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Father / Son relationship

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gordyagusta | 13:24 Tue 13th Jan 2009 | Parenting
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I really really need some opinions and advice here�. I think I may have already done too much damage to my relationship with my 21 yr old son. This could get a bit long winded but please bear with me��.

I split up with my ex nearly 6 years ago, my son then 15 at the time stayed living with me, more because of school location and financially convenient and things were fairly amicable between his mother and I. Up to this point my son was a good polite student, your fairly average teenage boy to be honest. He was even nominated as school captain in 6th year, but this is when things started to go down hill between us.
At this time I had to deal with quite a lot of personal issues, my father passed away suddenly, best mate got killed in an accident etc etc� not a good time for me but I got through however I feel that this is when I took my eye off the ball with him and he seem to have thrown all his hard efforts at school away. When ever I asked him how things were at school I got 'fine' 'ok' type answers but nothing definitive, Turns out he flunked all his exams but bullsh*tted me when ever I asked about them. Meantime he takes up a part time job flipping burgers at McD's. Now to begin with I wasn't too bothered with this because we had discussed that he was going to go on to college to study Media and TV production, not a bad choice I thought and the part time job would give him some pocket money. I never made any indications that he would have to pay dig money or contribute as long as he was studying and at college.

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He went from a smart trendy guy and morphed into what I can only describe as Russell Brand at Halloween, but again I said nothing and allowed him to express himself whatever way he wished, he�s 18/19 by this time. Again when ever I asked about college I got the �fine� �ok� answers but I could smell a rat and after some time he eventually came clean and admitted that he had chucked the course without even discussing things with me. Ok. I thought, fair enough if the course is not for him, he said he was going back next term to try some other course, this time Music production and the cycle repeats itself, bullsh*t answers to my enquiries and eventually the course is dropped with out consulting me..
Never at any time did he offer to contribute in any way to his upkeep, I bought him a car, and �200 worth of lessons. He did the lessons then stopped, the car sat for over a year, MOT�d and taxed and insured just waiting on him to sit the test, he never made any effort to even go for the test. Eventually I gave the car away�.
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All this time he has never once actually done anything to contribute towards house keeping by this I mean washing up, cleaning, hovering etc, His bedroom was knee deep in junk, waste, clothes, and no amount of asking, requesting or even shouting from me would get him to tidy up, his mother actually came over on a couple of occasions to tidy up for him.
Last April he announces he�s moving out to flat share with a friend. Ok says I, it will do us both good� Subsequently he moves into his little flat, nice it was too, but every other month I was either paying his rent or phone bill and when ever we got together I made sure I left him with some money in his pocket around �30 - �40� however the lease was up in the flat at the beginning of December and he decided with 2 days notice to tell me he was coming home.. He�s just turned 21 now, Ok thinks I, maybe he will have learned a few valuable lessons and he will be more considerate and responsible but it appears he has got worse, He spends all day in bed gets up goes to work comes home and goes straight back to bed only occasionally does he get up and go see friends or to see his girlfriend.
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We agreed on certain house rules when he moved back in, like tidying up any mess made, he even agreed to start contributing �60 / fortnight towards the house keeping, He�s paid this once then claims that he has got other bills to pay and can�t pay anything towards the house. He has even started to �entertain� his girlfriend while I�m in the house, fully aware that we agreed that this something that neither of us would do, there is ample opportunity to have the house to himself to �entertain� when I�m not at home, but having mentioned that I would not tolerate this and him saying that it wouldn�t happen again, he�s at it the very next time she comes over. So last Saturday 6pm he�s in bed after finishing work at 10pm the evening before and he gets up, showers and says he�s going out to meet his g/f to come back to the house�. Unfortunately my temper got the best of me and I let rip at him and he stormed out and left his house keys, no change of clothes etc etc�. couple of hours later I have his mum on the phone screaming at me that I�m the worst father on the planet and that I�m this that and the other�.. Now I don�t know where I stand. I have only ever wanted my son to achieve what ever he�s been capable of and have supported him any way I could, He seems to have no ambition, no respect, no responsibility and shows no consideration for me� what have I done wrong, what can I do to make amends?
hang on, where is your Ex when hes doing all of this?

