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My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

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My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Casual scribe

My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me



This is my first post as I am new to this site today.  My son is 18 years old and it has only ever been him and I since he was born.  We live in a very small flat but he has everything he needs and never wanted for anything growing up (by that, I mean he always got what his friends had so he never missed out).  I have worked full-time all my life since I was 16 and now I am 51.  My son's father left me when I was 7 months pregnant saying he "just couldnt do this!!"..


My son and I have always had a close relationship.  He was very badly bullied in secondary school so left at 16.  He has a job working in a shop which I think he enjoys.  He has joined a gym and has his own friends.  The problem I have is that I feel like I am living with a complete stranger.  He leaves a mess all over the place which I have to clean up all the time.  I have tried speaking to him, shouting at him, and ignoring it and I have to clean it up as it really does my head in.  I do not take any housekeeping money from him as he does not earn a lot, but he thinks nothing of making a mess of my flat, he is happy to eat some of the food I buy (sometimes he buys his own food) and when I DO speak to him he is so disrespectful when he speaks back to me.  His room is always like a pigsty!!  I dont know who this person is.  He just completely ignores me.  Its as though, to him, I am not even there!!


He was diagnosed with Crohn's disease last year and his medication is now steady and he knows what he is doing and is managing fine.  He has obviously forgotten all the love and support he got from me when he was so unwell, all the trips to see specialists and experts, all the visits to the hospital and everything that was done for him then.  When he comes home from work, he goes straight to his room and doesnt even say "Hi", when he goes to work he just leaves and doesnt say "Bye".  Its like living with a non-paying, ignorant, messy lodger.


Has anyone else experienced this??


I even leave him notes and send text messages, both of which he ignores.  I dont want to ask him to leave but he is clearly not happy living with me and he is making my life a misery.  My friends and family tell me to "just ignore him and he will snap out of it when he is ready"... When HE is ready??  ...Hello..??  What about me??


Can anyone offer up any advice.  I would be really grateful!!


I just cannot believe that the boy I sacrificed so much for, did the best I could for him given that his father was never there, is now treating me like crap.  It is soul destroying and really bringing me down!!



Star contributor

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hey @Madmacca, thank you for sharing this post I am so sorry to hear about this situation it must be so painful.


Am I correct that you're posting from the UK? You can absolutely still use this forum and I would encourage you to for peer support however we won't be able to link you to local referrals/support services as we're an Australian based site Heart You really sacrificed a lot for your son, I can hear you have so much love and compassion for your boy and you just want to connect with him again and have some of that love offered back equally. 


You will be comforted to know you are absolutely not alone, in fact I am going to tag some members on this forum who are going through a very similar experience with 16/17 year olds themselves. It is important to remember your Son is turning into a young man, his hormones are through the roof, and his cognitive restructure is changing as his brain will develop right up until 26 years of age (25 for women). His body is also fuelled with testosterone and as you mention, the disease he has managed with your help. I am wondering firstly, is there anything the two of you enjoy doing together? Perhaps a shared experience where he doesn't feel like there's any agenda, such as - going to the football together or shopping? Something where you can both let your guards down and just be in the moment? Also, you are right. Your self-care is very important in this situation, what are some things you could do for yourself after your Son has overstepped boundaries and disrespected you? Do you meditate, do yoga, enjoy baths etc? It is important during this period that you feel supported too.


I will tag some other members for their input Smiley Happy @taokat @sunflowermom @Orbit64 @jdbza @Schooner

Super frequent scribe

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi Madmacca Smiley Happy sometimes when our kids are the most unlovable it’s the time they need us the most. Our 22, 23 and 28 year old live at home. We also have my 15 year old niece returning home next Friday after a 3 moth period of being away. We are like 5 adults sharing our home with an ‘almost’ adult. Our 3 pay board. Our 22 and 23 year old pay the same amount as each other as they earn the say amount but our 28 yr old earns more so his board is higher. We believe that it doesn’t matter how much they earn when your adult child is working they should pay board and have chores to do as well. It prepares them more for the real world where they have rent or a mortgage  etc to pay. I’ve also learnt at times rather than harass my kids because their room is a mess I shut the door especially when we have visitors. I do find the more I don’t follow through with what I tell my kids to do the more they will try and walk over me when I ask them to do something. It breaks my heart when my kids are bullied. My 2 girls are 15 and 23 and they both have ASD and have been bullied through primary and high school. I have found that at times the worst bullies where the teachers. My 23 yr old has just graduated from uni. She did her degree over 4 years instead of 3 and she was connected with the section for people with disabilities. In her third year she was horribly bullied by one of her lecturers which resulted in my helping my daughter lodged an offical complaint of misconduct against the lecturer. The head of the uni found the lecturer did indeed bully my daughter over a 3 year period. While she did not loose her job it is in her employment record and she was forced to complete training on working with people who have invisible disabilities. Is there anyone who your son does talk to? If there is maybe you could ask them to chat with him and see if he/she can get your son talking. My 28 yr old is pretty strong minded and not particularly pleasant when he was 18 - it took him a couple of years and he did grow out of it. Now we are really close and he loves spending time with me and I treasure the time we do spend together.


