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I co parent well with his mother. We’ve been separated since he was born. It was rough at first but once I let my emotions go, she stopped trying to dig at me. Her lifestyle is “chaos”. She admits it and calls it “fun”. My son is just like me. Super chill and laid back and enjoys his alone time to play on his computer but also likes to play with his friends outside or have tv and game time with myself and my girlfriend(they get along great).

I know it has to be weird going from one environment to another every other week, especially since the lifestyles are polar opposites. She has a new boyfriend every year, most bad, this one now is ok but they are …not the cleanest people and own too many half way decent running vehicles some of which are parked in their small front yard and they live in the city. Needless to say I don’t agree with that but it’s not my life so it’s not my business. Long story short, my son prefers my lifestyle. I know this because he’s said it. “No offense to my mom but I want to live like you when I’m an adult”. None of this is said from me manipulating him or saying anything negative about his mother.

He was diagnosed with A.L.L. B-cell leukemia before his 5th birthday and we have been closer than ever ever since. His moms way of handling it was to internally freak out and Google everything. I give her credit for not showing him how much she was scared, but she never changed her lifestyle, even down to still smoking cigarettes in the car with him. I wouldn’t call her a terrible person, she just makes terrible decisions sometimes. I try to be understanding in the fact that everyone handles thing differently, but for me, when he was diagnosed I quit smoking cigarettes and weed and became his pillar of strength and convinced him that he’s a super hero and could beat this cancer scare. And he did! He’s been in remission since 3 months after I discovered lumps on his neck from his lymph nodes being swollen while his mom said they were nothing to worry about.

Because of this experience I feel he’s grown up way faster than most 8 year olds. He’s been kept out of school for the most part and spent a lot of time with adult care takers so his maturity is insane tbh. My question is this, when I take him home or even throughout the week he’s here at home with me, he says things like “I don’t want to go back to my moms house” etc.. I try to convince him that his mother loves him and he retorts with “well then why does she make fun of me in front of her friends? I ask her to stop and she says she will but then she does it again”. This prompted a conversation between the 3 of us and I had him talk to his mom about how he was feeling. She acknowledged that they have talked about it and said “I misunderstood you, please give me another chance”.

As adults I’m sure anyone reading this can tell, she didn’t misunderstand. She thinks it’s funny to talk about private business of my son like the fact he’s not the best at wiping his butt yet after pooping just to make her friend laugh at his expense. All this to ask…how do I not feel guilty when he tells me he doesn’t want to go back to his moms while I’m forced by a court order to return him every other Sunday?

He’s my best friend and I lived with his mom so I know how she is to deal with. It’s why I left 8 years ago lol. Sorry if this is all over the place, I’m just flustered atm.

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  • I sympathize with you, i was in this same position with my son, it is heartbreaking. Just know it does get better and she is destroying her relationship with her son. Nov 27, 2022 at 20:55

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Check with a lawyer and cps etc about the chances of getting custody changed.

As he is now of an age to express his wishes that might make more of a difference.

Also behavior like smoking may influence the decision given his health.

I am not a lawyer, just a dad.

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    This is great advice. Conditions have changed, so custody can change. No one should advise you to not feel guilty sending your child into a situation that causes them pain. You absolutely should and it's a sign that you are doing well as a parent.
    – Piper
    Nov 7, 2022 at 14:51
  • "As he is now of an age to express his wishes" At what age do you think children are able to express their wishes? Mar 6 at 1:21

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