What do you do when your child chooses to live with their other parent?  I shared my story this week at The Village.

What do you do when your child chooses to live with their other parent? I shared my story this week at The Village.

This article will print in the Press Democrat on Friday, January 11.

My 14-year-old daughter, DQ, is moving out.

It’s weird, I never thought I’d type these words before she turned 18. But here I am, standing by as she packs up her bags and prepares to leave the nest. My nest. The one I have padded with protection and comfort since the day she was born, through a messy divorce, during financially tight times, and in her tumultuous teen years. She is flying the coop with my assistance when I drive her a full three hours away to live with her father.

And this might just be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

For 14 years, I have been her primary caregiver, the one who is responsible for every aspect of her life. I am the one who has filled out her school forms, checked her homework (till her homework got too smart for me), packed her lunches, and made her doctor’s appointments. I was the parent she told about her first love, and the parent who picked up the pieces when her heart was broken a few weeks later. I am her chauffeur, her personal chef, her nurse, her cheerleader, her everything she needed me to be so she can be a happy kid. I’ve gone to every one of her soccer games. I volunteer at the camp she attends every year. And I have done all this on my own. So to hand over the reins to her dad, allowing her to move three hours away and out of my realm of parenting, was way beyond my comfort level.

My first impulse was to say no, absolutely not. But she asked me to at least think about it. So I agreed to mull it over before I ultimately said no.

I was at war with what was the right thing to do in this situation. Of her two parents, I had proven to be the more responsible. Our two children, DQ and Taz, live with me full time, and I have fit my whole entire life within their schedule and comfort. Their father, who moved several counties away a few years ago, has never had the privilege of moving heaven and earth to make it to a parent-teacher conference at the same time as a mandatory meeting at work. I’ve been the parent while he’s been the one they visit occasionally. I’ve accepted that this is what works for raising the kids, and hold no bitterness over this. It’s just the way it is. But to give up my place as my daughter’s primary parent was rocking a boat I didn’t want rocked.

During the time when I was to be thinking this over (even though my mind was still set on NO), DQ took the time to patiently discuss all the perks of her living with her father. She talked about her new baby brother over there, how she would get a chance to know him and help take care of him. She took me on a virtual tour of her new town through Google Maps, pointing the cursor towards all of her favorite hangouts a few blocks from her home. She told me about the friends she had there, helping me to get to know them though her description. She handled the whole situation like she was the adult and I was the child. She was patient and kind, helping me with a hard transition. I was stubborn and tearful, refusing to budge.

Then a funny thing happened – my eyes were suddenly opened.

It didn’t happen on my own, but through a lot of help. I talked with my husband at great lengths about the whole decision. I discussed it with a counselor. And eventually, I called my ex-husband himself and talked about the possibility of our daughter moving in with him. After much deliberation and thought, I realized I had much less reasons to say no, and many more reasons to say yes.

So I let her go.

I know in my heart that I’ve made the best decision I could for her. DQ gets a chance to get to know her other side of her family, the part that makes up the other half of her. I, in turn, get to feel what it’s like on the other side of the coin – the one where I merely get to visit her instead of seeing her every single day. This still feels like a bad dream. I keep waiting for DQ to tell me she’s changed her mind. Of course, she hasn’t and likely won’t.

But I’ve realized something. Loving a child isn’t just about holding on to them and protecting them. It isn’t just about being there every step of the way.

Sometimes love is knowing when to let go.

‘Letting our children go’ is a lifelong process for parents, one that we wrestle with again and again, and each parent has to wrestle with it in his or her own way. – Mister Rogers

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  1. Rnmom

    It’s gotta be tough. I grew up with a dad whom I saw only on Sundays. When I asked to move in with him, he said “No way.” I would be grateful for a father who wanted to engage in his teen daughter’s life. Dads are so important. Breathe. Cry. You’re doing a good thing, mom.

    January 8th, 2013 1:04 pm

  2. Brad

    I applaud ( standing ovation ) your courage. I do not know that I could have made the same choice. It sounds like you utilized your resources and came to a very good decision for your daughter.

    January 8th, 2013 2:10 pm

  3. The Bat

    It’s a tough call, but you’ve obviously raised a daughter who’s destined to become a strong, independent woman. You’re doing the right thing. Way to go :-)

    January 9th, 2013 7:49 am

  4. Michael L. Kamrath

    Good morning Crissi,

    What an excellent heartfelt piece of writing. It was the first thing I read this morning, and it definitely has my “morning routine” turned upside down.

