My teenage son is extremely hateful to me for a parental decision I made. What do I do? -

My teenage son is extremely hateful to me for a parental decision I made. What do I do?


It gives me more time to focus on my elderly mother with dementia, it hurts really bad! My husband and my son are in a close relationship right now, but I can't stand the silent treatment from my son. I had never thought I would be in this "sandwich generation", and both sitations are difficult In and of themselves.

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2trouble, you don't want to wake up some day and say *how I wished I would have spent more time with my son*.

Your son knows you have choices, and he is resentful that you chose your mother over him. You don't want him to carry that chip on his shoulder the rest of his life, and he will if you don't make some changes.

You can pay someone to focus on your mother, you can't pay someone to focus on your son, only you and your husband can do that.
Helpful Answer (10)

Honey, I'm in the sandwich press with you - thus my user name.

Balance is hard, but it has to be present for there to be any hope of harmony at home. Boundaries too. Mom can't get all your best. My mother would consume 100% of my time if she had her way. No amount is enough for her.

Even so, I am an adult who gets to control my day. My family comes first. My mother doesn't like that arrangement, but too bad. My teenagers have needs. My husband deserves time. We need to spend time together. There are activities and errands to run. I need downtime or I will come apart and be locked up myself. These are important priorities. I also have a full time career that matters to me. I would never ask my children to drop their lives because of me. That's unreasonable.

When mom was in IL, I was over there every weekend at least twice to run her around town to errands and see to her every desire. Sometimes it was 3 times a week. It was exhausting. No matter what I did, what I sacrificed, or what it took, it was not enough.

When she moved into the nursing home unit, I cut back to twice a month. All her physical needs were being met and I was no longer necessary to run here, there, & yonder all weekend long. I did not need to do her laundry anymore or clean her living quarters.

She's in secure memory care now, and we still go see her about once a month to six weeks. It depends on what else is going on. She always has a demand list a mile long for things she already has, but I just say "yes mom" and don't feel obligated to jump to it anymore. She has enough clothes. She has enough hair brushes and tooth brushes and socks and shoes and pajamas. It's still not enough. She no longer needs groceries or laundry or trips to the pharmacy or doctor offices. Everything she needs is onsite right there. We go visit to check on her, but the visits aren't long because she always degenerates into ranting and paranoid delusions everyone there is a fraud and out to steal her stuff and kill her. There's only so much of that I can take.

There is no rule about how often you need to go see your mom. If she's in a facility like the ones I'm aware of, there are activities and programs, and all kinds of things to entertain her. She has to be willing to participate and if she isn't, it is not your problem to fix.

Your son is the future and he deserves to get a prime piece of his mom's time. It doesn't even have to be a structured event. Just being together quietly is quality time together a growing boy needs.

Priorities and boundaries. You can't survive without them.
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I agree with the above poster, more information needed. I will say that if your mom has dementia, she is shortly going to need more care than Independent Living is going to provide soon. Your son is 17, getting ready to go off to college and needing your support? Shouldn't your nuclear family have first claim on your attention?
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Hi 2trouble, you have my empathy. My dad died four years ago and since then my mother has been my sole responsibility. My son had just turned 14 when his favorite grandpa died (they were really close) and all of the sudden my time was consumed with my mom.

She lived with us briefly, very briefly, as it was unbearable for everyone and has been in AL for 3 1/2 years.

Today, I turn around and my son just turned 18 and he's been accepted at a good college. And while I'm extremely happy about that, I'm also extremely sad. The past four years have been a blur, literally. I feel like I've missed out on so much due to my mother's demands. And now this is his last year at home. It's so shocking how much this hurts. I haven't been able to process the march of time and now it's almost here...and so much to do with finding scholarships and all.

And mom just keeps on complaining about mundane things (pants pockets aren't big enough, etc.) like it's the end of the world! I mean really complains about things that it's enough to drive me crazy.

