My 20 Year Old Son Is Very Disrespectful

by Sonia
(Dallas Tx)

My son is 20 years old. He left a prestigious college in his 5th semester and came home.

He gets angry easily, breaks things and tears his clothes, but does not hit anyone. He does not tell us why he left school and his fraternity, only that he does not have friends there. He says he is ashamed of his father’s job, which is manager of a fast food store.

He calls us names and says f___ you and all women are b____ and so on.

We bought him a truck. He wants to go to California to get a job and find a way back to school. But he does not know how he is going to pay for his way.

It seems he has many dreams but no action. He says he has no motivation, but he is extremely smart. I forgive him a lot and it seems he is slightly better with me now but dislikes his father’s eating, dressing up, berating pattern.

His father is not abusive in any way, and has never raised a hand to him. His father is very kind, with no questions asked. Does not advise him or communicate on issues with him and has a poor listening habit.

What am I to do? Let him go, or keep on and try to find out what happened? He says he does not have ADHD, and is not bipolar, and does not have severe anxiety disorder or severe depression, just situational anxiety. What am I to do?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Sonia, and thanks for telling your story on this site. I will try to help you figure out what to do about your relationship with your son.

He will either tell you about what happened, or he won't. That's totally up to him, and there isn't anything you can do to speed up the process. The more you relax and let go, the more likely he will be to open up with you.

It is not uncommon for these types of problems to develop with young adults like your son living at home after having some kind of difficulty out in the world. It is very important, however, that you give him a clear message about what is acceptable in your home.

He is being abusive to you (the language you referred to), and you're not doing him any favors by allowing that behavior. And he is not respecting the hard work of his father by judging his type of employment.

You and your husband need to get together and find a way to communicate to him that he cannot stay in your home and be abusive.

Without intending to, you may be spoiling your son. You mentioned that you bought him a truck. Is it possible that you're giving him the message that his abusive, irresponsible behavior is acceptable by rewarding him with the gift of a truck?

Letting go is often the most loving thing you can do. But do not let go of control of your home. Your son has his own journey, and he has to figure things out for himself. You can't do that for him. Your job is to maintain order and respect in your home, and it is important that you take full responsibility for that.

He needs to move out and support himself, as soon as it is possible. This will be good for him, and for your own household. He will not respect himself or you as long as the current situation continues.

Talk to your husband and come up with a plan that you both feel good about. You will do the right thing.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

P.S. If you found this to be helpful, please consider making a donation to this site to support our mission.

P.P.S. If you got something of value here, We would also greatly appreciate it if you would provide a written testimonial about the site, Dr. DeFoore's help, or one of our products.

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Jun 25, 2016
22 Year Old Son Abandoned His Children
by: Anonymous

I have a 22 year old son, a 17 year old, and a 19 year old son. The 22 year old is a bad influence. He left his young family, high and dry. He has two kids and one on the way.

He left them and returned back to NJ to live with my parents. He's not allowed in my home due to his Facebook rants and accusing me and my wife (his step mom) of favoritism. The only girl is 9 years old and our only child. I never expected to deal with these poor attitudes and behavior.

Apr 04, 2016
My Angry And Violent Reclusive Son
by: Anonymous

My son is 27 years old. He is angry, violent and lives like a recluse in his room. He doesn't go to work and is supposed to be studying but doesn't go to school.

He says he studies on his own but I don't see him studying. He mixes with no friends and answers no calls. He hates his brother and sister and hits his father. His father, who is now my ex, was also very aggressive and violent when he was younger.

We realized my son does have mental and anger issues. He keeps repeating that it’s our bad genes that make him like this. He keeps repeating and repeating, so we know he is not sane. He refuses to see a doctor as he says he is not mentally ill.

Please advise as we fear he gets out of control.

Thank you.

Mar 11, 2016
Am I Doing The Right Thing?
by: Anonymous

Hi - I have a 19 yr old son who gets angry when things are said, that he feels aren't right. He doesn't break things, but he says things that are disrespectful. I'm at the point where I feel this is my house, and you cannot stay here with the disrespect. Am I right with my decision, or should I nip it in the bud now? I definitely have to say something because I want peace in our home.
Thank You.

