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I miss my son so badly - he's only 16

(27 Posts)
brightspark2 Fri 14-Feb-14 16:09:33

My son started to turn when he was 12 - the usual disobedience, talking back, not helping. I am a disabled widow and alone but carried on, supporting him with school life but insisting on reasonable sleep and diet - I picked my battles.

He started walking off in the evening and heading for dangerous parts of town, swearing at me - it came to a head last year when he kept running off to friend's houses and not coming home.

He went to live with a well off family at the beginning of September after an argument. He made no contact until this January when we lost a family member. We spent three hours together, went and got some of his things, lots of hugs and promises to at least text and keep in touch to heal the rift. I discovered they had bought him all the latest gadgets, even down to bettering the version of the Christmas present I bought him after he received it - they take him out of town on weekends we had arranged to spend time together and criticise me for being disabled and poor "giving him a crap life".

He freely admits he likes not having to lift a finger and receiving these treats -but he didn't text or pop in on the way home from college, cancels at the last minute saying "we are busy" and I feel horribly alone - replaced.

I know a certain amount of distance and spreading wings is good - but the utter silence is awful - it feels as if I lost my youngest brother and my son - if I don't see him or hear from him it's as if he is completely gone. The rest of my family live miles away and I have a few friends but cannot get out often.

I didn't think I would lose him this early = or to this extent -will I ever get any part of my son back?

longingforsomesleep Sat 15-Feb-14 11:54:04

Not sure why you allowed him to go and live with another family at 16? Could you have spoken to them and asked them not to accommodate your son? HE made not contact from September to January? What about you?

I don't want to sound unkind and I obviously don't know the extent of your disability. But it does sound as if you've just rolled over and allowed this to happen. I can't imagine a situation where I would allow my 15 or 17 year old son to go and live with someone else without putting up a mega fight. Maybe he feels let down that you didn't put up more of a fight to keep him at home? Are the other people aware of your feelings - do they think you don't want him at home?

It may not be the case but it does sound like you've been totally passive in this situation and now it has become established it is going to be even more difficult to resolve.

I didn't want to leave your post unanswered but I'm not sure what you can do now after 5 or 6 months to change things. Maybe speak to the host family and see if they can persuade him to make more regular contact?

EloiseintheSun Sat 15-Feb-14 18:08:20

Hi brightsparks

Last September is no time at all. The days must seem so long to you but these really are, as it were, early days. Your DS, and he is very young, has been through an awful lot by the sound of things. His dad has died (and i am very sorry to hear that), his behaviour/ways of coping have been erratic, he's taken risks and now he's living with people, well off though they may be, who are nevertheless not his parents.

You obviously miss him so much, of course you do. My guess is that he's missing you too. You are his mother, who he must knows loves him very much, and in any of his sadder moments (and we all have those), he may be wishing that he was with the person who's been his rock (whether he acknowledges that or not) for such a long time.

So don't give up hope at all. First thing - you must take the best possible care of yourself. Get support, look after your health and well being at all costs. You need strength. Can you also develop any interests you have or gain new ones? You deserve to be happily busy and to have your own life. Don't let your understandable sadness bear down on you to the extent that it stops you from being at least reasonable fulfilled and happy.

And take practical steps. Is there a family member or close friend who could help in some kind of mediation process? Is there professional support you could access?

One thing - you have parental responsibility until your child reaches 18. I don't know if this makes a difference here but you should remember that the family that your DS is staying with for now can't simply usurp you. I really hope things work out for you and your DS. It may take time but the calmer you are (and that will be hard) and the more practical you are, the more likely there is to be a good outcome.

mathanxiety Sat 15-Feb-14 20:03:42

If he is in school or college you need to contact that institution and tell them who you are. They need to be told what is going on with your DS and you and the family he is living with. You need to ask the school for pointers about support for you, possible mediation, possible social services involvement.

How have you managed for benefits, etc., that came to you for your DS?

You don't tell many details about who these people are who have seemingly randomly given your DS a home, but who the heck are they? How did they gain his trust? How does it happen that a child ups and leaves and gets taken in by someone else?

Forget the issue of stuff. You seem to really focus on that and it is not warranted. Children stay with parents who give them nothing. What happened here?

furlinedsheepskinjacket Sat 15-Feb-14 20:14:45

I really feel for you op
I have slightly similar story though not so extreme as yours iyswim
ds is 19 and has been distant from the age of 15 - I too suffer from illness which makes leading a normal life impossible
its sooo hard I feel like I have lost him sometimes - I am lucky that he is not too far away but it is keeping in contact that is hard.i just keep on and on but I don't see v much of him at all.we were so close and he was lovely growing up never gave me a minutes worry.i just hope he will come back around.i am lucky that d is lovely and v happy to be around at the moment.
good luck and I really hope things improve in the future - some kind of mediation sounds the best way forward x

brightspark2 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:20:38

They had been family friends for several years. They took him in against my will and social services said so long as he is well they cannot intervene - and these parents sent me a solicitor's letter threatening me if I "harassed" them - thereby making it impossible to visit or call my son - I could only reestablish contact when a family member died and I went to tell him - they stood on the doorstep and asked if he had been close to my brother before they would go and get him.

