I am divorced and remarried. My son, who is 15, is living with my husband and me and his children. My son is not happy living with me, his stepdad and his stepbrothers. He is failing school and wants to live with his father, with whom he has a good relationship.
However, I am concerned that he only wants to live with his father because he hopes to enjoy more freedom in his father’s house and more attention since he will be the only child there. My ex-husband has not contributed financially toward our son’s upbringing for the last 11 years until the previous two months. I am concerned that his father is not financially responsible or stable. What do I do?
Freedom and increased attention are probably the motivators for your son’s desire to live with his father. What is important is that you and your ex-husband both have established rules that are enforced in both of your homes. The rules may not be exactly the same, but they exist.
Your son has to learn that following the rules is important no matter where he is. This realization is a struggle for many children, but eventually they realize that part of life is following the rules. This comes with maturity and through discovering it on their own.
If he is going to be safe at his father’s, perhaps this is an option. However, if you don’t feel that his dad’s is an appropriate home for him, then you need to make the decision soon. Either way, let your son know that your rules and expectations are not going to change regardless of where he lives. You will still be part of his life and expect him to behave in a way that a mature, responsible young man does.