Demanding My Son Repay Loan Has Caused Us To Stop Speaking

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011
Demanding My Son Repay Loan Has Caused Us To Stop Speaking
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 10:23am

Back story:

I have a 29 year old son and we have always been close and we talk on the phone almost everyday, he lives about 900 miles away and comes home for Xmas. And I usually visit him in the spring. But he has had been selfish and thoughtless  towards me throughout the years, ie not getting me a card or gift for mother’s day, Xmas or my birthday. I had let it go for years and suffered in silence with hurt feelings. And when I talked to others about it they complained of the same behaviors from their adult children and said they thought it was a generational thing.Finally I told my son how I felt and how it hurt me when he would tell me what he had gotten one of his friend for their birthday or Xmas and gotten me nothing. So he started to do better.

My son had borrowed $950 dollars from me 3 years ago and I didn’t brother him about it hoping he would repay me when he got on his feet. Ok now he is on his feet and recently sold the car I paid for and got a new car. He didn’t use the proceeds from the sale of the car I brought for the down payment of the new car, in fact he had two cars for about two months. But he never thought to pay me back my money. I keep wanting him to do right by me without me telling him, but it didn’t happen. (My wishful thinking)

So the final straw was when he called me telling me he was waiting outside the jail to post $500 for a friend’s bail who had been stopped for driving drunk.

I told him if you have $500 to post bail for someone then you can pay me back my money and I want my money. He then tells me he does not have it all and he will have to pay me in installments. So we agreed he would pay me $85 every week when he gets paid and he would transfer it into my pay pal account and that was over two months ago. By now he should have made at least 8 payments but has only made 4 and that has been only after I sent him a reminder text.

2 weeks ago he not only did not make the payment but asked me to make him another loan of $45 to have his cell phone turned back on. He said there was a mix up with his direct deposit and the company was going to issue him a paper check and as soon as it cleared he was going to pay me my regular payment plus the $45. I paid the $45 to the phone company to have his phone turned back on and waited patiently knowing full well he had gotten his money and still had not repaid me. So after two weeks I asked him when he was going to deposit the money in my account and he says I am going to do it as soon as I get home and that was on a Tuesday and he never sent it. Then he calls me that Saturday telling me he had gone to an outlet mall in Orlando for black Friday and had brought himself all these clothes. So I’m pretty pissed by now. I ask him why have you not sent my money? And he says oh I’m going to transfer it on Monday. Monday comes and goes no transfer, so now I’m really pissed. Because once again I come to his aid and help him out and at a time when I really didn’t have it to spare, but I charged his phone payment to my credit card. Then he goes shopping before he pays me my money, once again not honoring his word to me. So I sent him a text saying… next time you get your phone cut off don’t call me to have it turned back on, you are not a man of your word and are behaving like a thoughtless, spoiled brat. Send me my money like you said you would.

He replies…I don’t need to wake up to my mother insulting me and telling me what a terrible person I am. I won’t stand for it and I won’t be speaking to you for a while.

So that really pisses me off, since when can’t a mother tell her child they are behaving badly, especially when it is towards them. Plus he has never in his life spoken to me in that manner and I didn‘t appreciate him trying to turn this around on me like I am wrong. So I text him back saying…and I don’t need someone borrowing money from me and not paying it back. Speak to me or not, just honor your word and pay me back my money. You should have paid me 1stwhen your check cleared. Then he text me back saying…Pz stop texting me, I don’t want to talk to you. I have sent your money, goodbye mom.

