cut off teenage son?

georgiadonutJuly 26, 2010

Hi - I am looking for some opinions/advice regarding my 18 year old son. I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

A little background is that I am single and have raised him alone and moved back near my family when he was 13.

Nine months ago I told him he had to leave because he was punching holes in walls, screaming and throwing things at me, skipping school, failing classes, refused to get a job, etc. This behavior started when he was 15/16 years old and we had tried counseling with no relief.

To make matters worse, his grandparents (my parents) would tell him he was right and I was wrong (in front of me), and if we were at their house (we live in the same town) they would tell him my rules don't apply to him there. If I said no to a cell phone - they bought him one on their plan, if I said he was grounded from a football game - they would drive to my house and take him. When I tried to set boundaries with them they ignored me and would come over to my house when I was at work.

Fast forward til now and my son has been living with his grandparents for the last nine months. I've tried to maintain a relationship with him by inviting him over for dinner or to go on trips or to lunch.

His response when he bothers to respond at all is "i don't know", so we end up doing nothing. He has spent every holiday with his grandparents since last November.

It's killing me and I don't know how to make it better. I don't know if by inviting him to do things once every 2-3 weeks is trying too hard? He clearly doesn't want to be around me - should I stop inviting?

He has a full-time job but I have kept him on my car insurance and health insurance - do I continue to do that even though he seems to want nothing to do with me? Is this normal for a teenager?

I'm just at a loss as the right thing to do - it just seems that no matter what I try it's the wrong thing.

I would appreciate any thoughts!

Thank you in advance!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My sister had or really still has a strained relationship with her son. They are both hyper-sensitive people and get upset over some perceived something said to them wrong. Or just plain take things wrong. He is about 25 now He went to a two year colleg out of town school for 2 years after H.S. moved back home and her and husband basically kicked him out shortly after because of his attitude, talking back. He showed up at grandma and grandpa pushover and has been living there ever since.(her and my parents)

If your son is working full time do they have health coverage option? If they do he probably needs to pay for it himself. Is your health insurance through work? Is he still eligible to be on it if not a student? If the Health insurance is through your work and he qualifies to get it through his employer, your insurance ( I used to work for a insurance company in the Healthcare section) may require that he sign up for benefits through his employer,it's a coordination of benefits thing. You really need to check that out it may cause serious problems with coverage. Regarding his car insurance, he should pay for his own since he is working full time. Plus, with the way he has been acting I would stop paying for it. But I wouldn't say why. Just that since he has moved out and is working he should pay for his own. Don't elaborate, just plain and simple. It's his responsibility now. Also, if the car is in your name have it transferred to his name. I assume Grandparents don't charge for room and board.

Sorry you are having and hard time, hopefully he will grow out of it and mature. Shame on him for treating you so poorly. Have you told him you have feelings too and he has hurt you with his actions, and words. Tell him to try and put himself in your shoes for a moment. Shame on your parents for undermining you. That probably didn't help at all.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Give it a rest. You've done all you can do. Cut the little b****d off. In 10 or 15 years he'll probably have a different perspective. For now, you're lost. No chance of recovery. Don't flog this dead animal.

Nothing to do but wait, sorry to say.

Your parents are despicable!!!!!! If there was a more powerful word, I'd use that. Get them out of your life. OUT!!!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is good he has a job, it is good he has a bed to sleep in at night.

I would chip away at the lunch request, because you want to maintain contact. He says he doesn't know about whether he wants to have lunch, at least that is not a "NO", so that is one good thing.

I have an 18 year old son, and I am the last person he wants to associate with at this time. Sure it's hurtful, but apparently normal ! I have had a good relationship with him up until now.

Your parents are really awful, how could they not support you, over the years, it is amazing !

It seems you have done well to get this far, try not to dwell on the distance between your son and yourself.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 1:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know... you said

"Nine months ago I told him he had to leave because he was punching holes in walls, screaming and throwing things at me, skipping school, failing classes, refused to get a job, etc. This behavior started when he was 15/16 years old and we had tried counseling with no relief."

but NOW he has a job.. after 9 months and living with his grandparents.

Don't approve of the way your parents treated your disciplinary ways in front of him. Could it be possible your parents got him a cellphone because they thought you couldn't afford it? Did you make them aware of your reasons why you didn't want him to have a cellphone?

