16 year old left my home to live with her dad. Heartbroken

Lynn - posted on 11/08/2015 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My daughter and I have always been extremely close. Her father was in and out of our home but never was a consistent parent and we divorced finally after multiple affairs (on his part), when she was 12. She has been my life. Making sure she has what she needs and most of what she wants has been my priority. I have worked hard to make ends meet, and we have always had a good relationship. Two weeks ago she abruptly left home and her father picked her up and took her to his place. He has taken her out of her school and signed her up an hour away where he lives. I'm devastated to say the least. She was struggling with obeying the rules, regarding internet, dating, smoking and school. He is much more lenient with her and I think she thinks he will let her do more of what she wants. I have spoken to my attorney who says I can enforce her to come home (I have physical custody), but I don't think I want to push that. I text her and tell her I love her, and I think I probably sound pathetic. She is rude to me and says she doesn't want to talk. Her father lives with a woman and I don't want my daughter there full time but I feel helpless and I am having trouble eating and sleeping. I don't want to keep texting her and asking her why she is doing this, but I am actually in physical pain from how much I miss her and how hurt I feel. It's like a switch flipped and I don't recognize this child anymore. She is cold, rude and mean. Her dad and I do not speak, only through lawyers. He is extremely narcissistic and believe me, he is doing this to hurt me more than anything. Any advice would be helpful.. thanks.

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Ev - posted on 11/08/2015

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Michelle is right. She also thinks at this point that the grass is greener on the otherside of the fence so to speak: She thinks that its going to be great because dad is so lenient with her. And his woman friend? After while, that lady may not want a 16 year old around the house either. So just continue to keep the communications open with her and do what you can to keep it up. She may in time realize that it was not as good as she thought.

Raye - posted on 11/11/2015

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Lynn and Stephanie,
If the situation at dad's house is allowing harmful behaviors such as underage drinking, being out after curfew, skipping school, etc. (whatever the laws say is illegal for minors in your area), and you have proof, you should present it to the court to get his custody/visitation revoked. If you don't think you have enough proof, call child protective services for your area and have them investigate the living conditions at their father's house.

A teenager most of the time doesn't realize what's best for themselves. They do not have the life experience and mental/emotional maturity to make rational decisions. They may feel, since they get more of what they want at the other parent's house, that it's "better for them", but really it's only catering to their wants and not what will make them better people in the long run.

Ev - posted on 11/08/2015

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It is not easy to have a kid decide to go live with a parent. My kids were and still are my world. When their dad and I got divorced and had to set custody, I had to make a choice for their best interest and go with a proposed joint custody with dad being primary care and home. My daughter during the temp custody hearing (which was held four months before the final divorce and custody and I had gotten for the time being) said she wanted to go back to school where she had been since she started. It hurt that she said that but she was worried she had made me mad. I told her that it hurt but I would be fine with it. She was 12 years old. Not that she thought dad's was a great place because he was the fun parent but she missed her friends. So it does not matter the fashion of their wanting to go to the other parent's home or why, its that they made the choice on their thoughts and reasons. I am glad to say that 13 years later we are closer than we have ever been and I have two wonderful grandkids!

Michelle - posted on 11/08/2015

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At 16 the courts will ask her where she wants to live and take it into account if you go to court to get her back.
I guess my only advice is to make sure you keep the communication open to her and let her know she is welcome back anytime she wants.
I agree that you shouldn't push her to come back to you and she's probably rebelling against your rules (you need to have them though and don't back down on them). Hopefully she will come around and realize that rules are actually good for her.

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Raye - posted on 11/11/2015

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Lynn,
If you have custody, why are you letting this happen? You're allowing the behavior at her dad's by not making any of them abide by the LAW, and so whatever happens to your baby girl is on your hands. You can't just sit back and say "poor me" and let her get away with inappropriate behavior. When she becomes a junkie and gets pregnant, I'm sure you're going to blame everyone but yourself, but you let it happen. You're not fighting for what is right for your daughter. Take it to court. If the court decides that she's okay being at her dads' then at least you tried and you won't have that guilt on your hands. But if she comes home and she "hates" you, take that as a sign you're doing the right thing. That means you're doing your best as a parent to keep her out of trouble. You have to teach her responsibility and consequences. Her wish should not be your command. Life is not going to treat her well if she expects go be given whatever she wants. She will have a much rougher road ahead of her by catering to her, than her learning a hard lesson now.

