Help with Son Who Thinks I Owe Him

Updated on March 29, 2010
G.C. asks from Vacaville, CA
23 answers

I can say that this must have been my fault to let it go on so far, however I have had it . My son calls me for money and gets angry when I dont' give it to him. I realize that He has been with me forever since I divorced his father in 1982. But I am ill now and I live with my daughter, he won;t even look for a job. I am afraid for him in so many ways.

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?

I want to sincerely thank everyone that was open and honest with me. Your advise gave me that strength I needed to do the right thing. I knew I was doing wrong it was just easier to get him out out my face. Don't get me wrong, I loved my son very much, but I am exhaused trying to get him to live in the real world

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

Quit enabling him and stop giving him money. AND stop letting him manipulate/guilting you into giving him money with his anger. Let him learn that no job = no place to live, no food to eat. It's time for him to become a man.

Sorry - it sounded like you needed some tough love too.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Just say "NO" and hang up the phone. You are not " Bank of Mom" and don't owe him a dang thing. He is a grown man and needs to support himself. It's hard but it has to be done. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with everyone else. If he's an adult, he is responsible for himself. Yeah it might not help your relationship, but his asking for money certainly isn't helping anything either.

About the welfare comment. I know a couple of people on welfare. They both get $437 a month. Try living on that. And people on welfare cannot choose not to work. At least in Minnesota, to be on welfare, you HAVE to spend a minimum of 35 hours a week looking for a job [and documenting and proving everything] or working [and documenting and proving you worked], or going to school [maximum of 2 years, the whole time proving you're going to school including having every teacher fill out papers every single month]. If you don't comply, they take away your money, or kick you off welfare altogether. So it's very ignorant to still think that people are on welfare sitting on their butts, because that is simply not true [at least in my state]. Being on welfare is certainly not an easy thing. Working and supporting yourself is much much easier! The people I know on welfare ARE working...the problem is they just can't make enough money to make it without help because of how ridiculously expensive housing, food, daycare, health insurance, and everything else is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Did I miss something? Did this somehow turn into a discussion about welfare? Some people out there must be smoking crack themselves if they think that living on welfare is a good option being "abused" by so many. Oh yes--you can live SO high on the hog on about 4-5-- bucks per month. Try it sometime. Not fun. Personally, I haven't but I know people who have and believe me it's about next to dirt as far as getting by. Get in reality people. Check yourselves and get some facts. There is also a time limit on receiving welfare in the US in 2010. This is not 30 or 40 years ago. Times have changed, but apparently biases have not. Also disability and welfare are two separate things. Kristin, I like your comments!

Now, G., you need to recognize that you are enabling your son to behave in this way. Once you are clear, and say no, let him have his hissy fits. If he becomes abusive in anyway to you or your daughter, call the police immediately. Enabling is not helping. Hang tough! Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hm, I am guessing he is an adult? I don't think you "owe" him a thing. Be a man, son, and take care of yourself. End of story.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Just say no.
... tell him you are ill... and if you get more ill, he will not have you anymore, for anything. AND, he is either a part of the family or not...

Does he live in the same State as you?
If not, that is good.
He can't make you mail him a check.

TELL HIM TO CALL HIS DAD FOR MONEY... or his friends. You have no more money to spare... you have medical bills to pay for.

He is lazy, mean, and not behaving like a caring adult... for ALL these years you have helped him.

He is an adult.
He needs to survive himself... like anyone else.

All the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Greetings G.,
I know that you already know your answer becasue you stated it but I would like to add my 2 cents worth of thought.
I have worked as a Child Advocate, I have family that in Law Enforcement and in the Medical feild. I only say this so you will see I am looking at this from several angles.
It sounds like you have enabled your son to be totally dependent on you for many reasons only you know. I would think that if he is at least 28( 2010-1982), then he is able to work and get a life without you. Now it is up to you to teach him how to do it so he has the skills. Since he sounds like he doesn't live with your daughter aswell then he must have found a way to cope.
Tell him that since you are tired of packing a bag and going on a guilt trip and that yes you are sorry that he never grew up independent of you- which most teen boys so at about 13, that you are giving him his freedom and hopeing that he will want more out of life than to be "Momma's little boy" at his age.
Unfortunetly, for the entier family is sounds like you have been dependent on him as he is on you.
I really appreciate that your daughter is taking care of you at this time. Having been a care taker I know that it is a hard position to be in and to bear the many adjustments that must have come into her life to do this. I hope that you are able to help her in as many ways as possible in exchange and that she doesn't ever feel the burden of care for her brother. You, may need to explain to him that again you are accepting the responsibility of his stunted growth in this area of life, BUT, any funds that you have need to go to his sister for your care and her costs. I wish you luck with both your health and your son. Glenda

