Do they really vote with their feet when they are teenagers?

(21 Posts)
theredhen Wed 05-Dec-12 18:26:41

Well dp has two dc who have voted with their feet. One he has only seen for 30 mins in 6 months, the other only sees her mother by dp pushing her to do so. Neither of which, dp has admitted, is good for him, his ex or his kids.

Because of the fighting between the parents the kids find it easier to choose one parent and drop the other, then they're not piggy in the middle any more you see. Hardly a healthy dynamic for young adults who are learning about relationships.

According to statistics kids with warring parents are more likely to change their residency and then often change back again in their teens than kids who have parents who get on. hmm

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 18:18:06

I totally get your point, allnew.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:11:36

Or they stay where the most dependency and guilt is placed

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 17:25:33

My parents spent their lives doing this to me and my siblings and it really f***s with your head when you are a teenager.

Children of any age just want to be able to love both parents without guilt. Of course they see the flaws. But I think, OP, you are right to believe that your DP's plan is not a good one.

Teenagers kind of do vote with their feet, and gravitate to - or stay - where they feel the most comfortable; and not to where they feel the more wronged parent lives.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 09:53:29

I think it really depends on the personalities involved.

My DSSs are in a position whereby their mother is extremely controlling and neither of them live age-appropriate lives at all. DSS2 (13) is very aware that his mother's control is inappropriate and finds it very frustrating, often voicing his desires to do 'normal' stuff. DSS1 (17) is completely brainwashed and does exactly what she says. He's lived like this for so long that (if he ever had it) then his ability to recognise himself as an individual with free will and ability to make choices does ot exist. They have some odd co-dependent relationship and he does whatever makes her happy.

Of the 2, it is possible that DSS2 will act as he gets older to take himself out of her control. DSS1 - no chance

From my experience, if they want to be able to vote with their feet they need the inner strength, backed up by their parents, and dp needs to put the work in now building their confidence and trust in him to support their decisions, and their convictions to stand by the choices they make.

That means, for us anyway, looking at practical reasons why a and not b, and making sure he is rock solid on his decision, then he trusts us to be there behind him and say actually, the child has their mind made up, leave them go through with it. It's a lot of work behind the scenes making sure we're in a position to give them facts and info that is age appropriate, and confidence to speak up when the time comes.

amiwrongornot Mon 26-Nov-12 22:50:51

Nope, if they are pussy whipped by their mothers, that remains the case, often into adulthood.

Kaluki Mon 26-Nov-12 22:48:58

He doesn't want them to be unhappy, he honestly thinks they would be happier with him! He just sometimes loses sight of the fact that however hateful she is, she is still their mother and they love her.
My ds2 asks about why I'm not with his dad and I gloss over it. He adores his dad and I couldn't bear to be the one to shatter his illusions, I hope DP does the same when it comes down to it.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 25-Nov-12 23:36:21

Imperial I do agree with most of your post - other than your assertion that DCs would not be interested in the reasons for the divorce unless prompted.

My DSD pushed and pushed DP about why she and her mum split (her Mum eventually confided all the sordid details of her affair) and DSD also wanted to know the reasons for my marriage breakdown, too, and created a number of different explanations if her own when I didn't oblige hmm
My DD, in contrast, has never asked me.

I think it entirely depends on the child smile

ImperialBlether England Sun 25-Nov-12 18:33:59

But what he's wanting then is for them to be unhappy in their own home, isn't it? He's hoping they will realise what a bitch their mother is and leave home. Can he not see how awful that realisation would be for them?

And to be shown the divorce papers - that is disgusting. If the children ever asked about the divorce (very unlikely without a lot of prompting) then maybe he could mention the affair but would that be in their best interests? Wouldn't it be better to gloss over it and say something about not getting on well?

What's his goal here? Revenge on the mother? It's the children he would be hurting.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 20-Nov-12 23:05:48

overthehill. I think that my DSD's mum may do that. She has told DSD that she considers DSD to be choosing her dad rather than her. DSD is ignored, or punished, if she chooses to see her Dad. For a long while, DSD did what it took to keep her mum happy, but now she just shrugs and says that her mum will have to get used to it - it must be a horrible feeling for her though.

Overthehillmum Tue 20-Nov-12 20:47:16

Well, my kids did decide in their teens, to cut their dad out their lives. He had spent so long making snidey comments to them, not letting them have any flexibility in their contact with him as they grew older, his unrestrained resentment of me and his partners hatred towards me and the fact that he did sit them down and gave a long and fairly biased account of our separation finished them off. I have many faults but i always made sure i never said anything negative about him, i went out of my way to try and mediate and give him options to try and mend his relationship with them, but thats been 8 years now and they have nothing to do with any of his family, they are strangers to them. I think its incredibly sad, but i hear through other people that he thinks that they will come back to him one day, despite never contacting them, no birthday cards, letters, and has walked past them in the street. I dont think he can forgive them for loving me!!

I would advise your partner to keep communications open, let them know he is there if they need him, and for the love of god do not be critical about their mother.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 20-Nov-12 14:35:10

Pre-teens and teens may not understand the emotions associated with infidelity, but they certainly know it is wrong to do it, and can experience dreadful emotional conflict if they are exposed to these adult dynamics sad

My DSD's mum confided in DSD that the marriage had ended because of her own affair - DSD was 12 at the time and more than aware of the fact that her mum had hurt her dad badly - and she had no idea how to deal with that.

