Very weird problem

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nomad, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    A thousand apologies, because this is about my easy child, who seems to be under stress. He is a easy child, but he does have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety. There are times I would call him p c - d c. He is very successful at his job, married and has a toddler son. So...it's hard for me to call him a d c or even a partial d c , because he is doing very well (knock on wood). He has won awards at work, etc.

    We visit their family often. When we go, we take them out to dinner often. And if we are going to some sort of event like a children's museum...we pay. They are saving money and we understand this. If I catch toddler clothing on sale, I will buy our grandson a LOT of clothes and they seem appreciative. I buy things that they clearly would like as I know the themes, colors and sizes they like etc.

    Recently, they visited us in our city. Our son was complaining about money being tight, so I gave him $60 for tolls and gas since something happened recently that caused them to have a dip in their finances and he was concerned about it.

    They are, however, very responsible with their money. This is not in question in the least. In fact, our son is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about this money and this is, in part, why he is ever aware of every penney he spends.

    Our son, with his friends, at times uses very debatable comments. Just odd stuff, like for example..."bite me." The weird thing, he might at times use it with ME! I don't like this. He also has what seems like a lazy streak and might be. OR, it might be part of his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He, for example, obcesses on the baby/toddler getting hurt. Consequently, he hovers over him throughout the day (when he is home from work, weekends, his days off).

    So, I texted him a question and "as a joke," he wrote back something like "bite me." Since he has done this type of thing before, and we have told them to be careful to always be appropriate, we got upset. I don't think that is an appropriate thing to say to your mom, even as a joke.

    Additionally, when we ask him to do things like pick up ice for a party, he hems and haws and basically blows it off. My husband asked him to do something, that in all honesty, was a big request, and our son seemed flabbergasted. ETA: It involves waiting for a repair man etc. So maybe not THAT big of a request!

    Right or wrong, my husband added "come on son, we do a lot for you." Well, this touched off a load of problems as our son now says we do things for them so that we can "own" them. The truth is, we do do a LOT for them and we do it out of love and care. We are always concerned for their well being and to help them relieve stress. And, my husband is the type if you asked him to find some little thing at Home Depot, he would drive around town to all the Home Depots if necessary until he found the exact right part. He has done this type of thing for our son and nevers considers such a thing a burden.

    As a side note: my husband is now in his mid sixties. It is only recently that we have asked our son to do anything at all. Hubby actually made a point of not asking much of anything at all of him in the past.

    So...questions. What do you make of this? I say my son said this to me because he is angry? He did apologize and admitted he was angry at his father (this was a surprise). Said his father (but I think he meant both of us) wishes to own him by buying him dinners and so forth.

    Would you be upset if your young adult child said "bite me," even as a joke? (especially if you warned them in the past about jokes needing to be appropriate)

    So...do young adults today expect that parents give all they got but are not to get anything in return, even if it is picking up a bag of ice for a party?

    Or maybe this is just Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) stuff in disguise. I do wonder about that. Who knows what they are thinking.What little thing is bothering them.

    We are communicating...so that's good.

    But, when I think of my friends, it does seem very one sided in terms of parents doing all the giving and the adult children (even easy child's) giving pretty much nothing at all.

    Any insight would be helpful. Oddly, I'm very sensitive about issues with p c, since I'm usually numb or detached about Difficult Child and so when p c acts inappropriate it hits me hard in the gut.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No. DCs do. Adults with families do not expect their parents to buy them anything. They may ask when tight and in a respectful way and you can say yes or no, but they don't get angry if you say no.

    My daughter Princess has asked her dad her help her in a respectful say. Sometimes he will ;sometimes he won't. Either way, he is now 66 and anytime he needs anything done, including just a haircut (Princess has a Cosmetology license) they do it. They help him move heavy furniture. They help him with his computer. They don't make a big deal out of it.


    Your son sounds selfish and entitled and I would be hard put to call him a easy child. I think the "bite me" is disrespectful but the least of his problems. My kids have never said that to me. I did have one kid sometimes say FU to me when he was distressed (he has anxiety disorder a nd is not nice when stressed) and I refused to talk to him for a few days and wh en I did I told him that anytime he was not respectful to me, as I am to him, I will gently hang up. That has greatly relieved the problem. He knows I mean it and things are much more respectful now.

