Adult son and rules : I’m lost. My 30 yr old son had... - Headway

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Adult son and rules

I’m lost. My 30 yr old son had a tbi and stroke a year ago. He hated hospital and came home to live with us 6 months ago. We have 3 more kids all under 15. Brad wants to smoke, 3 of us are asthmatic and smoke starts attacks. I’ve bought a vape but the plumes of smoke affect my asthma. I’ve bought patches, nicotine mints and nicotine sprays but he still wants to smoke cigarettes.

I’ve explained until I’m exhausted that smoking is not acceptable at home for many reasons, his health, cost, stink, our health etc.

He tonight stated he’d move out rather than give up. He says I’m kicking him out, he’s a 30 yr old man and should be able to smoke outside if he wants to.

He has a calliper and quad stick, is unstable and needs assistance to get out.

I’m sticking to my rule.. am I in the wrong?

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No you aren't wrong. You need to do what is right for the whole family, not just him. Maybe moving out would be the best thing for you all, he might appreciate you a lot more. Can he manage on his own or would supportive lodging be best for him?

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Thanks for your support. He couldn’t manage on his own, he refuses the carers attempts to get him up here so I know he’d struggle with living to their timetable. He’s being very oppositional to everything, we went for a bladder scan and he refused to drink all day! I feel it’s him trying to gain some control of his life back.☹️

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It is your home and your rules, you are not wrong.

At 30 years old if he wants to move out then let him.

There will be support for him out there. You have yourself and the rest of the family to look after. It may be difficult for him but life is difficult we all know that.

Help him plan his move out, he may just change his mind and realise that smoking outside is a small price to pay for staying put.

Janet x

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Thanks for responding. He says I’m kicking him out! He seems apt at turning the blame to me!

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He will see it that way, but he is an adult now and should be making his own life. I know it is hard when there are physical and mental, i dont mean that in a derogatory way, but he is not behaving in a way that means you can all co- habit amicably so, it is his behaviour that is doing this so it is his fault.

He will do his best to make you feel guilty but you must stand firm.

He can visit you and you him.

I hope you can sort this, it can’t be a good environment for the whole family.

Janet

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No it isn’t, I’m hoping that making a stance isn’t causing an issue that I should have avoided!

Thanks for your help x

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NO NO NO it’s YOUR home and YOUR health do you want your other children to start treating you the same as your eldest son does? because if you allow this attitude to continue they will treat you just the same, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind so sit him down and tell him he must go and find himself someplace else to live, give him a month to sort himself out and then that’s it. I can assure you he will either start to follow your sensible home rules or he will leave. Yes he has suffered illness BUT how dare he expect you to let him rule your HOME. Be strong for the sake of your health and that of your other children. Remember your the parent. Love Liz xx🌹

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My train of thought exactly! I’ve said to him that if I capitulate on this one rule I have for him the others will not respect me and think they can ignore our house rules too.🤔

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No I don’t think you are wrong . Tobacco isn’t good for stroke patients anyway. My friend had a stroke after my aneurysm coiling and I won’t allow her to smoke or vape in my house. Your son is holding a gun to your head , don’t give in . 🤗🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Shona

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Thanks. I threw the remaining tobacco in the bin; his texts got quite aggressive but I stuck to my guns💪🏻

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You're seeing a unanimous vote of approval here in taking action against smoking indoors and, at 30, your son can't be in any doubt of its antisocial effects and danger to others.

I stopped smoking after a lifetime of 20-a-day when I had a brain haemorrhage 7 years ago and I'm still amazed at the achievement. So I fully understand the addiction, but there's no excuse for smoking indoors knowing what we now know, especially where others are affected and potentially harmed.

Hang in there m'dear, and when your son weighs up the benefits between living with you against coping alone, his smoking indoors might seem a big price to pay.

I suspect the smoking restrictions played a big part in his desire to leave hospital but, although I'm sorry to hear of his brain injury, there are rules which need respecting at home too.

…..hoping this'll be resolved as painlessly as possible for all of you. Best wishes, Cat x

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Fingers crossed, thanks for your support. You guys are the best x

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Hmm it must be hard to live at with a parent at 30.

Years ago I moved back to live with my Mum while I was sorting out a new place

for three months. I was so grateful for her generosity but couldn't wait to get out. At thirty you need your own place. Not under parental rule.

