When we separated three years ago, my ex left the area with her new partner and my two youngest children. My eldest was asked by her whether he wanted to go with her or stay with her mum. He chose to stay with her mum, who lives about 7 miles from his school. This was mainly because i work away from home 4 days a week, but also because his mum and I had different views on discipline and as a consequence he developed an anger/dislike towards me.
For the first 18 months i was living in a 1 bed flat and the kids, when they visited, slept on blow up mattresses. I then rented a two bed flat so they had their own space. It''s worth mentioning that the eldest was allowed to distance himself from his two younger siblings who he views as childish (he is 16 now, they are are 13 and 12), so it was rate for all to stay together. In fact, it was rare for the eldest to stay at all.
Jump forward another 2 years, and my new partner and i rented a new 3 bed house this year, after consulting the eldest, who was still adamant he did not want anything to do with me (at least as far as living with me was concerned). She has a daughter of her own so we had one bedroom for visits.
Something changed in the last couple of weeks. Number 1 son, coming up to leaving school, has started to socialise a lot more and has a new girlfriend who lives a few hundred yards from my house. He has stayed with us every night for nearly a fortnight and has announced that he is thinking of moving in with us. I am overjoyed, because although it was her choice to move away with her new partner, it always felt like it was me that had abandoned my eldest.
Now though i have another problem:
My eldest - not unnaturally - wants the bedroom to be his entirely, even when he is not here.
And my other two are strongly objecting to staying overnight if they have to sleep on put up beds in the lounge.
We are only 2 months into a 12 month lease and so moving to a 4 bed house is not an option even if we could afford it.
Any views on what the "right" thing to do is? I really don''t want to damage the relationship i have with my younger two, who i only see 2 nights a fortnight anyway. But neither do i want to lose the progress made with my 16 year old.
I think you need to be upfront with your children.
Say you would love to have them all stay but at the current time there is little you can do about the bedroom issue. Is there a chance after 10 months you could look for a bigger property?
If so, request that they persevere with the situation for a few more months and that everyone needs to be flexible. It would be unfair to reserve the eldests room when he is not even there. The younger two may also feel snubbed that big brother can appear and usurp them out of a room!
Be careful how you deal with things, keeping 3 teenagers happy is far from easy, but they need to understand the situation and work with you and the current accommodation that you have.