    We have a 14-year-old-daughter as well. And though we, her parents, are still married I simply can’t imagine Kira not being a part of our lives. I regularly admonish my wife with phrases like “You know, she’s going to be gone soon” or “Its all part of the process of letting go”. Truth be told when I say those things to my wife, I’m really trying to prepare myself.

    You should know (and probably do) that she gave you and your parenting skills a wonderful compliment when you said “She handled the whole situation like she was the adult and I was the child”.

    Good on you, and congratulations for being such an understanding and loving parent.

    Warm Regards,
    Michael L. Kamrath

    January 11th, 2013 6:28 am

  5. The.Village

    Thank you guys. This was definitely a hard decision to make, but every day I am reminded that I did make the right choice. Since she moved out (2 weeks ago), we have kept in touch with almost daily texts and phone conversations. Without prompting, she tells me she loves me at the end of every conversation – something that didn’t happen ever when we lived together. Now that we live far apart, we are both naturally appreciating these little things instead of taking each other for granted when we did live together. And I appreciate that her dad and I have been able to let go of our differences for the kids’ sake, and that she does have this chance to get to know her father and baby brother a lot better. It makes it easier to know that this, for now, is being treated as a trial situation. She’s living there until the end of the school year, and then deciding if she’s like to continue on there or move back here. Seeing how this hasn’t been the death of me, I can now see that no matter what her choice ends up being, it will all be ok.

    January 11th, 2013 4:00 pm

  6. Angie

    I am currently going through the same thing with my 9 year old daughter. Her father lives in another state, she visits over summer breaks. I’ve had her on my own since she was 3. Recently she has brought up wanting to live with her dad… She brings up valid points, especially for her age. She is mostly curious, I think, about what it would be like to live there, be near her father and his family and get to know all of them more. Or could it be that she’s an only child there, with 2 new little sisters here that she competes for attention with. Her questions have been on my mind for months. I go back and forth. I should let her go, what if its best for her, what if she’s happier there. Then to no way, this is my little girl. But then I think her curiosity will never leave her and it will continue to be a question that she asks, for me to be the bad guy that says no, absolutely not. Then for her to resent me for keeping her from get dad and family. Do I let her try it?? Do I let her try for her curiosity? I would of course be thrilled if she were to try and come back home to me, but what happens if she wants to stay? The thought kills me….

    January 14th, 2013 4:08 pm

  7. The.Village

    Has she ever spent time alone with her dad, without her sisters? It’s possible that she is wondering what that might be like, too. It’s never an easy decision as to what’s right or wrong in this situation, whether to let them go or to just say no. It’s also a huge decision that means she’ll be switching schools and leaving behind all her friends. And it also means that there will need to be amendments made to whatever your custody agreement is, child support, and all other legal issues that have to be changed. It’s definitely not a decision to be made lightly.

    My advice to you, since she is still so young, is to say “no” for now while it’s still the school year. Then during the summertime, let her visit her father by herself for a couple of weeks, just to see what that feels like. And, of course, make sure her dad is on board with this decision making too (would he be okay if she moved in with him?). If she still wants to leave, and both of you feel this wouldn’t be a horrible idea, that’s when you can talk about whether this would be a viable situation or not. If you do let her go, it’s possible she might want to come back home. But you can’t send her off believing that, because she may also decide she likes living there better. My situation feels a little easier than yours does since my daughter only lives three hours away. That’s just a car ride away. Yours is going to take a lot more planning for visitation sake.

    I wish you luck in whatever you decide!

    January 14th, 2013 4:38 pm

  8. Angie

    She is the only child to her father at the moment. I have 2 other little girls, 2 and 3. This year she went to her dads for Christmas. She did talk to him about it because all she’s done since she’s been home is talk about going back… He had no objections to her coming. It’s all “new” there. It’s all about her while she’s there. I thought about letting her finish the school year out there, just so she can see it will be the same routine. Whenever she goes its like a vacation. So, I feel like if she sees that it won’t be a vacation. I wouldn’t even still be considering it if she weren’t in tears every other day about going. Since her dad said that it was okay if that’s what she wanted it gave her all new ideas about it. And I really don’t want her to be sad about where she is or isn’t, ultimately I want the best for her and if that’s where she wants to be, I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’d be happy if she were happy. Thanks for responding. I know many parents face these same issues, I just thought mine wouldn’t be for a few more years, lol.

    January 14th, 2013 5:22 pm

  9. The.Village

    I feel your struggle of wanting her to stay, but also wishing she could get that dad’s house wouldn’t be such a vacation reality if she moved in there. It’s definitely not an easy decision, is it? I wish you well in whatever decision you decide.

