My marriage ended when my children were in their teenage years.

My son was 13 and my daughter was 15.   Our “parenting plan” was that the children would live with me for the majority of the time.  My ex would have them for dinner one night a week and every other weekend.

I thought that this was not enough time.  I thought that the kids would feel deserted by their dad but he was adamant.

We argued a lot about it but he thought that this was the best situation for the children. And by best, what he really meant was that he felt it would be best for ME to make sure that his children were disciplined, stayed on track at school and deal with the emotional ups and downs of two raging teenagers.  He felt his role was to have a lovely dinner once a week with them, and to be a Disney Dad every other weekend spoiling them rotten. No rules, no curfews. They could do whatever they wanted. And he could did whatever he wanted.

Tired of fighting, I agreed.

This worked for the first year. However problems started to arise with the kids. My son was drinking, smoking drugs (and dealing I think), doing poorly in school and not respecting me or any boundaries I had set.  My daughter found a new boyfriend and skipped school constantly.

Every day the school called about one of them and every night there was fierce fighting.

My life was again turned upside down.

I started seeing a parent coach and my focus was to parent my kids with both love and boundaries. I asked my ex to come with me so that we could be a united front.  He told me I was overreacting and didn’t think there was a problem.  He actually told me that this was normal adolescent behaviour and that I was the problem!

Frustrated, sad, alone and exhausted, I knew how much I loved my children and how important it was that I was there for them as they were spiralling off the tracks.

And then one day, they both came home and told me that they didn’t want to live with me anymore. That they were both going to live with their dad. He was more chill, and he let them be.  Shocked, I said that is not happening.  And they proceeded to tell me that their Dad was fine with them moving and that it was their choice.

They have recently moved and I don’t even know how to navigate this chapter. I know moving in with their Dad will be the worst thing for them.  I have dedicated my life to raising these kids, and now at the most crucial point where they really need strong parental guidance they have gone.

They are slipping through my fingers and I am unable to stop it.

Lauren, 46

Divorce Angels Comments: We have had an overwhelming response to this post and many have recommended this book to help navigate such a difficult time.  We hope it helps!

164 Responses to “My teenagers have chosen to move out and live with their Dad”

  1. Anonymous

    I have been where you are now and it is a tough situation. I think if they do move in with their dad it will be a wake up call for all of them. Just be there to continue to support them and love them and maybe help pick up the pieces if it doesn’t work out. Take care of yourself also.

    • Jon

      I’m in a similar situation now. My oldest son 16 got caught vaping and causing disruption in school. Between his mom and me we have 50/50 custody. I’m more of the disciplined parent, while his mother let’s him do anything he wants, very little discipline, lack of supervision as she works overnight and sleeps all day. Sure, her boyfriend maybe home in the evenings but still not much discipline or supervision. He decided to live with his mother after getting in trouble. It has been very difficult, he hasn’t been communicating with me much, I’ve been trying to get him counseling to help him. I’m in the process of using the courts to push for counseling to help him. It’s been a constant nightmare for me to watch his life go down the tube

  2. Gina

    Read the book and don’t give up on them. Take some time for you while he has them and focus on your relationship with them now that you are not the “bad guy” anymore. Its hard but they will be back to you.

    Sending good vibes to you 🙂

      • Anonymous

        I am existing through this – but have realised I HAVE to keep
        living ….and see what happens if they choose to come back ….

      • Anonymous

        I am also in this situation and it’s extremely difficult…a lot of people say give my son space but I find it hard not to even send him a text.

        • Shelly

          My ex works out of state but is ok with our 16yo son moving in with him, even though he isn’t home. My 22 yo son (ex’s stepson) also lives there. My dilema, he would have to walk a mile or so to/from school in all sorts of weather. He’s a good kid but said hurtful things when telling me he wanted to move out. (He will be doing the same things there that he does here, video games and YouTube) To make a long story short, I’m having a hard time dealing with my last child choosing his dad over his mom. They all say, “we will come visit” us parents know better, they will be to busy. Honestly, I feel depressed. I cry A LOT!!! And blame myself!!!! Doesn’t help that I’m going through menopause and now this! Unfortunately, I have thought “why am I even here if my kids don’t want to be around me”?

          • Anonymous

            Omg! I’m in exactly the same boat! My daughters, 14 and almost 16 hate me and are living with their dad…the older ones boyfriend lives near my ex…I’ve been a mess…I’m going through menopause…it’s rough…I’m so sorry you are dealing with this…

          • Theresa

            OmgOmg I’m going through the almost exact thing. She is failing classes and don’t know what to do. I’m crying all the time not knowing should I just let her go but it’s my job to make sure she is not failing isn’t it? Or should I left her go? What if she doesn’t graduate high school? I just don’t know.

          • Christi

            Me too! Just started in the process. My son got a girlfriend and dad has no rules.

          • Paige

            I’m there with you all. My 16 year old daughter decided to move in with her dad after he came to finally visit after two years this month. Mine is a nightmare story. My girls (17, 16 now) primarily lived with their dad because he wouldn’t give the house up and I wanted them to stay in a good school (Divorced in 2018). We had shared parenting and the girls came here all the time, the now 16 yr old actually moved in with me for about 2 months in 2019 due to her fathers behavior.

            Fast forward a couple of years, COVID hit. He wanted to take them camping during a state and national lockdown and I refused. They had come to visit me over spring break. So he said the girls had to stay with me. My attorney said otherwise. We attempted to return them back to their father /primary residence and he changed the locks on the house and refused to let them in (called the sheriff and there was nothing they could do). 5 months later, he moves 1200 miles away – and wanted to take them with him. That was a hard no.

            After discussions with my attorney, we have attempted for the past 2 years to get a modified out of state parenting plan in place but he has been completely un co-operative – then blamed me for not allowing him to see his kids. He also refuses to support his kids for the past two years. Didn’t pay any child support and always refused when ever they asked him for money for basics like school clothes. 0 support.

            He was told on several occasions he was always welcome to come back to the girls home state and visit. Didn’t – not even once in two years, until now. He always claimed he had to manage his “farm” in Maine and couldn’t leave. However in March of 2022, two months before we have a court date – he magically appears, rents an apartment nearby and manages to manipulate her into moving in. Why do I say he manipulated her? Because she’s on the spectrum, has ADHD, Anxiety and ODD and he’s a narcissist and knew she was an easy target to get out of paying any future child support. Sick and disgusting.

  3. Cricket

    I have been through something similar. As a mom, it can be devastating. Just know your not alone. Take this time to really focus on you… counseling, self-care, and anything you’ve put off doing because your focus has been your kids. Continue to love them and support them while continuing to provide healthy boundaries. The day will come that they will respect you for that. I am in the place now that I can look back and see the silver lining. I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been in my adult life. I wish the same for you… that you can look back five years from now and be proud of what a great job you have done not just moving through this, but in creating a stronger, happier, healthier you.

    • Lauren

      Thank you Cricket. I actually don’t know anyone this has happened to. I feel like a failure – first my marriage now my kids. What is wrong with me?

      • Mother of4

        I my opinion ..let them move in have him finally see what you’ve been dealing with call the school and tell them to call him if any problems come up…believe me your ex will be changing his tune once everything gets out of control in his life..sit back and watch!

        • Frank

          Why would you assume that a man can not handle this? I am tired of this shovanistic thinking towards men. My boys are 10 and 15, both moved in with me after the divorce. I have a full time career, maintain a very clean house, take care of school activities, sports on the weekends and cook meals for them every night execept Friday. Women feel empowered by this way of thinking. We can take care of ourselves and our children, just like any mother can. I want to be able to take care of any problems in school, I want to be tere when they are sick. Sit back and watch a real man take care of his life and children! There are men that can do this!!!!

          • MINDY

            RARITY!! Good for you . We do fall into the stereotype view that a man cannot achieve what you are doing.
            Maybe you can run some workshops for the rest of the lame male population that are fathers,

          • Colleen

            Yes, but You are few and far between. We know You exist. Just not in our worlds nor the worlds of our Children. And, it is the Children that really matter to Us.

          • Anonymous

            Totally agree with you, I preferred my father myself, especially in the teen years as I wanted to become a man…

          • Bob

            Hey Frank, I just want to say that I agree 100% with you. Not to say that all women are discriminatory towards males in this manner. But certainly there is a significant population and these are deep rooted stereotypes but honestly no different from the stereotype that women should stay at home to cook, clean, etc. So it actually goes both ways so we are all equally discriminatory!!!

            For me personally, I provided everything for my daughter who is now almost 17 years old. Full financial support of her mother (who can’t hold a job for longer than a year & it emotionally abusive to our daughter), maintained primary custody (while paying full child support VOLUNTEER to help her mother…which directly helps me daughter), nice & clean house in a top ranked school district (I moved & commuted 120 miles per day for 7 years so my daughter could be close to both parents), etc, etc, etc. So women are NOT more capable than men. Now some might argue in the first 12 months that’s not the case & I wouldn’t argue against that. But for the life of any child…..both genders are equally capable.

            To all, it goes both ways! But assuming that a men will fail is pure stupidity. And I would never be foolish enough to bet my children’s mental and physical health on that. “Mother of 4” is obviously still angry in life about her situation. Simply ignore her! Terrible advice either way. She has her own internally issues and demons that continue to haunt her.

          • phillip Rose

            I agree 100 percent. I am the careiver to my boys. My 16 year old is an emotional mess from his mom and her parents. I have taken the time to under stand each one of my sons. i know them and we have an open book relationship, so they can talk to me about anything with out judgement. Then i respond with positive advise . I am a full time fall father that was forced into a weekend dad. So i do absolutely believe and know a man can provide and care for the kids as well as a mother.

          • Edna

            Frank 🙌 bravo for job well done. You sound and your heart is in it. Absolutely a father can be an amazing parent. He is the parent just like mother is a parent. If children choose you cause they feel good inside thats what counts. You created them they deserve to be with the parent they feel at ease and peace.

          • Sugarsnappeas

            Hi Frank,
            I guess there are women that are Marines, too. These tough and strong female fighters excel at traditional male roles, make really a lot of money etc, and good for them too! That said, I am a traditional mom. It’s a very taxing and rewarding choice. I think it’s ok if you want to be the Mother and Father in your kids life if their Mother doesn’t mind. However, you might be able to do all the stuff but you won’t be a woman. You won’t do it as a Mother does it. The illusive gentle spirit and unusual bond a caring mom has with her kids.
            Sorry, but I can’t be their Dad. I can just try to do the best I can to be the primary love in their life until they replace me with the next big love.
            Congratulations to men that have decided to try to be more actively helpful in rearing children but let’s call it what it is, not ideal.

          • Rana

            Hi Frank , I agree with you 100% . Man can do exactly what women do. But I believe some ladies described there live and says man baste on what she was with. I have been looking after my kids since they born. Myself and support in anyway. Not even financially. I used to call him to see them and he never turned up only few months for a few hours. Now my son 18 and left to WA and my daughter 14 can’t be good together. She turning cruel, rude and disrespectful she swear at me and she told me I had one job and I failed to do. As mum. because she dont like to listen to me and follow rules.
            She want to do what friends do. when will start counselling soon, but this last thing I will do. If she go to her dad, definitely it will be the end of me to be her mum. I will seat I watch her that’s it . Not sure if I will even help when needed. I tried everything with her, be her friends be her dad her mum nothing works. The only think she do now being nice to spend my moneyand pay for her school if I stop givingherwhat she want she will leave.

          • Gettin’ Ready For Divorce

            Well, let me tell you. I Know of men who make great fathers. My husband is NOT one of them. He ignores the kids except when he decides he shoudl do something fun, doesn’t make them do anything . He literally has no rules that he enforces. None.

            He chose to move out becasue he didn’t want to work on our marriage, or parent. I KNOW my kids grades will suffer, if they even graduate or get GED if they go with dad. With me, they will finish. They have rules and responsibilities with me, even though htey balk. With him, zero. they will get to be on their phones 24 seven when home, and who knows if they will even be home!?! So, maybe that’s what a lot of women here are talking about. If they had exp spouses like you, then they’d not be on this thread. 🙂

      • Benji

        There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. I am in the same situation, though the dad made this happen, and I see that the kids need someone who holds the balloons. This is the phrase that came to me early on, because who is going to say, “I am not discussing the divorce with you.” or about money “that is not your problem.” to an eighteen year old? Me. Because good boundaries have to be modeled and life really is a learning ground. I am learning to take really good care of myself, make sure the bullying stops on all levels, and practically moving forward. The best part for me is seeing that I am fun to be around, easygoing, and the more time I spend doing ME stuff, the better it is. When I create a strong and ethical life, I move forwards, and I say no to my ex strongly, and to others who have his opinion of me, and amazingly, this has halted much of the negative experience. The courts have proven faulty to someone who manipulates and I have found that being very strong helps me, being very honest and not candy-coating it, but also I am not discussing this with the kids. They then can see for themselves what is happening, and quiet, not having to wonder how mom feels about it clears some space for them. This has turned my relationship with them right around, but it has been really hard, still is really hard at times too. I can be a mother bear, and a very strong me as well, deciding “What would I do if I have all the resources I need?” What would _____________ do?” (my name here) Where do I want to live, what do I want to do? Benji (maybe travel?)

