My 15yr old son is ruling my life...

(77 Posts)
HDEnuff Wed 22-Jan-14 16:53:16

Help. This is a nightmare. How do I start...?? To get to right here, right now would take ages!!! Brief and basic - single mum til son was 10, he's now 15. Partner (of 5 years) has secured a job elsewhere. This means moving. Yes, horrendous timing. New job wasn't expected to become available for another few years, and if he hadn't taken it now, it could have been 25-30 years before it came up again. I have put my life on hold to stay here until son sits his exams in the summer. He was so upset at the thought of moving I had to do something. We agreed that if he could just consider the idea of moving that we would stay here til the summer hols at least. Lasr weekend we were supposed to visit my parents for the weekend - family live some distance away. He texted me to say that he didn't want to go. I replied that yes he was. He then said he would not be home that night and that he'd be home Sunday. There was more. He would not be moving full stop, he'd had a meeting with youth services who were looking into getting him into a flat or hostel. Boom. 15. Now, please, he does not come from an under privileged home, he is very bright and I was once a teenager also. I contacted the school. He had been to see his guidance teacher, and yes, they had rang youth services, but she has not encouraged him to do so. We have had meetings with guidance staff at the school, but son remains mute. Last night I asked him to write down his grievances to make things easier for him. On reading his grievances, it would appear that not only does the entire world, but the whole solar system itself, revolves around my boy! I'm so proud. Basically life is better without my partner here, he hates him, I care more about him than my son, the best thing about home is leaving it. In fact, his only suggestion on how to make his life better is to allow his girlfriend to sleep over...!! I feel like he has me over a barrel.

HDEnuff Wed 22-Jan-14 20:19:02

I don't know what I'm asking!? I'm just in a bit of a state tbh. No-one seems able to advise me. The move wasn't my choice. No, I'm not moving til the summer. There's a job there for me too, which starts in April. I have had to arrange cover for the time when I'm not there. The move is 2hrs away. We cannot afford two homes. Or commuting costs.

I did not know where my son was last weekend. I did not find out until a meeting was set up at school on Monday, when I asked him where he'd stayed. I had not see my son since Friday morning. We were supposed to go to my parents for the weekend, a 3hr drive away, so we could go to a birthday party and also visit my granny in hospital. DS didn't want to go. Refused to come home. Behaved like a toddler. I did nothing. What could I do. Couldn't go and get him and physically remove him. Couldn't phone police. His behaviour when he doesn't want to do something is getting out of hand!

HDEnuff Wed 22-Jan-14 20:22:01

His Dad is 3hrs away also, in same area as my parents. DS gets on well with him, but doesn't want to live there either.

It's basically pretty clear cut in the immediate term to me, but then I am not always renowned for my sympathetic stance. He "wins" until the end of GCSE.

And then he chooses to live with you in X or his father in Y. Most kids don't get a choice. But he's 16, so get's to choose. Your finances are dependent on you working - and your job is in X from such in such a date.

Some reality about what it's like living in a hostel and the choices he faces from that side might help.

You talk as though this move just "happened" to you. It didn't. You choose to do it now, your partner chose to accept the job.
If it were my family we would have turned down the job offer and stayed put until he had finished 6th form or college at the very least. I would put my son first.

In my experience (I have a DS of 20 and one of 17, so I do have experience of teens) is that they're often not keen to compromise or to see things from someone else's point of view. This makes doing something that requires some involvement from them quite difficult if they don't want to cooperate.

I think that unless your DS changes his mind and wants to move with you you're going to have to either put your move on hold (Which doesn't seem very workable now that you have a job lined up) or find somewhere for him to live where you are now.

I don't think you can resolve this in a way that'll keep everyone happy I'm afraid. Just super bad timing re your DPs job unfortunately.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Wed 22-Jan-14 21:45:50

She's not joined a cult or moved to Siberia, she's moving to a nice area with access to good schools where she and her partner of five years both have jobs.

Everyone makes trade offs in life, or makes decisions that their children don't agree with, but which will ultimately be good for them. Except for professional martyrs.

flow4 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:45:33

I'm genuinely surprised at the number of people saying "stay put, your son should get what he wants". Usually, the consensus around here is "You're the parent; what you say goes - just make him do what you say.

It's not as if the OP is planning to do anything that will harm her DS. He'll presumably go to another school that's equally good. He'll lose contact with some friends, yes; but he'll stay in touch with others and make new ones. He'll have to try a long-distance relationship with his gf, and that'll be really hard; but it would be at least equally hard for the OP to run her relationship long distance, which is the alternative.

It will be difficult for the OP's son, but that doesn't mean she's doing anything wrong. Sometimes life just gets complicated, and it's impossible to balance everyone's needs. Everyone deserves sympathy here, IMO.

nuff, let your son see youth services. It will be helpful for him to have real info about what his options are. I would be very surprised if the state offered to support him - it costs a fortune to support teens - and I think the most likely option is that they'll tell him he has to go with you. And if you think it's a real possibility that he'll leave home, then you want him to know where to go for the help he'll then need. Talk to them yourself if you want: they'll tell you what his options are, too.