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My brother used to do the same thing to my mom. He would call her for money all the time. This is right up into his thirties too. Well my mom had enough one day and told my brother he didn't have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out and it was time he got one. So she said no to him for the first time in many years. He got a job, has an apartment now, and his own car that he paid for on payments. He is responsible now because he HAD to be.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow G., I know it's hard, but cut the cord. Let him be angry.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You are immersed in a codependent situation. You can google codependency for lots of information and ideas about dealing with this common problem. Here's on good site:

Codependents try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Your repeated financial rescues allow your son to continue on a destructive course.

Characteristics from the site's checklist:
An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others;
A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue;
A tendency to do more than their share;
A sense of guilt when asserting themselves.

An Al-Anon group near you can give practical support in recovering from co-dependent situations, and I know a number of people who have gotten good, concrete results.

In the meantime, you might adopt a stock phrase to tell your son, like, "I hear that you want money again. And no, dear."

DO NOT make excuses or give reasons for saying no. This will only weaken your position, and convince your son that he can argue or manipulate himself past your objections. If he gets angry, tell him, "I hear that you are angry. And my answer is no."

Good luck. You are understandably worried for your son; unfortunately, your protecting him from the consequences of his own choices will only put him at greater risk over time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

poor mom :( you don't mention how old he is but i'm going to assume he's well past the age of supporting himself. my heart breaks for you, it really does, but it sounds like it's time to cut the apron strings and hope he appreciates it later. tell him he's going to have to take care of himself. there is no reason you should be helping support your grown son. it sounds like you're already fighting over this, just call him up, make it final. and don't give in. DON'T! he will come around. you're his mom. hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on


I can't help but respond. Please do not give in to your son. You are not obligated to him in any way whatsoever and you have the right to say no and not take his abusive behavior. Hang up the phone - don't answer the door and whatever you do, do not open your wallet!! You mentioned that you are afraid for him. I am guessing that he has destructive behaviors?? If you must do something for him, you can offer to drop him off at rehab/counseling or whatever will help him.

I wish you the best of luck. Take care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Time for tough love. You raised him, now it's time for him to go out and make his own way in the world. The next time he calls for money simply say I'm sorry I have lots of medical expenses right now, and change the subject. If he persists simply hang up the phone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hopefully he'll get angry enough to get himself a job. No adult child should be asking their parents for money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

The way I see it is you can only keep giving it to him or stop. Since you said that you have had it, I think you have answered your own question. You will worry about him forever he is your son but you will not help him by giving him money. He has to grow up and decide how to support himself, he will not do it if you keep giving him money. The fact that he gets angry with you is a sign of complete disrespect and ungratefulness and maybe it is your fault but the only way to change it now is to stop it. If you are afraid "of" him then be careful, I don't want you to get hurt.



answers from San Francisco on

You didn't say how old he is, but it sounds like he's an adult. Don't feel guilty about saying no. Tough love is hard, but it's worth it. Tell him no, and when he's telling you his sob story, simply say to him "I'm sorry that's happening to you" and leave it at that. don't offer to help; don't offer to fix things. He will figure it out. he's mad because the bank of mom is closed; all kids get mad when told no. He will get over it! You need to concentrate on yourself.



answers from Sacramento on

Sounds like you enabled him for many years and now he doesn't know how to take care of himself. Maybe this was out of guilt for divorcing his father... I don't know. You need to tell him it's time for him to grow up and get a job and support himself. Maybe your daughter can reinforce this for you. You have to go the tough love route now.



answers from San Francisco on

You do not owe your son money. You are responsible for him until he is 18 years old and then it is time to let the bird out of the nest. He knows he gets what he wants when he gets angry and that is why he does it. You are ill from this and need to take care of yourself.

