My 17 year old son wants to move in with his friend and his father.We don't have any problems other than him thinking that he is an adult (which he will be in July).He is a very respectful child and his grades are good in school. We live out in the country which is about 20 minutes from town,he has a truck which cost alot to drive back and fourth to town.His reason for wanting to do this is that he doesn't like staying here because there is nothing to do and he would save so much money because his friend lives next to his school. I love my child and am so sad that he doesn't want to stay home. I try to remember that is is 17 and want to be with his friends I know he parties and i know he drrinks. I was 17 once and I thought I knew it all. I just never thought my child would want to leave me. I have always talked to him about the importance of scholl and respect and responsibility and hope that he has enough common sense to do what is right,but I also know how teenagers are when with friends.I am so worried that he will go down the wrong path if I let him go but I am also scared that if I don't let him go he will start to resent me a do what he wants anyway. I am so scared and hurt I feel lost!!! What should I do?
I'd try to take "hurt" out of your narration -- "I am so hurt I feel lost" is an unproductive reaction that ups the ante unnecessarily into a melodrama when what is probably happening is that he thinks it would be more exciting and cool to live with his friend and his dad. Do you honestly think a 17-year-old boy yearns to live with his mom? Anyway, take it into advisement that he is not doing this out of personal spite for you. He sees a more exciting possible identity living next to the school in an all-male house than living 20 minutes out of town and spending all his money on gas. You have some choices:
- Try to develop a life and activities that make it more interesting for him to be at home [I know, you might think that is impossible, but it can be done. I know a family who got interested in funding an environmental restoration project in another country, when they didn't have money. The task was compelling, and their teenagers got involved -- writing the website and doing some fundraising -- and they were able to accomplish the task. Trivial stuff melted away for the kids; they were into a compelling project that made them feel good about themselves.] If he can get a more interesting persona by being where you are instead of being where his friend and his dad are, he will stay.
- Simply forbid him from living anywhere else until he is 18. (This will probably guarantee he will move out when he's 18.)
- Help him pay his gas costs and tell him he can't live anywhere else until he is 18. Say you understand gas costs are high, and want to help with that part of it, but you are sorry and he can't leave while he is still a minor.
- Tell him that he can choose when he moves out, but once he does move out that is it, he won't be able to come back to live again. In other words, out and gone is out and gone. This one is designed to make him consider where he plans to live while accomplishing his post- high school plans, before he just leaves on a lark.
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