Resident parents... How to cope when your child moves out?

(19 Posts)
NatashaBee Sun 03-Mar-13 04:54:42

DSD told DH today that she wants to move to her mothers. She is 12, old enough to make up her mind, there's no question about allowing her or not. Her mother has been the one sending her back to DH for the majority of the time for the last 9 years... I guess what we get to know what that feels like now. But I need to know how to pick up the pieces, DH would never tell DSD, but he's heartbroken.. I need to know how to pick up the pieces, and move DSD to her mothers smoothly. Anyone, any advice? sad

Homebird8 Sun 03-Mar-13 05:35:51

No advice for you Natasha, but you do sound lovely. I'm sure you will make this positive for everyone. sad though for you and your DH.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 09:06:00

I think it's really important that both parents make it clear to your DSD that this is a one-time deal; there isn't a revolving door that will allow her to change her address on a whim, depending on which parent she thinks she can manipulate and get her own way with. Your DP might need support to stick to that in the future so it's worth talking to him now about how tough he wants you to be with him if that situation arises.

I'm sure it will be tempting for him to become a DisneyDad - and again, it's worth talking through with him whether he wants you to intervene if that happens, and also to consider how you will feel if he does grow mickey-mouse ears every time DSD has contact wink

sausagesandwich34 Sun 03-Mar-13 09:15:25

I'm not sure about this 1time deal thing

I would want her to know that the door is always open and she is welcome any time -do you really want to close the door on a 12 year old?

My dds have no formal contact set up with their dad, they see him when suits but they tend to spend the majority of the time with me

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 09:22:30

sausage Welcome as a member of the family, yes - but being permitted to change primary place of residence on a regular basis, I don't think is healthy for a DC.

A 12 yr old can be made aware of the practical implications of the decision - the fact that it changes household finances, that Drs, schools etc are told, and that it can affect future entitlement to grants and bursaries. If a DC is protected from the implications and consequences of their decision to move home then they're not being taught responsibility - they are being taught how to get their own way.

sausagesandwich34 Sun 03-Mar-13 09:44:35

Should a 12 year old have all that heaped on their shoulders?

At 12 they are still children and don't have the emotional maturity to deal with the financial implications of changing address

Numberlock Sun 03-Mar-13 09:48:57

I'm not sure i agree with the part about 'no question of allowing her or not'. I think she should be encouraged to spend equal time with both parents for as long as possible, assuming there aren't massive problems in one household.

What reasons has she given?

StrugglingBadly Sun 03-Mar-13 09:50:50

I think NADM makes a valid point. My ex's sister was RP and rec'd maintenance, tax credits etc. When her DD decided to live with her dad, the turn around in her finances meant she eventually lost her home. She could no longer afforded her mortgage as she lost a huge slice of her income and had to pay maintenance. Even if her DD wanted to move back, she lost that option. I might be more responsibility than seems reasonable for a child that age but you can't keep them in the dark about huge consequences that stem from their choice, especially if the consequence affects them too.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 10:05:09

sausage Actually, I agree with you - 12 is too young to burden a DC with that, but If a DC is given the responsibility of 'choosing' where they live, then they have to be given the information to ensure that it is 'informed' - not based on their own preconceptions, wants and desires.

A DC of 12 should be permitted to express a preference, be involved in discussions but ultimately understand that it is their parents decision where they live.

DontmindifIdo Sun 03-Mar-13 10:09:58

I agree that at 12, if she's being treated as mature enough to pick her own home, she's mature enough to understand the consequences of that. Say that you are prepared to let her go live there, but stress that it will cause a lot of paperwork and hassle, so she should think carefully, it's not practical to say, move every 12 months whenever she feels like it.

Has she said why she wants to move now? Are you sure it's coming from her not pressure from her mum/that her mum hasn't promised her unreasonable things to get her to move?

NatashaBee Sun 03-Mar-13 10:51:28

Thankyou everyone, especially NADM - You have given very wise advice in the past to other posters which has been useful to me.

