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DS 16 wants to move to XH as easier option - am furious!

(100 Posts)
Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 17:49:55

I’m so mad but what can I do?

I feel like I’ve grafted and put so much into parenting, and yet what’s the point? I fear DS is throwing away his Exams, his future at Uni, and our good relationship because his Dad has basically told him that it’s okay, he doesn’t have to pass exams as he can come and work for him and live there. DS is bright, but struggles. He just doesn’t like studying, like a lot of kids, but he has potential, all his teachers agree, if he just knuckles down a bit more.

I also feel rejected.

XH lives 300 miles away, and has never been a ‘parent’, more like my sons ‘best mate’ and gives him everything and me nothing. Minimal, missed maintenances, absolutely no parenting, and so nasty and critical of me that I eventually had to go NC. XH works when he feels like it, as he got an inheritance from his Mum, and lives in a house paid for by his girlfriends wealthy parents. So he’s been telling DS that money doesn’t matter, that only do work he loves, that exams are rubbish. He’s also been guilt tripping DS by saying that I’ve had him for his life and he misses him and wants to spend time with him etc.

I’ve been telling DS he’s got to study and his head is just now filled with crap fro his Dad. He will say ‘I just want to go and play PS4’, and every time I talk about what he wants to do, he just rubbishes any job and says ‘it’s got to one he really loves’. He’s moaned to his Dad, and they’ve made a plan for him to go live there!

We broke up when our son was 1 years old. I’ve parented him single handed, with little help, all his life. I am concerned that DS is going to end up like his Dad!

Help! What do I do?!

growlingbear Fri 12-Jul-19 17:53:03

That is so, so tough on you, but maybe you could let him go over this summer and tell him he is welcome to change his mind at any time, that the door is wide open. Maybe he needs to spend more time with his dad to appreciate what a good parent is and what a lazy arse his dad is. He will spot the difference, you know.

Northernparent68 Fri 12-Jul-19 17:54:05

Maybe you need to let him make his own choices and mistakes. If you keep on at him it’ll make living with his father the better option

Wasrelaxing Fri 12-Jul-19 17:54:46

Gosh what a hard place to be in.
I guess if you say he can’t go then you are going to be the ‘horrible one’
I know it would break your heart but could you say that it is ok for him to go to his dads but he has to do 6th form/uni from there.
Then he can choose what he wants to do after that?

mummmy2017 Fri 12-Jul-19 17:54:56

Send him, he will soon miss life and friends.

Waveysnail Fri 12-Jul-19 17:57:56

How old is dc

Purpleartichoke Fri 12-Jul-19 17:59:35

I wish I had some solid advice. If his dad wasn’t a crap parent, your son wouldn’t really have the option of destroying his own future. Maybe try to show him the financial reality of your x’s life, including pointing out what a horrible job he has done supporting his own child financially.

AtSea1979 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:00:40

Gosh, this is my worst nightmare and I imagine every single parents worst nightmare. So sorry OP, I don’t think there’s anything you can do. Just let him know how much you love him and that’s he’s always welcome back.

IamtheOA Fri 12-Jul-19 18:02:40

Has he finished his exams then? So he wants to go to college and live with his dad?
Maybe let him go for summer? See how it goes?

BigVern1 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:07:19

Agree with the people saying let him go for the summer and give him time to think about things.

Not really a great deal you can do.

Don’t over push him on college/Uni either. If he doesn’t like studying then maybe something else will suit him better, like an apprenticeship or something

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:07:24

DS is 16. I’ve told him straight I think he’s choosing to run away from his exams. He told me that I put too much on passing exams... everything he’s been saying for a while sounds just like his father talking. angry

I’ve told him I love him and I’ve been honest and said that I’m worried, that it is a mistake. I told DS that his Dad hasn’t parented him all these years, so doesn’t know stuff that’s important (like he has a vulnerability around drinking, which me and DS have worked through positively).

Dontsweatthelittlestuff Fri 12-Jul-19 18:07:32

He is 16 and not going to destroy his whole life if he doesn’t know what career path he wants to follow now.

As hard as it is if he wants to live with his dad you can’t really stop him. Just make sure he knows the door is always open if he wants to come back.

So just get him through his exams and if he fails it might be the wake up call he needs or he might just decide that doing something practical will suit him better and look at apprenticeships.

OKBobble Fri 12-Jul-19 18:09:25

Has he just done his gcses? I might call their bluff and let him go. Dad will soon get fed up of having to be responsible. GF might not be that impressed or aware the offer has been made. I suspect DS may come back with tail between his legs when he realises the grass isn't always greener.

gamerchick Fri 12-Jul-19 18:11:04

Let him go for the summer. The entire summer.
I'd hazard a guess his dad will be shoehorning him home when reality sets in and his girlfriend objects.

If he decides to go and live with him then let him know the door is always open.

SandyY2K Fri 12-Jul-19 18:13:00

Is he in the UK? If so at 16 he would have done his GCSEs now.

