[Solved] Estranged from Teenage son
I'm new to Dads Info and was hoping that someone out there may recognise my issue and be able to advise or just share their experiences.
I'll summarize this as succinctly as possible.
Split with the Mother of my two boys (now 11 and just 16) 9 years ago. For the last 7 years she has made my relationship with the lads very difficult and this has deeply effected both them and me. We have been to court 3 times and I've had a contact order in place for my youngest for the last 2 years, we did have just a verbal agreement for contact but she would stop this whenever she saw fit or got angry or upset with me. Our crazy Family court system dictates that a child of 13 can make his own decisions about whether or not he wants a relationship with the non-resident parent and so consequently I was unable to get a contact order with my eldest.
As you can imagine, the situation has effected both my boys, my eldest in particular. Mum, in my opinion, has some real control issues and she refuses to communicate with me by any other means but post (something the courts agreed to), she has never supported or truly acknowledged my role as 'Father' to the lads and see's the boys as her possessions. I've kept a journal of all the goings on over the years and I've given the lads as much of my time and energy as possible, I pay my CSA every month and I'm a good Dad....... Sadly, this coming weekend marks 2 years since my eldest last spoke to me or communicated with me on any level with the exception of an email last March stating his reasons for our problems and his decision to cut me out of his life. I'll keep the reasons private other than to say that they are very immature.
My Ex has always fully supported my eldests stance and has refused to discuss anything with me relating to this issue, I write to him now and again but never get a response, I don't badger him about our issues or plead with him to get in touch, I keep my contact simple and ask general questions about School and such likes......
What approach should I take next????
My partners best friend has the same relationship with her father.
Difference is he never made enough effort in her eyes and the relationship, she felt, was so very different between each of the children he had.
She always read the emails.
She said a birthday/Christmas card was always wanted. An actual interest into her life rather than just words in a message.
If he does football or rugby on a weekend or similar, maybe turn up?
Send him some money with a note to spend as he wishes.
Ask him to come out and speak with you at the restaurant?
Reaching out is better than waiting. The worst answer you can get back is silence.
Many thanks for the reply PM92.
I hope my son can't fault my effort, I've been to every school function/parents evening.. sent him cards and presents every year (he returned this years Xmas present unopened), offered to meet him for coffee or at his nans if he prefers, told him I don't wish to discuss the past, just the future...etc etc
I do a 50 mile round trip twice a week to see them and have done for the last 9 years and I've taken an active interest in all their hobbies/past times.
You're right in what you say, I just think I'd struggle to do more than I already do or at least try to do.
Keep at it - it's a long process, but as he matures, hopefully he'll change his views, especially as his mother's influence diminishes.
I am sorry to hear that your relationship with your eldest son has broken down, I can imagine how painful this must feel. I would imagine that you feel quite powerless to change it for the better.
I would suggest that you are doing the right thing by keeping the channels of communication open. Your son is still of an age where things are very black and white, right and wrong. As he matures into adulthood he will realise that life is a little more ambiguous.
At some point he will want contact again and will find it easier because you have obviously never stopped thinking of him, have never given up and have kept trying to have a meaningful relationship with him. I am sure that some day he will value that.
As frustrating as it must feel at the moment, you are doing the right thing.
I hope this is of help.
It's almost as if I wrote this scenario.
Realise it's a few months on, but would imagine this is a very typical scenario, where the father eventually moves on, the ex becomes bitter and the children feed off that.
I have two sons. The eldest is very vocal about his feelings (but I wont go into detail) and the youngest stays silent (probably frightened to incur the wrath of either his mother or brother)
I have friends who've experienced similar issues and thankfully, they have been able to resolve their differences.
As they say, time is a great healer - here's hoping.