Difficult 15 year old

Geraldine - posted on 07/18/2014 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 15 year old decided 10 days before vacation not to go. I'm really upset as this vacation was planned, payed for and everyone was going until Two weeks ago. My son decided he wants to stay at home with his dad, my ex to hang with friends, work with his dad and be home. I told him that the consequence would be to pay half his ticket as it was non-refundable. My ex says if I go through with it that my son will be even more pissed off and wreck our relationship. However, I feel that he should have a consequence for refusing to go and making me pay for a ticket that he could still use.. What should I do?

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Teresa - posted on 07/21/2014

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Last I heard vacations were pleasure-filled get-aways to relieve stress. If this is going to cause a rift in your relationship with him, I would not force him. Being in a divorced family his hard enough on kids, coming from one myself. If he said he wanted to go and that's why you bought him the ticket, then I agree with consequences. If you bought the ticket under assumption that he would want to go, then no. Consequences being what you decide. As a mom, I know your ultimate goal is to give your child love and understanding in such a difficult age under such circumstances. What will be the best to keep your relationship stress-free but still retain respect as a parent. With kids that age, in that situation, it's hard, but I think you really know the right thing to do. Good luck.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/19/2014

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Does he not understand teh conesquences of his decisions?

He wanted to be included, you did so, therefore, he needs to go on the trip. He committed to it.

Either that, or he can pay his fare back to you in reasonable installments. Either of my kids would, if they'd been so inconsiderate as to pull this.

Geraldine - posted on 07/19/2014

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Thanks Chet, you have raised some good points and definitely food for thought. The trip was planned with my sons knowledge and his consent, in fact he was very excited to go and then abruptly changed his mind.
As to your second point, I just don't know. In the past year or two my son has expressed a bigger interest in spending more time at his dads then with me. At first it really hurt the I got use to it and accepted it. He has always gone on our family trips willingly.
As to your third point, the money is spent and I can't get it back but I feel that he should have a consequence for his actions. Perhaps I need to rethink what that should be.
The last part is hard for me. My ex and his partner have had huge issues with her first two children, so much that they don't live or speak to her anymore. My ex states that he has learned with teenagers to give them space and let them be. I can agree with part of this but I feel there should be a consequence for his actions. At this time he won't come see me, barely speaks to me and is avoiding me. My ex supports this actions as he knows that this devastates me and hurts me.
My ex has huge issues with our daughter and I support him by helping our daughter see that keeping a relationtionship with her father is important. My ex doesn't do this with our son.

Chet - posted on 07/18/2014

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It depends...

1. Did you ask your son if he wanted to go on the trip, or did you just assume that he was going? Did you tell him in advance of purchasing the ticket that once it was bought he couldn't back out? If he expressly said that he wanted to go, and that he wouldn't back out, I would be much more likely to insist he pay for the ticket.

2. Why do you think your son decided not to go? I know you said that he wants to work and hang out with his friends, but why is that? Does he need the money? Does he not get to see his friends often? Is the trip something he really won't enjoy? Were you and your son having issues before this, and not wanting to go on the family trip is a symptom of some larger problem?

3. Do you think your ex is right about your relationship with your son? Is making him pay you the cost of the ticket likely to drive a wedge between you? Because if it's a legitimate risk then you have to ask yourself if the damage to the relationship is worth the cost of the ticket. I'm not saying it's unreasonable to ask for the money, but you should be prepared for the fallout from doing that. Where part of that fall out could be your losing the opportunity to positively influence your son for the weeks or months it takes this to blow over.

4. What are you trying to accomplish by having your son pay you for half the ticket? The money is already spent whether he goes on the trip or not. By him not going you're saving money on other trip costs like meals, admission to attractions, accommodations, etc. And if this isn't about the money, if it's about you being hurt that your son chose not to spend time with the family, or about your son lacking a sense of obligation to follow through on social commitments, then don't make it about the money. Don't make him think you can hurt somebody's feelings, or not follow through on a promise, and then send a cheque to make things right.

5. It sounds like your ex supports your son's decision to not go. Why is that?

Jenna - posted on 07/18/2014

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thats okay , if you feel strongly that he should have a consequence then he should have one , your his mother and what you say goes .
he might not see or understand that tough love is sometimes a good thing straight away but in time he will . it is something he needs to learn

good luck

Geraldine - posted on 07/18/2014

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Thank you, I feel strongly that he should have a consequence. I just hope he sees and understands that tough love is sometimes a good thing.

Jenna - posted on 07/18/2014

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if it was my son i would make him pay for the ticket even if it did wreak the relationship . like you said he should have a consequence for decideing not to go . if he did not want to go he should of told you before you brought the ticket but he did not and because of that i think he should have to pay half his ticket or it is not fair on you . > just my option but you should follow your heart

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