Mental Health Support
20,811 members12,644 posts


I have had my struggles for some time now, mostly job related and this is no longer an issue as a lot of you know I will be starting my new job on 4 June.

The problem I have (and have been trying to keep to myself as I feel I have burdened you with enough lately) is that my 19 year old son does not want anything to do with me. For weeks now he has not been speaking to me, wont eat any food I cook for him and today I feel as though I have had enough. I was going to the shop and as he was going into the bathroom I asked him if he wanted anything. I thought maybe he hadnt heard me but in actual fact he had just ignored me. I repeated what I said and he literally just closed the bathroom door in my face and did not answer. He walks about the flat as though I am not even there and if I am in a certain room, he will not enter unless I leave.

For weeks I have been texting him (I thought to do this because he obviously does not want to speak to my face) and receiving no reply. I have been leaving notes for him when I leave out his medication (he has Crohns which he manages fine) telling him if he needs anything then he knows where I am. Usually finishing off by telling him I love him and am always there for him.

I know when I was going through my bad patch a couple of weeks ago, I had some alcohol (which is not the norm I might add). I just felt it was either that or I was heading towards the nearest bridge. I know I got really drunk and I dont know if this is why he is not speaking to me. I have tried to speak to him and embarrassing as it was for me, I did say if me getting drunk was the problem then I was sorry. My friends and family say that I owe him no apology and that I had a "blow out" due to the pressure I was under at the time and he needs to realise that I am not only his mum but he should be old enough now to know that I also have a life and feelings too.

I feel like I am living with a complete stranger and that I am losing my boy. I think if he was able to afford to move out then he would. His father left when I was pregnant and I have always been there for him. He is where he is today because of me. He never got left out because he didnt have a father and still got what the other kids got because I was constantly out working in order that he could. I cant get him to tell me what is wrong as he refuses to speak to me at all. I dont even know if it IS me. It could be something outwith the home and I am just bearing the brunt of his mood. I asked him last week if he wanted me to cook something for his dinner and I was told "I dont want to eat anything you cook" hurtful! He has just left for his work. He doesnt say goodbye when he leaves and never says HI when he comes home. He just comes straight in and right into his room. He has started going out at the weekend and staying out overnight not coming in until the following afternoon and he knows I will be at home worrying!!

I thought maybe the fact that I was no longer working was the problem and that maybe he was just worried? When I told him last week that I had a new job he didnt even say anything. I should be happy and looking forward to my new start next month but no matter what I do, I feel as though I have this hanging over me and I am feeling such guilt because he is obviously unhappy so why should I be smiling?

I wish I could get him to speak to me but I dont know what to do.

Has anyone ever experienced this or know of anyone who has experienced this? I would love any advice you could offer as I didnt even want to post this but dont know what else to do. I keep forgetting that he is 19 and an adult but I feel as though I have failed him as his mum.

I am so sorry for once again laying my problems at someone else's door but I thought this was something that would just blow over and I would have no need to post this.

Any advice?


23 Replies

Oh dear. I think I would remind him that he is being very rude to you seeing as he is living in your home and you are subsidising him! I would tell him if he doesn't want to be there and can't at least be polite to you he had better move out then.

That might get him thinking.... x


I know, you are right and I have suggested that if he is not happy here (which clearly at the moment he is not), then he could leave. I reminded him of the fact that he is only living here because I am ALLOWING him to do so. I told him last night that the atmosphere in our home is not normal and nor is it healthy and something needs to change soon.......Again I said if he needs to talk then I am here??....Once again I was met with a stony silence!!

I was given another piece of advice today and that was to just let him get on with it. That I was to just get on with my life and do the things I enjoy doing and just carry on as best I can. Apparently once he sees that I am just getting on with MY life and not bothering with him, he will wonder WHY I am not bothering with him any more and this is when he will start coming back.

I dont know if this is true but at this stage I am willing to try anything. Just when things should be looking up again, something else comes along. Its just unfair!!

