Whats normal for contact

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi all,

    Well I know none of us with difficult children young adults are talking "normal" but I am sort of trying to figure out what is typical or a normal amount of contact with a young adult child when they are away from home? I know I talked to my mother weekly my whole life until she died. We were very close though. I know my husband does not call his parents all that often, often they call him.

    Our difficult child is currently in rehab, and in a couple of weeks will move into sober living. He has had his cell phone the whole time and certainly texts us or calls if he needs something.... but no real other time. I kind of feel like I need to just wait and let him call or text me when he wants... as part of me letting go.

    I know that part of the work he needs to do is to separate from us and not feel dependent on us... that is good for him and for us. Yet i feel better when I hear from him..... I also know right now he is safe while he is at the rehab, it is all going to feel more uncertain when he is more on his own. So I somehow need to get used to this.

    Anyway just wondering how the rest of you deal with this issue with both your easy child adult children and your difficult child adult children.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I have no answer for you. I suppose the right thing to do is whatever feels right. It's probably less the frequency than it is the content. What a delicate balancing act it is...
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well my girls and I are very close, I talk to them both almost every day either by phone, chat, or in person.

    Travis would call from college occasionally to visit a bit. It wasn't frequent by any means, more of like when the mood suited him or he maybe was missing us. Usually he included that he missed my cooking. lol

    I know Nichole's boyfriend will stop in to see his parents if he's in town, but honestly unless he needs something ( like a sitter for aubrey) I don't think he ever calls home. If he does it's rare.

    sister in law goes eats dinner at his mom's house each sunday. Now this is a bit backward.........he doesn't call his mom. She calls him when she wants/needs something. lol It's not that he doesn't like his parents, but his mom always tends to want stuff or him to do things.....so he tends to avoid her except for the sunday dinners. I think he sees/talks to me more than he does her.

    It's nice to have your kids touch base with you at least on some sort of reg basis. Females tend to do this more than males do.

    Maybe he's trying to find his own independence separate from you at the moment. I know when I was going through that process I can't recall calling or seeing my mom unless she did the calling/coming to visit. It didn't last but a few months for me.

    Doesn't hurt for you to touch base with him too, for that matter.

  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I would have to say that about 99% of the time, thank you initiates contact. In the past month or so, I think I've contacted him twice - once to ask him if he wanted to come over for dinner because I was cooking something special and once to see if he wanted to see Harry Potter with us. But that's really unusual for me. I think I probably stopped calling him when he was 17 or so, while he was in TLP. He had become really vicious on the phone (you know, same old story, blaming me for his inability to follow rules, how if I'd just let him come home to live everything would be roses and butterflies). I finally had just had enough of being called every name in the book, being blamed for all that's wrong in the world, while also being expected to jump every time he said to. After he hit 18 and dropped out of school, got kicked out of TLP, there was a period of about 4-5 months where we didn't hear from him at all. I will admit that I checked his myspace status regularly just to verify he was still alive, but... I didn't know where he was living and really had no way to get a hold of him anyway.

    For quite a long time, the only time I heard from him is if he wanted something. It also had gotten to the point where it was really hard to have a conversation with him because I couldn't ask him what he was up to because I knew I didn't want to know. I still don't ask a whole lot of questions, once again do not know where he is living or how he is getting around. But... it's better now too because he will occasionally just call to chat, not to ask for something. It's hard to explain, but I think our conversations now are much more relaxed.

    It was pretty stressful waiting for him to contact us, but... I think we've found a balance that works for us. I'd follow your gut as well as his lead.

    No adult pcs out of the home yet, but Weeburt has been away for 3-4 weeks at a time a couple times in the past few years... he doesn't call or write or email, LOL. That's just him. Diva, on the other hand, texts me from her bedroom (upstairs). I think it will depend on the kid.
  5. Bean

    Bean Member

    We talk daily. Sometimes multiple, sometimes just a quick "goodnight" before bed. I don't know if it is normal, but it is pretty normal for us.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT and I text back and forth several times a day; she calls me when she's bored, hungry, or walking up the hill to her next class; and comments on my Facebook updates. I'm wondering if the calls will taper off now that she's starting her second semester away from home.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is an it depends question.

    When Jamie first moved out...well after boot camp when he couldnt call at all, he called almost constantly. He was lonesome. Homesick. Every time he had a chance to call us, he did. I think that first year he was at his first base we got a call at least every day. Now it has tapered off to just when its either something important or when he is completely bored at work driving around in his truck all day long waiting for a call. Then he may call one of us.

    When Cory first moved out he was the same way. Called me a ton of times. Just to say hi. I wasnt but about 5 miles away but he just wanted to check in. Of course, I had just gotten out of the hospital so maybe that had something to do with it but he would call me a whole lot. Now that he is back here, he could ignore me for weeks...lol.

    I rarely call Jamie unless its something interesting or about football. Or if Im having a fight with his Dad...lmao.
  8. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    When Ant left home to do his own thing.... we just let him. If we hadn't heard from him in a month, we'd call. But other than that, we'd let him contact us. Under the circumstances in which he was living, it was easier for us to keep our distance.

    With easy child being at College, he calls when he's bored or has something to say. If two weeks go by without a word or text from easy child, I send a one word text - Alive? I usually get back - Yes. Busy. They are killing me with homework.

