Am I Wrong About My 18 Yr Old?

M - posted on 10/21/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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My newly grad son is 18. He got kicked out the first time, because he made a fuss about house rules and the constant disrespect of me; his mom, and his dad. We spoke later, and came to a compromise. He was to get ready for college, work part-time, and he would communicate more with us & respect us. We were going to help with college, and etc. It lasted less than a week. He went out one Sat with his GF over to a friend's bday party. 12am came around, then 1, then 2....no call from him, no nothing. I tried in vain texting & calling and there was never an answer. Heard sirens near the main rd to my home. There was a tragic accident, where it involved a young couple under the age of 20. I thought, OMG it's my son and his GF! The hosp and news would not release the names , both were dead from a hit on collison by my home! I had a sleepless night to say the last. Next day at 2pm, I got a text from my son saying that if i needed to know where he was, he was at work and to pick him up when he got out. After I brought him home, both my nusband and I tore into him. We told him we did not sleep, how we thought he was in that accident, etc. All this time he had a stupid grin on his face. We asked where he was and how come he did not call. His answer: I am 18, I don't have to call. And if you must know, I was still at that bday party it was an all night party. Words went back and forth and he left saying that we went back on our deal with him and that we had no reason to worry. He said that we need to trust him and treat him like an adult. Since he has been gone, he lost his job for failng to show up to work. He has no car, and refused to ride the local bus. He lives, with whoever will put him up for the night. He gets kicked out often, because people are tired of having him around. He does not work, but is always off with friends. He waits till friday, when his GF comes to town from her out of town college.

He told me the only way he will come back home, is if he will have no rules to live by.

His GF has even sent me 2 emails, condeming me and my husband and our parenting ways. She claims we donot love our son. She herself, has 2 parents who are deadbeats. They donot work, and they allow thier daughter free roam. As soon as she turned 18, she no longer had rules. We are not like that. Are we wrong? I am at a loss as to what else to do. This girl has sent me another disrespectful and hurt email.

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Michele - posted on 10/24/2009

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Please don't take this the wrong way. At some point all children have to learn to grow up whether they're 8 or 18. If every time a child gets himself into a mess the parents run and get him out of it the child learns that he can control and manipulate his parents just by making them worry or fear for his/her safety. Let your son learn from his mistakes and actions. Yes, it's hard. Believe me! It's really hard but once he realizes that you are not going to jump just because he's in a tight spot he will begin to learn from his actions. I'm sure he didn't have to put his hand on the stove burner too many times to figure out that it was hot. As for the girlfriend, it sounds like she's feeling guilty about something and instead of owning her own feelings she's blaming them on you. You don't owe her an explaination of your parenting. I would respond to her e-mail and tell her that it hurts you when she says things like she's saying to you but don't expect her to stop. Until she deals with what is hurting her on the inside she's going to keep lashing out at whomever she can get to react to satisfy her need to feel better about herself. Set boundaries and let her know that continued attacks like this one will be met with you not reading or responding to her e-mails or whatever you feel comfortable with doing. Take care of yourself first and don't worry about the girlfriend. Eventually she will figure out that she can't get a rise out of you and she'll move on to someone else. I pray that things work out for you. Until then, pray unceasingly.

Jodi - posted on 10/21/2009

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Mary, you are absolutely not wrong at all. We all have house rules to be able to run our lives smoothly, and which uphold our values. I have a stepdaughter who is 17 (almost 18) and she will still have rules when she is here. One of our rules, for instance, is that she will not share a bed with her boyfriend under our roof. I don't care how old she is. And another will be to let us know when she'll be coming home at night, and if she is going to be late, just the courtesy of a phone call.



No, you are not wrong at all. 18 does not mean you are entitled to live life however you want. If he wants to be treated like an adult, he needs to act like one, and part of being an adult includes the responsibilities that go with it. A phone call or text message is common courtesy. Even my husband does that for me!!!



Time for you to give some tough love. You need to stick with it. Eventually, he will come around. As you said, he keeps getting kicked out when people get sick of him, eventually, if he can't help himself, his friends will disappear, and he may start to wake up. It may take time, it may not be long at all. Right now, you just have to hang in there and tell yourself you are doing the best thing for your son by not enabling him.