I have told his college welfare officer and SS said he has reached the age of discretion and can choose - I was not passive I tried every avenue - they would not assist in July because he was so close to being 16. They will not help mediate.

He said he would keep regular contact and does respond to my texts but cancels visits at the last minute - seemingly with their encouragement as they arrange trips away when we have arrangements. They seem to think they are giving him a better standard of living as they have more money and neither my nor their teenager has any household jobs to do..I brought mine up to pitch in.

I have no other family nearby and no friends who will intervene. I am hopefully seeing him this weekend to take him out to dinner and the show - the tickets were his birthday present - he has then agreed to come with me to spend the weekend with his grandmother and remaining uncle.

I am keeping texts light - not pressuring him to come see me or move home but letting him know I love him and his room is always his room if ever he wants it. He spends most of his time at college and at his girlfriend's house some weekends and holidays - she lives over 100 miles away.

He is spreading his wings - his CTC and CHB are saved in a separate account for when he goes to Uni - with his consent.

I can just hope that I will see him for the odd weekend trip away and he will start popping in on the way back from college as he suggested in January - although it hasn't happened yes, another family can take in my son and usurp me - but I will always be his Mum and he will always have a home with me.

NigellasDealer Sun 16-Feb-14 13:23:01

he will be back you know....

brightspark2 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:36:22

Furlined, Eloise and Nigellas - thank you. BTW it started because I turned off the internet at 11pm on a school night - and took his mobile away one weekend for not coming home or letting me know where he was. He would have got it back - but chose to leave home instead.

Thumbwitch Sun 16-Feb-14 13:41:41

My heart breaks for you - it feels as though this other family have bought your son off you, and you have no way to counter it. I can't understand why anyone would do that, especially the solicitor's letter - perhaps he has told them many untruths that make them believe his life with you was worse than it really was?
Whatever though, I hope that he realises (but probably only in a few years) that he really does have only 1 mum, and that he's been pretty rotten to you since he was 12.

EloiseintheSun Sun 16-Feb-14 14:04:21

How are you brightspark? Was it this weekend you were hoping to take your DS out? If so, did it go OK for you both?

Don't, whatever you do, blame yourself, especially for that evening when you turned off the internet etc. Very many mums of a child that age on, no doubt a school night, would do. Something else might, in the future, have triggered such a response from your DC but don't dwell on this.

Look to the future - and get all the support and help you deserve. Getting that solicitor's letter must have been horrible and I have little doubt that in the months and years to come, your DS will come to regret any part (which may have been smaller than you might imagine) in it.

A small suggestion - have you thought of posting as well under Legal? Might be MNetters there with advice of that kind.

Do you have any family members, wherever they live, who could chip in, perhaps by acting as intermediary - perhaps someone that DS gets on well with, or did?

brightspark2 Sun 16-Feb-14 14:42:07

Hi Eloise - the show is Fri it is next weekend - and no my family have not been very involved - he has met my brother a few times and he has said he will text my son but there aren't any others.

He has said he wants to come to Download to see his favourite band live - so that will be another weekend - and Camp Bestival - so hopefully he won't cancel those - the test will be this weekend coming...

mathanxiety Sun 16-Feb-14 19:38:55

Tbh, it sounds as if he has spun a story about you to the other family. It also sounds as if it started well before you turned off the internet and took the phone, if he was out all night, not reporting back to you.

Are you entitled to school reports? Do you have PR? What happens if he is involved in some major accident or has a major illness requiring surgery? Who is responsible if he is involved in any criminal activity, damage to property, etc?

brightspark2 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:31:33

He has left school and is at college - there are no reports. I assume I would be told as next of kin if a medical emergency arose - I am still on the college records. Re criminality I have no idea if he would be seen as emancipated - he has never been in trouble with police. It turned out he was going to friend's houses who live in a dodgy area and staying overnight. This only started happening last May when he left school.

You may well be right about exaggerating or spinning stories - teen hard done by angst. But the father has adult ADHD no empathy - they always wanted more children and the wife goes along with her husband - and her sister is a family court judge and has told them there is noting I can legally do.

mathanxiety Sun 16-Feb-14 21:15:48

Don't assume anything. If you can get a solicitor to work on your behalf, you need to have all of those details put in writing.

I would be making noise about child endangerment, people unfit to be in charge of a minor, and professional misconduct on the part of the family court judge.

