Parenting Teens (12-17) Community
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Avatar universal

Disrespectful 18 year old son

What to do with a son that thinks he has to answer to no one.   My son came home a few weeks ago demanding that my husband and I change his curfew time.  We told my son that at this time the curfew was staying as is.  We explained to him that it would be open for discussion at a later time.  He thinks just because he is 18 now, that he does not have to answer to us any longer.  We explained to him( in no uncertain terms) that we were not going to stand for his disrespectful attitude.  My son has caused many arguements in the past between my husband and I and almost caused us to get divorced.  I am the disciplinarian and my husband has always been Mr. nice guy.
     After we explained to our son that we were not going to take the nonsense any longer, that he had a choice to make.  We explained to him that he either needed to follow the rules, or fine some other place to live.    The next morning he packed his bags(after I had already left for work) and I have not seen him since.  The only reason my husband found out he was moving out was because he asked my son that morning if he was doing his chores in the am or when he got out of school? My son responded I am not doing them, I will not be here, "I am moving out today".  Since then my husband has seen him, because he holds a job the same place as where my husband works.  He mainly would only talk work with my husband and nothing else.  Until recently he informed my husband that he is glad that he is out of the house.  He said we have done nothing for him and he told my husband that he wants nothing to do with his family.  
     I am so sad, I do not know what to do.  He has also recently started getting in trouble in school and also skipping school. The immature behavior is not new though. He moved in with his friend and he also has a girlfriend that he seems to be unable to leave her side.  The girl's mother is divorced and has had her daughter on birth control since age 15 and she is now 17.  My son makes 800 dollars a month and thinks he is all set with money.
     I am trying to focus my thoughts away from this, but it is very hard.  What should I do?
17 Responses
13167 tn?1327197724
Do you have any close family members that you can talk to about this to get a little more insight?   Your son is clearly not attached at all to you and your husband,  and honestly,  seems less attached to you than your husband.  

As a mother of teenage boys myself I've seen some of this.  I've seen boys who wander and suddenly start doing drugs,  skipping school,  getting in trouble,  but they still have a basic attachment to their mothers - affection and need wise -  although they put their mothers through horrific pain and angst.

I think only a close friend,  or a close family member can help you with this.  I have a sense that the two of you have no affection between you,  just rules and order and respect.  Do you think that might be true?  Was there ever a time where you two had a really affectionate relationship with love and hugs - after he was about 5?

13167 tn?1327197724
Another point of insight,  is the title of your post,  "Disrespectful Son".   I think most mothers in your situation would summarize this situation with "Help,  I've lost my son",  or "Help,  my son doesn't want to come home".   That you summarize this situation and prioritize the fact that you feel he is disrespectful,  is a very distant unattached way to view this.

Although your name is momsosad,  so I do get that.

I'm sorry you're going through this.  If any of my three sons suddenly announced they never wanted anything to do with us I'd be so sad too.
How did you help...you were so busy critizing and saying how great you have it with your son, you forgot to actually give words that were positive and solution based to this struggling Mom...I'm  sure if she could go to family/friends she would not be on the site...think lady, think!!!!
Avatar universal
     Thanks for your insight.  I have tried very hard to get close to my son,but he always seems to pull away. I have tried to show him affection, but it never seems good enough.  
      Just so you know I am very upset about this,and I do not know what to do next.  I am not trying to be distant at all.  It just has been that I have had to be the disciplinarian, all my son's life.I have always been the bad guy, and my husband has been the one who has always come out on top  (in my son's eyes) all the time.  No matter what my husband says, or does.
     I have been through a lot and have always had to remain strong and quit frankly I am tired.  I work full-time and go to school half-time and have two other children to worry about as well.  I do not want anything to happen to my son and I am so afraid something bad is going to happen and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.  My heart just is broken into a million pieces.
13167 tn?1327197724
Is this your middle child?  

I'm interested that you have two other kids and your relationship with them is apparently intact and normal.  It's like there's some hurt your son is harboring,  some belief that he wasn't treated fairly or given what he needed.