BUT... sounds like there's more going on between the two of you than what you're saying.

Why was he punching holes in walls and throwing things at you?

Is he on drugs?
Are you SUPER strict?

I know it's hard being a single parent but seems there's something more going on here, in your household, for him to be acting this way with you.

I would keep him on your health plan but would cancel the car insurance.

How is your relationship with your parents now that your son is living there?

You've mentioned how often you invite him over for dinner but he refuses. Have your parents invited you over for dinner? If not, why?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for your advice/opinions! It's good to know I'm not alone out here. :)

I plan to keep him on my health care until my plan renews at my company at the end of the fiscal year. Same timeframe with the car insurance but that is so he can build up some savings in the next few months.

I think I will continue to offer lunch every couple of weeks without any expectations that he'll say yes, but at least the offer is there.

As far as my parents go, I haven't seen them since he left. I send cards and gifts on birthdays and holidays but have no direct contact.

khandi - I tried to give a summary of the last 3-4 years without writing a book. yes, there are a lot more details. My parents and I have never gotten along. I've never done a single drug in my life and I was a straight A student, but I was also very stubborn and strong-willed. My mom took all pictures of me down when I was 18 and to this day does not have a picture of me in their house. When I would meet my parents friends they told me they thought my sister was my son's mother b/c that was the only pictures they saw or who was talked about. I left home and raised my son on my own at 19, put myself through engineering school by the time I was 28. My son and I were always very close - a team. I worked very hard at not repeating the relationship I had with my parents with him. When I moved closer to my parents (from west coast to east coast) and they had daily contact with him our family started to fall apart. They do not respect or like me but they wanted free rein with my son. Nine months ago when all of this came to the boiling point I had 3 rules he had to follow - be respectful of me, make a B average (so he could get a scholarship for college), and get a part-time job. I think that's reasonable to expect and he choose to do none of those while at home. At the grandparents he has no responsibilities at all. He got a job afterwards b/c he got a girlfriend and wanted to take her out. He's not a bad kid at all - he's a good person but confused. I'm on one side with rules and expectations and grandparents on the other saying he can do whatever he wants. Right now he's choosing the easiest path. I certainly have not been a perfect parent but I have always tried to be fair and honest with him. I am guilty of spoiling him when I could but those times weren't very often b/c I didn't have much for a very long time. And no, my parents do not invite me to anything.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! Sounds like they disowned you when you got pregnant. Sorry you had to go through all that BS.
I think you're making the right decision to keep inviting him, this way, he can't say you're not trying and he'll know you love him unconditionally...unlike your parents. When he's ready, he'll accept.

Good luck to you and hang in there!!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Remember your parents may need help if and when they get old/have a stroke/heart attack etc. Then it will be your decision if to help, but you don't want to give yourself a heart attact either. Be honest with them and your son. Just good luck

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Georgia

My son turned 18 on the 7th July, he is very touchy about me telling him to do anything, at the moment. I have to choose my words carefully. His sense of being an adult has descended on him so he wants to be treated as one. It is a a bit trying for me, making this adjustment, but one thing that stares me in the face...I have to trust him to do the right thing. If he thinks I don't trust him, it is a cause of conflict.

Perhaps you could rephrase your "rules" and call them "responsibilities"...

All the best

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 3:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I think your plan with the insurance is a good one. Since he is 18 years-old he needs to make his own way. If he does then perhaps he will become more respectful towards you.

I don't get your parents, but it does sound like they disowned you when you got pregnant and yes, it does sound like they are very disrespectful of you. They should not be undermining your parenting of your son. I don't think your expectations are unreasonable either.

Part of this situation is maybe normal--your son breaking away from you and desiring independence, but he really isn't acting independently with no help from his grandparents. Keeping the lines of communication open is good--at least on your end with no expectations.

Have you considered getting counseling for yourself? I just think your situation sounds very hard and at least it would be helpful to you--just to have someone to sort it out with or talk too. Otherwise, having grandparents working against you is a very difficult situation to be in. They sound very controlling, manipulative and selfish. I don't even know why you would have moved close to home with their ugly behavior to contend with.

I agree with popi that it may be good to rephrase your rules as responsibilities. And your son does sound heart goes out to you...

