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Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful

One empowered woman's struggle against the world
Thursday December 14th 2017

When Your Child Wants to Live With the Other Parent

It’s a shock to hear but as parents we have to cope when this occurs.  It may never occur but the reality is, it does occur.  It can be a very difficult thing to hear but how you respond is what really matters.  The best advice I can offer comes from my own experience. 

When my oldest son turned 12 he told me he wanted to go live with his dad.  I was adamantly against this move.  My first instinct was to say NO and end the discussion.  Instead I told my son that I needed to know why he wanted to make this change.  He hemmed and hawed and couldn’t really provide any reason other than because he said so.

So instead of saying NO outright I told him that he needed to have a viable reason to and when he could articulate something we would discuss it.  Lucky for me he couldn’t come up with any good reason or reason at all other than I want to. I did later find out he was being promised “gifts” if he went to live with his dad.

The next year my son approached me again with the same request.  This time he came armed with some very logical reasons as to why the move would be good.  He also made it clear that he wanted to try it and wasn’t sure if it was what he wanted permanently.  I let him go on a temporary basis for 1 year with two main rules:

  1. There would be no moving back until the year was complete
  2. He would come and visit every other weekend

In my case my son went for 1 year and then decided to move back and now is very happy in my home.  This won’t happen for everyone.

As parents we have to recognize that our children will leave us.  Not the easiest thing to accept but our job is to raise them well enough to leave us.  If/when the times comes, you have to trust that you have done your job as a parent properly and let them go.  Make sure they are making the move for the right reasons and if they are able to articulate those reasons then you have done your job.

It is important that you maintain contact with them.  Just as you made sure they visited with the other parent you need to communicate clearly that now the other parent needs to help ensure you are visited regularly as well.

Just remember you will always be their parent.  They may leave for now but as long as they know that they are loved and always have a home they will come back…just accept it may only be for a visit from now on.

Reader Feedback

119 Responses to “When Your Child Wants to Live With the Other Parent”

  1. cj says:
    Hi there, I have just come across your site, I am also in this hard situation, with a rebellious 14 year old daughter, who has no respect or nice words to say to her mum, our relationship has been strained for a while, an as im the stricter parent, she has always prefered to live with her dad. Until recently its been a shared arrangement with me and her father. But throughout the years its been a battle, for her to stay, so many disagreements, – ive tried everything to get her to stay, but her minds made up. I would never give in, until recently the complete fighting for my corner between her dad an me to get her to stay, as just pushed me to my limit, ive had years of this, an I had to decide, whats best for us all at this moment in time, an shes been at her dads for 6 weeks now, … During that time ive had no phone call visit, or txt, nothing, my daughter just seems to have washed her hands of me. During this time ive ending up sick with the stress of it all. I so feel for you all, its like a pain like no other when the child made that decision, yes you think to force them to stay, is what some of you think they should do, as a child, not fully grown up teenager should listen to the parent, an I believed that for a while, until I realised its more damaging to force the subject, its not giving up its letting them find out for themselves an grow as adults, making right or wrong decisons. I believe for me an her its what we need now, just hope she comes round im her own time. We do our best as parents, our children will always be our children no matter where they choose to live. Making their own choices, makes them grow as adults wrong or right, I have to be strong heartbreaking, but hopefully my daughter will come back soon. But in her own time. …All the best to you all,
    • K says:
      CJ,
      DO NOT give up on her. Stay away for now. She will come around. She knows you are the safe parent that gives her boundries. I am in the same situition. My daughter lives with her dad because he lets her run wild, I do not and will not. My daughter told her therapist the other day that she needs boundries. Let your daughter know you will always be there for her no matter what, but you have to look out for your own self too. There is only so much you can do, especially at this age. She will come around. I backed away from my 15 year old for three weeks and she came to me. She is laying on the floor in front of me right now, after spending two days here; I thought I’d never see it! I will be praying for you
  2. Arod says:
    Children are smarter than adults give them credit for.
  3. Brandy says:
    Hello. I have a 13 year old son. His Dad and I are divoreced and have been since he was 8. My ex and I get along great, and he is a great father. We share joint custody but he is technically with his Dad more, becuase I do not live within his school district, and he wanted to stay in the same school when we divorced.
    I am remarried now and my son says he likes and loves my new husband, but at times they do butt heads. My husband now has a very black and white way of seeing things, and last week we had a bad week. Now it is approaching time for my son to come back to my house and he has asked to stay at his Dads this week, he told me that he doesn’t want to deal with my husbands grumpy mood and he just wants to stay at his Dads. I work two jobs so he will be with my husband a lot while I am not there..however. My husband can be a bit hard headed, but he does not abuse my son. I miss my son and want to see him as much as possible.
    My questions is should I let him stay at his Dad’s and then just continue with the next time is due which will go to every weekend in two weeks because he starts school back? Or should I make him come?
    I am torn. I don’t want to give the message he doesnt have to come visit me if he doesnt like answers he gets at my house, but I also don’t want to not see him either…Suggestions?
  4. Mathew says:
    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. The Back To Me Spell you cast for me is working beautifully. I finally got 3 calls today from my ex girlfriend and we are talking and working things out. She says she loves me and she wants to work out our problems and come back home. All this in 4 days when you cast the spell. Now that was fast. thegreatoracletemple@gmail.com. I love you and bless you….Mathew.
  5. Scared of losing my mind says:
    Hello Everyone,

    For the last 6 years I have been a stepmom. My 2 stepboys are now 15 and 10. My husband and I have a 5 year old. For the last 1 1/2 years, the teen’s has been getting more and more disrespectfully and refuses to obey the rules. Last night he even told my husband that he doesn’t care what we say or do that he is going to do whatever he wanted. We have had him in counselling but that is not working. He wants to go live with his mother. I have been trying to keep this family together but I am the one that is being verbally attacked everyday by the teen. Last night my husband made the statement that maybe it is time to send him to his mother’s. This is what the teen whats. If we send him to his mother’s, isn’t he winning? His attitude of I will do whatever I want and you can’t stop me is spreading to the other two. Wouldn’t this move be harmful to the other two? I feel that it might be better because it will take the arguments and tension out of this equation. I am scared that if things stay the way they are then my marriage and sanity is over. HELP please????

  6. sara says:
    Hello im in much need for advice …. I remarried to a army soldier and had to move to where his orders were and that is fort hood texas my kids stayed with there dad in california because there dad didnt give me the permission to takwe them out of state. We had joint custody but when i moved he took the advantage tto get full custody so i wont have the right to request for them to come visit now im here spennding bunddles and borrowing money to go see them since they cant come see me…. Im so depressed its been almost two years and it gets worst he puts too many rules on me and the boys told them they want to be with me im there mother all he does is hurt them mentally and makes thrm do overly exaggerated chores . I just need help and dont know what to do my spending limit is up and miss them so much. Plz plz help!
    • K says:
      Sara,
      How old are your boys and how long does your husband have in the Army? If your boys want to be with you, they should be able to tell the attorney and the judge. If he is neglecting or abusing them you need proof. If you can get proof, you have a case, but it is very hard to prove.
  7. UnsureMOM says:
    Im married and have 2 daughters (one from my husband of 7 years whos 3 years old and the other from my first love so to speak- we were 20 yrs old)who turned 9 this year. Up until roughly 2 years ago, I had primary custody of her and she would see her father when he had time or she wanted to. Over the past 6 months or so my daughter has slowly started spending more and more time with her father/step mom due to sports etc. Her father is very immature and I have always referred to him as a “Disney DAD”- a man with no parental skills but will buy her any and everything. Now the step mom is a very cold person and while I once thought she had good intentions, I second guess my judgement- she is controlling and thinks her stuff doesnt stink (catch my drift). To make a long story short, they have taken over my daughters life little by little- sports taking up SOO much of her time and when I would question the schedule etc, they would just claim I didnt want whats best for my daughter and unfortunately, my daughter enjoyed the sports so I never pursued her taking time off. To make a long story short, my daughter no longer wants to live with me nor visit- MAYBE once a month as she put it. My heart aches because she’s my little girl and I was her sole parent in her life along side my husband who met her when she was 2 and has treated her like his own. The sad part is my daughter, who once was a very sweet, quiet, loving, naive individual has majorly changed and im almost positive it has to do with her father/stepmom influencing her. She has recently started lieing about things that happened in my home (being mistreated etc) which couldnt be further from the truth. My style of parenting is consistent and my girls are shown the same exact amount of love/treatment. Sad part is, I know her “influences” are fueling the fire and my daughter loves it- she’s the center of attention with them ( they have no kids). I allowed her to stay with them for a month following some of her lies coming to light (saying I bought her sister brand name shoes and her knock offs) which was beyond absurd. We had her spend the night recently and things were wonderful- she was happy and very loving. We talked and she said she said she wanted to spend 3-4 days a week with us. Then she went back with them and told them she only wanted to see us 1 day a week and a couple days prior to our 1 day visit, she told them she didnt want to come over and she’d let them know when she changed her mind- OUCH. Keep in mind that im a very positive and optimistic person, I dont like drama, I enjoy a stress free environment but sometimes this can lead to me being a pushover although thats never my intention. I think I allowed them to have TOO much control and it has backfired on me. I feel like I have no choice but to let her do what she wants because the more I fight for her, the more she turns against me and sides with what her OTHER parents have to say. Its 3 against 1 (my husband doesnt interfer with the custody issue I have like my daughters step mom does). I feel like since this woman doesnt like “babies” as she said, that she’s decided to take on the mother role of my daughter- who’s older. I know this sounds ridiculous but its what I truly believe. Her other parents are the most difficult people to deal with and they’re very irrational and obviously want her to themselves, which my daughter is overly happy with at this point- I know deep down that instead of them encouraging her to go between both houses, they manipulate the situation to encourage her to stay with them. Sad part is, when she’s with us, she normally has an attitude and is disrespectful (minus her most recent visit)- especially towards my husband- who was like an original dad to her. She actually called him dad until her “other parents” told her that was disrespectful to her real dad (petty right?). So needless to say, she has stopped calling him Dad and is very distant towards him. Sorry for the long drawn out story, I just needed to get the basic facts out to get your honest opinion. When I was told she didnt want to come for her once a week visit, I said thats fine and left it at that. I know they wont encourage her to come over and obviously shes not interested in coming over either. I had decided that I was just going to keep my distance and hope that one day she will come around but am I doing the right thing? Should I force a 9 year old to visit when she clearly doesnt want to?
  8. Guest says:
    Dear unsure mom
    I have been there the stepmom was unbearable I however let my son go live w them and like u his attitude changed horribly! He was 13 though she is 9 u still have the right to make that choice for her. If u have papers follow them! Put ur foot down u r right to keep ur distance TO A POINT. However hold ur ground u are her mother don’t throw in the towel u have the right to say no. Do what you feel is right she will get over it explain to her like I did to my son when u are 13 we can talk about it intill now ur stuck with us. Don’t give up I did for a long time and it’s hard to regain control once it’s lost. Be fair but not a pushover. Attitude changing is a Red flag don’t let that slip by.
  9. Guest says:
    Dear unsure mom
    I forgot to tell u my son came back home after 5 months and since things are great. I gave him space yet at 9 he wouldn’t of went.
  10. Carrie says:
    Aprox a year ago I gave my two older childern the choice to move with me to another state or to stay with their father and fishish out school… They decided to stay. After I moved back home my childern spent some of the summer with me after months of their father not allowing them to see or speck to me. Just the other night I recieved a phone call from my son in the middle of the night stateing “mom we’re coming home”… They had ran away from their fathers home. I of course called my lawyer, picked the childern up brought them to my home, called cps, and the poilce. Everything I was suppose to do…. I then sat and waited for their father to call wanting info on the childern or wanting them back since he did manage to obtain full custody durning the time that I was moved. Not a single word from him til 9 hours later…. WWhat I don’t understand is how if he was such a caring parent to my chidern how could he go that long without knowing where they was or making contact with me… Forsay if the childern did not call me and they just ran the streets…. By the time he showed up god only knows what could have happened to them.
  11. gettingtired says:
    Just typed in a question and this site came up. Was shocked to see so many others with parent issues like mine. My problem is my 13 yr son wants to live with his dad. We have tried this twice, once about 5 years ago and he came home after 2 months due to his father going to prison for 2 years, then again 6 months ago, which again after 4 months dad went to jail. Now that his dad is getting out in a couple months, he told me tonight that he is moving back with him and if I don’t let him, he will make my and my husbands life hell. I am at a total loss as to what to do anymore. I must include that his father has said and done everything to make himself out to be the greatest father in the world to our son and convinced him that he loves him more then I do. He lives 4 states away and it wasn’t easy to let him go there. The second time his father convinced him to fail 7th grade so that he could get passed in their state (a no fail school system)He did it and succeeded in getting what he wanted. Unfortunatetly I only got to talk to him a handful of times for the 4 months, since his dad told him he didn’t have to talk to me anymore. When he came home everything was great, till a few weeks ago when he found out he was getting released soon, then the fighting started. I am just so frustrated and dont know what to say to my son anymore. I love my son dearly and we do not make him want for anything and he has nothing other then to wash dishes once in awhile, keep his room picked up and do homework for chores. I do not think that is being a horrible mom. Please help if you have any ideas on how to handle this. Thank you.
  12. Maegan says:
    My daughter is 9. Her dad has very little contact with her in the last year. Never calls her, not even on her birthday.–no gift. He fought me for custody and doesn’t even practice his rights. I get a tiny bit of child support. Just enough to keep him out of jail. She’s developed alot of anger and is mean to everyone– mainly me. The one who sacrifices and works so hard to fullfill her wants and needs and shows her love. Everytime I discipline…. if you’d even call it that, she says, “I wanna go live with my dad!” It’s VERY hurtful and I’ve began to develop a severe depression from it. I’ve finally told her she could, even packing her things hoping she would change her mind. She shows no remorse for my feelings and my heart is crumbling. What should I do?? Should I go through with it? I’m hoping for it to be a 6 wk. thing (without her knowledge of that.) Is there any forms we can sign to assure that I get her back? I AM NOT giving up on my child, I just want her to appreciate me more, I don’t wanna lose her for good. SHE”S 9!!!!!!!!!! She hasn’t even reached her teens. I did the same thing to my single mother, but I was 12, and it lasted about 4 weeks b4 I was heartsick for my mama and demanded she come get me. What if my daughter doesn’t love me like that?-> and I’ve always been the only constant in her life. ( I breastfed her for 2 yrs for god’s sake!) I don’t know if I can handle this kind of heartbreak. What should I do???? Somebody please help me!
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