Wedding Woes

Um WTF?

Dear Prudence,.

My son, an only child, was adopted at 14 months old. I traveled alone to get him from the other side of the globe. He’s now 22. Not since fifth grade, when he made cards and gifts at school, has he given me or his dad a gift or card. Is this normal, or selfish? He spends plenty on himself. He’s struggled with ADHD since preschool and stopped taking meds for it at age 18. How do I approach this with him? I don’t need gifts; I want occasional appreciation. His dad and I divorced two years after high school graduation. Son now lives with his dad 300 miles away. Dad seldom speaks with me (his choice, not mine) so we can’t present a unified front for our son.

—Grown Child Etiquette

Re: Um WTF?

  • banana468 said:
    How about talking to the son?   The entire analysis seems so detached.
    Exactly. Communication doesn't seem her strong suit. A "hey, what's up?" can do wonders. 
    MesmrEweeileenrob
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
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    edited March 1
    This whole letter is weird. It sounds like LW wants kudos for traveling around the world and adopting her son, from her son. That's not how being a parent works, your kid doesn't have to thank you for raising them. Would it be nice? Sure, but your kid doesn't owe you accolades because you chose to adopt him. 
    THIS!  What the what?!  

    Maybe this entitled, "he should appreciate me!" attitude is why your son doesn't talk to you...and why your ex-H doesn't want any contact. 
    charlotte989875STARMOON44OliveOilsMomkimmiinthemitten
  • I don't get why the LW never taught her son this.   We work with DD now to write letters to her grandparents, take her shopping for the other parent, do nice things for other people.

    Hey LW, did you do any of this?? 
    STARMOON44MesmrEweeileenrob
  • "I want appreciation"

    Uhm, does LW not realize that it comes in other forms than cards?

    Not to gendertype or put everyone in a group, but I feel this might be a guy thing. M gives cards to his mum when necessary {ie; mothers day and her bday} but nothing over the top.
    He appreciates his mum, but doesn't feel the need to tell her. M is a very 'close to the chest' kinda person, and she's also still learning where she stands with him {she didn't realize she was his emotional part}
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  • "I want appreciation"

    Uhm, does LW not realize that it comes in other forms than cards?

    Not to gendertype or put everyone in a group, but I feel this might be a guy thing. M gives cards to his mum when necessary {ie; mothers day and her bday} but nothing over the top.
    He appreciates his mum, but doesn't feel the need to tell her. M is a very 'close to the chest' kinda person, and she's also still learning where she stands with him {she didn't realize she was his emotional part}
    This isn't just cards.     It's reaching out every now and then with phone calls (weekly if you don't live home?) and just being present. 

    My own husband doesn't give me cards all the time but he's THERE.   

    But this is part of stuff that doesn't come naturally.   If the OP isn't doing this for her son and she didn't teach him this as a child, exactly where does she think he's going to learn to do this? 
    MissKittyDangercharlotte989875
  • banana468 said:
    "I want appreciation"

    Uhm, does LW not realize that it comes in other forms than cards?

    Not to gendertype or put everyone in a group, but I feel this might be a guy thing. M gives cards to his mum when necessary {ie; mothers day and her bday} but nothing over the top.
    He appreciates his mum, but doesn't feel the need to tell her. M is a very 'close to the chest' kinda person, and she's also still learning where she stands with him {she didn't realize she was his emotional part}
    This isn't just cards.     It's reaching out every now and then with phone calls (weekly if you don't live home?) and just being present. 

    My own husband doesn't give me cards all the time but he's THERE.   

    But this is part of stuff that doesn't come naturally.   If the OP isn't doing this for her son and she didn't teach him this as a child, exactly where does she think he's going to learn to do this? 
    I'm kinda wondering how LW's relationship with her own family is. That might be where the disconnect comes from, or the assumed reaction from the son.
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    banana468
  • levioosa said:
    This whole letter is weird. It sounds like LW wants kudos for traveling around the world and adopting her son, from her son. That's not how being a parent works, your kid doesn't have to thank you for raising them. Would it be nice? Sure, but your kid doesn't owe you accolades because you chose to adopt him. 
    This. You don’t get a cookie because you adopted a foreign kid. Jfc. LW sounds beyond selfish. 