Thanks for your post though..

Hope you are good today...


1 like

Change the locks at home and don't give him a key? Or put a lock on his bedroom door and keep the only key?

No seriously I think you have been given some very good advice to just let him get on with it and live your own life. I wouldn't bother cooking, cleaning or washing his clothes either. You hold all the aces so start playing 1 or 2 of them. There is nothing like showing indifference to someone to get them running after you!

I hope this works. If not you have nothing to lose do you? x


Yip...Right again!!

I have been given a lot of good advice today for which I am grateful for. I just hope that he is not hurting in some way inside and just doesnt know how to deal with it. Sometimes the people closest to you are too close and you dont want to confide in them. I always wanted to be the sort of mum that my kid could come to about anything but then again he is not a "kid" any more.

I will keep you posted!

Thanks again!!


1 like

It must be very upsetting for you but do remember he is legally an adult now though I know he will always be your little boy no matter how old he is. Let me know how you get on. Not long now until you start your new job so look forward to that and enjoy your freedom while it lasts. xx

1 like

Hi En1234,

I'm kind of on the opposite side to your problem, I was the horrible teenager.

My parents were amazing throughout my childhood but when I hit late teens they were treating me like a child rather than the adult I was becoming. I rebelled against them and, to be perfectly honest, was horrible to them.

Today, some 20 odd years later, we have a fantastic relationship - I left home at 19 for a job some distance away from home and ever since we've got on really well.

I can understand your feelings of failure but it isn't you, it isn't him. The dynamic has changed, you want to nurture understandably and he want's his independence. That's difficult with the housing market etc etc.

Don't blame yourself, don't blame him - it sounds like he has his own issues - maybe a girl/boy friend that doesn't fit his lifestyle. Things will get better, he's at a difficult age transitioning from boyhood to adulthood. I've been there, it's not easy, give it a while and he'll come back to you.


Thank you so much for that. I have decided I am just going to "back off". If he needs me then I will always be here for him but I cannot make him speak to me if he doesnt want to. I just miss him and wish that he could at least be civil to me. I would hate to be a teenager in this day and age as I think it is so much more difficult these days what with social media and everything this brings...

He works every day from 3.30pm to 9.30pm and has one day off a week. He is fairly independent in that he will bring in his own shopping and cooks his own meals (although I am usually left to clean up after him), he has his friends and goes to the gym as often as he can. I would love for us to get dressed up and go somewhere for a nice dinner just so we could sit and talk but I dont think this is going to happen anytime soon. Then again, maybe it is nothing to do with me as you say, it could be a partner thing and he just doesnt want to talk to anyone???

Thank you so much for your post. It was really helpful and definitely something for me to think about.




He is now a Mam, over eighteen and given that fact He must be looking after Himself, cooking etc. Is He paying rent ? Who is doing His washing ?

If you are feeling uncomfortable and He is not talking and He does not wish to have anything to do with you, all I can suggest He either pays rent as He looks for a new place too live.

The more you try and converse the more He will hit back like a childish little boy, He needs to sort it out or leave. He is under your roof and whatever has happened in the past He either moves on or snap out of it. Stop pandering Him. He needs to wake up to the cold light of day get sorted



I would not be looking at asking him to leave or even suggesting it if he's not able to talk to you. I disagree with 2 or 3 previous posts.

Give him time and space he's still developing and hopefully you can build a relationship when he is a bit more secure in life and achieved some goals or stability.


Thank you for your message Zoea. I have decided that I am just going to go about my day to day business and if he doesnt want to speak to me just now then thats fine. If he was coming home and trashing the place and bringing the Police to the door then the option of asking him to leave would definitely be getting considered but thats not the case. My worry is that there is something else bothering him and he just doesnt want to speak to me about it.