Agree, where's mum?
He continues ot disrespect yor home because you allow him too.
Next time he brings his gf round, show her the door or make then sit in the kitchen/lounge etc. If you dont want that kind of entertaining under your roof, its your house, so stick to your rules, even if it means being hard/harder than you have/are being
What other bills doe she have? you pay household bills so until he pays what you have asked him too continuously stop doing anything for him inc his washing, cooking his meals etc. In fact, stop feeding him. eh will soon discover that �60 a fortnight wont go far if he has ot buy his own food

Your problem lies in the fact you made boundaries then haven't stuck or or enforced them - you need to do that, no matter how hard it is for you, and stick to them

Best of luck
BTW, make what you can of the positive things - he does have a job
I dont mean to make any assumptions - but if her was working and cannot afford to contribute 60 quid.. could he be on drugs???? Where is his money going???? Only a thought!

Secondly - think you may have to be a bit harder with him!!! Should have not paid his rent for him when he was struggling and let him make his own mistakes rather than trying to prevent him getting in a mess... He needs to learn to stand on his own two feet and he may have to be forced to do it rather than voluntary!

Thirdly... hope he find a really lovely girlfriend who can steer him in a better direction.... the love of a good woman can do wonders!
By the way - Pink-Kittens.. LOVING your name!!!!
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Firstly thanks for the prompt answers...

My ex is living with the guy she left me for, I don't ask any questions, it was too painful at the time. However I get the impression that my son tells her all is well at home and that yes his room is tidy and yes he's being a nice boy..

She buys it, as in the sun shines out of his ass...

And when we do have a bit of a ding dong, and he goes running to her, she's not addressing the issue, merely passifying him by telling him to keep out my road until I cool down..

He only makes i think approx �120/ week and he spends a lot of time on his mobile, hence when i was paying his bills it wasn't just �30 here or there, more like �130, but yes, I couldn't say no... I paid it....

In many ways I am grateful that he is actually a good guy, never been in trouble with the police, doesn't drink to excess, and as far as I'm aware and I am switched on to these things he's not on drugs, I just see him wasting all the opportunities that he has in front of him, because he likes his kool trendy reflection in the mirror, nothing else matters to him...
No matter how I approach any issues we have, I can be the kool down to earth dad, I can be the serious no nonsense father or I can be the ogre from hell.. I get the same results... nothing changes.. its groundhog day everyday...

I know i've only got myself to blame for being a soft touch but its because I care and hate to see him waste what i think are the most vital years of any young mans life...
I'm sorry...but your son needs a slap.
I think your son is playing you for a right patsy.
He is selfish and very manipulative.
He knows you are a soft touch , so at his age of 21 put your foot down for once and for all.
Set some ground rules, first default out he goes, let him live with his adoring Mum.
At his age , he is an adult , no longer a child , and quite frankly not your responsibity.
You have allowed him to take over your life, so get with it and do something about the situation.
Remember that your life is not a dress rehearsal , you only get one go at it.

Sincere good luck.
I agree with others too that I think you need to be tougher on him... I like the idea that if he doesnt like living at yours by your rules let him go live with his Mum.. then she would get to see what he is really like too!
Does he have anyone he looks up to? An uncle.. someone in the family who has been successful? Someone to aspire to?
Some people in life are just born lazy.. and some dont mind plodding along and 'under-achieving'.
My Husband is one of 3 brothers. 2 of whom are life's losers. Lazy, want the easy option and dislike hard work. Hubby on the other hand, as we found out at the age of 28 was fathered by a different man... and explains why he is so very different.
Try not to be so hard on yourself.. we are all adults and shouldnt live life blaming others for our lack of acheivements
Gordy, I wish you luck because children are never easy to bring up, no matter what age they are. I admire you for being there for your son. I've got a daughter who is a real madam, and she's only going to get more difficult as hormones etc kick in.