Does your son have any positive male role models in his life?

It seems your Ex will teach him to find a rich woman to live off.

JonSlow Fri 12-Jul-19 18:14:11

Let him go, he will soon come to his senses and realise his mistake. Exams can be retaken. Apprentices offer an amazing opportunity these days. His decision will not be a permanent mistake.

If you try and force him to stay, it’ll always be brought up in every argument, it will breed resentment.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:18:39

I think the plan is there after his GCSEs in a year. DS is using it as an excuse not to study, and refused all the extra help I’d lined up this summer. I’m not sure as his Dad has, as usual, shared nothing with me.

He wouldn’t want him all this summer! He spends it abroad and in festivals with GF. DS has only, in fact, seen him for 6 days total this year.

Of course I don’t mind if he doesn’t know his career path yet. It’s this insidious, not bothering at all and insistence that any job must be ‘fantastic’. It worries me. His teachers are pulling their hair out, saying his attitude has totally changed and he’s not bothering.

Esspee Fri 12-Jul-19 18:19:59

OKBobble and gamerchick have the right idea. Send him to his dad for the summer. I'm willing to bet he will return with his tail between his legs.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:20:07

Apologies ‘the plan is to move there after his GCSEs’. I think DS can the say ‘he tried’ but it’s his excuse not to try. Like a big fat carrot encouraging him to fail.

sweeneytoddsrazor Fri 12-Jul-19 18:22:36

Best thing to do is let him go. Teĺl him you love him, tell him you will miss him but you understand he needs to find his own way, and tell him he will always have a home with you. That way when it (inevitably) goes wrong he can come back and get ba k on track. He will not ruin the rest of his life by making a mistake at 16 especially if he has your support.. If you try and scupper this he may well go ahead and do it anyway, then when it goes wrong he may not feel he can admit it and come back to you.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:22:38

@purpleartichoke yes I even said that recently. Told him his Dad was able to live working very little, because he had no mortgage and paid me a pittance. DS would not hear of it.

Chocolateychocolate Fri 12-Jul-19 18:23:01

Op, this happened to me two years ago when my ds was 14. Also his dad lives 300 miles away. My DS still lives there now.

Good luck, hope he sees sense.

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Fri 12-Jul-19 18:23:52

Definitely suggest all school holidays. It'll be crap for you but may well open ds eyes.

Maybe suggest that if he applies himself to his exams and hits whatever his predicted grades are then you will /insert whatever you can afford or think he will like here/ be that cash or a trip somewhere or even just a new pair of trainers to take to dad's.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:23:54

Yes I don’t think that I can say ‘you can’t go’. I have said it’s a bad idea though.

Chocolateychocolate Fri 12-Jul-19 18:23:57

Am now seeing him around every 8-10 weeks sad , and am paying hundreds in maintenance.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:25:52

@chocolateychocolate wow how are you with that? I do also feel that this will be it, DS will not come back. I think he’s quite serious. Is your DS okay? 16 is such a critical time, I worry. Did it affect your relationship?

DS also has a younger brother, who will be devastated.

Zaphodsotherhead Fri 12-Jul-19 18:26:39

So how is it going to work next year, when DS is living with him after GCSEs, if he goes off travelling and to festivals? Will DS be left at home alone?

Don't stress too much about exams though OP. Your son can always resit, or take them when he is older (and wiser). The shiny novelty of living with his dad will wear off very fast, and your son will be wanting to come home to his comfort.

My eldest went to live with his (non contact, non paying) father when he was 17. He was there for about six weeks before his father became violent and threw him out. Parenting is tough, even if you take a hands-off, do-as-you-want approach, it's still having an adolescent extra person hanging round the house. Absentee dads can very rarely cope!

Starlight39 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:27:45

Unfortunately, I think you can't stop him although it doesn't sound like his Dad will actually want the reality of dealing with/looking after a 16 year old? And your DS may also change his mind in a year's time.

I'd point out to DS that what his Dad is saying makes no sense. The best way to achieve his "fantastic job" is by doing well in his exams. What if he chooses his dream career but can't do it because he didn't bother in his exams and then has to do a load of retakes etc? If his amazing career choice doesn't require any specific exam results then nothing is lost. His Dad is actually narrowing his choices, you are wanting to open them by encouraging him to do well at school.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:28:22

@chocolatey that sounds very tough. So sorry.

Lovemusic33 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:28:34

If he’s not doing his GCSE’s until next year and doesn’t plan to move to his dads till then I wouldn’t worry too much, a lot can change between now and then. What are his predicted grades? What does his dad do for work that’s so appealing to him?

Maybe talk to his dad and see if he will agree to keep his mouth shut about the moving in thing until ds has actually done his GCSE’s, he should be encouraging him to work towards his exams whilst reassuring him that it’s not the end of the world as long as he tries his best. After he has sat his exams he can decide what he wants to do next but remind him that he does have to stay in education until 18 and can’t just “go to work with his dad” unless doing he’s an apprentice.

