The heartbreaking reality of parenting an adult child

There is absolutely no part of me that believes Gavin is trying to cause a problem. In fact, I truly believe he’s simply trying to help but doing so in a way that is inappropriate and creates major problems within the house.

The boys have begun to resent him for it and they’re not shy about telling him so.

Both the boys are on the Autism Spectrum and have various other special needs of their own but for the most part, do pretty well. Maybe not so much when compared to their neurotypical peers but light years ahead of Gavin, in pretty much all things except age. That’s not meant to be a dig at Gavin either. It’s simply the reality we are living in.

Emmett is the youngest at 10 years of age and honestly, surpassed Gavin both cognitively and emotionally, a long time ago. The same goes for Elliott.

When Gavin tries to intervene, parent or discipline the boys, they don’t take it very well. In all fairness to them, they were patient for a very long time but Gavin just doesn’t quit and he also doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Part of that is probably tied to memory problems and part of it is a lack of capacity.



Lizze and I are having to stay on top of him because that’s the best chance we have of intervening ASAP.

He truly means well but as we all know, the road to Hell was paved with good intentions. At the end of the day, his intentions don’t really matter because he keeps doing this, despite countless attempts to curtail this behavior.

I don’t want there to be resentment between Gavin and his younger brothers. I don’t want them lashing out at him either but at the same time, he just won’t stop doing the things that are pissing them off. They aren’t wrong for being upset. I get it. Gavin drives me crazy but I have the tools to cope with things, while the boys are still developing some of those skills.

Both Elliott and Emmett struggle with life in many ways. They tend to react rather than respond. They react to Gavin before thinking it through.

We had several situations today that resulted in screaming matches because Gavin was sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.

We’re going to be working on this at family therapy. I’m not sure how to address it on our own, so we’ll continue to seek professional guidance.

This is just one of the many things that make parenting an adult child, very difficult. Knowing it will be at least this bad forever, not something I’m super excited about. In fact, it’s a source of enormous amounts of my daily stress.

6 comments

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    • Sandra on September 24, 2018 at 10:05 pm
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    Our adult son with autism has average intelligence but doesn’t talk very much so we have what’s called a durable power of attorney which includes medical and financial and we do a Representative Payee for Social Security. There may be a site online for POA for each state in the country. You could run a search for your state. Applying for a Representative Payee can be done at your local SS office.

    1. Thanks for the information. I’m already is Rep. Payee for SSI. We did a durable power of attorney but have only executed the medical power of attorney as of right now.

  1. You all are under so much stress! Did you decide if you would get legal guardianship of Gavin? Seems like that would be a priority.

    1. Yes, that’s definitely something we have to do. Unfortunately, we have to hire an attorney to assist us with the stack of paperwork. We can try legal aid but haven’t had much luck in the past. Right now, we have medical power of attorney and its recognized by everyone involved, so that solves our immediate problem. Now, we have to get help and file for guardianship. It’s very, very important.

        • kimmy gebhardt on September 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm
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        What are the problems you’re having with the paperwork which require an attorney, and is there anyone in the Orphan’s Court who can help you with it since you don’t have the money to hire one?

        Regarding Gavin disciplining his brothers, is this something new or has he always bossed them around (like many older siblings will do)?

        1. I don’t even know what Orphans Court is. The paperwork is extensive and confusing. I’m not sure how to answer most of it and therefore need to seek help. As for Gavin, he’s trying to act like a grownup. He sees himself as 18 years old and therefore an adult when makes him an authority figure. He doesn’t recognize his actual capacity or that’s its not his job to parent his brothers. As time goes on, it seems to be more and more of a problem.



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