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My family does not take me seriously as an adult


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I'm having a problem. I am in my mid 20's and my entire family(immediate and extended) do not take me seriously as an adult.


I'm used to having a hard time getting respect from older people(and occasionally peers)due to my very youthful outward appearance. I look really young for my age(people think I'm 16 or 17). Sometimes it is a blessing and a curse. I get ID'ed at R rated films, and I can't buy a drink unless I flash my drivers license. Sometimes people patronize me in public by calling me, "sweetie" or "honey" or "Baby" not realizing that I'm an adult. That is perfectly understandable(and I make sure to correct them, and they apologize profusely); however, my family KNOWS how old I am...but still they do it, continuously...


I'm the youngest in my family. My mother gave birth to me when she thought she was done having children(age 40). The brother who is closest in age to me is 15 years my senior, and the other two are pushing 50(44 and 45, respectively). My oldest brother has two daughters and a son that are: 27, 24, and 18(needless to say me and my nieces and nephew grew up like siblings).


Anyway, lately, I am starting to realize that my family, particularly my older brothers, have no respect for me as an adult. At family functions my opinion NEVER seems to matter. No matter what I say it seems to get overlooked for someone else's point of view. And most of the time I end up playing video games with my nephews(who aren't that much younger than I am)or babysitting my two niece's children. It sometimes feels like time stopped around me when it comes to them, like I quit aging and remained 12-years-old, unworthy of having an opinion.


Lately, I am becoming resentful of it and telling them to stop treating me like a child. Of course we get into big arguments about it, which change nothing.

I attend college full-time, I work the rest of the time, I pay a car note, gas, insurance, and alot of the utilities around the house. I take care of my dog, do my own laundry, buy groceries, and cut the grass. I am a very responsible person. but I feel like I am being taken for granted and pushed aside...as if the things that I find important in life don't matter simply because I am not married and have children.

My mom is better about it than the rest; however, she still has her tendencies to treat me like I'm about 12...

I think some of this is partially my fault. Growing up I was very shy, depressed, introverted and insecure...So I never spoke up for myself. I was just the wallflower who got good grades in school and stayed in his room. So I guess I am finally rebelling in my 20's. I do want to be heard, acknowledged, and respected. Just because I haven't had a particularly rough and tumble life doesn't mean I don't have anything to offer.

I plan to leave home and maybe move to another state when I graduate college the year after next...

But in the meantime, how do I get more respect from my family?

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I had the same problem as you and im 29 now, I think they wont treat you as an adult until you move out, get married, etc.

Some families are just like that, dont rebel and try to be recognized, I did that with my family and made a jerk out of myself...

Just know who you are and dont let them disrespect you.

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I'm a little younger than you, 23, and I am in the same situation. I've been excluded from a lot of family matters, and the only time they talk to me is when they want something. Like you, I am the youngest, but the oldest is only 32. She was married, and she has two kids. Or should I say, two of the worst kids you will ever meet, but that's a subject for another time.


My mother is in her own world, and I still have pretty good communication with her. Hell, she's the kind of woman who will wake up at midnight to her phone ringing and take her youngest child to the ER because your afraid you're having a heart attack, sit with you for 3 hours only to find out it's a panic attack and then call the next day just to make sure you're ok.


I deal with this by making myself heard. If I think I have something relevant to say, then I say it, whether I think they'll like it or not. Yeah, they might make snide remarks, etc., but atleast you stood up for yourself. And trust me, being married and having kids doesn't mean it'll change. I have a two year old daughter, and sometimes I wonder if that's the only reason I have any type of relationship with my family!

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I agree. Same thing happened to me growing up. I was so shy my mother went around telling the whole family behind my back I was gay. Respect is not the kind of thing you can demand from someone if they are not inclined to give it to you. It is hardest for family members, they can frequently not get past a lifetime of behavior to you.


When I left to go to college I never looked back and I do not put up with their condescension. Over twenty years, most of them have come to treat me as an adult. My mother still struggles with this, but she know full well I will leave the conversation if she is condescending so she rarely goes that route. At least not while I am around and that is all you can ask for sometimes.


One last thing, my youthful appearance was a CURSE in high school, but now in my forties, what a BLESSING! Enjoy it, it gets better with time.



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You two must have mental telepathy because you read my mind...


It gets to be so aggravating.


Sometimes, I think certain members of my family are envious of me for the, seemingly, carefree life that I'm leading.


I'll be the first person, ever, in my family to graduate from college...So it is a very big thing. Furthermore, neither of my nieces even graduated from highschool. They both dropped out, got pregnant, and got married...

So whenever I talk about anything education related or current events oriented everyone just blows me off like it's not important and will talk amongst themselves...I try not to come off like the smartest person in the room, just try and make small talk. But they will literally just blow me off like I didn't say a damn thing...


One of my brothers(the one before me) I have no relationship with him to speak of. He was emotionally and physically abusive towards me when I was growing up, so there is pretty much a cavernous gulf between us...But the rest of them I really don't get it.

