Anger with my 18yr old son


Hi Brooke,
I am trying to work out a model regarding my son who is a freshman in college. In general, our relationship is pretty peaceful and I know that I really can’t control what he does at all. I am trying to balance that with still trying to teach him what I believe are good core values such as being dependable, responsible, and respectful. Last night we had a big fight about his behavior. My feeling was Angry. I believe this was a negative emotion I need to allow but I can’t come up with any positive outcome from this. I didn’t like the way I reacted to him, yelling like a lunatic.

The facts of the situation:
He left the house without telling anyone.
He did not pack up his stuff to go back to college.
He didn’t answer the first 4 calls or texts.
When I got through to him, I told him he had to come home or he was going to hold up his ride back to campus after the holiday weekend.
The mom who was driving the kids back specifically stated she wanted to leave early (by 5pm) so she could be back at a specific time.
When he still didn’t show up I called and texted him multiple times. He didn’t charge his phone and so he did not respond (this was the same issue we dealt with the day before)
He didn’t come home until the time he was supposed to be across town- he still had to pack and got to his ride’s house more than 30 min late.

Thoughts:
He doesn’t care about anyone but himself.
He is disrespectful.
If he misses his ride, I will have to cancel my plans and take 4 hours out of my night to drive him back.
He isn’t even sorry that his actions negatively affect other people.

Feeling:Angry

Actions: Yell at him. Freak out. Make him call the ride to ask if we need to take him back or if they will wait

Results: I felt angry. I buffered with wine and popcorn. I slept poorly.

So I know that all of these are thoughts. I want to feel better and still be a parent who teaches my son about respect (it isn’t lost on me that yelling at him is not exactly respectful.) I think his actions are rude and that is where feeling angry comes in. I tried writing models where I let go of that belief but it didn’t feel legitimate. Is there a way to feel angry, allow it, and move forward in a positive way?

Some alternative thoughts (with still holding on to rudeness):
My son is 18 years old and is acting rudely. He will have to figure this out in his life.
Even if my son is rude, I can show up like a controlled human being.
If my son misses his ride, I will take him to school and I will control my thoughts about that.
Although my son’s actions were rude, I can believe that his intentions were not to be rude. He still needs us to teach him these things.
I can be angry and still act in the way that makes me proud.

Maybe I am missing something here. I am trying to be empathetic to myself. While my son is trying to figure out how to be an adult, I am trying to figure out how to be a mom of an adult. Not every moment is going to be stellar.

Today my anger has morphed into sadness.
I’m not sure exactly even what I am asking but would welcome your thoughts.

Thanks!- Megan