Chocolateychocolate Fri 12-Jul-19 18:31:31

Kangaroo, it was horrible to tell the truth. My ex even had the gall to send his new wife down to collect my ds. I was crying my eyes out and she was smirking. It felt like I was grieving for the first year.

BUT it hasn't happened for you yet; things could still change...

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:31:32

@zaphod oh yes XH will leave DS at home or send him back to me I imagine. Or take him to the festivals and expose him to early drug taking. His GF won’t like it, who is 19 years younger (not bitter... honestly... confused )

Mary1935 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:31:46

Ah yes son can go at Dads convienence- I feel for you - but yes let him go after he’s done his gcse exams - then he has options later if it goes pear shape.
You ex sounds like the type that will leave him home alone whilst he goes on his jollies. He may also have said it thinking son wouldn’t want to go and what does will his girlfriend think. It won’t all be roses there!!!

titchy Fri 12-Jul-19 18:35:51

Can you surreptitiously get the gf on your side...? Be super positive about it. Say 'Oh it'll be so nice for all of you to spend the summers travelling and living together', 'I bet you and ds have so much in common you'll be best friends in no time'

Benjispruce Fri 12-Jul-19 18:37:57

Maybe he needs to spend more time with his dad to appreciate what a good parent is and what a lazy arse his dad is. He will spot the difference, you know.
This in spades. He will learn.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:39:50

Unfortunately XH has been telling DS for months that he can just come to his after his exams, if he doesn’t do well, which has directly corresponded with DS giving up studying. He’s given up. He sees his way out as his Dads. He did 5 hours total revision for all his pre exams, for all of last year. And yet him and his Dad agree he ‘really tried’. His grades have plummeted. He will have no options.

So this next year he’s going to fail. His attitude has totally changed.

mum11970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:40:50

If he’s 16 how come he hasn’t his GCSEs already?

Benjispruce Fri 12-Jul-19 18:41:29

I don't think there is anything you can do the than give your opinion but don't stand in his way as he will only fight against you. Your son needs to learn the hard way.

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:41:42

Unfortunately no contact with XH and GF too (she stopped XH travelling to see DS as she didn’t like him seeing me). Urgh it’s all so depressing!

Kangaroo1970 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:43:19

May have slightly fudged age to avoid being spotted, GF on mumsnet. Also DS will be 16 when he moves. Apologies just in a bit of a head wreck.

Laterthanyouthink Fri 12-Jul-19 18:43:54

Won't he miss his friends if he moves so far away?

Sparklypurpleunicornsaremyfav Fri 12-Jul-19 18:44:17

Try telling him can go but he'll have to attend the local sixth form or college as its the law to stay in education till the age of 18, if his dad doesn't make him go he'll be massively fined or sent to court, his dad will probably hate the responsibility

HaudYerWheeshtYaWeeBellend Fri 12-Jul-19 18:48:06

At 16 doesn’t he either have to be in full time education or have an apprenticeship?

happybunny007 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:48:27

Hang on, when you say you’ve organised extra help for him over the summer, do you mean tutoring and stuff? If so, maybe your son has a point.

The fact that you seem to see GCSEs as make or break makes me wonder about this too.

Could he have a point?

justasking111 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:50:58

I would let him go for the whole summer. A court would take his wishes into account anyway.

urbanlife Fri 12-Jul-19 18:52:01

Op, I would come to a compromise with ds, if he gets the best grades possible for his GCSEs and then he can go and live with his father if he still wants to (otherwise he will need to resit them at his current school) keep all of his a level options open to him, and ask his most favourite teachers to talk to him, encourage him as much as possible.

I would then physically go through all of the jobs you can do with rubbish GCSEs and organise some work experience as an office cleaner, refuse collector, check out assistant etc. I find teenagers don’t listen very much, but experiencing it for themselves will have a bigger impact.

Drive around the bedsits, and the homeless and point out that one day neither you or his father will be around to help him. At some point the buck will stop with him, and he will need to be financially secure.

What does he hope to do? Ignite some real discussion into whatever it is. Keep talking. What car does he imagine owning one day etc.

I would drop all talk of him moving to xh, and keep bringing the focus back to his dreams/aspirations and future.

I would be thanking GF profusely next time you speak to her for agreeing for ds to move in permanently with her, and the costs involved. I would say how fun you think it will be all three of them to go away and go to festivals etc, and that you hope she is ready for the sheer volume of cooking, cleaning, food, laundry and stinky teenage fumes that will come with him. I am sure her dp will do most of it ( not! )

Tell her you are looking forward to a holiday in the Caribbean, dinner with friends and a complete break, not having to collect ds at all times of the day and night, and let HER sort this out with xh.
She will run a mile if she has any sense.