    January 15th, 2013 9:17 am

  10. been there, done that

    Your column intrigued me because when my parents divorced in the mid 1950′s, that was part of their decree; my brother and I could decide at age 14 where we wanted to live. My mom was the custodial parent, and we spend every other weekend plus a month in the summer with my dad. When my brother turned 14, he elected to move to my dad’s. It was not a pleasant scene. There was crying and screaming and accusations and resentments and ultimatums…..permanent damage to the relationship between my mom and my brother. I think she saw the defection as a “win” for my dad, and she could never say anything nice about him or let him win in any way. That is so hard on kids who love both parents. Though it sounds like you are trying to work thru this in a logical way, sticking in little barbs are who is the better parent and making references to messy divorce and hostilities, etc does not help the situation, especially since your “dirty laundry” get washed in the very public laundromat of the local newspaper.
    I wrote for a paper about the size of the Press Democrat for a number of years, and have published many magazine articles. I know a bit more about writing and editing than your average responder here. Often when reading your column, I cringe a bit over certain details you have included and wonder “oh my, wonder what her kids think about this being in the paper?”
    It’s more important to keep the love and respect of your daughter than it is to come off as the “good parent” in your column. Good luck on this next chapter. I think moving to my dad’s was the right decision for my brother. Staying at my mom’s was the right decision for me at the time.

    January 15th, 2013 3:02 pm

  11. The.Village

    It’s no secret that my ex and I had a messy divorce. But what I didn’t mention here is that we got beyond it. We are now able to communicate with each other in much healthier ways, and put the kids first. It helps that we’ve been divorced for 9 years, so there are very little residual emotions from past hurts or wrongs on either side. I own my mistakes I made in our divorce, so does he. And that’s why I am able to now discuss these things in a matter of fact way (while leaving out a lot of details that aren’t for the public eye) to help other parents. And I would never claim to be the “better parent”, only that I have been the custodian parent for the past 9 years.

    Also, every article that is written here is also read by my kids. I write with full knowledge of that, and would never include anything they wouldn’t want written about them. And there’s a reason I don’t disclose their real names in my column.

    With that said, I can understand your mom’s reaction, even if it wasn’t exactly the right one. It’s hard to not view the kids as MINE instead of OURS. And it’s hard to not have feelings of rejection when a child chooses one parent over the other to live with. Of course, there are so many shades of gray in this decision, and sometimes it’s not the best idea for a child to move in with the other parent. But as long as your dad was a healthy parent, your brother had every right to decide to live with him at 14.

    January 15th, 2013 3:24 pm

  12. Angie

    This morning, all of these questions still plagued me. As I made cupcakes for my daughters honor ceremony, still it was on my mind. This afternoon as I sat with my daughter, waiting for the principal to call her name for her straight A certificate, I suddenly felt my eyes well up with tears. I have molded my beautiful daughter to what she is today. It is not the 6 week summer visits that have gotten her where she is. As selfish as it sounds, it is my husband and I that have molded this curious, confident, at sometimes defiant tween. It was her fathers decision to leave and it is my decision as sole guardian to keep her. So as of right now and for a long while, I can say with confidence my daughter stays. : )

    January 15th, 2013 5:23 pm

  13. The.Village

    I don’t blame you, Angie. Truth is, I’m not sure I could either when my daughter was 9. It feels easier now that she is older and more independent.

    January 15th, 2013 7:33 pm

  14. marie

    This article was exactly what I was looking for and exactly what I am feeling as a mother. I am going through the exact same thing with my 14 year old daughter. I can’t imagine her not being with me on a daily basis but I have to remember whatever is best for her is best for me. I feel to the same as the writer. To be able to come and go as you please will be like the shoe on the other foot. I will be able to do the things that I had to put off even though her father was footloose and fancy free with none of the daily obligations. I am still mulling the decision over but it was great to get a perspective from someone who has been

    May 17th, 2013 6:35 am

  15. kyla

    My daughter is 13 and the father has no visitation nor does my dauhhter really know her fsther or feel comfortable around him he has to pay child support and doesnt feel he should have to pay if he doesnt ser her we have went to 2 counselors and the counselors say she doesnt have to see her father she is angry now he is saying im alienating her she is 13 this is crazy now his mother is going to court to be a witness her own grandma I have always done everything to try to gey him in her life my 13 is very angry…what does child support being taken away from your chikd have to do with anything my daughter has written letters to the judge my daughter wants nothing to do with thus man how cqn he say im alienatung her when I have invited him to dance recitals birthdays and he doesnt come he is only tryung to avoid paying child support but is only hurting a teenager