As long as I let him know that I am there when he needs me then as a mother, that is all I can do, and just step back. I have already been told that if I keep hounding him to speak to me then this is going to prolong him wanting to speak to me. In order for him to WANT to speak to me I just have to let him be.

It is really difficult, when we used to have a laugh together and the flat is silent except for the sound of the TV or my music. I am hoping things will change soon but if not, then I have no control over this and I am just going to have to deal with each day as it comes.

Thanks again for your post.


1 like

Pleasure I think you're taking the correct approach. Maybe you can invite some family over and see if he want's to talk to them or something. Or make him a treat for no reason.


I agree with zoea...


Hiya. Oh gosh, I feel for you. Sometimes it's tough being a parent isn't it. I know all about feeling guilty, but, of course, that doesn't help anyone. Allow him space to deal with whatever is troubling him but, as I'm sure you do, reassure him that you are there for him, should he need you. But also be honest with him about how you are feeling and if you feel he is acting unreasonably, explain that to him. Honest communication is difficult but vital. Most importantly, get on with your own life and let him get on with his. Take care,

1 like

Good advice.

Thank you!



Hi Theresa, I'm so sorry to hear you're having this problem. After all your recent struggles you should be enjoying these few weeks before you start your new job and relaxing, not stressing over your son's behaviour.

This is such a complicated situation and it's not as simple as throwing him out, as we all know that will bring you even more stress and feelings of guilt and failure. Believe me, I know this from experience. BUT he cannot be allowed to treat you in this way. He is an adult living in your house and should show you some respect. My advice would be to speak to him firmly but quietly - and even if he doesn't reply verbally, you will have said your piece.

You should tell him that is that he is an adult now and adults talk through their issues with others, not play silly childish games with silence and slamming doors. You have always done your best for him, but you know you are not perfect. But you also do your best to deal with your own issues which occasionally overwhelm you, just like everybody else.

Tell him you are not going to let him control you any more and that he can ignore you if he likes, but while he does he can look after himself, including his washing, cleaning, food shopping and cooking. But when he decides to grow up and talk to you about his problems you will be there to listen, and you can get your relationship back on track.

Please don't allow yourself to be a victim of this passive aggression any longer. Once you've said your piece then ignore him and get on with your own life until it has sunk into his brain that you meant what you said about him looking after himself. I agree with other comments that there is nothing like being ignored to make you sit up and take notice - as you yourself have discovered! Good luck Theresa, you deserve to be happy. xxx


You are so kind.

Thank you so much.

Its true what you say about having had my own other struggles on here and I really didnt want to post this but has gone past the point of me thinking it was something and nothing and that it would just blow over.

I know in myself that he will need me before I need him and am hoping that by me acting as though "I dont care" (although obviously I really do) this WILL make him sit up and take notice. I just feel really hurt that I have brought him up by myself, sacraficed for him, worked all the hours in order that he got what every other wee boy got and he didnt feel left out. I am ashamed to admit that I have probably spoiled him and this is actually all MY fault. My mum used to tell me that I had a huge chip on my shoulder where my son was concerned in that I felt I had to over-compensate on everything for the lack of a father in his life and that I was constantly feeling guilty over this. This is in actual fact very true but at the end of the day I could not make his father stay and I certainly could not make him love him when he wanted to go as far as California when we broke up. (As far as I know he is still there) but his father paid no money towards him and we have never heard from him since. Even his father's family have never bothered with us, so I made it my duty to make sure that my son felt as "special" as possible.

I wanted to be the kind of mother who could say

"Look how great my son has turned out and all without the help of his useless father who walked away before he was even born"

Now I feel quite sad because I feel as though all these good things, holidays, "things", he was given (he got all of my time when I wasnt working) etc has all been for nothing if this is now his attitude towards me.

I'm so sorry, I didnt mean to write as much as this when replying to you but just got carried away.

Thank you for listening and for you kind words as ever.