My mom, god bless her, thinks it's just sibling rivalry and as I get older they'll respect me more. At this rate I'll have one foot in the grave waiting for that monumental day...

I'll be glad when I am able to get away from them all...With the exception of my mother I literally have no relationship with my family.

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Yes, that has been alluded to alot. My mom will tell me that she is closer to me than all her other sons and etc...

Which is sorta true...However, they never call or come to see her UNLESS they need money or want her to babysit their bad@$$ children...Otherwise, I'm the one who is ALWAYS doing everything simply because I had to move back home.

I really don't know, but I do resent my older brothers to a certain degree.

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If they didnt go to college I will tell you right now they are ALL JEALOUS of you. Same thing in my family me and my sister in the entire extended family are the only ones to graduate college, for years they would make fun of my major- graphic design. ask Why is it taking so long to finish, ? Your school is not good, etc. When i finally graduated at my graduation party my cousin whos was 46 at the time, HS drop out told me my degree is meaningless and im ugly and a joke. I went to the bathroom and cried.


I have nothing to do with them now, Jealous people are the worst. Dont worry about them, just worry about yourself, your much better than they are. You dont need them.

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OMG! I swear you just told my EXACT life story! I too am a full-time college student, I pay for my own everything, including car-notes, college expenses etc.! I get overlooked and my opinion is never respected.....ha, I also live with my sister(who will always see me as her lil sister, with no voice), her husband, my mom and my neices and nephews. I'm always with them, and they are the only ones I feel equal to...My mom views me as an adult, but to an extent...all i can say is hang in there, try not to talk to them as much about your life, leave them in mystery, just act a lil standoffish an they will soon see that you are an adult who doesn't necessarily need them in your life all the time.. Hope I helped, but I promise as I read your thread, I had to look at your name again to make sure I didnt write it because we are going through the same exact thing, glad to know I am not the only one!

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Blech! I'm almost 26 and I'm still referred to as "The Kid". GAWD that irritates the snot outta me. Why is it? Well lets see: I've not graduated from college yet, I still live with my dad, and I'm the only cousin in my family who is not married. I DO however have a signifigant other, and he's been around for awhile now, and will continue to be. Hopefully that'll give 'em a clue that I'm not "the kid". I have one aunt who calls me and my dad "kids" as in "hey kids!" Because guess what? My DAD is the only one in the family who is not (is no longer I should say) married.


I'm sorry, I don't have much advice for you other than to keep proving yourself an adult. If they cannot see the reality, of it...well, then it's time for a serious heart to heart. I guess I'd just say, know that you're not alone. There are other people who aren't KIDS anymore!

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Damn, I'm also a latecomer (40-year-old mom at birth), but I have the added distress of being an only child. In this regard, I'm the focal point of undesired attention. However, my issue comes from hefty expectations rather than ignorance.


My problems stem from a kinda unspoken "competition" amongst everyone, where the related adults are out to "show" that their child can make it in the world. Since I have yet to work and still live at home, I've had to take a lot of regular beratings about this to the point where I'm just fed up with communicating. She can be a firecracker, and there have been plenty of useless, upsetting arguments over the years. It brings our self-esteem way down and only makes me feel worse about myself. I'm also baby-faced and this can be really annoying, 'cause it could feed into their opinions. I can feel like a young adult stuck in a kid's body - they pine for the adult but they keep seeing the kid.


I also get the strong vibe that my mom is extremely overprotective and hence treats me like a juvenile. This is very bothersome, for instance when she feels the need to call just to check up me. The problem is, at her age, there's no convincing her because she sees all her behaviour as just (she justifies scoldings as "meaning well") and all mine as inadequate.


My desire is for space. I want room to breathe, to grow without hindrance. I guess being an only child is putting pressure on them, because I'm all they have, but it's a pain nevertheless. And it sucks since I don't have a brother or sister to confide to. Just when I'm feeling at the top of my game, she can come and whine about something trivial like it's the end of the world, and push me down to square one again in terms of motivation and enthusiasm.


My only solution to get her off my back and prove myself as an adult, is to get a steady job, move out, find a girlfriend...



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  • 6 months later...

I totally am in the same situation. I'm the youngest of three sons in the family. My parents separated when I was 10 and my mom was the one raising us. I was always the one to receive left-over stuff from my brothers, my oldest brother would get the new stuff and they would just pass it on to the younger siblings ...


Even now I have graduated from college, moved out of the house, and have a professional job for 3 years, I still have to get 'approval' from my family if I want to get a car or something like that. It's just frustrating that I can't make my own decisions with them behind my back complaining and critizing every move I make

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Ironically, that parent who treats you as an adult child may become your child as they grow old. It's a very common role-reversal.

Get power of attorney and get even!

I'm only making a bad joke fueled by years of dutifully caring for my dear old mother.

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  • 2 years later...

Oh I hear ya. I'm 27, I look like I'm still in high school. My family, other people don't take me seriously and I get sick of it. It's getting to the point where I just wanna give up!

My advice to you is: just keep on working hard and doing your best. You seem like a smart person, and hardworker. Your family may never change. What's important is that you stay true to yourself and don't lose focus!

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