I really think you need legal advice here.

mathanxiety Sun 16-Feb-14 21:18:08

You can't just take someone else's child into your home as if we were still living in Victorian times. That would mean any vulnerable child could be picked up off the streets and potentially abused or enslaved.

monkey36 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:59:05

hi brightsparks, i read the message thread with incredulity. You need to respond to that solicitors letter with a solicitors letter. Assert your rights. Does the host family have a single child too? I am guessing they have, and they basically want a playmate for their child. I could be wrong but It's behaviour that's not appropriate. Even if your DS has spun a yarn, they should have been sensitive and reasonable in approaching you about it first. They sound extremely odd to want to do this. You need to make more noise; does your DS know how it feels to be rejected in this way? He only has one mum. Good luck. hope it goes well next weekend.

hellokittymania Sun 16-Feb-14 22:16:59

No advice but thanks and (((((((hugs)))))))

Hang in there!

clio51 Sun 16-Feb-14 23:59:18

What type of person takes a child from another parent!! Utterly disgraceful
Even if he as spun a yarn to them about you, that does not warrant them just letting him live there like this!!!

I can't understand how a family friend could do this to you? And can not understand why they haven't sent him back to sort things out not carrying on like this!!
I would be fuming with them, so does that mean when a child is 16 they can live where they want to?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Mon 17-Feb-14 00:04:39

Oh, the good old "we have legal relatives and they told us blah blah blah".

No, they have told you that her sister has told them that. There is a 90% chance she has done no such thing. Constance Briscoe ring any bells? Right now, anyone on the bench from a JP to Jonathan Sumption who misuses their position will be ripped a new one in short order.

Solicitor's letters are, in effect, £100 per sheet toilet paper. I used to get them when a board I ran annoyed people, and the hardest part was replying without using the f-word.

Courage OP.

nicecupoftea2013 Mon 17-Feb-14 08:55:51

My son has just left home aged 16 and I am devastated. He is still my baby and I miss him so much. I know he had to leave home one day, but I amnot ready for him to leave now. I am crying now as I type.

We have spoken on the phone, but he doesn't like speaking on the phone, so it isn't the same. The house just feels so empty without him. I have lost both a friend and a son.

He was having a terrible time in sixth form, so he decided to join the navy. From applying to starting, it was only a matter of days. I will see him for two weeks in Easter and then I wont see him until Christmas. Its as if he has died.

I wasn't ready for him to leave home as we didn't really argue. I know, I was very lucky. Hes a wonderful young man and I miss him and I support him in what he is doing, so what choice do I have?

Although our circumstances are different, I know what you mean about losing your son. In your case, at 16, he is at an age where material things are important. He feels like an adult as he has made he his first big decision in his life, but he doesn't have to act like one just yet.

I know my son has a lot of pride, and would never admit to missing me, so I am guessing your 16 year old is the same too. At 16 there is a lot of bravado, trying to act like an adult when they may not feel it.

I hope things get better for us both x

furlinedsheepskinjacket Mon 17-Feb-14 16:42:49

sending a hug cupoftea x

flow4 Mon 17-Feb-14 23:49:17

Oh brightspark, how hurtful and difficult that must be. I'm so sorry it has come to this. sad

I think he will come back to you - emotionally if not literally. At 15/16, material wealth, treats and a free rein are just too tempting; but at 18 or 20 or 22, when he is entering the adult world, he will realise he wants your love and advice more than he wants cash and games consoles.

I remember you commenting on my threads a couple of years ago when I was having a really desperate time with my ds1. Although he did not leave home, he went so astray that I felt like I had lost him - actually bereaved. Gradually though, as he has grown up, he has 'come back' to me. I think there's a good chance your DS will do the same: you will have influenced him and his values and priorities, even if it now feels like you haven't.

Sending best wishes.

WeekendsAreHappyDays Mon 17-Feb-14 23:55:00

There is nothing brightspark can do - he is 16. I am in a similar position although my dc is with ex husband - I am lucky with a visit every 2/3 months and the odd text or call.

It absolutely breaks my heart so i can inagine how you feel.

Much love to you xxx

dashoflime Mon 17-Feb-14 23:57:21

Oh dear- my Mum could have written that OP blush
I left home at 16. I didn't do it to hurt anyone- I just felt ready to spread my wings.
I know it was very difficult for my Mum. I think she felt cheated of the two more years she was expecting me to stay before leaving for uni.
I know it must be very hard- but i think it is good that your DS is staying somewhere safe, with people who are looking out for him.
You will always be his mother and he will turn to you throughout his entire life. As I still turn to my Mum, although I never came home to live.
Me and my Mum have a great relationship now- she is coming to stay with me this weekend to spend time with her grandson. We get on really well.
I am 30 now btw.

EloiseintheSun Wed 19-Feb-14 23:29:40

brightsparks - I hope these messages are giving you some confidence.

Agree that there may be some abuse of professional standards here (the family court judge needs to watch herself). You could think about putting something under 'Legal' on MN and/or at least talking to a solicitor about your options. Whatever you do, don't lay any great store by the solicitor's letter you received when your DC moved in with this other family. They're paid to write hurtful stuff - it's very wrong but they do it.

Take heart. I'll be thinking about you and your DS this weekend.

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