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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5240
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I do I stop being an enabler when I fell like my 38 year son

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I do I stop being an enabler when I fell like my 38 year son really needs my help? I don't have much money, my husband and I are both on disability; but he always seems not to have any money and looks for me to help him. I know he gets food stamp $250.00 and the state gives him $536.00 a month, his rent is $47.00 a month heat and electrcity included. He has custody of his youngest child which is 5 years old. He works about 10 hours a week and volunterrs about the same a week. He has 3 other children that are with his x-wife. They are 12, 14, 15. He doesn't pay child support for the 3 oldest, because he says he doesn't have the money to do it. So I buy them clothes and boots and shoes to help the mother out because I feel guilty that my son doesn

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say that your question is very heartbreaking in the sense that you are clearly such a kind, generous, and loving person. Yet your son does not seem to share these character strengths. He seems to be struggling between wanting to take and being willing to give.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. There are two parts to this: your son and your grandchildren, the kids. Your son needs one type of help and the kids a different type. The kids DO need your material help and I'll get to why in a minute. Your son, though, needs your spiritual, psychological, and guidance help. But NOT your financial help. Why not?

Because your son needs to learn from your strengths. And your giving him materially--things and money--will not help him gain those strengths of character. I would like you to consider going to Al Anon meetings. That's the part of AA that's for the families of the alcoholic. I know you haven't mentioned anything about alcohol. But the principle is the same: alcoholics use the people they love. They take and don't know how to give any more. Al Anon helps the family not enable the person to keep using other people. So I want you to consider going to meetings to learn about how not to enable. Not all meetings are the same, so if you get to a meeting you don't like, call the office and find times and location for a different one. Here's the address for how to find a meeting:

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/meetings/meeting.html

Now the kids need to have generosity modeled for them. PURE generous love. They will sense clearly that the things you give them are because you are sacrificing your own needs for them. If they are not developing mental health disorders, they will benefit from your showing them your love and the strengths of who you are throughout their lives. They will remember this when they are adults. So this is so important what you are doing for them. Make sure to also have the opportunity to spend time with them and to praise them and shower them with your good feelings for them. Kids need that and I sense that these kids may not get that much of it.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Mark,

thank you so much for your help! these older grandchildren do get the support and love from there mother, she is a nice women and we get along really well even thou she is an ex-daughter-in-law (to me she still is) we are very good friends, she is also good friends with my son. She just doesn't have much money, and she goes out of her way to help me see them. I was thinking about al alon myself but then I thought it was just for people with acholics in their life. But I still worry about my 5 year old granddaughter that lives with him...I help out with her as much as a do the older grandchildren that doesn't live with him. Should I keep on doing this as well. Also, THERE IS NO DOUBT in all of my Grandchildrens minds how much they are love by me. They know I'll always be ther for them. I just don't know how not to help my son out material ways anymore?

Al Anon is for families of alcoholics. But tell them your situation, that you are looking for meetings because you need help and support in not enabling your son in his taking selfishly.

I'm sure your grandkids know how much you love them. And it's so wonderful their mother is on such good terms so they get to have your influence. How beautiful!

And yes, keep on helping the granddaughter but financially not more than the other kids and not more than you can. He will abuse your generosity and do less for her if you do more. So don't fall into that trap, please. What I do want you to do more for her is to give her non-financial attention more than the others and to make sure you tell her stories of people doing good things that teach values and morals for her.

Okay, I am so glad you are in their lives! I wish you the very best.

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the advise!!!! I've been looking for some kind of answer for quite awhile and feel as thou I just got it! I'm so thankful you were there for me. I never knew I could these kinds of answer until I went on Dr. Phil's web page.
I am so glad. Thank you and all the best to you, Dr. Mark

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