      • Donna

        I get how you feel. As they say these days, “it is what it is.” I found your article when I googled for advice on this subject . My three went to live with my alcoholic narcistic ex three years ago. I just saw on social media he had a large part in a concert he didn’t even tell me about. I’m learning to let go and just leave a nice comment. The older two in college visit when they can. I’m busy working toward a lisence and take care of myself. Let me tell you, it does get easier day by day, but in some ways I still grieve what used to be. I’m not sure if sharing my pain helps you but I just want to let you know you aren’t alone.

        • Joanie

          Thank you for being honest. It really helped me to read your story. My teenage daughter moved out two days ago and I am simply devastated. The thing is, we lived in NY and she always begged me NOT to see him. Crying episodes and epic meltdowns. I peeled her off my legs and would put her in his car. I always told her that she will develop her own relationship with him and when she becomes an adult, she can make her own decisions on that relationship. I fostered her relationship with her Dad all these years! Then to my surprise, she and he moved her stuff out of my house while I was on a business trip. He, as an adult, didn’t have the common courtesy to tell me or wait until I came home. I didn’t even know it happened until I called her. She wanted to be there now. This happened last summer. She moved in with him then became suicidal. I, of course, intervened but my ex never called to tell me and she never said anything, since she doesn’t really share.

          I know she struggled in school with the girls and only had a few friends. She persisted with her desperate acts of self harm if she didn’t get out of NY. I quit my very successful career and within a few weeks moved out of state (with her Dads approval) in search for a better environment for her. It seemed to have worked for the first few weeks, then COVID hit and schools shutdown. She didn’t have time to bond with anyone and we live 45 minutes from the school so her new friends didn’t think to reach out to her ever. Now she doesn’t have any friends again.

          She went to visit her Dad in NY for 2 weeks, then returns home to me to say she is moving in with him again and she was gone in 2 days. Now I sit here in a new state, without a job, during COVID, by myself.

          I am heartbroken. I am usually a strong person but this has done me in. I have been ill since moving and feel emotionally and physically drained.

          Any suggestions on how to start to move past this. I have never been so sad and hurt! I don’t know what to do. No family or friends.

          • Laura

            I wish I had a way if connecting with you. I would love to be able to talk to someone with a few similarities as my life. See if you can contact me….laurabice718…at the G. Mail.

          • T

            I had my phone on auto reader & when I heard your story, I scrolled through every comment to find you. I’ve never done this before & not sure exactly why I’m doing it now. I think we should talk, email, text, whatever. I felt every ounce of your pain as every word intensified the very pain I feel from the hell Im forced to live in every day without my Son. This is not living, I pray everyday for God to please take me, I don’t know how NOT to be his Mom!!

          • Heartbroken

            My three went with their dad during COVID. I had no one. I wanted a better life I found a better job in a nicer place. The kids decided not to move with me and in fact told me I’m dead to them. I have no contact with them they ignore me. I have no family no support I grieve daily. I don’t know where it all went wrong. I devoted my life to those kids.

          • PK

            My 14 yr old son has gone to live with dad 2 hours away. I knew it was coming but I couldn’t stop it. I have lost my 2 oldest boys to their father. Yes I am grieving because a part of me has died. My partner of 10 years is recovering from 6 months of chemo. Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma. It’s been hell for everyone and just too much stress for my son. He saw an easier life and to be honest I don’t blame him for taking it.I just don’t want him to ignore me. The pain in my heart is very real

          • Trish


            I understand how you feel. My 15 year old son moved in with his alcoholic dad without even telling me. I bought a house in town so that my son could stay with me and not switch schools. My ex is renting a house in town as well but this came out of the blue for me. There were no arguments, my son continues to call and text me, etc. I think my ex lets him get away with more than I do. My college aged daughter never set foot in my ex’s house and she is home with me now due to COVID. My son had wanted me to finish the basement and add a workout room for him but I’m going to take my time. My advice to you is to move forward, try to rebuild your life for yourself. You’ve already moved and quit your job. Find a new job, look for new friends, or else move back to where you were comfortable. The focus MUST be on you right now. I know it’s difficult but in the long run your child will respect you for it and you will start to feel some peace. Good luck.

          • heartbrokenMom

            Sending you much love and hugs from another mom in California.
            I haven’t seen my 15 yo son in 9 months because his father has terrified him so badly that he is not leaving his father’s house during this time of coronavirus.
            Who knows when I will ever see him again.

          • Heart broken mom of 16 year old

            I totally relate to you. My daughter never wanted to see her dad and would cancel on him at the last minute. Once she cancelled on him the day before Christmas. He lives in VA and I live in RI. Last June she left for her summer visitation with her dad and never came back. I am heart broken. It had been me and her for 16 years and now she wants little to do with me. I fly down to see her once a month, but she’s completely standoffish and it is so painful.

          • TB

            My daughter moved in with her dad at the same time Covid hit. My husband was deployed and even though it’s been a year I’m still trying to deal with it. She doesn’t message me unless she wants something and when I get upset because she doesn’t visit, she stops talking to me all together. I just don’t get it.

          • Liz

            Thank you for sharing. I’m in the same situation and I’m completely devastated How sis you go about your life without the kids

          • Cheryl Warren

            Wow you’re life is so much like mine my friend..I’m so sorry to hear about you’re situation 💔 😔 I feel like I can’t breathe 💔 mine us going on sixteen in May 2022 and he cut all contact even changed his number. I haven’t seen or talk to her for 3months now ..and I’m also stuck in another stE all bye myself… don’t know what to do 😪😪😪

          • B

            I wonder how all is doing now.

            Im in same situation. Daughter 13 overnight changed from my faughter into her dads behavior. Disrespectful, angry, now no contact cut me off completely. I have no idear whats going on i havent talked to her 3 months.

            My x was mentally abusive. The worst case of financially absuse and memtal my lawyer had ever seen.

            I never went to court for my childrens sake. My lawyer warned me he would do everything he could to manipulate my children there was a pattern in people like him.

            Now it happened. I dont know what to do.

            I miss my daughter so much i can barely breathe.

          • Jesse

            Hi Joanie, your post is a few years old…But I was wondering how you’re doing now? I am going through something similar. My daughter is 16 now, and we were always very close. She would cry, and BEG me not to go to her Dad’s house…but I would try my best to foster their relationship. For the past year, things changed and now Dad is the “best”, and apparently I’m horrible in her eyes. She’s always nasty toward me, never wants to spend time with me but she’s totally different with her father. Like your daughter, she’s quiet and doesn’t have many friends she takes alot of things out on me which I understand…she has mentioned moving in with him for a fresh start, and she has step-siblings there so it’s probably more fun for her. Like you, I dedicated my WHOLE life to raising my child. No friends, no family. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut, and don’t know what to do. I was hoping you might have an update, and some advice. Did your daughter realize the grass was not greener, and come back with you? How is your relationship today?

      • Anonymous

        I have the same feeling. My ex left me 13 years ago and now it feels like he is taking my son.
        I see you posted 2 years ago. Tell me how are you now?
        I keep hearing from people saying he will be back if I let him go but honestly, I don’t think he will be back.

        • Cami Nelson

          Im in the same situation. My heart is broken. I would love to hear how you are doing.

        • Kemi

          This is currently my situation. My ex is a narcissist and he somehow convinced my ONLY child that it would be better if he came to live with him. To say the least, I am devastated. I miss my son. I walk past his room and cry, I look at other children waiting to ride the school bus on my way to work and cry, I come home and cry. My life has revolved around my son because I wanted it to. Even though I can see him when I want and he can come over, it is not the same version of him.

          I am receiving the same advice that he will return. I do not think so. To hope that one day he will awake and change his mind I think is out of the question now. I am just hoping this gets better.

          • Brokenangel

            I also am in the same situation. My ex had sued me since he threw us out of his house cause I didn’t perform good enough for him (though no one can). He sued and sued and sued u TIL I had no $$ left and emotionally broken down. My son is five and he has him full time as of two weeks ago and I feel so lost. I don’t know what to do. He stole my son my dreams my job as a mother! He will get a nanny and already has a cleaner. He has never really worked that hard. So I don’t know how my son will fair but I’m so worried. It’s a sick and twisted situation. He is also very perv so I don’t know if he’s grooming too. But he is so narcissistic and secretive. So I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m so sick of thinking about it that I feel I’ve lost some of my marbles. Never to come back. I know I’ve lost much of my formal cheerful happy self. I’m pounded down to a pitiful minced meat with barely enough determination in me to get up and go out and see people. I hate people right now amd don’t want to see anyone. What is my point now. He has completely wrecked me. Well maybe it’ll be better in a month or so. Judges lawyers and the like do what they do for mo why and status quo.They don’t like hearing uncomfortable things and don’t believe mothers and Young children. Six and twisted world we live in.

          • Zoet

            Hi I see this was posted nearly a year ago and I feel exactly the same as you. Please tell me it gets easier

          • Devastated Mom


            I know it’s been a few years since you posted. Your story stood out from all the others because it sounds EXACTLY like what I am going through right now. I am curious how things are going now. This feels like the longest months of my life and he has 3 more years of high school after this. I don’t know how I am going to make it.

          • PJ

            Hi Kemi, I’m in your exact situation right now with my 17 yr old daughter (only child). I hope you get this message. I would love to hear how you’re doing now.

          • JJ

            Me too. My heart is broken. My son is 12. He is ASD ADHD. his dad had never been involved with schooling and was not interested in his sports. He would go away for long stints and was unreliable. During our relationship he was mentally abusive mainly with coercive control and gaslighting. Over the past year he has kept his end of the visiting schedule. Every other weekend. He doesn’t pay any child support but does chip in for schooling but months after it’s all been paid.

            One day out of nowhere my son tells me that he is going to live there. I’ve been to every school performance, every running race, every swimming carnival. I’ve made every costume, every Easter hat. I’ve been the one to wipe the tears when he wasn’t invited to birthdays. I’ve been to one to walk the streets trick or treating. I’ve been the one to buy the supplies for the posters or assignments. I’ve been the one that had to say no and make the boundaries. Now Disney dad swoops in. Mums just not good enough.

            I gave my life up for my son. I wanted to. I’ve tried my best to be a good mum. He wants nothing to do with me. I’ve tried negotiating 50-50 or just the school days with me so I can support his learning. He could go to his dads for every weekend and the holidays. His dad and he have decided that only full
            Time without me would work.

            …so now I’m no one. I’m nothing. Even if I try the court system I know it’s doomed. I’m a school teacher. His dad has endless cash. He will keep me in court until I have nothing. He spits venomous things about me constantly.

            Everyone said your son will see what you do, he will want to stay with you. But he didn’t.

            I’ve tried to talk with him about the options but he’s turned against me. I’m literally the worst person in the world. He looks at me with such disgust and hate. I’m wrecking his life by trying to offer a safe solution.

            I’ve been left by every person in my life. My dad before I was born, my mother when I was a baby. All my grandparents have passes and my father’s family wants nothing to do with us. My husband. And now my son. I’m the common thread. I feel like this one I just don’t have the strength to get up and fight on.

      • Jomama

        Nothing! I am in the same boat but never see my daughter now. She refuses to see or speak to me, i think because i wont/cant admit to the crimes my ex has accused me of ( reasons for divorce). She was 3 then, 18 now, been living with him for 8 months.

      • Amanda Roberts

        I would love to know how you’re doing now, I just stumbled upon this blog, and I’m almost a year into my son living with his ‘chill’ dad. It’s shaken me to my core at times, and I’m so relieved that the fighting has stopped at other times. I’ve stayed busy and prayerful, but it seems like it will never change. Everyone keeps saying that ‘he’ll come back when he’s ready’…..well I wish I knew when that was… I hope you’re situation improved, I hope your kids are back in your life and doing well. Teenagers…uuuggggghhhh!