She hasn't really given a reason - I would like her to, I think she owes at least that to her dad. But to be honest, it would just be parroting whatever her mother told her to say. We live a long way apart from her mother and I don't really see that it's possible to change that, so no chance of 50:50 or anything. She has been flying back and forth every other weekend, but that was paid for by her mother - we could never afford to do that, and it's been taking its toll on DSD anyway. As far as we knew everything was ok - obviously some minor tiffs, she is 12 after all - just about homework, showering, etc. she has a little brother here and the first thing she does every morning is call out for her - thank god he's too young to understand what's going on. She said she wanted a dog, we were looking at getting one this summer hmm

Thanks everyone. Trying to hold my husband up and not cry in front of him. I made him send DSDs mother an email a couple of days ago laying out some suggested rules for Facebook, twitter, etc, that were consistent at both houses, and it culminated in this - I feel like I caused it. Normally I talk to her mother about arrangements but this wasnt as black and white, I thought it was best fr him to do it. Clearly I should have kept quiet.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 11:01:54

I'm sorry Natasha it sounds like this is punishment from your DPs ex for daring to question her parenting.
To be honest, it's best to leave the 'other parent' to do things their way - regardless of whether they are resident or non-resident, especially when the relationship is tense or hostile.
The ability for your DP to influence every aspect of his DDs life ended when he separated from his ex - who may do things very differently. Neither of them are right or wrong - just different.

NatashaBee Sun 03-Mar-13 11:24:19

That's probably true - but she was giving out a lot of personal details to strangers, skyping them and posting inappropriate pictures. I felt it needed to be stopped, some controls put on her internet use, and that her mother should be aware. Believe me, I wish I hadn't said anything now hmm

NatashaBee Sun 03-Mar-13 11:38:48

Just gutted for DH -he is literally physically hurting from the pain of it all. I was worried he was going to have a heart attack when he got the email hmm

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 13:20:57

I imagine its horrendous for him - and I do get the Facebook/twitter thing; my DSD posts her address/phone number and invites total strangers to 'bring her chocolate' when she's home alone.

DP has only intervened twice - once when she published MY address and he told her directly to remove it, and again when he could see that she was being groomed by one of her Mums colleagues; he didn't confront his ex though, he reported it to the police and they dealt with it.

Hopefully, this will blow over; your DP could use the need to change schools, benefits etc to delay as long as possible in the hope that his ex realises the implications for her of 'punishing' your DP by taking his DD away.

NatashaBee Sun 03-Mar-13 13:42:59

Thanks again, I really worry about her when she's at her mothers - she has an online boyfriend ffs, a 12 yr old shouldn't even be thinking about that! Her mother is flying here in a couple of weeks - guess we'll know a bit more then.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 14:01:58

It's hard enough to influence when they're your own - as a SM you really can't do anything but detach and be prepared to pick up the pieces if and when it all goes wrong.

My own DD is the same age and has a 50:50 arrangement with her Dad. His attitude to Internet safety and supervision scares me stupid - but I can't tell him what to do.

What I have done is try and teach DD the skills to take responsibility for herself; probably too soon in terms of her age, but when one parent won't take responsibility for a child's safety then that child may have to grow up beyond their years and take responsibility for themselves.

NatashaBee Sun 03-Mar-13 14:10:32

Thanks NADM. I wish we could have a 50:50 arrangement too, that would be ideal, but we live too far apart and have no prospects to get a job where DSDs mum lives, it's a military area and we have a completely different work background. I am heartbroken to think that she may be leaving, but I'm finding it very hard not to be angry at her for all the lies she's told, it sounds like she has painted DH and I as complete ogres. Based on the times she's posted things online, she and I have been doing something and having fun, laughing and joking, and at that very same time, she's been posting telling everyone how much she hates me - literally while I've been sitting next to her. She has been holed up in her bedroom for most of the weekend, don't want her to think I'm ignoring her but I'm finding it hard to find the right words at the moment.

FrauMoose Tue 12-Mar-13 08:47:40

Well 12 is the age when children start wanting to be more independent and make their own decisions. (Adolescent rebellion) And if the mother is also more lax about rules and boundaries, that could appear quite attractive.

I think in your husband's place, I would be wanting to say this is too big a decision to take at this point in time.

My stepdaughter more or less had to come and live with us when she was seventeen for a year because her mother wanted to relocate. (The relocation ended up not working out.) My stepdaughter continued to be based with us during holidays while doing a degree course at the other end of the country. After graduating, and when she had some low-paid local work for year, before doing a post-graduate course at a nearby university, my step-daughter announced that she wanted to move back in with her mother. My husband and I said, 'Of course'. She was 21 and adult. There was no way we could do anything else, even if we felt a little hurt by the way this was presented as a fait accompli.

By the following summer it became clear that my stepdaughter was actually very unhappy at her mother's. It's not that she doesn't love her Mum. It's more that when she actually lived with her again she became very aware of aspects of her mother's personality that she found difficult. She also realised how much she had grown accustomed to living in the same house as my own daughter, and the rituals of family life with us.

The point I am making is that this sort of decision is not the sort of thing that even much older find easier to think through. I think adult parents sometimes have to act like adults and take responsibility for tough choices - we shouldn't leave those choices in the hands of children who may have very strong feelings, but aren't yet equipped to think things through.

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