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No Christmas anymore for Selfish Adult Sons ?

(32 Posts)
helenrowena Sun 29-Dec-19 12:12:44

Two sons one is 27 the other 24 both single , both come every Christmas for three days and never come at any other time of year, Son1 lives 120 miles away and Son2 lives 50 miles away.

I dread Christmas because Son1 takes over and has always been a bit of a bully and quite nasty at times to all of us,

Thing is I am carer to bedridden daughter who has m.e and another daughter who is autistic /learning disabled and me and husband are exhausted looking after them 24/7.

This year the sons excelled themselves, As usual they took a sofa each and then spent the evening with PS2 games plugged into the only TV in our living room, Myself and husband retired to our bedroom where we have a computer and watched BBC on iplayer there, We had our coffee and biscuits there.
The sons never offer to help with dishes or clearing up and leave cups and glasses everywhere, eat in front of the tv and generally make a mess, They act like they are still teenagers in fact.
So I decided I had to say something to son1 as he is the worst offender. I said that I was going to not do Christmas anymore and that I was going to volunteer for a charity next year, Well, he immediately took offence and moaned about how he had spent £56 on a train ticket to come here and if I dont want to see him just say so. I said to him why not come up to visit in the summer or any other time except Christmas? So he calmed down a bit. I know he has friends he can stay with , but son2 has none and gets lonely,
I am totally exhausted, I am 61 and have a sliding hiatus hernia and was so stressed that after putting out the meal on Christmas Day I took a few bites and then had a hernia attack and had to slip outside to recover, Nobody noticed except husband who came out to comfort me as it is a horrible painful experience, My husband is 68 and not in the best of health either, He had a brain injury in 2010 (encephalitis) and gets tired very easily and memory is affected, So we both care for daughter who has severe m.e. plus another daughter who has learning difficulty/autism.

I feel guilty and bad about saying I have had enough of Christmas to the two sons but I dont know what to do,
Am I being unreasonable to expect them to help ? They seem totally unaware of the stress we are under,

mumofmadboys Sun 29-Dec-19 12:23:25

Of course you are not being unreasonable. Enjoy being by yourselves again and relax. In a few weeks time why not write to your two sons and say you and your DH are getting older and are finding it more tiring looking after the girls. Say you enjoy seeing them but this Christmas was very tiring. If they would like to come again they would be welcome but must do more to help please to make it easier for you and DH. Say they would be welcome to come at other times too. Could you say it would be lovely if they could come and look after the girls for a day or two to give you and DH a chance to go away overnight or would that not be appropriate? Hope they take on board the message.x

vinasol Sun 29-Dec-19 12:23:47

I'm exhausted just reading your post helenrowena. I'm not surprised that is how you feel. You have a helluva lot on your plate and you would think your sons would realise that. Children can be selfish at times and take you for granted. I think you were quite right to speak to son and let him know the reality of things. Of course they can visit at other times. You need to think about your own needs.

notanan2 Sun 29-Dec-19 12:28:57

It just all sounds terribly sad all round.

You would not be unreasonable to not do iy next year. It sounds like nobody is enjoying themselves (sons included)

Take care of yourself x

dragonfly46 Sun 29-Dec-19 12:29:06

Oh gosh AC can be incredibly selfish but I would have had to ask for help and also ask if they could not use the main TV for their games all the time.
I agree maybe you could ask them to come at another time of year and maybe allow you and your DH a few days respite. They would them maybe see what it is like for you.

helenrowena Sun 29-Dec-19 12:33:12

Thankyou all for your sound advice - I have just joined Gransnet and this is very reassuring to hear all that you say because I have no relatives at all to ask advice from . We live in a rural area in Scotland 7 miles from nearest town which is beautiful but isolated.

I think I will write to them both as mumofmadboys suggests.

Again thank you all for your sensible advice ,much appreciated !!

Grammaretto Sun 29-Dec-19 12:35:50

I am sorry for you. It sounds awful and I am glad you have made it clear at least to the elder son that you have had enough.

I have a friend/neighbour who feels put upon by her 2 AC. One is still in bed, the other could arrive at any moment so she cannot take up an offer of an outing with me grin
How is your DH in all this?

lavenderzen Sun 29-Dec-19 12:42:16

You are not being unreasonable at all HelenR, heavens you have enough to deal with looking after your two daughters. Adult children seem to revert to being the children they used to be when with parents - totally selfish.

I think someone above suggested writing to them and I would do that, explaining that you are getting older and are tired and if they would like to come during the summer that would work better for you.

You mustn't do Christmas again for them, Christmas in future will be just for the two of you and your two daughters.