Peakypolly Fri 12-Jul-19 18:52:27

You say he doesn’t have to pass exams as he can come and work for him and live there. So what is the job/career he is proposing for DS? Maybe he has a company that makes a considerable amount without many hours? I’m guessing that is a ‘no’ from all your comments but I’m still asking what the work is? and it presumably involves some further study as he is under 18?

urbanlife Fri 12-Jul-19 18:54:19

Send GF an email if you don’t speak.

TanMateix Fri 12-Jul-19 18:55:32

I would say that the more you resist his idea of moving to his dad, the more entrenched he will get in doing it.

Tell him that it is ok, arrange a trial run over the summer and let him go. I’m sure that if his dad is as bad as you say, he will be back in no time.

But in the meantime, just remember that at 16 he is fighting for his independence and having a mum that is even controlling his studies at this age might be incredibly frustrating for him. DS doesn’t have “potential”, he is a bloody genius but I’m sure he would stop caring about school and his grades if he got so much pressure from me. I know that because that’s exactly what I did when my mother started to take decisions about what my life was going to be. At that time my life focus moved from studying to how do I get the hell out of her house, ASAP.

Interestingly, if she had not got so entrenched about me studying what she wanted where she wanted, I would have done exactly what she wanted out of my own decision. Instead, I stopped studying, got bad grades and ended up doing something completely different just to piss her off and show her she was not going to dictate what my life would be.

urbanlife Fri 12-Jul-19 18:57:49

Always use reverse psychology with teens.

Chloemol Fri 12-Jul-19 18:58:19

Let him go and live with his father then, whilst it’s upsetting he is not listening to you there is only so much you can do. His father can now take full responsibility , including paying for him. Let him go, but nicely, the doors always open for him to return etc, keep in regular contact, pretend to be supportive. When he lives the reality of no money, and no qualifications to get a good job he will see the error of his ways and come back.

hazell42 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:59:45

My sympathies. I know how hard this is.
As hard as it is, though, I think I would call his bluff.
I'm all but certain that he would be back in a month because it does not sound as if his father is going to support him to the extent that you do, and it's easy for the dad to say all that stuff when he doesnt ever have to follow through.
I bet he'd change his tune if he was the one picking up his sons dirty underwear from the bedroom floor.
My exh said similar stuff because he believed I would never allow it. When I said fine, let him live with you, his face was a picture and my son lasted one whole night.
They are both banking on the fact you wont let him go and they can indulge themselves in the mutual fantasy about how much better life would be If he lived with his dad.

happyhillock Fri 12-Jul-19 19:01:26

I'm afraid your going to have to let him go and hope he doesn't like being there, at 16 he had to learn from his own mistakes

Teachermaths Fri 12-Jul-19 19:01:39

I'd send him now tbh.

ReanimatedSGB Fri 12-Jul-19 19:05:21

Thing is, his dad has something of a point. There is just so much evidence that sacrificing enjoyment to pass your exams like a good little kiddie doesn't actually lead to happiness and success - look at all those obedient graduates now working in shitty call-centre jobs and thousands of pounds in debt to student loan companies.

I think it's fairly understandable that a bright teenager might look around and see this; that the system is broken and that looking for another way to make a life for yourself is a better option.

I do appreciate that this must be awful for you (there is a possibility of my DS going to live with his dad after his GCSEs - though DS dad is a good parent and the reason he might move to his dad's is because there is better 6th form provision near his dad's, but I still find the thought of DS not actually living with me a bit upsetting). But I think you will have to let him go - and bear in mind that he could go back to college later, if he wanted to/needed to.

missperegrinespeculiar Fri 12-Jul-19 19:12:41

yeah, people will say it doesn't matter, education doesn't guarantee you a job, but let me tell you, if it is hard for graduates it is much harder for those without qualifications!

Unless he has a clear plan in alternative to getting a degree ( a trade, realistic prospect of own business etc.) I would be worried, too.

QueenBeee Fri 12-Jul-19 19:15:10

I doubt you can stop this.
At 16 he has time to sort himself out and find a career.
I would avoid being the nagging DM whilst His DF is layed back and fun. And appear to be getting on with your life, notbereft and angry, leave DS to find out the negatives of living with DF.

urbanlife Fri 12-Jul-19 19:18:27

re I don't know in what world you live in that you can get by without even needing basic GCSE grades but can still somehow run a successful business?! This is not 1950. Most people will need the very basic grades for any reasonable job, if they have any hope whatsoever of earning enough money to live comfortably and eventually own a house. I think your advice is well intended, but very misleading. He is likely just to drop out of education altogether and get a dead end job with no prospects.

I would be very, very worried too op, of course, but you need to be smart about the way you approach it.

Chocolateychocolate Fri 12-Jul-19 19:19:39

To the pp who said try reverse psychology, I tried that with my DS, but it didn't work. He still went. And stayed there.

zafferana Fri 12-Jul-19 19:19:51

Tell him that it is ok, arrange a trial run over the summer and let him go. I’m sure that if his dad is as bad as you say, he will be back in no time.