Dee - posted on 10/21/2009

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I would expect the same things that you are asking from any of my kids if they were 18 and still living in my home.



My husband and I have three kids, two are grown, married and on their own, the youngest is seventeen and still at home. As soon as she turns 18 she has to make a choice, just as the two older siblings did. If she chooses to stay in our home, it is our roof, our rules. It doesn't matter that she will be 18, as long as she lives here, we ask that we know where she is going and what time to expect her home. If she is going to be late, we ask that she call and let us know so we won't worry. It is simple courtesy that we are asking for.



If your son doesn't like your rules he can live somewhere else, which he has chosen to do. Don't feel guilty for his decisions. He want's to be treated as an adult, well, adults realize there are consequences for their actions. Adults pay for their own way in life, they accept responsiblity for themselves and what they do.



Legally he is an adult. However being 18 does not mean he is mature, not by a long shot. Emotionally his maturity level is about ten. Unfortunately all you can really do is to stand firm, assure him that you will always love him, let him know that as long as he abides by your rules in your home he is always welcome. Then you just have to wait for him to become mature enough to make good decisions.



It is your house, your rules. When he buys his own home or gets his own apartment he can make what ever rules he pleases.

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Dolly - posted on 09/26/2011

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Good Morning ,,
I am so so sorry your going thru this with your son.
Bottom line stick to your guns your home your rules.
I have gone thru what you are experience with my oldest daughter.
She would like to run my house and tell me what to do.
Not happening !!! If these adult children want to run the show they can when they pay there own bills.
She will never live with me I am firm about that.
Don't worry ever about who says what !!Not there business.
You have done your job let him find his way.
Wish you luck

[deleted account]

Do you think he is doing anything to endanger himself? Drugs, alcohol, etc.? If not, then tell him you love him. Tell him he always has a home with you. Tell him that in your home the first and only rule is mutual respect. Keep it simple. When he texted you that next day at 2 pm and asked you to pick him up from work, I would have not answered the text. You knew at that point he was OK. I would have let him FEEL what it is like to depend on someone and have them let you down. The next time he needs/demands something of you, think twice. Tell him you love him and then tell him if he wants to be treated like an adult, that adults are self-reliant. It may take him a while, but evetually he will come around....on his own. Trying to "control" his actions isn't going to work. Smile and love him and keep your back door open. =D

[deleted account]

okay coming from a 22 yr old who at 18 decieded i was all that plus chips lol

he is rebeling because his friends have freedom- granted i texted my parents worked and had a car but all that was turned against me and my car was taken away so i lost my job then moved out because they tried so hard to keep me in line (their version of in line)

so keep the rules basic... work- respond to texts ( just because it will make you happy) dont nag him when he does text... accept his decisions (although dumb) they are his mistakes not yours. . . all else fails make him pay "rent" and let him do what he wants .... he cant pay rent then you take away what is of value to him.

and the girl isnt here for good.. they will probably break up b/c one will grow up and the other wont. ignore her (ya she is bitch but she is 18 and not worth freaking out over)



he will grow up and get his shit on straight..he has to make a mess of his own first.... warning tho- dont let him have credit cards... debit from his account only... no visa or charge cards..bad idea... i know trust me lol



good luck

Michelle - posted on 10/24/2009

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There is an old tacky rule "if you're going to live in my house you will live by my rules". Don't accept anything less. It's hard but sometimes teenagers learn the hard way what being an adult is really about. Don't let him hold you hostage. Don't let his girlfriend bully you (as a matter of fact if you really wanted to you could block her e mail or mark it as junk mail so you don't have to deal with it). It may take a little while, but I suspect when he runs out of couches to crash on he may come back to reality. Good luck!

[deleted account]

I have 13, 8 & 7-year old daughters. My next door neighbor has 2 older children so I always listen to her stories and try to remember everything for the future. Her 18 year old daughter has been acting out a bit lately, including staying out past curfew. The next day she told her that if she didn't want to follow the rules, she could start paying rent. I think this is a great idea. When you turn 18 you may technically be an "adult" but if you are still living with your parents who have supported you through thick and thin your entire life, there are still rules that need to be followed until you can move out and support yourself.