    July 28th, 2013 11:59 am

  16. Kat G.

    As I sit here, typing this comment, my daughter is finishing packing. She is 11 1/2 yrs old and today I take her to the airport to live with her Dad a few states away.
    I want to cry. I hate her Dad right now, even though I know he is a good parent. We get a long and put our differences aside a long time ago in order to put our daughter’s needs first.
    She just started the whole hormone-moody-attitude this year. She’s been tough to deal with but we’ve managed. The attitude only got worse once she decided life would be better if she lived with her Dad. I think it’s always been a vacation for her when she’d visited for the occasional week and summers…She’s faced some tough times at school and feels like she has no friends – the usual teenage angst. She thinks things will be different with her Dad. And it might be different.
    Although I do know the same issues that plague her here will still find their way to here when she moves…but, like I said, he’s a good parent – I just don’t think he realizes how much she has changed and all of the attitude she is coming to him with – she is not a little girl anymore and I don’t think he realizes this. It may be good for him to experience the moodiness and hormone-laden crisis she faces on a daily basis.
    But it still hurts…she’s so happy to leave and start this new track in her life and it feels like she could care less about the cracked heart she has left here in my chest. I’m just nosy and annoying to her anymore – a standard Mom, I guess. She just doesn’t know or care how her leaving gives me a void in my life that I have nothing to fill with…
    I am sooo afraid that she will go and never come back – I will be the part-time parent from now on and only see her on occasion. I won’t get to see the first boyfriend, dress her for her first dance, comfort her through her first broken heart…
    I’m being selfish, I know. I feel like I’ve been forced into a decision I don’t want – if I refused she would hate me and resent me even more and possibly cause irreparable damage to our relationship. I have no reason to refuse. Although it was her Dad that made the decisions in his life that put me and her together for the past 10 years – she was always a bit of a daddy’s girl and missed him and cried when she had to leave him to come back and continue life with me.
    I wonder if she will feel that way about me or if I will just become her annoying mom she has to visit on occasion. I do not make near the money her Dad and his new wife make – he can give her so much more than I can and I wonder if that will make the difference…
    I don’t know…all I know is that right now, I have to start getting ready for the trip I have dreaded all summer. The trip to the airport to send my daughter to what she hopes will be a better life than what she has now…and will leave me with a life that is always missing something – my daughter.

    July 31st, 2013 4:38 am

  17. Kim

    My 17 1/2 year old daughter just told me that she wants to go live with her Dad full-time. It has been 50-50 since we divorced when she was 4 years old. I am devastated, shocked, crushed, rejected etc. I knew this day would come but just always assumed she would stay with me. Her Dad and I get along great, have always put her first. He lives about 7-8 miles away from me but that makes all the difference in the world. Near beach, her job, friends, AA meetings and her Dad has a bigger house and is much less stricter than I am. I am asking myself all kinds of questions like how will it be not having her living there, not getting to see her in person or share late night talks IN PERSON. I know I have to let her go but no doubt the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Not sure how to get through the transition, it just seems like it will be incredibly lonely. Our daughter has had alot of emotional/substance abuse issues over the past 3 years and has spent a year total in Residential Care. The last 6 months have been the best ever and makes this even worse in my mind. Now that things are great, she wants to move out. Feeling really lost right now.

    August 7th, 2013 4:34 pm

  18. Michelle

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it made me cry. I have gone through a very similar thing in the last month and have had such a hard time letting go. My son now lives 3 hours away too, he is my only child and I miss seeing him everyday so much. I’m trying to focus on the positives for him, and there are many, but I just find that my life and role as a mother has changed so much. I find alot of comfort in your comment that love is knowing when to let them go. Thank you xx

    September 9th, 2013 8:12 pm

  19. Marie

    Today, I am losing my daughter. At least that is how it feels. Yesterday she told me she wanted to go live with her dad (also 3 hrs away). I, like you, have proven to be the responsible parent, doing anything and everything for her happiness. I love her more than life itself. She is going because she wants a relationship with him, as he does not get her on the many occasions that he can, etc. He has said that she may come. I feel more hurt than I ever have in my entire life. I feel like I am losing a part of myself – dying. I feel betrayed and rejected and punished for doing a good job and he is being rewarded for doing a ‘not so good job’. I am so worried. So worried that she is going to change and not for the better. Worried that his values (which do not line up with ours) will rub off on her and she will make negative choices because of it. I am so scared, sad, empty, dark, right now, I can hardly even function. Reading your story made my heart ache for you, knowing you probably felt everything I am feeling. I am letting her go because I know that if I don’t, she will resent me for it and our relationship will never be the same.

    September 20th, 2013 6:15 am

  20. Robyn McCullough

    I completely understand what you are going through and I’m glad it’s working out positively for you. It didn’t work out so swell for me but there was no way to know until I let her explore the opportunity. Best of luck to you both!