Jan 29, 2016
To the author of "My 18 Year Old Is Out Of Control"
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for reaching out for help here. All of the advice and recommendations you need are right here on this page. Just read the web page itself, then read my responses to other parents dealing with the same issues as you are.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Jan 28, 2016
My 18 Year Old Is Out Of Control
by: Anonymous

My 18 year old son is very disrespectful and out of control. I ask him to keep his room clean, he just ignores me. I've set curfew and he ignores it. When I try to talk to him about his behavior he tells me he's 18 and he doesn't have to talk to me. I feel like he's getting into things that he can't handle. Not sure what to do anymore. His dad and I are divorced and do not get along so that is one big issue. Please give me some ideas.

Jan 26, 2016
Disrespectful 23 Year Old Son
by: Anonymous

I'm always there to help him, pick him up when he is down. But when I want to talk to him about his daughter who misses him, he cusses me out and generally disrespects me. It hurts so bad. Help!

Dec 18, 2015
My 20 Year Old Son Who Has Been Suicidal
by: Anonymous

Hello I have a 20-year-old son who hates me. I raised him on my own and try to give him everything he needed, but I think I failed him He's majorly depressed and disrespects me. He calls me every name in the book, pushes me and demands that I buy him an Apple computer.

I can't even afford to pay my mortgage. I think I give in because he has attempted suicide and I feel that I am to blame.

I don't know what to do anymore, please help.

Oct 09, 2015
At My Wit's End
by: Anonymous

I also have a 20 year old son with ADHD, and an extreme anger problem who lives with me. He pays for nothing, was working but got fired. Now he goes to school part time, not working, smokes weed daily by selling things from my garage.

A relative just bought him a car and gives him money for doing things around their house. He has always had a major anger problem. He punches walls and slams doors when he doesn't get his way.

But I also think he is doing some other type of drug or something else is wrong because lately he has been sweating from his forehead several times a day, which is not normal for him.

Most of the time he treats me very poorly. He's disrespectful, yells and pushes me when he wants something from me like money.

I want him gone so bad but he will have no where to go except the streets as he has no money, only a car. His father died when he was 11 but really never knew him or chose not to be a part of his life because he did not move with us back to our home town.

He won't go to Family Counseling. I don't know what to do and I'm about to have a nervous breakdown over this. Someone please help!

Response from Dr. DeFoore

The one thing you are missing here is that your son's survival (that is, where he will live, etc.) does not and cannot depend on you. That's up to him. Read the stories from other parents on this page, and you'll find consistently that the only solution in 99% of the cases is for the young adult to be out of your home. You're supporting and condoning all of his bad behavior by allowing him to stay.

Claim your life, and give his life to him.

You can do this...

My best,

Dr. DeFoore

Jul 03, 2015
Response to Mary
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Mary

Your feelings make perfect sense. You're correct in feeling that this is just not right, for you to be working so hard to support your son while he treats you with such disrespect.

Ask yourself what you're teaching him, by allowing this to continue. You're not doing him any favors by permitting this disrespectful behavior while continuing to reward him with financial support.

I'm sure you will make a good decision.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Jul 03, 2015
My Son Treats Me Like A Thorn In His Side
by: Mary

My son has been disrespectful to me for years. He is now 20. He just finished his second year of college, which I have helped considerably with.

He came home and worked for three weeks and now has quit and is at his dad's home at the lake just enjoying life, while my husband and I work to help him continue to go to college.

My son never cleans his room, only shows me disdain, does nothing for anyone else unless I push him. And now he is indignant with me because I discussed my concerns with a trusted friend. I'm tired, and feeling the strain in all walks of my life.

I don't want to react but want to be thoughtful as I determine my next step. I'm really tired of paying for college, cell phone, insurance, car, food, and all extras for a young man who treats me like such a thorn in his side.