Realistically, it's 6 months before you move. A lot changes in 6 months of a 15 year-old's life. By then, he may split up with his girlfriend, or get fed up with school, or realise you are a human being with needs too, or simply decide he wants a change... It may not work, but if I were you, I'd try lots of sympathy and talking and listening, and invite him to help you problem-solve: you could try "I know it'll be hard for you. There are so many things to work out and weigh up. Can you help me? What are your top priorities? What do you think mine should be? If I stay here and give up my job, what would we do?..."

If he won't talk, I'd just wait as long as possible... It is likely that things will feel much clearer in 3 months.

flow4 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:53:29

P.S. I know I'd struggle with that because I like certainty and planning, not uncertainty and leaving things alone! If you're like me, you're going to find it very difficult and stressful to accept this kind of uncertainty, and you'll probably be pushing your DS to agree to what you want so that things feel more settled... But he's not ready. If I've learned anything from living with a 'challenging' teen, it's that if you try to make them do something because you need certainty, they will fight you, and you will end up with more chaos than you would have had if you had let things be! confused

Fibreopticangel Wed 22-Jan-14 23:39:03

I'm another one who thinks your son should have his way.

He's still a child. And the most important thing to teenagers is their peer group. He's at a crucial stage in his education and if he's unhappy he's not likely to do his best.

I think the least you can do is support him for another 2 academic years and stay put at his home and with his friends. Your relationship with a man who isn't his dad will have to wait.

If not, you run the risk of him blaming you for years to come - is that what you want from your relationship with your child?

Sorry to be harsh, but I think parents often underestimate just how much a teenager needs their parent(s) and stability. It's easy to think they're adults - they're not. I don't think they're properly mature until around 21 (mine are now 21 and 17).

Custardo Wed 22-Jan-14 23:50:26

its not like he wants to be a doctor or anything - his education towards being a chef isn't going to be irreversibly harmed by moving - sure, he will miss his friends but they might be leaving next year anyway, and you are supposed to miss an opportunity of a lifetime for this?

i
think
not

the options i see are this

your dh rents and comes homes at weekends - son stays where he is

you move - son will not like it - but to be honest a lot of his problems are simply being 15 - it goes hand in hand with self centred twattishness

if you do ecide to move, i would tell hostel and youth people to fuc,k the fuck off - you are the parent of YOUR 15 year old child

15 - shit, its nothing, its not grown up
its not responsible

yes, lets get a 15 year old a flat and expect him to cope - im sure he will pass his exams - i mean it will be party every night at his place wont it.

oooh, GF could stay over - you might be a granny this time next year

see what i mean - leaving him there is a stupid idea

I hv a just turned 16 yo DS..he doesn't revise...24/7 on his iphone and has zero motivation...when telling him he will hv to go and live with his Dad due to his attitude, he said he would kill himself rather than live there!

His Dad lives in Kent and we live in Essex. ..difficult but do able getting to school...but not so easy to hook up with mates

I agree with you Custardo. Plus from what the OP says about not being able to afford two homes and having a job lined up the move is a done deal.

So, the question the OP is really asking is - How do you make a 15 year old that doesn't want to move to a new home move to a new home? And if she can't make him, then what?

Oops..fat fingers on android...

So yes, they are very selfish indeed! But I do think this age is very fragile for them and moving even a few miles away, is just unthinkable in their world.

I have no answers but hope you come to a mutually acceptable resolution. It's a tough one and I have great sympathy for you OP.

OP, I know you say that your DSs father thinks the harder your life is the better but what sort of father is he? Would he happily have your son move in with him so that your son has another option? Would he be willing to move closer to your DSs current school do you think?

He is his father and there ought to be just as much onus on him as there is on you to find a workable solution here. Your DS has lived with you for 15 years. Perhaps it's dad's turn now?

cory Thu 23-Jan-14 10:41:27

flow, I don't think we are all saying "let the son decide". What I am saying more is "you have made a bad mistake by being thoughtless and not discussing things in advance in the past" (when you tried to make him move just before GCSE's). This time you need to regain his trust by showing that you can discuss and compromise.

This means (as flow says) lots of sympathy and listening and understanding of his pov

(the idea of letting a 15yo set up for himself sounds mad and I would use any tactful means of avoiding that)

It also means presenting yourself as somebody who is in charge of their destiny- otherwise you won't be able to exert any authority over him. "The move wasn't my choice" makes it sound like you don't expect to have an equal say in family decisions- that won't make your ds feel more reassured. For this to work there needs to be a general feeling of "the move is now all our choice", we have all had a say and we are all involved in sorting out the practicalities. Even if in reality that means that somebody has to compromise (and yes, it may well be your ds).

