18 Year Old Not Listening to Me....

Updated on January 26, 2012
W.K. asks from Florida, NY
22 answers

Im so frustrated and angry right now. My sons 18 & 17 decided to spend the week with their father, they were supposed to come home on Sunday, well we are supposed to get this hurricane at some point after midnight tonight and Ive been telling my son since Friday to come home Saturday. He has been fighting with me since I first mentioned it. First he doesnt see anything about state of emergencies posted anywhere, or anything closing, or that they are in a danger zone.

His father lives in PA and we are upstate NY in Orange County we are in the 'extreme' disaster zones, not evacuations zones. But its still a hurricane. He keeps calling me periodically saying why does he have to come home, hes not ready to leave, now this last call he says he does not feel safe driving since its been raining all day over there! And goes on to say since college decided to close on Monday he does not have to be home till tuesday and he would rather drive then. He does not want to drive into the path of this hurricane that all of a sudden he acknowledges! All Im thinking is that he will be stranded, theres a small bridge and the river over flows constantly! This will happen for sure, Im almost positive and he will be stuck.

I was so upset I said forget it, do what you want I dont care anymore and hung up! Now Im like thinking to myself, Im going to take the car keys away, Im going to disconnect his internet, you name it! He says it does not matter where he is stranded! Argh!

He has never been like this before and Ill never understand the want to visit his father, ( thats a whole story in it self) but thats not what Im asking... why is he not listening to me? Am I wrong to tell him to come home? Why am I feeling this way? Argh!

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So What Happened?

Wow you ladies are horrible. How you call the 'hes 18' card he can do what he wants? Ive been telling him since Friday morning to come home, this has nothing to do with their father, as I said I was not asking about him. I could go into a tangent about how he has seen them a hand full of times in the past 10 years! Or how when they have visited its been horrible getting them back into their routine when they return, but Im not taking about that. You cant say he can do what he wants when he relies on me and my husband completely. He has no job, he does not pay rent, he uses my car, hes had is license for less then a year, he has never defied me before. Am I old school in my thinking? How do you protect your kids / young adult children when you tell them to do what they want? Disrespect you? I told him on Friday to come no later than NOON Saturday BEFORE anything started. He was never in danger driving home until he waited until the last minute cause he started to argue with me about leaving and now I cant reach them. So tell me again I was wrong!

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answers from Anchorage on

He is a man now. He wants to make his own choices, and he loves his father. (even if someone does not think a parent is worthy of love, a child can forgive a parent many wrongs and still love them). It sounds like you are treating him more like he is 12 than 18. Not trying to sound harsh, so please don't take it that way, but at 18 it is time for him to be making more of his own choices. I know how hard it can be as a mom to let go though! Hang in there and blessed be.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Wouldn't he be safer staying put? Are so upset that he isn't coming home because you dislike their dad and don't want them together? I am missing something here too like the previous posters.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Portland on

I suggest that at 17 and 18 they should be given the opportunity to make this sort of decision. You're concerned about their safety in a hurricane that is predicted to arrive after midnight. And college has been canceled on Monday. So it makes sense to me that they stay over, out of the way of the hurricane. If they get stranded they'll have to deal with the consequences of not making it back to school. It's their problem. It seems to me that both parties concerns are being met. They're out of the way of the hurricane, your concern. And they'll spend more time with their father, their concern.

I know it's hard to let go of being the primary control but you have to when your child reaches towards adulthood. I also suspect that part of your angst are your feelings about them visiting their father. You don't "understand the want to visit his father." You don't need to understand it. It is your role to accept it. He has a different relationship with him then you do. He is their father. That is a bond that exists without your approval.

So......can you just accept that these are older teens, nearly legally adults, and they need to have the power to make decisions that affect their lives. It's difficult to do this. But necessary.

After your so what happened: We did not tell you to let him to do what he wants. We told you that in this situation it is reasonable for him to stay at his Dad's. It's time to give him some leeway.

