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Problem Page: Just Joan; Our son's wasting his life - and ours.

Q WE have a 20-year-old son who seems to be trying to destroy his life and ours.

He is an intelligent boy who did well at school, despite playing truant. At 15, he got into trouble with the police for stealing and we are sure he stole money from us as well.

He regularly takes huge amounts of cannabis and also drinks himself into violent rages.

On three occasions he has attempted suicide. I know he took heroin for a while, but doesn't any longer.

His dad and I have thrown him out of the house a couple of times, but he roamed the streets in our town, sleeping rough, so we asked him to come home again.

We never stop trying to talk to him and reason with him and I've spoken to the family doctor about him, but there's nothing he can do.

A I AM not sure there is an awful lot more you can or even should do. Most parents would have given up long before now and wouldn't have done half as much as you have.

Obviously, your son is deeply disturbed and miserable, but, as every parent knows, you can't make your adult children happy.

Nor are you responsible for either his drug habit or his suicide attempts.

Of course he needs help and, as his loving parents, you feel you have to give it.

But it's time to let go and to leave the professionals to deal with his multiple problems. I know I sound harsh, but I'm sure you've come across the phrase "tough love", which, in your case, means no longer allowing him to live at home.

Once you pull away his safety net, he might just start accepting the care he needs - but from others, not you.

Q MY son and his wife are getting divorced and she is living with her mum, along with my three-year-old grandson.

It has been made very clear by his other gran, as well as my daughter-in-law, that neither I nor my husband will ever see the wee boy again.

I don't know who is to blame for the collapse of the marriage, but it seems so wrong to cut us out of our only grandson's life.

My son is very upset, but says that if that's the way she wants it, then he won't pay anything for his keep.

It's such a mess and the thought of losing my grandson is making me ill.

A A FEW heads need knocking together here. Hopefully, your daughter-in-law will soon relent and allow you to see her son - for his benefit, not yours.

In the meantime, impress upon you own son that he must support his child.

Point out to him that it's better he does this willingly rather than finding himself forced to do it by the Courts and the Child Support Agency.

You could also try contacting Grandparents Apart on 0131-336- 3590 for advice on how best to proceed in this difficult, but sadly very common, situation.

I'm in trouble over gossip

Q I HAVE got into a jam with one of my friends. I was drunk and I made some silly remarks about her and her husband. It was just the drink talking.

I gave other people the impression that they were into wife swapping and other sexual stuff. In fact, they are both very quiet and, as far as I know, devoted to each other.

I never thought anyone would take me seriously, but recently she's confided in me that they have been getting obscene phone calls asking them when their next "swingers" party is. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I am worried it is my fault.

A YOU and I both know this is no coincidence and that these unwanted, upsetting calls are entirely down to you. So first you go back to all these other people with whom you were having a 'laugh' and you tell them you lied.

Then you make a full and frank confession to her and beg her to forgive you. No-one needs or deserves your idea of friendship.

How can I tell mum I'm pregnant?

Q MY boyfriend moved south with his parents nearly three months ago.

For the first month, he was never off the phone and he wrote all the time, but, apart from a Christmas card, I haven't heard from him for weeks.

The problem is I think I am pregnant and I don't think I can handle it on my own. I am only 15 and I know my mum will soon begin to notice.

She will kill me when she finds out.

Q YOUR mum will be shocked and upset, but please believe me - she will stand by you. It's what mothers do.

If you are having a baby, you need someone on whom you can totally rely and that is your mother - not the boyfriend. So first of all, you must find out if you are definitely pregnant.

The test kits from the chemist are very accurate. If it turns out you are expecting, then you have to tell your mum as soon as possible.

Trust her and let her help you get through this.

My sex life has given up on me

Q I AM having problems with sex. I'm not impotent, because I get aroused all the time. Even watching women on TV gives me an erection.

The trouble is that when I am with a woman, it often disappears before I can do anything with it.

I am frightened to ask a woman back because I don't want to disappoint them. I am 52, recently divorced and never had problems when I was married.

A IT'S something which quite frequently happens to men of your age. Unfortunately, the more they worry about it, the worse it seems to get.

If you can become more relaxed, things might sort themselves out. But if you are still experiencing difficulties in a month or so, ask your GP for help.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Burnie, Joan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 26, 2000
Words:1001
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