Sending you ((hugs)) flowers

Katyj Sun 29-Dec-19 12:49:14

Oh no you have so much to cope with without this selfish pair ! Do what's been suggested already and put yourselfs first, they will grow up eventually and hopefully someday realise.I don't know what's going on with adult children these days, one of mine included, i was left hurt after being critised throughout the day, I couldn't do anything right!

Scribbles Sun 29-Dec-19 13:00:23

What is unreasonable, OP, is that you've put up with their selfish behaviour this long.

I get that many people regard Christmas as being "family time" but, surely, that only applies if the family members are reasonable people? Your sons are not being reasonable and it's more than time you told them the party's over. They're old enough to make their own arrangements and should be encouraged to do so. (Maybe the son you say has no friends would be less lonely if he changed his attitude and was less entitled and selfish?).

Do write or email them both soon and tell them plainly that this has been the last big family Christmas. This will give them almost a year to plan their 2020 festivities. Above all, don't let yourself feel guilty. You've been a saint to put up with it for this long.

Razzy Sun 29-Dec-19 13:04:21

You need to be more assertive. When your sons return you slip into parent-child again. They are adults. Suggest you all watch a film and if they want to play Xbox they can use your bedroom TV. Tell them before they come that “we’d love to see you, and if you could give us a hand with Xmas Dinner this year that would be lovely”. Then ask them to clear their glasses/cups up!

quizqueen Sun 29-Dec-19 13:20:34

What Scribbles said...the fault is actually yours and your husband's for allowing them to behave in that way. I expect they were indulged all the time when growing up too. If they had been bought up knowing they needed to help around the house, they would continue to do so even after they had left home.

The fact they have no partners speaks volumes- who would put with them- and you have done them no favours, if they ever get one. Sorry, it's harsh, but children are products of their upbringing. However, it's never too late to change YOUR behaviour. I hope your daughters are suitably grateful for the help you give them and do as much as they can in the household too.

Barmeyoldbat Sun 29-Dec-19 13:47:00

Sensible advice given here. You have enough to cope with and 2 adult sons who don't lift a finger is out of order.

You have told one son, now the other other son you say is lonely now is the time to tell him so he can make other plans well in advance. May he could go on a holiday (Explore or Exodus are good travel people for young single people or even do some voluntary work. It is not up to you to provide his company, he must seek his own.

When they do come to tay you must be more assertive, say I cooked the meal so can you clear away and wash up. Tell them what you want doing. Good luck.

Moocow Sun 29-Dec-19 13:55:55

You say son2 lives only 50 miles away but has no friends and would be lonely, so why does he not visit more? Wouldn't he be just as lonely at other holidays, what does he do with his annual leave? I wonder if to help you feel better you could try asking for help especially during holidays - both sons might just need very very very (sic) clear instructions about caring for their siblings and giving you both a break.

Hetty58 Sun 29-Dec-19 14:26:30

I bet they don't behave like lazy teenagers when they're away from you. They just seem to revert to a child-like state when they come home.

They are quite old enough, however, to understand the strain you are under - when it's clearly spelt out to them, that is. They should be capable of the cooking and clearing up, at the very least. If you have them visit again, ask them to bring something, perhaps ready cooked, as they should contribute too - as adult members of the family.

helenrowena Sun 29-Dec-19 14:27:55

I dont know why they are both so unhelpful as they were encouraged to help as children, Pocket money was cut for bad behaviour or not helping out enough ,
Son2 says he gets bored when he comes to stay as he lives in Aberdeen and likes the city, He isnt interested in the countryside at all.
Im going to write and explain we are tired and want a break
When I left home at 18 and returned at Christmas me and my siblings always contributed, each one of us brought wine, or dessert or whatever, and we helped with clearing up too, We also visited frequently throughout the year despite distances, Of course there were no gadgets back in the 1970s and we played board games and all watched Morecambe and Wise etc as there were only 3 channels on tv.
I just think that this computer generation are increasingly out of touch with reality , despite my efforts to make them aware over the years. The sons in particular seem to live in a sort of bubble - especially Son1 who takes his mobile everywhere and relies on it for everything, socialising, music, films,
When he was a teenager he sent an email to his friend across the road, I remember saying just go over and knock on his door like I used to with my friends , but he said "thats not what people do now",
I miss the old days when life was so simple and no computers . There was less choice but we survived fine and people actually talked to each other more,

Chestnut Sun 29-Dec-19 14:35:27

All good advice here. When the boys were young you obviously cared for them well, but it seems you never broke out of that behaviour pattern. I think boys will often let mum wait on them hand and foot forever more if she is willing, so I agree this is a result of your child rearing habits. Really they should be making tea and clearing the table from quite an early age to encourage them to share household activities. It may be difficult to change their behaviour now, but you can try during their next visit (not Christmas).
I would definitely not have them for Christmas again unless they prove on previous visits they can fully participate in household duties.
I would also agree that they should stay there and give you a complete break from caring, even if it's only a long weekend. They must learn to take some responsibility for their siblings and not expect you to care for them alone. At some point you will not be able to carry on with your caring duties and need to plan for that.

