18 Yr Old So Disrepectful.

Updated on September 28, 2016
D.D. asks from Goodyear, AZ
22 answers

My 18 year old (almost 19) son is living with us while he attends community college. He is currently taking 32 credit hours in one semester, and does volunteer work for a fire department. He also stocks at the local grocery store on the weekends. He paid for his own tuition, his own gasoline and anything he needs. Pretty proud of his accomplishments.

He only calls me when he wants to know what is for dinner. He will once and a while text me that he is going out with the guys. I do not call him to see where he is at. I do not know when or if he is going to be home. I will on occasion tell him that there is dinner in fridge. I might call and ask, "Hey, can you make your brother or sisters games Saturday?" Usually he can't because of work, but I at least want him to feel like he is still part of the family and we want him with us. He has made 1 game of his bother's, but not one of his sisters. I will go days without talking to him, but I will see him sleeping in his bed before I leave. (I work earlier than he has to go to school.) My oldest aunt passed away and it was a few days before I was able to share with him. She lived far away so he didn't really know her.

We do not have him pay us any rent. We paid for his truck, we pay his insurance and we pay for his cell phone. He has been ordering items off line and having packages sent to him. Misc items for fire fighting it looks like.

I told him that his truck tags were coming up due. He got upset with me. Says you want to know where I am at every hour on the hour. I was like really? I can do days without a word from him. They only way I know he is home is that I see him in his room asleep. He is so closed off, so serious and never lets loose.

Oh he really upset me yesterday morning. His little brother was in the shower He opens the door and tells him to get out of the shower I need him. I agreed and told his brother to get out. (it was plenty of time). My son told him to get out again, his brother says give me privacy. He tells him to get out again. I tell my older son to get out and leave him alone. Totally disrespected me and his brother.

He can't move out because he can't afford it. I am okay with him living with us. I just don't know how to make my 18 yr old son respect us. Any suggestions?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

The program that my son is taking is a 32 credit coarse. They take each coarse in weeks at a time.

Featured Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter is a full time student without a job and she is taking 15 credits this semester. 32 credits is insane! I guess I would cut him a lot of slack. He is doing more than a year's worth of college classes in one semester. With that kind of ambition, drive and work ethic, he will be out on his own in no time.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Doesn't sound like disrespect. Sounds like you need a shower schedule!!!! And also maybe a "family time" schedule - maybe late-night (when he gets home from work) snacks as a family one night a week?

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from St. Louis on

Does not sound like disrespect, sounds like a hard working young adult that happens to live with his parent in an apparent one bathroom house.

Really this sounds more like you are having trouble letting go and accepting he is becoming an independent adult. I didn't micromanage my kids to your level when they were in high school let alone college. I think you need to back off and give him some freedom.

Oh and I highly doubt your son is taking 32 hours a semester, perhaps in a year. Most schools limit you to 21 hours and having done that once while working it is kind of insane.

Per your what happened, good lord you want to micromanage his comings and goings but you let him enroll in a for profit "university"? Great parenting there. Did you bother to read the reviews before you thought that was a great idea?

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I'm not really seeing disrespect here so much as a very (productively) busy young adult who is trying to separate (emotionally) from his family so that he can become the independent adult he's meant to be.

Try not to take it personally. He's doing great things, and he's making his own life, which is the way it should be.

If you are feeling resentful because you pay for everything but don't feel he's spending enough time with you, that responsibility goes back to you. You should have talked about expectations---what he would be financially responsible for; what you would be financially responsible for and if there were any strings attached on your part.

If, however, he is ordering things online that he cannot pay for and for which you have not agreed to finance, that will need to stop. As a young adult on a budget, he has to learn to distinguish wants vs. needs so that he can responsibly support himself when the time comes for him to be totally on his own.

I do understand that you miss your boy and want to spend more time with him, but this is a transition period for you, too. You have to realize that he is on a path to making his own way in the world, and that much of what he does and what occupies his time (school, work, social life) will not involve you. I know that hurts, but you have to become okay with letting go and letting him live his life---seeing him as a young man, not a boy. It is hard but important for you to do.

Be sure to keep inviting him to family events. Try to plan one night every week or two around his crazy school and work schedule where you can eat together as a family or do something, but don't put huge amounts of pressure on him to spend the same kind of time he did with you, even just a year ago.