And I don't understand how you can say it's not about his Dad when you used several more sentences expressing your anger. This reminds me: doesn't his father have some say over what he does? I could understand your anger for him not being involved if you also thought he was influencing your son to stay. However, For me, it says even more that he should stay with his Dad since he's apparently enjoying the visit when he's had so few successful visit.

So what did happen? Did he stay or come home? How did you fare, weatherwise?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Speaking as a FLORIDA girl and Momma - it is BEST that he stay where he is at. You may not like it but he is in the best place to be, he should NOT be driving at this time and schools maybe closed past Monday. Quite honestly I think you need to remember he is 18 and legally an ADULT!!! I know you are freaking out as a Mom and wanting him home where you will "know" he is ok. BTW this is a Cat 1/2 and it isn't going to be like Katrina - there will be most likely lots of wind damage and some water damage. You may not like the fact that he is with his Father, but you need to get past it - he is an ADULT.

Edit 2

You are wrong b/c you are treating him like he is 8yo and not 18!! You are afraid/concerned/worried for him and that is NORMAL!!!! Who cares about the past with his dad - that is their relationship and you have no say in it, even if is a problem getting him into the routine YOU want for him. At 18 and in college, he should be doing something to help contribute to the family finances (I which will help you see him as more of an adult than a child) . Keep in mind the more you demand and treat him like a child the more he will pull away. I am talking from experience. We are not being rude here but looking at the situation from an outside perspective with no emotions ..... also this is a high stress time for you no matter what. I think you need to sit down as 3more adults and discuss house rules together. He is an adult not a child (I even though he is your child) .

When my siblings and I graduated HS and lived at home we had a family/house meeting and discussed/negotiated house rules -together like adults /roommates. It was a two way street , we didn't have curfews but we had to call or text by 11 if we wouldn't be home by 6 (when dad left for work( so the alarm could be set and deadbolts locked....we also paid $ towards the household accounts - even if it was $5 or such. Those who didn't pay as much contributed in other ways....my former stepsister did the main laundry and cooked 3 nights a week while I did 1 night of cooking and only my laundry. My dad did the lawn and my former step mom did the grocery shopping and they only cooked on Sunday.

What I am saying is step back, take a deep breath and realize first he is ok, second the situation is stressful to begin with and worse as a momma and third he is legally an adult and it is time to start seeing him as such. If needed take a week or so to calm down and talk to other moms you are friends with for perspective on this issue.

Remember his relationship past/present/future with his father is none of your concern/business.....honestly sounds like you have unresolved issues with him that you personally need to deal with.

Good luck!!!!

You need to calm yourself down and realize he is safe where he is - he should not be driving in this weather and is making the CORRECT ADULT DECISION!!! Do NOT over react and "disconnect" everything.

BTW - I have to go through all the storms by myself here (me and my girls) as my husband is a LEO so I do understand, wanting everyone together. And if he is stranded - who cares, he is safe and that is what is important.

Sorry if you think I am harsh but I am speaking of experience with this weather

W., I just checked where you are and looked at the path. Breathe deeply, make sure your phone is charged fully, laptop too (if you have one), grab some good books, get comfy and relax and enjoy your rainy days!!! Seriously, let this go - you are going to have a nasty rain storm is what it looks like. We have had "no name" storms come through that are SOO much worse than Irene is looking like. Yes this is not something you are used to, but let your son hang with his father and family and you enjoy relaxing. Honestly this is a storm that Hurricane Parties are meant for LOL

PM if you need to talk :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

He has never been this way before because he was not 18 till now.
The 2 of you need to sit down together and figure out how things have changed. That he is an adult, but you are still worried about him. YOU do need to realize that he is considered an adult and he is going to do what he thinks is best. He will take what you request into consideration, but it is now his life to make decisions and then also take responsibilities for these outcomes. It is just a change in the relationship because he is now of legal age. . He sounds like he is ready but you are not.