Now my son is not giving me the silent treatment, but he is pretty crabby a lot of the time. My heart hurts for you and for him. You know that it's not true that he wants "nothing" from you. He just wants your love and attention, though he might not even know that. We 'sandwich' folks walk a very hard tightrope. It stinks being torn between the two, but sometimes I've had to tell mom 'no' when it comes to my son. Or, like the sucker I am, I work twice as hard to try to satisfy everyone and end up exhausted.

It won't be like this forever, and I think your son will eventually come around. Our sacrifices for our moms will someday be seen by our boys as a lesson in caring . It's not like they're neglected due to a drug addiction or a gambling problem.

Even if he's grumpy make sure you give him a hug and tell him you love him. He may reject you, but deep down he WILL appreciate it. The teenage years are hard enough...let alone combined with an elderly parent. Mine doesn't have dementia too bad yet, but she's an extreme narcissist.

If he's still doing okay at school, he's fine. I'd take your friend's words to heart and add a few more hugs and make your son's favorite treats when you have time. I know, easier said than done!
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I see from your profile that your mother lives in an independent living place. How much time do you spend over there? How is all of this impacting your relationship with your husband? How does he feel and what does he think about your son's silent treatment? How old is your son?

I feel that I need more information before I can make a comment about this situation.
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taking care of someone and being around someone with dementia is hard when you are an adult but add in all the teenage drama and hormones on top of that it's really a lot to adjust too. it also may be hard for him to see his grandmother that way and it may be hard to see you struggling. teenagers like to pull away and hide in on themselves he may be leaning toward your husband because he feels like you have enough on your plate as it is. keep in mind that right now he may feel like everything is out of control witch makes teens act out in a hateful manner. try setting aside some time just the two of you. maybe some holiday shopping or maybe ask him to teach you how to play one of his video games. he just needs to know that even though your focus is on your mother you haven't lost focus on him either. give it time and i'm sure he'll come around.
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I am more confused by the details! Was the "parental decision" that gave you more time with your mother having him finish confirmation class? How was making his confirmation something that broke your mother's heart. Your husband says it's okay to talk to family members...about what? Does the decision to put mom on the list for AL factor into this at all?

If your son isn't speaking to you for 2 1/2 years overs confirmation, I'd say some family counseling and individual therapy for him is in order. There is something far deeper going on here that drives that sort of dysfunction.
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I looks like everyone is making an assumption that the OP is neglecting her son, which may not be true. What I hear her saying is that the difficulties and pain of caring for someone with dementia have now been compounded by the fact that her son is being mean to her. Yes, mean. And that's not ok. When I was a kid I HAD to respect my elders; there wasn't an option. The trouble here is that the son feels perfectly comfortable being obstinate. That's actually not ok, regardless of what he may (or may not) be feeling. Further, Dad is not addressing this problem as he should; he's just enjoyng his "close relationship." Both parents need to sit the son down and let him know his behavior is unacceptable. That's my 2 cents. Whoever heard of a child giving a parent the silent treatment, all the while enjoying the free food and lodging the parent provides? OP, you should not be treated this way. You deserve respect. You are the kind of person who cares for an ill parent. You particularly deserve respect for that.
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I'm sorry, but I am one of the "old fashioned" people that don't think pre-teens & teenagers should be allowed to decide certain things for themselves. Finishing religious teaching is one of them. If parents let kids do whatever they wanted to do, they'd start things & quit after 2 weeks, get frustrated & angry about having to keep up with something to complete it, etc. There is more to life than laptops, cell phones & iPads. If he's been mad at you for 2.5 years because you "made him" finish his confirmation class in 8th grade, he's got a bit of a problem that is going to make his adult life extremely difficult. He's not going to be able to do whatever he wants when he gets out into the real world & has a real job. He's not going to be able to get mad at his boss & not speak to him.

Teenagers think nothing their parents do is right as a whole. They think they know everything & that they know more than their parents. I think that's pretty normal. Don't let that bother you & continue doing what is right.

As other posters have said, it is difficult to understand exactly why your son has been angry for 2.5 years. Anyone that stays angry for 2.5 years over anything needs some serious therapy, in my humble opinion.
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I wonder how 2trouble is doing? This thread seems to have died.
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