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When they are all grown up or think they are, am I right in thinking

(32 Posts)

that there is nothing more that you can do but love them.

DS(20) is not the person I thought he would be, that he had the potential to be, or that he wanted to be. He is making mistakes with every aspect of his life. It frightens me to see him do it. Everything from his driving to his gf to what he is up to at uni.

I think he still loves us and wants us to love him. We do. My heart aches for him, great, mumbling, angry, hump of a boy that he is. I know all about if you love them let them go.
Tell me I am over protective. Paranoid. Please somebody out there tell me that he will come to his senses one day.

hedgefund Sat 06-Apr-13 09:15:28

what sort of mistakes is he making? surely that's part of growing up?

Well, beginning with the in a way most simple. His driving. It's so arrogant, last time he drove me, two limp fingertips in the steering wheel I yelled at him. He is not safe.

Uni. You have to do some work. Or else. Or you can leave, in debt. In my day second chances were easier to come by. Now if you don't have money, you don't get them.
The alternative career as lead guitarist in major rock band isn't going to happen. How can he possibly believe it is?

The gf. Hard to go there. Older. He is so naive.

And all the brightness gone. All the funniness. All the teenage jokes. Instead this new anger at everything. The establishment. It covers everything. And a sort of reaction to all his past (he says he hated school- he didn't. Drop all his old friends. Books are crap and too slow. The list goes on and on and on).

lljkk Sat 06-Apr-13 10:02:19

Do you think he's going to drop out of Uni, Barbarian? Where will he live if he does?

My 20yo nephew is all pro-guns on FB (he lives in USA).

Ours is a rabidly anti-gun family. My mother would literally turn in her grave if she knew what views her favourite grandchild now held. It really sticks in my craw. Plus he can't get himself organised for study or jobs (don't entirely fault him re joblessness), and is living off of inheritance monies I manage or I wouldn't have to know so much about it. But the cash runs out soon. What will he do then? Heck if I know. Will he go postal?

My intelligent mature teen boy can't organise himself out of a paperbag. I don't think he'll even manage to get to Uni. Arrgggghhhh....!

Hassled Sat 06-Apr-13 10:04:36

You're sort of right - there is nothing you can do but love them. But that involves guidance, advice, support, listening - and that adds up to a lot.

20 is still young - still plenty of time for him to mature (and a lot of what you describe sounds like immaturity). It is hard, I know - two of mine are in their twenties and with one in particular I had to sit back and watch some really bad decision-making, knowing all I could do was be there to pick up the pieces when it went horribly wrong (which it did). It's very, very difficult.

I suppose he would live here, lljkk, and although we love him he is hard to live with. This being a working household with dd still at school, not a nocturnal student house.
Not sure about drop out of uni, but possibly kicked out for failing.
Hassled, thank you. You gave me a little hope that there might be an end. He doesn't want our guidance, but from the way he behaves now and then, I think he still wants us to love him. Unless that is all a sham. I don't know what to believe there, facebook or what I see. Or kid myself I am seeing.
He was such a bright, kind, thoughtful boy.


BastardDog Sat 06-Apr-13 13:45:13

I have two step sons who made some pretty bad decisions during their late teens and early twenties. For both of them the magic age of becoming a grown up was 26. The tide turned, they got their acts together and are both now doing really well.

It was hard supporting them (particularly financially) and sometimes we let our displeasure show and our relationship with them wasn't good for a while. But that's in the past and all is well now.

ivykaty44 Sat 06-Apr-13 13:55:25

I think in some ways are youngsters are not really growing up until later, where as two or three generations ago our teens grew up much faster and by 18 were young men - I think now it does take them another 6-8 years.

partly due to the fact that three generations ago there was ww2 which a lot would fight in and therefore they had to grow up, then when they had there own sons and daughters there expectation was for them to grow up as they themselves had had to do.

now though there is no need to grow up and parents have different attitudes

neither is right or wrong it is just different imo

Op let him make his own mistakes, if you don't want him to come home and live with you if he drops out of uni or gets kicked out them let him know that isn't an option. Don't make a big deal of any of his mistakes - let him deal with them himself. it is far better that he know where he stands with you re the accomidation and that you don't berate him or even mention his mistakes. Just let him know you love him and you are sure he will be fine as you have faith in him.

Earlybird Sat 06-Apr-13 13:58:38

What if he took a year off university? Not in a drop-out, doss around sort of way - but a considered decision that would give him a different sort of life experience and an unconventional out-of-the-classroom education.

I work (peripherally) with university students, and spoke to a 22 year old man yesterday who was quite articulate about why he took a year off school - he needed to change directions because he was on the wrong track, and in with the 'wrong' crowd. He took a year off to work - did volunteer work for a charity (home repairs/renovations in economically deprived areas for a charity in another country) - and then came back to university a year older, with more maturity, and a renewed sense of what he wanted to do with his life.

My guess is that your ds knows he is messing up his life with his current behaviour (hence the anger and negative attitude), but doesn't know what to do / how to fix it. Sometimes a slightly unconventional 'sideways step' is a good way to regain perspective and motivation.

flow4 Sun 07-Apr-13 11:09:36

barbarian, it is really, really hard to watch our children making mistakes. But I am going to be a stern voice here and remind you that if your DS is at uni, driving and has a girlfriend, then he really isn't making serious mistakes. My own DS has the potential to achieve all this, and more, but is currently single, hasn't applied for his provisional licence, has dropped back a school year due to messing about, and is currently thinking he "can't work hard enough for uni"...

