Losing Your Child To Adulthood

Date: 06/30/2023

Title: Help! My kid won't text me!

00:00:00 Speaker 1
You're 18 year old is off to college but won't return your texts? Well, let's talk about that
today on Tips on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,
and I specialize in helping kids, teens and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations
teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. And every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook
Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. My 18 year old left home for
college about six weeks ago. We FaceTime once a week on Sundays as a family, which is great, but
he never responds to my texts. I try to keep the text short and limit them to once every few days.
Did you see the Dodger game? Did you make it to Bonfire on Thursday or too much work. Any suggestions
for what you might like on your birthday in a couple of weeks? I get nothing. I've talked to him
and told him how upset it makes me. He apologizes

00:01:11 Speaker 1
but doesn't change. Any advice first, thank you for your question. I think a lot of parents with
freshmen or kids who moved on can relate to this. I think what's going on, which is really a common
thing to do and feel, is you feel grief and loss because metaphorically, you've lost a child.
You've lost a child to adulthood. And there's a grieving process in this. And I think it's important
to pay attention to that and accept that that's what you're going through. It's normal. Parents
go through this all the time. What we don't want to do is we don't want to put this responsibility
of your grief onto your son because he's not capable of taking care of that. I think it's great
that he does the months on Sundays of FaceTime on Sundays with family, I would encourage you
to pull back the texts. I'm not saying never text him, but text him less and with no expectations
of him responding and focus those questions on those Sundays because from his point of view,
this is first time away from home,

00:02:17 Speaker 1
he's spreading his wings. He's hopefully having a great time, making new friends, hitting
the books, going to parties, going to sporting events, getting involved in campus life. And
just getting in a text conversation with mom is really inconvenient. It's not about that he
doesn't love you. It's not that he doesn't want to. It's just I bet from his point of view, because
I've talked to kids who've been in this situation, I'm wondering from his point of view if I respond
to if I went to the Dodger game, now I have to go. This whole conversation about, well, who did
you go with and what did you eat there and where were your seats? He may be the point say, I just
need a break. My hunch is and I've seen this happen I know my own personal experience as a young
adult. If you allow him to pull away without expectation and with love and compassion, I think
he will come back. Now, will it be on your terms? Probably not. It'll be more on his terms, but
you may find that as he matures and there's

00:03:16 Speaker 1
less expectation, it's safer to text you or initiate a text you or respond to you. Also, another
thought I'm having is, before he went to college, was he an avid text, or was he texting all the
time and talking all the time? If he was, I understand why it's tough for this transition, and
it may feel like a rejection. On the other hand, if he's always been kind of distant and always
been like, whatever, and you had about maybe one day a week where you can connect with him, maybe
this is all he has right now. So I think it's really important to recognize what his needs are,
recognize your needs, too. But his needs can't fulfill your needs. You can't expect him to have
the same needs as you. So if you're having a hard time accepting this, I encourage you to get support.
You need talking to your spouse, your friends, your therapist, your rabbi, whoever that may
be, who. You can get this off your chest and vent about this and recognize this is more of your
emotional need and less of his emotional

00:04:13 Speaker 1
need, and he can't take care of your emotional need. Satisfy. That's what I'm looking for. Satisfy
your emotional need. Anyways, it's a big topic, and I totally appreciate and understand what
you're going through. It's normal. Talk about it, accept it. He will come back around. I'm pretty
sure he will. Anyways, that's our question for tips on teens today. My name is Kent Toussaint with
Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling. If you'd like a question answered here on
Tips on teens, email us at tipson teens@teentherapycenter.com, or you can direct message
us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Thank you again, and I'll see you guys next
week. Bye.

Every time you go away you take a piece of me with you

When kids go away to college it brings up a lot of emotions for parents. It’s typical for parents to experience a sort of grieving process in these situations. It makes sense right? You’re losing your child to adulthood. This sensation of grief is normal, but what parents need to avoid is putting the burden of grief on their child.

From your young adult’s perspective, life is probably great! It’s their first time away from home. They’re having a good time, making new friends, having romances, possibly exploring a new town, etc. To them a text or phone call from mom or dad just means answering a bunch of questions and getting annoyed.

Free, Free, Set Them Free

So what do you do as a parent in this situation? Basically, you need to let them drift away. But there’s good news: they’ll come back to you! And when they do, they’ll do it on their terms. In the meantime, parents should look for someone to talk to or find another healthy way to process their emotional needs. 

Losing your child to adulthood isn’t easy. There’s more to say, and we don’t leave the nest empty in this Tips on Teens:

“My 18 year old left home for college about 6 weeks ago. We facetime once a week on Sundays as a family which is great. But he never responds to my texts. I try to keep the texts short and limit them to once every few days. Did you see the dodger game? Did you make it too bonfire on thursday, or too much work? Any suggestions for what you might like for your birthday in a couple of weeks? I get nothing. I have talked to him and told him how upset it makes me. He apologizes, but doesn’t change. Any advice?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.