        • Stacey

          Currently going through the same with my 15 year old son whom I’ve had custody of since he was 2. He began asking to live with his dad who lives about an hour away when he was 11 or 12. It was a firm ‘no’ from me. Just before his 14th birthday (October) I decided to allow him to move in with his daddy on a trial basis and enroll him in school. I just wanted to keep my son from resenting me. All the while knowing his dad wasn’t responsible enough to take on the task. I was also told by family and friends, “He’ll be back. Give it time”. Not even 2 months after he moved in, he started missing school, being excessively tardy, his grades started dropping, etc. Before the move, my child never missed school and was one of the smartest kids in his class. He played baseball and was also a member of an honor society. To make a long story short, it has now been 1.5 years and nothing has changed. In fact it’s worsened. My child is having sex, dipping tobacco, running the roads, just no rules. In March when schools closed, I had my child withdrawn from his school in his dads town and re-enrolled in the school system where he had been since pre-K. He and his dad were furious. So one Sunday in July when I went to meet his dad to pick him up after a schedule visitation, he refused to come back. His dad wouldn’t make him. I went to the police dept in their town with my custody papers and an officer “supposedly” went to his dads residence to retrieve my son. He didn’t. He claimed his hands were tied due to a document with my sons name on it with his dads physical address. So here we are, end of August, haven’t seen my kid in over a month. I’ve hired an attorney and have to wait for a court date. Meanwhile, I was forced to enroll him back in the school system where his dad lives so that my child wouldn’t be behind. It has been an uphill battle. It’s hard to get through to a teenager, even more so when one parent is cheering on this type of behavior and filling his mind full of garbage. I truly understand how you feel. I’ll be praying for your situation.

          • natesmom

            Your situation sounds very similar to mine. My heart is broken and I’ve realized the “moving in” was being coached for a long time. Now I am the bad guy along with my current husband. All the while what I have taught all along, school, grades, activities, respect have all been tossed out the window. I just want my boy back. I can not put him through the tug of war and I know there will be issues when he gets older if he continues to choose the easy road with Dad. It’s heartbreaking and I’m grieving and at the same time my son has no clue of the pin that’s being inflicted because he’s navigating the choices he’s made for himself. I have to accept and let it be for now. The more I push the worse things get. I just fear for his future and hoping Dad can pick up the pieces when he’s broken.

        • Karina

          I am relieved to find this blog, by googling “My teenage daughter wants to live at her dad’s house”. I am heartbroken too. But dad is rich, there’s a step-sister and a car, and a horse at a fancy barn with expensive lessons (which I bought and taught her to ride and he absconded.) Sigh. Everything I’ve done and suffered these past 11 years (she was 4 when we got divorced) has been for her. Now I am “free” to go somewhere else, but I know she’s been brainwashed by Parental Alienation and quitting is just not my style. Sigh. I know we will all make it through, but man, this sucks!

          • Missingyoualready

            This totally sucks! My 17 yr old daughter just told me this news over text. My heart literally sank. I got so upset at the moment I read the text but then I started crying and decided I will not fight it. My daughter was born with a heart condition. She has had 4 open heart surgeries. I have dedicated myself to her. I would do anything for her. I left her father 5 years ago but I guess im tainted as the bad guy because I broke the family. My ex is very abusive. Very narcissistic and manipulative. As much as I want to protect my daughter I just think she needs to see it for herself. I feel like a failure and not wanted by my own child. Im so upset that she couldnt talk to me as her mother instead sends me a text while at her dads. I have an 11 yr. old daughter also and I keep thinking at least I have her love but I miss my first baby already. I was not ready for the news today.

          • Amanda

            i’m dealing with my 14 year old daughter who won’t contact me at all. We had a fight- about dad’s girlfriend. She’s said she hates being with her dad and the gf and I found all kinds of cute fun pics and texts with the gf that she had under a different name. She was lying to protect me – I know that. She walked out, called her dad and has cut off all communication. I’m heartbroken and I’ve reported it to the police that he’s violating the custody orders, but they can’t do anything. He has a history of not allowing her to communicate with me when she’s with them. She’s now got two F’s in school and is missing 22 assignments. I don’t know where she is or how she’s doing.

          • Mary Boyd

            Any updates? I know this is stupid. I could somehow magically get an estimate of how long until she comes back.

        • Lynne

          I am currently dealing with this . I am struggling as well. There are no rules at dads and she seems to be happier there . But now won’t talk to me . It’s tough. Fit 3 years she refused to go to dads and now he is the good guy, I really could use someone to talk to as non of my friends can relate. They say leave her there and wait it out.

          • Luna

            As a deserted mom, I can relate to most of you here, it really helps me not feel alone. My first son left to go live at dad’s when he was 13, he is 20 now. My youngest went later on when he reached 14, it’s been 3 years now. What makes it more difficult is that I don’t really communicate with them. They do’nt enjoy coming at my place. My eldest son never comes and does not answer most of my calls, my youngest makes some efforts ad tries not to show that he does’nt enjoy coming to see me. And he comes from time to time. The fact that we no longer live together and that they don’t answer the phone and never reach out to me, led me to focus more on my career. Before Covid-19, I was very busy with work and I could tolerate more the broken bond between me and my children. Now, things have changed and i found myself pray to thoughts like: if I die noone will notice. I have always loved, cheriched and cared for them. But their father have always been pretending he was a victim and i was the one responsible for divorce.

            I’m 46 today, no kids, no man, no family and I couldn’t care less about living or dying. But this is what i would tell to my younger self who divorced 12 years ago, If I could meet her : Please focus on yourself and go have a life. Find a good person and marry him but don’t stay alone. Life is short and extended loneliness makes it gloomy.
            Having your chlidren go away to live with the other parent is a big challenge in life that can make you feel unlovable… I hope everyone who’s going through this can stumble on this blog, just to find out that there are others who are going through the same challenges as you.

          • Lilly

            I feel exactly the same way. This the 3rd week in a row that my 14 year old decided to stay with her dad. At first it was only 2 days in the week to be able to enjoy her dance class online but then it turned into every single day. We live only 10 min away from each other! Never would I have imagined her going there and staying!
            From Disney Dad he became The Dad (he has a car and drives her wherever she wants, I don’t so of course I suck, his apartment is huge and I only rent a 2 bedroom apt ) and it’s just hard for me to understand her sudden change of attitude towards me without any explanation. Of course he wouldn’t say anything about it. He seems to enjoy the situation as is.

            I’m devastated, he “dares” giving me advice such as stop having an attitude, change the tone of your voice and stop yelling! I must admit that I raised my voice at my daughter a couple of times especially when she was disrespectful to me, just snapping back at me but to a point of him not supporting me in this, it drives me nut.
            When they are together, they always whisper and I feel like I’m bothering them so I just leave and that’s the thing that is interpreted as a run off while I clearly understand that I’m a burden more than anything. They make fun of my accent, my manners (which can be ok once or twice but each time I see them?!.

            If I don’t reach out, I never hear from them. I just don’t know if I have to give them space without him finding the excuse to destroy me in court to get custody of our child. It’s the other way round now, he drops her to my place on Saturday night to pick her up the next day in the afternoon! She doesn’t seem upset by the situation so I pretend everything is ok, but then when I ignore them just for my own sake, here come the attitude, bad mom comments.

            The guy treated me like crap and spent thousands of dollars in the divorce that he filed to try to make feel as an unfit mom and I was granted full custody. I lived in a shelter with my child before getting back to my feet.
            I’m so sad right now, it’s not a good time with this covid going on, I’m literally alone (I’m from Scotland and all my family and friends are there). I’m 44 and my life revolved around my child and now I feel drained and empty. No man, no family, no friends around. I honestly don’t know what to do with my life now.

          • Janice

            I am in the same place.My 15 year old daughter sent a text when I was to pick her up from her visit with dad that she’s not coming home.We have not been together since she was 2, and in the last 6 months she wasn’t going for visits because she doesn’t get along with step mom or grandma now all of a sudden she’s living there.Everyone says to let her go she will be back she has to see it for herself. I don’t know how to feel nor what to think.My kids we’re my world now I have none left at home

          • Michelle

            Oh Lynne I can understand. My now 18 year old daughter chose to live with her dad at 15. She got tired of the back and forth back and forth (we had 50/50 since she was 7) Once she started high school she no longer wanted to have “two” rooms, plus she had a boyfriend and friends in her dads area. She fought me and fought me to stay there. I think I got to see her maybe 1x on a weekday and usually on Sundays I would get her and we would go for a drive or run errands. Now that she is 18 though, she doesn’t really want to do anything. She barely texts me back when I send her things. Her dad just kind of lets her do whatever (she can have her boyfriend over 24/7) she is depressed and unmotivated. I get upset when friends are “sad” their teen is spending the night at a friends or on a trip. I am thinking “you basically have your child EVERY DAY living under your roof” I have not slept in the same house as my daughter 3-4yrs. They just do not get the sadness 🙁 Its hard to keep communicating even though I send a message or joke (like TikTok) every day. But I always feel like I am barely a mom. 1/2 a mom. I don’t really “know” her anymore. Her dad gets to see her every day and they get to just chit chat about things. I don’t know how to deal with this. It has saddened me for years. and years. I feel like I had a baby and that whole part of my life is just done.

          • Cheryl Warren

            I hear you I’m in the exact same boat as you could really use a friend too I’m so happy I came to this blog site it helps me grieve this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life have no contact with my fifteen-year-old and 4 months 3 months nothing and I’ve been there for her all these years I’m sure you can call or text to see if I’m alive if I’m okay or am I doing they both cut me off communication and I can’t believe cops and courts don’t do nothing about it they just here where the teenager wants to go and that’s it all we can do is wait it out it sucks though awaiting sucks it hurts the heart hurt so bad.💔💔💔💀😫😫😢

        • Anne

          I cannot believe how many people are going through the same thing! My daughter at 13 left when her dad picked her up and I never saw her again. That was back on July 15th. She won’t answer my texts and you wouldn’t even know if she got her Christmas presents or the clothes I still buy her. She is now getting Ds and Fs in school and I keep telling her dad he needs to help her and all I get is that she is trying. Yes she probably is but who is helping her? My son is 11 and goes there two days a week.
          Some people say to leave her be and some say to keep letting her know I love her. Which way do you go? She has so many aunts and uncles that helped raise both of them while we were always working and I believe she connected with them all those years that I had to work. I don’t believe she will be back. She has her aunts that were the mother figure when I was trying to earn the kids a living. I knew years ago leaving the kids with his family would be bad and it came true.
          I have to keep her bedroom door closed and although it’s empty I cannot go in it. Neither will my son. I see her face no matter what I’m doing constantly and it’s so devastating so I feel for all of you going through this.

      • Carshalton Dad

        Ok so I have read the original post and I am Father of two girls 11 and 15.

        Obviously I dont know the personal situations and no one will ever know what happens behind closed doors but I would like to give my view and a loving caring a responsible father.

        My 15 yearold and her mother are nit getting along at all to the point it’s nearly come to blows and in fact once it did. I am strong believer in that a child should benefit from having both parents in there life and I just find reading all these articles that mothers believe it’s there God given right to raise there kids and especially teenagers with this militant and over protective mind set.

        My wife who I am currently going through a divorce with is not a bad parent at all, well I dont think so but she keeps treating our 15 year old like a child and whilst in the eyes of the law she is…I believe with the modern age of social media and the added pressures on teenagers in this day and age it’s time we adapt our parenting skills and we have to accept that at 15 now they are young women and getting that balance right is essential.

        I’m 34 and have a beautiful balanced relationship with my kids…they never miss school I make sure there homework is done and are they are fresh and clean and prepare them in every way possible for school.

        I have always worked and have the added benefit of having a loving mother who can assist me with childcare.

        My point is that I believe we are going through a generational change in terms how are kids are growing up and I get and encourage a relationship with her mother but she is so medieval in her approach to parenting that its having a negative reaction on the relationship and my daughter feels she can approach me and have a discussion about the difficult things she is going through more than her mother. I have tried to discuss this with her mother and explain that she need to start doing more things that the child wants to do rather than doing things she wants to do and thinks thatd quality time spent.

        I would love to know what people think to the above?

        I would like to end by saying let’s keep things real…15 these days isn’t like being 15 when I was a child…we were allowed to be children a lot more without the influence of social media and mobile phones and I from experience believe that its mothers that find it hard to adapt this change.

        Maybe the above is because with out being stereo typical or sexist…in my community the men are mostly builders and most of the wives are stay at home mums and are not exposed to the reality of life and changes that have happened over the last 20 years.

        Anyway there is good dads out there and good mums…and it’s tough to agree when separated especially when as in my situation her mother completely refuses to listen to my opinion and even discuss it with me and thinks I’m calling her a bad parent everytime I try and give her feedback into how my daughter feels.

        Anyway my daughter keeps wants to stay with me and I feel it’s best situation for her at this current stage..does anybody know what the laws are on childcare for parents who are on the birth certificate are drug free and good dads and there child has stated they want to stay with them?