Hithere Sun 29-Dec-19 14:45:19

This is the Xmas that broke the the camel's back.

Were your sons always so immature? Did they do housechores in the past?
If you don't enjoy Xmas with them, why do you invite them back?

Without knowing the background, all I can say is that the past repeats itself.
If this is new behaviour, tell them to cut it off or leave your home.
Something tells me that the fact that you dread Xmas with your sons - this is not new.

It is not your fault ds2 has no friends. Why do you feel responsible for that?

Now, do you have a long term plan for the care of your daughters?
You, as parents, need to plan for their future if your daughters don't have the capacity to do so.

Hithere Sun 29-Dec-19 14:49:42

We cross posted.

"I just think that this computer generation are increasingly out of touch with reality , despite my efforts to make them aware over the years. The sons in particular seem to live in a sort of bubble - especially Son1 who takes his mobile everywhere and relies on it for everything, socialising, music, films, "

What reality? Yours when you grew up or theirs with the present times?
You are being unreasonable here.

Before computers, people could stop socializing by reading books, doing crosswords, fixing cars, etc.
It is not the technology's fault a person does not want to be present in mind- however present in body.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-19 15:44:33

It sounds pretty grim but certainly fixable. Next year, tell them what is expected of them ie who will bring what food, or who will do the online shop and how much each will contribute. While they’re there agree who is going to cook what meal, and who will do each part of the Christmas lunch. They both need to pitch in but unless you set boundaries and expectations they’ll just slide back into the way they are at their own homes with mum and dad running after them. There’s nothing wrong with playing computer games for a bit but if you want family games then tell them they each need to bring one (get them cheap from the charity shop or eBay) and get each of them to make up a quiz. However, phones and tech are now a part of everyday life (you’re only 61, you know this!!) so don’t expect them not to feature at all over Christmas.

grannypiper Sun 29-Dec-19 16:43:34

helenrowenaPlease talk to your Doctor about a care package for your Daughters, maybe even respite care. You are only one person and cant do it

Tedber Sun 29-Dec-19 17:13:06

Totally emphthise with you HelenR

I DO think a lot of adult children revert to 'children' when they come home. For years I felt I was just a slave at Christmas as was chief chef and bottle washer and it got worse when they started bringing partners home for Christmas - I was asked to pass the wine/beer, juggling the spuds and sprouts, while they all spread themselves out in the lounge playing nintendo or whatever! Then the grandchildren came along....

In one way I loved seeing them all so happy so I let it slide. I am not in ill health though but I was really not enjoying Christmas Day much!

This year was totally different but mainly because they all decided to stay in their own homes (phew) So I didn't have to say anything at all. I can't believe how relieved I was (which I know is a shame for those who would LOVE to have their c/gc there at Christmas!

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all! But whether you can get through to them is another matter.

I think, I would just be totally honest and see what happens?

As Grannypiper says, look after yourselves and find out about help out there! Don't be too proud to ask for help wherever it comes from.

Tedber Sun 29-Dec-19 17:27:31

I meant to add! That I actually felt my children felt they were letting ME down by deciding to stay in their own homes! They way they were so apologetic (me dancing a jig in kitchen hahaha). So maybe your sons feel it is their duty? Straight talking is the answer I think ?

Washerwoman Sun 29-Dec-19 18:11:08

That sounds intolerable behaviour.I would definitely set them straight for next year.
I have to say the last few years I have delegated some of the food to our adult DCs.Only a bit but apart from anything it's very expensive hosting for a few days.And I'm very lucky in that ours are generally helpful,and DD actually cooked a lovely Xmas day meal.But they do still revert to teenagers lounging around.And each year I find it more intense and tiring. It's been lovely to see them all but I'm thrilled to reclaim my sofa -and the TV remote.
But if I had to cope with your extra caring duties OP I would put yourself first next year.And the fact they make no effort to come any other time means they absolutely shouldn't get away with such selfish behaviour.A tricky one but suggest a family get together at a time that suits you.Give them a wake up call.

Grammaretto Sun 29-Dec-19 19:58:11

Where is your DH in all this?
It seems like these AS have become paralysed as soon as they're back in the childhood home where mum does everything.
I am lucky because my lot know if they don't muck in, nothing would get done.
Also DH has always loved cooking so he has been an example to his sons and all ours can cook although one has a DW who runs around after everyone. I fear for her. She's making a rod to beat her own back.

I agree you should try to get some help, some respite . There are hotels/holidays for families with disabilities but you will know this.