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What's a mom to do?


militarymom

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Hi,

My 21 yr. old son joined the military and just got back from basic about 2 months ago.

I can see , he has changed in a good way maybe, more mature.

Here's one of the problems,

I feel as a mom, I can't ask him anything anymore without getting yelled at .

Example, I asked him if he was dating anyone? and was told in a angry tone, " Why do you need to know ?"

You have to understand, that before, he went into the military he, would talk to me about anything and everything under the sun, without attitude toward me.

He makes me feel like, I'm prying when, I'm making simple conversation. I feel he is disrespectful now and wasn't that way before he joined.

We were very close before and now I'm afraid to call or text him for fear of being yelled at .

I feel , I have to be on guard at all times with him now. Walking on eggshells.

I see my son, I hear my son but, I don't know him.

We are strangers now.

Is it just me or are there other parents out there going throu the samething?

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I would not tolerate him yelling at me, son or not, especially not in your own home.

 

Asking him an innocuous question does not warrant an angry response. You're his mother, not some stranger asking the question.

 

In that moment, when he does that, he needs to be met with "Excuse Me? Who do you think you're talking to? And in my own house? I will not tolerate that. If you cannot speak to me with the respect I am owed, then pack your belongings and leave now. When you learn how to speak to me, you will be welcomed back in my house."

 

Seriously, hon. There is no walking around on eggshells in your own home. There is telling him to leave and stay elsewhere.

 

No, I have never gone through that because I would never tolerate my grown child talking to me like that. I never tolerated her talking crazy at me while she was growing up and I'm not going to start doing it now.

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Depending on where he was deployed, he may be stressed out and just want to be left alone for a bit to de-compress. That happens especially if he was deployed to a war zone. And war can and does change people, sometimes temporarily, and sometimes permanently. But I would cut him a LOT of slack if he's been on an overseas deployment where things are tense and very unlike home.

 

He could now have post-traumatic stress disorder, which is overwhelming for some people and they turn inward to try to reduce anxiety. So I suggest that at least for a while, you don't pry to much into any 'personal' or emotional areas and just let him be. Focus on re-establishing a normal routine for him where he can relax and not feel pressured about anything.

 

And it could be his age... he is 21 now, and may not want you 'messing in his business' as much, i.e., he doesn't want to discuss personal topics like dating with you. Let him bring up who he's dating if he feels like it, but otherwise let any subjects alone that you feel he reacts sensitively to.

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Yes, they spend a lot of time on 'Be tough, be strong, be a man' in basic training... he might feel obligated to cut Mom's apron strings after that too....

 

I also think you'll need to get used to the idea that you won't be intimately involved in him spilling all the details about his private life anymore, or his relationships. He's going to be forming bonds with young women where it won't be appropriate for him to share every little detail of his life with her, and in fact would be considered a betrayal of their bond if he does (i.e., even though you're his mother, his romantic life/relationship is private to him unless he chooses to share it with you).

 

Also, if he is chafing at questions you ask him, then perhaps it really is time for him to separate from you and leave the nest... he will want and need to establish his adult identify rather than clinging to his child identity, and he may be ready/wanting to do that and be pushing away from the intimacy of mother/child that happens when a child is not yet an adult.

 

So when children become adults, it does involve re-defining intimacy boundaries, and sometimes the adult child chafes because he feels the parent is not respecting that he's an adult who is entitled to privacy and self-direction rather than having the parent be too 'nosey' into his adult business. And when first trying to free themselves from the apron strings, they can be a bit surly and push you away trying to establish and adapt to that boundary. So try to give him a lot of space and not pry, and he may come around, though probably will never confide in you the way a child does with a parent since he is no longer a child.

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Be honest with him and ask him why he seems so angry with you and tell him you are not trying to pry or run his life, tell him that you realize he's changed and grown and you need his help understanding the new ground rules of your relationship. My son did the same thing in Basic and AIT training....asked him those questions and found out the other soldiers were getting on to him, so he told me to not take it personally, he was just wanting some space to adjust. My sons are I are very close knit, we've been through heck and back together, because we are a military family, they're not mom's boys, they are tough, they just understand 'family' ties and bonds differently. There is nothing wrong with telling he that he is disrespecting you that respect is a two-way street. I wish you luck.

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I would first like to say , Thanks to all who replied.

I tried to reply to each of you but, it wouldn't let me so, I'm gonna update for everyone.

He hasn't been deployed , just basic training. He lives with a friend and his wife. My son came and stayed w/ me and my daughter (his little sister) this Christmas.

My son is the one who brought up dating . He was telling me about differant girls he was talking to or wants ask out ( I guess , I should have been more clear on that ). Trust me , I did let him know , "You don't talk to me like that" I also, told him respect is a 2 way street.

When it was time to eat Christmas dinner, he sat down and he ate 3 plain rolls, 1 deviled egg and a small piece of ham . He only ate the ham cause, I complained about , " Why didn't you eat? " I put out a spead which, I never would have done for only 2 people. He didn't dirty his plate. He is tall and skinny and wants to gain more weight but, not eating? ? Ain't nothing going to fatten you up , like momas cooking! and No he wasn't going to visit anyone else. We are ALL we have.

My children call me a helicopter mom maybe, I am but, it never bothered him before ( That I know of ) and it doesn't change the fact , I still don't understand .

We 3 have always been close knit too, That's why this is so confusing to me.

I guess, I don't know the " new ground rules " cause, this is all new to me as well as him.

I'm not sure, if it's a military thing or because, he's 21 or alil' of both. I'm

not trying to down on the my son because, he does make us laugh and he wasn't always like this til, now. I'm thinking maybe, he's just trying out his new man wings but, doesn't understand we have New Ground rules.

I think maybe, I need to step back and let him fly even, If it kills me ( and It probably will ...lol)

Reguardless, I thank you ALL for your help on this matter and everyone gave good advice.

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