I have two stepchildren, ages 12 and 6.
The 12 year old boy has been wanting to live with his dad for the last
five years but the mother does not want to let him for her own personal
reasons. I can completely understand her feelings, seeing as she and my
husband had buried a third child at the age of 20 days due to SIDS.
The 12 year old has just recently gone back to his moms after spending
the summer with his dad and I and his little brother, only to start
having behavioral issues again. He has been telling everybody that he
wants to live here, and we're willing to take him, but his mom won't
agree to it. We know that both children there are well loved and well
taken care of, but now the 12 year old is saying that he may as well kill
himself if she won't let him live with his dad. My concern is him.
have been in contact with him everyday since we heard about this and
have been trying to figure this out, but the mom is refusing to let him
move because she can't handle the thought of him being so far away (she
moved them 10 hours away 5 years ago). How do we ensure that he is safe
and not going to act on the threat? And how do we help her to let go
and put his best interests in front of her own? She's been looking
after him since she was 16 and I can't imagine the things she's had to
endure with all of the major life obstacles she's survived. But how do
we fix this without her feeling attacked and the 12 year old feeling
ignored yet again?
You may not like my
answer. I think both you and your husband are part of the problem. How
does he know that you would be willing to let him live with you?This
issue should have only been discussed between the adults first and then
a united front presented to him. If the custodial parents said NO, then
NO it is until he is of an age where he is allowed to choose for
I don't believe your question of how to help the mother
let go and put his best interests in front of her own is either
supportive or encouraging it sounds like sabotage.Giving in to a
teenager who threatens suicide only means you would have your hands
full once he was living with you. To give a 12 year old this much
control over the adults who are suppose to be responsible for him is
Is he showing signs of depression? Does he not
eat, take care of himself or otherwise exhibit symptoms of a mental
health crisis? I suspect not. What I suspect is he has found your
buttons to push. Again not good. You need to realize this 12
year old is about to become a teenager and if the three of you do not
unite I am predicting you will all have your hands very full!
next time he threatens suicide tell him he will need to go to the
hospital to see a therapist in the psych ward. DO NOT LET HIM be in
control of this situation.As for the mother if you are
determined he would be better off with you then you need to ask her if
she would be willing to go into family counseling to discuss this point.
If she is great and if not you take the risk of alienating her. Never a
You have your work cut out for you because you are
his step-mother. However, try not to make it a game of things are better
here. Are you sure he doesn't want to live with his father because the
rules are more lax or his mom is having to be stricter with him? Kids
often want to live with the other parent because they think life will be
greener on the other side of the fence only to discover everyone has
rules to live by. Are you sure you and his dad are not letting them
slide by rather than keeping things structured? I don't know I am just
asking as this is very typical in child visitations.
Start reading up on teenagers so this doesn't get away from you.
M Kay Keller
Mary Kay's Life Coaching
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