    I personally think it's time to stop handing this adult man money. He isn't starving. He seems to just like to hoard his money...he could have more than you. If you want to buy little gifts for the child, sure. But forget the free dinners all the time, and the other stuff you do and if he won't help your older husband out without making a stink about it, I'd consider cutting off any money you give him at all, even if he jumps up a nd down and holds his breath. He has a job. Maybe he needs to look at his lifestyle and give up, say, cable. Or downscale the cell phones.The picture you painted here of him, at least to me, makes him sound like he isn't a very nice or mature or caring person. Again, this was MY opinion only. Others may not share it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does not mean "No, I won't help my older father with the lawn." Has nothing to do with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Different animal.

    You didn't say how old he is, b ut he is acting l ike a child right out of college and isn't even thankful that you are there for him. This is your choice, of course. It would not fly with me.

    Wishing you good luck and wisdom to make hard decisions that are best for YOU...have a great day!
     
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    SWOT...don't worry about it. I think you make very good points.
    I did leave out some positive things. Normally, he thanks us profusely for every little thing we give him.
    He sent us a thank you card after their recent visit, again, thanking us profusely.
    When we go out to dinner and we pay, they both thank us profusely.
    They pay for their own cell phones and they don't have cable.
    They are frugal and yep, I think they have plenty of money.
    Absolutely.
    I freakin totally see your points! I'm ticked.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Phew. Glad you're not angry.

    The thing that bohers me is that the young people I know DO help their parents, including MY kids. I think it's only right to do the things for them that they can't anymore because you love them. Now asking every day is one thing, but asking a grown kid to help bring a new couch into a house once a year should happen. You know, he would do it for his son, even at his age.

    And if he has his own money, why expect yours? He doesn't want to spend it so he asks you to fund him? Sorry, that isn't very kind and I wouldn't let him do it. Let him pay for things himself. He's not broke.

    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
     
  5. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    The way your son is treating you isn't right. He is being selfish and disrespectful. I know this isn't how you raised him. How are his other relationships? Does he struggle?

    I agree with SWOT that it's time to pull back. Why continue doing things that aren't appreciated? Something has to change, and we all know you're the only one who can make that happen. You have no control over your son.

    On the lighter side - I was talking with my future son-in-law a couple of weeks ago. He is a remarkable 30 yr old who has fought for our country and is now in law enforcement. He had a difficult time with substance abuse in the past, and has been clean and sober for three years. He met my daughter in re-hab (I know, but this one is working), and the two of them are an amazing team. Anyway, he has been solid support for me in dealing with my Difficult Child. You know what he said to me? He said, "I'm going to be the son who appreciates you, I'm so sorry you have to go through this." Wow. Touched me.

    My point here is that there are good young people around. It's just kind of hard to find them in a time when so many feel entitled. We thought we were right to give our children all we could, expecting that it would be appreciated. Who would have guessed that all of our good intentions would turn around to "bite" us?
     
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    A few more things I left out, but I'm not sure it changes much.

    He is exemplary at work. He is highly respected. I wish I could say more. ... But don't want to reveal identity. He is by far the best employee they have. He had a job in college and repeatedly received Employee of the Month. He is super duper ultra big time responsible, has good friends and is well respected. Sounds like I'm making this up, but I'm just not.

    He doesn't struggle with relationships, he is well liked.

    He has a couple of very close friends and with them, he acts very nutty and says these weird things. Every once in awhile (it's rare...but still unacceptable) he says it to one of us. This is what happened the other day.

    He does not have money problems. And thanks us profusely when we give him money.

    All of these other facts help to make it even weirder. He has so much going for him, I would have to say he is a p c. BUT, this behavior very recently is horrible.

    I also left out that hubby screamed at him big time after he sent this text to me. This contributed to the rift as son says hubby has been doing that a lot lately.

    But, I totally agree, he seems unappreciative and selfish. And it ticks me off that he said that to me. Pulling back might be absolutely the right thing to do.
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think young people feel entitled only if we entitle them, like hand them money after they have left t he house, buy them cars or houses, hand them money just because...a young adult doesn't grow up to be entitled just because. I can honestly say none of my kids are, even the ones who were Difficult Child. Why? They had to buy their own cars, the money stopped at 16 if they didn't have jobs (exception Jumper due to her sports, but she is not entitled anyway), and they learnedthat working for their things is the way of the world.

