Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Adult Child Worries about Me and it causes me Stress

Community Member

I have an adult son who had issues for many years when he was younger but which are now resolved, however it involved me working closely with him and assisting him for many years. his problems also caused him to become estranged from his sister, and to a small degree from his father. He still has issues but manages them really well with the aid of mental health practitioners and without me.

Problem - he now worries about me, worries about my health, my heart, whether I am getting enough exercise, whether I eat well etc..

I feel this is because he has come to an understanding of how much it took out of me (and his father, but more so me) during a period of nearly 25 years. The problems is that despite me understanding why he worries I want him to stop. It feels as though it is an added burden when I have just started getting used to being released from the constant worry of him (although of course I know that I will always worry, but it will be on a more normal level and not to the same degree as previously).

I tell him to stop worrying about me, his dad and I are fine even though we are in our 70's. What else could I say that will make him stop asking me about exercise, blood pressure, exercise etc.

Somehow some of his issues have been resolved but now he has this one. Although I have to admit that I do not know if he only thinks about it when he rings me (which I hope it is) - which is approx once per week, or if he worries on a regular basis. He has his own full time business so I am hoping it is only when he rings me.

7 Replies 7

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello J06,

Welcome to the forums.

It must be frustrating for you to hear your son worrying about you this way. I think you last paragraph does give some food for thought, and is something you could act on. Have you considered telling him directly that you'd much rather have happier conversations than to conversations about your health? You can also reassure him that you will let him know if there is anything amiss to report.

It's normal for people to worry about their parents, especially when their parents get older and/or if they start having health issues. For him, it could be a way of checking up on you and ensuring that you are looking after yourselves - both for you and for his peace of mind. I don't think he worries on a regular basis since he calls you approx once a week. If he was worrying on a regular basis, I'm guessing he'd call far more often to check on these things. In any case, it'd be helpful for you to tell him that you'd much rather talk about other things rather than to worry about him worrying (which does no one any good!).

Take care,

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi and welcome to beyond blue.

I am a parish administrator (among other things) and when the whole Covid thing started, and a little before that I can remember quite a few people talking to me about how much their children are worrying about their parents and whether they are doing all the right things and perhaps like you did not want their children to worry needlessly. It is nice they care, but...

Emmen has provided some good information in their reply.

And if something did go wrong, I am sure you would call your son? So if you can pass that onto him in your next call, then maybe over time the questions will be less and less. (Don't forget to tell him that you appreciate his concern for you and that it must be hard for him also...)


Community Member

Thank you so much for the reply. I think that I have been focusing so much on the content of my first chapters and I have not concentrated on the last chapter as much.

Of course what you say is totally logical. He knows he can call at any time and I will take the call or call him back if I miss it. He is also not backward in coming forward other than when he started to become unwell and didn't tell me until he was in a state. At that time I made him promise that as soon as things started to go wrong he would contact me. Sometimes he would ring every day and we would talk for hours. Now it is about once a week for about 5 minutes unless something in particular has happened.

So, yes I should focus on your last paragraph! Thank you for your comments.

Community Member

Thank you for your welcome smallwolf. You also brought up something that is interesting - and which shows that it is really good to hear what other people have to say.

You say that you are sure if something were to go wrong I would contact my son! Oh Dear, both my son and I know that this is the last thing I would do, unless it was the very very last of all options.

The one and only thing I never discuss with anyone is my health and my children trying to get details out of me is like pulling teeth - it's not going to happen.

So ..... I must look at my own actions I suppose and think about whether his constant asking is because I am so unforthcoming about my health.

I am serious though when I say that at 75 I do not feel that this is something that I could change. The thought of discussing my health with my family just feels me with dread. Even when I have had no option than to say something is wrong (ie I went to day surgery for a minor shoulder op), I tell them it is something less than what it is. I have no idea why I do this, and I think it is probably something I need to take on board. But I do feel concerned that I cannot change this part of me. Thank you

Community Champion
Community Champion

I typically talk to my mum once a week. We don't usually talk about health per se.

My mum will talk with her sis-in-law once a week also.That is the typically a venting session for the sis-in-law. that and you cannot get a word in edge wise. And mum know what to expect in those conversations.

So if your son does talk to you weekly, and in prev. conversations they ask about your health, when they next ring you will perhaps assume they are ringing to get a health update? And they also know (?) you don't like to give out this information voluntarily.

And you obviously have your reasons for not telling them too much.

You do not have to answer this thought or question here, but perhaps in his mind there had been something major (his perception) that had happened, that he hadn't been told about (early enough?) and so out of concern for you (keeps) asking? I don't really know where this originated from, or how he asks you, so am just thinking out loud... bad I know... and just thinking about my relationship with my parents.

for example, just before I started to see a psychologist (about 2.x years ago) I was speaking with mum, and in that conversation I found out that dad had been on ADs since the early 1990s and part of me thinks - do you think you could have told me earlier?

Perhaps the last paragraph is something to tell your son?

Community Member

Thank you smallwolf for your reply. So much of what you say makes sense when I look at it from your point of view and also my sons.

I am a private person about just about everything (I was going to say most things but it's important I be honest!) Why? when I try and think honestly about why it works down to one small thing - I don't want people to fuss, I don't want them to ask me how I am and if I have a pain of some sort feel sorry for me or suggest I take something etc. And I cannot pin down why I feel this way.

I know my son feels alone and this is mostly because he has been estranged from his sister for many years and still is, from his brother on and off - but mostly things are ok, estranged from his father for many many years although now they are coming good. Due to his own mental health issues (which for a while have been really well under control) he chases people away so has few close friends.

Family is important to him but previously his issues have caused him to push people away. Because he feels lonely he is frightened and worried that if anything happens to me he will be left lonely and alone.

I am sure we will get through all this and I will continue to cope as I have been doing. I don't think there is an answer - both he and I are too old. But it did help to put my problems down on paper and thank you for taking the time to respond.

Community Champion
Community Champion
Connection is important for people and as you have identified he would feel alone if anything happened to you.

With that said, how is your son work wise or socially?

But then, even if it were all good, his ties to family and you in particular is strong.

And would he want to renew the relationship with his sister? Is that even possible?

These are questions for reflection, not answering here. Or something you could also talk to him about.

This might sound a little odd... Being on medical leave from work actually strengthened my relationship with my parents and more open. In some ways no subject was taboo.