How to support my adult son who doesn’t want help.
I have an 18 year old son who seem to have difficulty talking about his feelings. He is always in bad mood or angry towards me and my partner.
He says that no one was there for him when he needed emotional support in the past. He had to deal with it all alone anyway. He does not want to talk about it and be left alone. I said that I am sorry he feels that way, I just wanted him to know that I love him no matter what and I am here for him. I want him to talk to someone if he does not want to talk to me. He said that what would be use talking to anyone. It is not going to solve anything that he just got to dealt with it himself. I am really concerned and don't know what to do
Thank you so much for sharing this here. We’re so sorry to hear about you son. We can hear you’re a really caring Mum and I'm sure he appreciated knowing that you love him no matter what, sometimes when you are going through a difficult time it is helpful just to know that you are loved and that someone is there for you even if you don't feel like talking. Your concerns come from such a loving and supportive place, but it’s also a difficult and scary time when someone we love is reluctant to seek help.
I’m sure we’ll hear from our amazing community soon, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a couple of pages with you in case they interest you:
We hope that you are looking after your own boundaries, and your own wellbeing during this time as stress can impact all of us, particularly when we are trying to support and care for a loved one. If you’d like any more ideas or information on this, feel free to have a look at our pages on looking after yourself while supporting someone.
The Beyond Blue counsellors are here for you if you’d like to talk this through on 1300 22 4636, or via online chat. It is so important that you look after yourself during this time and they can help you, or just be there if you want to talk and provide some options.
We would like to provide some resources in case you've been worried at times about harm that could be caused to himself. If you’re ever concerned about his safety it’s important to know that you can call 000 as this is an emergency.
Thanks again for sharing here. We really appreciate your kindness and openness in sharing, it truely shows the care that you have for your son to reach out. We wish you and your family the best and hope that you can be kind to yourself during this time.
His age isnt an easy time for many. It is between teenager and a maturity whereby he tackles adult problems by himself and that can last a long time maybe another 7 years or so.
It's also difficult for you because you want to help but his pride and maybe ability to change things or get you to be accountable to whatever he is pursuing, isnt likely to get a result. This is frustrating for him and you.
I was similar after leaving the Air Force, I certainly rejected any motherly love and guidance but I'd take it from dad. Odd you might think but boys/young men are often sensitive to being mothered, I'm sorry to say, any emotional support is not a good road to go down for a guy.
If you partner can join with him on some activity, he might open up, say fishing etc. Is his dad in his life?
You have already suggested he see someone, I'd leave it there, he is after all a man now and that might seem odd to you but the remainder of his growing up days are to materialise by his own errors and experiences.
I suggest you treat it as a closed book now. Say little to him, allow him to feel more at home by less talk and when he mentions he'd like to move out embrace it because he will grow more and your relationship will get better. Thats my view as 40 years ago I returned home from the air Force and I didnt feel I could talk openly to my mother. But that wasnt her fault. And it isnt yours.
Life can be frustrating for men his age. They arent often happy, they want the love of a girl, its hard to meet others and he likely doesnt like his own behaviour or appearance. It's a tough time. Just being there is sometimes better than telling him your are there if he needs to talk.
Being a mum to an 18yo guy and a 21yo gal, I feel for you so much. It's so hard to witness a heartbreaking level of struggle for our child or children, especially when not knowing exactly how to guide them in the best direction or in the best ways. Parenting is such a tough 'learn as you go' experience, that's for sure. One of the things I've spoken to my kids about over the years is an ongoing need to seek guidance in life, something I discovered for myself. I've told them 'If I can't help guide you, the challenge is to find someone who can'. A need for guidance can present itself in so many different ways. Whether it's a need for financial guidance, guidance in the way of bringing more excitement to life, guidance in a particular course study or special interest worth developing, a soulful sense of guidance, a physical sense or psychological sense, there are so many different forms. Part of the challenge comes down to figuring out if there's a need, what that need involves specifically, where to find a good form of guidance and who's going to be the best guide. I've found guidance is always about self development and some form of greater self understanding.
Eighteen is definitely a tough age or stage. It tends to be a 'Where do I go from here?' stage of life, especially if just leaving school. It's kind of like coming to a verge or cliff's edge and looking out over a vast unexplored territory, while not having any clue as to where to go when leaving the verge and leaving your past behind. Can definitely feel like a lonely place, being on the verge of major changes, especially without guides.
If it's of any help, my son has a collection of guides up to this point, not just one or 2. There's myself, his sister, a couple of really good and inspiring guides through YouTube, some friends who lead him to be more outgoing in positive ways and some other folk from different walks of life. Over the past year, he's had a study guide to help him establish skills for year 12, who suggested part of his struggle may need more investigation. With her direction, we found a guide who led him to a diagnosis of level 1 (high functioning) autism, which my son is really happy about. Such self understanding his led him to a sense of relief that there's nothing wrong with him, he simply faces some of the challenges associated with his nature. He's had great guides and support at school, through his teachers and their understanding of his challenges with focus. The personal trainer who guided him for a couple of months on how to make the most out of the equipment at the local gym made a great difference to his ability and confidence. The list goes on when it comes to all the people who've been or are still being great guides in his life. He actually just started reading a book in relation to being guided in making smart financial investments. He'd be the first to say to your son 'Life's so much tougher without really good guides'.
I think some people believe that seeking help or guidance means they're 'weak' in some way, that they can't manage on their own. Of course, only part of that is true. The whole truth is...in discovering who we are on the verge of becoming (at any given time in our life, no matter our age), sometimes we can't manage becoming that person without guidance.