What to do when you know your grown son is going to make a big mistake.

Judith - posted on 09/04/2009 ( 64 moms have responded )

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My son is 22 and has been in the
air Force for less than a year. His girl friend is pressuring him to get married because she is tired of waiting, Neither one of them is mature enough to make this big of a commitment, nor does my son make enough money to support her. How do I handle this?

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Kelly - posted on 05/22/2012

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Judith,

I grew up next to a base and your son is a catch for a girl looking for long term support. You never know, It may work out. A lot of the time they end up having a child and someone starts cheating and then a divorce happens and the mother can count on getting her child support from enlisted men. It's hard to make a marriage work when one is away so much. Try and talk with him about possibly waiting to have kids for a couple of years or get engaged for A while. He shoulkd be able to see after one deployment if she is wife material. Good Luck!

Paula - posted on 10/02/2009

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Pray, pray and pray some more. I was facing the same problem with my son who is in the Army. He was going with a girl who was only using him for his money. I always let him bring up the subject of her first, and then I let him know what my true feelings were about her. It took her leaving him completely broke in Germany, and about $1000.00 in debt in to the bank in overdaught charges to get his attention, but it did. God does answer prayers. Maybe be painful sometimes, but he answered my pray, that my son would see the light. Don't give up just yet. A Proud Army Mom

Mitch - posted on 09/30/2009

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If you do anything other than give your blessing and pray you risk alienating yourself and it could lead to nothing good for you. we all have made choices that we regret and none of us have hindsight although we wish we did. He will be fine and you will to. trust me

Lisa - posted on 09/09/2009

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Give him all the moral support he wants, none of the advice he NEEDS and then when the divorce happens, do the same thing again. He won't take our good advice at all, and he'll resent you for not supporting him, but when he needs you later on, and you're there for him, you'll find a very grateful son who'll ASK for your advice. At least, that was my experience. It's hard to grit your teeth and let them do what seems the obviously mistake, but it's not as if he would listen anyway, and you'll save yourself from the inevitable resentment that no mother wants.

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Vicki - posted on 07/18/2012

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I'm sorry you're in this position but I agree with the others; you have to support his decision; let him know you feel they are too young but you support what they decide and will be there with them (not in a way that says I expect you to fail but I'll be there but that says I love you and will support you whatever happens) Make sure he really wants this marriage- sounds like he's being pushed into marrying now instead of later but then take his decision as HIS decision and know you are and always will be Mom, but he is now adult enough to make his own decision. Besides, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised and the marriage lasts 20+ years! Don't give yourself something to regret by not supporting HIS decision.

[deleted account]

Wow I searched my problem on google and found your post Judith. I wonder what happened with your son asI see this was posted in 2010. It's 2012 now and I have the very same problem with that our 21 year old son in The Marines just got engaged on his two weeks R & R break from Afghanistan. This girl is also pressuring him to get married. Our son is back in Afganistan now for his second tour and she is constantly on his case about this wedding she wants on his next return. We feel he needs to focus on his mission and does not need this drama.

[deleted account]

Wow I searched my problem on google and found your post Judith. I wonder what happened with your son asI see this was posted in 2010. It's 2012 now and I have the very same problem with that our 21 year old son in The Marines just got engaged on his two weeks R & R break from Afghanistan. This girl is also pressuring him to get married. Our son is back in Afganistan now for his second tour and she is constantly on his case about this wedding she wants on his next return. We feel he needs to focus on his mission and does not need this drama.

Karen - posted on 10/03/2009

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Why does this have to be a negative thing?? My husband and I were both 22 when we got married and both our parents probably would have said the same as you. We have been married for 19 years, have 2 teenage sons and my husband is also in the air force. We have faced a lot of separations throughout his job and only wish my mother in law was more supportive. She is the one losing out on our lovely children because, like you, thought her son was making a big mistake. The mistake was hers!!!! My advice would be to get to know his girlfriend and be there for her, for both of them. If the marriage fails he will know you are still there for him. Let him grow up and make his own decisions. It worked out great for us. Good Luck :)

Barb - posted on 10/02/2009

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Judith...do nothing...I know its hard...but you are on the outside looking in from years of trial and error and experience he doesn't have yet...had to do this with my eldest....I sat down quietly and respectfully and shared my concerns with him but told him I would love and support him no matter what he decided...it lasted two years...ended badly..and he came home because we hadn't judged or preached...he's older...wiser...and remarried to a wonderful woman for the past 9 years. Love, patience, acceptance and lots of prayer:=)

[deleted account]

How you can assist also depends on how openly you have communicated in the past. I had this happen too, and I was able to tell my son that I loved him no matter what; I was concerned that perhaps he and his girlfriend hadn't thought the situation all the way through; that his dad and I were available to help him set up a budget, go over basic housekeeping and household repairs, cooking (neither of them knew how) basic car maintenance, but that we would not be availble to bail them out. We tried to emphasize that we were not criticizing his choice for a wife ( we knew we wouldn't get anywhere that way), but that we were concerned about their ability to survive financially.