    September 30th, 2013 11:48 am

  21. Jacqueline

    I completely feel your “pain”. I have a 14 year old who is also a twin, who decided she wanted to move 1000 miles away to live with her dad! I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest and jumped on, but I to, let her go. That was in September of last year. I am happy to say as I write this, that she has been back home with me for 3 weeks! I guess she discovered on her own that there is no greater love than that of the one who HAS always moved heaven and earth just for them! But I do pray your child finds what they were hoping to get out of that move and that you find strength to believe that good will come out of such a hard decision.

    February 26th, 2014 11:39 am

  22. The.Village

    Congratulations to you! My daughter, also, moved back home after only a couple of months. She realized the same thing. Her dad has since moved closer to where we live now, so she now gets to see her dad more, but still live in my home. Totally a win-win. :-)

    February 26th, 2014 12:38 pm

  23. Michelle

    I am in the same situation. My heart is shattered my daughter is just going on with life as if nothing iss wrong. Anyhow for all of you whose daughters moved, have they came back? Everyone keeps saying that she will realize and want to come home.

    April 18th, 2014 6:12 pm

  24. Doug

    At least your daughter had good reasons for wanting to go live with dad. My daughter wanted to just live with her mother full time because of the lack of rules or responsibilities there. There she can do drugs when she wants, have sex with her boyfriend all she wants, and have no one to bother her if she if failing classes. In this case it is a mistake for the courts to allow a 16 year old to make such decisions.

    April 30th, 2014 7:18 pm

  25. KEP

    My 16 year old and 11 year old are leaving in 3 weeks to go live with their dad 5 1/2 hours away in a huge condo on the beach. I just don’t understand. They don’t seem to care and I feel like they have become strangers in my own home over the last six months. They act as if it is no big deal. They don’t feel any pain at the thought they won’t see me everyday. I won’t be in the stands at their games, I won’t be in the audience for their chorus concert, none of it. The pain is at times unbearable for me. My 16 year old starting packing on of all days mothers day. What a slap in the face that was. I know that my counselor has told me that my 11 year old and even my 16 year old are too young to process all of the consequences. They have been visiting “Disney Dad” and its all fun and vacation at dads house. I think the worst part is they are like its all good, no big deal, see ya later mom, thanks for the memories, we will see you when we see you.

    May 12th, 2014 4:07 am

  26. Autumn

    WOW I’m going through this right now. I want to know how you all did it from a legal stance. I feel like my child’s father is trying to get one past me. he hired a lawyer and wants me to sign my custody away for a year. I’m so uncomfortable and no money for legal advice. How did you all handle this???

    June 25th, 2014 4:48 pm

  27. Michael

    Just this past 4th of July weekend, my daughter who had lived with me for the last 9 years, stated she wanted to live with her mother. Her mom is a “Disney Mom” and tries to be her buddy rather than her mother. She does stay down there during the summers and every other weekend. My first response is no, because I do not believe her mother will push her academically, and the rules are much more lax there. My daughter is a beautiful, talented young lady at age 15, but she is also naive and easily caught up to follow the crowd. I know I would still see her every other weekend, and have her during the summers if she switched household, but I am reluctant, I am scared. Above all though, I want my daughter to be happy, and if I force the issue, she may resent me for it, which is something I don’t want.

    July 10th, 2014 9:28 am

  28. Autumn

    My step-son is 13 and just a few days ago his mother called us and let us know he wanted to live with her but was too scared to tell us. I imagine he pictured me sobbing and his father getting upset. We are very upset but are doing our best not to show it. He simply got an “okay if you think that is the best decision”. I keep hoping he will change his mind but after reading your article I see either way things will work out.

    July 17th, 2014 1:12 pm

  29. D Russell

    I don’t think I can be as strong as you. my 14yr old just wants to live with her aunt because “I like it better here”. I am a single mother who struggles and her aunt is married and they have money. I feel my daughter wants to live with them for selfish reasons. I’ve been her only parent all these years. I don’t abuse or neglect her. She doesn’t starve and I always try to give her what she wants, but she always gets what she needs. I’m heart broken and I can’t stop crying.