    Nobody can feel entitled if nobody does adult things for adult children. I am always amazed at how much money some parents spend on t heir grown even married adult kids then get upset w hen they expect it. And even further, they often feel it is their due so t hey can ANGRY if we suddenly think it's time to stop the money train.

    THIS I think is specific to how t he child was raised. If a child knows he won't be expecting money from Dad and Mom, he learns how to make money himself. Jumper did get some money, but not a lot. She is so thrilled to have a job and finally excess money. She is buying clothes, a new bed, etc. She often got second hands. She works as much as possible and plans to save for a plane ticket to Europe next year witht her friends. She did not ask us to help her. She will do it and she'll do it herself.

    Sending money to adult kids is enabling them to me even if they are good kids. It still makes them expect it. That in my opinion only is not good character building. A strong work ethic is mandatory, at least in the U.S. You get nowhere without one. And a work ethinc is not mom and dad giving over money until they have none and there is nothing they can do but get the money themselves, without knowing how.

    I have always been against letting kids get away without working and learning to make their own money. Or free neew crs "because he can't walk or ride his bike."

    Yes, he can. Or he'll make sure he works and saves up for a used car and maybe learn how to fix a used car too.

    There is a difference between short term helping with expected of at least some payback and long term enabling, which makes adult children expect their parents to hand it over. Too much of THAT going on and it's not the kid's fault. It's how they were brought up and what they have always had.

    This is not directed at any one person here. Just saying. Sometimes we have to step back and see what we are doing and t he monster we are creating. Do we want our adult child to stand alone or need us? We have a lot to do with whether he will do it or won't do it. There is a bigger chance he won't do it, if we do it.

    Again, disclaimer: JMO
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Certain things don't add up and don't fit.
    Our son is self sufficient and responsible.
    He does extra work at his place of employment and around the house.
    He is great with his son. Exemplorary.
    He is ultra responsible as a rule. For the most part, independent...certainly in the financial arena. Mega p c
    Hubby mentioned that an extended family member has been handing out big money to her son who seems to be having money problems and isn't nearly as responsible as our son.
    Hmmm. So it might seem to him that he works hard and doesn't get a good payout. Well, he had that growing up with his difficult child sister who caused big problems, but all the family money went for her care.
    But, I think he should be able to process all this at his age ....don't want to say but he is around 28-32.
    He certainly might have a sense of entitlement around us and I'm tired of it and concerned....giving this a LOT of thought.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  9. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I would stop the money train to adult son. I would continue buying the baby things ( that's what nana's do) just not as much.
     
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Alternative perspective... Maybe he has more challenges than Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Perhaps not to a level that meets diagnostic cut-offs, but various traits can show up... especially when life gets more complex. I'm not going to even try to diagnose, but... here's a couple of things I noticed.

    Being asked to do things... requires a change of plans. Which is a "transitioning" issue. It's not an uncommon problem in kids with challenges - for example, autism spectrum. But it's a trait that can show up as a stress response: it's a challenge raising a toddler, etc. Work load requires being on his toes all the time. Maintaining a relationship with is wife. Keeping friends. He's DOING all of it... but it may be a fair load, and not come as easily as he makes it look. And then he's asked to be flexible on top of that and... can't wrap his brain around it fast enough. A toddler's growth speed alone is enough to be a challenge with transitions!

    Feeling "owned". Typical of kids this age who have generous parents. I've been on the receiving end - with parents who expected us to drip with gratitude and bow to their every request (NOT you). We appreciated the help - no question. But when the requests started getting impossible (due to the needs of our most challenging kid)... it created a LOT of friction.

    Feeling "inadequate". Appreciating help, but would rather do it themselves... leaves really mixed feelings. Even ordinary kids (now adults) want to be able to "do it myself". Maybe you're doing too much? Have you talked to them about how they feel? It's a tricky subject, but probably need to discuss it. You might get some surprising answers. Maybe your generosity should be going into an education fund for the grandkid(s)?
     
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  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    With this I would say it's time to back off doing things for them. How very sad that he would feel this way.

    The next time you go out for dinner as soon as the waiter comes over I would say "we need separate checks"

    When it comes to buying things for your grandchild I would limit it to birthdays and holidays.

    Your son may have a sense that you don't feel he's competent to take care of his own family and that can build some resentment.

    Have you talked to him about any of this??

    I hope you are able to get some answers.
     