Tammy - posted on 10/01/2009

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Judith

This is where you ask them to look at what your point of view is and then let him make his own choices. There will be times when our grown children make choices we may not think or know are not the best. It is their choices and they must live and learn just like we did. If he chooses to marry then just be the best mother inlaw that you can and now you have a new daughter and teach as best you can and they will still do what they want just don't carry the problems let them and you never know how it will work out. Hope for the best for all of you.

Maggie - posted on 09/30/2009

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Put ur trust in the Lord. Remember u raised him and gave him values. He may have to make a big mistake, but do u trust him as an adult, or are u still treating him as ur little boy. Sometimes it is hard to watch our kids make mistakes, but if we are ever going to allow them to grow up, they have to make their own mistakes.

April - posted on 09/30/2009

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well there is a decent living to be had in the military and all other needs provided if she goes with him, also paid for education when you get out. If they truly love each other there is nothing you can do to stop them/ If he asks for advice, give it to him gently but anything else will turn him away then if it does work you won't be part of it and if it doesn't work you won't be there to help hm through it. Sometimes as parent we just have to let them grow up and learn on their own and trust we have taught them well enough to get through whatever life gives them good and bad.

Gina - posted on 09/11/2009

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WELL, having been where you are (with a daughter) I would be as close to both of them...not to put a wedge and you can even ask them if they have written pros and cons ?! i would get the a couple quizs....in bookstore there are books that you can take quizzes that they can take and it will help to discuss the big issues...ie REAL LIFE!!! she may be attracted to the glamorous wedding aspect.....or....maybe a ring would suffice! He will only get defensive and pull further away at any negative (intentional or not) comments..... and last but not least.....God loves him more than you do and there are way worse situations that he could be putting you through!!!
It could all change by next week, you may be stressing for nothing! ;0} HUGS!

Patricia - posted on 09/10/2009

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I just recently went through the exact same thing. My son is in the army and his girlfriend now his wife pressured him so she could move with him. I explained my feelings to him and listened to his. He made his decision and I let him know I would always be there no matter what happend. Now all I can do is give marriage advice from my 22 year marriage. Best of luck with your situation.

Helen - posted on 09/10/2009

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Twenty two is to young to be married these days. My son is 22 . I couldn't picture him with a wife yet. So here is my opinion. Tell you son he is old enough to make his own decisions but no matter how old he is you will always be his mother and therefore can't help but want to help. Then tell him how you feel but omit phrases like "not mature enough". Instead say something like "not ready". I would also not bring his salary into this for you will hear how she is capable of working and bringing in another income.

Marion - posted on 09/10/2009

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I am going through something like this, my son is 22, works full time but barely makes enough to support himself, I'm lending him money for bills at least once a month. Kia his girlfriend, wants a christmas wedding, determined. The more I tried to talk him out of it, the more he was determined to do it. I think you just have to let them make the mistake and just be there to pick up the pieces. I know thats what I'm trying to do. Its hard to watch them make a mistake, to jump in head first but sometimes thats all we can do.

Rita - posted on 09/10/2009

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Unfortunately, there really is nothing you can do. They need to make the mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Just be there when they need you. My daughter is 24 and my son-in-law will be 21. He joined the Air Force and believe it or not, they are finally doing good. A lot of heartaches and disappointments. It seemed like it takes forever for them to grow-up and you won't so bad to give your opinion but you really can't until they ask for it. Then you give your opinion. I seem to do that quite well...lol

Sue - posted on 09/10/2009

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My son is 18, and his gf is not a god choice at all. I have voiced my concern, now all I can do is pray and hope I raised him the right way so he can ultimately make the decision he needs to. It's hard but afterall they are grown, and we have to let them make their own decisions good or bad.

Joy - posted on 09/09/2009

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Let him make the mistake. He will never learn unless he owns it. It is not yours to handle. Just love him and let him know you are there for support, but the decision is his and he needs to think all things through! Good luck

Stephanie - posted on 09/09/2009

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You have to let go even when you don't want to. I know the feeling. My son is 26 and I feel that he is still making mistakes. I just had to let go because he causes me alot of heartache and pain..I'm sick of going through it..so I just step back. But no matter what what I still love him and always will.