    August 10th, 2014 7:00 pm

  30. Lorraine

    My daughter is 15. Her step-dad and I have worked so hard to raise her right, establish a good moral compass in her, and encourage her to always do her best and stand for what is right. She’s been almost a straight A students, takes honors classes, plays violin, sings in the honors choir, and participates on the high school swim team. She has loved her school, her friends, her community, and her life where she’s been since she turned 8. This summer she went for a long visit with her dad 5 states away. A week before her flight home, she called to say she was moving in with her dad. I was devastated. My, now, 21 year old son had made the same decision when he was 14. Since, he has struggled to launch into adulthood and now suffers from addiction. Through his high school years, I was made to feel like a stranger, driving back and forth weekends for football games and school functions that I did not want to miss as his mom. Their dad travels for 2 weeks at a time, and leaves the kids to supervise themselves with a much younger step-mom, who he just met last fall and has been married to for about 3 months. I/they really don’t know her, yet. What’s underneath the surface? I wonder. Their father just completed alcohol rehabilitation in February, and so far, is sober. But, my fears overwhelm me.

    Upon hearing the news, I was on a plane the next day. I went to “get” her, but she refused to come. Her step-dad arrived soon to be by my side, and we spoke with an attorney concerns regarding the addiction history in the home. A quick “temporary custody” hearing was set. The judge had one simple question when he entered the courtroom. “What does the child want?” And, that was all that mattered. Our concerns for her were void. During this long weekend ordeal, she pulled away from me. Their attorney said that it was in her best interest not to be in contact with me until after the hearing. As her custodial parent, this seemed unjust and unfair. My emotions have roller-coastered up to anger and down to fear, back up to devastation, and back down to hopelessness.

    We are now back home, and without our daughter. Today, I’m shipping all of her things as sent by request through their attorney. Boxing up all the memories and being forced to let her go. She wants all of her clothes, journals, jewelry, pictures, and her guitar.

    In one weeks time, my life has been turned upside down. Her step-dad and I have cried and grieved and held on to each other…questioning our parenting and hashing out the “if only’s”. But, the reality is, she’s gone, and our home is quiet. I miss her coming downstairs in the morning dressed for school with hugs, kisses, and loves for us before she’s out the door for school. I miss seeing her ride up on her bike with friends after hanging out around town. I miss talking, dreaming, laughing, and venting about our days. And most of all, I miss the future of her high school years that I so longed to be a part of since I had missed them with my son.

    I’m grieving and hurting for my loss, and fearing that she’s gone for good. As a school teacher, I’ll be busy and time will be filled with fourth grade daily bliss, but at the end of the day, my little girl will not be there for me to share girl time with and talk about the day. I miss her so, and it’s only been a week. She’s called once, but just for personal information needed for school registration. She was short and brief. A stranger now to me.

    I’m strong in my faith, and ironically, her step-dad and I are growing closer through it all. He and I both know that we weren’t perfect parents, we made mistakes, we grew through difficulty, but we loved. Now we are forced to move forward into the future that I wasn’t prepared for…one without my daughter.

    August 21st, 2014 10:59 pm

  31. Brigitta

    I was searching the blog when I saw this.( I apologize in advance for the lack of my medical terms in English)
    We are facing a similar problem but the difference is that our daughter had to live with her grandparents for the last 13 years due to her physical condition, you see I was pregnant with my second child when we discovered that the eldest has a nerve problem in which all her right side isn’t functioning normally, and back then I was told that it can be cured if she go for physiotherapy and TO and many other things that my daughter went through since she was 8 months.
    My mom lives in another country, we are in Brazil and my parents in another country. It was so hard for me to give her to my parents, I even begged my husband not to let this happen,but back then everyone was convinced it was the ideal option for her case.
    I kept on going and coming to see her, for Christmas, summer,her birthdays… Now after 13 years my husband and I came to realize that she’s not getting better and she’s spoiled by her grandparents to the point that she disrespect us and want her back( I must mention that we tried 6 years ago but my mother always refused on psychology and health reasons.)
    The problem is that my mom is the problem. She’s teaching my daughter wrong things, telling her lies about us and our lifestyle, that we’ll lock her away and treat her bad… For crying out loud!!! What kind of parents does she thinks we are? We have 2 other kids and they adore us especially their father.
    To make it short, after a looooooonnnnnng dispute and disappointments we got the girl back. For the first 3 days everything was fine, she was laughing, talking to everyone… And then came a message to her mobile from my mom after which she started screaming ,kicking , throwing everything and saying she wants to go back, I couldn’t react, I started to see the scared faces of my other kids and was totally frozen, I didn’t know what to do.
    I talked to a psychiatric about it and asked for advice and she said that we should talk to her respectfully but yet firmly and to be honest I don’t know how to deal with her. It’s been 10 days now and every time she speaks with my mom her tantrum happens.
    I need help!! Plz can anyone advise me !!! PLZ HELP!!!

