"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Let Go or No?

Question

My 16 year old son wants to live with his dad in another state for his junior and senior years of high school. I’m reluctantly willing to let him go. How do I navigate this transition?

Answer

Thanks for your question and welcome to Parent Guru. It's important to understand that boys generally have a more difficult time adjusting to divorce than girls do. The most obvious reason is that the vast majority of children in single-parent families reside with mom and boys tend to struggle with the lack of a consistent male role model. Girls residing primarily with fathers also tend to experience comparable adjustment problems. I must stress that I am speaking in generalities here and all situations offer their own unique set of cicumstances.

I fully understand your reluctance in allowing your son to live with his father, however sometimes we must allow our children to learn things the hard way. Your son, like many teens, believes the grass is always greener on the other side, specifically, i.e., no chores, flexible curfew, freedom, etc... You should sit him down and tell him that you understand that he may be at a time in his life where he needs to spend time with his dad. Also, let him know this is tough for you, however you support his decision, love him, and he is always welcome to return home, with no questions asked.

Having married a woman with two young boys 30 years ago, I can assure you that sometimes we must let go and allow them to find their own way. Hang in there and let us know how it goes.

David Martin
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
57djmartin@gmail.com
412 925 9882

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