Dianne - posted on 09/09/2009

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hi i am going through roughly the same thing only with my daughter 20 kept saying i dont think you should when one day she phoned from miles away to tell me she was pregnant ! now i just go along with it all from a distance and wait for the enevitable return,and i will welcome her with open arms and a big smile and a little grandson thats what mums do .remember when you were that age nobody thought what you were doing was a good idea but were still alive and doing things other people dont think is a good idea .GOOD LUCK

Cheryl - posted on 09/09/2009

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Don't say a thing.He has to live his own life just like you have. Be there to listen if it doesn't work and congratulate him if it does

Susan - posted on 09/09/2009

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I agree with all of the other posts... Just trust that you raised him with all the right tools he needs to succeed in life... Be there for him regardless. If he asks for your advise, give it, if not, then you need to step back and bite your tongue or you will push him away!

Virginia - posted on 09/09/2009

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what can you say.we raise them to the best of our ability.then we let them go.good,bad,or indifferent.all we can do is tell them how we feel and support their decisions.be there when they need us.never say i told you so.besides,who knows if it will work out or not.even under the best of circumstances marriages fail

Jasminka - posted on 09/09/2009

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He has to see this for himself. My grown son took the side of his girl and pushed me out of their lives and I had done nor said nothing. It will only be you who wears the pain so just be their for him when he needs you and support what ever decision he makes whether it is right or wrong for him, only he can learn from his mistakes.

[deleted account]

If he`s 22 there isnt a lot you can do which will be so frustrating.Why don`t you suggest pre marriage counseling.Most churches have a programme if you are not religious then look on the web.I wish I had done this and it should be compulsory for most people.Talk to him and at the end of it all it his decision,just be supportive.

Deb - posted on 09/09/2009

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At this point you need to let go and allow him to make his own decisions (mistakes) just assure him you are there for him always

Lisa - posted on 09/08/2009

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I think way too many couples do everything way too early. I do not believe they should live together first or have any sexual relations until their wedding day. If he loves her and she loves him let them marry. Talk to them about the real life struggles of paying bills and having children without the proper income. Teach them how to live within their means and not to depend on credit cards. It causes a vicious circle they may have trouble getting out of. Most couples split because of money problems. It causes stress. They should make sure they are ready to take on every day things without depending on Mom and Dad to foot the bill. Be honest and open. Tell him your fears and hopes for His future. If he then insists on Marriage Wish him the best and support him in his very grown up decision.

Dorothy - posted on 09/08/2009

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I agree with the other Moms. You can advise all you want but that doesn't mean that they are going to listen to you. They will choose their own paths. My son married three years ago. Said that he was ready for it. They had two Beautiful children and now they are divorced.

RuthAnn - posted on 09/08/2009

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As Mothers, we want to intrude and try to shake some sense into our sons. It won't work! All you can do at this point is be supportive - let him make his own decisions and be there when it all falls apart. My son married a young lady I didn't care for - they have a son. Had I caused a stink prior to the wedding, I would have limited access to my grandson. Mom decided she didn't want to be married anymore, but my relationship with my son & grandson are intact.



It is hard to watch them make a decision we know is not the right one - but he is an adult.

Grace - posted on 09/08/2009

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Hi Judith,

Yes it is a very big commitment for a 22 year old. Unfortunately he has to come to this decisions on his own. Hopefully he has a strong enough back-bone to up hold this decision when laying it out to his girl friend. All you can do is encourage him to look at all of his options and be supportive of what ever he decides.

Berta - posted on 09/08/2009

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You don't handle it, sorry Mom you gotta step back and let him figure it out. I found this out the hard way and he knows because you have taught him what to do. His pay will go up if he marries so he can afford her. Don't give advice unless asked but do ask questions like "have you seen enough of the world?" What are his life goals and what does he want out of life? I say this with the best intentions, if you give advice and they DO get married remember she will be your daughter in law and my goodness do they have power...Good luck and God Bless I will pray all goes well for you.

[deleted account]

I agree with all the other moms who have posted. I would definitely have a heart to heart talk with my son though. Not out of trying to control his life but out of my love and concern for him in a calm, loving manner. He may not like to hear what you have to say but if you let him know that you are there for him no matter what, he will remember those words in later years. Also, there is no guarantee that just because he's young and not in the perfect position to be married, that it won't work out. There are MANY, MANY couples who are the perfect age, with the perfect careers and the perfect outlook that end up divorced. Marriage is not about where you begin or where you end, it's about the journey in between.

