Post # 1
So I have a situation with my 12 year old daughter. Her dad and I divorced when she was 3 and I have primary custody of her and her sister. He has lately been telling them that they can choose to live with him when they turn 14.
My girls stay home during the day by themselves this summer. Yesterday my 10 year had a reading program at school from 10-1130 and their dad was going to take them to lunch and drop them back at my house. My 10 YO goes to her program adn the 12 YO stays home. Or so I thought. I talked to her at 11 and told her she should ride her bike to her sister’s school adn have their dad pick them up there for lunch and drop them back off there and then they can ride their bikes back to my house. She said OK. I find out later that she rode her bike to her dad’s work without asking or telling me. She says she asked him adn he said OK. His work is a good 20 minute walk and you have to cross a busy intersection. To make it worse, she rode on the wrong side of the road too. She knew I would say no to her asking to ride up there. Her reasoning to go to his work is because she was bored. We have plenty of activities for her to do. She also could have went and played with a friend in our neighborhood.
So last night when I find out what I happened I freaked out. I yelled at her and I spanked her. I told her that someone could have kidnapped her adn I wouldn’t have known where she was or what happened. She could have been hit by a car and I wouldn’t have known. I asked her why she wouldn’t have called and asked me prior to leaving. It’s because I would have said no. And she knows this. I told her that she doesn’t call and ask me permission to do things while she is at her dads so why would she think it would be ok to ask his permission when she is at my house. I told her, my house, my rules. She is grounded adn I have told her that I can’t trust her. It’s not just this single situation. Her and her sister fight all the time and are so mean to each other. I have asked her dad if they are the same way at his house and he says yes. They try and lie about the dumbest things too.
She is now saying she wants to go live with her dad. I don’t want to let her because I would be devastated not to have her at home.
I don’t know what to do.
She has told her dad before that she wants to live with him. It’s always after she gets in trouble and I yell at her or spank her. He says she can choose who she wants to live with.
My husband says to let her go. They have terrible hygiene when they are at their dads. They don’t shower, or brush their teeth. Don’t eat anything healthy. I enforce rules and hygiene and healthy eating at my house. We take them on vacations and make sure they don’t want for much. At their dad’s, they have to pick up dog poop that is in their room and there are always dirty dishes and rotten food all over.
What do I do? Let her go???
Post # 3
Ok, first of all. If a child is old enough to be left home alone they are too old to be spanked. I also think that a 12 year old is too young to decide who they want to live with.
I am confused… you say about the dad “he has been telling them that they can choose to live with him when they turn 14″ Is more than one of your children his? Or only the 12 year old?
What does your custody arrangement say?
Post # 4
It sounds like living at your house is probably better for her in the long run. I hate to say it, but she is being a 12 year old. Chances are, you’re going to be dealing with this for the next few years. 🙁
If I were in your shoes (I’ve been there, actually, but in your daughter’s shoes), I would not voluntarily let her live with her dad. My mom didn’t let me, and I am so incredibly thankful, 13 years later!
Post # 5
I think your going to need to start transitioning yourself with how to discipline and negotiate with a ” teen” aged child. She wants to go to her fathers because she at the moment perceives it to be a better life. Being spanked and micromanaged are the last thing a 12 year old wants. She clearly wants to gain independence and trust, but needs guidelines and building blocks.
I also suggest sitting down with your ex and talking about both the kids, expectations, and living conditions. Be firm and in agreement, because if your not, the kids will play he said /she said and get through all the loop holes.
Post # 6
@eeniebeans: Our custody arrangement is that they live with me and he has visitation. I am primary caregiver. Sorry, there are 2 girls.
Post # 7
If you think your ex would cooperate, I suggest you come up with a set of ground rules that you both can agree with.
I see a bit of a contradiction in your positions. You feel that a 12 year old is old enough not only to stay home by herself, but also to supervise a 10 year old sibling. On the other hand, you feel she is too young to ride her bike across an intersection.
Siblings fight. That is the nature of their relationship at that age.
Post # 8
I vote no- don’t let her move in with dad. She is 12- she will be unhappy with the rules- whatever house she is in. Are you and the dad on good terms? I think the best thing you can do is present a united front- you and the dad get on the same page- wherever she lives.
