Husband and Son Will Never See Eye-to-Eye
Dear Annie: My husband of 34 years has become increasingly disappointed in our 30-year-old son. He and my son have had a rocky relationship, as my husband sees the world through opportunity and is always working toward improvement (which makes him a great engineer), but this also means he has expectations that rarely get met by the people in his life, including me. He is like a dog with a bone when he tries to convince people to his way of thinking.
Our son has some character traits and behaviors that he and I both don't like. Our son has a couple beers a day (husband and I don't drink). He has -- in our opinion -- ignorant thoughts on politics, is sometimes unreliable (shows up late) and still plays video games. He has had many relationships with women that all last under a year. Our son, however, maintains a job with increasing responsibilities and is financially secure, as he owns a home and pays his bills. He has many friends, and I hear often from strangers about what a loyal friend he is. I work professionally in similar circles and hear that he goes above and beyond. He has never been fired. In fact, he is sought after. He calls me every couple of days just to see how I am doing.
Bottom line, my husband is very angry with me that I don't try to enlighten my son to help him be a better person. While I will always give my son advice WHEN ASKED, I feel that my child-rearing days are done. My husband won't let up on me about this, and it has affected our relationship. Do I do as my husband asked to keep peace between the two of us, even though I don't agree with him? -- Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Between a Rock and a Hard Place: It sounds like your son is a great guy with a lot of integrity and compassion. You should be proud! Whatever lifestyle choices he is making in his free time don't seem to be affecting the things that matter most.
I would explain to your husband that, at 30 years old, your son is a full adult. Policing him about things like video games is no longer called for. This should be good news to your husband -- it frees up time for him to pursue hobbies, and it allows you two to spend time together without talking about parenting the whole time.
Explain that if you both keep nagging your son about trivial matters, he's going to want to spend less time with you. It sounds like your son and your husband are very different -- in terms of life philosophy, interests and personality -- but if they can find just one area of common ground, or one hobby they can share, it might help them make progress in their relationship.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.