Question: Dear Luise: My son is 16 and has nothing to do with me. Zero. As a child, he was physically abused by his dad. One day I had enough and I left the home with him and his sister. I bought a new home and divorced his dad when my son was 13. I have custody of him, but his dad will not bring him home, (another issue.) I am so sure his grandparents and father have turned him against me. His grandparents have money and I was a single mom. He doesn’t live with his dad. He lives in a different county than I do. His dad put him there without me knowing it, (yet, another story). The staff at the school my son attends called me recently to inform me my son was in an auto accident the previous night. He damaged his car but was not hurt. They said he attacked another child in a restaurant and was not at school. I called his dad to ask if my son was sick and his dad said, “I guess he has a headache.” Later that afternoon I received another phone call from the staff and my son just arrived at school with a bandage hand. The staff stated he believed my son was under the influence but he could not drug test him because I was not there to sign. It was already late in the afternoon. That evening I contacted the grandfather and asked why my son was late for school. He said, “He was late for school. He drove his car and left at 7:30 AM.” I told the grandfather the Assistant Principal called me and he was not at school. I asked him again if my son was late and he said he rode to school with some friends. Anyway as you can see, the grandparents and the father do not have my son best interest at heart. Please help me. I’m a loving Mom. L.
Answer: Dear L. There is no way I know of that you can manage your son’s life from another country. People often have a very difficult time supervising teenagers when they are all living in the same house.
Since you have custody, legal advice might be helpful. However, if your son is determined to keep his distance, and his father and his grandfather back him up, you may find it all but impossible to exercise your rights as his mother and legal guardian.
Time is not on your side. I don’t know when your son will turn seventeen but eighteen is going to arrive sooner than you realize bringing with it his right to make his own decisions, large and small, regarding the direction his life is going to take.
You can appeal to his father and grandfather, asking that they keep you apprised of his conduct and progress, but I would guess that you have already done that with less than satisfactory results. Beyond that, there is the mother’s prerogative to employ her spiritual connection through whatever means are at hand…like prayer and/or loving thoughts.
Your son hasn’t rendered you helpless; the other adults in his life have conspired to do that. As hard as it may be, letting go may be your only realistic option. Blessings, Luise