am having some problems and don''t know if it''s just because he''s a teenager.
I have my 2 sons for 6 nights out of 14. On each alternate weekend we stay at my girlfriends. She has a son and daughter the same ages as my 2 and they are all good friends.(they''ve known each other since birth).
Recently my oldest son (14) has been saying he doesn''t want to stay with me and then he says he won''t stay at my girlfriends. I''ve sat down and spoken to him and asked him to tell me what''s up. He mentioned a few things all of which were easily solveable. We sorted everything out and he said he was sorry for causing me any trouble but he was just being a teenager!
One of his issues was that I didn''t spend any time with him. I told him that I thought he''d prefer to be with his pals rather than his Dad and that I was always there whenever he wanted to do anything. He even agreed with this and said that he probably did prefer to be out and about with his friends. He realised that I gave him lifts to wherever he wanted to be and I told him (jokingly) that most parents of teenagers are basically a taxi service.
He mentioned that he''d love to play golf again and we arranged to play over this weekend. He plays football each Saturday and Sunday morning so I said we could play either afternoon, whichever one was best for him. On Saturday morning he arranged to meet some school friends and his girlfriend who live about 30mins drive away. I, of course, took him over and picked him up. He had a great time and was chatty and happy on the drive back. He said he was still looking forwards to playing golf on Sunday (yesterday) afternoon.
We got back from football yesterday and he asked if I''d mind if we didn''t play golf as he wanted to meet some more of his friends. I reminded him that it was him who had wanted to play and that whilst I was disappointed that we weren''t going to play, I really didn''t have a problem as long as he was happy. I gave him a lift to his friends house just after 2 yesterday. He was in great spirits when he got out the car and asked what time he had to be back. I asked if 5.30ish was ok and he said that was fine.
Just after 4pm I got a garbled voicemail from him which I couldn''t understand. I was already fearing the worst. I called him back and he informed me that he wasn''t coming back for dinner as he was going to have dinner at my ex-wifes. I told him that I was sorry but it wasn''t an option as we''d already prepared dinner. He was adament that he wasn''t coming back. I drove down to where he was and told him he was coming back with me. He got in the car and we went back to my girlfriends house for dinner. When we got there he went to his room and refused to eat dinner, constantly telling me he hated it here and just wanted to go back to his mums. I tried to explain to him that I had tried to do everything he wanted - what was the problem? He wouldn''t enagage and just kept saying he hated being here and wanted dinner with his mum. I didn''t know what to do. I usually take the boys back each Sunday but I was in such a state I sent a text to my ex-wife asking her to pick them up. Her being her, she didn''t reply to any of the texts I sent and it was only when my youngest son asked her that she turned up.
I have since found out that whilst my oldest was out yesterday afternoon he popped in to see his Mum (something I''ve never had a problem with). That can be the only thing that changed his mood. He was fine when he left me, he sees his mum and then says he doesn''t want to be with me. Why?
In the past his Mum has told him that she''s lonely and I genuinely think he is trying to help her. The problem I have is that she takes great delight in keeping my contact with them to a minimum.
On top of this I have found out that he''s been posting some pretty horrendous stuff on his bbm and has mentioned that his mum is going to try and get custody(?). Those are not words a 14 yr old would use are they?
What do I do? I''ve used the pastoral care at his school before and they were fantastic with him. Or do I just assume it''s a teenage thing?
Haven''t slept and don''t know what to do for the best. I''m pretty certain he''s going to refuse to come to me this Wed and Thurs. I have appealed to the ex to help him but she refuses saying that it''s me that''s making him like this.
I see you dont have a response so being a newly divorced Dad with 3 kids (2 of which are teenagers)I thought I would give it a go.
I think you just have to accept the fact that there are things you can control- and things you cant. You cant control your ex''s emotions, and you cant help yuor sons reactions to them. You can change the way you react to them though. The more you force something the more teenagers will rebel. And often, no matter what you try, do, or say- nothing will be right.
It may be that he sees you happy and his mum sad and feels like she ''needs'' him. You cant really change this, but demanding him to be with you only reinforces your ex''s need for him.
Maybe try a new approach- next time he wants to not come back, just go with it. See if his behavoir changes.
I have had to try all sorts of different ways and means with my kids and sometimes it works, sometimes its a sht storm.
thanks for that. I had sort of come to the same conclusion re his mum.
I have always allowed/encouraged both of our sons to fell free to see/call her whenever they wish. Unfortunately this isn''t reciprocated and she''ll try her hardest to ensure they don''t see me a minute more than is absolutely necessary. I help run my sons football team and she would rather arrange for another parent to transport him to matches than allow him to come with me to matches on the weekends I don''t have them.This is what I find so hard to take.
Also, if I allow him to go back to her each time he does this, does he then start thinking that I don''t care or want him?
I dont know. Really you are damned if you do, damned if you dont- but you can be certain the more you tell him ''no'' the more you look like bad guy.
I was in a very similar boat to you not too long ago, and I just quit fighting. If the 13 year old didnt want to see me- I wouldnt make her. I would tell her that I really wanted to see her but would always say she is old enough to make up her own mind. This was often followed by ''you dont want to see us''- I just let it ride and after time she stopped being angry. Actually - you know what was a huge milestone. I wrote her a very deep and personaly card (proofread by a good friend on here) and then sent. She never acknowledged it- but it forever changed our relationship for the better.
its all trial and error. Its hard not to become engraged by the BS of the ex- but you HAVE to be the better person... and it will pay off.
How long have you been seperated/ divorced and is your new girlfriend the ''OW'' or just a new girlfriend
I thank you again. It''s great just to get some reassurance.
I''ve had some heart to hearts with him and have explained that he shouldn''t be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He seems to brighten up for a time but then this happens and it''s horrible watching him wrestle with himself. I just want him to be a happy-go-lucky teenager.
My partner is seen as the OW by ex and funnily enough my son mentioned it for the first time this weekend. I can see where you''re coming from with that. Do I discuss this with him or should I let it ''come out in the wash''?
Benno, do you ever remember being a teenager? do you remember how difficult those times were. No matter what you did or what you said it never seemed to be the right thing, the mood swings (a least girls get to blame pmt) the peer pressure from mates. The dread of facing the coursework and CSE exams (or GCSE now) chuck into that mix an acrimonious relationship between mum and dad and you have one teenager with far too much to think about and too many people to please. I would explain to him that you know how difficult it is being a teenager (you were one once) and that you don''t want to make it any more difficult than it is. That you will always be there for him, however; you want to maintain a relationship with him but you cannot do that from afar. You need to have that contact. So I would ask him what would he be willing to commit to and find that middle ground that you both can be happy with. These are turbulent years for your son, leave your door open 24/7 for him. If he is old enough to pop and visit mum he is old enough to pop and see you. Don''t make it feel like he is choosing between you but as he gets older he also has to learn cause and consequence too. It goes with growing up. He wont be like this all the time but how you handle this could determin how your relationship progresses into adulthood. He may be more sympathetic/guilt tripped into gravitating towards mum at the moment, but she wont get thanked for that later on. Good luck mate... (I have 3 little ones so have all this to come)..
that made me laugh! It''s a few years since I was a teenager....I''ve been telling him that unfortunately he is exactly like I was. The moods, the stubborness etc. and I tell him that I do know how hard it is being a teenager.
It''s been almost 3 years since the split and neither of our sons has visited me once other than the agreed contact. Doesn''t that tell a story!
thanks again for the advice and encouragement.