Don’t forget to take time out for yourself. It is something I struggle to do myself but when I can mange to do something it really helps me recharge my batteries. I’ve come to realise in the last 3 months that I had stopped doing so many things that I used to love doing. Now I’m trying to make sure I spend 10 mins a day doing something just for me. I used to think it was a selfish thing to do but was forced to realise that if I don’t look after myself my whole family suffers.

Casual scribe

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi there, I know how upsetting and lonely it can feel living with a grumpy withdrawn young adult son. In my case my son became increasingly withdrawn, irritable, self centred and what appeared to be lazy but looking back he was heading into psychosis. The phase before psychosis can be months or years. Depression, anxiety and other psychologal illnesses all have this character of withdrawal and irritability in young men. It can be difficult as an older female to connect with teen and young men. We and he didn't realise what was wrong. Looking back we did all we could. If your son is not struggling with a developing mental illness then I suggest you back off in terms of the emotional intensity. Guys don't respond to it.
Keep things practical.
Think and write a simple fair plan, a deal. When he's a bit OK towards you ask for five minutes then in a calm way, with few words, outline the plan. Eg
It's my house, you are welcome to live here.
Now you're an adult and work I expect a small amount of money to cover basic costs like food, loo paper, electricity, internet. ($50 or $90 per week would be very minimal and super fair).
Set up a regular bank transfer by X date.
I expect you to clean up the kitchen and bathroom as you are using it and leave it nice.
These are what I would expect from a boarder of your same age.
I love you and want you to live a full and happy life as you continue to grow into a man.
We did this with our other son and it worked wonders.
Then if there's a chance engage in fun things he likes doing like Nintendo, movies together. Take him out for a meal or movie if he will. But treating him as a man not a dependent boy. As a man, an adult, there are responsibilities that have to be shared.
Very important to not get openly upset.
If he is becoming mentally unwell these things may have less effect as he may not be able to follow through until he has some psychological and/or medical input.
Hang in there!
Casual scribe

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi I am going through a similar thing.  My two sons and I were always very close.  I was a dotting mother who got divorced after 26 years of marriage.  I was always so involved in both their lives, they youngest being very anxious and overweight.  My ex and I have since moved on and are both remarried.  My sons always had a great relationship with my new partner.  My oldest went to college and launched (I am experiencing empty nester syndrome) and my youngest was was 17 always lived with me.  During his 17th year, he lost weight and started making friends, but became very nasty to me.  He totally changed from a boy who told me he loved me 10 times a day to someone who viewed me as the enemy or punching bag.  He then threatened me and my husband told him to live with his father until he can get his act together because he cannot treat me that way.  He has been  living with his father, blocked me from all contact, doesn't answer texts and calls and I have not spoken to him in 9 months.  He is going into his  senior year, and has no interest in reconciling with me.  I am extremely depressed over this and have been working with a therapist to deal with it.  Everyone says I have to let him go and that eventually he may mature and reach out.  I can't imagine that happening and cannot stop trying to think of ways to get back together.  Anyone have any thoughts on the situation.  

Casual scribe

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi, I just read your post and posted a response to Madmacca.  I too am suffering from this awful long alienation with my son.  It's so painful and I'm trying to remail optimistic but I feel the longer it goes on, the worse it will be for him to ever reach out to me.  His father , who I'm divorced, is not a kind, good person who would facilitate any reconciliation and my son is 18 so there is nothing that can be done in the courts.  Do you have any helpful and hopeful thoughts? 

Star contributor

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi @stellabentley , thanks so much for sharing a bit about what's happening for you and your family. it must be heartbreaking to feel so distant from your son at the moment. Is your younger son still in contact with his older brother? I'm just wondering if you may be able to reach out to him through his brother, or at least find out a bit more about how he is doing at the moment. As a parent myself, I can't imagine how painful it must be having no contact with your son, and I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. It's great that you're getting some professional help to give you some more support. 


As your friends have said, hopefully your son does find his way back to you. We are here anytime you need to vent. 

Active scribe

Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

This is heartbreaking. I had something similar with the oldest of my four kids. It was about two months or so of the silent treatment. Also similarly, Dad was out of the picture. Mel left us for...well, I won't go there.

Point is, Joey, my oldest, started backtalking almost everything I said. Then it became no responses at all. 

Long story short, he finally began speaking to me again out of the blue. He CLAIMED it was a schoolyard dare to see which of his friend group could go longest without speaking to their parents.

I still don't quite believe that. But I truly hope your child snaps out of this phase.

Much love.


Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi @SeafoamGreen,

I've edited your post a little bit and sent you an email about this. 


Thanks for sharing your experience here, it is clear how painful it is for a parent to have a child not contact them or give them the silent treatment. Two months is a long time to go through that.

I'm glad to hear that your son is speaking to you again.



Re: My 18 Year Old Son Will Not Speak To Me

Hi Madmacca,

just wondering what the situation is like these days, 2 years after you posted this.

my situation is very similar, only that my son has been lying constantly and brought his much younger girlfriend over against my wishes multiple times. As she has mental health issues and they take drugs together, she has caused a lot of property damage at my house as well as injured him significantly.

I had to take out a DVO against him which he doesn't take seriously. I am not allowed to even look at him.

I love him more than anything but can't get through to him. He doesn't work or study.

it's heartbreaking. nothing helps