Can your husband take him to lunch and just frankly and humbly ask what has caused your son to be so distant?  Do his siblings have any ideas?
Avatar universal
     My son is my first child, but he has a half-brother( my husband was married previously).  I have a wonderful relationship with my other two children, and honestly it seems like they have gotten closer to me with my son out of the house.
     My other two children think my son is wrong and they do not think that he will ever admit to being wrong.  They tell me that I did nothing wrong and they do not understand their brother. My older child (of the two that are home) thinks my son was spoiled and whenever they came along he became jeolous.  My son has been difficult since before the age of two.  The doctors always told me " it's just a stage he is going through".
     I really can't figure it out.  I am so concerned for my son and my heart just breaks over all of this,
Avatar universal
Your son is an adult and he has made his choice.You can't change him.You can only change how you react to him.Of course you love him and you seem to have done your best for him.Discipline is a part of love so don't apologize for that.Discipline is part of life and clearly he does not accept that as he is immature and irresponsible in his behavior.
You cannot be his excuse and do not allow anyone to tell you that you owe him anything more at this stage of his life.Don't allow anyone to measure you as a parent nor question your love for him.He still owes you respect and gratitude as his mother.
He owes it to himself to make a positive effort in his life.It's time for him to grow as a man and he needs to accept consequences and learn from his mistakes.
Focus on your life and your other children.Very often we become drained by these difficult situations and shortchange our families and ourselves.We all deserve better.
I know personally how hard it is when a child behaves like that.It is very, very hard and people who have not lived it cannot know it.
So I don't say these thing easily.But you have to get off the emotional rollercoaster at some point and that allows you to release anger and hurt and go forward with a new understanding of your son and healing and forgiveness can happen.
Good luck.

13167 tn?1327197724
Mother,  there are two parts to this.

1.  Your desire to help your son and what you can do to help him

2.  Your need to lessen the pain you are feeling so that you can function better and feel better

I haven't had a child move out and reject the family,  but I have had teenage stuff that has been very painful.  The desire to help your child is overwhelming,  and can make your life an absolute misery,  I totally get that and know that.   It's like your nerves just become completely raw,  and it's hard to even write clearly because you shake sometimes.   Raw angst.

What worked for me,  a small bit,   is to sit down with a piece of paper and pour out my fears.  Write the fear,  and next to it,  write what you can do about it.  Like this.

"I fear my son will not graduate"               I can go to the school and ask them for help
"I fear my son will end up on drugs           I can talk to the girl's mother to see how he's
and in the street"                                                doing

Then,  do those things,  and fold up the paper and put it away somewhere deeply hidden.  You can only do what you can do,  and turning this over and over in your mind doesn't help.  I do remember a thought,  though - I remember thinking that somehow worrying was helpful.  Well,  I can't do anything about this but I CAN worry about it,  so at least that's doing something.  ;D  Doesn't help.

When the clouds lift a little,  and this pain lessens,  your life will be better and you will actually be a better and clearer thinking person for having gone through this.

Prayers for you.
Avatar universal
     Thanks for your help.  Your words make sense and I hope I will be able to sort this all out.  I texted my son last night and told him that we love him and want him to make smart choices.  He replied back"okay".  I also texted him and told him I was sorry if I had done him wrong in any way.  He replied back " alright".  After that the texting ended.  After all that, we got a message that he did not go to school today.  This brings such tears to my eyes.
     Thanks for your prayers and help.
Avatar universal
All I can say is he is 18, and if he thinks he make it out in the real world than good luck to him in his new endeavors.

