Moving (physically) to help family cope.


New Member
So, I'm the Dad of a 19 yo difficult child son. I've lost hope that its going to get any better. I expect years of continued lying, stealing, & guilt tripping to be the new normal.
We live in a rural area where everyone knows everyone (and what they do). It drives me insane that my family name has been ruined by his actions. I'm thinking of moving the family (even if he tags along) so my parents and in-laws don't have to deal with this on a day to day basis. Has anyone made the move to alleviate these external issues and to strengthen the remainder of the family?


Well-Known Member
Is son still living with you?

If so, you'll just be bringing his problems with you and neighbors will figure out he's a problem anyway, even in a city. However if it helps your relatives find peace, then it may be worth it. On the other hand, if you have other kids, is it fair to move them away from all they know just because their brother is messing up? And don't YOU deserve peace too?

Myself, I've been in this game long enough not to care about what neighbors think of me or my kids or my parenting, small town or not. To me, it's the disruptive adult child who needs to change by our responding differently to him. Why should the rest of the family suffer because of him? I don't know what is going on right now, but it isn't working.

Hint: He can't guilt trip you unless you allow it to bother you or if you listen to it. I refuse to listen to guilt tripping. It is done for the adult child to get something from us, usually money, often used for drugs rather than for stated reason.

My opinions are just that...only my opinions. Take what you find useful and discard the rest. In the end, the decisions you make are yours.

You only have to put up with your son's garbage if you want to allow him to do this to you... or you can learn to set strong boundaries with his stuff. He is a man and he can deal with his own garbage. Or you can leave things as they are, but to move because of him...sounds like he is being allowed to run the show.

I've learned something valuable from the people here: My house/my rules. You don't follow them, then something changes and it's not me. Fill in the blanks as to what you feel would best fit your family. There is no one solution. Many of us have set timetables for our grown kids to either get it together or leave, but you don't have to go that far if you are not ready.Some of our grown kids have assaulted or threatened to assault us or destroyed our property or stolen from us and the cops were called and drugs involved...and we felt we had no other choice but to warn our grown child he has to follow certain rules or leave. Many would rather leave and be homeless than follow simple rules that most people easily follow. That is their decision, in my opinion.

Glad you found our forum, but so sorry you had to and sorry also for the pain this young adult man is causing you. You can't change HIM as we can't control others. But you can change yourself and how you respond to him and that is often very helpful. You deserve a good life, in spite of him messing up.
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
RKT, I can understand your concerns.

Although I had never considered moving because of my daughter (arrests written in the paper, it's a small town and where I work as well........) I recently moved and purchased a home in another town 20 minutes away. I didn't expect it, but there was a big difference. My daughter stayed in the old town and she doesn't venture out to where I am, so where I am has not really become a possible place to land. That small distance made a difference physically, but also mentally, emotionally and psychologically. It also represented a sort of "clean break" leaving memories behind in the old place. I am not sure I would advocate that as a solution, but I can see that there are certainly advantages. Particularly for the remaining relatives who also have to deal with the public disruptions a difficult child creates.


Well-Known Member
I understand the temptation.

My personal opinion is... you're moving for who?
Unless it is in your personal best interest (and that of your spouse and/or remaining at-home kids), don't do it.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Physically moving will not aleviate the problems for you, your family or difficult child. My husband and I moved 1100 miles from my home state to the midwest to care for his aging parents. When we moved our difficult child was doing a 2 year stay in prison. When he was released I had naive illusions that if I flew out there to get him and bring him back here, give him a place to live (not with us), food, clothes, etc... and told him all he had to do was get a job and start living a responsible life, that all would be well. Notice I said naive illusions. It wasn't long before he was right back to lying, stealing, drugs, alcohol. He eventually made his way back to our home state and is currently homeless.

As for how it impacts your parents and in-laws it doesn't matter if you move to the moon. One of the last conversations I had with my mom before she died was about my difficult child. My mom and dad lived in another state and I was telling my mom that difficult child had run away again, she said to me "you don't think he'll try to come here do you" that broke my heart. My mother passed away a few months later.
You of course have to do what you feel is best for you and your family but know there are people here that have been dealing with their difficult child's for many years, for me it's 20 years, my difficult child is almost 34.
Read through the posts here and learn from us.

I wish you well and understand how hard this is for you.


Rktman- I know it's hard. And I am so sorry for that.

A move is stressful under any circumstances. It's often very isolating as you try to adjust to a new location, new routines and new people.

I too often felt and sometimes still feel that my difficult child has reflects badly on my family in our "busybody community." I've actually seen his former friends and their parents (who were once our friends) avoid us. When my difficult child got into a bit of trouble his junior year in HS - I can vividly remember quite a few parents looking down their noses at us. I feel like PC17 especially comes under extra scrutiny by his own friends' parents; I am pretty sure that quite a few have discouraged their kids from befriending PC17 or coming to our house. I can't say that I blame them - my difficult child's best friend's older brother was the person who introduced my difficult child to drugs.

At the same time, I remember the parents who reached out to me especially a few who closed ranks around me. I remember walking into the "mandatory parent/student sessions" at school (my kid had an athletic code violation his Jr year) and the look of mutual surprise on the faces of two close friends whose kids also had violations unbeknownst to any of us.

I've since learned (after living with it for 6 years) that yes - people talk. That some people fear that a difficult child is contagious. Others will judge your parenting or feel and act smug in your presence. But most of all - I've learned that nearly every family has a difficult child - be it a child, grandchild, sibling, parent, cousin, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle et al. And those people will try to reassure you and tell you how their own wild child (or themselves) grew up to be successful and on the straight and narrow. Or they will squeeze your hand and say "I get it". And some of those people who looked down their noses at you will call you a year or more later to meet for lunch because their own child has gone off the rails and they are looking for that magic panacea or how to cope.

It sounds as though you have deep roots in your community.Surely, people must know that your son's actions don't define your other family members? Moving is stressful even under the best of circumstances. You will be in a new location with new routines and may feel isolated. If there are others in the family, they may feel extra resentment toward your difficult child for necessitating this move.

Please know I am one of those people with a difficult child squeezing your hand and saying "I get it." Don't let the turkeys get you down. Hold your head high and model the behavior you seek. This too shall pass.


Well-Known Member
Please see what is happening for what it is: He is stealing your reputation in the community. Just as much theft as if he were stealing a physical item.
If he is still living with you, it is time for him to go!


Well-Known Member
"Whever you go, there you are" is a very truthful saying. I think it's time for your son to find his own place to live. If you then want to move, then do so without him.