1 like

I feel your pain I have 3 kids 37,28,29 we have been estranged for almost 5 years...I have tried everything short of graveling to find out what their problem is..not one of them can really give me a good enough answer but I believe it's because I will not put up with their disrespect of me, if he can't respect you in your own house maybe it's time to cut the cord and have him move on,I know the prospect of you telling him that is painful but he's grown and it's time he puts his big boy pants on and start acting like an adult and not a child. Set boundaries with him and tell him you will take his disrespect of you no more....I wish you light and love have faith you are stronger than you got this hugs to you!

1 like

Thank you so much. I have tried to just get on with things today but know that he will be finishing work shortly. I am too tired to deal with him tonight as he has taken up enough of my head space today..

I went out today and while he was getting washed in the bathroom I left him a note saying this was the last note I was leaving him. Either he sits down and speaks to me about whatever it is that is going on or I will just leave him to get on with it. I will be leaving no more notes, I will not be texting, I will not be washing, cooking and ironing or attempting to speak to him.

I have made this promise to him and to myself now. I need to just concentrate on MY life and if he wants me, he knows where to find me, if not, then ???.... I cant force him to do things he doesnt want to do. (but to be honest with you, its not half exhausting!!) I would like to think by me backing right off now, he might even start to miss me and come round but hey, who knows??

Life eh???........Just when things start to look up again, its time to duck, as here comes yet another curve ball!!

Hope you are well. Thank you for the "hugs". Much needed and much appreciated too!!



Well done Theresa, now all you have to do is keep to your word. I'll be urging you on and I wish you a happy outcome to this problem. xxx


Thanks... I think its what they call "Tough Love".

Will keep you posted and thanks again to you!! XXXX


Firstly could I say don't feel guilty what so ever, your entitled to have a blow out when needed we all have to vent our stresses and frustration the way we see fit,

I'm a a single dad of a 12 year old daughter for 5 years now since my wife my girls mum passed away (36) and sudden, God forbid anything to happen to you because if you don't mind me saying your boy/man is been incredibly selfish and checky and if anything was to happen to you he would recogise how he is and wish he hadn't put you through what your going through for the rest of his days. I'm 99 percent sure he's being a stubborn childish boy who is taking you for granted, and with you pandering to him (because you love him) nothing will change ...he won't change. Sit have a long think of how you've brought him up gave him all you could materially and as much love a mum can give to her child, that's a massive achievement shows how good of a character you are, the strength, resilience and the rest, what I'm trying to say is you've been caught up in a emotional trap, recognise who you really are deep inside that person you where years ago get your deserved pride intact, time is a healer keep that in mind when I suggest what I would do, I would ask him to do or if wants something in a insecure tone waiting on the' important' answer, you been the real strong you tell him what to do or do you want dinner with a strong impersonal tone is the answer is no , you immediately reply by a ''fine' nothing more you make your own dinner (staying strong reminding ) you deserve respect and don't forget that. When or if you need to say something to him if it's a negitive response 'fine' kept strong mind leave out the small talk that just sets you up for disappointing response. So in time he will be pondering at somepoint that he's gone to far and will lighting up, but keep at it till he acting the way he should constantly. Tough love. It might take a little while but your a strong woman and is doing the right thing giving him a life lesson on many levels. Welldone on you new job , you can do this ! X Michael (Glasgow)


Thank you Michael for your wise words this morning.

I have to admit that I have been pandering to him for most of his life and without even realising it have managed to turn myself into a doormat as well!!

I have come to also realise that it is doing nobody any good right now by my constantly trying to get him to open up, so he will just have to manage on his own until he is ready to speak to me.

Right now I just feel that as long as he comes home, I know he is safe and if he is cooking his own food then I know he is eating. If he is getting to his job then I know he is getting paid. By stripping it back to this I know that at least I can let go of the responsibility for him.

I am so sorry to hear that your wife passed so young, you sound like a wonderful father. When you have to be both parents it can be difficult, but in my case my son has never known his father.