For me it was not so much about the money but wanting him to be a man of his word and do the right thing by me. Now he is treating me like I am wrong for calling him on his crap. I feel a deep hurt and I can’t shake the anger I feels towards him. I know our relationship has changed forever and I love him but I don’t like who he has become. I don’t know how we can continue from here especially if he does not accept responsibility for his behavior and apologize to me.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for taking the time to read it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011
My husband/my son's stepfather also wanted to call my son and give him a piece of his mind for the disrespect and hurtful way he treated me. But I told him not to because it would only add fuel to the fire. Because then my son would feel that we were ganging up on him and would feel my husband was butting into something that was between his mother and himself and none of his stepfather's business. I have made up my mind that I have to change and stop allowing my child to use and abuse me. If it causes my son to stop speaking to me then so be it. In my life I have alway pushed people out of my life who did not respect me and treat me as I wished to be treated but for my child I have made an exception. I will no longer make that exception, I am 55 years old and I have more life behind me than I have in front and I can not allow my son or anyone else take from me and make my life miserable. I will not pay to have my child be apart of my life or keep my mouth shut when I feel my child is wrong. Plus I am not doing my son any favor by having me to fall back on. He is a grown man and needs to accept responsibility for his own finances because my responsibility to provide for him ended after he turned 18 and he is almost 30, well pass the time for me to cut the apron strings. I have a 16 year old a t home to support and get through college. I need to focus on him and just hope he does not turn out like his older brother. Fortunately my son has no children because when I talk to m friends with grand children they are not only helping provide for their adult children but the grands too. It seems like many of us parents are allowing ourselves to be treated as ATM'S and not as respected parents and it just has to stop. Because we are only grooming the next generation to be selfish takers!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010

  I totally agree.  I spoiled my 4 DDs (now ages 21-28) and put their feelings before my own always.  Once their father and I divorced, they have broken my heart too many times and dh hates the way they treat me and disrespect me.  My mistake was thinking they were old enough to put Mom's feelings before their own for once in their life and  was I ever mistaken!  I had to lower the boom and say, "Either you do "this", or don't bother contacting me at all."  putting the ball in their court.  My older 2 listened, but not my younger 2, but now...dh got mad, let off steam about my DDs which was overheard by one of my DDs.  Now they all know how dh feels about them (and me) and they refuse to come to my house anymore.  I feel like the only way I'd have a decent relationship with any of my DDs is to leave dh, but obviously I'm not going to do that.  Had he seen my DDs treat me well and fairly and NOT seen my in pain and tears because of them, he wouldn't have had a problem with them. 

Now my dilemma I continue to pay ANYTHING for my DD21 if she refuses to come visit me from college?  (I pay her cell phone bill and car insurance and bail her out when she runs out of money.)  Dh really got angry and never thought my DD and her SO would hear him in the basement and he was REALLY angry, so it wasn't good.  He feels so badly that he said I shouldn't cut my DD off, but I'm not so sure.  I've always told my DDs that relationships are a two-way street and honestly, I'm tired of being the one to fight for a relationship with my DDs. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004

Hi. Probably not wanting him to struggle the way you did, you spoiled him. I`m sure he will change if you change, but changes are hard to accept, mostly if they restrict someone´s benefits.

I think it is a good idea not to fight about the money you have loaned him before. But don´t loan him a dime, if he asks, remind him that you won´t do that again because he doesn´t pay back.

I guess that sometimes loving our kids too much, as loving anyone too much,. is a big mistake.

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009

You should stop throwing good money after bad.  By that I mean you should stop giving/(loaning?) him money, expecting him to pay it back, then he doesn’t, then you give him more money.  Sounds like you’ve enabled him (giving him lots of money to pay HIS bills).  You keep saying it isn’t about the money – well, then stop asking him to pay you back.  Just write it off.

Don’t give him another dime – nothing.  If his friend has to stay in jail, so be it – that’s his friend’s problem.  If he can’t pay his rent, then he will just have to get evicted and find another place to live or camp out on someone’s couch.  If his cell phone gets cut off, so be it – that’s HIS problem.  He won’t grow up and accept responsibility until YOU allow him to do it.  He is an adult.


No – not sending mom a mother’s day card or happy birthday call is NOT a “generational thing” – no matter what others have told you.  That’s ridiculous, and I think you know that.  Your son is disrespectful and selfish.  You cannot force him to respect you and you cannot force him to be a man of his word.  He has already chosen not to.  He may or may not change.  Meanwhile, stop being an ATM machine.


