Kathy - posted on 09/08/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )
Four years ago I divorced my 3 children's father. It took a year to get him to leave the house after telling him it was over and it was a horrendous year. He pleaded for me to change my mind, I would not. Our 17 year marriage had never been stable and was rife with problems. Then he got angry and every night I would come home to him in my face yelling obscenities with the kids, 9, 11 and 15 listening. So I tried to stay away, physically and/or mentally. Things got alot better when I finally got him out, but four years later he is still full of anger and need for revenge for my having "ruined his life". My middle child, a girl, never wanted to go to her fathers. For reasons too long to explain her elder sister never went to her father's and she felt she should have the same right. Despite their father not paying one cent towards their support (and me having to take him to Court to force this), I saw what the lack of relationship with my eldest daughter was doing to her and did not want the same to happen to the younger. So I made her go. On his side, her father told her of course I made her go because I didn't want her around.
All this to say that 3 years later she called after one week into a 2 week vacation and said: that's it, I want to come home, I don't want to be here anymore. Because she was now 14 I told her that she had the right to that decision and allowed her to stop going. She stayed with me exclusively for 5 weeks and she visibly changed, happier and calmer. One night last I came home and she was not home. I have 2 rules in my house, I have to know where you are and you have to be home before dark. You can be at a friends if I know, but you cannot be hanging out in the streets. She broke both rules and I grounded her and took away her phone and computer. She called her father and left. He of course was thrilled as he'd been trying to get her or her brother to stay with him exclusively so he wouldn't have to pay as much. She has been there for a year now. At first I went crazy trying to get her to come home but was advised by one and all that she was "safe" with her father and I could not force it. She'd have to come back on her own. I would text her messages, send her gifts for her birthday or Christmas, ask her to participate in things. She never thanked or responded for 6 months. She finally did start communicating but it was sporadic and at the slightest provocation she would stop. I'd been going to the school meetings all year - he did not - and had arranged at the beginning of the school year for her to see a counsellor at school (she did not know it was through me and she loved going to this counsellor). I also arranged for her to go into a special program in Grade 10. She'd missed about 3 days a months during the time he had her only 2 days a week, so I doubted her attendance would be regular. She missed one day a week last year. Thank goodness I'd been on top of getting her into this special program because she failed 5 of her classes and would have had to repeat grade 9. This special program starts in grade 10 and she was still able to stay in, mostly because they were well aware of her situation and knew that she needed it. She stopped talking to me after I made her go to summer school for math. A prerequisite for being in the program. Not to pass, just to show effort and go to summer school. I pleaded and cajoled and am not embarrassed to say I finally resorted to paying her to go. Whatever worked. Just after finishing summer school, a friend got to her telling her the program was a jail and she'd hate it. I found out through my son that she told her father she was quitting school. To make a long story short, I think I have managed to convince her to go back. There was a series of starts and stops, her thinking she held all the cards. She said she'd go to school online and I finally "helped" her see that it would not be possible by searching for schools that always led to a dead end. I scared her into at least going and trying (there are alot of rules and its scary at first but ALL the kids end up loving the program). She went one day and quit again but then asked me to find out if she could go half the year and then switch. I lied. I told her she could after 2 terms. She bought it. I'll handle that crises in February and just pray she likes it by then.
All this to give you a background on what the last year has been. She says my home is not a home, but does not give a reason, or gives random reasons that just don't make sense. She has no relationship with any family - she fights all the time with her father according to her brother who is the only one who goes there and sees firsthand. She does not go on outings with them - either by choice or because her father does boy things with my son - fishing, sports. She is not a loner in that she has friends, but if she is not with them she's on her computer alone in her room. It is not a healthy life. Yet her father is taking me to court in November to get full custody. All so that he can stop paying for her and at the same time stop paying for my eldest daughter as she will not have anything to do with him.
So I guess my question is this - and I guess the teens out there might be best placed to shed some light because all the adults I know are totally stumped. You can't imagine how hard it is to keep mothering a child who wants nothing to do with me and is acting this way. So many people feel that she does not deserve the efforts I put in and that she's old enough to reap what she sows. I just can't get there long enough for it to stick. I do think sometimes, enough, she's just using me. But then I think - she's 15, there's no way I can hold her responsible and she needs to know that no matter what her mother never gave up. I am alone in this, I get that and I am so appreciative of the support I get from the school. Although now one week into the school year and she's only been once - even they just might give up. There are soooo many kids who had to repeat grade 9 and are begging to take her place.
So kids - adults with like experience - I guess the question is - where's the line??? At one point do I say - I love you, you will always have a home with me, but as long as you continue to not want to see me (I have not seen or spoken to her since the night she left - only texts) the gifts and the support ends here. I will always continue to keep in touch with the school and go to meetings because that is very important to me and I know is neglected by her and her father, but should I just do that and leave her to her own devices??