is counting down days until he goes into the army where he can do whatever he wants. Can you hear me laughing? I wonder what army that is? Sure, I won't be there telling him he can't watch R and X movies or listen to trash. But those choices will catch up with him. And I don't think running red lights whether on foot, bike or car will go over big on any base.

Unfortunately, this child only seems able to form very superficial relationships. Some of that may not be his fault, but he is resistant to trying to form any relationship that is not on his terms. And his charm stops when you cross him. And Rick and I have crossed him a lot lately.

Those of you who have adult children at home, what do you require of them? Do you still have basic rules about conduct in place? What do you do if they don't follow them since you can't really ground an adult?

Well, I didn't mean for this to all be about one child's issue. There are lots of good things to say to so I'll do about post about that next. Tonight is the Explorer's banquet and I am hoping my two police Explorers get awards.


One Crowded House said...

I would love to hear the answers people have in regards to adult children. My first three teenagers I believe will be relatively "easy" it's the next batch of kiddos that I need to prepare for!!!

(also- love seeing pictures of when everyone was itty bitty!)

Felicia said...

I was checking to see if you got some great advice as well. I sure could use some! I do believe that you have a male version of my Jo.

kayder1996 said...

Without just saying it's the same (because that's not what I'm saying), I think it is really hard for ANY child to be away from home and then move back in as basically an adult. The summer after my freshmen year of college I came back home and it was awful. My mom and I fought like crazy. And I was a pretty "easy" kid. I can't imagine adding in extra issues to the dynamic.