My son is 16 & we have rules, while under our roof he will abide by them. When he is 18yrs old he is welcome to leave, but must leave truck (we pay for it & insurance). We don't ask much from him except, respect, do some chores, a & b's. If he thinks we are just asking the world of him, we tell him, at 18 he can leave & support himself. My husband is the type that does NOT play games with him, (husband is strict to an extent). His choice after HS is college (he is more than welcome to still live at home while in college) or find a job and support himself. We have told him, if he refuses college he can live at home but would acquire having to pay bills, rent, food, utilities, pay his own truck & insurance. Like I said, my husband is a hard worker and believes in earning your keep, I love my son & would do anything for him, but I side with my husband on this one. If my son thinks he knows it all and is so mature at 18, then by all means leave and prove yourself. At 16yrs old he has not complained about his rules, if he does we always tell him you only have two more years at home, grin & bear it. He is more than welcome to go live with a better family is what we tell him since we are just so mean....He knows how good he has it, that is why he abides by the rules. I fear the day he decides to go against our rules. He does have a curfew, in bed & off phone at 10pm. He is not allowed to come & go as he pleases just because he can drive & has his own truck. I think what keeps him busy is sports, lots of them...
Avatar universal
Sometimes we have to humble ourselves even when it's not entirely our fault. There have been times when I have apologized for something I wasn't even at fault for, just to keep the peace. It usually worked. And I was the better person for it. There is something vulnerable that appeals to the person who is being asked to forgive, and it touches the heart to see someone admit a wrong. Pride is the biggest stalemate that prevents healing.  I think, that if you were to humble yourself and ask your son for forgiveness, that he would reciprocate and the start of healing would be restored to your relationship. That does not mean that you'll be a doormat and accept past behaviors because it's up to you to set the boundaries of how you expect to be treated.
Avatar universal
I know these posts are from four years ago but find myself going through so much of what you describe....this otherwise nice kid hates me and is disrespectful, swears and tells me all the time how he hates me and what a rotten parent I am.  We have rules but encourage him to play sports which he loves, has few responsibilities in terms of chores, provide him with a car that we insure and pay for gas and all he has to do is get decent grades, As and Bs, and earn money reffing/umpiring when he can for his own personal spending money.  Yet, when he's told no about something (tonight it was about blowing off school for tomorrow because he had a long track meet, isn't feeling well, and has a paper due tomorrow).  It may sound harsh but we're trying to teach him some responsibility for when he's away at college that he'll need to learn to balance his time better.  I really feel like I'm going to have a nervous breakdown lately because it's not getting better, it's getting worse.  I've not worked in 11 years so I could be a full time mom...my husband and I make a lot of sacrifices to this end so that the kids could enjoy their lives and come home to home cooked meals and treats and have their laundry done and their rooms cleaned by Mom...All for nothing.  This 18 year old man hates me.
But, how did it work out for you?
Avatar universal
To the last posting (June 2014) .... I found this on the net today because I am in a tough boat as well.  18 yo son - on drugs - dealing drugs - rules are to come home by 11pm (just like other siblings), finish GED (since school asked him to withdraw due to drugs), keep job if no sport or activity, clean off of drugs and alcohol, do chores and show respect (all as per hospitalists while he was in a teen clean-up in patient program).  These few things to stay living here.  Well he moved (1/2) way out, coming and going when no one here, and started living in hotels with other "bad influence friends".  Dad is non-confrontational and allows son to walk over us.  He has let him back into house and son reeks of marijuana ... dad allows him to continue using car that dad bought (when all 4 older siblings bought their own cars).  He has wrecked this car- and another previous car.  I think he was on or coming down from a drug in both cases (he is lucky not tested in either).  He just shouts and screams no or retreats to his room or leaves, to me when I ask for a chore to get completed.  Dad just sets there letting this happen - he figures it is none of his business.  I have put up with this for 15 years.  This son has been defiant since birth I hate to say, but even my mother and mother in law have said so.  My oldest is from another marriage - he was tough as well, back talk - runaway - hitting me- we had to call police on him.  Left home day after graduation and was 18.  He was going to a good job as a back water guide.  He came home and was more compliant, but got his own apt.  I think I am crazy tired of all this.  I have pulled away from my marriage.  I see a counselor that helps me see I am in the right - even my sons therapists keep in touch to say good job on tough love.  I know what happens I have done right by God.  I just have to pray everyday to protect all of us!
Avatar universal
My story is almost identical to yours.  Almost.

