- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband and I are devastated. We were so proud to send our first son — the oldest of our four children — off to a college in southern Virginia in late July. We have saved for years for our children’s education, and he even received some military scholarships.

He wanted his own apartment, but we insisted that because he is a freshman he needed to live in the dorms on campus to help him adjust to college life. He barely protested, but did insist that he move into a room of his own. We had no problem with that.

More money was spent because he didn’t like the carpet in the room, or the furniture. We purchased new carpet that my husband installed and he received new furniture for his whole room, as well as new desktop and laptop computers. We wanted to do anything to make sure he was comfortable and could be successful.

Each week he was away, however, he became more and more distant from us and started calling infrequently. We felt like he was adjusting to college life and just chalked it up to him becoming more independent. Then we noticed we had to do all of the calling and he never returned our phone calls. He never wanted to come home on the weekends either as many of his classmates have done since the semester started.

Long story short, my son has not been going to classes or living on campus! He has hooked up with a local girl who works at a burger place and he moved in her apartment. He has spent his loan money on God knows what and didn’t even have the decency to tell us.

The plot thickens, Ms. Vicki, because this girl says she is pregnant with our son’s baby! Is she kidding? My poor son is too immature to understand the mess he has gotten himself into. Why did he subject himself to such a bad seed? He doesn’t even look like himself; he has lost weight and acts like he could be using drugs or something.

All we did was send our son off to college, and now all of this has happened. As a mother I am in so much pain. I can’t believe my son’s betrayal and lies. We have been good parents and don’t deserve this. My first thought is to cut him off and never see him again because I am so angry. My husband says I can’t do this because he is our son.

I don’t think I can ever forgive him for giving us this mess to clean up. I don’t want to have anything to do with this girl or her family. I’m sorry I’m so angry Ms. Vicki, but thank you for letting me vent. I just don’t know where to go from here. — College Caused a Personality Change

Dear Change,

My heart goes out to you. I can understand your feelings; I, too, am the mother of three young sons who think they know everything. Trust me, some of your story sounds very familiar.

I know it’s tough accepting your son’s decisions. Keep in mind that he is young and immature. I agree with you that he has made some decisions that will affect him for the rest of his life. As parents we regret watching our children make such decisions, especially when we have reared them in the right direction.

This is not the time to turn your back on your son and stop speaking to him. You can’t cut him off now. He may not know it, but he needs his parents more than ever.

Again, I know you are angry and upset. Just don’t take this personally; you and your husband did not fail. Additionally, I’m not saying you have to continue to support him financially. He will have to get a job or two jobs to make it. He can’t expect his family to continue to support him financially if he is not going to be a good steward with what is given to him.

I remember when I was 18 and 19; I made some pretty stupid decisions and some unwise choices. I’m sure you did, too. Your son obviously got beside himself with his new-found freedom. Increase contact with your son, and monitor his behavior, weight loss, etc. I pray he is not using drugs.

You can contact Military OneSource for more support, information or for a referral to seek a therapist or counselor in your community. Keep in touch and let me know how your family is doing.

Send e-mail to [email protected]

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