Jun 17, 2015
Response to "So Sad..."
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello - It is not up to you to figure out where your son is going to go...that's his job. It is your job to keep peace in your home. You are not helping your son at all by allowing him to stay in your home and behave so badly. As a matter of fact you're hurting him, and yourselves.

Require him to move. Nothing will get better until you do. Then, it's up to him to figure out what he's going to do.

Believe in yourself and your son, and take the next necessary step - and make sure your husband stands by you in this action.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Jun 17, 2015
So Sad And Can't Make Our Son Leave
by: Anonymous

I have a 22 Old son who is very angry and disrespectful to me and my husband. There is a lot of name calling and destroying things in our home. He can't keep a job and doesn't drive. He blames everything on me.

What worries us is that there is no remorse or any kindness from him. He things my husband and I are wrong and that he is right. He lies a lot. We lost trust in him. His older brother moved out because he didn't want To be around him anymore.

We hesitate to make him leave our house because he has nowhere to go. We can't live like this anymore. Don't know what to do.

Dec 03, 2014
Good For You --That's Why They Call It Tough Love
by: Dr. DeFoore


I know what you're doing is very difficult, and there are no guaranteed outcomes. But everything we've learned about these situations tells us that what you've done (putting up boundaries for your son and requiring him to respect you) is the best possible course of action. You have inspired other parents...thank you for your contribution.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Dec 02, 2014
Disrespectful Son And How We've Handled It
by: Anonymous

I have a similar problem with my 29 year old son who has just returned home after living away for about 18 months. He has been extremely disrespectful to my husband and myself and friends. It has now gotten so bad that we told him to leave. I love him very much, but I've said that until he decides to change we don't want him visiting or even contacting us. We have told him our door is always open when he us ready to talk and make some changes but he has not answered. I worry and am very sad and hope I am doing this for his own good to allow him to be responsible for his actions. It is very upsetting though.

Sep 05, 2013
by: Anonymous

I was so happy to get him home safe and to help him look for work. He met a girl his first day back and she sleeps here bringing her young child and I never see my son alone. He is so consumed with her he doesn't show appreciation or much motivation to find a job and makes me feel like a stranger in my own house. I cried tonight telling him how I felt, he refused to discuss my feelings then laughing with her a few minutes later. I feel all is lost because to him I have no value. Tough choices ahead and much pain. Why does this have to be? I just wanted a family and I had missed him for three long years.

Jul 07, 2013
Same here
by: Anonymous

I have a 22 year old son, came home from college, cause he couldn't make it there. Question was why? Loans are there, part time job was good. There is never an answer for him. I later got the bills, apt , car, 6 months not paid. Car under my name a 2012 was trashed. After being told by him many times he was to clean out car I decided to see the inside. This is the day I pledged that I would take no more. He put me in a head lock, pushed me around. No mother should have to put up with this type of abuse. After this I took away the car & asked him not to come home and to get a life. As a single parent, 59 year old retired firefighter. I was not going to allow him to do this.

Feb 20, 2013
I have the same in a daughter.
by: Anonymous

I feel what you are saying. I have and an almost 20 year old daughter whom has become so disrespectful over the last few years. Unfortunately I have to take some responsibility for this. At some level I must have tolerated it for her to think this could possibly go on. I usually say "No swearing" or "Whatch your mouth" and she just blows it off. I love her to death but want her OUT! I feel that I have done her no favors what so ever letting her live under my roof and behave as she does. She showers with her b.f and has him in her room and I have nobody to blame but myself for allowing this and now she feels its always okay. I'll take my knocks but I think b/c she didn't have a dad around all the time this is a huge part of the disrespect which I think is deep anger.

Sep 19, 2011
Very disrespectful 20 year old son
by: Anonymous

I agree. I have a son who is verbally abusive, breaks my things and thinks he can do whatever to me and disrespect my home. He has been doing this for the past 5 years. The last straw was the other day when he broke up things in my home and made me feel as though he could of hit me. I had to tell him to leave mentally and physically. I am a wreck and can't do it anymore. I usually feel bad and forgive him and allow him to stay no matter what because I feel guilty, but i know this is not good.

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