Just back off a bit and let him breathe. I'd want to sleep whenever I could if I had that kind of schedule again. And keep in mind, if he were away at college or working and living in another city, you'd see him even less.

The shower example was a bit confusing, but maybe they will have to learn to schedule their times better if you have more kids than bathrooms. Does not seem like outright disrespect.

As for 32 credits in one semester, unless he's at a school where they count credit hours differently than most, I am not aware of a college or university that would allow that, and with him volunteering and working as well, those numbers just don't add up. Whatever the number is, it seems like he is really, really busy and invested in his education. That's a good thing!

It sounds like you've raised an industrious, hard-working, ambitious young man, and you should be very proud of him! Don't forget to take the time to genuinely tell him how proud you are of the man he's becoming!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Not to be dismissive of his attitude, but I just want to clarify... he's taking 32 hours of class AND working a part-time job on his weekend? That's 8 classes, right?

I don't know how he hasn't lost his ever loving mind. And he's paying for his own school (without taking out loans?)?

Look, I really get the attitude being an issue. I do. (I have an 18 year old myself, who started school this fall as well, only he lives on campus.) What I think is that you need to just ignore him. Pretend that he is living elsewhere (on campus) and not in your home. Tell him that is what you are going to do. That you will not plan for him unless he says he will be there for the meal, that you won't be scheduling his laundry (that's his own thing, at least I hope it already is), and stop asking him if he's going to attend his siblings' events. You can text him and let him know about them "in case you are interested in coming." But stop asking him if he is, as if he's somehow letting you (or them) down by not being there.

He has a TON on his plate. He needs to be treated like an adult.
Truly, imagine he moved to a dormitory in campus in a state far, far away, and you are footing the bill for his cell phone. That is mostly how you should view your day-to-day time with (or without) him.
Don't be angry or use a tone of condescension or snakiness or hurt feelings when you explain to him how you are going to be handling this moving forward. Just be honest and factual.
"Look, this doesn't seem to be working very well and we are irritating each other. I think it would be best if we imagine that your room is far, far away on campus at the school. So I am going to try that, and behave as if you are elsewhere living on campus, not here. Which means: _____" and spell out what assumptions you won't continue to make (mealtimes, grocery lists, etc). He may be so relieved that he becomes much more considerate.

Won't know unless you try. But, seriously... 8 classes and a job, I'd be snapping at everybody.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Are you sure he's taking 32 credit hours? That's insane without any job or any volunteer work. Full-time college students usually take 15 to 18 credits a semester. That is a full load!

If he is really taking 32 credit hours, just be happy he's still alive! That is just a crazy, crazy work load. I think he's entitled to the occasional outburst. He is under tremendous stress!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

At this age, it's helpful sometimes to develop a new way of communication. We used to tell our middle school kids "your project is due". Then when they graduate, get jobs, etc, it can be irritating to their new sense of independence to have information delivered the same way (such as being told his truck tags were coming due).

Here's some things to try:

Post a calendar in a prominent place, like a white board/dry erase board. Use different colors for your kids, blue for your younger boy, red for your older son, green for another child or whatever you like. I have 2 kids - one has green eyes, one has blue, so I used green for the one, blue for the other. Simply write notes on the calendar, in the appropriate color, like "bring permission slip today" or "get truck inspected", or "soccer game, St. Joseph's Park, 10 am". Perhaps you can ask them to add something to the board that's important. For example, your daughter has a school play on the 23rd at 7 pm. She can write that in, in her color. Let your son check the board and take responsibility for his own things like his truck, and show up at what he can. If he lets the truck lapse, well, he pays the ticket and the fine and deals with the consequences. Don't bail him out and don't keep pointing at the board. Let everyone know, ONCE, that it's the communication center. And don't write little things like "I want chicken nuggets for supper" or "I need a poster board for school". That should be communicated in a different way. This is for time commitments. It also lets your kids know that, say, you have to work late on Thursday, so you can't drive them anywhere.

Develop a code with your older son. My son was sick of me asking him or texting him "are you ok?" or "how late are you working?". We have a code now. I text "RUA&W" and he replies "A&W". It means "are you alive and well" and his reply means "alive and well". He knows if he doesn't reply within a couple of hours, I will start texting and bugging him. It only takes 2 seconds to text A&W and my mind is put at ease.