Melanie - posted on 10/24/2009

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As a daughter i would always let my parents know if I wasn't coming home. I left home early but luckily landed on my feet. I know have 2 beautiful kids and realise now that parenting is hard work. Yes there have been times that I disrespected my parents every kid does. But at the end of the day ur son needs to stand on his own 2 feet. If at 18 he feels he can handle the world you have to let him. If you love someone you set them free. My husband came from a house with no rules and he wished he had more stability. Nobody appreciates their parents (esp at 18). We think we r so grown up yet I am now 31 and i still ring my mum for advice on things. I think there needs to be ground rules I find myself being stricter than my parents where on me. I can only hope ur son will mentally grow up and realise that you are trying to do your best for him. xx

Carol - posted on 10/24/2009

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Hang in there Mary! Isn't easy, but this is a lesson he needs to learn, and you and your husband are the ONLY ones who will love him enough to teach him. Common courtesy HAS to apply to parents as well as to others. People will get tired of moochers. AND IF he EVER expects to come back home THESE ARE THE RULES: and then make up a list. He says YOU went back on your agreement? but what about HIS side? He doesn't think he should have to follow thru with what his part of the contract was? Hang in there! Isn't easy. WHEN he grows up, it may take a while, he will respect you for holding to your convictions.

Cynthia - posted on 10/22/2009

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Wow, I'm sorry but I am cringing my teeth on this one.. I can't believe your son's girlfreind has the NERVE to lecture you on parenting skills...okay, first of all, we can flip the switch, your son is 18.. YOU are NOT responsible for him anymore..see you later son...good luck, life is hard and your about to find out!!! I have a 20 year old and a 16 year and my 20 year old already knows..he's never stayed out all night without calling me, I've drilled it in his head how much I worry.He's in college but lives at home and stays at his freinds house a lot but he lets me know..we have told them..sleepy, drunk..DO NOT DRIVE.. if I must, I will pick you up..and your freinds if I have to.. Plus, I lost a son 2 years ago and I think my oldest son doesn't want to put me through that again...Basically... you need to put your foot down..he's at that age..if you stand your ground you will be doing him a favor he needs to learn responsibility and respect..he will just be patient but put your foot down..my 16 year old, too..he's in high school and we give him the freedom to go out but he has a curfew and if that is not obeyed I dont care how mad you get.. you're grounded...he's trying to make the rules in your house.. it's YOUR house. Tell him.

VENUS - posted on 10/22/2009

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I don't have an 18yr old son but I do have a 14yr old who acts like he is growner then me no I don't think you are wrong in any since we as parents have rules for our kids so they can grow up and be respectful independent adult and as my parents always so if you can't respect the rules of my house then leave my house I know it is hard for you cause you worry not knowing what he is doing but he made that decision and as for his gf of course she feels that way cause she has no respect and look at how her parent let her come and go her opinion don't count any emails from her that is not respectful needs to be deleted all you can do is pray he come to his senses and that he will be okay put it in gods hands and no I'm far from religious lol

VENUS - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Mary:

Am I Wrong About My 18 Yr Old?

My newly grad son is 18. He got kicked out the first time, because he made a fuss about house rules and the constant disrespect of me; his mom, and his dad. We spoke later, and came to a compromise. He was to get ready for college, work part-time, and he would communicate more with us & respect us. We were going to help with college, and etc. It lasted less than a week. He went out one Sat with his GF over to a friend's bday party. 12am came around, then 1, then 2....no call from him, no nothing. I tried in vain texting & calling and there was never an answer. Heard sirens near the main rd to my home. There was a tragic accident, where it involved a young couple under the age of 20. I thought, OMG it's my son and his GF! The hosp and news would not release the names , both were dead from a hit on collison by my home! I had a sleepless night to say the last. Next day at 2pm, I got a text from my son saying that if i needed to know where he was, he was at work and to pick him up when he got out. After I brought him home, both my nusband and I tore into him. We told him we did not sleep, how we thought he was in that accident, etc. All this time he had a stupid grin on his face. We asked where he was and how come he did not call. His answer: I am 18, I don't have to call. And if you must know, I was still at that bday party it was an all night party. Words went back and forth and he left saying that we went back on our deal with him and that we had no reason to worry. He said that we need to trust him and treat him like an adult. Since he has been gone, he lost his job for failng to show up to work. He has no car, and refused to ride the local bus. He lives, with whoever will put him up for the night. He gets kicked out often, because people are tired of having him around. He does not work, but is always off with friends. He waits till friday, when his GF comes to town from her out of town college.
He told me the only way he will come back home, is if he will have no rules to live by.
His GF has even sent me 2 emails, condeming me and my husband and our parenting ways. She claims we donot love our son. She herself, has 2 parents who are deadbeats. They donot work, and they allow thier daughter free roam. As soon as she turned 18, she no longer had rules. We are not like that. Are we wrong? I am at a loss as to what else to do. This girl has sent me another disrespectful and hurt email.