DCs should not be told the details of a marriage breakup IMO, at least, not until they are adult and can process the range of emotions it creates.

Lasvegas Tue 20-Nov-12 13:54:45

I don't think that Parents infidelity has much of a bearing on kids relationship with that parent. You really have to be of an age where you have had a serious relationship to get your head around infidelity. Also kids tend to love their parents despite their short comings, otherwise why would abused kids still love and crave love of abusive parents?

I found out in my early 40's that my mum had cheated on my dad. My dad bless him had kept it to himself for decades, and he made me promise I wouldnt raise it with my mum. The infidelity never changed the way I felt about my mother, but I did respect my dad more for not dropping her in it.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 19-Nov-12 18:44:33

My post of a few days ago is proof that DCs can totally change their opinion of/behaviour towards their favoured parent almost overnight smile

if you'd asked this a few weeks, let alone months or years ago I'd have said that it was unlikely to happen but the transformation in my DSD behaviour has been nothing short of amazing - and who knows, we may well offer her a home in the future smile

purpleroses Mon 19-Nov-12 18:15:08

I think he'd be putting an awful lot of pressure on his 14 year old DCs if he suddenly tells them they can choose now - assuming they'd know their mum would want them to stay and that he would be upset if they say no.

He could make it clear he'd be up for them coming more, or even moving in, but it would put a lot less pressure on them if he also made it clear that he'd be OK about them keeping things as they are, or only changing things if their mum was happy about that too (you never know, she might find teenagers a nightmare and be glad to see the back of one of them).

My DP has hoped that his might choose to come and live with us once they're at sixth form. That's next year for DSC1, but whilst I think he might offer, I don't think he'd push the issue against the wishes of their mum. It would be pretty undermining of her right to parent them really if he did - there's a lot of potential for kids to play one parent off against the other at that age - so they live with the one who's the slackest or threaten to leave if they don't get their own way on something. DSD1 is already doing this with holiday plans - but thankfully not with where she lives the rest of the time.

Could your DP just suggest a bit more flexibility as they get a little older? eg vary contact times to fit around their social lives? That might mean he has them more, though it could equally well mean less if you live further from their school/friends/etc. But better than making them feel they need to choose between parents.

Kaluki Mon 19-Nov-12 15:25:41

He hasn't said anything to them yet - just says he will in the future. Whether he actually will is another matter!
Their mum is a nasty spiteful woman and I've spoken on here before about how she does things I don't agree with but the kids clearly adore her and I just can't see them just upping and leaving her at 14 not can I see her letting them stay with us more often just because they want to. I imagine she will stick rigidly to the court order until they are in their forties!!!
I can see DP setting himself up for a big disappointment in a few years time sad

Bagofspiders Mon 19-Nov-12 13:22:59

DSD1 did vote with her feet and has lived with us since she was 13. TBH she wanted to do it earlier. I expect her mum would have had a case if she'd taken it to court to get her back but she respected her decision.

The reasons? Among other things her mum constantly told her her version of why she and DH broke up. She understandably found it very upsetting. Please try to stop your DP doing this to his DC's. It will only upset them and it may well have the complete opposite effect.

bananaistheanswer Mon 19-Nov-12 13:22:05

From what I read on here I think there will come a time when as adults, your SCs will see their parents as people, warts and all, and no doubt make a judgement on that. There is no guarantee they'll see the 'truth' as your OH sees it though. I've got experience of something similar I.e. my DB cut my parents off from his 3 kids 6 yrs ago and I know they were both hoping when it came to them becoming old enough to choose if they saw them, they would then make the effort themselves. One turned 18 in sept and hasn't gone to see them to thank them for the money sent in a card. My mum is gutted, but says nowt. I think it's probably more painful but less cruel to try and come to terms with the reality you are in, than to pin hopes on some fantasy in the future that is unlikely to happen.

glasscompletelybroken Mon 19-Nov-12 13:12:21

He needs to look at his motives for doing something like showing his teenage kids his divorce papers. It's surely not for the benefit of the kids? He may find that they learn as much about him from it as they do about her!

I wonder about the arrangements when my dsd's are a bit older as well. At the moment it's half and half but I really don't know if this will change. We only live a few miles from their mum so the spending time with friends isn't such an issue - they have friends in both places. It's an interesting one.

Kaluki Mon 19-Nov-12 13:05:12

Is this true?
DP seems to be pinning a lot of hopes on the DSC suddenly deciding to see us more (or even move in shock) when they hit 14 and can officially decide for themselves how often to come over.
Does this really ever happen or is he deluded?
Also he is under the ilusion impression that when they grow up they will see their Mum for what she is and be 'on his side'. He often mentions showing them the divorce papers showing that she committed adultery with their stepdad and he thinks this will make them realise what really happened. Personally I feel a bit uncomfortable with that and think he is setting himself up for a big disappointment and will just upset them.
My gut feeling is that their Mum won't just suddenly back off when they are 14 and I think if anything they will want to stay at home more when they are teenagers as they will want to spend more time with their mates.
They adore their Mum as all kids do and I wish he could see that whatever she did/does to him, she will always be their Mum.

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