If your kids share a shower, put a timer in there. It eliminates a lot of frustrations.

And start telling your son that he's nearly 19 so there will be changes made. There will be supper at your house, under normal circumstances (barring illness, the power going out, etc). Tell him that 19 year old young men either come home and appreciate a free meal, or go out and get something to eat. No more personal requests from the cook. Inform him you won't be accepting phone calls about the menu, although he is certainly welcome to ask you politely, "hey mom, what's for dinner tonight" in person. If you say "brussel sprout surprise", and he despises brussel sprouts, he knows to pick up something.

I think your son knows he's important to the family, as you are helping him with expenses, and letting him live there. He probably won't show up at regular games, but if either of your younger kids are in a championship game, or a state game, that might be nice for your older son to attend, even for a few minutes. I think it's reasonable for him to skip routine games.

You are right to be proud of his accomplishments. But it's time to make a few adjustments from "boy" to "young man". Let him know that you'll still pay for his phone, etc, as long as he keeps up with his requirements (school performance, job performance, polite behavior at home).

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I don't see disrespect I see a lack of communication. You want to be more in the loop with what he's doing and he is trying to figure out his way in the world while still living as a child at home. Pretty common for this age. Kind of trapped between 2 stages of development.

Here's the thing; if he was living away at college you wouldn't have much contact with him. You wouldn't know what he was up to or who he was with. So right now you are more involved than you would be if he wasn't living home.

I think you need to set up a family meeting where everyone brings their issues to the table and you all get to talk it through so everyone knows what to expect. I think you are not out of line to ask him to start paying for some of his things like his cell phone, his school expenses, and maybe some of the expenses on the truck. You know growing older means you have more rights but with rights come responsibility.

Please consider hitting the reset button on this dynamic before it gets too far off track. He sounds like a great kid who is turning out to be a responsible young man. You did a good job mama. He's not sitting on the couch playing video games 24/7

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

There is nothing in your post to indicate lack of respect. He sounds like a highly productive kid. He is 18 and taking steps toward independence.He's part kid and part adult. I suggest you start thinking of him as an adult. If you can change your attitude, you will feel less stressed.

Be proud of him and tell him often. Let his siblings work out disagreements for themselves. Squabbles are normal among siblings. Learning how to deal is a part of growing up.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm actually in just about the same situation with my son, who is the same age, also at home, also taking classes, also working and also never home. It bugged me at first that I can also literally go several days without seeing or talking to him because he goes out after work and often doesn't get home until I'm in bed and I leave for work before he does.

But I don't see it as a sign of disrespect. I miss him, and I like when he's home and hanging out with us, but that's on me. His step-sister is the same age and is away at school (really far away, in Montreal). At school, she comes and goes as she pleases of course. I don't know where she is or who she is with or what she is doing. We text a couple of times a week and that's it - she's off living her life. I realized that my son should pretty-much have the same bandwidth that she has to manage his own school, work, and social life, to come and go as he pleases, and be the young adult that he is. Yes, I pay for some of his expenses and don't charge him rent because frankly, he's saving me a ton of money by choosing to go to community college and work instead of going to a state or private college and opting to live there. I do need his help every now and again, but I ask in advance and if it's baby-sitting that I would otherwise have to pay someone to do, I pay him for that.

I think it's hard to figure out a good groove with a young adult child living at home. They're not your equal so shouldn't necessarily be given the same autonomy you would give a roommate or boarder (unless paying rent), but they're not little kids anymore either. He sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders and is doing the right thing most of the time. I wouldn't put too much stock in these little squabbles...in time, you'll probably fall into a groove that is comfortable for all of you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your son is in that halfway state - he's an adult and in college, but he's living at home like a high school student. You all have to readjust the ground rules and make some accommodations.

If he were living on a campus, you would have no idea where he was, what he was doing, who he was with, how much he was sleeping, or whether he was doing his class work. You'd be going through withdrawal in some ways, but he wouldn't be in and out of your life every day or every 3 days. You'd miss him, and you'd somehow come to terms with the fact that your job is pretty much done except for paying his college bills and seeing a ton of laundry at Thanksgiving. But that's not what happened here - he is still living there, but trying to live a big of a working college student life.