LIZ - posted on 09/08/2009

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PRAY.. WE HAVEA HIGHER POWER THAT CAN HELP HIM MAKE HIS OWN DECISIONS.. IF HE'S BEEN RAISED RIGHT and it sounds like he has been... He will know in his heart.. If he's ready for this life long committment. Back off, and let him be the Man.. Its his life.. and he will have to make his decisions here on out.. Just encourage him to seek from God all his major life changing decisions and see if he can be or will be lead in the same direction... I will pray for their situation.. God bless...

LIZ - posted on 09/08/2009

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Quoting Judith:

What to do when you know your grown son is going to make a big mistake.

My son is 22 and has been in the
air Force for less than a year. His girl friend is pressuring him to get married because she is tired of waiting, Neither one of them is mature enough to make this big of a commitment, nor does my son make enough money to support her. How do I handle this?


Hi Judith,



First off, like you said, he's 22 and old enough to join the Air force (God be with him on that journey of life as well!), so surely he's old enough to decide if he wants to get married.  However, I know exactly what you are saying.  I have a few of these kids too..lol.. Just turn it over to God and let him deal with your son's decision.  You can lend him some advice, but, from speaking from experience, telling them what the "should or shouldn't do" is  BIG NO NO.. cuz, from my experiences, they do the opposite of what momma suggested.. and always have fallen on their faces, but what can we do.. just be here for them when that happens too.. You have to know when to let go of these kids.  and support their decisions best as we can.. do not try to make a big fuss over them, cuz honey.. when we're up against young kids and their "raging hormons"... we best back off.. cuz we will lose everytime..lol.. God be with you and your family.. Liz

Tina - posted on 09/07/2009

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He is an adult and you can put your two cents in, but he is going to do what his heart tells him too. My husband and I were married young, and were broke. We had a lot of people telling us we were making a mistake. We are going on 28 years, and are very well off, and happy. Just make certain this is really what he wants to do. It takes two to make it work under any circumstances.

Angela - posted on 09/07/2009

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You stay out of it and allow him to make his own mistakes. Its his life, he has to live it, its not going to kill him it will make him stronger and if he is smart, wiser. Be there for him, love him and bite your tongue. Then you cannot be blamed for what does not work out.

[deleted account]

First and foremost, pray, then let go and let god. I know as a Mom we always want to prevent our children from making mistakes, but we can not especially once they are an adult. We learned from our choices good and bad and so will he. Just be there for him, love him no matter what and down the road someday, your son will see that you did not judge him for what you strongly feel is a bad decision and more than likely is, but he will appreciate you more for not telling him how to live his life and will be thankful for the love you have shown him through good and bad decisions. I will be praying for you all.

Pat - posted on 09/07/2009

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Judith,
I can agree with everything I have read, and I can tell you how my scenario went. At 22 my son presented us with a bouncing baby grandson ... actually the reason I am on Circle of Moms. He and grandson's mother never married, and after a very rocky 3 year relationship split up.
Along the way ... his father and I helped out ... money for a down payment on a house, a car when needed. Food when it was tight.
He met courted and eventually married within a little over a year of his breakup. Again, we paid for a wedding and honeymoon that the brides mother stated she wouldn't help with.
Nine months after his wedding he was a father again. Thirteen months later again. After their son was born, our daughter in law did not go back to work, and her attitude towards her stepson started changing. After their daughter was born, it just got worse ... probably because by this time my son could not pay his bills even though he has a very good job. Bad part ... my daughter in law still is not working and the youngest one will be 2 in a Jan. 2010. My son filed a bankruptcy and lost everything in his name.
I told you all this because somewhere between babies 2 & 3 I voiced my opinions & concerns. Since then I have been called everything but a loving mother & mother in law and I used to be "MOM" to both of them. My son has since broken off even seeing his oldest son who just turned 8, and I haven't spoken to or seen my son, daughter in law or 2 other grandchildren in 19 months.
You cannot live his life. He has to do it himself. If your son chooses to get married, there is nothing you can do to stop him. How much you choose to help out after that will be up to you. I think I helped too much, and when I said no more - it made an impact I wasn't expecting. You will continue to love him & hopefully his bride.
I know this was wordy ... sorry for that. I just wanted to show you that sometimes when you state you mind it can come back and bite you (even when what you said had nothing to do with his family directly). I truly love my son & his family, but he will not take calls or e-mails from me. I only hope that the day will come that he realizes he has wasted a lot of years.
Good luck Judith. If I can help you in any other way, just let me know.
Pat

[deleted account]

I agree with other posters, you can talk to him and express your concerns but all you can do after that is support, lend an ear and be ready to catch if they fall. I hope it works out for you it really does show that you never stop worrying about your children !