    It's hard to say what is normal. My husband is more of a caller than I am. A couple of weeks can go by before I realize that I haven't talked to my Grandma. husband has to call all of his relatives at least once a week. Everybody is different.
  9. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Interesting timing on this question, as it is a point of concern for me right now.

    Dashlet has a disturbing pattern with regard to contact. When she first went to college, I left it up to her to initiate the first call, and it came in about three days. After that, if I didn't hear from her in two days, I called her. And this is where the pattern began: when things are going well with her and she is happy and reasonably telling the truth, she calls almost daily - sometimes more - and always picks up the phone when I call her. When things are not going well and/or she is about to embark upon some unfortuante expedition, she will not pick up when I call and will not call me. She is living with her dad right now, within walking distance of my home. She has a car and a cellphone. I took her to see Black Swan on 1/2 and had her over for dinner (her favorite - fettucine alfredo). We talked about getting together for pizza later that week and it never happpened (silly excuses sent via text). I've called her twice since then and she did text once to say she'd call me later - again, never happened.

    I'm concerned because of the pattern, and a little sad. I will continue to reach out, but - for the most part I'm treating her like my beloved Maine Coon Cat: I'm letting her come to me.

    I wasn't a difficult child (althoug, compared to my older sisters, I may have looked like one for awhile!) but I called my parents regularly and saw them very frequently. DEX was less diligent with his parents, but I often initiated contact with them, too. I'm very close to my sisters and my nieces and Dashlet has grown up with that as the norm. I'm doing my best to be patient but, again, the pattern has me worried.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I always just asked. Do you want to call home to check in with us or are you comfortable with us contacting you on a regular basis? Chances are you'll get an honest answer if you have a relationship going. Our adult children call us when they want to and we're always glad to hear from them. Some only call a couple of times a year and a couple call every week. As they mature husband and I think the ball should be in their court.

    on the other hand, our 23 year old lives in town. It is really rare for him not to come by almost daily or call to check in..particularly when he is inebriated he is a "talker" who will talk all night if he reaches me after he is safely home. Each of them is different
    and only you can lovingly inquire about what their thoughts are at the time. Chances are it will vary year to year. DDD
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It really depends on the child. I talk to Youngest almost every day. I talk to Oldest maybe once a week. It also depends on what's going on in their lives at the moment, as to how often they want to talk to me. With Oldest, since we tend to talk less frequently, I will usually shoot her a text or email if I haven't heard from her in a week or so, just to check in and see how she's doing. Sometimes I'll invite her to a movie or out to eat (my treat), if we haven't seen each other in person in awhile.
  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks for all your responses... I am going to hold off for a while. I did hear from his therapist today which of course helps. It sounds like he is doing well, is making plans and getting used to the idea that he is going to have to use public transportation.

    I remind myself that when he was in jail he called us a lot. No one else to call and boredom I think. Now he is doing well and his not calling is probably a sign he does not need us which is a good thing actually.

    I think it is going to take time to work our relationship out and a bit part of that is him feeling independent and successful. So I just need to wait and somehow get more comfortable doing so.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think girls check in a lot more than boys. That is my experience anyways.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When difficult child was in rehab we heard from her only a handful of times and it was always to ask us to bring her something. If she moved out I suspect we would never hear from her again, or only when she needed something. On the other hand when easy child was out of state student teaching we talked every day either by phone, text or chat. Even when she stays a few days at her boyfriend's we talk every day.

  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I agree boys and girls are different... i can imagine that my daughter might not call me every day but I suspect she will keep in pretty regular contact when she is out of the house....

    At the same time I did hear from my son this morning and he even wrote me an email from his therapists email because we tend to communicate better via mail than by phone. So maybe i just need to let him keep initiating contact and trust that when he needs something he will.... he doesn't go for much more than a week without needing something. LOL.

    He does seem to be doing well and seems to have a good plan for what happens after he is discharged from rehab... a half way house down there, AA meetings - he is talking 90 meetings in 90 days and getting a sponser etc, getting a job. I am feeling really hopeful right now.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    90 in 90 is what rehab centers drum into their heads. I hope he does it. Our difficult child only made 30. But since he's down there away from home and in a sober home he may actually complete the 90.

  17. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I hope he does. He is still pushing for a car because it is hard to get around by bus, but it does sound doable. I think long term he is probably right he needs a car..... but I really want him to get that job, look at his finances, and fight for his recovery first. Let him spend a month having to take the bus everywhere and get a job and show he is really following through..... and then we might lend him the money..... A part of me also wants to make it easy on him so he actually does it but I think that is the mistake we have always made. I think maybe if he has to really work at and do whatever it takes for recovery it might mean more to him. I don't know. He did tell me today that he knows if he relapses it means time in jail and so I do think he has this extra motivation that may help. We shall see.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I also agree that girls probably do keep in contact more than boys though I dont have girls. I kept in closer contact with my mother when she was alive than I did my dad much to my chagrin. This was even when I didnt have a home phone. I would have a pre-paid phone card and I would call her probably twice a week and my dad twice a month. Well...in the beginning I lived very close to my mom so I didnt have to call her...we just saw each other so it was calling my dad once or twice a month. Later on it was calling my mom once or twice a week and my dad once or twice a month.

    As things got busier, my mom would call me at work and talk to me a couple of times a week and I would call my dad a least once a month and on holiday's. That was basically the practice most of my life unless I just got a wild hair to call him more often. In the last couple of years I called more often.