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LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 589
Experience:  10 years post-MSW experience
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I have an 18-year-old son that is leaving for college very

Customer Question

I have an 18-year-old son that is leaving for college very soon. We have not been getting along. I cannot ask a question without him yelling, cursing....and when I am stern, it gets worse...
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 11 months ago.

Hello and thank you for writing to us. My name is***** understand that times are tough for you and your son right now because you are about to experience a mutual life-changing event. Times of transition and times of stress can absolutely promote some unbalance in relationships. So just when you want things to be smooth and happy as you are saying goodbye, you are both instead tense and irritable. This is especially interfering as you have so much that needs to get done! Please trust that this is part of the transition process and probably reflects the grief component of this major life event grief process. There may be some subconscious anticipatory grief going on with you and him where you are both pushing each other away to lighten the pain of him leaving. It is also extremely likely that this is just a high stress time so nerves and emotions are running high and patience is running low.

Hang in there. This too shall pass but it will not be without a huge range of emotions. Again, this is a huge time in your life and I suspect that the weight of it is being reflected in the heightened emotions on all sides. Be patient and kind to your son and to yourself. Soon, he'll be doing his thing and you will get to be proud that you raised such a strong young man who is now able to fend for himself while carving out a future.

I wish you the best as you endure these difficult days! Bittersweet for sure.

i look forward to you comments, should you wish to add more to our conversation.


Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 11 months ago.

One more thing - this tends to be a phase of fierce expression of independence where your son is trying to gear himself up to go at things without support. You may be feeling his grasp for independence as he pushes you away to help prime himself that he can tackle what is ahead....

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I hope you are really feels like he truly hates me...he got so angry with me he punched holes in the wall...I've never seen him do that...I don't know what else to do...he thought it was funny (?!)
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 11 months ago.

I hope so, too! If this is out of the ordinary for him, we would definitely take as look at the external things going on which might explain the behavior. Had pending college not been a factor here and his behavior regarding ill treatment and disrespect was more typical, it might warrant digging deeper to assess if something more severe was going on. But with college on the horizon which is undoubtedly one of the most stressful transitions in all of life, it seems "justifiable" that he is expressing behavior not quite his norm. I think you should ride this out and give him a little space while still being as supportive. Certainly his transition to college doesn't warrant mistreatment of you but perhaps you can approach from validating that he is stressed and strained and emotionally tapped out but you prefer he not take it out on you (or your walls!).


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. I will try to ride this out...I think it is fair to say that college (which I know he is excited for), is a stressful transition, and also, he has been having girlfriend problems (they broke up last month...apparently he was in the wrong, and he knows it, but doesn't look like they're getting back) it may be those two things, and he does not know how to handle...I will do my best...thanks.....
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 11 months ago.

You're welcome. Those two events are likely the underlying cause here. Young adults don't always have the best coping mechanisms for stress.

Hang in there! It is a tough time for you as well,