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Yes I understand that, I do try to give him his own space, he goes out and I help facilitate these outings, I don’t ‘nag’ , let him do his own thing etc but the smoking. He also has been smoking ‘stuff’ in his roll ups, been taking ‘k’ tablets. All stuff that is beyond my comprehension; a world I know nothing about... it frightens me that he’ll bring friends here of the same ilk. I love him dearly and always said wherever I am that’s your home too but...

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Yes that's not on really.

Cigarettes are one thing but that stuff is real trouble.

Maybe he will have to live alone with carer support. You don't want the younger ones pulled into that world.

It's hard when it's your son but sometimes tough love is the only answer.

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Would you have let your son smoke in the house when he was in his teens? I suspect that the answer is no.

Can you consult with the care team or neurologist?

You are absolutely right to say no to this behaviour in your home.

The nature of any brain injury means having to relearn things and some people are naturally more willing to do that than others.

Please do not let your son guilt you into letting him smoke at home.

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Thank you x

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You are right. He really does need to live independently - and I say that as a brain injury survivor myself. My parents and I nearly came to blows when I had to stay with them. The best thing that happened is that I had to move out. We survivors are a pain in the @rse. We don't mean to be, but we are. Good luck.

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Lol.. thanks for putting a smile on my face!

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Hi Bradbike, You're right! What a selfish Lad your Son is.

He should stop smoking full stop for the reasons in your post, If he dos not want to comply with house rules, take his rent book away.

I'm an ex smoker know the deal about quitting and managed it from the day I decided to quit. He can do it if he forgets his self pity and ego and thinks of the whole family.I quit long before being diagnosed with Ataxia. I can recommend quitting!!

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Wow well done. I’m sure if he tried and attempted to quit he could. I’ve spent a fortune on patches, nicotine sprays and nicotine mints.. he seems to be edging the nicotine higher! I’ve just worked out that just in spray and mints I’m dishing out over £90 a month!

It’s all falling on deaf ears I’m afraid. Thanks for your support x

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I am so sorry you have to go thought this. Brain injured people can make some really terrible decision as they are not processing normally. I am siding with you. Maybe you may want to call Headway to see if they can help with finding a place for him to stay where he can smoke and be taken care of. This is really sad... Good luck.

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It will break my heart if he chooses smoking over letting me look after him, nice to hear you are picking that up. His cognitive tests come back a perfect score although he doesn’t appear to be making altogether choices over many things!

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Hi there, in your post you said that your son wants to smoke 'outside', not inside ? Or is it a typing error ? You also state that he has mobility difficulties and needs assistance to go outside so I'm thinking that if he wants to go out for a smoke, it's an extra chore for someone to help him ?

Perhaps you could find a compromise - add some grab bars for added safety or similar to the route outside, maybe a self propelled wheelchair and agree on a place far enough from the door to stop the smoke wafting in ?

I am a smoker and although I have converted significantly to the electronic cig I still enjoy the odd few real ones. It is a physical addiction and also can be quite an emotional crutch to some of us ! I also have asthma and cannot bear my own or other's smoke during a flare up. Of course it is your garden, so you can ban smoking in it but may find he goes onto the street in front of your house instead. As to the other stuff he is using - I suspect this may be an undesirable way of coping with the life changing effects of his injury. Has he had access to any counselling ?

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Hi. Yes he says he’ll just smoke outside, unfortunately I know that it doesn’t stop there. We did let him at first but he soon started smoking in his room at night as he can’t get up once in bed.

Since typing the post Brads been seen by the consultant for his pre assessment for the op to replace the skull bone; he’s been told no op until he stops smoking altogether as his body will likely reject the plate. Doc wants to see him actively engaging with the therapies offered and no substance use including tobacco and he’ll review in 4 months.

There’s so many reasons why he needs to stop, least being he/we can’t afford it!!

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Ah, I see. We smokers are a dysfunctional lot - we know it's bad both physically and financially ! Sounds like even his consultant is holding him to ransom over this. Oddly enough, the anaesthetist I saw two weeks before a surgery advised me not to stop smoking until after the op, as it would cause a cough ( as lungs clear out ) and could complicate breathing during sedation, which surprised the heck out of me ! I guess if you can't tolerate the e cig vapour , even with his door shut and window open, he doesn't have a tobacco alternative. A difficult situation for all.

