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My 20 Year Old College Student Son Is Disrespectful To Me And Drinking Alcohol

by Tammy

My 20 year old son went off to college and joined a frat. He has always had some anger issues but now they are getting worse.

He cusses me and this past weekend he calls me at 2am saying he hit his girlfriend and gave me this long story of how she was beating on him. He tried to get her to leave so when she would not leave he grabbed her by the throat and put her to the ground.

He told me that "you raised me to never hit a woman but why should I take a beating from her?" He had been drinking so I didn't want to say anything that would set him off any more so I planned to talk to him the next day but he refused to talk.

So I reached out to his girlfriend and her story was different than his. Which is usual with him to not take responsibility for anything. It is always someone else's fault. He has changed so much since joining and moving into the frat house. It seems like he is so insecure in who he is and is trying to be someone he is not to be apart of the frat. He is drinking so much to the point of getting sick.

I have no idea in how to talk with him without making things worse. Most of the time when I try to talk with him he cuts me right down, not willing to hear anything I have to say. My worry is that he is going to hurt someone or cause someone to hurt him and throw his whole future away.

He is also in the Army. I think that between the frat and the Army he has lost sight of who he really is and needs to learn how to be himself and stop trying to be someone he is not.

I need help. I am so worried, I have no idea how to make him hear me out without causing him to stop talking to me all together.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Tammy, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you really love your son, and that you’re very worried about him. Your concerns make perfect sense, and any loving mother would be worried under these circumstances.

The question is, what can you do...which is why you told your story here. You know as well as I do, that your son is an adult, and he can basically do whatever he chooses--so it’s not the same as it has been for the first eighteen years of his life..

Your task now is two-fold: 1) First, love him enough to let him go. Love is letting go, and holding on is more fear (and control) than love. 2) It will help you to decide to believe in him, and trust him to make good decisions, regardless of what you see him doing. I know this is hard when you see warning signs everywhere, but it’s still a good thing to do, for you and for your relationship.

As you stated, your efforts to talk with him have had no good results. I strongly encourage you to follow my recommendations to love him by letting him go, and decide to believe in him to make good decisions. Keep your conversations with him brief, and try to stay out of his problems and his relationships.

Focus on yourself, Tammy, and make up your mind to create a good, healthy life for yourself. This is actually the best thing you can do for your relationship with your son. Read this page about parenting adult children, and you’ll find some good information including stories by other good parents like yourself.

You can do this. Believe in yourself and your son, Tammy, and expect good things.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Sep 18, 2013
Been there...done that....
by: ForestNana

Tammy my heart goes out to you. I too have a son that chose destructive behavior early on in his adult life. My son started as a Jr. in high school. We tried everything from having him sign contracts, to grounding, taking away everything...enlisting peer friends to speak to him. Nothing worked. It came to the point where (like Dr.DeFoore suggested)to have to turn loose, let go and work on your own mental health.It was painful. We did not hear from him for over a year and later a strained connection was made. To spare you all the gorey details, it has taken until our son is almost 40 before he finally has realized and made changes in his life (that was after 2 DUI's, many expensive debts, broken marriage). But he has someone special in his life now, has settled down (especially since he has a son now) and is working to get out of debt. Tammy, it WILL be difficult. You didn't mention a husband so I don't know if you have support that way, but please find a support group to help you break away and allow your son to fail. Refuse to talk with him when he's been drinking.(You can't talk with a drunk). Take care of yourself. Every person has to make their own cannot do it for them. Blessings! Sheryl

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