Good luck with this...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 2:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There's almost no such thing as a non-confused 18-year-old. On the other hand people have to behave. He doesn't get that yet. The rest of the world will have to knock those sharp edges off. All you can do is stand away and let him mature elsewhere. After a while, he probably will get it but it will likely be years. In the mean time, he doesn't get to hold you hostage. And your nitwit parents don't either.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 7:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is great advice Asolo, thanks.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 12:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for your support and advice! I am doing my best to let him live his own life and tell him that I'll always love him but not let myself be a doormat at the same time. I've had some slips, but I'm getting better and hopefully some day he'll come around and we can be a family again.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 12:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is something my husband heard somewhere.

When I was young I was amazed at how little my parents knew. When I was older I was amazed at how much my parents learned in such a short time.

It's just a different perspective you get when you get older and are more mature. Not that the parents actually "learned" anything new.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It sounds like your parents were something like my mother;
no matter what I did, I was wrong.

If the sky was blue, then blue was a bad color & it was my fault *& I got punished*.

I learned many many (too many) years later the concept of "scapegoat".

Your parents, sounds like, are using your son to continue punishing you.

If you can, I'd say move far far away from them, & don't ever move back.

When you aren't there, your parents won't need your son to punish you, & I'll bet he's back with you very soon.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 3:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Give it a rest. You've done all you can do. Cut the little b****d off. In 10 or 15 years he'll probably have a different perspective. For now, you're lost. No chance of recovery. Don't flog this dead animal.
Nothing to do but wait, sorry to say.

Your parents are despicable!!!!!! If there was a more powerful word, I'd use that. Get them out of your life. OUT!!!!"

I agree. Your parents are mean. No wonder you moved away. Your parents are probably angry that you didn't screw up more! Darn you for not getting involved in drugs! Darn you for getting straight A's!

Plus, not only did you manage to raise a child at such a young age, but you were able to finish your education before you turned 30. Congratulations! THAT is a good example for your child.

As for your son, I wouldn't pay for a single thing so long as he is acting like he is. He's 18, so you are off the minor-liability hook if he has a fender bender or medical bills.

If your parents insist on poisoning your relationship with your child, them let them pay for his health/auto insurance.

I think your kid will eventually come around, but it might not be until you remove yourself from the picture. Once you put distance between yourself and your abusive parents, you can be sure they will be looking for some other unfortunate person to pick on. Will it be your son?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So what did you do, is it working? I close to my son for the last 15 yrs...substitute ex for your parents (although my parents weren't great either - and by the way, when my parents got old [stroke, Alzheimer] it was me, always the odd child out in the house who gladly took care of them all the while going thru divorce, etc. When I went to divorce court my sister called me and said hurry home, she's treating me like you!) I rarely asked child to do many chores, other than keep grades up, etc, clean his room. Then his dad told him he wouldn't pay for college unless he lived in his house or buy him a car -that was his junior year. No warning, he went down for regular summer visitation and when I went to pick him up his dad and him came outside and told me he was living with him. Total shock, much less financial worries, has gone down hill ever since with his dad projecting all his faults on me. At Thanksgiving, he was so over the top mean I took him back to his dads. At Christmas he wanted to stay with girlfriend, wouldn't come. Crushed me. Last weekend his dad was out of country so he came, but as soon as I gave him the Christmas gifts rude and ugly, insinuating Alzheimer for me, described our relationship as bad and I needed to get over it. I keep taking this abuse, and try to keep the communication open, but now he is not even answering my calls. Please tell me, that you one year later, have some sort of resolution. I do believe in happy endings but feel so alone and sad. I am alone, I moved from Dallas to Houston thinking that Chase was closer to his dad the situation would improve.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 6:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Going through it now with my just turned 19 year old and yes he still has health insurance through us untill next inrollment same senerio with out the grandparents thing hasnt spoke to me but nasty since he moved out shortly after christmas. Its been two weeks wrote him a nice email no repsonse. I have chosen to let him make the first move . We were very close i thought at one time. So let him make the first move on dinners average age for growing up and needing you again is 25.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 5:12PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Those Annoying Chistmas Brag Letters!!! ugh..
Does anybody get those annoying Christmas letters EVERY...
Please Help !
I have 16 yrs old daughter she move out and live with...
Abusive Adult Children
I dont know how much more I can take. I have a 30 yo...
Normal Behaviour?
I'll keep this short... is it normal that 10 year olds...
To parents of other heavy gamers...
Please do not attempt to moderate or restrict your...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™