Post # 9
@Eva Peron: I have tried for the last few years to get him to agree on how the girls should be raised. I said we need to have some common ground of rules because they will think they can get away with whatever. If I ground them at my house, he still lets them do whatever they want at his. No rules or consequences.
I don’t want to micromanage either of the girls but they act like 3 year olds. The fight constantly with each and are so mean and snotty towards each other it is sickening. I have sat down with each of them and talked and talked and talked about how they need to appreciate their sister and treat each other better and it goes in one ear and out the other. They hit each other and just plain don’t listen.
They are not able to go to my parents house to spend the night because they fight with each other so much. I have talked to their dad about it and he says they fight like that at his house too and he has tried talking to them.
Post # 10
I dont understand how they can have a choice as to where they want to live if thats not the custody agreement…
Post # 11
It sounds like they are still too young to be left alone unsupervised, so you need to make other arrangements for them for the summer. Nothing but trouble can come of them being left alone all day to fend for themselves, especially when they don’t get along. This is only the beginning , and allowing them too much freedom will come back and bite you in the butt. Some 12 yr. olds are mature enough to handle that responsibility, but others (clearly) are not.
You have to be able to set some ground rules for them and make sure they are followed…..supervised. Is there a day camp they can attend which will keep them busy?
Post # 12
These situations are so hard. I went through the same thing with my parents when I was your daughter’s age. They divorced when I was 10, my mom had primary custody, but when I was 14 I signed an affidavit to give primary custody to my dad. It was a horrible feeling having to “choose” sides. I ultimately did it because I felt like it was fair to give my dad a chance to have custody of us (I have an older brother too). I know my mom probably had some negative things to say about us going to live in my dad’s “bachelor” pad too. In the end what really mattered was not which parent we lived with, but how our parents behaved with us.
From my own experience, I think it would be best to let your daughter make that decision for herself, but let her know that you support her no matter what. I remember feeling so, so guilty for signing the affidavit. My mom was hurt and did not hide that. It really did put a strain on our relationship for several years. It was such a bad feeling, especially at such a sensitive age. Whatever happens, just be sure to stand behind your daughter and let her know she is loved.
Also, on a side note: I wouldn’t take her too seriously when she says she wants to go live with her dad after an argument. She might mean it, but she might not. I used to say stuff like that to my parents out of anger just to get a rise out of them.
Post # 13
@eeniebeans: I have tried and tried and tried to get on the same page with him when it comes to the girls. He lets them do whatever they want. If I ground her for something, she still gets to do whatever she wants at his house. But if he grounds her at his house, then the rule applies at mine too. I am always made out to be the bad parent because I enforce rules on them. He doesn’t even make them shower or brush their teeth. They come home dirty and have nasty teeth.
Post # 14
Kids say this all the time. I would say go ahead and live with your father then, but thats just me. They do not live with their father, so they assume it must be better then their current situation. When my parents got divorced, I was actually spoiled by both them and was forced to choose between the two of them. Mind you before this they were pretty severe when it came to discipline. I am talking hair pulling and getting a good swat to the mouth every now and then. (Honestly, if all I had gotten was a spanking, I would have been very blessed.) That completely stopped after the divorce. One time I had snuck out of the house and my mom threw a fit, I went into spoiled teenager mode and said I wanted to live with my dad. I never actually went through with it though. I remember that I had actually had it pretty good. My dad had a new family with two very hyper kids that I could not stand, plus I would not get all the things I wanted that my mom gave me. I would come last to his kids, sad fact, but I realized that on my own when I got older.
I am confused, because you have primary custody. Why 14? I thought they couldn’t decide this until they were a bit older. Maybe I am wrong or the laws are different in California.
Post # 15
@Aicyla22: When you’re 14 you have the option to legally decide for yourself by signing an affidavit.
Post # 16
You spanked a 12 year old? For real?
I think this is a communication issue with the dad as much as it is with your child. It sounds like you guys aren’t very good at being on the same page about parenting. I think you should work on things from that end. As soon as your kid is a teenager, she’s not going to particularly listen to either of you, so that may complicate things.