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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?!

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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