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It really is, we have conceded to lots of his wants and needs; music( drum and base.. hardly music..lol) played so loud the house shakes, all the ‘designer label foods’ he craves,a Macdonalds reward after every docs appointment, staying up till 3-4 in the morning and not getting up till after 3 in the afternoon meaning I’m stuck in all day and kept awake all night with texts and demands and lots lots more but I cannot put up with the smoking.. it’s just disgusting and expensive!!!

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I smoke, I know it's bad for me and will do nothing for my post op wound healing, or general health. This said, I know the risks, never smoke inside or ever would. Like Angelite, I'm a total hypocrite when it comes to other people's smoke too.

My smoking is indefensible. This said, many encourage us to be tolerant of behaviour we would otherwise see as unacceptable when people are affected by brain injury. It can be problematic to make distinctions about what behaviours are injury related, or simply that some people can be arrogant, dictatorial, confrontational etc and their injury merely magnifies it, or possibly provides an excuse for what would otherwise be unacceptable and worthy of rebuke.

I'm stubborn, sarcastic and intolerant of fanciful notions. Although my thought processes are mixed up, post VP shunt surgery, I know these traits were present long before my recent mishap and as examples of my failings are easy to find. My failings might be more on show, but they are not a consequence of my medical condition or surgery.

People have questioned my refusal to automatically excuse some behaviour, because of people's brain injury. I think an environment like this will always find many taking this view, although to excuse the inexcusable and automatically play the 'brain injury' card is as wrong as denying it has any bearing on how we behave in my book.

Personally, I would say that if you can comprehend social norms and recognise boundaries you are capable of understanding what a rule is. You will also recognise what respect is too and the effect their 'choice' may have on you. This is purely my opinion...and one of a filthy smoker too!

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Exactly, well said. He has decided spitting is acceptable in public and it upsets me no end.. again he ignores us and our pleas not to do it!

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If I did something socially unacceptable and was aware I'd done it, I would want to know that was how those close to me viewed it. If I didn't know I was doing it, I would want someone to make it clear that I was and be desperate to find a way to stop. I would want someone to explain to me that if those close to me didn't care deeply about me, they would not be devoting so much of their life caring for me. and caring about me.

There are very few conditions which would see people at home or in a community, if they could not distinguish between right and wrong. That is quite different to finding wrong easier, or preferable, which is what all of those of us who are prepared to admit we are less than perfect know to be the case and may have done at times.

Making it clear that not calling out bad behaviour is akin to approving of it certainly isn't easy, but it is possible that the real person whose personality has been skewed by their injury would WANT to be told what is or isn't acceptable, unlike the shadow of themselves they may be at this time.

'Tough love' might be a cliché, but that the thing with them. We may not always like them, but sometimes they sum things up pretty well.

Keep strong in your struggle.

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You’re not wrong but can see it’s hard to just stop. He’s probably frustrated at disability and not being independent. Perhaps work on plan to reduce drastically in short space of time with lots of encouragement on how much it would help his health. Say you cannot for others health and set deadline to work towards quitting. If not perhaps he will have to move out.

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I can see that it feels like all his choices have been removed and understand his frustrations but he’s not helping himself never mind the rest of us☹️

Since writing and the positive messages giving me the strength to stick to my rule, he hasn’t had a cigarette for nearly two weeks 😁

But it’s not for self control more that he’s not had access as the culprit fag sneakers haven’t been around to give him anything!!!

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Plus he’s trying as hard as he can to push all the limits! At the minute he’s got heavy metal music blasting out so loud the house is shaking 🙄🤪

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Replacing one act of 'defiance' with another, if that is what it is, perhaps falls into the category of 'in some ways understandable but still hugely disruptive' category. I hope you have people around you who remind you that your tolerance and understanding is epic in the circumstances and I'm confident there are plenty in this version of reality, myself included, who would take that view too. You do not need me to tell you that looking after your own well being, be it physically or psychologically is not selfish, it is a basic right. The quality of the support you offer might well be affected by your well being too, although if the person you care for would understand or accept that is something you alone are in the best position to judge.

I make no apology for believing that how what has happened to us affects others is of fundamental importance and it is something I feel passionately about. I am not going to pretend I have the answers to everything, or possibly anything, however. Sharing what you are experiencing is not easy and I am sure I and others are only too glad to offer our moral support and on line ears to you, after you have shared something so personal here.

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