Our 28 year-old son earns quite a good salary. However, his only pair of shoes are about 8 years old and literally falling apart on his feet. He wears pants that are torn at the bottom. He can get away with it at work, to some extent, as he is in high-tech where the dress standard is more casual than usual. He rarely dates and I suspect many women would see showing up like this as a lack of respect. He won't listen to advice and says nobody should care what he wears. Any advice?


I want to share a story with you. When I reached the age where I could choose my clothing, my mother suddenly became very critical of everything I wore. While I was still young, she had a bit more control but, as an adult, when I moved out on my own, the criticism became even greater. Despite wearing fashionable, decent attire, my mother couldn't stop being critical. My pants made my legs look too skinny; a shirt made my chest (read: breasts) look too big; many pieces were ugly. Those are but a small sampling of the things she said because I don't have the time nor the inclination to write them all out here.

Each and everything she said, hurt. It wasn't constructive criticism, it was flat-out telling me how everything was wrong. Not only did it destroy my self-esteem as a teen but it assured I had zero as an adult and had no effect on getting me to change to what she liked because as an adult, I was still passively aggressively rebelling against her cruelty.

Fast forward to when my oldest son was in college. I thought his choice of attire was "too small" or "ugly." I blamed it on young adults not having any fashion sense. Without even realizing it, I was doing the same exact thing to him that my mother had done to me. Finally one day he said to me, "Mom, no matter how often you tease me or give me a hard time, I'm going to wear what I want to wear. You choose your clothes, I'll choose mine."

Now, I hadn't quite started changing yet, but his words hit me like a ton of bricks and later on when I began to understand where my life was headed (that is, without my adult children in it), that was one of the first things I changed. Do you know what happened? Within months his entire choice of clothing had changed. You know what I understand now? My son was rebelling against me just as I had my mother. When I stopped criticizing his choice of clothing, he no longer subconsciously felt the need to rebel.

Your son is an adult. Not even a young adult but very much a grown man. Leave him alone. Like my son said, just as you get to choose your clothing, so does he. If you don't like it, fine but keep it to yourself, and you just might be wind up pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

It should be said, however, that as we age, we lose a sense of what is in style. Torn jean bottoms are trendy these days. And maybe his shoes are just comfortable. My fifty-year-old husband has a pair of work boots he refuses to replace because they are the most comfortable shoes he's ever owned. It's not to my liking but he's an adult, and it's not my choice.

Let go. Stop trying to control your son. You had ~18 years to guide and instruct him; now it's time he does what he feels is best for him. And as for dating, the right woman will love him for WHO he is, NOT what he is wearing and that's exactly what you want.

Please, don't make the same mistake I did. I almost caused my adult son to walk away from me, and I did walk away from my parents. Ask yourself, which outcome would I prefer?

Updated on February 20, 2019

Original Article:

5 Reasons Why Adult Children Estrange From Their Parents
By Kim Bryan

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)