This^. I'd be as neutral as I could and say 'Fine, if you're sure that's what you want' and let him know that he's welcome to come home if it doesn't work out. I know your heart is breaking, I totally understand, but it's true about the reverse psychology - the more you try to dissuade him and hold onto him and encourage him to study while his useless waster of a dad is whispering 'Nah mate, don't worry about it', the more likely you are to lose him. Be wise, play the long game and hope he comes back. And if he doesn't, or not immediately, don't despair. Lots of teens fuck up their exams and have to go back and redo them later on. It's not the end of the world. Hopefully one day he'll see that his dad's sweet nothings are just that and that he needs to be learn to stand on his own two feet and be independent.

ReanimatedSGB Fri 12-Jul-19 19:21:49

I'm not actually advocating that the kid drops out of education altogether, just pointing out why it might seem more appealing now than it might have done a few years ago. Because there are so many graduates doing shitty dead-end jobs that it's getting harder to convince the young that they must study when there is no guarantee of it leading to rewards.

AnotherEmma Fri 12-Jul-19 19:22:04

As PPs have said, you need to let him go.
If I were you I would insist that he stays at his current school to finish his GCSEs, but offer to let him go to his dad's for an extended period over the summer holidays as a kind of trial run for next year. You might find that he has a great time with his dad and is even more determined to move there next year. Or you might find that he misses you and home, and comes back a bit more contrite and willing to cooperate. However, I think you have to let him make that choice - let him make the mistake of being seduced by his idiot father and taking his mother's support and sensible parenting for granted. It will be heartbreaking. But there is no alternative, you will push him away even more if you dig your heels in.

Have you gone through CMS for child maintenance btw?

SeaSidePebbles Fri 12-Jul-19 19:23:05

I would send him now. It’ll inconvenience his dad no end and send him packing back to yours.

Tell your son: you want to go, you go now. You’recalways welcomed back, I love you, but it’s not a hotel, off you go love.

HouseworkAvoider10 Fri 12-Jul-19 19:23:42

Lob him over to his Dad's for a long stretch.
See how both of them like them apples.

ReanimatedSGB Fri 12-Jul-19 19:23:58

And when you add in the fact that the government is continually fucking about with the education system to the extent that many qualifications are either unattainable or completely meaningless, it gets even harder to keep parroting the 'work hard and obey and you'll be all right' stuff to DC who are smart enough to see that it isn't all that true.

endofthelinefinally Fri 12-Jul-19 19:24:17

I think you have no choice.
Tell him how much you love him. You are pleased he is ready to be more independent. He will need to think about earning money anyway, learn to cook, manage his own laundry etc, as his dad will not, of course, be doing any of this for him. He will have a chance to consider his career choices.
Tell him you will always be there for him if he needs you.
f you don't let him go he will always resent you.
Thankfully, education is available lifelong these days.
Yes, he does need to be in education or apprenticeship until age 18, but that will now be his dad's responsibility.
Make sure you inform his school, in writing, that this is the case. Then any fines will be directed to his dad.

myidentitymycrisis Fri 12-Jul-19 19:25:08

I would ask him how will he know what 'the job he loves' is if he cannot try anything because he does not have that the basic requirement of 5 GCSEs?. Yes, he may be an entrepreneur or live off an inheritance or a rich girlfriend like his dad, but he may also want to go to university as a mature student, or train to be anything and its all a lot harder without the basic.
I think an apprenticeship might work, but surely he will need some quals to get on them?

BarbariansMum Fri 12-Jul-19 19:26:18

You study for yourself if you can't, or wont, do that then you have to live with the consequences. Look at it this way OP you can spend the next few years fighting him (won't make him study) or let him make his own way in life, with support (moral) when he asks for it.

Leeds2 Fri 12-Jul-19 19:30:08

Let him do a trial run at dad's this summer. He can ask dad if he can go for the six weeks, and see if dad and gf say yay or nay. Explain that he will have to come home after the six weeks, as he legally has to be in education, but he can go back to dad's after he has finished his GCSEs. And follow it through! I suspect he will have had enough of dad and g very quickly. And always make it clear that your door is always open to him, but don't make it sound like you expect him to fail.

SciFiScream Fri 12-Jul-19 19:36:05

Is the Dad perhaps after child benefits and a maintenance payment from you? Get the finances sorted ASAP.

LillithsFamiliar Fri 12-Jul-19 19:37:38

Can you change the criteria? Make it that he has to get good GCSE results before he can move to his DF's. So moving is a reward for succeeding rather than a reward for failure.
Are there any relatives that he trusts and that could point out to him he might be being foolish? I agree you can't stop him but maybe someone else could make him think a bit about how much you've done, how little his DF has participated in his life, etc.They could also point out that he's unlikely to benefit from his DF's gf's wealth so he can't replicate his DF's life and will need to earn.

