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request for parenting advice

Braveyogi posted 9/27/2020 09:08 AM

hi all,
it's been a long time since I've been on this forum. Overall things are much better since my D in 2017, moving on and the trauma/pain has mostly subsided. Building a life for myself with great friends and family. However, I'm dealing with a situation with my 12-year-old son and wanted to hear from this group.

In 2016, my now XH moved 1000 miles away with OW, her three kids, got married, and they had two more kids of their own. He was the stereotypical Disney dad - a workaholic who took the kids on fun adventures when they were down there over the summer/school breaks. For years my son was traumatized at his dad's departure - he was depressed, threatened self harm/suicide multiple times, and after multiple violent acting out he was enrolled in an intensive treatment program last spring. Since then he's been doing better, no rages, no calls to the police, and he is passing school and has some good friends in the neighborhood.

Lately, he's been talking with his dad about moving down to where they are and simultaneously growing more distant with me. I make an effort for 1 on 1 time several times a week, but truly I cannot compare to his dad's set up - they have a 50 acre horse farm, dozens of animals and pets, 5 kids, many adults he can hang out with, a pool, trampoline, 4x4s he can drive, my X is teaching my son how to drive his manual Camaro, bringing him for helicopter lessons (hello? what happened to soccer and little league?!). I feel scared about losing my son to this world. I've tried to be a force of consistency, stability, love and kindness esp after his dad's departure and now feel roundly unwanted by him. Help please! I have always been close with my son and feel the (possibly normal tween needs?) pull away from mom and his desire to be close to his dad. I know I have blinders on - resentment, jealousy, fear to name a few. Help me see this clearly. What would you do in this situation?

Anna123 posted 9/27/2020 09:56 AM

I understand. I am no expert (my son was 12 at divorce, now just turned 17). What I do know, is boys that age crave connection with their father and often turn from their mother somewhat compared to the dependence leading up to that age. Unfortunately turning more to dad isn't happening in the same home AND he has experienced an abandonment and the threat of a brand new family for dad as shown in his behavior difficulties up until now.

Another thing I know. They always love a loving Mom. Surface love Dad and his toys are no match as time moves forward and the shine wears off.

I can't speak to how this plays out legally and time-share wise but your ex is out of line speaking to your son about this. Legally you have the upper hand until your son is old enough to chose but ex is making you the bad guy if you fight it. I hope someone who dealt with this exact situation can help you.

My situation is similar in that the ex offers a very plush life-style, compared to me. My wonderful son is so polite with me, happy to come home and happy to visit dad, but it is slightly obvious to me he prefers being with dad and his new wife now over me in the past couple of years. He loves both of us and Dads life-style (over-spending on things) didn't negate his respect of me. I know this doesn't answer your question of how to deal with your situation but I hope it helps as far as knowing the shiny things didn't make my son love me less. One thing I do with him, is give him control of the TV in the evening and watch Youtube videos of things he is interested in. (which are really interesting fortunately). It is a helpful way of connecting and built into our home-life.

Your ex is a selfish freaking bastard moving so far away like that. If I were in your situation personally, I may allow my son to visit in the summers and periodically when Dad pays to fly him up and back for short periods of time. No way full time until he is legally old enough to decide, but that's just me. If Dad is offering to see son, then it is important to allow it, but within reason. Someone may change my mind on that though who has more experience with this.

I am so sorry you are put in this position.

Chrysalis123 posted 9/27/2020 11:53 AM

I have daughters. Experienced something similar. What I learned was teens are egocentric, selfish, and can be manipulative.

They are not fully grown in any way. And will make lots of errors due to immaturity.

Shame on your ex for the deliberate alienation attempt. Maybe your best bet is working through your ex with lawyers or the courts.

What does your Separation Agreement specify about parenting time, schooling and living arrangements?

If Dad is offering to see son, then it is important to allow it, but within reason.
According to the SA.

A good therapist might be helpful, if your teen will participate.

The SA cannot be changed without going through the court. This will be a long process.

The1stWife posted 9/28/2020 06:28 AM

Obviously the XH has $. It shows.

The XH May not be purposefully manipulativeó itís just his lifestyle is more fun and appealing. To any kid.

Would he even be welcome to live there? If not then your son has no options. But the toys and lifestyle are a big attraction. And something you will always be up against. Sad to say.

EvenKeel posted 9/28/2020 08:23 AM

Ugh - I was always waiting for my DS to ask for this during his teen years.

It is an awful feeling. If my ex was a better person, my stance would have been different. I would have still felt bad but would have been more willing.

It sounds like your DS has been through more than his share of challenges already. When discussing, I would make sure he realized how far he has come and how much better he is doing through this program.

You have a double whammy here because your DS is coming to the age where many just close themselves in their own bedroom for the next six years so the distance you are feeling could have zilch to do with his father.

Your DS is young but he is old enough that he will realize things are just things after awhile. Such all that stuff is mega fun IF your emotionally and mentally happy there. He may be - or he may not.

Like others said, I would not enter into the manipulation game that teens will try.

I would let him know you want him with you, you feel it is a good fit for him right now but I would also let him go if he feels that is what he needs.

I had prepared myself to do that with my DS at that age.

It is so tough mama. Hugs!

barcher144 posted 9/28/2020 08:30 AM

As a putative Disney dad, my first response is that it's great that your son has a great time when he visits there.

As someone who has spent way too much time dealing with my divorce, I think that your legal situation is pretty damn strong. It's difficult to convince courts that it is a good idea for a child to move a 1000 miles away to live with another parent. So, you have that going for you, which is nice.

The next problem is that your child is getting old enough that the court will take his wishes more seriously.

As a parent, I suggest that you have a legitimate conversation with your child. Show him legitimate pros and cons of the situation. Do not bash your ex. Do what is best for your son. Tell him that you'll support him no matter what.

(look at this way, he's 12! he might not (yet) realize that he won't get to see you everyday anymore)

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