As parents, it is unimaginable that your grown son ignores you at some point in your lives. The estrangement that happens can impact a great deal on your emotional health and even lead to concerning physical health problems.
Family is the first relationship children will experience. It is a stimulating environment and a part of who they are. It helps shape their view of the world as they grow older.
A functioning family will tend to have a healthier relationship between parents and children. However, it doesn’t mean that the connection will forever stay the same.
Like everything else in nature, relationship changes.
What is acceptable back then may ignite problems today. What seems not to be a big deal when your kids were little, it now is.
Estrangement does not only happen to ‘bad’ families. A story from Sheri McGregor is proof that sometimes, it happened when everything seemed perfect. Then, it caught you completely off guard.
Her story is living proof that estrangement can happen to you, yet you are not the one to blame.
There are at least two people in the family relationship, and sometimes, it is not you who started the fire.
But when your grown son ignores you, it is time to reflect and see what went wrong.
Yes, it might hurt to look back.
However, defined core problems can help you plan your steps to fix it.
Fortunately, there are ways to fix a broken family relationship, especially with grown children who ignore their parents.
Before going deeper into that, let’s see the signs that preceded his behavioral change.
5 Signs Your Grown Son Ignores You
#1 Less Frequent Calls
One most common sign that your grown son ignores you is the intensity of the calls you usually receive.
When your son usually calls once a week, you will realize that he starts reducing those calls.
Even when a call occurs, the conversation does not feel as fun and entertaining as it used to be.
A lot of silent gaps and short answers are common signs when things start going south.
However, call frequency cannot be the only reason that estrangement is taking place.
It could also mean that your grown son has been busy with their everyday life.
Many adult children cannot keep up with their daily activities. Calling you might be the last thing on their list.
If the reason for the less frequent call is his busy work and life, you have to accept the situation and treasure the conversation once you have it with your grown son.
Remember that your adult son might currently struggle with responsibilities and constant pressure.
Read also: Are you wondering why your son doesn’t call you anymore? See what the reasons are and how you can fix it with 7 simple steps.
#2 You Hear About Them from Outsiders
When your children were little, they became your everyday life. But once they grow up, you can’t expect them to return that favor.
Chances are you will not know about daily activities except those they tell you about.
Yes, families do share important things that happen to them.
As a parent, you should be the first to know if your son is getting a promotion at work, moving to a new town, meeting a new love interest that they intend to marry, or even when they have kids.
Be cautious if you hear such news from the outer circle of the family. That could be an early major sign that your grown son starts ignoring you.
This sign is probably the turning point where you should worry.
When your child does not tell you about important things currently going on in their lives, it is a glaring sign that they ignore you.
Something is happening either with the relationship or with the individual involved. It is safer for you to express how you feel in a calm and collected manner.
#3 They Make Excuses for Missing Family Events
Life demands a great deal of attention for some people, and your grown son is not an exemption.
It is not a big deal for parents when their children missed one or two important family meetings.
But, when it keeps happening and your grown son consistently making excuses, you start to think that they might be rejecting the invitation on purpose.
They always come up with reasons why they do not show up even though you invite them regularly.
And every time you confront them about that, there are only more reasons.
If you find that your adult son is not coming home for major family events, this is a prominent sign that he is avoiding any encounter with you.
Now, that might seem the worst thing that can happen to a parent, right? What could be worse than that?
Well, I hate to tell you.
Your son’s absence in family gatherings could lead to a worse problem.
When you start unconsciously comparing your children who come home regularly versus the one who does not, this is the moment you are driving the relationship to dark places.
#4 You Rarely See Them Even Though They’re in Town
It happened to my parents, and it still does. I have a brother who lives out of town for family and work. Every time he comes home, it is only to put his belonging for a while.
My parents rarely talk to him or share any meaningful conversation with him unless he is sick and stuck in bed.
Only then my mom will console him and start speaking from the bottom of her heart.
Unfortunately, nothing has ever come out of that.
But most of the time, he is just out and about his day.
Even though the other family members want to talk to him, he is mostly unavailable for his own family.
If this happens to you, I could tell that this lies among major signs your grown son ignores you.
#5 There’s No Meaningful Communication
A family that spends lots of quality time tends to have a better environment for meaningful conversation.
One way or another, there are moments to share positive discussions and insights.
Lack of communication is one thing. But lack of meaningful conversation with your grown son can be a glaring sign that they ignore you.
They don’t value spending time bonding with you or to get your opinion at all.
Combine this sign with all four above, and you could already clarify that your grown son starts setting you aside.
No, it is not a pleasant feeling; I can agree with that. If you wish to repair the relationship, now is a good time to look back and identify what went wrong.
Although estrangement is rarely a one-side mistake, it is still possible that your grown son’s behavioral change is a result of their dysfunctional upbringing.
Why Your Grown Son Ignores You?
Most parents thought they’d done everything in their power to give and provide the best for their children.