AngryFeminist Fri 12-Jul-19 19:37:44

Is there anyone on your side of the family, or a family friend or other adult he respects that could talk to him? I remember when I was set on moving to my useless dad's and polarising my mum as the source of all things boring and bad, a crack team of my Granny and honorary auntie managed to change my mind.

Proseccoinamug Fri 12-Jul-19 19:39:12

Totally back off on the exams. It’s the pressure he is wanting to run away from and the rest sounds like bravado to me. If he says he doesn’t care, he won’t lose face if he fails.

You’re driving him away by putting him under pressure.

Let him make his mistakes. If he fails his exams he will find that he needs to do them again at some point.

Put your relationship first and the rest will follow.

Nonnymum Fri 12-Jul-19 19:40:58

Are you in the UK, does your son and DH realise that he will have to stay in some sort of education or training until he is 18 even if he goes to work for his Dad the job will have to include some sort of training eg an apprenticeship or something similar and if he doesn't get maths and English gcse he will have to retake them. So moving in with his Dad won't mean that he can get away complely from education.
I would back off a little about the exams and working for a while though, he may genuinely feel anxious or he may be lazy but you can't make him work unless he wants to. Teenagers are very stubborn. And he may be resisting just to annoy his Mum. He may change his mind next year.

Imanamechangeninja Fri 12-Jul-19 19:45:51

I agree - let him go this summer to get a taste for it. He will probably discover that home is best.

A teenage family member recently came over to the U.K. from her home in Ireland to stay with her dad & his gf for the summer. Like you, her mum was gutted and worried that she would love the freer, more plush lifestyle. It lasted an entire 10 days and she’s back home now, a little wiser and a little more appreciative of her boring home and mum!

cakeandchampagne Fri 12-Jul-19 19:46:14

Let him know you don’t think it is what is best for him.
Tell him you love him, and he is always welcome back.

ReganSomerset Fri 12-Jul-19 19:48:41

Definitely encourage him to go to his dad's this summer, so he can see what his escape plan after failing actually looks like before he commits to it.

Charleymouse Fri 12-Jul-19 19:53:45

I agree with the posters who say send him now.

Let him go this summer as a trial. On the understanding he comes back to return to school in September to complete his GCSE exams.

If his Dad doesn't really want him then he will realise it after the summer. He will also still be young enough for you to straighten him out next year.

Call his bluff and let his Dad parent this summer. His Dad will also realise he has to be a more hands on parent. That sounds like it would be a bit of a shock.

Let them both go for it. Be ready to pick up the pieces in September and get him back on track.

Isatis Fri 12-Jul-19 19:57:03

When you say you have lined up help for him over the summer, do you mean tuition or something similar? I think that may be a mistake, to be honest. No 16 year old wants to be doing maths when their mates are out and about in the holidays.

foreverhanging Fri 12-Jul-19 19:57:55

Bet his dad will send him back when he eats him out of house and home and does sweet fuck all all day!

TheABC Fri 12-Jul-19 20:00:41

You can't physically make him do the exams. At 16 he thinks he knows it all and he has an adult he trusts confirming it. Sadly, if bribery and reason will not work, your best bet is to accept it, let him go for the summer and keep his place open for September.

At the end of the day, they do have to make mistakes and sometimes learn the hard way. This may include retaking his GCSEs later on life.

AGirlHasNoCake Fri 12-Jul-19 20:01:28

I agree with others - let him go, leaving the door wide open.

Don't be tempted to nag about exams
Don't be tempted to badmouth the dad
Be really cheery and tell him he'll have a great time.

Send your son off with the clothes on his back , no phone contract (dad will sort that out). Let dad know that as he owes you back maintenance to the tune of £xxx you will consider that maintenance will be offset against the debt.

Let son know that he is welcome to come home to study and do his exams - or to stay at Dad.

Son will go off happily - after a couple of days he will miss his mum, and his mates, and his familiar routine. After a couple of weeks he will want to come home again, as the grass will no longer be greener.

I have 2 boys, and they are still much needier than my girls.

pallisers Fri 12-Jul-19 20:12:01

As Angry Feminist said, is there any other adult he respects and likes who could talk to him? What are his friends like? Does he have friends who are trying at school or a girlfriend who is working hard?

It is all very well to say graduates end up in boring dead-end jobs in this political/economic climate but some do and some don't and people with no job are even worse off. This isn't a good time to be on benefits which is where a 17 year old with no qualifications will end up unless dad will support him forever (and since he hasn't supported him before now why would he?) This kid will end up back in his mum's eventually without any qualifications. And sitting in a call centre might be better than other jobs you would hate. There was a really nice guy doing spring clean up for my garden and a few of my neighbours recently. The sun was beating down and that man didn't stop for a minute. I offered him water etc and told him I had never seen anyone work so hard and he said "yeah should have stayed in school". and he meant it.

LeithWalk Fri 12-Jul-19 20:12:55

One of my DC's did just this but mid A level. With 10 GCSE's ( some A/A*) he left his grammar school on the say so of his DF, (my Ex), without any consultation with me. *

It was as if he was running away. Five years on I still don't know why. ExH doesn't believe in education" and when he left always said the DC's would want him more than me. Seemed like his last chance as other DC's had already done to uni. I think my EXH felt undermined by me having a degree and then his DC's too. This option has created a DC that is just like him.

During that time, I initially tried to stop DC but eventually let him do it, supporting him through his decisions and asking the 'what-ifs'. I wanted him to be prepared. I also made it very clear that I wouldn't support him financially.

I made sure he packed and took everything as he moved out to his DF's. It broke my heart. He lived with his DF for a year, then as predicted DF and his DW decided they wanted DC to move on. His DF 'gave' him a run down house to live in, in a horrible area. I cried after I visited him, couldn't believe he could live in such squalor and in such a horrible place.

*He took a very low level apprenticeship with a friend of his DF's. I so wanted him to strive for something better, to fight to be a success, rather than taking the easy option without even an interview.

TBF he has made a go of it. He's not working any where near the level he should be, but he's now bought the house from his DF and is slowly fixing it up. He likes his independence and has made new friends.

Our relationship has recovered somewhat and we see each other every couple of months. He seems a lot older than he is. He seems happy.

I hope by sharing, I may help you OP*

( sorry it is all bold - it was the A*)

toffeeapple123 Fri 12-Jul-19 20:16:13

What a deadbeat dad! shock So sorry OP, I can only imagine how hard this is for you

Emi1e Fri 12-Jul-19 20:22:02

Op, I would come to a compromise with ds, if he gets the best grades possible for his GCSEs and then he can go and live with his father

With him being 16 she doesn’t have that bargaining power.

I also agree to send him this summer for a trial run. Tell him to have a think about what he’s going to take so you can all plan the move. Make it very realistic but be serious in seeing it through.

minisoksmakehardwork Fri 12-Jul-19 20:23:37

Is there scope for your son to go to his dad's for the whole of this summer?

Could the two of you look at him moving and transferring to do his GCSEs in his dad's area? Let his dad do the brunt of the work over this school year for his son. After all if grades don't matter, he won't object to having all the parent teacher conferences...

How would your ex react if you agreed to your son moving there, but on the condition of getting whatever the equivalent to grade c GCSEs is - most jobs regardless would want at least that. How would your ex see it if you suggested that getting that minimum grade would help prepare him for the reality of work. Or does your ex do a job where he can doss around all day and no one minds? Even if he's the boss, his employees won't look kindly on the boss' son waltzing in and failing to pull his weight.

Either way, you are going to have to agree to him living with his dad. Even if it's not until next year. To do otherwise will harm your relationship as your son will accuse you of preventing him from seeing his dad. He's too young to understand the subtleties of the adult relationship.

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 12-Jul-19 20:31:17

I can't see why you can't say no. He's still a child. He has to be in education until he is 18. He can move to his father's then can't he? I do agree that packing him off for the summer holidays will probably nip this in the bud. I suspect I will face a similar scenario in years to come and my situation as a single parent is much the same as yours has been OP. Very similar indeed. It is clear that others will disagree but my son doesn't get to make that decision until he is legally an adult.

TheRedBarrows Fri 12-Jul-19 20:34:49

“Maybe I will suit you to get into your Dad’s line of work, great idea. I’ll get you a train ticket and you can go as soon as you break up next week, e mail your Dad and let him know you’re coming. Do some research into some 6th form colleges while you’re there because you need to start applying in September “

E mail to ex and GF

“Ds really interested in seeing how it could work moving in with you so he is arriving at xx time the day after term finishes. He will need to start applying for college or apprenticeships from September so it will give him a head start to look. Can you put him back on the train in Aug 31st? I will send you the child benefit for the weekend he stays at the end of the summer. Hope all goes well”

The lesson, when his Dad rejects this idea, or has him to stay but goes off and leaves him, or his gf clearly resents sudden step parenting of a teen , will be painful but show him the truth better than you nagging.

nettie434 Fri 12-Jul-19 21:23:27

I’m another one who thinks that the reality of life with your ex is likely to change your son’s views. A friend of mine was really worried that her much younger son would want to stay with her ex permanently. She kept very quiet (although she was panicking inside) and after a few visits he came back saying, ‘Mummy, daddy is really lazy, isn’t he?’

Of course I know your son is 16 and so the circumstances are different but I would love to know how the gf feels about her partner’s son moving into her house. It actually sounds like a bit of a parallel thread: ‘My DP tells me his son is moving into the house my parents bought for me. He did not consult me about this and has only seen his son 6 times in last year. AIBU......’

Do you know anyone else working in a field your son is interested in who could be a bit of a mentor to him? Have you spoken to the school about this situation? What matters in the long run is that you are the parent who has been there for him and it is very rare for children not to realise this.