So, I think you sit down and work out who pays for what, what things you will do and what you won't. If he wants to be on his own for meals, then fine, he's on his own. If he comes home and there is extra, he's welcome to a plate of it. Otherwise he can make himself something (because you are DONE being his chief cook and bottle washer) - if he does not know how to do basic cooking, then he's missing a major life skill that you and your husband should have taught him. Or, he can make a PB&J sandwich or a salad or a bowl of cereal. But if he doesn't let you know he plans to come home, then you aren't making him a meal. That means you stop texting him that there's a plate for him in the fridge, and you stop asking him if he's coming home.

Do invite him to his siblings' games, not just so he'll feel a part of the family, but so that he is connected to them. You can set up a main calendar in the kitchen if you want, or use a calendar app like iCal (we have individual calendars, work calendars, and a family calendar). Enter games or holidays/birthdays on "Family" and your oldest will get alerts of events. If he comes, great - but if he doesn't, remember he wouldn't be doing that if he were away at college.

I don't understand why it took days to tell him that your aunt had passed away. If you didn't want to tell him via text, then you could have texted him that you have news that he needs to hear and to please check in.

Don't interfere with brothers jockeying for shower time. Your son is an adult, and your younger kids can learn to share a bathroom without you being the referee. I don't understand from the few details you posted why you were so upset about this. Don't siblings argue now and then about who needs the shower, bathroom, TV, car and so on? They can learn to communicate their schedules so that one knows ahead of time that the other needs to leave at a certain time and needs a shower first. That's called manners. It's what your older son would be doing if he lived in a dorm with roommates.

Re the truck tags - were you reminding him because it is his responsibility to pay/renew them? Or because you were going to pay it and wanted him to know or say thank you? If it's up to him to renew them, don't remind him - put things in his name. If he ignores the reminders and gets a ticket or a surcharge, oh well, that's his problem. He's an adult who doesn't report in about his whereabouts, so he doesn't need his mother monitoring him. He can learn the hard way, or he can take care of it and feel accomplished and adult. His choice.

Your son may be overworked, or he may be frustrated that he's in limbo while so many of his friends are off at college, an experience he didn't choose. He may yearn to be on his own but, as you say, he can't afford it. Now, he could afford it sooner if he stopped buying so many things on line, but it's his money and his problem. What you need to do is have a sort of contract about what's "included" in his rent-free living, and what's not. When my son was here after college and before he found an apartment, he was in charge of all his own stuff like laundry and food, but we didn't ask him where he was or if he was coming home. We learned not to worry and not to meddle. If we had a special occasion, we invited him and expected an RSVP, just as we would have if he lived elsewhere. He was smart enough to be around for birthdays, Mother's/Father's Day and so on. If he was planning to be home for dinner, he let us know, and we either made enough for him or he fixed his own stuff when he got home if I hadn't shopped.

I think you also need to define what you mean by "respect us" - answer it for yourself, and make sure he understands. Get him to agree or at least say where he disagrees. What you feel is disrespectful, for example, may not be - skipping a child's game or telling little brother to get out of the shower is not disrespecting YOU. But texting you that he wants dinner IS - he's either an adult or he isn't. Sleeping late isn't disrespecting you - it's a natural outcrop of a kid with a job, a college workload and a small social life. You have to let go more, and he has to be more independent with reduced expectations of the same mom his little siblings have.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it's a little on the late side to instill basic courtesy in your kids. he's a young adult now, and your only real hope is that this is a phase, and if (the big if) you've spent the last 18 years living love and respect and consideration with your children he'll come back to it. if not, well, too bad for you and even more for him.

it's terrific that he's going to school, working and volunteering. that's huge. that's excellent. that's worthy of a maternal pat on the back for yourself. seriously. too many posts here are about 18 year olds doing nothing but snapchatting.

i think it's nice that you let him know about his siblings' games and try to keep involved in the family. also wise of you to accept that it doesn't mean he's going to get involved.

he's a busy young man. going for days without talking to him is a little sad for you, i understand, but not really unusual, is it?

i assume he's paying for the mystery packages?

i don't understand the bathroom story at all. sorry.

i really like that you are letting him live there without a ton of conditions while he goes to school, and understand that his attitude is jarring. but i don't know any way to 'make' a young adult respect you. the methods that you could have employed on a minor child will not translate usefully to an 18 year old.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think your son is tired and stressed. And, if you're anything like me (we also have a son), you want to be part of his life and for him to be part of yours. I found when our son became a teen, it was almost like losing a friend...except the friend was always there.

