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My teenager isn't handling divorce very well. Help

Posted by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM
  • 8 Replies

I am a single mother of 2 boys, ages 12 and 15.  I am having so many problems with my oldest  son, I don't even know where to begin.

Some background info first, I guess. 

I met their dad when I was 16, had a rough upbringing, and I think I was looking for someone to protect me.  I absolutely did not get that.  After the boys were born, he became very emotionally abusive, as time progress it became physical. I had no job, no education, and in my mind, no way to support the boys.  I stayed for nearly 17 years.  It wasn't until he began to act aggressively toward the boys that I woke up.  I realized that by staying I was creating two more just like him and they would end up hurting the people that loved them the most.   I left and did not look back.

Despite the boys and I nearly being homeless a couple of times, we were together.  Fear kept me from going to court to get child support and a formal custody orders for nearly a year and a half.  But my kids were going without, so I filed.  The court proceedings have been a nightmare.

The boy's father lives with his parents.  He is a "Disneyland dad".  Because he doesn't have to pay rent, or any other bills, he can take them to fun places, his mother cooks and cleans for them, life is easier over there.  Now they are telling me that is where they want to live.  I push personal responsibility and teamwork.  They have chores and have consequences for their actions in my home. My youngest seems to be transitioning well, but my oldest son is out of control.

He has been smoking marijuana, drinking, sneaking out, he ditched class regularly this past year, and I recently found out that he is having sex with his girlfriend.  His dad has known about our son and his girlfriend for nearly 6 months and not only did he not tell me, he brings our son over to her house.  Their dad bought several guns after we split, I found pictures on my son's phone of my boy loading and playing with 2 guns.  He is very, very angry at me for breaking up the family, not giving his dad a second chance.

My oldest and I were so close before the separation.  He was my angel, sweet and always helpful.  I don't know this kid anymore.  People tell me I should just let him live with his dad and wash my hands of him.  I am told that with his father contradicting every attempt I make to parent, my son does not stand a chance, he will remain out of control.

My oldest is a very athletic and intelligent boy. He refuses to do his homework, yet can pass every test with an "A".  He saw a group of boys pushing around a girl on the football field this past year in school.  He didn't care if he was out numbered.  He stood up to them and made sure she go back into school safe.   There are parts of him that are strong and beautiful.  But I'm seeing it less and less.

I made a lot of mistakes, I know that.  But I am willing to do WHATEVER it takes to help my son get thru this.  I don't want him to ruin his life, he has so much potential.


Any advice would be appreciated.    

by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM
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Replies (1-8):
PurpleHazey
by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 7:27 PM

This is a very hard time on teens and I think maybe he is feeling the double whammy, divorce and the growng pains of being a teen. Hang in there and give him support.

v2011
by on Jul. 9, 2013 at 11:01 AM

He came home yesterday and said he didn't want to fight anymore.  He said it puts too much stress on him and he sees how it bothers his little brother.  We have a counseling appointment later this week.  He was drained and very sad.

I got up three times last night to make sure he was sleeping well. I found him sleeping next to his little brother's bed on the floor.  I wish I had been smarter when I was younger.  Those kids deserved a heck of a lot better than what they got.  

DropZoneMom
by on Jul. 9, 2013 at 9:22 PM

First, you need to stop beating yourself up for the decisions you made when you were still a kid yourself.   Sounds to me like you have a very good head on your shoulders now -- and you need to trust your own decisions.

Second -- GLAD to hear you're going for counseling.   Your son isn't a bad kid -- he's angry & confused at the changes in his life, but with some support & guidance, I think he'll see that you were right for ending the marriage.

Hang in there, sweetie.   This WILL pass -- and you & your boys will all be stronger for it in the long run.

atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Family counseling is order
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Ceremony
by Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Sounds like you have a good start. Keep it up. Teens are hard with even the most ideal situations.

all the best to you.

askmommy
by Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 8:52 AM
Talk to him. Be honest and explain things to him about why you divorced. He is old enough for the truth. Maybe a heart to heart will help him.

Spend time with him. Go hiking, or whatever he likes to do. Good luck.
v2011
by on Jul. 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM


Thank you so much.  It's really hard to not blame myself.  

Quoting DropZoneMom:

First, you need to stop beating yourself up for the decisions you made when you were still a kid yourself.   Sounds to me like you have a very good head on your shoulders now -- and you need to trust your own decisions.

Second -- GLAD to hear you're going for counseling.   Your son isn't a bad kid -- he's angry & confused at the changes in his life, but with some support & guidance, I think he'll see that you were right for ending the marriage.

Hang in there, sweetie.   This WILL pass -- and you & your boys will all be stronger for it in the long run.



v2011
by on Jul. 10, 2013 at 11:11 AM


This is where I messed up.  I didn't do a lot of explaining, I haven't sat down with them and talked to them about the court proceedings.  I was trying to protect them from all the ugliness.  I figured they have seen enough.  I also foolishy thought that since they had witnessed how their father was that it was obvious why I left.  What I didn't count on was that it was their "normal", they don't know any better.  And in their father's culture there is little to no divorce. So by leaving, I got the in-laws all riled up.  He sees the kids because of court orded visitation and they do a lot of bashing over there.  They tell my kids that I cheated on their dad (He was so controling I couldn't even go to the bathroom in peace, he would stand right outside the door, let alone leave the house to have an affair) and that I don't care about them, all I want is child support. What he has been ordered to pay (which he rarely does anyway) doesn't cover half their needs.  My point is, my son misbehaves at my place and gets rewarded for it at dad's. I don't play dirty like he does and get kicked in the butt for it.  Worst of all my sons suffer.

We are working off of temporary orders.  Permanent orders are set for October.  We have a Child and Family Investigator assigned to the case.  Hopefully, she will see thru his BS and make some good recommendations to the judge.  Until then, we are seening a clinical counselor, I have an appointment with a Pastor this weekend and am trying to set up some mentoring and see if I can get him into a youth group. I'm kina throwing it all to the wall and seeing what sticks. 


And I have the boys next weekend, we have a hiking trip planned :)

Quoting askmommy:

Talk to him. Be honest and explain things to him about why you divorced. He is old enough for the truth. Maybe a heart to heart will help him.

Spend time with him. Go hiking, or whatever he likes to do. Good luck.



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