Having a child should be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. As a parent, you devote yourself to nurturing and guiding another human being through all the stages of growth.
However, sometimes relationships with adult children can become strained or distant. If your son only contacts you when he wants or needs something, it can leave you feeling hurt, used, and disconnected.
Understanding Why This Might Happen
There are a few potential reasons an adult child may only reach out when they need something:
They Are Going Through A Transitional Period
Times of change like starting college, moving away, or getting married can influence how often your child connects. They are focused on building their independent life and may unintentionally neglect the relationship.
They Assume The Relationship Is Fine
Your son may have the perspective that your bond is secure. So he doesn’t put consistent effort into maintaining it. Out of sight, out of mind.
They Don’t Recognize The Value
Some adult children take their parents for granted. They don’t appreciate the emotional support and wisdom you provide. Lack of maturity prevents them from recognizing the importance.
You Enabled This Dynamic
If you regularly did things for your son or gave him money whenever he asked, you may have reinforced reaching out only when he needs something. He got conditioned to associate you with providing resources.
Tips For Improving The Situation
The good news is that it is possible to shift the relationship dynamic and help your son become more considerate and engaged. Here are some proactive steps to take:
Communicate Your Feelings
Have an open and honest discussion about how his actions make you feel. He may genuinely not realize the impact of his behavior. Explain that you miss what your relationship used to be.
Don’t immediately say yes and jump into action when he asks you for something. Take time to consider the request and how it fits with your needs. Establish healthy boundaries.
Suggest Alternate Types Of Contact
When your son does reach out for help, also use it as a chance to propose getting together for a meal or activity. Redirect the interaction to quality time versus just transactional.
Ask Questions To Engage Him
On your own, initiate contact without any motive other than to catch up. Ask him open-ended questions about his job, friends, hobbies, goals. Get to know what’s going on in his life now as an adult.
Find Shared Interests
Reflect on his childhood passions and look for ways to bond over those again. Maybe you both love being outdoors. Plan a camping or hiking trip. Shared interests give you meaningful things to discuss and do.
Focus On The Positives
Dwelling on the lack of contact fosters resentment. Instead, appreciate interactions when you do have them. Find the bright spots of humor, compassion, or wisdom. Those good moments are signs your real relationship still exists underneath the surface issues.
Be Patient And Let It Develop Organically
Reconnecting with an adult child requires active effort but also patience. Your son is on his own journey. He may need time and life experience to truly value your role as his mother. With consistent outreach, vulnerable conversations, and shared activities, hopefully your relationship can evolve to be less one-sided. Deepen the foundation to stand the tests of time.