    This kind of reminds me of the time adopting African kids became the “trendy” thing to do in the rich neighborhood I grew up around. It was totally white savior complex and completely offensive. I’ll never forget when I was over at this one person’s house, and they were flipping through an adoption book, looking at children. They had already adopted a Kenyan girl who was also in the kitchen with us. The mom was sitting there, flipping through the book saying things like “I don’t know about this one...he looks like he could be difficult....this one looks sweet....that one is too old....”  The girl finally lost her shit and yelled “we’re not fruit at the store!” It was horrifying, uncomfortable and beyond wrong. 
    Image result for omg gif
  • OMG @ShesSoCold!  What did your DH do? 

    It's one thing to be thankful for your parents because you came to them with a dream of wanting to be an Olympian so they changed their lives to give you what you wanted.

    It's another thing to do the standard raise the kid stuff and then wait for the recognition today.   Yeah - if you pull a stunt like that there's probably a reason you aren't getting what you want and that reason can be found when you look in your bathroom mirror. 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875MissKittyDangerOliveOilsMom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
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    banana468 said:
    OMG @ShesSoCold!  What did your DH do? 

    It's one thing to be thankful for your parents because you came to them with a dream of wanting to be an Olympian so they changed their lives to give you what you wanted.

    It's another thing to do the standard raise the kid stuff and then wait for the recognition today.   Yeah - if you pull a stunt like that there's probably a reason you aren't getting what you want and that reason can be found when you look in your bathroom mirror. 


    He was devastated. This was also right in the middle of our wedding debacle (IDK if you remember, I posted a lot about it but it was a long time ago) where she threw giant hissy fit after giant hissy fit that we weren't inviting her entire family to our very small wedding.

    This was basically the straw that broke his back and he didn't talk to her for months and was preparing himself to cut ties permanently. She eventually came around, a little bit, and we all currently have a polite but not close relationship.

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  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
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    While I agree that LW shouldn't expect to be thanked because she adopted or "saved" her son, I disagree that teaching kids will insure they will send cards and call. I always had my kids send grandparents thank you notes, birthday cards, give father's day cards to H, birthday cards to H, call grandparents etc. Now that they are adults they don't send cards at all. They do write thank you notes to people for gifts. They call us (DD more often then sons do ) but they seldom call grandparents. My point is, you can set an example but it doesn't always take.
    charlotte989875
  • While I agree that LW shouldn't expect to be thanked because she adopted or "saved" her son, I disagree that teaching kids will insure they will send cards and call. I always had my kids send grandparents thank you notes, birthday cards, give father's day cards to H, birthday cards to H, call grandparents etc. Now that they are adults they don't send cards at all. They do write thank you notes to people for gifts. They call us (DD more often then sons do ) but they seldom call grandparents. My point is, you can set an example but it doesn't always take.
    Totally agree there too.     You can be a great parent and that's no guarantee.  

    But the LW's comments just seem.....off. 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875ShesSoCold
  • banana468 said:
    While I agree that LW shouldn't expect to be thanked because she adopted or "saved" her son, I disagree that teaching kids will insure they will send cards and call. I always had my kids send grandparents thank you notes, birthday cards, give father's day cards to H, birthday cards to H, call grandparents etc. Now that they are adults they don't send cards at all. They do write thank you notes to people for gifts. They call us (DD more often then sons do ) but they seldom call grandparents. My point is, you can set an example but it doesn't always take.
    Totally agree there too.     You can be a great parent and that's no guarantee.  

    But the LW's comments just seem.....off. 
    Yes, she's asking, "How can I make an adult person do this thing I want them to do?"  The answer is that you can't and if you try to beg, plead, guilt, berate, etc. them into doing it, they're going to avoid you. 
    ShesSoCold
  • banana468 said:
    Totally agree there too.     You can be a great parent and that's no guarantee.  

