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How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

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How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

My 18 yr old son is stonewalling me. We haven’t talked in months. He lives with me.

We used to be really close. He turned 18 in early Aug. Had his license suspended for 3 months and had a breakup of an 18mth relationship. By the end of Aug he stopped talking to me.

From lead in conversations and third party feedback the best I can come up with is that I don’t listen and he doesn’t like how I give my opinions, thoughts & ideas.

I understand where he is coming from but he hasn’t given me the chance to change. He has just cut me off.

He is in pain. I get it. I gave him space & what support were I could for the first couple of months but life got intense. I bought my first home. Had a fall just before moving and needed help and he did nothing. Not even for his own stuff until the last minute under threat of not coming with me. That was a month ago.

I have Depression. I’m diagnosed BPD but I’ve done a lot of work although the base reactions are there.

He works. He has money. He has equivalent to me. We have fought about this because he was living off me in part while saving his money. He has been paying board which I have increased and he now has to buy his own food. It’s still cheaper than if he moved out.

His room is a pigsty. His room in the place we left was so bad. Cost me a lot to get it sorted and I don’t want him to do the same to my home.

I keep trying to give him space. I seek advice from all the phone lines - beyond blue, parenting & family phone lines. Today I’m calling some local services.

I start out well, giving him time. Using the right words. Asking not telling but I get nothing. He’ll make some effort only after I’ve asked multiple times over days/weeks. And then finally threaten with do ... by ... or move out but it’s getting old.

I try to just accept it. Be nice with hello’s & goodbyes. I don’t ask him anything about his life, what he’s doing any more. He mostly works. He stays out late but I don’t think he’s drinking etc. but who knows really.

He’s now not eating much. He gets free food from his different work places but he won’t buy himself food and he is starting to get sick - stomach & bowel. Known issues related to how he eats.

He doesn’t really have friends. Neither do I. My mum is supportive but it’s complicated.

If he won’t make any effort to mend our relationship then I want him to move out. I feel like he is just using me because ultimately it’s cheaper living with me than on his own.

He has signed up to go to Canada in May but that dependent on covid & quarantine costs

I really want to break this wall and get thru to him but I’m scared I’ll just break myself

Re: How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

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Hello @Josie , I am sorry to hear about what you are going through with your son. It sounds like a very difficult situation to be in, as you have been so proactive in trying to find a solution but have not found one yet. I think it is great that you have been in touch with support services and that you are speaking to some local services too. I hope that you find them to be helpful. It sounds like a tough situation to comment on as you mentioned that you have tried to talk with your son before about how this happened and have had no luck. It sounds like it might be useful talking to your son to try and find out why he is acting this way with you, but it might prove hard to get him to talk in the first place. I think if you could get him to open up, then you could talk to him about working on things together to help him and yourself in this situation.


Your son went through a lot around August, so it might be helpful for him to talk to someone about his thoughts and feelings to help process what has happened. Do you know if he has a psychologist or counsellor that he would feel comfortable talking to about this? There are various services that your son can call up to talk to a trained professional about how he is feeling. These include Kids Helpline, Headspace, BeyondBlue, and Mensline. It might be helpful for him to process these events as he might be more open to the idea of talking with you again. I hope that you find this and the help from the local services to be beneficial. Please feel free to keep us updated here on the forums.

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Re: How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

I totally agree. I’ve suggested him contacting headspace and seeking help but like all things he doesn’t talk to me. I’ve text. I spoken. I know he hears me but he does nothing to help himself.

Unless I can find some magic words that get him to start communicating with me again.

I’m torn between wanting my son back. Want to help him to wanting him out. I keep flipping between them and I’m getting no where with either

Re: How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

Hi Josie,


i read your post and feel for you. Although i have a different situation with my own child, i too have BPD. Do you see someone, for you, a psychologist or councillor? Your important and it sounds as if you need your own support. Your son shutting you out would definitely trigger BPD traits, regards Harriet

Parent Community Champion

Re: How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

Hi Josie,

Well done for reaching out to various support organizations and for coming here. I can relate to your frustration and your search for suggestions, answers, support etc. Older children are difficult to deal with, and my views are that they're not supposed to live at home forever. At the same time, I was talking with an old school friend yesterday whose kids are a few years older than mine and usually a stage ahead. She's now an empty nester and her girls don't keep in close touch and one is now married. In other words, they're forging their own lives. Yet, she misses them terribly and doing things with and for them. Bing their mum in an active sense. So, while I also get frustrated with my almost 17 year old not doing anything around the house and keeping his bedroom as a pigsty, he might not be here for much longer. HOwever, I also have my self respect and it's a real put down expecting me to be his servant and I'm sure if you asked these kids if they believed in slavery they'd protest, but they're quite happy to treat their parents as slaves and I'm not sure how much say we have about it either, especially if we don't want our kids out on the street. Yet, your son is working and earning some income so could support himself. 

On the other hand, you also mention that your son had a relationship breakdown and it sounds like he's shut down. My first recommendation for trying to connect might be around food and cooking something he really likes. I bake and I've seen friends go gaga when I bake and it seems to help. Otherwise, I'd start with really, really small almost invisible steps forward. He's probably not going to say much but perhaps he has a mate he could go fishing with or something. I am finding with our daughter that they might tell one person what's going on, but that's it. Trips in the car work best for connecting with our teens. If you look at the communication advice on Reach Out, that ironically it's easier to get people talking when there isn't direct eye contact. This might not make sense at first, but perhaps the direct eye contact can seem like being interrogated. 

I hope this helps and that you make some steps forward.

Best wishes,


Active scribe

Re: How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

Hi @Birdwings 

Thanks for your words. 


We we used to do things together. We’d watch movies. Play Xbox. But not any more. All I get now is “Hi”. If I’m lucky. I can only text him now because if I try talking to him and I get no response then I get upset, then angry and I say things that are bad. So I’ve set myself a rule of only texting if I have to, absolutely have to say anything. It’s only functional stuff. I still don’t get a reply but there is usually some action. There is no way he would do anything with me & I’m too hurt to pretend everything is okay and not talk about the stuff that’s happening. 


He he has his own car. When I was his taxi we would talk in the car. I have used that style of connection their whole life’s. Bedtime cuddles. No eye contact. 


I’ve set my mind to let it be. Do nothing. Live my life leave him to live his and hopefully he goes to Canada in May. Hopefully we have some headway by then. 


If I can just manage to keep my emotions to myself and not go at him for a whole week. My aim right now is to give him until early Jan. if there is still no change then I will write him a letter. That will give him options and end points because I can not continue to live in a house with someone treating me like this.


Re: How do I get thru to my sons when he’s stonewalling

Hi  @Josie , it's nice to see the support that you have received already, I hope that it has helped. Sorry to hear about how the relationship with your son has changed, it sounds like you had been quite close. I hope that you have been able to talk with someone about the way that this has impacted you. Sounds like you have a plan for the next few months, which is good. I hope that you find that the letter will help motivate your son to engage and communicate more with you Smiley Happy.