New here - facing a lot of problems with my adult kids

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2013
New here - facing a lot of problems with my adult kids
6
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 8:39pm

Hi - I am new here. I went looking for a place online to talk about my kids since I don't have any support

in my new town. I was sick for a long time, then the recession hit and I couldn't find a job. As a result I went

back to college to get a 2nd degree but it hasn't helped me as much as I had hoped careerwise. I also lost my

home in the process of being sick and unemployed. I have three adult kids. All have college degrees thanks, in large part, to

me supplying for their emotional needs as children. I had no life when they were younger. I was always present for them.

I knew they needed someone there for them since their dad, who I divorced because he was abusive, was also a workaholic. Now my son is graduating soon and he's mad at me. He's angry that he can't come home to live with me since I moved out of state to get a job. He's mad that I lost my condo in 2008. He's mad that I'm not more successful. 

Anyone else here who has kids that just don't comprehend that once you get past age 45 so many employers want nothing to do with you?  

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

This is a tough situation, no doubt about it.  I agree with the others that your son is probably anxious - well, I would be too if I were 22 and graduating in this job market.  Unfortunately, it sounds like you haven't shared your situation with your kids in such a way that they felt like they were going through it with you.  It sounds like you have had a rotten five years, but part of raising kids to be productive members of society is letting them know that they are only one person in the family, and everyone has to give to each other.  I wouldn't be surprised if the relationship you fostered with them was one of you giving and them taking, since you were the only one available to give and you probably focused on giving and not asking for reciprocation.

All isn't lost, however.  Your kids are not too old to learn how to get on in life by themselves.  Your son needs to learn that being mad at you for things that may have been beyond your control is not going to help *him* get a start in life.  Many kids harbor resentment about their parents, but if you start talking to them like *they* are adults, you might get through to them better.

My 21yo is finishing up his junior year at college and would like to find something to do after college that will continue to expand his horizons, even if it doesn't pay much money.  He loves our home, and we love having him there, but he wants to do things that he probably won't get to do later in life, when he has to worry about paying for grad school or performing well in a job that's in his field.  He might do Americorps or work on a farm for a year, or tutor migrant kids, or something else that has nothing to do with "getting ahead." If the only person he has to support is himself, he can do that very inexpensively for a year while he learns more about life outside of college.  Encourage your son to think outside the box and to take responsibility for his own success.  Personally I feel like one of the reasons I'm paying for college is so that my kids learn about the world and learn to rely on themselves.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

I have to say, I'm hearing a lot of "poor, poor, pitiful me" in your post. There is no reason you had no life when your kids were younger, except that you CHOSE to have no life.  Most people manage to support their kids physically as well as emotionally, and still have a life of their own. 

I agree with the posters who said your son is surely wondering where he is supposed to live, the day after he graduates.  Just because he's 22 or so, with a college degree, did you expect HE would have a good-paying job, an apartment, and first month, last month and security money ready the day he graduates?  Did you talk about this with him in the last YEAR or two?  What kind of plans did you have? 

BTW, I also got a second college degree at age 40.  I'm 60 now, and have found new jobs repeatedly--the last one 9 months ago. And I'm no waif thin, raving beauty either. A positive, upbeat personality, along with good skills and a conscientious, hard-work ethic is a vital component of a job search. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Sorry that you have been going through these problems.  I agree with the poster who said that it's probably not that he's mad at you, it's more like he's worried.  Normally parents are like the safety net--now he doesn't have one.  He probably has a lot of friends who can go home to live with their parents until they get a full time job.  Do you have a place for him to live at all?  I know my DD came home to live for a while.  She worked as much as possible but it took her until the next Jan (which really isn't that much) until she got a full time job--then she moved away.  I think kids have to learn that life is unfair--some people have parents who can pay for everything & some don't.  I am in the middle.  I could help my DD w college but only cause she went to a state univ--she went on a rant once about her friends who could go to any college they wanted & their parents could pay--well I'm divorce and neither my ex nor I make a lot of money, but she got over it & ended up loving the state univ.  Then she sees her cousins who are a little older than she is, who really didn't get any financial support from their parents after high school.  The parents are divorce, the father got remarried & had more kids so basically he ignored the kids from the 1st marriage (except he did pay child support) and the mother had her own financial difficulties so the kids were just on their own.  He'll get over it.

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003

I am sure he isn't mad as much afraid of what is coming up for himself. I am sure that he sees that everything did not work out for you as planned, so who knows what could go wrong for him. You don't owe him anything at this point, but you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar. What will feeding this rift get you?

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

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

Like the PP said, you don't owe your son anything and that's what he needs to understand. Technically we are no longer responsible for our kids after their 18th birthday although many parents choose to continue with emotional and financial support. For your ds to expect that he should be able to move in with you (and be angry that he cannot) is immature and selfish but probably not too uncommon considering that many kids in his generation feel extremely entitled. I'm guessing that he doesn't have a job lined up yet, and he wants to return to the cocoon of adolescence for awhile--which could easily turn into a long time. Even if you still lived in your condo in your old town it is questionable if it would be wise to let him stay with you.

Just wondering, but if you lost your condo in 2008 where has he been spending school breaks? If he has nowhere to go after graduation can he stay with a sibling or his father?

I don't think its a matter of him needing to understand that employers don't want to hire someone over 45, its that he needs to accept that he is now responsible for himself. You did your job by getting him to college and adulthood, and now he needs to take over. You can continue to offer emotional support from afar but its not your job to solve his problems. If you have told him that and he won't listen then maybe one of his siblings can get through to him.

Best of luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

Maybe you were "there for him" too much!  Part of the job of parenting is to teach them that when they're adults you owe them nothing.........they owe you!  You sacrificed to send your ingrate son to college.......you gave him a start in life......let HIM go find a job and a place to live when he finishes school.  If he wants to be mad, let him be mad.  Maybe someday he'll wake up and give you the respect he owes you.  Tell him he's lucky you don't expect him to support YOU!  This is the point where you tell him sorry, you're done paying his way........and let it go.  You can't force him to love or respect you......eventually he will, or maybe he won't.

You took care of your children when they weren't able to take care of themselves......and now it's YOUR time to take care of yourself........and if they're mad about anything, it's because they're selfish immature brats, and you can only hope they will grow up someday.  Good lluck to you, don't feel guilty........you did your job, and it's done now.