Question: Dear Luise: I’m one of those hurting parents whose son shut me out his life. He was always a tough kid to raise and I admit that I made mistakes along the way, but did the best I could as a single parent. His dad did nothing for him after our divorce when my son was 4 months old – not even tried to see him. During my sons teen years beginning at 15 years old, he became sexually involved with his girlfriend and then started drinking at 16 and smoking pot. As a Christian, I am against these things and can’t condone it. Instead of trying to be loving and discipline him in a loving way, I got the police involved since he was about 11 years old because I didn’t know how to control him. Mistake – it made things worse. Anyway, at 16 he had been drinking at his friend’s house and I found out inadvertently that those parents allow their kids to drink underage. He is living with that family now and he is 18 and he seems to be doing fine, but he doesn’t reciprocate to my attempts to contact him. I asked him to leave my house 5 weeks before he turned 18, but he had wanted to leave at 16. I don’t think there’s any hope so maybe I have to try to think of him as dead and “bury” him from my mind and just pray that he will have a good life and ask God to forgive me for my mistakes. I did write him a letter apologizing for my mistakes, but no reply. What do think? S.
Answer: Dear S. There isn’t a perfect parent out there and we are all supposed to be, perfect according to our kids. Most of us are barely out of the “kids” category ourselves when we take on the awesome job of parenting.
You did your best. You know that. And you made mistakes because you’re human. You have apologized and now the ball is in his court. He may return or he may not. As he matures, he may realize what you were up against and appreciate what you gave him, showing back up in your life…older and wiser.
Writing him off as dead probably isn’t going to serve you. Taking a step back and distancing yourself from him may be a more useful concept. Concentrate on you own life and remember that you were fine before you became a parent and you can be whole again.
If you’re interested, I have developed a Web-forum for women dealing with issues with their adult children. Go to: www.WiseWomenUnite.com . A lot of support is available there. Blessings, Luise