If you need help in getting your health back let me know if you need help in doing so.

Have a great week.

N. Marie



answers from San Francisco on

Stop! Let him know it's no longer possible for you to support him and that you love him but he's got to grow up. If he gets angry...too bad! Sounds like he really needs you to be firm with him. It may force him to get up, get out and look for work.



answers from Mansfield on

You have to take a stand. It is one thing to help out if he is down on his luck and you are able to help. My grandmother is a wonderful example of this kind of helpfullness but if she is not able to she says I'm sorry but you are going to have to figure this out on your own. And she does not let anyone keep taking from her if they are not trying to help themselves.
If you continue to give- he will continue to take. I know it is hard to not help someone you love but he has to learn to help himself. What will he do when (sorry) you are gone? Or what will you do if you give him everything then have nothing left to care for yourself. Is he going to care for you? Doesn't appear so.
As a mom you take care of your kids until they are adults. You can help them out when they need it (if you are able) and they are trying to help themselves. But eventually the tables are supposed to turn and the children start taking care of the parents. When will your day come?
I don't know how to help you deal with his anger when you tell him no but you do not owe him something- he is an adult, he needs to learn to get a job to take care of himself or go without.
Hope this helps :)



answers from San Francisco on

1982? That makes your son 27 years old.

About time you tried some tough love and let him fend for himself. He is manipulating you with anger and guilt just like he did when he was a child.

I had a son who did that to me and I felt guilty because his Dad left us. To stop him from crying I got him whatever he wanted. He learned by being angry and crying, he would get his way. I didn't have the guts to stop it till he nearly graduated from High School and was going to move in with his Dad. He decided he didn't want to live with his Dad and agreed to my rules. Amazing.

Guess what my son is fine. He has a job and works 40 hours a week. He is happy and feels productive and has grown up. He pays his own bills. Do not be afraid for your son. Tell him, he is a powerful individual and very smart and he will figure it out. You have faith in him. Also tell him he might be mad at you now but you still love you. Then hang up.

You can do this. Freedom for him as well as you.



answers from Kansas City on

Gosh, he could do what others who choose not to work do! Why not collect welfare and live in gov't subsidised housing?! Since he's not too concerned w/ making anything of himself. It seems to work fine for all the others on welfare, who make it a life style and don't care about contributing anything to this world! If he did this, you could just let him know you already give him money, through your taxes(I'm assuming you work and pay taxes since you have had the money to give him). Isn't America great, you can choose not to work and STILL get money and a place to live!! Better yet...HE COULD GET A JOB, and stop being LAZY!!!

Kristin, In regards to your response...perhaps I should've said disability in MN. I do know of LOTS of people on welfare and it is learned, since living that way is passed down from generation to generation. Yes, there are those who really do need the help, but most, are on it because mom and dad, grandma and grandpa etc, were so therefore that's all they know and yes, they are PERFECTLy capable of working!
Now about disablility. I have LOTS of family members in your state of MN who collect disability who are perfectly cpapble of working, but have found that the sytem, will pay them if they do not work. I have a cousin, who collects disability because he "can not" work(so he says). He has anxiety on his way to work(who the heck doesn't!!!) so, therefore can't work and collects a check from those who tough it out and work!! So, yes there are lots of people who collect assistance who do not need it!!



answers from Amarillo on

It's time to be selfish for yourself. You are ill and the money you get is needed to take care of YOU. Your son can find a way to make it in this world on his own and should have a long time ago. We try to bring our children up to be self sufficient and able to leave the nest between 18 and 22.

My son said that to me once and I told him, "Yes I owed you for 18 years a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and a way to learn. You will now go to college, get a job or join the military." He joined the military. I remembered the Red Skelton Show coming up and told him and his sister that there were no "free loaders" in my house and I stuck to that. Today they each live in different states and take care of their own needs.

Tough love is the way to go. When you say NO mean it and don't look back, look forward to when you are healthy. Besides how can you help him if you have no home and living with your daughter? You can't. Good luck to you and peace. The other S.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions