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My 16 year old son, who has a learning disability as well as ADHD (which means his communication skills are terrible and so he has no friends except one girl who really doesn't like me because of all he's filled her head with from his perspective) ...went for a visit to his dads and decided not to come home. Its killing me. I knew he wanted to try living there but we had discussed him finishing his school year and being here for the summer. This is just horrible. He won't talk to me or have any contact with me whatsoever. I wish at least that I had any idea why but I don't. Further his dad is an hour away and is quite happy with the situation. In fact I am aware that his father bribed and sugared the pot quite a bit to get this to happen. We have been divorced since my son was 3 and his dad left us stranded with no money, (I had been pregnant and not working), and began seeing another woman who he is now married to. They were unable to have children and now she is thrilled to have my son to dote on. At my house, I had insisted that my son do a few chores. Garbage, emptying the dishwasher, shoveling the drive. Not much else. However, he felt this was too much. His dad, coming from a very wealthy family who own factories and buildings, (worked very hard over the past 13 years to successfully NEVER pay child support. Amazing how this can be done), has lavished my son with incredibly expensive gifts continuously. Treats him like a king when he is there. If he wants to eat this or that, it appears. The newest and most expensive of every gadget. A building in his name for crying out loud. A new car to work on his driving skills.

I have no idea what to do. My Ex has continued to be horrible to me for the past 13 years. He has at all times refused to speak by phone. At least while my son was here, he did make a small minimal effort. My Ex refuses to email me or to text me. So basically, there is absolutely no communication whatsoever. If there is it is by text and my Ex is texting me something nasty, such as "Loser. Seems you lost your Son :)"

Before this happened completely out of the blue, I thought that I had had a fairly good relationship with him. As good as could be expected as we have little in common and he is a constant gamer and his friends were all online whom he'd never met. We talked however, made dinner together, took him to school, movies, etc.

Now my heart is completely broken. He has 2 more weeks of school near me and after that it will be summer and he will be an hour away. Next year he will be attending school near his dad. What can I do?

If I drive an hour to see him, he will likely refuse to see me. His dad will not respond to me if I try to contact him. My son refuses to respond to me except for one text where he texted me that "he wanted his stuff". That's in in 2 months. I simply don't know what to do and cry all day and night. I am alone in the house. He even took our/his dog. I hate going past his room and now no longer bother going upstairs but sleep on the couch. I took all the pictures down as I couldn't bare to look at them. I was laid off from my job in December and still haven't found a new one and am finding it so hard to look. I can barely stay in my house as its so painful but can't afford to move. I have no family as I was adopted and my parents have passed. No one but no one understands how horrible this situation is. I have seen a doctor for my broken heart but aside from sympathize there is little they can do. I do have an older daughter but she is on her own and is really not interested and tells me to get over it. Any suggestions would really help. I just can't drive an hour to have the door not answered (so humiliating) and drive an hour home. I'm so hurt and angry and I don't know how to contact him or even what to say. His school won't help of course. I'm lost.

Tags: Teenaged son, Teenaged Son left, kids and divorce, Son Left Me, How to be in Son's Life?, How to contact my son?
 

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Hi, I am sorry you are going through a tough time. I have a 16 year old son with special needs and an ex so I understand the communication struggles. I find that puberty time makes matters worse also. Maybe it would help to seek legal advice. He is still a minor therefore I would imagine that you still have rights. I had to go through this with my son and I ended up getting full custody with a parenting plan in place. The parenting plan helps develop expectations and set boundaries. I would most definitely consider sitting down with a mediator. Have you considered getting some family counseling with your son to help work through the communication barrier?


Praying for you and your son
kdgsupermom
 

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I think it's normal for a teen boy to identify more with his Dad at that age. I'm sure once the honeymoon period is over he will learn that he has expectations in his father's home as well (that may even come directly from his step-mom). I'd suggest stepping back and taking this time to focus on some one on one time with your younger child and also take some time for yourself. While I understand your situation with your ex is stressful and filled with baggage, it may simply be a matter of trying to grow up for your son. It's perfectly normal to want to separate a bit from your parents, and as the one who has been raising him and been closest to him while he was growing up, he may be directing his need for independence at you. I know it's hard, but it's a learning experience for him as well. If you continue to give him love, support, and respect for his decision, even from a distance, he will want to come back to you, though likely in a different, more independent way, which is ultimately the goal. 16 is still considered a child by most standards in the U.S. but in many cultures, a 16yr old young man might have the responsibilities/independence of an adult. It's perfectly natural for him to want to assert independence from you as his closest parent.
 

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While I don't have any experience with separation and sharing custody, I do have teenaged kids who moved away unexpectedly early. It can be a shock when suddenly they're gone and your parenting is no longer hands-on and direct. But I think you just have to be philosophical about it: childhood is short, and as parents we are just there as supporters for a time, and then we have to trust that we have done our jobs well and let them fly.

My middle dd moved 90 minutes away last fall at 15. I didn't have to deal with a sense of being betrayed to a possibly vindictive ex-partner, so that certainly simplified my coping emotionally. But I still think that the things I focused on could be helpful for you to focus on too. I had to remind myself how capable and almost-grown-up she was, how many things she could do well, how different she was from the little girl who had relied on me for almost everything at age 5 or 10. I had to remember that my work as a parent, of nurturing kindness, responsibility and wisdom as my child grew up, was mostly done anyway. I had to start to create the kind of relationship I wanted to have with her as an adult: supportive but not interfering, trusting, non-judgmental, not weighed down by guilt or blame or other baggage. I cheered her on for being brave, for the things she did well. I reassured her when she struggled that I knew she'd figure it out, that making mistakes was part of growing up and learning to take responsibility, and I told her (and myself!) over and over that she was smart and good and I knew she would be fine no matter where she ended up.

That's not to say that I didn't worry. I worried plenty, just as I'd worried when her older sister had moved across the country on her own at 17. But I kept telling her that I knew she would do well wherever she landed, because what was inside her was good and strong. And that confidence and optimism that I expressed, even if I didn't necessarily feel it at the time, helped both of us.

ETA: In terms of communication ... find an electronic means of communication that works for both of you, rather than driving an hour for an in-person visit, only to be shut out. My 16yo and I use Facebook messenger and Snapchat. Communicating this way is casual, undemanding, occasionally silly, easy to share little things, fits with teens' tech inclinations and communication styles, and is easy to keep up. If things get a little sulky and slow for a few days, I can just send a funny old photo, or a video clip of the dog saying hi, or the URL to a weird article that I think might interest her and change the tone. We message each other most days, sometimes chatting back and forth for a long time.

Miranda
 
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