View Full Version : Advice needed from parents of young adults
November 8th, 2004, 04:09 AM
Apologies in advance, this is long. :rolleyes:
I know most of the posts here seem to be about young children, but my kids are young grown-ups and I'm hoping someone might be able to give me words of wisdom. I have a great relationship with my married daughter, but my 22 yr old son wants nothing to do with me or anyone else in the family.
It's a long background story, but I'll spare you and just say his adolescence was troubled, and while we tried everything we could think of to help him through and get him back on track, nothing really worked and, in fact, just served to make the gap between us all wider and wider.
He's never come right out and told us off or anything (in fact, that might be easier to take than what I'm going through now!), but he totally ignores us; not just parents, but g'parents and his sister, too. Does not return phone calls, doesn't visit, has no use for us whatsoever except to have his bills sent to our address because he moves around a lot. He also doesn't pay his bills and we get the late notices and collection calls.
Of course I worry about him constantly. Every once in a while I call his employer or the phone company, just to see if he is still working and making phone calls. I figure if he's doing those things, he's not in jail or hospital somewhere (or the morgue - yes, I have a morbidly active imagination!).
My heart is broken, I miss my boy so much! I've tried everything I can think of. I'm pleasant and happy to see him when he does deign to come around and pick up his mail; in fact, I know I go overboard because when he does come around I offer him food, money, whatever he needs. I've been calling him and leaving voice mails nearly every day for the past two weeks, even though I know he doesn't answer. Maybe I should go the opposite way, ignore him in return, take the hint and leave him alone, call his creditors and give them his last known address and his cell phone number, then sit back and hope for the best while fearing the worst? I feel I failed in this most important job I'll ever do. I know I can't make him responsible, but I wish I could at least know he loves us. Is there anything I can do mend this relationship? I welcome thoughts from both parents of adults, or young adults from your perspective.
November 8th, 2004, 06:58 AM
No helpful advice here, just a ((((hug))))
November 8th, 2004, 07:05 AM
This is a horrible situation and I am so sorry. My MIL once said that girls grow up but boys grow away. I don't have any advice but I wish you well.
November 8th, 2004, 12:05 PM
I don't know if any of this will make sense, but I'll hope you'll find some glimmer of hope or insight in it.
I would say I was very troubled growing up. I was depressed (not sad, but clinically depressed) from around third grade on. None of my family knew. I kept it well hidden, didn't talk about how I felt. I didn't know any different. I just thought that's how life was. During my freshman year of college I got myself involved in a horrid relationship. I hid it from my parents for months and when I finally told them they were shocked. My dad didn't say or do much about it because that's just how he is. My mom did everything she could to support me. She didn't agree with the decisions I was making in my life but she was always there to help me. I wasn't always easy to deal with and there were times that I said some very hurtful things. I know that I put my parents through a lot and didn't always tell them how much I appreciated it. Even now that I have my life on track I know I probably don't spend as much time with them as I should and I'm not always as grateful as I should be. I find it hard. We were never a very demonstrative family so it feels somewhat awkward to me. Plus sometimes my mom takes things the wrong way. All I can say is just try and be there for your son even when it's breaking your heart. Hopefully in time he'll come around. He just might need time to establish himself and figure out who he is and how he relates to the family.
November 9th, 2004, 10:52 AM
Well, thank you, friends, for your posts. I suppose it comes down to doing what I've done for the past 10 years or so.... be there for him when he needs me, and suck it up the rest of the time.
Liz, thank you for your candor. I will never really know what is in his heart or what he is going through unless he decides to confide in me some day, but I think he does know that we love him and will be there for him if he decides he needs us. I just hope that someday, he will be ready for us us in his life. That's really all I want. I hope you and your family are on good terms now. ((hugs))
November 9th, 2004, 01:39 PM
I have 5 young adult children and all the advice I can offer you is to continue showing love to him whenever you do get to see or talk to him. Young men are moody creatures. Keep the lines of communication open and let him know you are there if he needs you. I know it's hard to love someone and have them keep you at arms' length! (((hugs)))
November 9th, 2004, 03:02 PM
I am not a parent, rather I am 19 years old, and I have been avoiding my parents for the past year or more...I'll tell you a little about my sitch, so you'll understand why, and maybe some of the things I wished (and still wish) my parents would do will help...here's hopin'...
