Dear Sheila,

I have a beautiful son with a giving spirit. He has suffered from emotional challenges since his teens. Although he is now a young adult, he still struggles at times with over­giving to his friends. I struggle with setting boundaries. In the past, our relationship became strained because I didn’t agree with his decision to lend all of his money to a past girlfriend. I often find myself being guarded when he is struggling. As his mom, I want to help him, yet I don’t want to lose my relationship with him again. I’m afraid to share my feelings about his choices, as I experience a lot of pushback and defensiveness from my son.

Recently, my son told me he is in a relationship that encompasses a mate who is in the process of a transgender transition. His mate is having major issues with socialization, depression, and is also having anxiety issues. I suggested that his mate start seeing a good therapist who specializes in these types of transition issues, as it is a huge life change. Instantly, my son felt I was attacking his relationship choice. I assured him I wanted to support his choices, yet it sounded like his partner needed more support than he or I could offer. Now, my son is angry with me. 

How to be a source of love and support to my son without over­parenting?

–Always A Mom


“Transformation literally means going beyond your form.” -Wayne Dyer

Dear Always A Mom

Yes, it’s so hard to have a different relationship with our adult children. There are new boundaries in place, but sometimes, we do want to over­-parent. It sounds like you were just giving some loving advice. It sounds like your son’s new partner is going through quite a bit and probably does need some professional help with going through this transition. That was great advice. What you can say to your son is if I did overstep, I apologize, I just want to support you the best that I can, and then you just let it rest. This is your son and his relationship with another adult, so it’s going to have to be their decision. We can offer more advice, we can offer other resources, but the ones who need to take and walk through that door are going to have to open the door themselves. Unless they’re a minor, that’s what’s going to have to happen.

It’s hard. But when you are able to talk to your son to the level that you would to your best friend, because they’re an adult male, it’s letting them know, “Hey, you know what? Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong about this, but this is the advice I would have given anybody that asked. I hope that this works out for you.”  I would just keep giving loving advice. Maybe you could find some books or some other resources and say, “Hey, I found some other resources. I support you, and if you want me to let you know about it, great; and if not, I’ll just step away from it. I want to support you the best I can.” Then just let it be. Choose your battles, and just be willing to lean into what your son is open to talk about. Keep going forward that way. I hope this helps.

As Always, I wish you

“Life, Love, Laughter & Light!”

–Sheila Mac

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