22 year old son

Susan - posted on 09/13/2016 ( 27 moms have responded )

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My son lives 3,000 miles away and we haven't seen him too often since he started school 4 yrs. ago.
We see him approx. 3-4 times a year. I'm heartbroken but he has become very detached from us and his friends seem to be much more important to him than his father and me. What can I do to have him realize that family is first? We have always cherished him and done anything we could to have him be happy.

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Jodi - posted on 09/14/2016

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Susan, I am just going to say, at the risk of sounding a little sexist, boys are often not great at communication. Sometimes YOU have to be the one to initiate it. And in this day and age, text is how a LOT of people communicate. Heck, I am often keeping up with my parents by text or just a message on Facebook.

And I'm just going to say....my son lives in a separate apartment downstairs in our house. He is independent and I hardly see him or hear from him either! He is busy with his work, his sport, his friends. Then when he is not busy, I am often busy with work, family, or a whole hoard of other things. So our paths don't often cross. He lives downstairs and I have to text him most the time (as opposed to the other way around) if we want to touch base because I hardly see him, and if I do, it's because he is upstairs using my washing machine (because he doesn't have one). Do I miss him? Of course! But it isn't his JOB to stop me missing him.

Maybe you should initiate a regular phone call to your son at a time you know he will be able to take the call. But maybe he feels like by texting you, he IS being a respectful son and keeping up the communication. Have you ever had a conversation with him about it?

Honestly, your son is entirely normal. You need to find some things to do to help you fill the gaps. Volunteer, take up something new. It will help you with how you are feeling if you are occupied and busy.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2016

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I don't really know how mine was any different either. But hey, I'll take it :P

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/15/2016

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Oh, but Jodi used the words :"I understand"...whatever...

I agree, she posted the same advice we did, but we are not "understanding", so we are invalid, I guess...

Some people can't handle straight to the point.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2016

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You are welcome. Honestly, I get how it feels, I really do (even though I still have one at home). But he isn't doing this to hurt you. He still loves you. He's normal. It's time for you to live your life now - he will be in it, you will learn to be flexible, but it's not all about him any more. He loves you. Go out and find some new focuses :) Text him every now and then randomly. Accept that texts are a form of communication and that this is a sign he is thinking of you. Be proud.

Jodi - posted on 09/14/2016

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Ev, that was directed at me.

Susan, I cannot see my son "anytime I want" just because he lives downstairs. I'm sorry, I think you are being incredibly insulting in suggesting that I can just walk into his life any time I choose. I can't. I respect his boundaries, and he has his OWN apartment, even if within my house. If I didn't contact him, I would barely see him at all. he has his own life. Just as your son does. Most of the time I am the one initiating contact, and often that is simply text messages.

My husband also has an adult daughter (my step-daughter) who lives independently 30 minutes from here. We touch base when we can, but she is busy, we are busy, it doesn't happen as often as we would like. And generally, WE are the ones to initiate communication.

Stop treating this as if you are unique. You aren't. You need to move on. He isn't your little kid anymore. You have to take pride in the fact you have raised your child - it's now his turn to find his place in this adult world. He isn't excluding you - you need to just get some other interests. Family ISN'T first at this age. What are you going to do when eventually he gets married and has his children. You will be even further down his list. You really will. THEY will come first, not you. Get over it! It happens. It is normal. You are not the centre of his world anymore.

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Michelle - posted on 09/15/2016

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Jodi: I guess that's the best comment you've had for a long time. Well done. We all said the same though.

Dove - posted on 09/15/2016

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I did point out that I can't relate YET, but I can imagine the future and yeah... it's gonna suck for ME. That didn't count..? lol

Dove - posted on 09/15/2016

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I don't see how Jodi's advice is significantly different than any other response... we've all said the same things just in slightly different ways... ??

Susan - posted on 09/15/2016

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Thank you Jodi. Your reply was the only one I found accurate and helpful. You got what I was trying to articulate and you answered with insight and sensitivity. Thank you. The rest made me realize not to seek advice from a blog. ;(

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/14/2016

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Or at me, because RB lives so close...but what isn't being grasped is 3000 miles or 300 feet away, these young adults are doing what we have worked towards for 18 years or more!

Rather than taking them to the woodshed for "not communicating", we need to embrace their maturity and support their efforts to be independent.

I also agree that the more one pushes, the further it pushes the other. I had VERY minimal contact with my mother for almost 5 years, due to her issues with my choices. I communicated, a bit, but if I talked to her once a month, that was unusual...more like 2 or 3 months between contact, and the contact usually happened because my grandmother asked it of me, and I did it for her. I was 20 to 25 at the time.

Now, we communicate mostly via email or text. She is only an hour's drive, but I am more likely to drive the 3 hours to my mom in law.

As far as my eldest, I can't just "see him anytime I want". He has a life, a job, and commitments, as do his dad and I. Heck, I only see my 18 year old a couple times a week, and he still lives at home!

Ev - posted on 09/14/2016

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Still Jodi, it kindly ticked me off. I feel like this mom is thinking it is all about her and I have and still do have to sometimes deal with one that thinks it is all about her.

Michelle - posted on 09/14/2016

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I live an hour away from my Mum and don't see her often at all. I am the only child of hers with children as well!!!!
She probably sees my brother only a couple of times a year and that would be a meeting with the accountant and Christmas.
We have busy lives and one week blurs into the next and then I realize it's months.
My husband has moved to the other side of the world from his family and I did it at your son's age as well. I wasn't even in the same country as my parents for 3 years, but I was living MY life. That's what my parents raised me to do.
He's 22, you aren't the center of his life anymore. He is out there finding his own way in life and sometimes children need to move well away from their parents to do that. If you are too involved with your child's life, they will take the opportunity to move further away.