My parents were EXTREEEEEMELY strict when I was a kid. I wasn't allowed to do anything. When I was 17, I met the man I knew I would spend the rest of my life with. I was never allowed to see him, and it wasn't because I was a bad kid (hell, I never had the opportunity to be bad!), it was that my parents were just too overprotective! After HS graduation and my 18th birthday, I asked them if I could see him every once in a while, even if it was him coming over while my parents were home.......NO. So during summer vacation, his parents invited me to stay at their house cuz they thought my parents were absolutely ridiculous. I stayed there all through my first year of college, and now we've got an apt. together and have been happily living together and fully supporting ourselves for 8 months (for two 19 y/o's, that's pretty darn good!). My parents have never been the type who would listen to me when I tried to talk to them, and they weren't very reasonable when it came to rules. I had to ask to go in the fridge, then I had to tell them what I was getting. I had a 10 minute time allowance, 1 call per day rule on the phone, and I had to tell them who I was calling, and talk on the phone in front of them, no boys allowed. I babysat, and couldn't hold the money I earned. My parents thought that they made up for all this with all the stuff they bought me (which was a lot) but they didn't. I would have rather have had a life, with an open relationship with my parents.
My parents now cry every night and pray (we are Christians) every day that I will come to my senses and leave Brandon and come home. But I would rather die than to even have to visit them. I call them, and my mom is a teacher, and I'm a sub, so we work together, and I talk to them, but I don't ever visit. I haven't been home in about a year. Why? Because I was around them 24/7. Now I have a life, a wonderful man that loves me and takes care of me, and I love it.
I think that I would be more inclined to visit and talk to them more, but they try too hard. They used to lend me money every once in a while when I was low on cash, and then they'd remind me of it (guilt trip me) when I didn't want to visit. They'd call me and leave messages every day and tell me how much they've missed me and that they don't think I love them any more. If it's been 3 or 4 days since I last talked to them, they call and say "you don't ever call, we don't know if you're dead, alive, or anything!!" I wish that they'd just call, let me know how much they love me, and wait for me to come around in my own time. I feel like they are pressuring me, and trying to make me feel bad so that I'll come back to them and they can keep me under their wings again.
I guess all this is to say that you've done your part, just like my parents have. Now all you can do is hope and pray that he will realize how much you love him, and will come around on his own. Sometimes even the nicest and most meaningful of gestures on a parents part can mean something totally different to the child. With me it's been that I can completely ignore my parents because I know that they will always be there. Maybe you are doing too much. As much as it hurts, it's far better to let him know how much you love him and how much it would mean to you if he returned the sentiment, and then step back and give him the chance to grow up and come around. Let him know that you are not going to keep supporting him and waiting day after day for him to come back, only to get your heart broken. Let him know that you will be waiting, but in the meantime, you are going to get on with your life, because there is only so much that you can do. Maybe you should give him time to meet you half way on his own. One thing that I always told my parents when I would go visit them and then when it was time for me to leave they'd physically restrain me and guilt trip me was "wouldn't my love and my visits be far more meaningful if I showed it and was here because I want to, and not because I feel that I have to?" And if (God forbid) something happened to him before he got the chance to come back, you can rest assured that deep down somewhere, he KNEW how much you loved him, and that it was no one's fault but his own that he wasted all that time when he could have been building a relationship. I think that you've done all that you can do. Now the ball is in his court.
With apologies for the length and hopes for the better,
November 9th, 2004, 03:23 PM
Wow, I feel for your parents, Hannah. My DH and I are very protective of our children, although not to the extent you feel that your parents were. Maybe when you become a parent you will be able to understand a little bit of why they did the things they did. It took me many years to figure out that my parents were human too.
November 11th, 2004, 03:19 AM
(((Hannah))) Wow, thank you for your thoughts, I really appreciate it. I do hope that you and your parents can soon come to a happy adult-to-adult relationship. I've managed it somehow with my daughter and it is a relationship I treasure.
I really try to avoid the "guilt trip," but you are absolutely right that he may be taking our attentions in a completely different way than we mean. Hubs and I have decided to step back for a while; I mean, he is obviously sending us a message here, and the message is "I don't want to talk to you." So, I figure a message once a week or so, just to say "hi, how are you?" will let him know that I want to keep the lines open without pressure.
Karinne and Quirky, thanks for looking in and giving your thoughts, too. You all have no idea how much it means to me.