Sorry, but you need to stop allowing him to play on your emotions.  Otherwise, things will never change.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011

Thanks, I have to agree with everything you have said. He is selfish and disrespectful and I guess it really hurts me. But I'm done allowing myself to be used and if he never speaks to me again then that will be the way it has to be and his choice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011

Thanks for your response and sound advice. The weird thing is I have gave and gave to my son thousands of dollars, paid his rent for 6 months while he was out of work, paid his utitities and credit card and phone bills and have always been there for him.  I never thought he would have behaved in this manner towards me the one time I ask him to take responsibility for what was a loan and not a gift. I came up poor and started to work when I was fourteen, I put myself through college and struggled to survive and my mother or father didn't have anything to give me. I didn't want my child to struggle like I did but I guess I created a self absorbed monster who thinks I owe him something because he is here. I think sometimes letting our kids struggle builds character because I never  asked or expected anything from my parents and survived just fine. I just think its probably time to do some though love because he is obviously out of control.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

I can relate to how you feel because I have a deadbeat daughter. I agree that your son should never have said those things to you, it seems very inconsiderate and unappreciative after how you helped him. It hurts even more when we tried hard to raise them to be honest and decent people and then they treat us in ways opposite of what we thought we taught them. 

My dd had (may still have) very poor money management skills and little tolerance for delayed gratification. While she wasn't paying me back she was also not paying other bills and was sent to collections several times, and ruined her credit rating. She also went through a few years of constant NSF/bank fees and returned check fees. It may be that your ds also is mismanaging his money and running up big credit card bills, he may be not paying you because he doesn't have it....that doesn't excuse his behavior and its not your problem, but sometimes it helps to know that its not just that he doesn't care about you. And by the way that he was sooo defensive about your dunning text I would wonder if there's something going on.

The story with my dd is that I used to loan her money and while it took a while to get repaid, she did eventually pay it back...then something changed and she stopped being good about it. Nagging her for repayment was making her not want to talk to me, but when we did talk I heard about nights on the town, buying gifts for friends, new clothes she's bought etc. Of course it made me angry that she could somehow afford those things but paying me was not on her list of priorities. I felt used. The amount that she owed me was much less than what your son owes, it was just under $200. So that year for Christmas she got a small stocking-stuffer type gift, and an envelope with a note saying the loan was forgiven. She was very pleased to be out of debt (to me) and if she was disappointed at not having several boxes to open like her brother did, she didn't show it. I can tell you that forgiving that debt was cleansing for me, it let our relationship go back to square one . I was able to let go of my anger and resentment at seemingly being her lowest priority, and she was able to stop feeling guilty that she wasn't paying me--because she did feel bad about it, but somehow justified not paying me anyhow. And of course the fresh start included me never loaning her money again, and she knows better than to even ask.

You might want to consider forgiving your son's loan if you think it would remove a source of irritation. The chance of him paying you back now seems pretty slim unless he has some life-changing experience (like gets a conscience) maybe you could accept that you will never see that money, that your ds doesn't have some of the values or morals you thought you'd instilled, and that by letting go of that debt you can feel better. Your disappointment at who/how your son is, may take longer to make peace but it can be done.

Sometimes with our adult kids we have to make a big effort to accept them as people with values very different than ours, and still be able to like them for whoever they are. My dd's priorities could drive me crazy if I let myself think about it too much. She can be hungry and one step ahead of the bill collector but she always has eyelash extensions and a beautiful manicure. I don't get it but I accept it, and its helped me to feel more peace in our relationship.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011

Thanks for the reply I appreciate it. But it really is not as much about the money as it is I want him to honor his word, admit  what he did was wrong and give me the respect due to a mother who has always been there for him. And I can honestly say if having a relationship with my son means allowing him to continue to use and disrespect me I would rather not have it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2012

I agree with you that a child that borrows money, from whomever, needs to pay it back in a timely manner.

The fact that he has gotten on his feet and brags to you about what he spends his disposable income on is just crass, when he knows he owes you money.

On the other hand, you are Mom..and that means you are there to rescue him when he needs you, no strings attached.

My advice would be don't loan him anymore money or rescue him when he is in need. We have "loaned" our children money in the past, and I have to say only one is really good about paying us back, so he knows we will help him whenever he needs it. So far as that we signed for his new car and he never misses a car payment and rarely borrows money from us. We have done the same for two of his older siblings, who have sporadically paid us back, if at all. But then again, they know they cannot ask us for monetary help anymore. We know if we do help them out, like sending them groceries via delivery, that we will not be paid back, and we only do that with our disposable income that we don't expect to get back.

You have to decide if the money is more important than a relationship with your son. If you want the relationship, accept that you most likely will not get paid back, and....don't give him money in the future, and if he asks why, tell him he has not shown responsibility to repay any loans. But if you can help him out in another way, you would be happy to do so.

That puts it back on him.

Just my two cents.