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Mom needs to back off and let grown son make own mistakes

Mom needs to back off and let grown son make own mistakes

Q: My son is in his mid 20s and lives at home with me, my husband and one sibling. He has been employed for several years.

He hasn't dated in over a year, and I brought that up recently.

He told us he has been chatting for several hours a day, around their work schedules, in a gaming chat room with a woman from another state. He plans to visit her once his vacation time is available.

They have seen each other via webcam. They have been chatting for a year.

He seems to care for her.

I asked how old she is, has she been married, does she have children, her name, where does she work, etc., and haven't received an answer. He takes offense, claims I am trying to control this, and says he doesn't want me to mess this up.

I think this whole thing is ridiculous. I asked him why he won't choose to spend time with a nice woman in our area. I told him people can be whoever they want to be on the Internet.

He just got so ticked off at me. I am concerned about his safety, what this person may want from him and why he is willing to settle for this type of relationship.

Concerned Mom

A: If he were writing to me, I'd have this two-word answer: Move out.

You get this one: Back off.

He's a grown man with feelings for someone, and his mother is in his face, calling him ridiculous.

You needn't have said that out loud for him to get the message.

If you want answers, then base your questions on a fundamental respect for his ability — and right — to run his own life.

Internet relationships are limited, yes, obviously. But that doesn't mean everyone manning a keyboard is a six-headed predator.

There is a human being at the other end of his connection. His trusting her might be a mistake, but, haven't you made a few yourself?

Was your mother up in your grill every time?

Through the concerns you've voiced, you've implied that your son is a fool for not realizing there are risks, and that this woman must be after something, because it can't possibly be about liking your son.

A strong no-confidence vote.

Instead of digging to find out just how badly your boy is screwing up, open your mind to the possibility this man is doing okay for himself — and withhold judgment till you know more.

As it happens, you're likely to hear more when you don't judge.

If you've historically kept your kids on short leashes, and judged them harshly when they used their limited freedom in ways you didn't approve, then that would explain your son's high defenses and low motivation to take social risks. That is, to get out and mingle in person.

You can't create that man, and then get angry when he lives at home and withdraws into video games.

Even if the home environment isn't to blame, your distrust of each other is still palpable, and real.

Knock on his door, tell him you're sorry you doubted him, and say you look forward to meeting his friend.

It's coming late to the party of his adulthood, but that's better than not showing up.

Mom needs to back off and let grown son make own mistakes 10/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 14, 2010 5:31am]
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