November 11th, 2004, 06:05 AM
Without delving deeply into the matter here, it might be wise for you to explore potential substance abuse, mental illness issues, and involvement in alternative lifestyles of a variety of flavors. If the shoe fits, there isn't a lot you can do, but it may help you to go in a direction that helps you find peace, i.e. a friends and family of " " support group.
This doesn't sound entirely normal. However, when I don't hear from absent young adult child it generally means things are going great for her. I don't worry much until the phone calls start rolling in because I know from experience that's when something's going on with her. Sometimes it takes a couple of calls for her to puke it out, but she does eventually.
November 13th, 2004, 03:02 PM
Just a quick update - I have been too worried to let things slide and just wait for him to call. I decided if he wants me to leave him alone he could tell me to my face. So I went over to his apartment early this morning and banged on the door until he opened it. I knew he was there because his car was in the lot and I saw the curtains move when he looked to see who was out there.
We spoke very briefly, I just dropped off his mail and told him I worry about him and want to have an adult-to-adult relationship with him, but the ball is in his court. I asked him if he was in any big trouble and he said no. I asked if he wants us to just leave him alone, and he said no to that, too. Said he just didn't have the $$ to pay for the bills sent to our house and didn't want to have to tell us that, or ask for help. I told him I don't want to judge him, I just want to love him. I didn't linger, but gave him a hug and a kiss and left quickly.
He looked good, healthy and clear-eyed (well, as clear-eyed as someone who was sound asleep just a moment before could be!). I feel soooo much better just for having seen him. I am going to sleep like a rock tonight! I may be going through the same thing in a couple of months, but today I feel better. Thanks to everyone who responded.
November 15th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Without going into to much detail I'm 40 and don't talk to my parents. As soon as I could I left the town that they live in and never looked back. They made it very clear that their biological daughters came 1st. I have a foster brother that feels the same way as I do. I am the only person that he will keep in contact with.
November 16th, 2004, 04:21 AM
Juli, hugs right back atcha... ((Juli))
I'm sorry you are estranged from your family, it sounds very sad to me, for everyone concerned. But I also know that sometimes, if a relationship is toxic, one must make a clean and complete break. It must have been very difficult. ((hugs)) again.
I truly hope total estrangement is not what my son desires. If so, it will break my heart. In fact, my heart is breaking even now. Parenting is an inexact science, at best, and I've tried to be a good mother...but I still blame myself for what is happening. I want to fix it, moms fix things, right? But it's out of my hands now. He knows where we are and how to contact us if he wants, and he knows we want to hear from him, and will help him if he needs it. I cannot do anymore than that. Sigh.
November 25th, 2004, 06:07 AM
I was wondering how you are doing. I hope that things work out for you.
November 25th, 2004, 06:32 AM
Juli, thank you for asking. We have had contact with our son one time after I went over to his apt. I told him our Thanksgiving plans, and he said he would be there with his girlfriend. So, we shall see if he shows up. If he does, it would make me the happiest mom in the world, because I would have both my kids with me and the whole family together on Thanksgiving.
I, myself, am feeling a bit better, too. I am trying to see where my responsibilities begin and end, and it is helping.
Parenting isn't for sissies, is it? :rolleyes:
November 25th, 2004, 07:27 AM
it's good that you got the chance to talk to him. now that you know a little more about where he stands on this issue, it may be a teensy bit easier to move forward from here. Hope he shows and hope everything works out for you.
P.S. From a daughter who will not be spending Thanksgiving with her family, know that if he doesn't show up, it's not because he doesn't love you or want you to be in life neccessarily...he may just need more time and space...
November 25th, 2004, 05:03 PM
Awww, Hannah, thank you for your message! (((hug))) I hope you had a nice thanksgiving with your sweetie.
My son did come! He was there on time and brought his sweet little girlfriend, too, to meet the entire family. They stayed for quite a while, and may meet us again tomorrow to go out to dinner.
:cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9:
November 25th, 2004, 08:44 PM
That's great! I'm glad you all got to have Thanksgiving together.
DH and I have had ups and downs with our nearly 24 year old son (my stepson). (No, parenting isn't for sissies - neither is step-parenting - ha!). Just wanted to share that I see it getting better as he gets older. Also, I remember (eons ago) that at your son's age I was wanting my independence and probably wasn't looking at things from my parents' point of view. Even now I'm not very good about calling them, even though I love them very much. I'm just not a phone person and they know that.
Hang in there, Mom!
November 25th, 2004, 11:24 PM
oh wow seabear thats great!! u must be so relieved!!! m so happy for u!
hope things keep on improving!