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have another take on this. I think it may have touched a guilty nerve in him, and he reacted from that.
    In a later post SWOT says kids get entitled if we over indulge them. I too think the ball is in your court, Nomad. Cut back with all of the freebies. This may be creating an imbalance in the relationship. Your son is saying, I think, that he does not feel good with the imbalance in the relationship, and does not feel good to feel obligated to reciprocate.

    That he is indirectly telling you that, I think, is a good thing. You need to know that from gifts there are often unintended consequences, apart from those intended.
    I think the bite me comment is weird. But what can or should you do about it? All of the important boxes are checked off. Someday he will either see it as inappropriate or become embarrassed and change. Until then, leave it alone, I think.
    Absolutely.
    I agree. The thing is, anybody with kids gets their feelings hurt. While we would like reciprocity, we cannot control whether we get it. And you and your husband did your part in setting up a disequilibrium that your son seems to resent. You will change this. Let it go.

    Your son is who he chooses to be. Most of it is good. Keep your eyes on the ball, Nomad. I would be very proud of him. I know you are.
     
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  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Copa...like what you've said, but I didn't understand the part about guilt when dad said something about doing a lot for son and his family and this touched off problems and the "owning" comment later.

    Who is feeling guilt here...father or son?
     
  14. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    This reminds me of something that happened just recently.

    I was in line at a store and a middle-aged woman admired my purse and asked where I got it. I told her it was a from my adult daughter. She was very surprised. (it is a name-brand that costs $$).

    She said it usually is the other way around. Most parents are spending lots of $ on their adult kids.

    Not sure how prevalent this is.

    Maybe we adults should re-think this practice, if true.

    We practice more of a pay-it-backwards approach in my family.
     
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Insane.......yes, I understand that son 's response might be sort of typical when a parent is generous. I had a somewhat similar response to my in laws. Combined with bad Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (I suspect it's bad at the moment) any and all requests of him might seem exaggerated.

    Also....totally accurate...he does NOT transition well at all!


    Tanya...definitely and seriously considering talking with him and very likely cutting back
     
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Your son may be feeling guilty. That either he cannot or does not want to reciprocate but he should, he must, because of all of the good and nice stuff you do for him.

    He may know in his heart that there are no strings, but he feels bad. But at the same time he may resent being put in that position. Of course, we know he could refuse if he wanted....

    But why quibble? Just stop it.

    He sounds like a good man, a good person. A capable person. That is the important thing.

    Let me tell you a quick story. In many primitive societies powerful people use gifts, use charity to demonstrate their power and to subordinate others.
    Because the receiver becomes obligated and other things as well that I will spare you...

    I find it fascinating that in our society we do not acknowledge the implicit effects of the giving/receiving relationship. Your son gets it. He said so when he said he felt owned.

    Nomad, please, please do not feel bad. You and your husband did not one thing wrong. You are acting from your hearts.

    This is a simple en route correction.
     
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Makes total sense Copa, and likely accurate.

    However, I don't understand why son can't do even simple request like get ice when we are having dinner guests over primarily to see his soń. Little store is around the corner. He hemmed and hawed and finally his good friend immediately volunteered to get ice and then son said he would go with him. I suppose it could be more than one issue...this one being some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thing.
     
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The whole "ice" thing? Let's see: transition (change of plans, seen here as an interruption), not sure of social impact (how does it look if I walk out on my friend), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in the sense of "will I get the right stuff, will it take too long", etc.

    I really don't think he was trying to be difficult.
     
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Who knows, Nomad?

    It could be lots of different things or a combination.

    Control or resistance to control. Passive-Aggressive. Laziness, when he can get away with it, or he is indifferent to the consequences.
    Maybe he did not want his friend to be alone with his parents. That you might talk. Or maybe he was being solicitous of his friend, A good host. Thinking his friend would might feel uncomfortable without him or more likely that your son would feel uncomfortable separate from his friend...who was with you. MY vote would go to a combination of things.
    I think this might be key, a certain rigidity or difficulty rolling with the punches when things take an unanticipated twist.

    I vote for a combination of:
    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/Inflexibility
    Friend's presence
    Control/Resistance to when he feels as if controlled/particularly involving parents.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is what I think. He is just saying this to take the heat off himself. He knows he's not doing the right thing. I mean, he could always have decided not to allow you to (cough) "own" him and turned the money down. As you say, he has enough money so why take yours? Makes no sense unless he is THAT greedy. You are older and need it more than he does.
     
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