Men/boys are different from women.. They see this as an adventure. They are with their father so I assume they will be safe. We want all of our family around us, but men think they are manly and can deal with it..

Our daughter is now 21, and once she was 17 I started making a request, I say, "I would like for you to".. Or "I wish you would consider", because ultimately, it is her choice but I do want her to here my opinion, but do not want her to feel like I am telling her what to do.

Try not to be so upset. You cannot make them do what they do not want to do now that they are adults... It means you have done your job when they make a decision and take responsibility for the outcome. .

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

If I understand you correctly, you're asking your son to drive in to a potential disaster zone rather than staying someplace where it may be relatively safer. And, you're asking him to drive with tons of other stressed out folks in potentially torrential rain and wind. Did I get this right? I'm not trying to be mean, here, I'm just trying to understand.

If the previous paragraph is correct, then I must side with your son. I don't think he's listening to you because what you're saying isn't making a whole lot of sense. I get the urgent emotional need moms have during potential disasters to have the whole family together, but perhaps a more practical way to look at it is that he's safer, out of harm's way, if he stays in PA with Dad. (And, yes, he probably just wanted to extend his vacation and Mother Nature totally helped out in this case. How often does that happen?!)

I would call your son, tell him to stay with Dad until the danger passes. He may miss a few days of school, but so will everyone else. Safety first.

Good luck, dear mama.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

what am i missing here? is this more about you disliking your ex? i think you need to really think about taking away the car keys, disconnecting internet, etc, you are acting *childish*.

now if he was driving & drinking & not in college but partying all night crashing wherever he wanted THEN I can see you taking stuff away, but he's not!!!!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

You can't be Mamma forever...well you can, but realize he will have a stage in his life where he is figuring out life for himself. The only one you have frustrated is yourself. He is 18, you can't take away the internet as a punishment, he is 18. As for the keys, if it is your car and you are concerned he will damage your car, take the keys.

I hear ya, there is more to story, but if he is stranded with his father, he will be safe. He will figure out all the history on his own.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would let him stay with his dad. He's right, he shouldn't be driving in it, he's much safer where he is. He's a college student. He's not doing anything wrong or blatantly disobeying you. Maybe you dislike him spending time with his dad, well, maybe he is enjoying his time there All the garbage about disconnecting the internet, taking keys away... you said he's usually a good boy and doesn't disobey. So, this is an extreme circumstance AND a holiday weekend. Choose your battles and let this one slide.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Jamestown on

First off...take a deep breath.

Okay...17 and 18 year olds don't listen to their mothers anyway. You are worried and that's normal for a momma, but you are overreacting...a little. He wants to spend time with his father, regardless of how their relationship has been and how you feel about it. You are left alone during this storm...and that's the bottom line.

Arguing with children in times of disaster is not a good thing. It's mainly done out of fear and not from actual complaints. My 18 year old and I got into it last week the day he was moving out over something stupid. I wasn't mad at him and he wasn't mad at me..we were just scared.

Call him back and apologize, tell him you love him and to be careful...and then pray for his safety. I'm in Northwestern PA and it just started sprinkling here so there's no threat.

You gotta let them go and grow up. It's hard, but it has to be done.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

No, you are not wrong to tell him to come home before the storm hits, since he likely will not be ABLE to after it arrives (roads will be an issue with debris left in the storm's wake), at least for a day or so, maybe longer, depending...
BUT, he is 18. That is an age where sometimes they think they know everything and they know they don't HAVE to do what you say.
Try to let it be a learning experience for him/them. They will learn more if you let them figure out that Mom really does know a thing or two, than if you start in with the "I told you so"s.

I know you are upset. Motherly instinct says to get your babies home where they'll be with you and you can protect them. But they are about to fledge and this might be a useful experience for both you and him/them.
I don't know the history with their dad, so I can't speak to that at all.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Sounds like he would be better off in PA, honestly. Let him stay put in PA where there is no hurricane rather than start driving right into the path of the storm. Most likely they won't lose power out there either. He's 18, he's legally an adult, and while it would be nice for him to listen to you, and he should still respect you, he can make his own decisions and do as he pleases. If he wants to visit with his father, it's his right to do so.