I have no idea what your family is actually like, but I think if I were a suspicious teenager here I would feel that my mum was being rushed into things she didn't have much control over out of anxiety to please her partner. He may of course be totally wrong in this, but it's important he sees that you have an equal say in decisions and that what your viewpoint is equally guided by concern for the wellbeing of all three of you. If you can manage to make him feel that, he may well come round to the move.

As flow says again, involve him in the problem solving. He may well come round.

flow4 Thu 23-Jan-14 10:49:41

I see what you mean cory, and it may have been a mistake not to do more discussion before decisions were made... But job offers don't stay open long, and even if the OP could have handled things differently, she is where she is: she needs to deal with the situation as it stands. And it's a difficult one...

cory Thu 23-Jan-14 10:58:08

That is very true, flow.

But I do think it is important to send signals (even if not speaking it aloud) to the ds that from now on discussion will be more open, there will be more time for thinking things over and that there is no absolutely no foundation to his suspicions that his mum will put everybody else's needs second to pleasing her partner. Make him see it's a ridiculous idea, that you all count, that you are all working together on this.

HDEnuff Thu 23-Jan-14 18:23:32

As I said at the beginning, it would be a long story to get to here and now. The move has been discussed regularly, amonst the whole family, for the last three years. It is not some silly desire to please my partner. My DP has been doing this 'new' job for the last ten years part-time, taking holidays from his life-long job to do so. Someone retired and he was offered the position. There is only one full-time position. It only arises every 25-30 years. Moving a 12 yr old would have been hard, but a damn sight easier than this situation. The guy who retired kept changing his mind and staying. Timing was out of my control. I would appreciate it if you did not refer to me as if I have not fully considered the impact it is going to have on my DSs life. To move NOW is what I meant as not being my choice. I'm not some dopey 'hairbrained' witch. No-one I know has been through this, no-one can help or advise me, I used mumsnet when I was struggling as a single parent years ago, I thought someone may be able to give me some insight. I did not come on here to be criticised as a mother. This wouldn't be the first time myself & DS have moved, but it is the first time we've moved with him being a teenager. His behaviour is scaring me, and I don't know how to handle it without alienating my son.

cory Thu 23-Jan-14 18:29:25

Really sorry if I have seemed overcritical, HDEnuff, but we are not mind readers, we can only go on the information you provide in your posts. What you've said now was not at all apparent from your first post. What you did tell us what that you had originally told him he would have to move just before his GCSE's and that was the only thing I referred to as harebrained- not you as a person.

I still think the advice you have been given stands though: you need to take a step back, reassure your ds that you are taking his views into account and hope that he will calm down before the actual move. There is a good chance he will. He is only young and 6 months is a long time.

HDEnuff Thu 23-Jan-14 19:23:23

Sorry if I sounded spikey, was not aiming it at anyone personally. I'm happy to hear everyones views. Wish someone would come along and tell me what to do. Like I say, I couldn't explain every tiny thing or no-one would bother reading, they'd be there for a aaaages.

Job was on, off, on, off... Once we'd decided to chill and just get through the next few years, by which time DS would hopefully be at college or at least more reasonable towards the idea of moving, sods law, the job is on.

I didn't suggest moving just before exam time. The move has been on the cards for the last three years, with us thinking it could be up to another three years yet! My son took it upon himself last year to involve the school - there has been a few porky pies told in the poor me department here. The move is a huge deal for him, I know, but how can he be the intelligent, cheeky, handsome, big guy he is 90% of the time, but when things don't go his way, or he gets into trouble, he pulls out.... 'The Move'. I really feel that this is snowballing out of control though, and he is using it to dictate how his life is gonna be, in turn dictating mine, as he knows he can get away with it. I am probably not explaining things well...

LydiaLunches Thu 23-Jan-14 19:32:54

My m had to move for the exact same reason in the summer in between my yr 12 and 13 and my sisters year 10 and 11. I stayed in digs and drank too much, she had a miserable year in the new location, gcse transfer didn't go well, then she ran away to live with her boyfriend as soon as she was 16.

Has he visited the college you suggest? I would investigate further options for him to finish his gcses in situ.

JeanSeberg Thu 23-Jan-14 19:43:00

I can't get past the fact you would even consider making your son live with someone he hates. End of.

LydiaLunches Thu 23-Jan-14 19:46:08

Eh? What is she meant to do re partner? I didn't think my stepdad was all that, in fact I despised him in some respects but I was a teenager and appreciated that my mum had a right to a romantic life and a family life beyond me.

JeanSeberg Thu 23-Jan-14 19:53:09

Never said she wasn't entitled to have a boyfriend. Why do they have to live together though when the son doesn't like him? In two years time she can do what she likes.

HDEnuff Thu 23-Jan-14 20:15:11

He doesn't hate him. Only when he's not getting his own way.

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