15 Year Old Wants to Move in with Dad for the Coming School Year.

Updated on July 06, 2010
K.W. asks from Crystal City, MO
11 answers

10 years ago, I met and married a man who lived 3 hours from my hometown. Two of my children and I moved here to be with him. My 16 year old (now 26) asked to live with his dad. He was an angry young man and it hurt terribly, but I knew that if I forced him to come live with me and give up all he knew that it would make things worse. He never was and still is not a person who likes or deals well with change. Needless to say, he made some mistakes, but has turned out to be a fine young man. He has also told me since that he wished he had chosen differently.

Ok, fast forward to today, Summer 2010, my now 15 year old son, who does not even ever remember living in a house with his dad, wants to "see what it would be like" to live with Dad. Dad is married and has 2 step children and does not exactly have "room" physically or mentally for him. His dad works 3rd shift and has really odd hours, over the past ten years he only makes arrangements a couple of times a year to see him. Anthony has to initiate all visits with his dad and then my family who still lives in Illinois meets me halfway so he can go, NEVER his dad. He will be a Sophomore this year and I am afraid that moving unnecessarily in High School will affect his needed credits. If he chooses to stay in Illinois, he will give up a chance at the A+ program and free college. Beyond that, I am heartbroken. I am afraid that I will not get to see him on a regular basis if he moves in with his dad, if his dad will not meet me so he can see him, why would he do it so I could see him? Until four years ago he was my "baby", and I tend to still think of him that way. Part of me feels like I am being selfish and part of me feels that I need him here.

I know he is "old enough" to choose, I know what all the right answers are, but it still hurts. His dad and I have also told him that if he chooses to move in with him it is for the whole school year. Anthony never sticks to what he starts. He has also never stayed more than 2 weeks with his dad without getting homesick. He has only been there for 1 week so far this summer and will be home next week to go to Church Camp. Then he wants to go back for 2 weeks and make his decision then. If he chooses to live with his dad, he then wants to come back here for one week to spend time with his friends (that he has known since kindergarten)

He told me that he feels like he won't get to live with his dad and keeps asking how I feel about him living there. I don't want him to choose because he feels like I am laying a guilt trip on him. I told him today to make a list of what he likes and dislikes about his dad's and what he likes and dislikes about here. He got this nervous laugh and said no, that everytime he does that it backfires on him. He is afraid to see what his real answers are. He wants what he wants and that is what it boils down to.

What do I do?

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So What Happened?

My son has decided on his own to stay living with me. He told his dad that, even though most of his family is in Illinois, his life and friends are here. He is a very social person and is used to being "Mr. Popular". His friends are very important to him. He still thinks there are more freedoms at his dad's, but we are working on that. Once he is more responsible around our house, he will earn more freedoms, ie: cleaning his room, helping with household chores, good grades. I do believe that his decision has been made based on other things also. I think this summer has been good for him and I have agreed that he can spend ALL extended school vacations with his dad, as long as dad can help with transportation costs.

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answers from Boston on

I would have him stay the whole summer. Then make his decision. I bet he will be coming on home momma!

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answers from Phoenix on

okay os this may seem lon gbut I went through tis situation with my mother when I was 15 and can tell you the negative and positive effects it had on me. My parents divorced when I was 7 and we moved acros country (San Diego to Philly) with my mom less than 2 years later. The only time I saw my dad was dueing summer vacation when we would visit him. I went through a rough time in trying to find myself ( I guess you could say, I was a middle child) I wanted to live with my dad. I was also scared of what my dad would say since we hadnt lived with him since they were married. I think its the fear of being rejected from a parent (hard to come back from) My uncle was the one who brought it up to my dad who then talked to me. My mom flipped on me when I told her, called me ungreatful said that I would be lucky if I ever saw her again, and I was making the biggest mistake of my life, needless to say it took about 5 years to mend that relationship adn we still have our rough spots. What I wish would have happened was this. I wish she would have calmly talked to me about her concerns, told me it was my choice but this was what she what she would want for me. I think you could do a trial basis to see if he likes it, tell him thats fine but he has to give it a full year and if he wants to come home after the school year then he could. Just let him know that no matter what he chooses you will always be there for him and support him and love him. And please, I know it is hard not to, but it is deff not a reflection of who you are as a mother. It is not personal or an attack against you, its something he obviously feels he needs in order to find homself and who he wants to be, atleast it was for me. I know that moving in with my dad had a positive effect on the adult and parent I am now even though it was a lot diff then living with my mom. ((HUGS)) hope this helps even a little

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answers from Chicago on

Kristy said it perfectly. I totally agree with her on everything she said. Please know this is not about you. He is probably very curious to live with his other parent so it really doesn't matter if you have him right down his likes & dislikes because it's not about that.