I firmly believe that your continual support shown to your son will have been noticed by him, even if he never thanks you for it. Parenting is hard work, and which parent(s) ever get it 100% right? Just be there for him - I think he'll appreciate you so much over the next few years.
It sounds to me as though you have been far to lenient from the moment you started living alone together. Perhaps you made extra allowances, because you felt guilty and partly to blame for breaking up the family unit.

Maybe your son is depressed, but it sounds like he is also plain lazy and to be honest, probably would have started behaving like this even if your ex and you had remained together.

Your son is a man now and not a child, but seems to not want to grow up. It's not reasonable that he continues to take you for granted. Perhaps it's time you told him you will always be there for him, but as he's now an adult, you intend to start having your own life, which you most definitely should.
You said that after he moved out and then came back you expected him to learn some valuable lessons....it was impossible for him to learn anything when you kept bailing him out....Dont get me wrong here if it were my son, I would probably do the same, but how can they ever learn anything when they no they have back up and we will always help. Im a woman with 2 children and have been a single parent, my mum n dad have always said "they never had any help and had to do everything themselves" which is something I have taken on board, and understand that I am an adult and no matter how hard things are financially, I will juggle and always manage to pull it off. I know the help would be there from my parents if I were to ask, but I never do....out of pride.

Which leads me to my next point, it doesnt sound like your son has a lot of pride in himself, spending a lot of time in his bed, not bothering with college etc, sounds like he has lost his way???

Also I wouldnt blame it on when you were grieving, I dont think this has anything to do with it, I think he is lost and you are too because you dont know why he is like this....I dont know what to suggest to make amends but I think he has to come to you....show him that your not going to bow down to him everytime and gain some respect that way....im sure he will come back, with his tail between his legs and this will be a time when he is feeling vulnerable and heres your moment to talk, if you see what I mean.....obviously letting rip is not the answer as its getting you knowhere..as for his mum saying what she said...well, I dont know how she has the nerve to be honest, its all been left to you by the sounds of it, and she thinks she has the right to critisize you, when maybe she should be taking a long look in the mirror!!!

Also, you ask what have you done wrong...the answer..NOTHING!!! but provided as much as a stable life as possible, your son chooses to abuse your good nature!
it seems you made a lot of effort in allowing your son space and time to develip into a mature adult of his own choosing. However some of your efforts albeit good meaning may have reinforced his behaviour by always providing for him he never learned the hard way and so in some ways was never forced to consider his behaviour. I hope things work out but its best to let him pay for his mistakes and choices also. Its time for him to fund himself as opposed to expect you to bail him out. Good luck
Don`t blame yourself, your son is taking the p!ss out of you

Let him go and live with your ex for a while and see how he behaves with her and if he wants to come back set the rules out, ie paying rent and entertaining his girlfriend etc

You don`t need this [email protected] after all you`ve been through

I know he`s your son and all that but you have a life as well as him
he he.... Welcome to the real world of parenting. You've done nothing wrong but you can't live his life for him. Be glad he admire's himself 'cause soon a girl is going to whip him away from you and he will have someone of his own to love and work for.....that's all he's looking for.

All is not lost, if he wants further education it's available as is Open Uni online. Meantime just be the dutiful dad - 'cause he'll be back before he can warm the settee at his step-dad's house. Maybe encouraging him into an apprenticship/trade would suit him better?
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To update things, again thanks for all your replies, I�m honestly a little overwhelmed by your words of support� Thank you one and all.
I think you can tell that I have only ever wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to provide for my son, however I appreciate that this on its own could be the fundamental reason as to why we�ve reach the point we�re at.
The upshot is that he came over last night to collect some of his belongings, he�s now going to be living with his mum and while that saddens me at the same time it might just be for the best. It can go either one of 2 ways, he goes there and carries on living like he has and in which case his mother will see that I wasn�t just going off on one for the sake of it, or he�ll get his act together and make me out to be the liar, but ultimately he�ll face up to his responsibilities and, well he�ll HAVE to grow up.
I guess I�m now on a damage limitation exercise and hope that I haven�t broke the bond we had. I�ll be giving him the space he needs but at the same time I�ll let him know that I�m here if he needs me, taking onboard all that you have advised. Many thanks for your words of support.

Gordon.

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