Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adult Son Wants To Return To The Nest; Mother Is On The Fence

Dear Tazi:

I don't know what I am going to do with my adult son. "Harper" is 40-years-old and has never been able to hold a steady job. In fact, he was fired from his very first job at age 16, and has been unable to hold down steady employment ever since. From what I can tell, it is not that he is without skills; just without commitment to holding to a regular schedule. Harper enjoys his free time, and believes that a job should not encroach on his personal time. He has quit several jobs due to "differences with the management", as he puts it; "a refusal to follow direction", is how the management puts it. I know because a few of the jobs he has quit involved working for friends of my late husband.

My husband passed when our son was only ten years old, and he left Harper a large trust fund that was to be used for his college education or to be accessed on his 30th birthday, should Harper follow a career path that did not require college, figuring twelve years after high school graduation would be enough time for Harper to establish himself financially and the trust monies handled appropriately. My husband was a wise man and a hard worker but, sadly, our son did not inherit his father's work ethic or business sense. Harper has squandered all but the last few thousand dollars of his trust, and has asked to move into my guest cottage while he sorts out his issues. I agreed to Harper's request, but this was before I discovered some new information that has me wanting to turn back on our agreement.

In advance of moving in to my guest cottage, Harper has started having his mail delivered there. The mailman, not realizing that Harper was to stay in the cottage delivered Harper's correspondence to the main house; which is how I discovered that Harper has applied for Social Security [Disability] benefits. When I approached Harper about this disgrace, he did not deny it; claiming he suffers from depression, which is why he is unable to hold down a job. He informed me that his original filing had been rejected, as was his appeal, because his doctor was not properly certified. Harper did not have an attorney representing him because those he approached demanded he see a certified physician. All in all, this why Harper needs to move into my guest cottage until he can figure out how to secure a primary source of income, now that his trust monies have been depleted.

Tazi, my husband worked very hard to accumulate his wealth and was not at all adverse to sharing it with those in true need of assistance. If he were here today to see what a disgrace his son has become he would disown him! The only thing depressing Harper is his inability to continue sponging off of his late father. My sister suffered from depression, so I am aware of the signs and symptoms and have a genuine concern for those who exhibit them - which Harper does not. The only time he is at all depressed is when the latest party or road trip ends. I believe that the judge saw right through Harper's charade, which is why he was turned down for Social Security. (Did I mention that Harper also smokes marijuana, saying it is a treatment for his depression? Hogwash!).

I would like to tell Harper that I have changed my mind about allowing him to move into my guest cottage, but I am afraid that he will have nowhere else to turn and will end up sleeping on a couch in someone's basement. If, however, I allow him to move into my guest cottage I fear he will be living there until I join his father. Do you have any advice to offer, Tazi?

Harped On

Dear Harped On:

I would first like to address your opinion that Harper's use of marijuana for the treatment of depression. According to a recent John's Hopkins University report hallucinogenic drugs have been shown to help people with mood disorders look at their problems from a different perspective. Marijuana is technically a hallucinogen, but the instance of hallucinogenic experiences while using the drug is very rare. The John Hopkins study did not include marijuana, focusing instead on hard drugs such as "MDMA (also known as the street drug "Ecstasy"), psilocybin ("magic mushrooms"), and ketamine ("Special K")"

In my Mommie's paraprofessional scientific opinion (she has a degree in Science, as well as Communications, but does not hold graduate credentials), any relief Harper gets from smoking marijuana is outweighed by the negative effects of the drug, which include a causal link to mood disorders; such as depression and amotivational syndrome - which may be what your son actually suffers, considering his work history. A psychological examination would be required for an actual and accurate diagnosis, which is why I recommend that you require Harper to get one as a condition to moving into your guest cottage. Should he refuse or claim that he has already received treatment, stand firm and tell him it's your guest cottage; so you make the rules for living there.

If a psychological workup by a properly certified psychiatrist shows that Harper is suffering from depression or any other type of mood disorder that leaves him unable to work the first step is to get him to quit smoking marijuana. If follow-up treatment shows no improvement for his mood disorder he is entitled to re-file for disability benefits. There is no shame in collecting SSDI benefits if they are truly needed. Included in these benefits is medical treatment for the root cause of the disability, in the hope that intensive treatment will cure the disability. SSDI benefits are not guaranteed for life and, in the case of those receiving benefits for mood disorders, a yearly review of benefits can be expected.

I understand your desire to be supportive of your son without being supportive of his bad habits; but at this time I believe you are in the perfect position to see that he gets the medical treatment he needs. In order to protect your own interests, though, I would recommend having your son sign a detailed lease outlining the terms and conditions of his taking up residence in your guest cottage. Your attorney can assist you with this matter, if necessary.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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