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Hello...some of you may recognize me from "Thinking about Divorce"
I am still having issues with my husband and 20 yr old son. and I can't live with this anymore, advice is really appreciated!
My husband and I met in HS and had our son my Junior year. We married when our son was 9 months old.
Things moved along, we had our issues (I've mentioned them in the other threads). We had our daughter when our son was 22 months old and another son who is now 13.
Anyway, by the time our oldest was 13 my H and son didn't talk much. Son came to me for sex talks, to learn how to shave, etc.
About this time he started wrestling in school (which my husband did not appreciate because he is into music). My son wrestled throught the rest of his HS career. He got good grades, but tended to have mostly jock friends.
When my husband moved our family clear across the country (our son was 16) he couldn't stand it that our son cried everyday after school because he missed his friends and socail life. Told him to grow up.
Son got decent grades and made it into a pretty good University. He has yet to declare a major, his grades have not been so good in college.
My H is always making comments about has he decided to join the miltary yet, is he going to be a philosepher again? Just stupid things.
About a yr ago my son got fed up with being snubbed and ignored by my husband. He left after we asked him not to.
Things didn't go well and he asked to move back in. We made a contract with things like:
You will clean up your mess in the kitchen, etc.
You will keep your room reasonably clean.
He pays $100 month in rent.
Now all my husband says is he doesn't clean up (he leaves a pan in the sink) or he doesn't do well in school (his physics grade was lacking).
My husband can not stand to have him in the same room ("He's in my space")
My husband says I am just babying him.
My husbands therapist says our son is trying to become a man...and we should give tough love.
I am having a very tough time dealing with this. My husband and I fight about our son all the time.
I think your husband is jealous and demanding on two counts.
#1 he sees his son as having the young adulthood that he did not. The grass is always greener, so to speak.
#2 your son is the very reason he did not have the young adulthood experience the same way.
Also, he might be afraid that if your son gets a girl pregnant, he would not be prepared for the consequences. And you and your H would have to support him through that.
And, your son has been around the entire marriage. Not a lot of time for the two of you, hope you get away from time to time. Especially since you have an adult to watch the house and younger kids while you're away. He should be able to manage this at his age, if he can't then yes, there is a problem with son, he will need help to mature.
Jealousy, regret, fear...
also you don't say anything about your H's childhood.
Except he was into music.
If he's not still doing that and he would like to, it might be a good time for him to do that. He probably needs a bit of late-adolescence experience in that respect.
On the other hand it is good to cut the apron strings. When I was definitive with my 20 year old he said thanks he really needed that. My opinion at the time was that by helping your child even a little bit when it is preventive and not corrective, if they are generally following the rules and not a huge liability that leaves you thinking constantly about bail money and legal defense, you are sending a signal to them that you have low confidence in their ability. It's possible you didn't cut the apron strings permanently before, only loosened them a bit. It's different. Sends a different signal. I know for sure my son is an adult now. He treats me with respect, apologizes, calls to make plans, communicates well, and thanks me for stuff I just would have taken on myself before as a duty, he recognizes it as an actual favor. He is now graduated from being my son to someone I can trust completely as a friend to look out for my best interests, not to mooch off of me. Just a couple months shy of his 21st birthday. He is in a guard unit and goes to college with minimal support from myself. Right now he is in boot camp. On his college breaks he does not live here. Myself and the younger two visit him occasionally, it is a 4 hour drive one way and occasionally he visits here, with his gf usually. We do discuss our problems and issues but not with a view that we are obligated to actually do anything other than support each other.
Ohiogirl, what your son does or doesn't do is irrelevant, IMO. What's at issue here is the ISSUE your husband has with the kids. Probably something to do with some sort of resentment he has with you neglecting him in favor of the kids, which is fairly common; mind, this is HIS perception, not necessarily the truth - but it's valid to HIM, and therefore you have to address it. If you can't figure out what it is and why, it won't go away. Will he go to therapy with you so you can talk about it? You may end up having to either accept the behavior, or set some sort of boundary about it.
Can I ask, how far away does your son go to school from you and when he is on break where does he stay?
It sounds like your son is very mature.
Can he have friends over and such...do you have to handle home phone calls for him, does he have his own bathroom and section of the fridge/cupboard for his food? What about TV, does he have his own? Internet access, does he use up all the bandwidth when he's home? Facebook, are you guys 'friends' and do you constantly look at his page?
My son's college is 4 hours away.
On break, right now he's in boot camp.
Last year he was here during the summer but he worked landscaping so left early got back and slept, and then generally went hiking or cycling or out with friends.
Other times he stays with friends, which is where he would rather be anyway. Some of his friends have large houses or like summer houses or their families do and so an extra guest is nice and they are set up for it. He has a girlfriend so spends a lot of his time with her and her family but they also visit here and go to her family's vacation place in a neighboring state.
By cutting the apron strings I mean you don't monitor even things like what classes he is taking, grades, not even knowing where he is on a day to day basis...
The way you know you've done this is you answer the phone and it's been a while and you say, who IS this? And you find out, that's your kid's voice. The one you have not been thinking about every single day. Then the landscape has changed. If they have an accident or whatever, you think, you will go and help if they ask for help, but you realize that it is no longer your job to help them adjust or whatever unless they specifically ask.
My son has a friend who had to distance himself from his nuclear family because the nuclear family had some issues. Their 'help' his first year of college was not very 'helpful'. Another friend the mom does hover but the friend has bipolar and so it is necessary. There have been car accidents, courts, not taking meds, etc.
I know a lot of parents really want to help their kids through college. So I guess it has to be decided do you want to parent through college? If neither of you was parenting when you were your son's age, it's not something that's stored in your innate memory...so maybe some support group/counseling would be helpful. You are definitely in uncharted territory.
I hope you do see your 13 year old and spend time with him/her.
Your H does seem to have some issues. He should be concerned about why he is blowing up on his child like that. It's also not good for the other kids to see that. As they mature, they need to feel secure.
I don't think the transition to adulthood is ever easy. Cutting the apron strings for me ended up being just that - a definitive cutting. Kind of like when they cut the umbilical cord and then sure enough, baby really does find a new way to eat.
I do think your H wants you all to himself but probably he thinks it would be selfish to say so. Is there any way you can set up an in-law apartment in your house and move into it? Maybe a garage apartment or something?