    But the LW's comments just seem.....off. 

    Yeeeaahhh.  Her first sentence was all about her "sacrifice" to adopt him.  Which happened 20 years ago and has nothing to do with her current issue.

    She wants to present a "united front" with her ex.  Huh?  Your son is already a grown man.  Just talk to him directly.  You don't need a united front with his dad.

    She does need to keep the conversation low key.  A mention that she would appreciate a card on X, Y, Z days and it hurts her feelings that he doesn't do this.  Then drop it.  If he takes the hint, great.  If not, it probably isn't anything personal.  Some people just aren't cards and gifts kind of folks.  It's okay to feel a bit hurt, but don't dwell. 

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    charlotte989875
  • kvrunskvruns
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
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    While I agree that LW shouldn't expect to be thanked because she adopted or "saved" her son, I disagree that teaching kids will insure they will send cards and call. I always had my kids send grandparents thank you notes, birthday cards, give father's day cards to H, birthday cards to H, call grandparents etc. Now that they are adults they don't send cards at all. They do write thank you notes to people for gifts. They call us (DD more often then sons do ) but they seldom call grandparents. My point is, you can set an example but it doesn't always take.
    and it can definitely depend on the kid even when raised the same. My middle brother never acknowledges when our grandma would send something around Christmas so she would always be wondering if he got it. Like dude it takes 30 seconds to send an email, you don't have to call! One year my grandma even brought it up to me and I told her to just not send him anything because he's a butthead haha. 
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomILoveBeachMusic
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    Truly. I just now realized that it's been a while since I last heard from a cousin of my dad's who lives in NYC. He and I were close when I lived there. So I took the initiative and sent him a message. 

    This mother is being overbearing in expecting her son to be forever on his knees and at her neck and call just because she adopted him. 
  • I think this is also age-related, to some extent. He hasn't given his parents gifts between 5th grade and 22? Okay, most middle school kids no longer do the arts and crafts elementary provides, and they only have what money their parents give them. Not unusual for them to not give parents gifts. (I did, but gifts also happen to be a major love language for me.) High school kids (and I guess middle often enough) frequently have some level of resentment towards their parents as the rule makers and enforcers. And young adults might very well just be too self-absorbed for the notion of giving gifts to occur.

    And some people just don't see gift-giving as an important thing in the first place.
    image
    short+sassycharlotte989875eileenrob
  • There are so many white savior complex undertones in her letter...I just can't. 

    She could have easily said "I wish my son expressed more appreciation for me." But instead she's like "I rescued a poor baby of another race...now praise me." It's really messed up. I highly doubt this is the first time she's brought up how he "owes her" (or something). No wonder the dude lives with his dad and the dad doesn't want to talk to his mom.
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    mrsconn23charlotte989875levioosaahoywedding
  • banana468 said:
    "I want appreciation"

    Uhm, does LW not realize that it comes in other forms than cards?

    Not to gendertype or put everyone in a group, but I feel this might be a guy thing. M gives cards to his mum when necessary {ie; mothers day and her bday} but nothing over the top.
    He appreciates his mum, but doesn't feel the need to tell her. M is a very 'close to the chest' kinda person, and she's also still learning where she stands with him {she didn't realize she was his emotional part}
    This isn't just cards.     It's reaching out every now and then with phone calls (weekly if you don't live home?) and just being present. 

    My own husband doesn't give me cards all the time but he's THERE.   

    But this is part of stuff that doesn't come naturally.   If the OP isn't doing this for her son and she didn't teach him this as a child, exactly where does she think he's going to learn to do this? 
    I had to read this like 10 times because I kept reading "but he's THREE" and I was like "hmm how is that even legal?"
    Yeah, I like his youthful but legal side.
    charlotte989875TrixieJessahoyweddingMissKittyDanger
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