Dealing with a Selfish 23 Year Old, Help!

Updated on July 05, 2010
D.R. asks from Birmingham, AL
5 answers

I have an almost non-existent relationship with my 23 year old son and am at a lost as to what to do.. He currently lives with my Mother and Father, I moved out of state about 6 months ago when my husband was transferred but he choose to move in with them after he flunked out of college a couple of years ago. I have tried to keep up with my son, calling and texting, but he will not answer the phone nor will he return my calls. The only time I can get him on the phone is to call my Mother and see if he's there. My parents buy him everything, giving him hundreds of dollars just to keep his computer upgraded. He does work but, as far as I can tell, does not help them at all, I suspect he fritters his money away. It is breaking my heart that he seems to have just cut me and my husband off. I will say this, before we moved, he acted the very same way, not answering or returning calls. When I've asked him in the past if he had an email address, he has told me that he doesn't have one he really uses because he doesn't use email much. I've tried to talk to him about why he doesn't seem to want to talk to us but he just blows me off and refuses to talk about it. I've also tried to talk to my parents about it, but my parents tell me I'm being "silly" and get angry with me.

I honestly don't know what to do, I feel like I've tried everything I can think of to change the situation. Sometimes I feel like I have been the worst Mother ever, that it's something I've done that has caused this but my dear husband reassures me that it's not. That he (my son) is just being incredibly selfish and thoughtless. If anyone could give me some advise I would greatly appreciate it.

What can I do next?

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

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Write him a short sweet letter. And let him know that you will not contact him anymore and he can contact you when he is ready. Let him know you can't wait for his call, email or text when he is ready.

My husbands Grandfather always tells me "When kids are young they will step on your shoes but when they are older they will step on your heart".

Hope things get better soon.



answers from Tulsa on

Well - you are absolutely correct. He is incredibly selfish, self-centered and lazy to boot. Your parents are obviously enabling those traits. He doesn't care a fig about you or your feelings, so stop feeling guilty and let him be on his own. If he ever does contact you, it will most likely be because he needs something. Sorry - that is the awful truth and he is not likely to change until he sinks low enough that he has to change (such as run out of suckers to support him). You have no influence over him at this point except to encourage the behavior. The only way he will change is if he does it on his own. I know because I have 3 sons who are the same way. I used to blame myself, but not anymore. They are adults and make their own decisions.



answers from Austin on

Dear Mom, you aren't the worst Mother at all. You care. But it sounds as if your son does not care and is selfish, especially to his Grandparents. Your son is enabling them to care for him, why does a 23 year old want to live with them and not on his own? Most importantly, a child should always respect their parents, grandparents..people, elders, this seems as he is disrespectful, and there isn't any excuses for his actions.
Hopefully you will stop blaming yourself and move on until he is ready to make contact. Since you speak with your parents then you are able to make sure he is well and have them mentioned that you send your Love. But don't press your parents, don't put them in the middle of it and they should do the same for you, if something happens to your son, they should at least let you know. If you can, journal what you would say to him each time you want to call him on the phone, put it in a notebook and save it for the day he does decide to include you in his life. If there is a child you need in your life, there are other volunteer opportunities for you to tap into where children/teenagers would Love to have a parent.

Good Luck...



answers from Oklahoma City on

I agree with SAMamma, on a lot of it, it's hard but back off, and I have a feeling your parents are making everyting worse, and not knowing how many children you have or grandchildren they have makes a difference, do they spoil rotten all thier grandchildren. I have an aunt and uncle who ennable one of thier grandkids, who is almost 40, his brother died from drugs and stuff and he is a alcholoic, who has been booted from other homes, but they let him stay and has no reason for him to stop his behavior, but like the others give him room and has long as your parents allow it, it will continue. You are a good mom hang in there



answers from San Antonio on

I am sorry for your pain. It is evident in your post. I think that the best thing you could do is accept who he is right now and the fact that he wants minimal contact with you. I promise you it annoys him that you call your mom to get through to him. One day in the (maybe far, mabye near) future he will realize how much he misses the unconditional love of a mother.

Stop calling him. He DOES check his e-mail, but he doesn't want to return yours. There is nothing you can do about this. He is trying to assert control over his relationship with you and you are pestering him (I say that gently. I would be hurt, too.)

My mother did this with me and I never answered her calls. Eventually our relationship was e-mail only, and only when I chose to e-mail her. She was a very difficult person to get along with, very overbearing and manipulative. I just wanted her to butt out. Also, every time we talk, even today when we are close, the first thing she does is berate me for not calling more often. I am SO sick of it that the other day I just hung up on her. I've told her for many years to stop that. Why not just be happy that I call when I do? I see her a couple times a week, there is no need for her to do that.

It also sounds like he's being spoiled rotten by your parents. What a shame. At the same time, though, you are infringing on his emotional adult space by tracking him down and guilting him. His ability to be an adult is being stifled on all fronts.

Leave him be. Stop guilting him, stop trying to get through to him. You can't. I sincerely hope that the grandfolks will cut him off, too. The kid needs a chance to grow up.

Next question: I Need IDEAS !