Angry teen daughter wants to run away with her dad to another state

Debi - posted on 03/06/2015 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Please, I need advice. My ex got a promotion and accepted a job in NJ, which moves him (and his wife and stepson) out of state and away from my daughter (16). He told me, however, that my daughter wants to move with him, and I need to "listen to what she wants." I have primary custody, so he cannot just take her. My daughter is having wild teenage behavior, from being angry one minute, to loving me the next, to hating me the minute after, to being sweet all over again. Her hormones are raging and she's all over the page. I've consulted a counselor who told me her behavior is normal, but it's tearing me apart and not easy to deal with. Now, she is angry that I told her I'm against her moving to NJ. In fact, her father is about to be served with a petition to modify our parenting plan, which is going to cause an uproar...possibly a hearing where a judge makes the final decision. Her dad is filling her head with the excitement of living close to New York and Broadway. Seemingly, moving to NJ sounds great for a child who wants to be in theater (she currently attends a performing arts high school) to be close to New York; however, the school her father proposes does not offer a performing arts program. He’s also told her that she can go on auditions and that there is a program where she can intern on Broadway. I looked into his claims and the internship (when she's eligible) is a 1-hour plus drive. In addition, candidates must be a senior in high school (she’s a sophomore) or college students to quality, and must be accepted to the program after writing an essay. I am sick over the thought of going to court and possibly losing her…but I feel I’m losing her anyway because she is so angry. I’m not sure what my question is, but I am reaching out for advice/help. I am happy to answer questions and provide more detail, if interested.

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Virginia - posted on 03/11/2015

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Great Job!!!!! I am so happy and do not even no you but mom you made the best move ever. Be strong and please step back a little not to much but let her breath. Please do not shed a tear as you see her go. She will be in good hands a girls first love is her daddy's love. Please do not feel bad now it is your turn to live your dream and not worry about her going out the window to meet a boy. Take care and good luck to you

Virginia - posted on 03/11/2015

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Let her go, your door will always be open to her if things do no work out. I understand how you feel but mothers have to let go at one point.

Ev - posted on 03/07/2015

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I am glad that you want what is best for your daughter and not use her as a pawn like a lot of others would do. Take care and hope it works out for you.

Debi - posted on 03/07/2015

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Thank you again, ladies! I had a talk with my daughter this morning and gave her her power back. I told her I would support her if that's what she truly wants. She is seeing a counselor who is helping guide her for all the right reasons. I truly want what's in her best interest, so I am trying to be the best mom possible, without being selfish.

Mommabird - posted on 03/07/2015

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Wanted to add...were not taking dads side by suggesting letting her go. Just that the fact she is 16 not 10 is a big factor. If she's had Mom through puberty, boys, and most teen scenarios...see how dad handles the rest. Honestly...he doesn't sound like a bad father but he probably isn't prepared for questions to come before she's an adult. She will probably still call you for those talks. Like we've all said...her expectations may not be met and she will rethink things. Unless she ends up developing a better bond with her dad and stay...and that wouldn't be a bad thing either. Bottom line, let her know her feelings and needs are important so if she decides to go just make sure she knows she can call you anytime for Anything and you'll be there for her. Support support support...that's all she wants. Be strong and stay positive...try talking about the pros and cons with her. You never know..she might change her mind altogether on her own :)

Virginia - posted on 03/07/2015

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Dear Debi, Let her go with her father she will be back the grass always looks green on the other side. You will hurt but put a smile on your face and keep it moving she will always be your daughter,

Ev - posted on 03/07/2015

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Debi,

Again, in most states she is of an age the judge will look at her request and even take it into consideration heavily. I am just saying. My ex husband was not the best at parenting either and not the "fun parent" as you describe her father to be. His ideas of being a parent were rather strange as he became a different person over night. My kids begged him to spend time with them alone after he got married to the second wife of his. He would never do it. He seemed to take his step kids' word to our kids' word all the time and our kids took the brunt of what came out of it all the time.

I can understand your not wanting her to go and that you struggle with it. I struggled with this as well but I had to make a choice of letting him fight me every few months in court or let them live with dad to stop that. So, let it go to court. Let it play out. The judge might not allow it but I have to say at this point, and even in another year when she is 17, she is going to want to do this anyhow. Instead of fighting it, you might have to let her go and see that maybe its not as good as she thinks its going to be and then will want to come home. Once she finds out she has to be a lot older or in a certain grade for that internship, she is not going to be happy with that. Once she learns there is not a school she can get into the acting and performing arts like she is there at your area of residence she may not be happy with that and want to return. I would let her try it. See what its like. Just because dad is painting it to look so good, does not mean she is going to find its good.

As the parent it is our job to make the right choices for our kids. But at some age they are going to need to start making some choices (in late teens) and have to learn from their mistakes. It may not be something such as this as there are legal issues to contend with here but she is going to come across choices she is going to make and you may not find out until later and she is going to have to deal with how it turns out.

My question is this: Is it her best interest you are thinking of or your feelings on how he runs his home?

Debi - posted on 03/06/2015

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Thank you for your replies, ladies. No, her dad is not a bad father, he's always been "Disney Dad." She gets everything money can buy. He hasn't been the "parent," so (in her best interest) I struggle with letting her go.

Ev - posted on 03/06/2015

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I am going to add a few things to this:

1) She is 16 years old. She can tell the judge what she wants and he will more than likely grant it to her. Usually after they get into their older teens, a judge is more than willing to decide in her favor.
2) You are not loosing her. I do not know where that comes from. She is still your child and you still love her. It would not hurt for her to live with dad. Kids do this all the time, switch homes and it never seems to make it rougher or harder on the parents expect they miss the presence of their child.
3) As Mommabird has said if you make it a hard time of going through this she will come to resent you.
4) This is not about you and your feelings of her father or how his life is being lived. He does not seem from your post to be a danger to her welfare.
5) Did you ever think that they might want to have a bit more time together. I wish I had more time with my kids the way my situation worked out but you know what, even though dad was primary in joint custody sitaution, I still had my kids, not in person, but in my mind and heart. We were closer than ever. And still are.

Its hard to have to let go in this case or even in the one I had where I had to chose to fight him for custody or to let them go. I let them go for a couple of reasons: a) so they would have the stable peace of mind that they were in one house with one parent and did not have to worry and be made pawns of between mom and dad, and b) my daughter wanted to go back to her old school to finish her education and be with her friends. At 12, the judge did take it into consideration but also would have more than likely let her have it. But I let them go. I did not want to and it was the saddest and hardest part of my life. Yes, its a sacrifice but it was worth it in the end. Mom--this is about her not you. She might get there and find that its not as cool as she thinks its going to be and may end up wanting to come back home. Sometimes when kids think that the grass is greener on the other side of said fence, they find its not quite so green that its more brown.

Mommabird - posted on 03/06/2015

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That's a tough one! She is 16 so her choice can be heard by the judge and can be considered. But a judge still has to hear reasonable explanations for wanting to go. I know for a fact that just because you have rules or youre too strict or she just wants to be close to NY are NOT good enough for a judge. If you can physically and financially take care of her , have ground rules and morals for her, and you have her best interest at heart.you shouldn't have anything to worry about. On the other hand...if you fight for her to stay with you there's the possibility she will retaliate and resent you. So be prepared and have a plan ready. If her father has been a good father to her and you know she is safe when she's with him what argument would you have in court besides you not wanting her to be in another state? A judge might ask. I would have a nice calm mother daughter talk and weigh the pros and cons with each other...remind her what pros there are if she stays. Maybe that could change her mind..?

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