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31 Mar 2003

Should I allow my son bak home ?
Dear CyberShrink and CyberFriends,

I have previously asked advice with my rebellious 17-year-old son who is totally out of control, usses drugs and is manipulating situations !!!. As mentioned in my previous letter, he left our home in September last year to go and stay with his grandmother. Since then my mother, who dislikes my huband, also become very hostile towards me.

My son sued me for maintenance and during the court case, he and his grandmother lied about me and my huband implicating that we were bad parents. The court granted maintenance, which I am now paying, and I was just hoping that the situations would now be cooling off a bit, BUT....

Last night my son phoned me and he was crying, asking me whether I would forgive him and whether he could come home.

Naturally I have mixed feelings about this. Since he left, though I had trouble with the courtcase and my mothert etc, things were quite calm and wonderfull at home, after he left. My two other children also started enjoying some attention for a change and we all enjoyed the peace and quiet.

I do not know how sincere my son is, but am a bit reluctant just to allow him back for him to disrupt our family life once again. On the other hand he IS my son... and I still love him and would like nothing more that to have him back with the rest of the family.

Waht should I do ? I am really confused ... PLEASE ADVISE .....
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Mari,
I'm saddened, but not surprised, to hear that a Court could be so stupid, as to misapply the law to enable a malicious boy to hurt his parents. Surely, there's no expectation that this ungrateful lout should be supported by maintenance after he reaches the age of 18 ? If so, that would be truly outrageous, and an appeal might be in order.
Now, what to do when the errant and prodigal son phones and begs forgiveness ? Maybe don't rush to judgement. He may be sincere, and eforming ; or he may simply have had an argument with his gran, and be trying to plan to walk out on her, as a reprisal.
Why not explain that you have always loved him, however much he has made it difficult to love him ? To say that things at home have been peaceful and loving, and much fairer to the other children, since he left ; and that the court case he brought was hurtful and wasteful.
Wny not agree to meet with him a couple of times, at a neutral venue, like a coffee shop, to talk over things ? Seeing him in person may make it easier to assess his degree of sincerity. If it seems possible that this isn't merely another tantrum, maybe consider allowing him home on a trial basis --- and with rules specified in advance, with his cooperation --- about what he will and won't do while still in the home ; and what actions may lead to him being able to stay longer ( including maintaining peace and sharing the burden of chores ) and what would lead to him being asked to leave again.
Maybe it's a cynical thought -- but is it possible that the Court-ordered mainenance was indeed meant to run only until he was 18, and his 18th birthday might be nearing ?
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