Lynn - posted on 11/11/2015

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Stephanie,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry for the obvious pain you are going through. Believe me I understand. Everything you said, was so similar to my situation. My daughter is going through a rebellious stage and it is clear that the same rules do not apply at her fathers place. She wants a tattoo, she wants to pierce her tongue, she wants to meet up with a boy she met online, all these things I have said no to. These are things, in order to keep he there, and hurt me, he will allow her to do. Today she begins a new school and because her dad got to the administration first, when I have called I feel like I am being blown off even though I have physical custody of her and he doesn't even have standard parenting time, due to his own actions and failure as a parent! She too, has said, well mom, we just don't get along, when we have always gotten along great and enjoyed each other's company. She too lives in a beautiful home with all the things she needs and most of what she wants. My new husband and her have had a very good relationship, he takes her out to practice driving and he cares very much about her. He is just as confused as I am. She hasn't spoken to me in two weeks and sometimes I read things online where moms have said it has been years! When I think about that, I feel like I could faint. But because she is just about to be 17 I don't know what I can really do. I am also extremely angry with her for doing this to me. If she calls and wants something, I am not in a place where her wish will be my command. Hurting me in this way does have some consequence and I'm not sure I will jump when she says to. I want to keep the lines of communication open but this will change our relationship for sure, which breaks my heart. I have a younger son who says the same thing, that he would never do this to me, but now I am not so sure he wont end up manipulating him as well. I feel helpless and scared most of the time and it is affecting my sleep and even though my husband is great, I'm afraid I am taking time away from him since I am so preoccupied with my daughter and my pain. We should try to keep in touch and keep each other posted with what happens.

Stephanie - posted on 11/11/2015

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Hi i'm new to this form and I understand completely what you're going through my 15-year-old daughter decided out of nowhere to go live with her dad after years of him pressuring her that things are better at his house she looked me in the eyes and told me mom I would never leave you you never have to worry about that and I believed her because we had such a bond and she's my baby my other son who's a twin went to live with his dad two years ago because he didn't like the rules that my hot new husband and myself set up but his twin brother stayed here with us and all my other son kept telling my daughter was how great it was at dads because there was no rules he got to party he was drinking smoking drugs and my daughter would go and visit maybe once a month and this last time she came home and had told her father about personal stuff that was going on in my relationship with my husband which was a topic that was off-limits when she went to her dads so as a punishment we said we take her phone away for a week and give her a flip phone just so she has something you know for emergencies she got so angry and said I'm going to live with dad she called him he came and got her I asked her why she was doing this I cried she wouldn't even look at me she wouldn't egg knowledge that I was upset and my other son was going to go to and then he said no I'm not doing this to mom this is a mistake and she left and the next day was in a new school I'm heartbroken I cry every day and to make matters worse she called me the day after she laughed and said well mom you know that our relationship has been hasn't been good for a while, and that it is so a blow to me because we had an awesome relationship and I even have her friends all calling and texting me saying what happened why did she leave you guys were so close she's not in her right mind she's making a mistake and she has even dissed her friends her best friends and not given them a reason for anything either and I've had her best friend calling me crying because she never even said goodbye to her either this was so out of the blue and out of character for her I don't know what to do so I truly understand what all you moms are going through and it happens so much just because a lot of these fathers do not want to pay child support and they would rather hurt the mother of their children by doing this then just saying you know what you need to stay with your mom and go to school but they don't. My daughter had everything here we have a home that's paid for we have three vehicles we have a inground pool she had her own TV satellite in her room she had an iPhone 6 gold top-of-the-line phone she was given money and able to do whatever she wanted we drove her wherever she needed to go and maybe that was part of the problem that we did too much and now she's at her fathers where he's renting he has one car he parties he smokes he drinks he has no rules and I don't understand what the draw is there because he was never ever a full-time father even when we were together my children have always been with me and this is a huge blow to much me and my heart also I'm ill and it could be life-threatening and this is another reason why I can't understand why it my daughter would leave like this and upset me the way she has I don't understand I'm just going to give her her things like she asked and hope she comes to her senses if not I will still love her but I'm very angry right now and I don't know how long this angers going to last if you have any comments or suggestions for me as well I appreciate it

Lynn - posted on 11/08/2015

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Thank you Evelyn. It's so great to know someone is trying to help. I feel so crappy!

Lynn - posted on 11/08/2015

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Thank you so much. Yes, I am trying to be patient but not suref telling her that "she can come home anytime she wants" is what is right. To have had her treat me so poorly and leave the way she did, and with our rules not changing, I don't know if I can honestly say that. I want her to come home, but being sorry would be at least nice. She wont even return my texts and I didn't do anything to cause this, to my knowledge, she just keeps saying this is what's best for her.

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