My older children live with their father during the school year and have for the last five years. This was a compromise on my part because he was willing to go to court over custody issues and I had either the resources nor the inclination to put them through that kind of drama at that time. It was hard but I have accepted it as the east evil.
Last spring my son called me sobbing and telling me he’d ad a fight with his dad. When I picked him up I learned that his
father had struck him during this argument. It required quite a bit of juggling on my part but there was no question in my mind. If he needed to be with me, I would make that possible. He stayed with me or about three months and then chose to return to his dad’s house as soon as the school year ended because it turns out I expected the same kind of behavior his father did but his dad’s house offers more luxuries.
Now when my son comes to visit he is withdrawn, unbelievably lazy and he avoids most family interaction. He is very overweight and is allowed to eat anything he likes at his dad’s house which tends to be mostly junk food. We have a fun, busy and chaotic household and he isn’t expected to do more than his share of the work. Just clean up after himself a bit and participate with us. When he was here after Christmas his behavior was so bad that I told him he had to decide
whether to act like a member of this family or call his dad to pick him up. His father was at the door within an hour.
I am at my wit’s and and am really grieving for this situation. I live in a neighborhood where most of the people work very hard to have a nice life. He is so fortunate and so spoiled. His father refuses to communicate about this with me and always has. Everyone around the situation on his father’s side pamper my son and fix his mistakes for him. I fear that the only thing that will make him grow up and act like a decent human will be some real tragedy or adversity.
I feel completely helpless and hate to watch my son destroy himself from a distance. Is there anything I’m missing here that might change his course he’s on?
I think you have a generic rebellious teenager here, milking it for all it is worth. You can’t save him, he is going to have to grow up and out of it (or not) and the less you try the more he will have to. He’s pissed off and all this is a power grab. Your ex husband, same thing.
I agree with what you did and would tell him to piss off until he can treat you with some respect. It won’t work short term but there is nothing that is going to bring him around any faster. In a word – detach.
And on the “watching you son destroy himself” find some new words for what is going on. “Watching him go through something… watching him grow up,” come to mind. In a perfect world all our kids get on a straight path and stay there but in this real world, that almost never happens.
I say the best thing you can do is stick to your guns. It’s important there is someone he cannot manipulate and never, ever underestimate your power as his mother, even if you are at the moment, a void.