I am a 39 year old woman with problems. I have two children, a boy 13 and my daughter 16. Even though I am still married to their father, he has spent the last three years in jail. Before he got locked up, he kept a job most of the time. Even with two people working, we could never get ahead. We both liked to party once in a while, but then he started to party with his “homies” as he liked to call them, and leave me at home. He used up all the money he was making (and mine) for meth. Now I am extremely broke, and I recently caught my 16 year old daughter with weed. She is starting to get extra disrespectful to me, and her brother is learning from her. To make matters worse, my husband is writing me every week telling me he wants to get back together with me when he gets out in two years, and I’m thinking about it. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any insurance, so I can’t go to a counselor. Writing you is the best I can do. Help.
Let’s get right into problem solving, shall we?
First, you need to know for certain: if we don’t do anything different, nothing changes. Thus, if you are too beaten down to do anything different, you are looking at your permanently miserable future. A majority of families I work with have one person who is a stronger or more consistent disciplinarian than the other. That means that the other person may be the, uh, you know: the weaker one. If that’s you, first thing on the agenda is to learn and practice better parenting skills. Even without moola, plenty of communities offer free parenting classes. The trick is doing stuff we are uncomfortable with. And practicing. This forum does not lend itself to enumerating the skills to be a better parent, but, at the risk of self promotion, I have a few essays for you to consider.
Secondly, when Tweaky-boy gets out of the slammer, I suggest you consider telling him he needs to have a job, his own place and two years of being straight in order for y’all to resume your relationship. In doing this you increase his motivation to stay clean and you get to provide a superior female role model for your children to want to grow up to be like. Or do nothing and seriously increase the odds both of your children will grow up to have as miserable of an existence as you have. Work hard Mom, I have seen miraculous changes take place.