Ev - posted on 09/14/2016

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{{It is easy to do when your son is a mile away!! U can see him anytime you want to and vice Versace. I want opinions of moms whose kids are far away. Too far for spontaneous weekend visits and holiday celebrations!}}

I know this was not totally directed to me but I just had to get my 2 cents in on this. My daughter is a couple miles away with her husband, kids, and inlaws. I do not see her all the time and it is not as easy to see her that often. She has a life and family to deal with on top of inlaws who are having some medical issues that she is helping to care for. We do keep in touch as much as possible. My son actually lives at home but he did live 40 miles away for about 6 months and he called me more often than his sister did. I would also go get him on weekends when I could. Even living in the home I do not always see him now because our work schedules are so different. I do not keep him busy doing what I want to do....but we do go out to eat together or like a week ago went to ride go-carts and play lazer tag!

I know what it is like to miss the kid that is a few hundred miles away or more. That was my daughter. But I learned to deal with it. You can to. Stop making this all your son's fault.

Dove - posted on 09/14/2016

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I live 15 minutes away from my dad. The only reason I see him regularly is because my son goes w/ him every Saturday. Before we started that it could be a couple of months of not seeing or speaking to each other. Like Shawnn says... away is away. I technically have a better relationship now w/ my mom who lives 3000 miles away from me than I do w/ my dad who I see every week. Physical distance means very, very little when it comes to a relationship.

Texting is communicating...

Now, I can't speak on relationships w/ adult children since my girls are still only 14, almost 15... but guess what? They want to do missions work all over the world when they are adults. I, personally, am going to HATE that when they are not here... it's going to be so hard and so painful even though I will still have one more child at home... but it's THEIR life and it's THEIR dream... and if they can accomplish it that means I have done MY job by raising them to be independent AND done my job in letting them go.

What type of response is going to make you happy here? It seems as if the only answer you are going to accept is if someone advises you on a way to emotionally manipulate your adult son into reacting the way that you want him to... and you aren't going to get that.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/14/2016

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You don't get it. AWAY is AWAY. So what?

You really need to get your head out of "he's cutting me out of his life".

HE IS NOT!!! He is living his own life, and you need to be PROUD that you raised him so well.

by all means, initiate contact, but don't expect him to suddenly remember he's got a mother who wants him to call daily.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/13/2016

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Again...normal for the generation...my kid lives a mile away. He calls and texts fairly often, but we don't see him that often, because he has a life!

Find other hobbies. Understand that your priorities and your son's will differ.

Susan - posted on 09/13/2016

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I think it would be great to have communication however he doesn't typically call or even write emails. A text is the best way of reaching him and we see him usually no more than 3 x a year. When he is home visiting I feel like a bed and breakfast not his oriority. It the local friends who matter. And yes I am sure that parents who have more than one child miss them but I gave several friends who admit they are happy they have more than one as it softens it a bit. Just sayin.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/13/2016

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Furthermore, to imply that a parent may not understand your point of view because they have more than one child is an insult.

As the others have pointed out, seeing your son 3 or 4 times a year when he lives that distance away is actually quite a lot, considering travel expense, time away from his job, etc.

Two of my brothers live over 3000 miles away. We see each of them once a year. Twice if there is a funeral...travel is expensive, and they both work full time. They cannot drop everything once a month to visit.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/13/2016

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He is living his life. Are you still in your parents' back pockets? No. You have a life and you live it.

Good job on raising a self sufficient adult who is doing well!

Value the times that he visits, and be proud of him!

Jodi - posted on 09/13/2016

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This sounds like very normal young adult behaviour. He lives 3,000 miles away. I understand you miss him, but his friends WOULD be important to him because they are his support network where he lives, I'd imagine. You need to let him live his own life.

And I think it is really unfair to assume parent who has more than one child that they couldn't understand......they do. But the fact is, children move on with their own lives. The fact that he lives 3000 miles away and you see him 3-4 times a year is actually pretty good. It doesn't mean he is detached, just that it is a long way and not easy to do more often. If you are maintaining other ways of contacting him, then you can still have a good relationship.

Susan - posted on 09/13/2016

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I get that. But it is painful when your kid is so far away and you feel forgott n;(

Dove - posted on 09/13/2016

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I do have quite a few in my family... but I've lived 3000 miles away from all extended family since I was 8.5 years old and have lived 3000 miles away from my mom since I was 16 and haven't seen my brother (only biological sibling) in almost a decade. That's LIFE. I do understand that you love and miss your son, absolutely, but I also understand that you can not make another person feel something that they don't and the tighter you hold on the more they will push back unless they WANT you holding tight. By all means let him know that you love and miss him and keep in semi-regular contact w/ him... but if he's not receptive and you keep pushing you may lose him and end up seeing him a lot less than 3-4 times/year.

Susan - posted on 09/13/2016

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I understand that view, but he is our only child and we have a tiny family. He isn't behaving as though we are important at all to him. It is very hurtful. You might have several in your family and don't understand.

Dove - posted on 09/13/2016

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He lives 3000 miles away. He is an adult now living his life. With that distance... seeing him 3-4 times/year is actually quite a bit. You have raised him to be a self reliant young man... let him be one now.

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