Raising Teens After Separation - Threat of Leaving
I posted recently that my 13 year old son stopped seeing me. Nothing has changed with that sadly but I'm still hopeful.
Reflecting on why my he doesn't want to see me, I've been thinking about what I will do differently when (if) he comes back. One thing I'm really concerned with is how to 'parent' and not upset him again. The concern is that if I do or say anything which is out of line with his views and desires, he'll just disappear again to my former partners house. I feel I have to let him rule the roost (so to speak) in order to have him in my life.
I know this all comes down to how I communicate but unfortunately, despite years of trying to become better at that, I am still blunt and direct. I don't think I can magically become the person he wants as much as I wish that is possible.
I wonder if anyone else has experience with this kind of issue and can offer advice?
I recall those devastating words from my youngest when 14yo on the phone "I dont want to see you anymore". No hurt has ever ran through my veins more than those words.
I, like you, thought long and hard about it. I was a every second weekend dad to her and my oldest (3 years older) had come to live with me at 12yo and she never returned to her mums place). What had I done to my youngest? Well now, some 15 years later- nothing! No issues have ever been raised that was the catalyst. I can guess her mother had negative influence...certainly not encouragement to continue visitations.
That daughter came in and out of my life from 18yo to 27yo every 2 years or so for say 1-3 weeks usually on Facebook. Each time she vanished and blocked me for no reason at all, refused to provide her address and phone number (for cards and messages). She had control, she could block me at any time and did. The last time 2 years ago, her messages went for 10 days then she vanished and no replies came. It was the straw that broke my back so I blocked her and that is my freedom to live a happy life.
Reflecting upon your post I feel for you. I would not change my nature nor upbringing techniques in any way. Remember, your child will be 18yo in only 5 years time and with wheels or public transport can come and go and they please to you or your partners place. Better to be firm and yourself than soft and yield to threats.
Just like my daughter, they do return. Things also change, in my case for the worse eventually but in your case they might find a partner and settle, they might realise that playing the swap houses game isnt all what they think it is etc.
Worry isnt productive. I learned that filling my life with hobbies, sports and "getting a full life" might not stop the hurt but it does make life fun and fulfilling thereby lowering the worry. In as nutshell... start cutting the apron strings now if he exercises the power to house swap. Eg you chastise him for not showering or doing homework etc and he tells you he's leaving..."ok, ring me anytime, love you".
A victim of your house, parent and personal standards is unacceptable.
Also this thread might interest you.
I can see that you are going through a difficult time. You are so strong for being here and getting through it.
Being able to communicate is difficult. So many people lack it. It takes time to develop.
You can try and let your son know that you are trying your hardest and that you are always there for him. He is still young and lacks maturity.
Here is an article on how to improve your communication skills: https://manpowergroup.com/wcm/connect/right-it-it/legacy-home/thoughtwire/categories/career-work/10-Ways-to-Improve-Your-Communication-Skills
Stay safe and i am here to chat if you need me.