Janis - posted on 09/07/2009

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life is to be lived enjoy every moment and let it be it will all work out in the end love them all you can and trust them it will be ok

Liz - posted on 09/06/2009

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Well, this is very hard but from my experience, kids have to make thier mistakes. Unfortunately this is how they have to learn sometimes. I have 6 kids, I have not always been happy with thier choices but, I try to have a listeng ear, as well as just being thier for them. Hope this helps.

Gloria - posted on 09/06/2009

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I have a daughter that just turned 24..She got married 5 yrs ago and I knew it was going to crash but the more us parents say about things,,sometimes it pushes the kids right into doing what we wish they wouldnt..As of this day my daughter has a 4 yr old and a 3 month old little girl,,lookin for a part time job cuz her husband has not been working for the last few months..They live here in mine and my husbands home..She keeps lookin at me like all of her life is my fault but like I told her>>>You wanted me to back off and let you live your life..Although I never backed off,,I did let her fly and she is now paying for that...I think what she is going through now is really making her think..She has a good heart and she dreams of a great life but has no confidence that she will even have her own home...The best thing I can say is...Let Him Fly...He may be defeatherd but when his girlfriend finds out she aint gonna be as rich as she thinks she will be,,then she will walk..Sometimes the best lesson is a Lesson Learned..I do pray that God gives you the strength you need to face this challenge...God bless

Lisa - posted on 09/06/2009

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I have three sons of my own. whwn i feel like they are going to make a bad decision, I would sit down and discuss it with them and give my opion, tell them it's their decions, but look at it in the long run, and is it worth it. Tell them you love them no matter what. I've done that from day one with my boys and they do come to me when they have a problem Hope this helps some.

Kaye - posted on 09/06/2009

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hello :) Have you tried having a meeting with them both? Each of you can put your views forward and it will give you a chance to air your worries with them both. Talk about the pro's and con's of what married life entails, the commitment it takes and the financial side of things, you never know you may say something that they haven't considered. Try and stay calm, and always let them know they can listen to your advice, but they don't have to take it as they are both adults. Hope it works out for you all :)

Cindy - posted on 09/05/2009

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There's not anything you can do. If you say anything you can cause hurt feelings. I would state how I feel, but tell him it's up to him and that you will always be there for him.

Vicky - posted on 09/05/2009

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Judith, Let him know how you feel, no yelling no screaming, and no blaming (kids do that to us) as the other ladies said step back after you let him know how you feel and pray. He may just have to learn the hard way, unfortunatly the more we say anything you know it will come back to us and will be our fault. Let him fall or fly, either way YOU will always be there. He will get your point of view but, right now he is so in love that the sun rises and sets on this young woman. God has your back and all will be well.

Monica - posted on 09/05/2009

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I agree with the other mom's. He is an adult. Be there for him if things go wrong, but don't say "I told you so." Also, if they do get married in the future, embrace the girl, as I'm sure she can feel you have reservations. I guess I'm saying in short, be there for them.

Sheila - posted on 09/05/2009

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I have been in a similiar situation. I found that the only thing I could do was support my child unconditonally. Just be there to help him pick up the pieces if things fall apart. We have all learned from past mistakes. My prayers are with you. Good luck!

Fern - posted on 09/05/2009

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If you tell them you are totally against it and won't support them, they may just get married to spite you. I would sit down with them and make them make a list of the pros and cons of marriage at this age with this level of income and with your son being in the military. I think if you try to guide them through this decision, rather than pushing them to do what you want, you will have better success at helping them come to the right decision. I have sons who are 26, 21, and 19. My 21 year old has enlisted in the Army and goes to basic training in Nov. He is engaged, but they plan to wait at least 2 years or maybe 4 before they get married. I have tried very hard to guide them without pushing my opinions on them so I don't push them to do something we will all regret. So far it has worked well and they seem to understand the importance of waiting. I have always told my kids, if you love that person it will work out if its meant to, so don't be afraid to wait. Sometimes the time tells you something you needed to know about that person and their committment to you. I wish you all the best and hope you can guide them in the right directions.

Nichola - posted on 09/05/2009

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Hi Judith
My answer is don't do anything. It is not your life and 9 out of 10 you will lose not only your son but his future will not include you. If it does go wrong he will be back and it is his lesson not yours. Personal experience.

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