My son at 18, a senior in high school, would not do chores and feels he has to answer to NO ONE.  He left home. He lives with another family.  He says the family that he now lives with, is his family not us.  
I am heart broken.  I am tring to live...but have no desrie to live.  My son is gone and my friends simply say he is "18". -- I know his age and legal status as an adult all too well.  No one feels my pain. Maybe you do.
There is nothing I can do, but love. I will always love him, and hope he returns.  Even a visit would be great.  I miss my son...I miss his smile.  I am a lost soul.  I "wish" i had comforting words for you.  I don't.  Instead, I can only say, maybe, just maybe, I feel your pain and my heart is with you.
Did he ever come home?
Avatar universal
I wish my almost 18 man will leave us. He is using drugs, disrespect me and my husband.
Avatar universal
I am going through the same here with my son and have been since he was 15, now 19.  Actually hindsight is 20/20.  Looking back maybe signs of drug use went unnoticed at age 12 or so by me and my family.  Todays world is difficult and I think most problems here are caused by drug use especially with my son.  I have a happily married 34 year old daughter with a granddaughter I cherished.  I raised both by children myself with really no parenting from either Dads.  My daughter never ever did drugs, cigarettes, anything.   Has a college degree.  Married her 2nd boyfriend and been with him for 13 years now.  I disciplined both of them the same, but I don't have the same result with my son as my daughter.  Drugs have played and still playing a big role in his life and disrespect towards me.  But I also believe that his Dad plays a big role in this too because he smoked weed with his girlfriend in front of my son at age 4 maybe the earliest.  Then years later even smoked weed with his only son (MINE), and this started the whole ball rolling I truly believe.  I miss my son and the person he wanted to be in his early years before all of this.  I pray everyday that he will realize and remember what he wanted for himself as opposed to what he had now.....which is nothing but his desire to do drugs.  Breaks my heart everyday and I cry everyday.  I understand everyone here.  What is happening to our kids in todays world is heartbreaking.  God Bless every parent here who is going through this with any child.
Avatar universal
Our family was completely turned upside down this summer.  We have twin boys that just turned 18.  One is mild special needs and the other the top of his class. Of course the top of the class has the narcissistic attitude.  After being told that he did not need to see ANY girl that was 14-15 yrs old due to the age difference , that was like pouring gas on a fire.   It wasn't necessarily my son , but the girl and her MOTHER became our problem.  They convinced him in to sneaking out of the house at night and going to the movies and out to eat without us knowing. Mind you we were asleep and he was climbing out a window from a second floor.  The danger of this keeps me up at night.  The mother took this as we didn't think her daughter was good enough for him. Instead of appreciating the fact that we was concerned over the age difference. We know that our son was totally responsible for his actions.
So,  21 days after he turned 18, the mother/daughter talked our son into moving out in the middle of the night and he is now living with her and her 14yrold daughter. Telling him that he was his own man no one should be telling what to do. We have contacted everyone from DCS, lawyers and law enforcement. No one has done anything. He's 18 and we can't do anything.  Sounds like child abuse on the mother to me. We have tried talking with the mother. She just threatened to have us arrested if we came back on her property.  He feels like he has a new found freedom, living on his own as he puts it.    We have absolutely no communication with him, at his request.  They have even talked him into joining the Army and for going a paid for college education. The one shock is that he has found is that we will no longer support him and neither is the mother.  He is a Senior in high school and is having trouble with gas , lunch and truck insurance money. So he has had to give up some of his fun time to work to support himself. He and the daughter are sexually active.  We as his parents are not getting to enjoy his last year of school because of this.   From what we hear its getting tough for him. This mother was so excited for him to leave us but not willing to support him. She will get her just dues someday. We are devastated but we having to let him bite off as much of this life that he can chew.   We know that someday he will realize that HIS mom and dad were not so stupid.  But my heart breaks and I cry and pray everyday for my little boy to come to his senses .   We love him and he has a home to come to, once he comes back to reality.
Avatar universal
Sounds too familiar. My son's dad left us when he was 12 and has had nothing to do with his son again. My son blames me for it, hates me and I have been through hell for 6 years now. He is 18 and he believes he knows it all, calls me names, gets angry when I say no, disrespects me and is only somewhat friendly if he needs something. He enjoys torturing me emotionally.....and I feel alone cause I am so ashamed and I can t really tell anything to anyone. My sister in law just told me I should just grow up since I told her we didn't celebrate Christmas cause my son didn't want to. Back home everyone seems to judge me how bad mom I am and that he is such a good boy. So I just learned to shut up. Last year I almost died cause of a wrong diagnosis and ended up being in hospital for a month. I came home to find my place full of trash...I have learned now what it means to be lonely and not able to talk to anyone, so ashamed and scared
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13167 tn?1327197724
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