    September 8th, 2014 11:03 am

  32. Colleen

    I am going through the same thing everyone else on this board is going through. My daughter just turned 17 and thinks she just turned 30. She acts like she should have no rules or consequences. I was sick last week and was in the ER and sent her to stay with my ex for the weekend. Well, she got it in her head she wants to move in with him now. I will let her go because like other people on this site has said that if I say no she will just hate and resent me. She has caused a lot of trouble while living with me. I have only been divorced since December. I bought a condo with her in mind so she can have a nice place to live. She can have any friend over she wants. I do want to meet the parents of friends that I never met before. I have had to take her to court for taking off in the middle of the night without me knowing. She did it 6 times before I called the police the 7th time. We went to court and she was on house arrest for a while and she is on probation. That did not stop her from taking off again though. She has drank and smoked pot. She smokes cigarettes even though I talk and talk to her about it. Her grades are so far okay this year, but she had to do summer school this summer for two classes. I am letting her go because maybe she might straighten up over there. Maybe she will be happier. I just wish I knew this was going to happen before I paid money for a condo. My son is also living with his dad, but he is 20 and going to college and comes over for dinner all the time. I feel like every one else though, I feel like my heart is being ripped right out of me. I cry all the time and cannot concentrate. The only thing that keeps me going is that I guess she hated it so much over here she acted out and maybe she will straighten up at her dads, which is the house she grew up in.

    September 23rd, 2014 11:52 pm

  33. Wayne

    I’m so happy I found this page. My wife and I have been dealing with a similar issue, as far as our 13-year old daughter, Micky is concerned. My wife has always had a very close relationship with her mother, and when Micky’s grandparents were transferred to another town, my mother-in-law begged and cried for Micky to go with them, as she could not live without her. This was a really tough spot for me, as the father and the husband. On one hand I wanted to raise my own daughter, and on the other I wanted to keep my wife happy. It was tough for her to let Micky go too, don’t get me wrong, but her mother had this crazy hold on her – even stronger than my own. In the end, after much discussion, we agreed to let Micky live with her grandparents. It was probably the biggest mistake I’ve ever made, and if I could go back in time, I would have said NO, despite all the tears that would follow. Be that as it may, the choice was made. For 9 years we lived apart from our only child – driving thousands of kilometers to visit every other weekend, taking leave whenever we could to be with her. We paid school fees, gave money to the grandparents for food etc etc. Last year they got a transfer back to our hometown, and we let them move into a flat on our property. Micky moved back in with us, and I was overjoyed! I had finally got my daughter back. I spent a lot of time trying to rebuild a bond with her, and for a while things were great. Then the grandparents decided to move out and live with my wife’s sister. Without skipping a beat, Micky says she’s going with them. This broke my heart. I couldn’t believe that I was losing my daughter again – this time by her own choice. Did my wife and I really mean nothing to her? We sat her down and told her about our sacrifices all these years, and that we wanted a chance to be her parents for a change, but she is so brainwashed by my wife’s mother, that nothing seemed to register. She is cold, and distant – and clearly has no feelings for us worth mentioning. As an example, a few months ago she was asking if she could get Facebook. We told her no, not until she was 16, and her grandmother agreed with us. Tonight I find her profile on FB while browsing… when my wife confronts her, she discovers that the grandmother set it up for her! I am now at wits end, and don’t know what else to do. Do I just let her go and accept that the mistake we made so long ago will haunt us for the rest of our lives?

    October 20th, 2014 11:29 am

  34. christine

    This hit home. I sit here, crying as I type. Divorced when our daughter was 2, we quickly reentered other marriages and went on with our lives, keeping a good relationship with each other for her sake. He moved 3 states away and had 2 more children. He is a good father. I am a good mother. We both love and provide for our child in stable homes and lives. She is 8 now, and for the past 6 years I have tortured myself with the possibility that she will one day want to live with that side. It is my greatest fear. I hold my breath as I’m sure it will come up one day. Like you, I have no real reason to say no. I’m gonna have to let go, and that kills me to think about it, like a hole in my soul. I want the best for her. Oh my how its going to hurt.

    October 28th, 2014 10:46 am

  35. Aimee

    The same thing is happening in my house, my 13 year old daughter, has once again, said she wants to live with her dad ( 2 hours away) she has said it before and ive always been able to reason with her and explain to her thats its not a great idea, last time she spent 3 weeks there, and was begging to come home after 1 week. Now her father has a new girlfriend and she has kids the same age as mine, i was so happy at first, happy for her father and happy my daughter was getting along so well with them, she started to become jealous that they were at his farm more then her, he also has horses and i live in the city. shes serious this time and i am scared! not only is she totally uncaring of my feeling and is quite rude to me, im terrified that shes going to go there and not want to come home. i feel completely devastated, betrayed, ripped off, and like a complete failure, to say the least. i have done everything for her and she just doesnt care. Shes my baby and i dont want her to go. but as the other parents here, i will suck up my tears and let her go. i dont know what life is going to be like, i cant even imagine. Im heart broken. what if she doesnt come home? what if she loves in there?? ( and trust me i know how selfish that sounds) whats going to happen?? i wish someone could just tell me what was going to happen.