He doesnt realise it just now (and in a lot of ways a feel sorry for him) but I really am all he has got and God forbid anything does happen to me because he really will have to start fending for himself.

I do really love him but right now I dont really like him that much.

My own mother said that I need to start being a stronger person and that people look up to people of strength and that they have no time nor respect for weak people and maybe if I was to show him how strong I was he would start having some respect for me. I know where she is coming from but to be honest its not that easy and its not her that is sharing a home with him.

He doesnt have a lot of male influence in our family. My own father does not bother with him but sends over the odd £10 note for him to spend. He always gets birthday and christmas presents but never the time and at 19 his grandfather is practically a stranger to him who he does not want to spend time with. My own brother is a waste of space and only has time for himself. The only other people in his life are the boys he works with and lately a lot of time has been spent out with them at night getting drunk, so I dont really have that high an opinion of most of them.

I am hoping this is something that he will eventually grow out of....

One day at a time is all I can do and keep hoping that sometime soon things will change.

Thanks for taking the time for getting back to me Michael. Really appreciated. The support on here is amazing!!

I hope you have a lovely weekend

Theresa xxxx

PS. Im in Greenock....Not that far from you in Glasgow


After working for the first 5years of my eldest sons life, I was able to stay home with my two boys. They have been the joy of my life until my oldest son turned 17. My now 19yr old, unfortunatly cant stand me. Your experience is uncannily like my own. It breaks my heart to love someone so much, and only feel contention and loathing reciprocated. I too feel I failed as a parent. Somehow, I have produced this entitled, arrogant, selfish young man, that has no respect for me. I'm hoping and praying that this is a stage and he will somehow return to the sweet loving young man I once knew, or thought he was.

For now, that's a wish that seems unattainable. He has went out of his way to hurt me on many example leaving a card out on mothers day, addressed to a lady he's known for about a month. With a personally handwritten note on the card saying "she was more of a mom to him than his mom ever was". (Just an fyi, this lady was his now ex-girlfriends extremely liberal guardian, who okayed marijuana, alcohol and sex while her "live in dependent" was a junior in highschool). I saw this for what it was, but he accomplished what he set out to do, hurt me.

He likes to tell give me relationship advice on my 25yr marriage with his father. And the icing on the cake is my son likes to cause problems by buying his younger brother a vap pen, basically actively trying to undermine my authority.

Did I forget to mention doesn't pick up after himself, at all!?! No matter what we say or do. And doesn't lift a finger to help when asked to do something as little as take the garbage out. Every day his dishes are left on coffee table, his clothes left in bathroom. We Can barely open the door to his room. He has no respect for our property...that combined with the fact that he argues or contradicts everything that comes out of my mouth.

I didn't put up with that behavior when he was younger, and I'm tired of being a maid and his excuse to play the victim with his girlfriend or friends. He's only kind when he is hungry or needs something from me. The manipulation is so very apparent it scares me.

He is however making good money moving drywall. It's a tough job, and he's kept it for almost a year now...So that's a pretty good I guess. I'm thankful for that. I've made him start paying rent last year, and I told him that the money he pays each month will go toward a deposit for his apartment. He's moving out this month.

Like I mentioned, my boys have been my life, probably part of the problem. Looking back I probably should never have left my career of 10 years. I probably did too much for them.

He is moving out in a few days, It's so hard to let go...and soo hard if he stays. He needs to move out to appreciate what we do for him. But it doesn't stop me from worrying so much about him. I'm afraid I'm in a no win situation. I'm miserable when he's here because of the constant contention and his condescension toward me. And I'm sure I will be a miserable mess when he's gone.

All I see is all the mistakes I made as a parent. I'm not sure if its because misery loves company, but I did find comfort in your post, knowing that I'm not alone with this pain.

Every time you see a young man show love, respect or just appreciation to his mom, it just feels like someone stabs a wound that wont heal.


You may also like...