Research in 2015 states that a solid 51% of mothers and 39% of fathers in the United States claimed they are doing an excellent job as a parent.
An astonishing 59% of parents said they’d spent the right amount of time with their children while the other 36% said too little.
Whichever categories you fall into, likely, your child does not think the same.
Other people tend to devalue your effort by up to 50%. So if you think you are doing a 100% job as a parent, chances are your children think you are only doing it 50% to 75%.
This is why it is important to look back to identify core problems.
It might be a simple issue that did not occur to you to be significant but was a sensitive topic to your child.
See how these 5 main reasons below can help you identify the problems.
I hope you can conclude from these and know why your grown son ignores you before you can fix it.
#1 They are ‘Just a Child’
Remember when your grown son stated their opinion, and you acted as if their opinion didn’t matter?
This could be one reason that he ignores you when they grow up. It’s because you ignore them first!
Contrary to most beliefs, maturity has nothing to do with age.
Some teenage boys can already comprehend conversations and process information. Thanks to their fully developed prefrontal cortex, they can now plan and execute a complex new temporal structure of behavior, speech, and logical reasoning.
Unfortunately, most parents do not see their children as mature until they turn 18.
Up until that age, parents tend to set their children’s opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and decisions aside.
This behavior can build up in children’s minds that their parents keep seeing them as a child, rather than a capable individual.
#2 Disagreeing on One or Several Matters
Different opinions are common among family members in discussions. It is also the one thing that keeps the colors in conversation.
When you disagree with your grown son, it does not mean that he is rebellious.
Disagreement is essential in children who are growing up. Your job is to teach them how to do it respectfully.
Take a look back on how the discussion with your child went.
Did you harshly disagree on something that matters to him? Was your statement hurtful? Did you lead by example on how to express disagreement?
Evaluating the relationship between you and your grown child in the past can help prevent the same mistake from happening in the future.
Read also: You may disagree because you think your child makes bad decisions. However, you can still set things straight by adhering to these essential steps when your grown son makes bad decisions.
#3 Ignored Boundaries
Along with the disagreement, ignored boundaries is a common reason that your grown son ignores you.
Nobody likes it when the lines are crossed. Some tend to take a more leisurely way by shutting the door and cutting the ties instead of addressing the problem.
Practically, when your son is already mature and can be held responsible for their decisions, you are less likely allowed to meddle in their business.
Respect their boundaries early on and take a step back as your son grows older.
By the time your son has his own life, he has established his boundaries, and you know where the lines are.
Boundaries could come in handy when your son finally has a spouse and a family of his own.
Now, look in the mirror and reflect.
You might have ignored some boundaries set by your son or crossed a line.
It doesn’t have to be boundaries directly connected to him. It could be related to his partner, children, or even his jobs.
#4 You Play Out the ‘Favorite Child’ Game
A perfect child does not exist; neither does a perfect parent.
When you have more than one child, there has likely been a mild sibling rivalry between them.
It only gets worse if you’re already picking your favorite child.
The notion of a favorite child does exist among parents. According to a study in 2005, 74% of mothers admitted to having a favorite child, while 70% of fathers confessed to such a preference.
Your job is to make sure that your favoritism is healthy and not neurotic.
The difference lies in the reason why you prefer a child and not the other.
Read also: Favoritism among children can cause children to hate their parents. See how it affects your children growing up.
#5 Was There Any Positive Communication?
Any positive communication that happened in the past can fuel your hope to fix the family ties today.
Take a sit back, relax, and remember those moments when you shared your thoughts with your grown son wholeheartedly.
Try to visualize how he reacted and what he said.
During the time growing up, it is essential to share conversations with your child.
It is the only way to get to know your child and understand the way they think.
It is also beneficial in terms of identifying when your child starts to mature.
If you planted the seed of positive communication early on, it would be easier to identify and navigate the problems.
7 Ways to Fix Your Relationship with Your Grown Son Who Ignores You
While most parents hold out hope to mend the relationship with their child, more than 70% of the younger generation said there was no chance they’d resume communication.
The statistic is pretty devastating for parents out there with broken relationships with their grown sons.
But it doesn’t mean that the door is shut. With a little force, you may be able to reconnect the family ties.
After possibly knowing the reason why your grown son ignores you, here are 7 ways to fix the parents-son relationship.
If you rarely showed any emotion in the past, now is a good time to start working on it.
Apologizing is one definite step to erase the wrong in the past and acts as a sign of intention to repair the relationship.
For parents who have been taking their position as an authority in the family, it might be hard to apologize.
It can be even more challenging when the parents are not sure if they are the ones who did wrong.
But it is worth remembering that asking for forgiveness can soften the hardened heart and ignites the love of your grown son, especially if they knew you never apologized before.
Use this advantage to win back your son’s heart and treat it as a milestone to be a better parent for your grown son.
#2 Be the First One to Reach Out
When the ego does not let you be the first to reach out, it is usually the best time to do it.
Be the first one to call your grown son.
Yes, you might face disappointment. Even more powerful than usual.