    November 7th, 2014 12:13 pm

  36. Alana Curtis

    My daughter will be 15. We live in Washington State ams her dad in Arkansas. She asked me if she could go stay a couple school years with him. I had to hold back the knee jerk reaction of saying no, keeping her interests in heart. She needs her dad. I know she does. She says she just wants to do a little growing up with him. I get it. I hate it, but I get it. She wants to go after the school year is through, about 8 months away. I cry thinking about it, for all the reasons stated in everyone’s posts. I’ve crawled into her bed while she’s sleeping a few times, just to listen to her breathe. I’m going to miss her so much. She’s an only child, her dad and I divorced when she was 9, and she’s always lived with me. He moved to Arkansas several years ago and she’s gone to visit for weeks during summer.

    Reading the post made me feel better, and the comments show me that I’m not alone in my thinking, and that the thoughts are not unusual. I love my baby. I want her to be happy, I just have to figure out how to cope.

    Thank you for sharing.

    November 5th, 2015 1:26 am

  37. SadMommy

    I am currently at a crossroads in my situation. I have been the primary caregiver for my son who is 15 has and has high functioning autism. His dad told me in October that he was moving to Texas so he could live off of his wife’s family (we live in California) and that my son said he wanted to go with him. My son went from being a great kid who was making great strides and progress, to a horrible teenager who has started to reject and push his family away. His father went from never calling him, to calling him all the time. He has called him more in the past 2 months than he has in the last 15 years combined. My son’s father is not the best role model, all he does is party, drink and smoke pot, but my son adores him. We went though all of the motions, getting a lawyer, going back and forth to court. The mediator ultimately recommended that my son live with his dad. Not because of my parenting skills, I was actually deemed a good mother in the report, but because my son is 15 and he wants to. It breaks my heart, because his dad is the fun time guy. My ex did a lot of drugs and was very emotionally abusive to me, to the extent that I suffer from panic and anxiety disorders, even 13 years after our divorce. My son has never spent more than two weeks with this guy, so he thinks that life is going to be a party 24/7. I am torn and conflicted. Half of me says fight for my child and the other says let him go, so he doesn’t hate me. I have a thick file of damaging evidence against my ex and I am torn as to whether or not I should present it to the judge. My once beautiful marriage of 11.5 years is strained as are my nerves and our finances. My husband doesn’t want to spend anymore money fighting this. He wants me to let my son go and hope that he learns his lesson and wants to come back. I have another 11 year old child that is devastated that she might be losing her big brother. I am at my wits end and I don’t know what to do. I feel like no one understands the pain that I am going through right now. My fear is that if I let my son go, his father will turn him fully and completely against us. He has already done so much damage in two months that I cannot imagine what he could do if my son lived so far away with him on a full time basis. Tomorrow I have to go to court and make the hardest decision I will ever have to make in my life. Either way it’s going to be hard, either way my children lose. Either way we all lose. Thank you for giving me a place to share my story and vent.

    December 14th, 2015 5:33 am

  38. 222

    Did you have to go to court to send her to her father ? See my mom is getting ready to regain custody of us from my evil grandparents, and she said once she gains custody shes gonna have us finish school in Virginia then over the summer shes gonna let us live with my father. We want to go live with him so bad , but my grandparents lied to him about the case being transfered to where we live when he went to file for custody so the courts wouldnt let him file in SC he had to file in VA.. But he didnt know that so he was not able to file. My mom, however, filed for custody and said once we move with her we have to finish school in VA then over the summer she’ll send us to live with my dad.. She IS allowed to do that right ?? It’s been so stressful for us the past two and a half years and now we might finally be able to go live with our dad and be able to spend plenty of time with our mom .. Our family will be at peace … PLEASE ANSWER <3

    January 20th, 2016 11:01 am

  39. Crissi Langwell

    She might need to go to court. In our situation, I make all the decisions because I have full legal custody. If your mom wins legal custody, I believe she can do that. But I’m not a lawyer.

    If you over the age of 13, there’s a possibility the court will listen to you and who you want to live with. Contact the courts and ask if there’s someone you can talk with who can give you legal advice. Good luck! My fingers are crossed for you!

    January 21st, 2016 10:20 am

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