My oldest stepson just turned 18 and is planning to get a tattoo. His mother is completely opposed to this and has said before that "he is not allowed". Ummm, he's 18! Legally, he CAN and he WILL!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Why did you post this if you didn't want anyones honest opinion. Be glad your son is ok and work things out the way YOU feel best b/c clearly you didn't want advice... you just wanted to vent. People like you are the very reason a lot of women don't like to give parenting advice... b/c when it's asked you are suddenly "horrible"... good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't know for sure what area he's in but isn't he really safer there?

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answers from New York on

I sooo feel your pain. This afternoon my bro called to tell me HIS 19 yo was stranded in NYC with her BF. I'm like, are you for real? What am I supposed to do about it? Weren't you paying attention to the local weather knowing your daughter was coming to NY? He got frustrated, cursed me and hung up. I have spent the day wishing I was on a sedative I am so shook up. Mind you this is a grown man throwing a tantrum because he expects me to rescue him and his daughter. BTW, I did arrange for car service to bring her to me but bro came through with a NYC hotel room instead. I think at this point both my niece and my brother need to pay a price to learn to be better prepared.

As for your situation, at least your son is somewhere safe and not on the roads at this point. Make it his responsbility to get home. He may find it challenging to get back home but maybe that is the price he must pay for making the decision to not come home sooner.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think his father needs to make sure they are somewhere safe tonight. The "not listening" part of this is irrelevant in this situation. This is a safety issue.

Right now the radio is saying the hurricane's path is 200 miles long.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

Oh W.-

I FEEL your pain!

I dropped my son off at Old Dominion (in Norfolk VA) last saturday for college...and his on campus apartment. I was encouraging him to come home. Then they closed campus, and he said he was staying off campus with some friends. Then the 'fleet' was sent out to sea...I expressed the need for him to come home...finally last night, he did.


I think he was trying to 'flex' his new 18 year old 'muscles' with his still much younger common sense...


Best Luck!
I am sure your son will find safety!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm sorry that you're having a tough time. 18 year olds need some independence. Yes, he is legally an adult and you should be past the point of threatening to take his car keys, turn off his internet. You sound more controlling than me, and my kid is only 16. Your son is not going to do everything that you want in life, and he will make responsible decisions by being given the leeway to do that. I am sorry that you think people are terrible simply because they do not agree with you. You asked if people thought that you were wrong. Don't jump down people's throats for doing what you asked. If this is typical for you, then perhaps that has some effect on your relationship with your son. You sound like a "my way or the highway" type and grown kids run from that. If you want a relationship with your young adult son, you may need to do some changing.



answers from New York on

I think times have really changed. Years ago we had to respect our parents no matter how old we are. Even my own father had to respect his mother and do as she says. We come from a different generation. You can even see it when you watch teenager shows. Notice how adults are treated. Sorry to see the panic, but in this case, your son was better off in PA since we didn't get his as hard. Since your son has no job, you and his father are the ones providing food and shelter. There's a big difference right there. If he wants to be treated as an adult, then he has to learn to carry his own weight like other 18 year olds who don't go to college. Too many times college "kids" are spoiled. Cutting off his internet is the best thing to do until he changes. The other problem is that your husband and you are separated. Kids often blame the mom and give the mother a hard time. Hang in there and I hope everything gets better.



answers from New York on

Hope I don't sound too judgemental and forgive me if i do. It soulnds likeyou are being a little overbearing and your sons are probably starting to resent you because you treat them like children instaed of grown kids who I am sure you raised to make decisions. You need to remeber that they are now becoming men and you yelling and screaming and dictating their life will probably push them away. Thsi is the time you need to back away and let them live.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Did anyone read this correctly -- He has her car and if I told my child to be home on saturday with my car he had better be home on saturday or that would be the very last time he used my car.

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