My 14 year old wants to live with his Dad

  1. hello all and happy friday!

    i'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but here goes:

    i have an issue and i need some advice: my son who is 14 wants to go live with his dad. i have 3 sons, 14, 10, and 2. the 14 and 10 year old are from my first marriage. i have been divorced for 10 years. i remarried 4 years ago. we have a great family, we all get along, we eat dinner together when i'm not at work, we go places on the weekends, and take family vacations. we are all in all a happy family.

    i got a call the other day from my son's dad saying that my son had mentioned that he wanted to live with him and go to school there starting in august. i was devastated of course! him moving would tear apart our family. i don't want him to go and i don't think it would be good for us, including his brothers (especially the 10 year old).

    his dad lives 10 hours away, so it's not like he can pop in here whenever he wants. i told him no, and he does not understand why i will not let him. he also thinks he has the right to choose. i think if we (his dad and i) give him the power to choose he will manipulate that and decide to choose other things for himself.

    i am at a loss, i am sad, hurt, confused and worried; yet i still feel the best choice is for him to stay here with us.

    any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    thank you!

    medsurg-orthorn
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   ukstudent
    Is his staying the best thing for him or the best thing for you? You have taken his wanting to go live with his father as a rejection of you, and that hurts and a very normal feeling. But please let it go.

    You need to answer some important questions. What is making a 14 year old boy want to move 10 hours away from all his friends. He should be bonding with his buddies. Does he not have close friends? Are there problems at school? Is he being bullied?

    14 is a strange time for boys. The testosterone starts flowing. Maybe he has a good relationship with his stepfather but now with thoughts of sex in his head, the idea of you and his stepfather having a sexual relationship is bothering him and making him want to leave?

    You might think you have a close relationship with him, but any parent that thinks they totally know their teenager is delusional. You found out just how much you didn't know him by finding out about him want to move from his father and not from him.

    What the best answer for him, I can not say. But you have an opportunity here to sit down and talk and listen to your son. Do NOT close down communication by a flat "No, you cant go". Find out why he wants to go. Find out whats going on in his life. And maybe, just maybe the best thing for your son, no you, not his bother, not your family is for him to spend time with his father.

    best wishes.
  4. by   singingtothewheat
    Unless your x has joint custody of your son, you are 100% in charge. My kids tried this with me. It's an easy way to manipulate. I put out a FIRM "NO". I explained to them that I was their mother, I had cared for them all these years with little to no help from their dad. I did not go any further than that. I could have told them many things that would have made my case but I decided a long time ago that I was not going to point out their dads shortcomings to them. That's something they need to become aware of on their own unless it is something I think is dangerous.
    The storm blew over pretty quickly and things are back to normal.
  5. by   azhiker96
    I would suggest talking with a family counselor.
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    It is pretty normal for kids to want to be with both parents - and boys get to an age where they want to hang with Dad.

    Personally I think mom and dad should live closer - so your son can live with dad but still be near mom and siblings.

    Would dad move closer?

    Would you move closer to dad?

    Family counseling is a good idea.

    But a divorce puts kids in a tough position. Your son needs the support of both mom and dad.

    steph
  7. by   Tweety
    You have valid reasons for saying no. He probably will not understand, but you do need to explain thoroughly why, rather than "because it's best and I say so". Make sure that you remain understanding and sympathetic to his request.

    Make sure there's nothing going on at school that he's trying to get away from.

    Kids his age long for indepence ways from the family of origin. I remember I couldn't way to be mature and out on my own.

    After that, let him stew, he'll get over it. Disappointment and learning we can't get our own way is part of growing up. Keep the lines of communication open.

    Is dad willing to take him for long weekends, holidays or part of the summer? He might find that the grass isn't greener.

    Counseling and moving dad closer is overkill, in my opinion, unless he starts to rebel in destructive ways. All families go through drama and make it through without counseling at every little problem.
  8. by   Jolie
    I respectfully disagree with Tweety.

    I can only begin to imagine how heartbreaking it must be to realize that one's child would prefer to live with the other parent, especially after a divorce and years of being the primary, live-in caregiver.

    But this boy is no longer a child, and his decision really has little to do with his mother. He is a young man, and it is perfectly natural at his age to prefer to live with his biological dad. He has had the nurturing of his mom. Now he needs the role-modeling and companionship of his father to continue his growth and development. And apparently, despite having a step-dad in his life, he prefers the company of his biological dad. Unless there is evidence of an unsound reason for his request, I think it should be given every consideration.

    No doubt it will be difficult, but with counseling and frank conversations, it will be possible to determine his motivation for this request. If he is asking for the "right" reasons, and not simply to escape unhappiness about school, friends, etc., then I hope his parents will work cooperatively to make it happen.

    Maybe that will mean moving closer to each other. I don't think that's overkill. Afterall, the young man likely had absolutely no say in the dissolution of his biological family or the move that led his parents so far from each other. The adults made decisions at that time that other priorities were more important than keeping family members geographically close. And as cold as it may sound, I don't believe that it is this young man's responsibility to maintain cohesiveness in his blended family or be a support for his younger brother. Those are the responsibilities of the adults, not the adolescent.

    I'm sorry for your pain. I can't imagine having a child express a desire to live elsewhere. I hope you are able to reach a solution that is good for all.
  9. by   Tweety
    Good points Jolie, and the op can consider both points of view as she knows her family and there's not just one son to consider but the entire family.

