Hi, my second question to Wikivorce in ten minutes!
Husband and I separated, soon to divorce. Two sons, 20 (away at uni) and just 17 (school), so no custody issues as such, as we live very close to each other and the school. My youngest son comes and goes during week and we have a flexible arrangement for taking parental responsibility alternate weekends. Trouble is, my husband works nights a lot (musician) and thinks it''s ok to leave son to his own devices during these - this can be 4/5 gigs over a weekend, often back in early hours (which means long sleep in next day)and often long-distance ie he''s not around to supervise, monitor or just talk to my son.
He can be very lax about letting me know his schedule so it''s really difficult to plan around the times he''s away or at home.
When this happens my son will very often come round to me for meals/general support, which is always lovely but means that I feel tied about making any arrangements for myself that are not either at home or local, let alone plan a holiday. He''s handling our divorce well but was very depressed a year ago, also he''s 17 with a world to conquer, and he needs keeping an eye on (also needs to know that an eye is being kept on him)for obvious reasons.
I feel strongly that both he and I need to know he has general access to a responsible parent all the time, rather than having to phone me for eg, to ask what he should eat or tell me that he can''t do his homework etc or because he just needs someone to be there to chat. I''m happy that he can ask me for help but by the time he''s phoned me at these times it''s already become a negative state of affairs for him, which I then have to troubleshoot.
mediation doesn''t help matters because, if we can''t agree, the courts will ask my son what he wants and the one thing he''s said he doesn''t want is precisely that. I have asked nicely and also not-so-nicely for my husband to let me know when he won''t be there but mostly he won''t.
Any ideas out there? Am I being too anxious about my son? Do I just have to accept that, because of this, I can''t start my own life for a year or so?
I have a 17 year old very similar to your son but he lives with me full-time. I also have 15 year old. Both of them really need to have a parent available when they need one, and their father takes no responsibility at all for this.
Basically, I work around them much of the time. I expect them to tell me when they are going to be out, and if I''m really lucky they are both out at the same time so I can do my own thing. If I am going to be out myself, I make sure that they both know this and also that they both know what food there is for them to eat. They are both able to heat up pre-prepared supermarket meals but not a lot more. I do work full-time so they know I''m not really available during the day, but as far as possible I try to be around when they need me at evenings and weekends.
I think it''s natural to be anxious about a child who has had a period of depression. I also think probably he needs to be allowed to become independent at his own pace, so if he needs you to still be available for him most of the time then you probably will have to be.
I suspect that the reality for you is that you will have to take responsibility for your son every weekend, even if he is not officially with you. This is clearly what is happening so far, anyway. It''s a pain but it won''t be for much longer so I would grit your teeth and go with it. Eventually your son may decide that he would rather stay with his dad when his dad is actually going to be in, rather than alternate weekends. Given the nature of his father''s work it would probably be more sensible to do that anyway, really.
thanks for that, I agree and am thankful to have some endorsement from one who has experience. I''d rather be with my son than not but, frankly, just don''t like being controlled by ex husband. Will have to grow up, grin and bear it. Best wishes to you too,