        Can the police intervene or is 15 an age where she can decide for herself?

        • Nope

          Moms deserve primary relationship with their kids and the “changes” you speak of are being used by the Men’s Rights Groups and militant feminists to claim women that stay hOme with kids don’t deserve the primarily mommy relationship with the kids they invested in while you were earning an she handled the kids. Women like this need to take 1 half of that business and share half the time with you. If you built a bigger paycheck or ownership while she was home, give her the difference. Facts.

      • Laura

        There’s nothing wrong with you. We all go through rough times. Please don’t feel this way. Try to find a support group to get you through this.

      • Mary

        Hi Lauren
        I know you posted this 5 years ago, but I am wondering how you are going now and what has happened with your relationship with your children?

    • Tay

      Thank you so much for this. I’m experiencing the same situation and just wanted to say we’re not alone. This too shall past. Blessings to all hugs…. I needed this empowerment today.

  4. Angella

    Disney Dad now gets to be a real dad… and the kids get to see that. I’m not sure this is the worst thing. Dad will have to step up to the plate. Kids will get more Daddy time. You will get you time.

    Go with it. Be supportive, loving, and a good mom.

  5. Shereen Diaa Hassan

    Happening to me this week 🙂 .. I am enjoying taking good care of myself now .. while the kids will see the real dad that was before just a friend 🙂 .. enjoy your time & by time the relationship will be balanced.

    • Marta Abreu

      My only 16 year old granddaughter left us, her mother and I, 3 weeks ago to live with her father ( he has never been part of her life)after a drug test for a summer job came back positive for marijuana. After a big argument she left. I don’t know what to do to help this situation! Please help I’m very depressed!

  6. Lauren

    Thank you all for your comments. My concern is that he will NOT step up to the plate. That the kids will run wild with no supervision. My anxiety is out of control! I am finding it impossible to let go.

    • Donna

      Your choice is to let go or be dragged. I just now realized this post was from last year. I hope things have calmed down somewhat for you.

    • Kelly

      I am in almost the same situation, and the only sure thing I’ve learned is that it stinks horribly.

      I don’t feel like I will ever get ‘my son’ back. At least not the sweet, thoughtful, compassionate, brilliant, and academically advanced teenage kid who moved to his ‘cool’ fathers house about a year ago. I hope that one day he will mature enough to see that in multiple areas, he has handled things very poorly, in large part I feel due to unhealthy adult influences. I would be totally okay with putting the past behind us and starting fresh as the ‘good-time’ parent, but my ex won’t agree to being the primary parent on school issues (attendance or DSS for lack there of, grades, graduation plans, making sure our son prepares for and takes the necessary standardized tests for college (SAT/ACT/etc). At this point I continue to regularly reach out to my son, trying to keep our communication ‘open’ (Lol-not very effective so far), while also making sure not to ‘bug’ him. I actively work hard to avoid bringing up any issues that have the potential of causing stress or conflict (basically I am restricted to idle small talk). However, while still thinking about everything I say to my son, before I say speak, it still ends up that almost EVERY exchange with him, wether it be verbal, text, or in-person, he is verbally abusive to me, to the point of being cruel. I love my son, but I don’t deserve to be treated like this by anyone, and his father refuses to help in anyway….like for instance, talk to our son about the fact that his behavior is inappropriate, rude, and unacceptable in any situation. It’s so frustrating, and although I try not to, I get in my head after he’s been especially cruel or mean to me. I try to figure out where it all ‘went sideways’ for my son, causing him to behave like this.

      Throughout his childhood, up until his 17th birthday when he moved to his dad’s, he did not speak or treat ANYONE in this unacceptable manner, much less someone who loves him and who he says he loves as well. He definitely knows right from wrong, but has exhibited zero desire to be a nicer person, to me at least.

      Per our official divorce and custody paperwork, from 2009, I have full custody of both kids, and their father has supervised visitation only, with me as the court designated ‘supervisor’. This custody arrangement, and the grounds for divorce, were due to habitual drug use and drunkenness by my ex-husband. Since moving to his dad’s, about a year ago, his ‘good-time’ father has not stepped up his parental ‘game’ in ANY way. When my son moved, he went from always being an honor roll student in all advanced classes (through 10th grade), to regularly failing classes and subsequently being moved out of advanced level classes, stopping attending school on a regular basis (like truancy became an issue), stopping consistently taking his medicine regularly and as prescribed (psychiatric meds), has absolutely no schedule (bedtime, wakeup time, meals, etc), has NO household responsibilities or ‘chores’, etc.

      I am at my wits end with voluntarily subjecting myself to abuse from my son, while attempting to maintain some resemblance of a relationship with him. I can’t find any exceptional websites, forums, articles, case studies, books, etc that can give me some professional guidance on my situation. I’d live any feedback anyone has to offer! Thanks, Kelly

      • Sheila

        This is exactly what I’m going through. He barely passed his Junior year. I was texting my X telling him, he’s skipping class and turning in school work blank. My X will not even reply to my messages he honestly doesn’t care. His math teacher asked me how I deal with that behavior. I’ve decided that next year I’m not doing anything it’s now their problem since I’m this terrible person trying to make sure he’s doing his work, when you have a X that does everything in their power to make things worse maybe my son will eventually come back or maybe he won’t. I don’t really have a choice. What can I do?

    • Ann

      I have court on October 29 for custody battle. 2 weeks ago my ex and daughter came with the police to get her things.I was in shock! She had never mentioned to me that she wanted to live with him before. In fact she had asked me a few times this year how old will she have to be before she didn’t have to go to his house anymore. I have always pushed her to be a part of his life and respect him.He works out of town and only comes home on weekends. It will be his new wife (married last week) caring for my child. My daughter has told me so many times before that she hated her.She has a daughter a year older than mine. That’s the only reason why my daughter wants to leave. The new wife didn’t even raise her 3 kids. She just got her daughter back almost 3 years ago. This woman is an ex druggy prostitute who got a dui after wrecking with her daughter in the car. My daughter is also a bad diabetic and I’ve always been the one who cared for her. I have never even dated after our divorce because she didn’t want me to. This woman has been after my child since she moved in with him. Always asking my daughter to come live with them. The sad thing is my daughter left out of here Thursday will be 3 weeks ago and knew she wasn’t coming back. They had already been to the lawyer and she hid it from me. My ex drinks all the time,they argue and fight around the kids and he’s so racist and toxic. But because my daughter wants to be wild and not have to answer to her mother my world is shattered. Plus he changed her phone number which is against divorce papers. Haven’t spoken to my child since the 9th.

    • Diana

      Lauren, I’m reading your article, after searching online for a while now, and I see that this article was written in 2016. My situation is a little different—not that different, but the circumstances of my marriage ending and the last several years I struggled to regain my footing and professional career to get back to my financial freedom which I was used to before I married my ex may be a bit different too; however, my daughter, who will turn 15 in May refuses to come and see me for her regular visitation, and my ex and I share equal, 50/50 custody; we have always decided our schedules between the 2 of us, and despite his seriously hard-to-get-along-with personality (he’s a combat Marine veteran and it was me who got him help and money for his Combat PTSD,) we’ve never disagreed about many things in terms of raising our daughter. However, suddenly, with the Pandemic and the lockdowns, she was spending many nights and weeks with him, and since I was in the process of starting a new business and planning a new house build with my boyfriend, whom my daughter loves and gets along great with his daughters, I figured it was ok that she was with her dad through the coved time and I felt that she would be safe from the virus as well. Little did I know that he was allowing her to spend way too much time with his neices and nephews, who are 18 and 20–and then, they have their friends around as well, and suddenly, my daughter who used to be sweet, somewhat insecure, and caring, has turned into a real disrespectful, nasty-talking, gangster-wanna-be brat and to top it all off, she’s on social media, literally all night long, and when she realized that I was going to install new rules when we all moved in together (which was the past October,) she suddenly didn’t care about her new room and the great space my boyfriend and I created for all 3 of our teens; she barely comes here and when she is here, she is non-stop on facetime with her 18 year old cousin! She swears at me and calls me names and now, she is refusing to come over at all. Meanwhile, my ex husband doesn’t seem to see anything wrong in her behavior and thinks that it’s “problems between me and her,” and “it’s just her age, and she’s going through things…” and I have exploded, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve totally lost it on both of them and that helps their cases, I know! His PTSD problems, however, are the reasons we divorced. He cannot be “on” 24/7, and instead of handling conflicts and dealing with things until there is a solution, he bails. He spends hours on top of hours playing “Call of Duty,” and he NEVER drives her to anywhere she asks to go–even while she’s been terrible to me, she’s still getting rides from my boyfriend for all kinds of activitiies. My ex will not break his routine and he barely leaves his house for anything, and that’s how he has always been; I was against him getting her a phone a few years ago because I know he does not monitor her at night, and now, it’s just a nightmare! I just wondered, now since it’s 2020, have you had any improvement, and do you have any suggestions that might help me? I haven’t gone to a lawyer yet, but I’m thinking about a therapist for my daughter and myself; she’s been so horrible to me, though, and I worry it could all backfire on me. She’s really behaving a lot like her dad, and that is a known phenomenon with children raised by a parent with PTSD. I’m so confused at this point, but mostly, I’m sad and depressed and I can’t even enjoy that my life has finally began to turn around after I lost everything from the divorce. I hope things are better with your, Lauren, and I appreciate that you shared your story for all of us to read.


  7. B

    Same thing happened to me, and kid returned within 3 months. Try not to worry – the kids will be ok, most teens act out at some point.

  8. Christine

    I know how you are feeling Lauren. My 17 year old daughter left my home in June to go live on the streets of Toronto with her boyfriend. Then when that didn’t turn out very well she went to live with her Dad’s brother’s family because I had too many rules. There was a point that I really did not think I could handle all the anxiety and could not possibly handle my daughter not wanting to live at home anymore. It was one of the hardest things I have ever been through. I kept the lines of communication open. I respected her decision to not come back home even though it hurt like hell and I cried a lot! Now I feel stronger and more confident in myself than I ever have in my life. People told me when she left to take care of myself but that seemed impossible to me at the time, I felt like I was on the edge of having a complete breakdown. But you will make it though this…your kids will see one day when they gain some maturity and life experience that you were a great parent and we’re only trying to do what was best for them. And you need to remind yourself of that about a hundred times a day but it will get easier. You will soon see the life lesson for you in this and you will grow as a person and even though you may not be able to see it now there will be positive things that will come out of this very difficult situation. Have faith they will return to you so you can finish your job as their Mother. And yes work on yourself and know you are much stronger than you think you are, you will get through this!!

    Stay strong Lauren!

    • Joy

      Thank you for this. I’m going through this and so far your comment is the most positive I’ve read. I am trying to find my own peace in this situation but its a daily struggle.

  9. Been There

    I went through something similar when my son decided he wanted to spend equal time with both parents. I hated the idea, though I knew it wouldn’t last because my ex was doing it for the wrong reasons, but I agreed to it. It didn’t take long (only a few months) before my son realized his dad wasn’t really the same fun person he saw every other weekend and he quickly turned back into the person he was when we were married. One year later my son was back with me full-time. He is flourishing in school, is respectful and even appreciative of the rules I impose. Being a teenager, he still tests the limits, but always still respectful. I know it’s because of the time he spent living with his dad and seeing the difference between “weekend dad” and the “real” person. You never know, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

  10. Ashley

    I see this is old… but daughter moved in with dad at 16 for car and to run wild. She is doing that and now refuses to even speak to me. Sleeping with girls and boys, shaving head and dying it blue, all over the place all hours of the night. No structure.

    I have two teens with my current husband. I feel guilty when I try to just let it be. Every time I call her dad he curses me calls me a bad mother and says she has panic attacks because of me. 🙁

    I have been there while he screwed off! We were never married THANK GOD!!! My current husband and I have been together since she was 3 months old and raised her like our own.

    Not even a text message for mother’s day. She wants to punish me for making her go by rules and not allowing her to run wild.

    I’m giving up and just letting go… maybe.

    • Jodz

      I am in a similar boat, when my boys turn that 12/13 age my ex gets in their heads and turns them against me. He is very manipulating in a very clever way. My 17 year has just starting speaking to me again after 3 years. My 12 year just left this week without telling me ! My ex will not encourage him to return😞
      I also have an 8 year old so I’m expecting the same in a few years

      • Heart broken

        Did you have a court agreement? Mine is the same age as yours (13) and wants to go to dad’s but we have court documents for 70-30 (my way). Is it worth the fight to keep him with me?

      • Anonymous

        I had the same thing happen to me. I dreaded teenage years because my eldest child left at 13. I expected it will happen for my other child, and I was scared like heel from getting to teenage years, and when he got at 13, he left. Please try rather to expect your 8 year old will stay.

    • Jackie

      Ashley, I am so sorry but relieved to find someone who is going through exactly what I am right now, it’s making me so tired and sad. I hope that you’re ok with you family and have had some relief from letting go, sending you hugs. 💜

  11. Hated

    Sad to read all these but nice to know i am not alone. My 17 yr old daughter left a few months ago. She decided i was not worthy because of rules that were not even close to being strict. She has had is still has a 21 yr old boyfriend. She and i were fighting a.couple months ago and she anouced shes going to move out with him. Shes in grade 11. So my husband tell her he also hates me and they can move out together! Husband thinks hes the hero here. His mother has always hated me and guess where they alsways visit. My daughter deleted and blocked me from all media. I felt and still feel suicidal. She says hates me and that im toxic. I really am super healthy and just had a few chores for her. My hisband would undermine me and say she doesnt need to unload the dishwasher or have a curfew at nite. Do u guys think one day i will be in her life again? I doubt it. 🙁
    Im not a mom any more.

    • Kate

      You will always be a Mom….the ex’s that undermine are just totally immature and are Destroying their own children…..and guess what ….they don’t care. That is the heartbreaking part of all of this. I have a strong belief inGod and believes that He sees everything, but it’s hard to go thru and it’s hard to see the kids manipulated and emotionally abused

    • Denied

      Hated, the details differ only slightly but I am walking the same journey with you. I feel exactly like “Im not a mom anymore”. I do think (kinda) they will come back to us. I wish we could exchange emails, be supportive for each other!

      • Heather

        My boys dislike my boyfriend and his kids because there have been domestic issues in our home. I understand, completely because I don’t like the way I’ve been treated either. Now, at ages 15 and 18 they want to live permanently with their dad. His house is only 10 miles from mine, so it’s not a distance issue. It’s that I feel like they’re choosing their dad over me. He has more room and more gadgets and it’s much quieter there. I have tried to get my boyfriend to leave – because I choose my children over him and his – but he won’t and can’t. He hasn’t worked in many years due to PTSD (for which he refuses to seek social security disability benefits). He has nothing but the clothes on his back; that I purchased for him. He has no family to go to either. My only hope is to put my house on the market and find another that is smaller so that there will be no room for them. I want to live in the town where their dad is again so I can let my son take the bus to and from school instead of having to drive him and pick him up at his dad’s after I leave work. It’s as though their dad is the main parent – he’s #1. My 15-year-old barely speaks to me but I think that might be typical teenage stuff. My 18-year-old has Asperger’s Syndrome and talks to me about everything. However, he decided that now that he’s in college, about to get his license, and working, he is going to choose where he lives permanently. My boys relate better to him because of all the gadgets and games. He’s a good dad but I don’t think they’ve seen how good a mom I am. They don’t see me as being a good person for caring for people and taking them in when they were down and out. They see me as a sucker and everything I’ve done has been a waste.

        It’s heartbreaking and I feel like I have no control. Will I even hear from them? When will I see them? I can’t force them. I’m stuck, however, with the knowledge that my boys want to leave because of my boyfriend and his kids. They think I’ve chosen him and his family over them. It sure does appear that way, doesn’t it. I’m at a loss.

        • Victoria anderson

          I am going through the same thing. I have a 14 and 16 year old who want to stay with my narcissist ex husband. I have given them everything they insult me everyday and now my daughter is hitting me. I am going to leave and hope god forgives them for what they have done to me. Out of control teenagers. Never thought my life would end up this way. 50 and alone

          • Karma is your friend

            Hi, you’re not alone. My 14 yr old pulled a fast one on me and my fiancé. He raised her since 3. She wanted NO RULES or consequences. Im also realizing that the school system we have has a lot of influence, let alone , my narcissistic, manipulative ex. He was a car salesman. He has no rules and spoled her with every name brand, where I kept her level headed and bought feo. Thrift stores. Went to court, she got her way. What use to be 50/50 went 80/20. I originally gave her dad 50 because little girls need their dad. He got away with 86$, but with the 80/20, I now have to pay 490$/😧. He even makes 3x more than me. She doesn’t call or text, thanks to my fiancé, he kept me calm. He said, God saw this coming. It hurts, but it’s a blessing in disguise. She will learn one day, keepnpeaying over her( that’s all we moms can do) in the meantime, fix yourself, kids aren’t ares permanently. Nothing in this life is. So focus on what is positive, stay strong. Prayer works for me, I hope it will work for you. Helping others ,like the elderly is medicinal. We too will be in their shoes. This will work out. God sees everything. I also know that karma visits everyone. 🙂

        • Sad and Angry

          Hello everyone!
          Wow! I know at least…I do not feel alone now. My 15 yo son (almost 16) has decided to live with his dad who has been in and out of life the entire time, hasn’t been a real reliable father. He never works, loses cars, gets evicted. Pretty much everything listed above sounds about the same, my son hates my rules and now that his father is “better” he questions why I didn’t stay with my ex (it only took decades). He’s dad is the more easy/chill one with less rules. So he’s leaving behind a nice house in a good area with a loving step father (been around for half his life and done way more then his own father), half sister that adores him, my family that’s close, super close grandparents, to be hour and a half away in a worse neighborhood. I am so sad and so angry! I’m the one that’s sacrificed all these years for him and taken care of him…it’s just mind boggling. My son saw my ex abuse me in the past and he said he’s traumatized from that…yet he’s going with him! I feel like I am screwed either way! B/c I am not going to force him to stay or it will be more toxic for all of us but he might resent me later for not making him stay if things aren’t greener for him. Anyway… I could go on and on but any updates from anyone would be greatly appreciated!! Did kids come back, relationships get better, etc? Right now I don’t even want to talk to him and have resentment but I am sure I will forgive. But any advice would be great. Thank you!!

          • Becky

            Wow, this is sounding very familiar. It’s been over a year since your post and I’m wondering where you’re relationship is at with your son?
            My son just decided a month ago to live with his dad who has lived one block away from us for the last 10 years and has never shown our son any attention, has never paid child support or ever been a part of his life at all. He doesn’t work, he lost his licence from driving drunk, is very likely selling drugs but I’m not sure and the list goes on. The guy didn’t even have a bed for him to sleep on. I moved a spare bed with blankets over there for him. My son has already decided that he doesn’t ever want to leave and I just feel like I’ve been cast aside. This boy has been my whole life and I’m the blink of an eye he’s just gone and I have no say. I feel like my grieving, I’m so heartbroken and I don’t know how to not be his mom. I know I’d eventually be letting go of him but I was preparing for that to happen in a few years when he’s old enough to work and drive, not now. It’s too soon.
            I’m really hoping this distance will help our relationship and that I will begin to to start letting go of this idea I have to be in control of him…..that’s a hard one to let go of if you’ve always been the only one. But it’s a good lesson. I’m still confused as to what level of involvement to maintain in his life, after all I have paid for absolutely everything and have all his medical info, teacher contacts, etc. I can’t just step into the shadows. So what? Do I continue paying for everything and taking care of all the logistics while he lives at his dads and does all his chores for him while dad prances around town like he’s dad of the year.

    • Heartbroken

      I am going through the same thing right now. My daughter went to visit her dad for three weeks this summer and decided she was never coming back because I was “toxic” All I have ever done is push her to do her school work and do chores. I told her she didn’t have to work during the school year and could just volunteer. I have had primary custody for 13 years. My daughter is 16. It is heartbreaking. I know she is being manipulated. She doesn’t want to speak to me or see me. School starts Monday and it will be the first day of school that I haven’t been there for. The worst part is her dad lives 10 hours from me.

  12. Anonymous

    I thought I was the only one..I a,
    M so sorry for all the other mums out there who are not with their kids. My 19 year old son was my world …and that is probably the problem. He is choosing to stay with his dad while I move out as I am so unhappy. All I ever wanted was to have a family and be a mum and now I have nothing and I am no one. Everyone will know and know what a horrible person I am.

  13. Caroline

    I need some words of wisdom and encouragement from those who have gone through this. My son moved with his dad two years ago at 14 and now my daughter wants to move at the end of the year at 15. I am beside myself. I am hurt beyond belief. I expected my son to want to leave, but never my daughter. I am going to miss out on the remaining milestones as they will be on the other side of the country. I’ve dedicated my life to them. I recently divorced because of stepkid/stepdad issues and I will be on my own. I want to run away and start over, but my dad passed recently and now my mom needs me.

    • Deb

      I have gone through this with my beautiful amazing 15 year old daughter just 2 years ago. I’ve had custody since our divorce when she was 5. He married and moved an hour away just 6 mos after our divorce was final. We had a solid agreement as co parents then – until he met the current wife. Our daughter is an amazingly mature and faith filled young woman. I was completely devastated when she said to me “momma, I think I’d like to try living with Dad.” As you know, the feelings of pain, hurt, betrayal are beyond anything one could imagine as a Momma. But I also knew in my heart, she isn’t like every other teen who just wants to get out of living under rules. Her dad didn’t come to anything. Not a single awards program, choir concert, field day event, cheer competition, volleyball game… not one unless it was on his weekend.
      Yet… she wanted to move in with him??
      As difficult as that time was… I had to LISTEN to my daughter. What HER needs and desires were. Step outside the realm of my own desires and emotions – and really understand her reasons for wanting to try this.
      Especially because of the controlling, lack of co parenting, complete disrespect I consistently received from her dad and step mom…….
      I had to let go. But doing that DOES NOT mean you are no longer her momma! SHE NEEDS YOU. And always will! It’s been 2 years now (she was 13 at the time). And she’s still thriving and still the amazingly mature, intelligent, loving daughter / only now… she sees. The manipulation that occurs. The control the step mom tries to have..
      but I have NEVER STOPPED being there 100% for her. She realizes the sacrifices I make to BE THERE for her.. just as I was when she was home. I’ve never missed a game, an event, or a single visit. I drive two hours in city traffic to get to her NO MATTER WHAT.
      And she NEEDS me…
      It has brought us even closer – if that was possible.
      She knows she can be honest w her feelings and she can TRUST me to still be her #1 support. She has “the best of both worlds” by having us both in her life.
      She has since told me “leaving my momma was THE ABSOLUTE HARDEST thing I’ve ever done.”
      She cries.
      She has difficult days.
      But we get through them… together.
      God truly does have a plan for us all. Focus on self awareness. Self CARE. Learning to heal and learning to give up control of things that we cannot. Seek counseling, Talk about it with people who understand and suppprt you. The hardest thing is thinking “what will people think?” “What did SHE do to make her daughter want to LEAVE?” … the JUDGEMENT…
      It took me a solid year to be able to talk about it openly. To be able to discuss it without crying….
      remember: YOU DONT OWE ANYONE ANYTHING. Take your time in letting yourself get to a point of acceptance and PEACE.
      It won’t be easy.
      And it won’t be painless…..
      But you are doing for your children … to give them the chance to have a relationship and “see what it’s like” on the other side.
      They will love you and respect you for it.
      I hope this msg gets to you…..
      Prayers are with you & would love to know how things are going

      • Anonymous

        Super helpful advice and so much of what I am feeling today. Thank you.

      • Elizabeth

        My 17 year old daughter is staying with her dad, brother and her dad’s live in girlfriend. She’s in the process of moving in with them this week. I really needed your post and thank you for it

      • C

        Deb —- Thank you so much for your wonderful, kind, thoughtful passage of growth, love, and understanding. Your entry made me cry out, of all the other ones here. It hit me hard (what you wrote) and I know it’s so very true. I realize this thread is old and I’m replying to your entry during these pandemic times, and you were replying to the original poster, but you’ve made it hopeful and full of love. I thank you for helping me see it more clearly. My daughter’s birthday is today. She is now 15. No one ever told me that as a single mom to two daughters that the teen years would ever be this incredibly challenging. It all hurts at such an incomprehensible level, to know that your own kids don’t want to live with you and be with you after you’ve nurtured, supported, provided, and loved them with all your heart and soul all their lives. I pray for all of you and for me. xoxo

        • Nancy

          I thought my daughter and I were close. We had one big fight because I caught her in a lie about her dad’s girlfriend. She walked to a friend’s house and called her dad to pick her up when it wasn’t his custody day. My daughter has always said she wanted to be with me more than 50%- her father insists it’s 50/50 no matter what she wants. He often takes her phone and prevents any communication with her. Right now I don’t know where she is. I think he may have taken her out of town with him. She was mad at me. The only communication I have is from my ex and he says she hates my guts and never wants to see me again. He says he can’t force her to contact me. I think it’s good we have 50/50 custody and I’ve never tried to ask for more because I know in the state of California, it’s useless. I’m trying to be patient and give her some space. I can’t reach her at all and I’m heartbroken. Maybe it’s better she lives with her dad and his girlfriend. I’ve reported his many violations of the custody order- failing to return her to me- to the police to document it. Right now there’s nothing I can do. She’s supposed to come back to me on Monday, but I don’t hold out much hope that she will. She’s now failing 3 of her 6 classes in high school and she’s missing 23 assignments. At this point if she comes back she will be so far behind and I’ll get to be the bad guy to make her catch up!

      • Austin

        I really appreciated your response on this blog!! I am hopeful I can go through this with the grace you had during a similar situation.

    • Colleen

      I have and am going through this myself. Son left a year ago (now 18) and has not spoken to me. He and daughter (almost 17) wanted to move over to their dads in middle school so they could walk and be closer to friends and childhood house/neighborhood. Long story short, Dad provides cars, phone, and they can do whatever they want. No chores, no respect for their or other belongings, a complete mess. I see my daughter about once per month for dinner. Son doesn’t talk to me. He posted a cool rapper photo with my boyfriend of 4 years automatic rifle (son managed to break through 3 locked safes to get to it) and I tried to ground him for it…ran to his Dad’s. He also decided after playing Varsity basketball, he would sabotage that opportunity and is barely graduating highschool.
      Today, received a text from my ex that he’s selling the house, cutting them off asap, and go see your Mom if you need to open a bank account, get a phone, or a car.
      I don’t blame him, but now we (bf and I) have some out of control teenagers to wrangle. He has always been their “way out” of every consequence I have made at my house. They go to his house and get away with murder. They also live like slobs.
      So I wanted to get an opinion on how to open my doors back up? I love my kids, but they (and their Dad) steamroll me and my rules. If he takes everything away, that could help me to set actual consequences that matter…but my ex will come into the picture and steamroll it all over again to take control. My kids are also getting too old to do anything we tell/want them to do. This is a lack of respect issue and them learning to live on their own is probably the best lesson, but they are still too young.

  14. Rachael

    I was just trying to find some supports on line and stumbled on this thread. Sad to read everyone’s situation, and yet thankful you have all shared. My amost 13 yr old and his dad sprung this on me recently. Like many of you, he thinks his dad is so cool and fun and never gets angry etc. His dad has been selfish and not made the kdis a priority over the years we’ve been divorced, but I certainly have. The kids havent seen it on the surface and I have never spoken poorly about him (as much as I wanted to many times). I worry his dad wont foster the extra-curricular or social encouragemnt my son needs and that he wont be the best he can be. I am trying so hard to be okay. I also have an 8 year old and am not sure how/what to tell him. I worry he will feel rejected by his dad somehoW. I worry the boys will have resentment for what they do/dont have with the other parent. I so wish we could all communicate in some sort of group. Does anyone know of any group on Facebook maybe? Love and happiness to all…

    • Cortney

      There are many Facebook groups on this…
      It’s called Parental Alienation. It is the cruelest form of abuse/domestic violence, towards the child and the targeted parent. The first time this happened with my daughter 4 years ago, I didn’t know it had a name. Now with my son… I’m smarter now. Doesn’t make it hurt less.
      Look up PA… There are support groups and Facebook groups, books…

  15. Anonymous

    Today feels like the worst day of my life. I can hardly believe when I finally said ok to my boys how quick they packed their stuff. I have met ever single one of their needs and to come to terms to let their dad give it a shot because it’s not working here is heart wrenching. I feel such shame and sadness like never before. I will pray they will come home but have to come to terms if they decide not to. Just heart broken. Thank you for being brave to write this I’m dreading telling anyone like it’s a dirty secret. How are you all doing now?

  16. Saira

    I’m in the same boat as most of you. Maybe things happen for a reason. Maybe there is a reason God is allowing this to happen, and we just don’t know it yet? Every dark cloud has a silver lining, I firmly believe this. May God bless us all. Hang in there all of you.

  17. LIs B

    In a nutshell .. I co-parented our son after divorcing since the age of 5. Thru the years I had my son most of the time since he traveled a lot for work. Once he remarried and all of a sudden he demanded 50/50 even if he was out of town. Instead of going to court I agreed but ever since they it felt like they wanted to control everything while our son was with me because they knew better than I . At any case we ended up sending our son to boarding school do to some behavior issues which in a way it was really good for him, he could joe think for himself and become himself not what controlling people with their settle manipulation tactics to convince him what is better for him to fit their agenda . He recently came home and right away they talked him into living with them when to pick him up they said they already had plans, it felt like I have to ask permission to see my adult son that I love. . He is over 18 now and I know I can’t control Controlling people so all I can do is hope that all my sons decisions are his and not forced by manipulation and I’ll have to trust and respect his decisions. It is very hurtful and painful that his parents sit with him decide his journey in life and act as my husband and I his mom don’t exist and than my son throws the bombshells of his decisions afterwards. At any case any advice on how to handle the sadness and disappointment ? After all I was with out him for 2 years as well , paid 1/2 of the cost of his schooling and I love him just as much as they do. It’s been this way for so long I thought that when he turned 18 things would chance and they would ease up on their control/micromanaging ways. All I want is quality time with my son!

  18. Mollie

    I am going through this same thing and experiencing exactly what you all are! . My daughter last summer decided she wanted to leave to live with her dad at 17. I said no then her dad calls and basically talks in a way that made me cave He is not a bad person but he doesn’t really have any rules. Not like I really did I mean she needed to go to school do dishes and a curfew. I think she was annoyed I asked her too many questions and how she was doing probably to my demise. Anyway when I finally agreed to it she left so quick. We were still going to abide by the parenting schedule except I would get her every other weekend now. Well.. once she left she has never come back. When I talk to her dad about having her come here he says , “he can’t make her”. I am in constant pain and so sad. She is my last child. I was looking forward to senior year. Etc. I just feel like it was ripped from me. She never texts , she didn’t come on Xmas it’s just horrible. Sometimes I feel God wants for me to give it all to him and trust him but it’s so hard! I am scared that she never will ha e a relationship with me. I wish We al new how Lauren’s situation turned out. Lauren?
    This board is so refreshing. I know I’m not alone in this.

    • K

      My situation is exactly the same as yours, even the “I can’t make her” from the ex. It is soooooo hard. Everyone says to me that she’ll come back but I’m so scared my daughter won’t too. We can only keep the door open for them and let them know we’re always here even though right now they don’t want us. Hardest thing I’ve ever been through and my heart aches for my beautiful daughter just like yours does. In the meantime we just have to do things to look after ourselves and put the energy we’ve been putting into getting them back into ourselves and yes hand it over to the universe, God, etc and keep living life as best as we can. Big hugs to you Mollie.

    • ATX

      Mollie, this is almost exactly my current situation. My son is going into his senior year and I really wanted him to stay with me bc he will be going off to college after this year. He does still come to family events and doesn’t come across as angry with me but there has to be a reason he’s moved out. Like you said, I know I irritate him with all my mom questions and my “checking in” texts but I am his mom, I love him, I worry about him… I have a broken heart over this. I don’t know how really process it. I see you posted back in Feb and was wondering if it’s gotten any better for you?

  19. katelyn

    My two daughters chose to live with their Dad 3 years ago. He lives down the street practically. i chose to be supportive and allow them to make their own decisions. They were 15 and 11 at the time. He is remarried with a child and I remained single. I was struggling against his narc personality, the fact he was more financially stable and had more of a home life, I let them go. I let go of the power struggle and focused on myself. I went back to college and got a second degree. I worked on myself. I see them less and less. no more overnights. it’s like a part of you dies. I suffer from depression and anxiety over it. They are full blown teenage girls now and don’t communicate. I have felt the weight of grief that just won’t go away. I hope they come back to me one day. But it’s the hardest thing i’ve ever gone through in my life. i was/am an excellent mom. maybe they just felt safer with him and saw me struggle a lot. it feels like abandonment. it hurts like hell. i reach out to them all the time. i see them maybe once a month for dinner. We have a 50/50 but we have been divorced 9 years. i am not going to fight anything in court. What do you do?

    • Colleen

      Thank for sharing.. I am and have felt exactly like you. Prayers for you and yours. It’s so tough, but you’re not alone.

  20. Krista

    Wow these stories are so familiar to me. Had my now 18 year old tell me at almost 16 it didn’t serve her living here after a fight she was always difficult to be honest just had to push the grade. Albeit at 18 after first year university she is a great kid just not connected to me. My ex cheated on me 12 years ago my girls were 2, 4 and 6 at time broke my heart. He lied, deceived all the same. We had an amicable split as best we could but 10 years later not so great. My middle left to live with him broke me, my oldest all great and now my youngest told me the other after not listening about seeing her boyfriend during the covid that she is going to stay at her dads a while. Guess what she now see her boyfriend every day. So I can’t win it hurts but i know and they know I love them what 15 or 16 year old doesn’t want any rules. Anyways this is a journey that I completely hate but I know it time it will get easier. Hang in there. My 20 year old is amazing so time and patience.
    Thank you for the stories love to all

  21. Anonymous

    I would love to know how you’re doing now, I just stumbled upon this blog, and I’m almost a year into my son living with his ‘chill’ dad. It’s shaken me to my core at times, and I’m so relieved that the fighting has stopped at other times. I’ve stayed busy and prayerful, but it seems like it will never change. Everyone keeps saying that ‘he’ll come back when he’s ready’…..well I wish I knew when that was… I hope you’re situation improved, I hope your kids are back in your life and doing well. Teenagers…uuuggggghhhh!

  22. Mel

    This is the scenario I came here for. Thanks!
    My ex and I have always had open doors to each other and our kids. We could all come and go as respectfully as possible. Not to say he hasn’t driven me up the wall in terms of care and finances at times, but we’ve tried to be extremely amicable for the kids which has worked great!
    The boys are 16 and 18 now and are both really well adjusted, driven, empathetic and family orientated. They’ve been with me since separating 13 years ago. Whilst they catch up with their dad regularly, they haven’t stayed there for over a year.
    The oldest boy’s girlfriend has lived with us for a year also.
    Now, the boys have decided they’d like to move in with him (the gf is just going to be with my son haha).
    I’m feeling empty nest years before I thought I’d have to experience it.
    They’re not far and I know we’ll catch up heaps, but not having them in my space 24/7 is going to be heartbreaking… I’ll even miss the times I’ve had to scream and yell at them! 😉
    The music that drowns mine out will be missed.
    The smell of wet disgusting footy boots will be missed.
    The kisses and hugs when either of us walk in the door will be missed.
    Discussions of current and past events will be missed.

    But… I’m ok knowing I’ve given them everything I could and now is their time for independence. If they need me EVER, I’ll drop everything, just like always.
    My advice, just love your kids and even when they’re acting up, support them, guide them and again, love them.
    They’ll always been your kids, no matter where they live!!!

  23. Frustration Fear of Future

    After receiving a text message from my 16 year old saying that he would be by in an hour to pick up his stuff because he was moving in with his father, my world was shattered. I knew that he was fighting me against the rules and the structure of doing his homework and my encouragement to find a job as well as his frustration with his step father who was impatient with his lack of effort and his lying but I never really thought he would just up and leave. I thought if I could get him to 18 and help guide him to make positive choices then he would stand a chance to find his way. Now, because he is 16 he gets to choose where he lives and all he seems to care about is his technology and his father who he describes as his “buddy”. For years, his dad has been the fun, relaxed, chill buddy that he eats pizza with and plays video games with. I want my son to see the good that I once saw in his father but unfortunately I also see the consequences of his live for the day don’t worry about the consequences lifestyle. Now with Covid 19 and isolation my worst fears have come true. Not only do I not get to live with my son and guide him through this crisis and support him with online learning. I have witnessed him completely checking out and spending 18 hours a day online playing video games, watching Youtube, or other online activities. Although, I have always believed in supporting my child and providing for him. It really burns paying $900+ a month and getting his report card which basically says that since moving in with his father he has failed his classes in school. He used to achieve 70% when he put in minimal effort and 80-90% when he actually tried. He has grown out of his clothes that he took with him when he moved out and he just recently had a hair cut because his father ordered him a pair of clippers to shave his head. I get it with the pandemic hair cuts are self serve but then I hear that “Dad got a professional hair cut because he needs to look good for work”. It hurts that he choose a life of no rules at his Dad’s place (just happened to be a Dad thing but I’ve met many males who are excellent fathers) in a dirty small hot apartment, instead of the home I have worked tirelessly to provide for him with his own space, love, routine, and support (emotional & social). It scares me to think that he is being taken advantage of by his father and that because he is gullible and desperate to please his buddy that he will sacrifice his future and his own well being. He has made comments like “Dad needs me” , ” You have lots of money Mom you should look after us” , ” Dad and I are the same we love gaming and watching Anime together”. My ex has even encouraged our son to fail because that will mean another year of support from the Mommy money train. I feel powerless, used, and scared for my son’s future. I would rather hand the money over to my son rather than his father because then at least I know he has the choice of how to use it to look after himself. Right now I feel like I am nothing but a bank account and a nag. It has helped to read that I am not alone- It is just so frustrating that if his father and I were together then he would be living at home and would have rules to follow but because his dad moved out on his own I have no say and now I am paying for it with my $, loss of time with my child, and my own stress. It is so freaking lonely to sit here knowing I would have done anything to support and guide my child but it doesn’t matter because I have rules and expectations for him.

    • Stacey

      Did you and his dad modify the custody agreement? Or was there an agreement in place prior to him leaving? I’m in the exact same situation minus the child support,YET. I’m fighting it. I have countless emails, text messages, and documents from the high school teachers and counselors stating my son’s consecutive unexcused absences, almost daily unexcused tardiness, poor grades, etc. His dad can’t even get him to school, much less take care of him. His dads just recently gained employment after 4 years. In Georgia, the judge decides who is in the child’s best interest regardless of the child’s wishes. He takes it into account but it isn’t the only deciding factor. I’ve said all that to say that you may have a good chance of the judge making him return to your home. His education is at stake! I’m awaiting a court date for my situation and I’m praying it all goes well. I hope the same for you! It’s tough. It hurts. I’m angry. I’m broken. But I will not go down without fighting for my baby.

    • Dawn

      Wow! So many experiences shared speak to me. I’m in the thick of it right now. My 15 year old son has decided not only that he wants to live with his dad when we have been doing 50/50 for 6 years. His Dad has been the fun parent without bedtimes, without checking on homework, without following through with consequences for poor behavior. Ironically, his Dad is the one with a short temper and swears at him. I have tried to get my son to do his homework, be respectful, hold an appropriate bedtime, follow through with enforcing consequences for the time I say (or his Dad says). And, picking up the slack of helping him get homework done that was pushed off the weeks while at his Dad’s. Sadly, now that my son is 15, he has started to go down a very bad path with disrespecting adults, etc. His Dad’s house is the, “chill,” house where the, “approach” is lighter, and almost nonexsistent. My son has left me completely and it is the WORST pain I have ever felt. My lawyer says that it is not worth the large costs to fight it as my son will end up being able to chose and resent me even more for forcing it. My ex makes 3 times as much as me, and I will now have to pay him likely $900 a month. This will result in me having to sell my home and move into something much less than what I have now. I’m distraught and so so very hurt. Everyone says focus on me now… That is very hard to know how to do. I have zero contact with my son now as he deletes any text from me and won’t pick up the phone if I call. He refuses to see me at all. I feel as though not only did my son die, but a part of me did as well. Yet, work goes on, I’m supposed to try to still be happy for my relationship I am in now, etc. I don’t know how to do that. I feel like my World will never be the same.

  24. Ann

    In 2001 my 14 yr wanted to live with his dad, 750 miles away. And how could I refuse. He lived with me 10 years since divorce. And as such, I could not separate my sons, so my joyful 12 yr old went too.
    I drove there monthly during middle school and high school. And every 6 weeks ( or so ) when they were in college.
    Ive been traveling there every 8 weeks (or so) since then.
    My sons and I have a good solid relationship.
    But even all these years later, I am filled with emotions of sadden, regret and loss. ( as well a pride and joy as they are wonderful men).
    Life got by and I missed so much.
    But I did the best that I could do .
    If anyone know of books or support groups- please share.

  25. Fi

    All these posts I’m reading!! I am going through the same situation..the father doesn’t really want her in with him because I can control her more, but my teen is making my life a living hell and doesn’t even respect …. I think she can go and be happy with the dad. I’m done… and I remind myself that our children are given to us for a period of time only …… they will move on .. we need to live our lives to the fullest…

  26. V

    You’re an exception. Most men are not like you. If the kids moved in with you right away that meant you took better care. That’s it. In my case he put someone else before them. Put all of us through hell. Seriously if he would have stepped up and fought he may have his children. He makes more money and has family support. He chose his penis over his children. Now he wants to step up after 4 years because he knows our son is of age. Not having it. He’s a selfish prick that only thinks of himself.

  27. Karma is your friend

    Hi, you’re not alone. My 14 yr old pulled a fast one on me and my fiancé. He raised her since 3. She wanted NO RULES or consequences. Im also realizing that the school system we have has a lot of influence, let alone , my narcissistic, manipulative ex. He was a car salesman. He has no rules and spoled her with every name brand, where I kept her level headed and bought feo. Thrift stores. Went to court, she got her way. What use to be 50/50 went 80/20. I originally gave her dad 50 because little girls need their dad. He got away with 86$, but with the 80/20, I now have to pay 490$/😧. He even makes 3x more than me. She doesn’t call or text, thanks to my fiancé, he kept me calm. He said, God saw this coming. It hurts, but it’s a blessing in disguise. She will learn one day, keepnpeaying over her( that’s all we moms can do) in the meantime, fix yourself, kids aren’t ares permanently. Nothing in this life is. So focus on what is positive, stay strong. Prayer works for me, I hope it will work for you. Helping others ,like the elderly is medicinal. We too will be in their shoes. This will work out. God sees everything. I also know that karma visits everyone. 🙂

  28. Nick Adams

    There are reputable studies out there that show statistical facts that children of divorce are much better off with the father, rather than with a single mother. When children reach a certain age, the role of the mother becomes more obsolete as the nurturing phase ends and the rearing phase begins. Women are not biologically equipped to properly rear a child and every household/family needs a father figure (preferably the real father) to steer everyone in the right direction, including the mother. The best thing you can do is fully support the ex-husband instead of fighting him and then once the children are on the right track and on cruise control, they will want to choose to spend more time with you.

    • H

      That’s the biggest pile of misogynistic BS I’ve ever read Nick, but congratulations – you’ve won the “Biggest Jerk on the Thread” award for telling all these grieving mothers they aren’t needed any more.

  29. Tay

    Thank you so much for this. I’m experiencing the same situation and just wanted to say we’re not alone. This too shall past. Blessings to all hugs…. I needed this empowerment today.

  30. Amanda

    i’m dealing with my 14 year old daughter who won’t contact me at all. We had a fight- about dad’s girlfriend. She’s said she hates being with her dad and the gf and I found all kinds of cute fun pics and texts with the gf that she had under a different name. She was lying to protect me – I know that. She walked out, called her dad and has cut off all communication. I’m heartbroken and I’ve reported it to the police that he’s violating the custody orders, but they can’t do anything. He has a history of not allowing her to communicate with me when she’s with them. She’s now got two F’s in school and is missing 22 assignments. I don’t know where she is or how she’s doing.

  31. Anonymous

    I had the same thing happen to me. I dreaded teenage years because my eldest child left at 13. I expected it will happen for my other child, and I was scared like heel from getting to teenage years, and when he got at 13, he left. Please try rather to expect your 8 year old will stay.

  32. Nancy

    This is my situation too. Almost 14 year old son. Divorced since he was a baby. His Dad moved a 10 hour drive to another state 3 years ago, and despite promising to move back twice, changed his mind. He has recently moved into a new girlfriend’s house. I feel like 13 is a difficult age for boys and they do need their Dad’s more, but the bullying, verbally and in emails I’ve had – for the last 14 years made motherhood hard to deal with, and now he’s convinced our son his “life will be more amazing” at his house. It’s so hard, especially since I have had to deal with domestic violence, I am really only feeling stronger now the last few years and increased self esteem. I got taken to a private mediation and all I have to say is that the system (in Australia) is messed up. No consideration for child’s best interests, history of domestic violence, Father moving 4 x in 3 years.
    To save my relationship with my son I agreed to let him go and now he is being so much more loving with me. He is leaving in 3 months. No matter what my ex does I know he cannot break the bond, and I think my son really needs to know who is Dad is…. the good and the bad. And I know I’ve instilled enough morals, virtues and values in him for him to have a good compass inside him.
    I’ll pray for him everyday, Glad I found this page. Am seeing a psychologist already and getting support and a plan on how I will cope and fill my time when I’m alone. Wish all you Mother’s peace and happiness. Like another lady said on this feed, my advice to my younger self would have been = do more for yourself, put yourself first, do more study when the child was younger.

  33. heartbrokenMom

    Blessings to all of the heartbroken parents on this site.
    My son has refused to come visit for the past 9 months, and his father encourages my son’s abandonment of myself and his little sister.
    The pain is incredible. I have nightmares where I wake up screaming about seeing him disappear into thin air.
    Hugs to all of us.

  34. Jennifer M.

    This happened to me as well. (Spoiled 17 year old daughter who was caught in a lie suddenly says I want to live with my dad)

    I’m not going to shed one more tear.

    Her dad has no rules.

    After reading all of your pain and anguish (thank you ! It’s really helped) I’m stopping the crying and will start living.
    She can GO!

    I wii enjoy every minute of it.

    Freedom from being manipulated.
    Freedom from being told how awful her dad is when she obviously doesn’t think that at all.
    Freedom from her dad dictating when, how and if I’ll see my daughter. He thinks he’s a king and a parenting plan means nothing to him.
    I can’t compete with his money, large house, and no rule policy.

    I actually care.
    I ask questions and want to know where she will be and with whom.
    I’m a bad mom for being an amazing mom.

    May she enjoy her dad, the lack of rules and I wish them the best.
    I will not be the one picking up the pieces in the end.
    I told her it hurts me terribly and she’s the one who chose this. I informed her dad that this is now a one day street and there is no sending her back when things go wrong and she causes issues between him and his gf that she can’t stand.

    I’m free and you all should be thankful you are free too.
    In time they will know and appreciate all we’ve sacrificed for them. If not then so be it.
    It’s time for us to get our lives back.
    Good luck to everyone here.
    We will survive.

    • So Hard to Let Go

      Thank you for your post, Jennifer M. After reading all of the comments and heartbreaking shares, I felt somewhat angry. With all the time and sacrifice we’ve all made for our children (and I’m including fathers in this), how do you teach your child to be considerate of their mother’s feelings and think how their actions hurt us? The only thing I can think of now, after being so hurt and rejected by my two sons that I loved and gave everything to (and seeing they prefer their alcoholic sexaholic father who basically destroyed our family) is how much I now know I hurt my own mother when I was their age, how little I thought of her feelings and how lonely she must have felt. Yet today, we have a wonderful relationship and in fact, it is she I’m spending this very painful time with. And it is she, who after all the hurt and pain-filled life experience she went through, is the one who’s telling me to detach, love them from afar, let them choose, concentrate on living my life and think of me for a change, and keep an open door if and when they realize the failings of their father and they need a strong, healthy parent to count on. In the end, I have to realize we raise our children to send them out into the world, and their life is theirs to do with it as they choose… whether they choose to be successful or fail, it is out of our control.

      So today, on January, 1st, Jennifer, I’ll apply the principles of Al-Anon (that I have come to cherish): one day at a time, progress not perfection, keep expectations to a bare minimum, and let go and let God. I’ll leave it to my higher power to guide me through this very painful chapter, and I will concentrate on growing and living, and providing a happy and healthy alternative to what that sick man is able to provide (freedom, no-rules, neglect, electronic gadgets, chill environment and all). I choose to live my life, and they’re more than welcome in it if they choose.

  35. Joe


    Your response gave me hope. I have dealt with the same issues you described. I am not the fun parent. My wife and I work very hard for our kids, the older two who she loves like her own and sacrifices long hours for even though they aren’t hers. The kids mother and new husband barely work, won’t participate financially but they have a fun house with no rules. The one thing they never discuss in divorce is how to handle kids when one parent always undermines you and refuses to actually be a parent. My ex and I share custody but my kids left and stated they will come over to see their younger brothers (new wife and my kids) once in awhile. I told them no, they do not get to come and get two kids hopes up that love them hoping they will stay. We are a family and as much as it breaks my heart my house has rules and we are in it together as a family. They will not show up every few months, refuse to talk to me and disrupt our household.

    I am heartbroken but their mother encourages the behavior and I cannot have the parent/child relationship the kids need right now so they are better off not being here. I could not take them up on their offer that they’d be better if I was more like mom. She isn’t a parent, she doesn’t have a job, she doesn’t care about their college or anything.

    Like you, I told them just go and mom can handle all the things their step-mom and I have been working tirelessly for years to insure they have a better life. My house is at peace for the first time in years and as much as I miss them my household deserves sanity and a future as well.

  36. Left Out

    Thank you for your honesty. I am going through a separation and it is amicable because I have decided not to dredge up all of the years of mental put downs and self confidence deflating behavior towards me that I have endured. I probably would have endured it even longer but he was acting so miserable that I had to bring up the fact that we should separate. My children, two young adults and a teen, do see that their father is self centered and not a considerate person. He is looking for a place of his own but they are still excited for it (the new place). I am staying in the house if I can refinance and feel like I am just the old boring dependable mom at the old boring house, but I have literally been their everything forever. He’s been a 25% dad thinking that going to work is his contribution to parenthood.
    Anyway, I can relate because my 22 year old son has been wanting to move out and do life on his own. I encourage that and think it’s a good idea. Last night I found out that he wants to move to a place with his dad, help with rent as this is a more affordable option for him. This of course excites my 14 year old and everyone is talking and laughing and looking forward to this new venture. I literally could have been invisible. I went upstairs and cried in the shower. I do feel your pain because we active parents put every part of ourselves into raising our kids, from making sure they are physically healthy, mentally healthy, listened to, loved and heard. But then they gravitate toward the parent that really ignored them for most of their lives – especially the hard parts. I just don’t understand. Why are they so drawn to a person that doesn’t readily show love when they have someone who unconditionally loves them always?
    When I type it is sounds like jealousy, but it really is just hurt and sadness.

  37. Devastated

    Thank you all for sharing your stories – it really helps to know I’m not alone! My 15 yo boy announced at Christmas that he was going to stay at his dad’s and didn’t have any plans to come back. We’ve had court-ordered shared parenting arrangements since he was 2 yo and he’s been living 50:50 with us both for many years. I’m still in shock. I’ve been crying on and off for weeks and my husband is getting frustrated with me for not getting over it. I feel devastated, ashamed and like a complete failure as a mother. It’s not even that he doesn’t want to spend as much time here, but that I hardly ever hear from him when he’s at the other house and now i have no idea when I’m going to see him again. I don’t know how to sustain a “long-distance” relationship with a teenager who doesn’t seem to want or value it at all. I feel like I can’t participate at his school and I don’t know what my role is anymore. I’m also struggling to sustain my own friendships because most of my friends are parents of similar aged kids and I’m finding it so hard to talk to them at the moment.

    I have taken a lot of comfort from all your posts and will try to take the advice to get on with my own life (which is also what my husband has been saying to me)
    Sending you all my very best wishes – my thoughts are with you all.

  38. Pain

    My soon to be 17 year old daughter “J” left to live at her Dad’s two days ago. She has ADHD, swears constantly, quit soccer, and goes to school 60% of the time or so. I was so scared for J and mad at myself for not being able to get her on track. We ended up having a screaming fight before she left. Then J’s siblings, my 21 year old son and 16 year old daughter decided they wanted to live at their dad’s full time too. I think it’s because I sometimes don’t have emotional regulation when communicating with J (ie I take what she says personally, feel hurt and scream back like a 12 year old).
    I am devastated and grief-stricken and feel so sick and useless. I am so grateful to have found this post. Reading it has helped me breathe! Thank you thank you for sharing. It is definitely the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my 51 years.
    I think we should take this opportunity for self-care and growth. I’m going to get parent counselling, start an exercise program and eating better, and declutter my house! I am sending all of you my very best wishes.

  39. Carla

    I am actually living this situation right now. My 16 year old whom I’ve basically raised as a father and mother has decided to go live with his dad. A little back story we had an acrimonious divorce he told me that my son would leave me just like he did. It’s beyond hurtful it’s actually devastating that my son has decided to go live in Hawaii so far away from me. FYI I live in Florida When I asked him why he says that he needs his father a paternal figure. His father has had him the summers and holidays every year for sixteen years and that I am greedy. Since covid I had to send him to his father because I am a first responder and was scared to bring it home to him. He stayed in Hawaii for six months. He finally returned two months ago and the first night he came back we argued because he was out so late. He called me a bitch and a POS. I can’t tell you how this broke my heart. Also while I am at work long hours I came home and a bicycle I had gifted him that cost me 700 dollars he sold without my permission for four hundred dollars. Then he started chatting with a girl and apparently she broke his heart and he started telling me that he felt lonely and fought with his friends here and that he feels happier at his dad. I decided to let him go because I don’t see the point in forcing him to stay to eventually resent me and hate me for it. My heart breaks. I’ve never remarried and I feel lost since I’ve identified as a mother for so long. I don’t want to be alone. I have the option to go live with my oldest son whom has had divorce and financial difficulty and we do get along well. I am so glad to see that other mothers have experienced this and that I can share my feelings on this site. Please advice I need to learn to navigate these waters alone again.

  40. Nurse A

    I am glad I am not alone and reading these posts breaks my heart too. I am in the same boat as many of you. My daughter (15 now)last year wanted to go live with her dad, and like many posts, I have read I didn’t want to be the bad guy and I wanted her to have a second chance to go to him. The first time DCS got called and she was suspended from school and he still thought it was ok and normal. Now she self-harmed, is depressed, and sad a lot when she was never like that growing up. I am concerned. I have 100% legal custody of her but still decided to let her go. My heart breaks daily. Now after I got upset about him not getting her help he is threatening me to isolate her from me and decrease communication and call the police if I go get her. Because I want my baby to have help. I am in the meantime a few states away doing my masters to continue progressing her life and mine. It hurts deeply and I don’t want to take the police to go get her. Praying for everyone.

  41. Momma Meow

    What if you’re the mom that left because you saw that maybe your son could use a full-time experience with his dad? Yes my 14 year old had asked to live with dad full-time a few times and so we, me and his dad, started to think that maybe that is what he was ready for. Things did start to get a bit hair with him and he was giving me more attitude but honestly it was not all that bad now that I look back. I moved out of our home of 12 years that I shared with my son and handed the house over to my ex and his new wife. I had spoken about this to my son for months but in the end I think it shocked all of us that I actually did it. It’s been more painful that I imagined and now I wish I would have stayed and just let him move in with his dad in the smaller home his dad already lived in. I could’ve stayed in my home so he always had the option to go back and forth. But I didn’t stay in town, I moved away completely. I’m feeling devastated and like I’ve abandoned my son. I didn’t stay to help support him if he felt the need to come back. Of course, I can move back in six months but I’m feeling guilty that I might have caused him some pain. We’ve talked about it this past week as I was in his town visiting and he did express some hurt feelings – we were able to work through them. I’m hoping this is a learning lesson for all of us and we learn how to appreciate each other better. I’m still feeling so deeply awful for being a mom that moved away.

  42. Momma Meow

    Continuation from above….Maybe the better option would have been for him to get up and leave and move in with his dad instead of me making it happen. Like that he feels more empowered behind his decision. Now I think he feels he was forced into a situation without any say. Even though of course he asked for it a few times throughout the last year. But this way that I have done it – really leaves him without much choice. Feels forced instead of an empowered decision to do something with his life. If feels like I left him instead of him making the choice to leave when he’s ready. SOOOOO sad.

  43. Cynthia

    How are you Kemi? I’min the same boat now and Im living day by day volunteering on the trails I know he rides on and Im also going through a seperation. The irony- his dad’s new and now ex wife booted him, and I casually said “there goes my son” and here were are months later and I’m in my fourth week – no son. Just short texts and my son is/was my core. It feels like a death.

  44. Sara

    I had no idea others were going through this. My daughter just turned 15 and didn’t even talk to me on her birthday or mothers day. She hates my fiance (would be married already were it not for covid) and used a mistake we made to run to her narcissistic dad’s house and air all her grievances. She won’t come back unless I break up with him. Won’t even go to therapy now nor speak to me. All her stuff is here, and I take care of everything in her life from school to clothes, etc. During the only therapy session we had, she spoke to me like I was a horrific person, choosing him over her. I’m devastated and very angry. My (also narcissist) mother sides with her even though she’s barely met my fiance! He’s the best thing to happen to me, yet my world is falling apart around me. I know for a fact that even if I left him, she would still treat me like a monster. I have no power, no control, no influence, and no allies to talk some sense into her, or at least get her to have a relationship with me no matter where she lays her head at night. I’m in pieces.

  45. Chuck Benge

    He is not inherently bad. You both want what your children to succeed and find “happy”. Your dedication and interest in the lives of your children has been noted. Job complete.

  46. Anonymous

    I had no clue other moms are going through this. I have raised my son on my own for 15 years. My son’s father comes back into his life 3 years ago. He went to visit him out of state this summer for 2 weeks. The day he was suppose to arrive i get a call from my son and tells me he is not coming back. My son made up a while lie tonhis dad’s family that he does not live in a safe environment. That we abuse our kids. I was so upset because his father didn’t even bother to call and ask me. Just went along and went behind my back started looking for new schools. We dont abuse our kids. My son apologized about this and just wanted to stay with his dad. Well ever since he has been there one month exactly. He has gotten 3 piercings, a girlfriend and have not gone to school. I had let him stay because I didn’t want to force my son back home so he can hate me even more. I have never done nothing wrong to him but only loved and cared for him. I am just lost on what to do. I never thought that I would go through this. My son never had any interest in being with his dad before. But I think that he sees my other kids with their father ny husband it breaks his heart and I am trying to understand. I am lost I need help.

  47. Happy mum

    My kid went to live with her dad when she turned 13Y.

    Since she told me she’ll leave, I reached to all of my friends, who are my biggest treasure in life and told them: Please, invite me anywhere you go, do anything in your power to make me busy and laughing to create an enjoyable life, so that my grief would end.

    Results in 1Y:
    1. My friends invited me 2x in Oslo, to Vilnius, Dublin, Cote d’Azur trip, 2x island Krk, Murter, 4x Ljubljana
    2. My family invites me every warm weekend to summer residency in Cavtat & Dubrovnik
    3. I invested in solo trips: Baltic-Scandinavian tour and Netherland’s tour (I like north of Europe)
    4. Whenever I am going somewhere alone, single women approach me to hang out together and we have best time ever (girls from USA, UK, CH, LT, AU, HR…)
    5. I invest in my beauty treatments, my designer clothing (I buy 2 pieces a year)
    6. I date, and give chances to men who make it to 10th date, who I see are compatible with me and respectful
    7. I keep my home nice, I cook great food and I bought myself biggest best bed there is to peacefully sleep
    8. I watch comedies and laugh
    9. Whenever a bad thought comes to my mind / or a tear comes, I take a paper and write 17 beautiful happy grateful thoughts – and I become better
    10. I cherish my friends, I support them and love them
    11. I train lots of sports, my favorite: skateboarding, swimming, basketball, calisthenics parks, rollerblading, tennis…
    12. I go clubbing with friends, or solo, jut to dance the night away and come home happy
    13. I give my appreciation and respect to the people who are generous to me
    14. I go out for coffee and just enjoy a beautiful day
    15. I draw and write my wishes and my hopes
    16. Whatever I wanted, but didn’t work out, I tried to achieve in different ways, and if it still didn’t work out, I let it go and I focus on something else – or I just continue my life with no expectation
    17. I let different people and experiences come into my life, and was surprised how well I felt in these situations (I met a dear trans girl who was so full of life and hobbies, I went with a friend to a cool gay club where we just danced and enjoyed, I tried awesome new food like dragon fruit, I „crashed“ a posh catering event where at the entrance the owner grabbed my hand and took me in and filled my plates with awesome food for me and friends… and the surprises go on an on…)

    Because my daughter is not in my life (in 1Y I saw her only 2x), my Life became richer in every possible way you can imagine.

    I hope yours will too.

    • Positive Vibes

      Amen on the prior comment. Been doing the same for myself. She was offer fed bc I cut off Junior leadership camp at Lake Burton but her actions has made her a leader while the last 3 months of school provided that acknowledgement. She has moved two hours away new school, friends, and classes through her freshman year. We teach values at an early age a round 3. They will remember those.

    • Elise

      That’s beautiful. I am in the same boat as the OP but my son has ODD and is a nightmare. CPS and cops all the time. He’s bigger than me and has assaulted me. He doesn’t go to school and is on track to being a bum. He wants to live with his dad, but his dad is disabled, always on pain pills, has always been the Disneyland dad, and won’t take care of him the way I know he needs to be. But I feel like I should just send him and let it happen. My mental health is falling apart and he always tells me that I’m the problem, I’m a POS mom and he hates my guts. Yet I still love and care for him and try to make him a decent member of society. I’m also in school for my doctorate, and honestly feel like I could focus on that better if he went with his dad. You ladies and gents give me some peace of mind.


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