Some kids seem to need to make mistakes, and make life harder for themselves, before they focus their attention and find something that really motivates them.

flow4 Sun 07-Apr-13 11:13:55

(And meanwhile, all you can do is learn to manage your own worries, hopes and fears!)

Thank you all for replying.
I hope he stays at uni, although there are unis and unis, if you know what I mean. He won't stay if he doesn't work.
I wish he wasn't driving tbh. I think he is a danger on the road. I don't let him drive dd anymore.

The year out idea is good and we thought of it too, but gf won't let him.

Earlybird Mon 08-Apr-13 00:23:48

What do you mean 'his gf won't let him'? Elaborate please.

Also, how long has he been with this gf? Do they live together? Is your ds financially dependent on you?

Just that.
No, they don't live together.
Yes, financially dependent.

VenusRising Mon 08-Apr-13 09:34:34

When you're young and foolish is the time to be young and foolish.

Most men come to their senses at about 30.

Sorry Earlybird, didn't answer all your questions properly and I want to because I really need some help.
GF emotionally dependent. I would say in a way that amounts to emotional blackmail but that sounds too bad. That in itself is a lot of pressure for immature 20 year old. In a lot of ways he is more like 16/17. GF not long standing- everything about him has changed since her arrival though- values, tastes, things he cared about, ambitions. Pride. He used to be proud of his driving- people commented on how mature it was. Now it is truly scary.
Most of his old friends seem to have outgrown him and moved on.
He could take a year off and do almost anything if he would. His grandfather left money in a savings bond for just that.

Cannot think what to do. We have had huge rows.

Venus rising that sounds fine in theory but foolish can have long term consequences.

foofooyeah Tue 09-Apr-13 13:17:13

Reading this thread with great interest and an amount of dread. Do I really have to wait another 6 years for my 19 year old to actually grow up ???

barbarian, my son is also immature. He cannot maintain a relationship.

Quite frankly he is driving me up the wall at the moment. Didnt work at school so flunked exams, got a job, kept it 5 months, sacked, got another, sacked. Just finishing a 3 month course and making no attempt at job hunting again.

He is lazy and unmotivated and surrounded by friends who dont work.

foofooyeah I am sorry for you and I know exactly where you are because I am in the same place, including the useless friends. Peers who ds kept up with easily at school have now grown up and moved on. He has sunk to the can't be bothered ones level.
If you find a solution please come and tell me, and I will do the same for you.

foofooyeah Tue 09-Apr-13 17:08:12

barbarian - I certainly will but am not hopeful.

Would be better if I got some support form his Dad (we are not together) but he just pops up once a month like some kindly uncle and takes him out for a beer.

VenusRising Wed 10-Apr-13 00:27:53

Of course being young an foolish can have consequences, but it's better than being old and foolish with less time available to rectify the problems.

Lessons learned when you have little to lose are well learnt. Lessons when you're over 30 are a lot harder to swallow, and have huge consequences as usually other people get collateral damage.

Think you have to step back, and remind him that you're there for him, but he's on his own: that his driving could injure another person if he crashes: that you're worried he won't finish his course, and you feel it would be a bad idea.
But really, it's his life, let him live it: he'll learn his lessons. Or maybe he won't, but it's his life anyway.

Venus, it is all our lives. He has a younger sister. The stress and misery he causes is awful for her.

TheRealFellatio Wed 10-Apr-13 05:01:09

((barbarian)) I understand how you feel. am just coming our of two fucking AWFUL years with my 17 year old, which when I look back on them and list the things he's put me though I honestly do not know how a) I am not on valium, and b) he has never been arrested or hospitalised. He has had very poor judgement (mostly of others, and his so-called friends) and has made some very stupid choices and mistakes. In spite of all of that he is a very affectionate, loving, glass half full, sociable and somewhat emotionally needy boy, who still wants his mum.

My 20 year old on the other hand, is sensible, polite, conscientious (to the outside world at least) and inclined to be a bit too serious. I have never had to worry about him in quite the same ways as his brother, however, always self-contained and independent, he has become a bit arrogant, cynical, dismissive, a bit withdrawn, in fact almost completely withdrawn from our lives since he's been at uni. He never rings us, he forgot my birthday, he speaks to me with irritation and contempt if he has to be in my company for more than an hour or two, and if I ring him I can almost feel the impatience and the boredom radiating down the phone line. So I rarely bother to speak to him as I'd rather give him the space to hopefully miss me than risk feeling hurt and unwanted and be accused of 'wittering on'.

I wouldn't mind, but he lives in a different country to me and doesn't have to see me for up to six months at a time!

That's sad about ds1, Realfellatio. Maybe your ds2 still have time to catch up. I thought we were through adolescence with ds1 last year- he seemed happier and more sorted than he had been for years. But then GF took over.
Something else too, that I have been wondering about but maybe it is daft. He went from very skinny to hugely muscled in about 4 months. He has worked out so much his shoulders look padded and bulging. I did not know such a quick change was possible. And he has the scary aggressive moodiness of a hormone fueled much younger boy. I keep wondering if it is a huge testosterone surge. I expect that sounds insane.

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