But, calling allows your grown son knows that their parents are reaching out to them.
When you do this over time, your son will eventually grow softer (or annoyed by your consecutive calls) and answer the phone.
Once you’ve got your grown son on the phone, go to the next step.
#3 Address the Feeling
Nobody likes the feeling of being ignored, especially by their grown son, who is supposed to be mature and not playing out the silent treatment.
Tell them directly that you feel ignored and see how your son responds.
If he acts defensive, try not to push him further.
Pull back and tell them that you will appreciate some explanation on where things went wrong.
When you genuinely don’t know and sincerely ask for an explanation, he may get soft and take his time to talk to you.
Then, you can start doing your best to use this chance to reconnect.
If he refuses and wants some times alone, respect his decision.
Nevertheless, make sure to check up on him after one or two weeks.
This effort gives the impression that you deeply care about the parents-son bond and are still waiting for his explanation.
#4 Focus on Yourself
Not getting any updates about your grown-up child could make you feel secluded and insecure. This is why you should start focusing more on yourself.
Several things are not yours to handle, and all you can do is let the time heal.
Now is an excellent opportunity for you to do those hobbies you couldn’t do earlier due to family matters.
Starting a new activity can give a stimulus to your brain and some times to reflect.
It will allow you to think clearly and may even see a new way to reconcile that you’ve never considered before.
#5 Shift of Roles
When your grown son ignores you, it could be a milestone for you to change roles.
After you’ve done the steps above, establishing a new role between you and your grown son can be a fresh start.
If you’ve been acting as authoritative parents throughout his entire life, now it’s time to become their friends, colleague, or even their mentor.
As you and your son grow older, you need a different relationship.
It demands a shift of roles from yourself as a parent. Take time to evaluate what roles you can play in your son’s life.
You will still be his parents. This fact is timeless.
Nonetheless, the way you treat him should be different and vice versa.
#6 Accepting the Truth
There are times when you apologize, and it’s not very much considered as an apology by your grown son.
When that happens, you should not feel challenged or demeaned.
Instead, be laid back, accept their decisions, and support him.
You don’t have to agree with your child to give support.
Being supportive means, when things went wrong for them, you would still be there when your child’s knocking on your door.
It is not easy to accept the truth that your son does not forgive you instantly.
You’ve chosen to apologize, and it is up to your son whether he forgives you or not.
The ball is no longer on your side.
It may take some time before he calls back. It may also never happen.
When it’s the latter that befalls you, remember the one last next step.
Read also: To accept the truth is not easy. Learn how to cope when your grown son breaks your heart because he refuses to forgive you.
#7 It is NEVER Time to Cut Ties
“So I’ve done apologizing, waiting, and calling my grown son who ignores me. If that’s what he wants, then fine. I can also ignore him.”
As much as how ego-pleasing that sounds, nothing is a lost cause when it comes to a parent-child relationship.
Now, picture this.
When you mentally cut out ties with your grown son and also start ignoring him, this will only make things worse in the future.
You will no longer open the door when your son is finally coming back to you, knocking.
Because you’re already invested in the idea that your son is not worth your time.
You have tried many ways to reconnect, but he did not respond. How dare he!
“Today, when he is coming and knocking on my door, I will ignore him. So perhaps he understands how it feels to be ignored!”
You will be no longer mentally available for them when they are ready to reconnect with you.
It will be harder to repair the relationship when you, as a parent, already rejected the idea of a reconciliation.
Cutting ties might be the easiest and fastest solution when your grown son breaks your heart by ignoring you after all the effort you’ve done for him.
But it doesn’t have to be the solution you choose.
As bad as it is now, you should be the last one who let go. If it isn’t you who does it, who will?
Dealing with a grown son who ignores you is never an easy task. These simplified steps below will help you to pave the way to reconciliation.
- Estrangement can happen to any family. It doesn’t mean that your family is ‘bad.’
- Recognize the first five signs that your grown son ignores you.
- Take time to look back and evaluate your child’s upbringing, see if you’ve hurt them unintentionally.
- Start taking small steps to resume the broken ties and learn to be a better parent to an adult son.
- The first thing you should do is apologize. If you understand what you did wrong to your child, apologize for it. Tell your grown son that you are ready to be a better parent for him.
- Do not let ego consume you. Be the first to reach out and start over the family relationship, even when your grown son doesn’t show the same effort.
- Address the feeling that you feel ignored; see how he reacts. Do not push him or feel challenged if he does not respond the way you expected.
- Give him and yourself a timeout. Focus on yourself and start a new activity. Talk to people whom you think can help you feel better.
- Stop treating him as your child. Consider changing your roles into a friend, colleague, or mentor.
- When things do not turn out as you wish them to, accept reality. Some wound takes a longer time to heal. When you already did the steps above, the ball is no longer on your side. Give your son some time to ponder.
- Never cut ties with your grown son, even if he ignores you. Be the last one to let go. If it is not you who does it, nobody will.