My 13 Year old Daughter wants out

Buserba - posted on 03/16/2015 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I left my ex-husband 8 years ago, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I left. We have two wonderful daughters together. One is 13 and the other is 9. 6 years ago, I remarried and together, we have raised these girls the best way possible. My ex-husband lost our house due to foreclosure, and then was evicted from his apartment for non-payment of rent. At that point he disappeared to live with a buddy somewhere around an hour away from us. He only came around once every 6 weeks and was NOT active in the children's lives. A year ago, he started dating and moved in with this woman (who lives 2.5 hours away from us) at which point in time he started contacting the kids again and spent every other weekend with them. I was happy, for the kid’s sake, that he was back in their lives; however, it made it VERY confusing for them. After dating this woman for 3 months, I received notification that he was suing me for FULL custody of both girls. Long story short, the agreement was made OUT of court that I was Primary guardian and it was in the best interest of the children NOT to uproot them from what has been their stable lifestyle. I've recently noticed changes in my 13 year old daughter's attitude towards me. I have been writing it off as part of adolescence. This is a tough age for her and it's a time of self-discovery, find self-identity, and definitely pushing boundaries. We have argued A LOT! There is a lot of screaming, but it's ALWAYS about the same thing. Schooling and her grades. As a mother, I am very overbearing at times, and for me education is HIGHLY important. Last week she came home from her father's and in true form, homework was NOT done. So I made her sit and do it. This led to her screaming at me, saying she hates me, she hates my husband and she wants to move with dad because it's "fun" there. What doesn't make any sense (which leads me to believe that her father and this new girlfriend are feeding "stuff" into her head) is that when she is with us, she never mentioned being so unhappy. She calls my husband "Daddy Mike" and adores him, but now she says she HATES him? We sat and talked once she calmed down. She feels that moving in with him is better because all I ever do is yell at her about her homework. I recently spoke with her biological father about the situation (because co-parenting is important and with co-parent communication is key). He told me that the 13 year old has expressed the same to him and that her reason he gave him was because I only yell at her but she NEVER told him WHY I yell. I explained EVERYTHING to him about the grades. About how I communicate with the teachers. How I set her up with tutors. How she doesn't even turn in the homework. How she doesn't retake tests she fails even when the teachers give her the options. I could tell from his expression that this was new information and she had NOT told him any of this. Despite feeling the conversation was going well-he in turn dropped the bomb. He went behind my back and already told our daughter that after she finishes the school year here, he will move her in with him and enroll her in the local Catholic school near him.
I am conflicted about the whole situation. I have been there for her for EVERYTHING. Every tear, every milestone, every illness, every parent/teacher conference, every after school activity. I’m a mom in college and I always put EVERYTHING of mine on hold till late at night so I can get my kids stuff done and spend time with them, before starting my school work. This is what a REAL parent does. He disappears for 4 years and comes back and gets to be the "fun" parent and I am the mean one. I don't want her unhappy and part of me says, let her go, because I TRULY feel she would come back, but what if she doesn't? At the same time, I feel hurt and betrayed that her father would discuss this and make arrangement with her directly without discussing this with me.
I can already foresee court papers being filed and am well prepared to fight for my daughter. In the state of PA, at the age of 13, the judge will take her opinion into consideration, and I already know what she is going to say. I am so conflicted and my husband has been incredibly supportive through the whole thing. I don't know what i would do without him!
Does anyone have advice? I am desperate for any advice anyone could offer!

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Ev - posted on 03/16/2015

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You have to understand that you said that she is of an age the judge will look at her reasons to go and might just let it happen. If the judge orders this, its just like any other court order and has to be followed as the best interest of the child. My daughter at 12 wanted to return to her old school as part of her reason for going to live with dad. The other things that set back my having the kids was that I could not fight dad for custody all the time and the fact that was most important: they did not need to be worried all the time about where they lived. I had no choice for those reasons.

It might not be her best interest, but if she gets to go, you can not stop it. And regardless of how dad is thinking on this or that he puts himself first, if she sees these that is going on she might rethink how things are really working out. I got the weekends but did not stop the rules and consequences just because I had a few days here and there. Most parents who end up on the other end of visitation seem to want to be the fun parent and buy their kids love with presents, no rules what have you so the kids will at least like them a lot and its no way to raise a kid. But if he is so self absorbed, she will see it and maybe seeing things are not what she thought they would be will wake her up.

Buserba - posted on 03/16/2015

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Evelyn, Thank you for your words of advise. I have given that so much consideration. Let her go and see how things are there. Right now she sees it as all fun and games because she is only there on weekends when there are no rules and there is only fun. Perhaps she will see it differently when she is there full time and then homework and the NOT so fun times take place in that household. I just have high doubts that her father is able to provide for her. He is a very "self centered" person and will always put his needs first and i'm afraid it will only set her back by going there. This is where I get so conflicted. Would it REALLY be the best for her?

Ev - posted on 03/16/2015

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It may come to the point of letting her go with dad. She may think the fence is greener on the other side but once she is there she may see it differently. If she is of an age at 13 to tell the judge what she wants and he or she will take it into high consideration there is not much you can do. Let her go and see how good it really is over there. I do believe that in a Catholic School, she is going to find it a lot harder than public school is and that the demands in private schools are tougher. If she is not doing homework now, not trying to make up tests that she can, or do whatever it is she needs to improve her grades, she is going to fail there quickly. Sometimes it takes getting what we want to find out its not what we thought it was nor wanted in the first place.

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