Mrskeats Sat 13-Jul-19 12:03:14

Some terrible attitudes to education on here. Explains why I am so busy.
The thing is to do a decent apprenticeship you need at least decent passes at GSCE in maths and English. Some big companies near where I live are actually asking for Bs in some cases as engineering and things needs decent maths.

endofthelinefinally Sat 13-Jul-19 19:16:59

The trouble is, Mrskeats, is that it is difficult to reason with a 16 year old boy whose father is determined to undermine the other parent.
I truly believe education is the key to opportunity. But a sixteen year old who is being manipulated by an idiot doesn't.
It is all about damage limitation.

Lucyccfc68 Sat 13-Jul-19 19:32:10

Send him for the summer - he'll soon come running back when he realises what an arse his Dad is.

My friend was in the same position, but her lad moved in with his Dad is Y9/10. He ended up with no clean clothes, no lunch money, missed out on football training as his Dad couldn't be arsed taking him. There was rarely food in the house, so some nights he had no tea.

His Dad used to be out most night drinking and doing drugs. Found out later he also sold drugs.

Friends lad lasted about 4 months and came home.

Mrskeats Sun 14-Jul-19 10:48:13

I get it end. I tutor and I get this all the time with resit GCSE students who realise later that they can’t do much without some decent grades. Or at least some effort. It’s very frustrating and I can only imagine how frustrating for a parent.

echt Sun 14-Jul-19 11:27:46

As anside, will you now have to pay maintenance for your son as he has moved to his father's?

MissCharleyP Sun 14-Jul-19 12:09:05

What does his DF do? Does he own the company? If so, I presume he can employ who he wants with or without qualifications? What was your DS interested in doing previously?

I’m on the fence with this one, it is soul destroying to be in a job you hate, or even a job you aren’t passionate about. I know so many people (me included) who have just ‘fell into’ jobs and ended up doing it, not because I’m massively passionate, but because we need/needed the money. This Daily Mash article sums it up:

I’ve known people when I was in school who weren’t interested and didn’t get good grades. One didn’t even bother doing her exams; we were the last year (I think - 1996) who could choose not to sit GCSEs as long as you were 16 before 31 December the winter term before. A few did hair/beauty YTS and now run their own businesses; one girl opened several shops in/around our home town. A couple went back to college to get qualifications to enable them to teach others.

Work isn’t everything (perhaps I’d feel different if I’d had one of those jobs that I loved), people where I work now are always “Are you applying for xxxx job when xxxx leaves?” Or “Don’t you want to do xxxx?” My answer is “No, I want more time at home, not less.” After my next birthday I’m looking to work no more than 2/3 days a week or shorter hours spread over the days. I’m fortunate I can afford to though.

Stifledlife Sun 14-Jul-19 16:49:49

The problem as I see it is at 16, you can't force him to study and do well, you can't paint a picture of life with no choices because he won't listen, and you have the devil of an ExH offering him a green and promised land.

Literally rock and hard place.

You may have to write off a year and be prepared for him to live with ExH for the duration, fail and then have a chat with him about his options including going to college and repeating a year.

All you can do is provide the other side of the picture that DH is painting. Hard work leading to successful results which leads to career choices and being able to do something he really likes and interview opportunities in line with all the other kids in his year who did well.
Earning enough money to live, not just exist (if that's what floats his boat).

My heart goes out to you - it's all such an unnecessary waste, but you can't put an old head on young shoulders.

TalentedMsRipley Mon 22-Jul-19 17:28:28

How's the situation, 0p?

Kangaroo1970 Mon 22-Jul-19 23:07:04

There is an update! DS has admitted now that he wasn’t really thinking it through. That he’d like to live in his Dads town as an adult, but not now. He doesn’t want to move away from his friends more than anything.

Although I’m not sure what’s gone in the background to make him less enthusiastic. He has been waiting for dates to see his Dad for just a week in summer for the last month. Despite DS sending possible times - His dad hasn’t got back to him.

I did ask about extra financial help for tutors etc to XH recently. First time I’ve contacted him in a year. Wish I hadn’t! He’s just sent a tirade of personal digs at me back. Yuk.

So thank goodness, he’s staying here for the foreseeable.

(XH has a small business, which he works very part time hours in, that DS I imagine would work even smaller hours in and then get benefits.)

Kangaroo1970 Mon 22-Jul-19 23:13:42

Also, I do get there is a debate about education. I guess I feel that getting an education is really beneficial - for jobs, for choices, for personal achievement and confidence.

It’s not everything. People have done really well without an education. However they needed grit, determination at some point.

My brothers have good jobs, but they left school at 16. They’ve found it much harder than going to college, and have felt that they needed to double prove themselves. They still feel lesser than those with a degree. Of course they shouldn’t. They are fantastic. But they feel it.

XH relies on others with money. No way could he lead his lifestyle off of his own earnings.

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