 

Jackie - posted on 10/22/2009

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I dont think your wrong. My son is going to be 18 next year and I can see me going through the same thing. My parents told me when I was that age I could live in there house but had to follow there rules if I was not going to be in by 10pm to at least call and let them know so they could lock up. I pushed it and they would do the same thing that you did if you cant follow the rules then try it on your own. One day he will respect you for that mabbi not soon but one day.

[deleted account]

WTF? Sorry - you gave him chances to trat you with the respect you deserve and he threw it back in your face! You obviously love your son so dont let some teenage drama queen guilt you! He says hes an adult but he is not acting like one so how can he expect to be treated? He will soon run out of friends to mooch off and will have to earn anything he wants/needs. Do not beat yourselves up about respecting yourselves and practicing tough love on your son - he is not going to learn any other way so this may be your best shot at getting him to realise what the real world is like.

Sally - posted on 10/22/2009

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Trust & respect should go both ways , he needs to earn both, and although its hard Tough Love hopefully works in the long run , It,ll be hard for yo but you have to stick to your principles , xx

M - posted on 10/22/2009

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Thanx to all of you for your wonderful advice. I am doing as my sister and hubby say. To not call him, but let him reach out to us when he has had enough of his, "freedom." To reassure him that his parents still love him no matter what. As of today, my child is stuck in another town, because he left with this friend of his who is starting college in another city and my child is not sure he can get a ride back to our town. He has been "stuck" for 2 days now. My family told me to let him be and not call to offer to go get him. They said this was what he wanted, which was the freedom to do as he pleases. They told me to just let him be and he will eventually get homesick and tired of his roaming from place to place.

H - posted on 10/21/2009

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Give him more freedom because he is 18. As long as he is living under your roof he needs to go by your rules. He needs to respect that and what you ask of him is not to much. To know where he is and when he is coming home is what he needs to do. if he doesn't like that too bad.

Jodi - posted on 10/21/2009

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Oh, and hit the delete button on those emails. DO NOT respond, there are buttons deliberately being pushed. It will stop if they believe it is not affecting you.

Sharon - posted on 10/21/2009

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No you aren't wrong.



He has a wrongful sense of entitlement and needs an asswhooping. But he's 18 and he isn't going to get it.



There are rules in this world. In every part of this world there are rules. We do not live in a state of anarchy.



Let him stew in his state of debauchery for a while. Let him know you love him and will help him when he is ready to be a productive & participating member of society.



He did not get all that you & his father gave him because you two wandered from home to home not working.



As for the stankass skank girlfriend... text her "where do you think he styas when you're not around to satisfy his sexual urgers?" and ignore further texts.

[deleted account]

I don't think a simple text or phone call is too much to ask for. You're his mom, you're going to worry about him forever. BUT, he is 18 and does need to be treated like an adult. My parents have always let me be pretty independent, but while in highschool I was expected to let them know where I was and when I would be back. I never got into trouble so maybe it was easy for them because they knew I was making good choices. When I graduated and started college I would be in and out of the house at random. I lived on campus my freshman year and at home for the last 3 years. I didn't sleep at my house every night and they were ok with that. I'm sure it's very hard to let him go, but he is an adult now. You want him to respect you and your husband, but you have to respect him too. You raised him so you should feel confident that he can make good decisions. The email from his gf seems inappropriate to me. The problem is between you, your husband and your son. I don't know that you could do "no rules" at all, I wouldn't want my child doing drugs or other illegal things in my home (not that your son is doing that), but I do think you could let him go a little like with curfews. Hope this helps!

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