    I hope I didn't come across as not realizing what a heartbreaking situation it is.

    I'm only an objective observer in life as I have no kids and my parents are still married 53 years.
  10. by   POTR
    Sometimes boys just need their Dads.

    Sometimes there are things going on that Moms aren't supposed to know about.

    Sometimes things aren't as rosy as we wish them to be, and we don't see how or what is affecting others.

    Maybe some Mom and 1st Son alone time is required. You two only. Let him know you love him more than anything else in the world. And let him know he can tell you anything without you judging him. Mom's aren't supposed to be exposed to some things, because Mom's are idealized. Let him know that you can take whatever is out there, and tell him you want to know what is on his mind and what his worries are.

    Best Wishes.
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    Unfortunately, your son is at an age when he needs a strong and yet compassionate MALE influence. He's reached a time when things happen that guys just don't tell their Moms about........like nocturnal emissions.......the overwhelming need to spend hours with a Hustler magazine.......the weird stuff that can happen when a guy spends the night at his best friend's house.

    I don't know how well your current husband relates to your son, but I'm betting there are a lot of legitimate reasons why your son wants to live with his dad.....and unless there's a compelling reason not to allow it, you probably should bite the bullet and let him. And I don't want to sound harsh, but this really isn't about what's best for you or your other children; it's about HIM and unmet needs.

    Almost all younger adolescents (boys as well as girls) get restless and edgy around this age, and they fantasize about living someplace else. I know I did, and all four of my kids went through the same thing, yet we all came from intact homes. It stands to reason that a child of divorce would experience this restlessness even more because there is an absent parent. Besides, isn't it what we don't have that intrigues us?

    I know this is a gut-wrenching decision to make; even though I've never experienced divorce and remarriage, I have raised four children to adulthood and seen them go through some pretty tough stages. Right now I'm facing the fact that my 19-year-old son is about to leave us, and he's doing it by marrying a girl who is controlling, narcissistic, clingy, paranoid, manipulative, and did I mention controlling? They got engaged last fall, and while the wedding is still a year away, I know with a sinking heart that he is going to go through with it......no matter what it costs him in the end. He doesn't love her enough to make a marriage, but he's made a promise and he's too darned loyal not to honor it.

    So he's going to have to experience it. He won't learn any other way. His friends and family can talk, beg, advise, threaten all we want, but he's not going to internalize the lessons here until he's actually lived with the consequences of his decision. It's the same with your boy---he will be restless, moody, and quite possibly very angry if he's not allowed to find out for himself whether living with his father is all it's cracked up to be.

    I'm sure you're thinking "but what if he DOES stay with his dad?" Sad to say, that's a chance you may have to take, and the only thing you can do at that point is accept the situation. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you; but you don't want him to resent you either, and he will if you don't set him free to get to know his dad, just as my son (who has worshiped the ground I walk on all his life) was starting to resent me the more I tried to caution him against this marriage.

    I also hate to tell you, but this is the EASY part of child-rearing, as hard as it may be to believe. They grow up, hit that 18th birthday, and suddenly they're making all kinds of grownup decisions, many of which leave a lot to be desired, and guess what---you no longer have control over what they do! So you worry about them more than ever because you can't protect them......and of course, they really have to struggle through those first few years of adulthood because Mom and Dad just know they can't possibly be old enough (and smart enough) not to make a big fat mess of their lives.

    You're just getting your feet wet on this one. Try to relax a little, let your son have a bit of freedom to find out if living with his father is really what he wants, and realize that this, too, shall pass.
  12. by   Jolie
    No, Tweety. Not at all.

    I hope I didn't come off as insensitive to Mom's heartbreak. I realize that divorce is sometimes necessary, and have no idea why it occured or why the parents have moved so far from each other. The reasons may be very valid.

    But to the kids, the reasons usually don't matter.
  13. by   SharonH, RN
    I fully agree with Jolie. While I understand your concerns and feelings....especially about breaking up the siblings....I do think it is really important that you consider your son's feelings. I'm always disappointed when mothers don't do everything possible to facilitate closeness between fathers and their children, and I believe that many mothers underestimate how important it is for kids to have their father in their life, especially if he is willing and available. That's a really important relationship and by preventing your son from living with his Dad at this time in his life, it can hurt their relationship and your relationship with your son.

    Your son may have a romanticized idea about what it would be like to live with his Dad and no doubt after the initial honeymoon period, there will be some friction especially at his age. I would only encourage you to explain to your son that if he arrives and he doesn't like it, he has to stick it out for the entire school year. Again, this is important for their relationship as they will have to learn to love and appreciate each other within the framework of daily life versus the "visit".

    Good luck.
  14. by   Juryizout
    Hi,
    Going through the same thing myself. My then 14 year old moved 4 hours away to live with dad. Almost the same set of circumstances. I've had my son for 14 years, and now he wants to live with dad. Some of it is getting away from me and the rules. My ex has been feeding him information about "how he would do things differently". It's easy to arm chair quarterback when you don't have a stake in what's happening with your kid. I am currently awaiting instructions on what it will take to give dad custody so he can go to school down there.

    I feel your pain. And I wish I knew what to tell you. Other than pray and leave it in God's hands, I'm certain I could not advise you.

    But I will pray. And if you ever want or need to talk, the door is open.

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