My 16 year old son recently moved in with his father, who has never really played an active role in raising him. My heart is broken. How do I fix this?

Andrea - posted on 07/27/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My son left over a month ago to live with his father. I was originally led to believe that it was only to be for the summer, and now its said that he wishes it to be permanent. His whole life it has always been me that has made sure that he has had love, clothes, etc. I have always been the one that was at every possible basketball game, when his father might make it to 3 a season. When my son turned 15, I am the one that worried about how he was going to have a car when he turned 16. Before he turned 16, my husband(his step-father) traded his truck in to get me a new car so that my son could have my car. After which, my husband went 5 months without a vehicle. When my son turned 16, I approached my ex husband about splitting the cost of my sons car insurance, and he refused. His father pays the state minimum for child support, and that is about all he does. My son also has a girlfriend that he spends way too much time with. The week before he moved out, I had asked him to please ask me before inviting his girlfriend over. I really feel that the girlfriend has alot to do with him leaving. But with him leaving, he no longer has the car. I don't know whether to sell it, or let it sit there in hopes that he may return home. Since my son left on June 12th, he has not spent one night here, and his father is not cooperating in encouraging him to even speak to me. I don't know what to do. I feel like because his dad lives closer to the girlfriend and has a nicer home that I have been cast aside for not being good enough, Has anyone else experienced this situation?

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Amy - posted on 05/27/2013

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YES! Mine moved out 3 weeks ago and I refuse to budge. If he doesn't wanna follow my rules than he had to move out. His dad, who recently just got hurt on his job, won't be able to lavish him with his expensive toys. Iphone, car, expensive clothes. Yes, I cry everyday. But, I had too let him realize that I'm in charge of this household and I have rules. He was also skipping school, getting in fights, and being very disrespectful to his teachers. He is a follower, not a leader. I have to accept my decision. When he needs something, he will come back. BUT-I'M NOT SURE I WILL LET HIM!

Lamonica - posted on 10/02/2012

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This is great! Thank You, im going through this and ive been missing my son

Angie - posted on 07/27/2012

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Oh no..you are not the first & certainly won't be the last. My oldest will be 21 in a few months and if you would've asked me 3 years ago where our relationship was, I wouldn't have been able to stop crying long enough to tell you. Unfortunately kids don't come with a manual, we can't flip to page 13 and find the answer....I wish!

Keep believing in yourself and for me, consistency and boundaries was huge....and don't make hasty decisions because you are feeling hurt, upset, or angry...for example, If you paying for his cellphone is something you are ok with, don't turn it off because he hasn't returned a call or him or the ex said or did something that hurt your feelers. That's why I said I'd set some boundaries; take some time to think about them and if possible, try to work with your ex on what he will be providing/what you will be providing. I also think it's important that he also spends time with you; if you are having trouble communicating, try emails or letters...that sometimes helps to keep on topic & emotions getting it off-topic or escalating. Be careful about asking why or placing blame. Approach it as ok; I understand this is your choice right now...how do we want to work this out because I still want to see you too, I want to make sure you are doing ok, I want to know how school is going, etc. etc. Don't waste energy on guilt or anger ~ he is still your son and you love him just as much if he lives with you or not....in fact, you will be amazed at how clean his room will be and stay...lol.

Andrea - posted on 07/27/2012

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Thank you so much. I pay for his cellphone, provide him with medical coverage and pay it, and have always provided him with whatever he asked for. I'm so glad I found this website. I had my son at 20 yrs. old, and none of my friends have kids this old, or they are married to their childs father. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one to have experienced this.

Angie - posted on 07/27/2012

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As long as you are absolutely sure your son is not in any danger, I think I would just let it play out. You did absolutely nothing wrong; it is so normal at this age for them to be spreading their wings a little bit.....and the thing that really, really sucks about it is he knows how much you have done for him; however, for some reason, his dad is his dad and he wants to believe his dad will be all that and more. As Chaya posted, he will find out before too long, it's not the bowl of cherries he thought it would be. And obsessed with girls? Also normal...give it time & it will more than likely be a new girl with the same obsession.

The best advice I can offer you is 1) Absolutely do not blame yourself; 2) Do not be angry or hurt, just because he's choosing to live there does not mean he loves him more or you less, 3) Set your boundaries...if your ex is going to be as much of a father as he has the 1st 16 years, it will only be a matter of time before your son will realize that and want his cake & eat it too...who is paying for/providing his cell phone? who is providing necessities? It wouldn't surprise me if the car isn't asked for soon as well, who is going to pay medical copays? just a few of several issues that could come up, and last and most important 4) Always remember it's OK to not have to make a decision today; like his car do you sell or let it sit? you don't have to decide that right now...it's only been a little over a month. And if things get too overwhelming, not only don't make a decision in the emotion of the moment, but if you are a believer, turn it over to God for 3 days....trust me, things will seem a whole lot different at the end of those 3 days.

I know how it is to be a single mom and I know how much your kids mean to you..my oldest tells me now we had to go through the rough times to get to the good times and you will get there...the bond you have with them will never disappear; this will just make it stronger although some days won't feel like it...Hang in there!

Andrea - posted on 07/27/2012

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His dad and I do not see eye to eye, and really never have. His dad was never home when we were married, therefore it was always me and the kids. My kids have always been my life, which is why this has hurt me so bad. Just 3 months ago, he wouldn't even go to his daddy's house unless I forced him to go. I have full physical custody of my kids, but gave my permission for him to stay there this summer. His dad has all the kids every other weekend, but doesn't even call the kids during the in between time. He has no idea what it means to be a father. I feel like a lost dog in the whole situation.

Chaya - posted on 07/27/2012

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Is dad incompetent as a parent? Is either dad or child using or suspected of using drugs? If you let the kid go, don't worry about it, he'll eventually find that dad isn't a bowl of cherries either.
If you have custody, you can force the child home, and you can charge the girlfriend with statutory rape, not that it'd be such a good idea, but there's that option. I'd be concerned with him being hurt both by girlfriend and dad, but sometimes he has to make his own choices

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