Why not start a tradition of some sort...have breakfast together once a week out of the house (don't quizz him!), go see a movie, watch a TV series together. And, during those times don't be "Mom", just be this great cool lady who looks like mom.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

He has a lot on his plate, a lot of productivity going on with school and work.. I'm sure most 18 years olds are not that motivated or willing to do that much and still find time for friends and family..

I would just have caught him during the moment where you felt disrespected and just said " hey , I'm just letting you know of the plates " given his response it sounds more like he has no time for plates, and it's just another thing for him to remember or make time to do..

I would approach him with the " I know you have so much on your plate, and juggling work and school" " I understand the frustration, just want a little respect since we are your parents and want what's best for you" kind of thing.. to me, I don't think it needs to be some long winded explanation or discussion( he has no time, and it probably wouldn't go as well) just a reminder that you are helping him and you are proud of his independence..

At 18 I was only taking 12 credits in school each semester which was 3 classes.. I worked part time too, but I couldn't imagine that kind of dedication.. just sayin..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Boys are separating from mom at that age. I don't understand the story about the little brother, but as far as the truck tags incident, you should have calmly said, "Don't be rude. I'm not asking where you are, I'm telling you that your truck tags are due soon." And then tell him what you want him to do about the truck tags.

I don't think anything you've described sounds particularly disrespectful. You only mentioned two incidents, and other than that, your son is keeping to himself. That's not being disrespectful. That's normal for his age, when boys are stuck at home because it's too expensive to move out.

If your son becomes chronically disrespectful, being verbally rude and dismissive, give him two warnings that he will have to move out if he continues being rude, and then move him out. But nothing you described sounds worthy of making him move out, at this point.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

So he is in class almost 8 hours a day (I find this hard to believe....when I took 21 hours one semester I had to get my adviser to sign off on the number of hours). He works part time and volunteers. When does he sleep....does he sleep...is he on caffeine pills or ADHD meds to function? HOW is he functioning with a schedule like this??

You realize for every hour he is in class that is 32 a week he will have a minimum of the same 32 hours a week of out side the class work to do to prepare for his classes aka homework??

I say stay out of his way...text him if you have to communicate...don't expect him to be anywhere like siblings games...and when he takes his last finals be prepared from him to come down with a massive cold. He is going to run himself into the ground.

I think a few snappy moments with you is the least of his issues and yours...32 hours, a part time job and volunteering....Good Lord!! Poor kid he is probably losing his ever loving mind!!

I don't think you can MAKE him respect you. You can help him finish this crazy as hell semester then sit down and make a plan for him continuing to live at home and go to school. One where he can be a member of the household yet independent. But just back off for now he is in for one heck of a ride until December.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

He's taking 32 credit hours?? How is that even possible? A full load is 15 credit hours. I would tell him that if he wants to live at home for free and expect his dinner to be made and his bills to be paid by you, he will be treated like a child. If he wants to be treated like an adult, he can pay you rent and pay his bills.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

You guys need a conversation with the "new rules and expectations" laid out. He either does them or he leaves. It might be time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Oh yes he sure can move out!
He'll need room mates but that's how he's going to have to do it.
He needs to be independent - and he'll appreciate you a whole lot more when he's on his own.
Invite him around for dinner every few weeks but he needs to work on his exit plan and get it in motion.
The longer he stays at this point, the worse things are going to get.
He wants his space - let him go work out the details with his roommate instead of fighting with his siblings.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

You say he can't move out, but he can if he can not be respectful, make that perfectly clear. It sounds like he has a good thing going, no rent ect, and if he wants to keep it the least he can do is treat the others around him with a small amount of respect, the minimum of which would be privacy in the bathroom. You are the home owner, you set the rules.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If he wants to come and go as he pleases, then he needs to be paying rent, either to you or to a landlord.
If he wants to continue to live for free in your house with you paying his bills, then he needs to abide by your household rules, no matter his age.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Sounds like he's just over stressed. He's doing more than double a regular class load. Seriously, he needs to focus on school and if he has to work then work. When I've gone to school I did not work at all. My classes were my work. My grades were my paycheck. School was what my life was about.

I don't know how you can resolve this with your son but perhaps having some one and one time with him doing something fun that can help you be closer again.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions