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.