My wife of five years and I are from another country.
We each have adult kids from previous marriages. Currently, only her youngest, a son, 25, lives with us.
My stepson’s cheating the welfare system, is addicted to cannabis, and very addicted to online gaming (no large amounts).
He worked some months last year, got rejected by Employment Insurance, then went on welfare and lives in our basement.
He doesn’t pay rent, nor help with food or cooking.
He’s manipulative to my wife, (e.g. his meat has to be cut into very small portions or he gets upset.).
He has peaks of outrage and could hit anyone if he chooses. He said that he’ll be leaving home, but hasn’t. My wife’s always sad and crying.
Should I go to family services to discuss all this?
This volatile situation is frightening and unsafe for everyone involved.
A phone call to a legal aid office in your city (which I’ve kept confidential) will get you a free two-hour consultation with a private lawyer to learn what’s legally possible regarding moving him out.
It’ll also get you much-needed referrals to local family services and other agencies.
His bullying and explosive behaviour’s exacerbated by lack of purpose and self-respect, addictions, and likely depression, too.
Even if he refuses to get help, you and your wife need a plan for him to live elsewhere.
Start your information search immediately.
I'm 35, mother of a toddler, and pregnant. My brother’s in his 30s, with two young children of his own.
We’re primary caregivers for our mother, 67, diagnosed with a rare form of dementia six years ago, involving loss of motor skills.
She needs 24-hour care for bathing, bathroom help, feeding, etc.
Her speech and memory are declining, but she’s still aware of what's happening.
She currently lives at home with two rotating-shift caregivers with her 24/7. After two years on wait-lists for long term care she may be moved into a home soon.
She’s very upset, won’t speak to us, says she hates us, and thinks we’re treating her unfairly and badly.
However, she has no idea of her financial situation, nor that two full-time caregivers are entitled to vacation time, sick time, etc.
My brother and I both work full-time, so it's hard for us to take random days off.
I want to respect her wishes to stay at home but know that if we don’t move her, we’re back to the bottom of the list again.
I feel guilty.
I empathize, having faced similar decisions in my own family.
But I also know from specialists in this field that, despite the emotional sadness involved, any plan of action has to be realistic about her condition, workable, and affordable.
Guilt feelings can keep you running into crisis after crisis as care workers quit or burn out.
Thinking compassionately about your mother will help you make the right decision to assure her safety and dignity.
Think ahead. Finances will play a big part in her care. Even in a well-staffed care facility, you may eventually still need to hire private helpers, for some time periods.
Tell your mother you’ll both make sure she has the best care you can find and that all of you can afford.
Then come up with the most effective plan. If it means moving her now, and the placement looks/feels appropriate, accept it. Then visit often and keep contact with the staff.
FEEDBACK Regarding the teenage son’s girlfriend and her difficult mother (July 25):
Reader – “The girl's mother is toxic and a bully. She and her daughter need counselling or else the girl is going into deep depression.
“The boy’s mother should tell that to the bully.
“The girl needs to have courage to stand up to her mother. She needs to be a lioness, to roar and shout at her mother.
“Bullies are cowards. They think they can control, shame, and victimize their kids into following their demands.
“They don't expect their victims to stand up to them.
“My husband and I have had enough with bullies in our lives. Reasoning, being compassionate, supportive and doing everything to keep the peace doesn't work.
“Moving away and cutting all communications helps too. Who needs to put up with toxic people and live a horrible miserable life like the bullies do?”
Ellie – The boy’s mother must be careful not to make things worse.
Tip of the day:
When family issues are intense and dangerous, seek legal help where needed, plus family-based counselling and services.