I would say going for the entire summer is a good first step. But if he does choose to move there for the school year, be firm he must stay the entire school year.

Sorry you are going thru this. We moms take it so personal even though we shouldn't. Our kids are people too & they have to find themselves in this world. It's ok if he figures out if moving in with dad was a mistake, he just needs to figure it out for himself. So support him & let him know that you love him.

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answers from Dallas on

I would tell him that you came to the current agreement for a reason and it is still in his best interest to stay with you. Tell him that as his custodial parent, it is your job to do what is in his best interest. And you are making the decision based on that. I would let him stay with dad all summer. Tell him he can go all of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring breaks. And he can spend next summer with him as well. He will not be happy with that but at that age he is going to find something to be unhappy about much of the time. Good luck, you are in a tough spot.

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answers from Wichita on

WOW! That is difficult. I was 15 when my parents got divorced, but my dad didn't want to raise a girl & he was an alcoholic (sp?).
I would tell him that he must make the list before you can say yes or no. Personally I would tell him that He needs to finish high school & can spend more of the summer time with his dad & if he wishes he can live with his dad after high schoool.

God bless!

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answers from Portland on

Does his Dad want him to come live with him? If not, his Dad needs to tell him in whatever way the Dad wants to tell him. You don't have to be involved in the decision at all.

If his Dad is willing to have him come stay for a few weeks, I think that would be the best way to handle this. Your son doesn't know his Dad and will always wonder what living with him would be like. From your description I'm almost certain that your son will want to come back home and will be the better for his visit with Dad and reality.

There's no better time to do this then summer. Summer can get boring anyway.



answers from Phoenix on

I would sit your 15 year old down with your 26 year old. The older has the direct experience and can explain the pro's and con's in a way the 15 year old will never take from you.



answers from Atlanta on

You said he wants what he wants and that's what it boils down to. That's the 15 year old in him. Think back to your other son at that age. This is the age of pushing....He feels old enough but still wants the safety of a parent. He's choosing the parent that doesn't have time to parent so he has time to manage his own life. I think it's a big mistake to let him move in with Dad. We can only mold our kids for so long and then we don't have another opportunity. He wants to see what it's like cause he will never have another opportunity??? I think he's putting the guilt on you. Granted this is not a "perfect" scenario but who's life is? Like someone suggested...maybe a summer when he's seventeen.....

God bless!



answers from Austin on

Ditto Kim.

He needs to think about his future and that college opportunity. I am sure even his father would agree.

How about your son spend the rest of this summer there?.. It will probably nip it in the bud. Make sure his father does not make it a vacation, but a real home with chores and behavior expectations..


answers from Dallas on

I think you son just wants to know his dad a little better, he's growing up and wants that father-son relationship. I think there will be more negatives on his list than positives living with his dad but it doesn't matter. I know this has to be hard on you, especially I think you know living with his dad won't be as good as he wants it to be. I feel down deep it's just something he needs to try for himself. Your home feels like his home, his friends are there, he grew up there. He just wants that relationship. I think it's good you and your "ex" already told him there is no going back to your house until after the school year. Maybe he'll decide the summer was long enough. It'll be hard, but I feel you should be supportive of him and it sounds like you are being.
My husband's dad died when he was little, he tells me all the time he'd give anything to just have known his father.
Maybe you could talk to your EX and see if maybe he could just spend the rest of the summer after he's done with camp there. Then maybe the following year would work out better. That way he'll have more of a feeling what's going to be like. The summer he won't have to deal with homeowork so it'll be a lot easier. I know you give up a summer with him but I think that might be a better solution. Just a thought.
My prayers are with you,



answers from Boca Raton on

Maybe he really needs you to say "no - it is in your best interest both in the short and long term to stay here & finish high school."

It is not uncommon for children in this situation to want to "make up" time with the other parent. He sounds conflicted.

Bottom line - you need to advise him in the direction that is best for him - even if that means he stays with you.

I do like the idea of him spending most of the summer there.

Good luck.

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