How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?

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Nohigherjoy

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How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« on: February 10, 2020, 02:37:27 AM »
Ex is bpd and alcoholic and a sex addict (slept with prostitutes, etc)... no recovery programs for either addiction. My 16-yo son has proclaimed Dadís house is easier and heíd like to live there his senior year. Step-mom of 2 years is there after work hours, but Dad travels 5 days a week. Divorce decree says I can withhold visits if I feel children are in danger of Dadís alcoholism. He still drinks around kids even tho heís promised multiple times not to. Itís now become an issue of living with my son while he makes our home and lives miserable or risk him having wayyy too much freedom and little supervision at Ex home. I mean, do I really have a choice if son can pack his own bags and drive himself to Dadís? Heís disrespectful to me and argumentative much of the time. Heís straight A student at a very academically challenging private school and works 20 hours a week at a retirement home. So, heís a good kid overall, but difficult to live with because he wants to be the adult instead of me parenting him. We still have rules here. Anyway, any encouragement or advice welcome.

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notrightinthehead

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2020, 04:48:50 AM »
I can't tell you what to do - it is solely your decision as you will have to bear the consequences of whatever decision you make. However, my parenting style was such, that I allowed my 16 year old children to make such decisions. I tried to keep a close eye on their academic performance, which was difficult as the school treated them like adults and was a bit reluctant to give the parents more  than a half yearly report. I became very active when I realized that the school performance of my daughter suffered. She used her freedom to party and  lost interest in school. In the long run, I believe that giving her the reins made her into a responsible and mature adult.
Your son seems to be responsible and mature already. Maybe the chaos he will experience at your h's home will allow him to experience something he cannot learn at your house. Or maybe he has a care taker nature and will try to fix dad.
Whatever you decide, keep the big picture in mind. You want a good relationship with your son and you want him to grow up and become a good man.l
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.  Nelson Mandela

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Nohigherjoy

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2020, 09:41:58 AM »
Thank you for your wisdom!!!

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SparkStillLit

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 09:52:02 AM »
I'm understanding son has his own transportation and won't be relying on sketchy Dad for anything?
We let our DD have as much freedom and control as possible (always a fight with a PD in the house, but that's aside). I think it ended out ok, you're at the point where you have to trust your parenting and upbringing to this point and....let them make their own decisions.
If it's a terrible decision he still has you to fall back to for help. Better he learn this now, than as an adult when you can't be as helpful. If grades and jobs start failing, not such a good decision. If he's motivated that way, he'll notice and want out of the mess he's landed in.

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Penny Lane

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2020, 12:53:44 PM »
Nohigherjoy,
I agree with the others and I would add that we've seen examples on this board of older children going to live with the PD and realizing how bad things are. Ultimately in some cases it can be a good thing where they really SEE their PD parent. But, this takes a loooong time, like a year or more, and in the meantime it can be agonizing. It also doesn't ALWAYS work, sometimes the kids get sucked in to the PD world. Very scary stuff. I would venture to say the more you fight it, the more likely he is to side with his dad. And the more you have an attitude of "you can stay with your dad but know you always have a home here" the more willing he will be to come back.

All that being said ... I would have a very hard time coming around to that with my own kids (or stepkids, in my case). It would feel like throwing them to the wolves. It's an unbelievably hard decision for you to make, and there are no good answers. I'm sorry you're facing this and I think whatever you decide to do will be the right thing.

I agree with notright, that the big picture is that your son needs to maintain a good relationship with you. He might not know it yet, but that is so important for him and his dad is trying to actively disrupt that. If you let him go, what are the chances of you being able to maintain a good relationship? What about if you stay?

If you have a therapist, maybe that person can help you try to separate your feelings about it from what you think is going to be best for your son in the long run.

I'm sorry you're facing this.

 :bighug:

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athene1399

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2020, 10:35:28 AM »
Something similar happened with SD her senior year of high school. It's sucks because you know it's probably not a good idea, but I think letting them make their own mistakes at that age helps them to mature faster. It is incredible frustrating when they decide this though. It feels like you're always being punished for being the better/stable parent.

Maybe if you're afraid of the consequences of dad's drinking, come up with a plan with your son what he can do if he thinks dad has drank too much. Like make sure he knows not to get in a car with him, where he can go if he has to leave, etc. Maybe also let him know you don't want him to leave, but want to allow him to make his own choices about this (if you choose to let him go).

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 06:25:44 AM »
I'm currently a step ahead of you in this, Nohigherjoy. Although my ds is only 13.

I'm wondering if there are legal steps you have to take in order for your ds to live with his dad. Do you have to go to court? Do you need to get a family psychological assessment to present to court?  Can you/should you change the orders to be interim ones which can be revisited at a later date by the court?

Or can you just ignore any current orders and come to an agreement with the pd without going to court?  Is that worth the risk?

My ds13 has just started living with his uNPD dad and uNPD smum.  It was his choice and I allowed it to protect the good relationship I have with him.

It was a long drawn out, agonising  decision.

I too feel like I've thrown him to the wolves.  I'm utterly devasted and I miss him terribly. (He's lived with me all of his life.)

I hate the fact that so far the pds are managing to maintain the mask.  They have to, as we are to revisit the decision later this year.  So far, ds still thinks they're the bees' knees.

I just have to ride it out.

I think you have other children at home? Do they get along with ds or would they be happier if he was no longer living with them?  That's another consideration.

I feel for you.  It sounds as though you've done a great job of raising him though, despite all the pd obstacles.  We can only trust that the job we've done is enough.

Do let us know how it all transpires.

AOD

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Nohigherjoy

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Re: How to handle teenager wanting to live with dad?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2020, 07:43:47 PM »
No. We donít have to go to court. I have full custody and son is almost 17 and needs to be able to make his own choices at this point... yes, Iíve come to terms with it since my original post. He can drive himself there and thereís really nothing I can do at this point other than tell him to call me if he feels unsafe. He will be here at my house every other weekend (which he works almost the entirety) and when his dad and stepmom are out of town. He will be living mostly with his step-mom since his dad travels most weeknights, which does hurt my heart. Im so frustrated with my sonís disrespect and attitude towards me and his siblings. I need a major break from him before I have a breakdown myself.