I don't want to keep going back and forth between my parents' houses

I'm 17 and I'm sick and tired of going back and forth. I'd like to stay at my mother's house. This problem has really affected me. I've had anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts and self-harm in the past.

Currently I'm going through anxiety and my thearapist is not available. How do I handle this?

Earl Lewis
Earl Lewis
Relationship Expert

Sounds like a lot is going on right now at such a young age. I'd start with discussing with mom your concerns and ideal situation. I'm unsure what prevents you from staying there, but whoever you are staying with, it should be brought to their attention. In regards to your anxiety attacks, deep breathing is always a benefits. I have a link you can use to help to do this online if you are interested. In addition, finding ways you usually cope with anxiety and what's worked before can help and if it isn't, exploring new way to calm you down can be beneficial. This is something you can speak with your therapist about going forward when they are available.

In regards to feeling suicidal: I would call suicide prevention hotline (You can google them) if you truly feel the ideation is getting worse. They are professional agents who can speak with you about your ideation and help you through the process. Hope this helps. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Joel Daugherty
Joel Daugherty
Faith-based Counselor in Lake Charles, LA

At age 17, I think you are old enough to decide which parent you want to stay with full-time. I would gently and lovingly tell your father that you've decided to stay with your mother. You can offer to visit him regularly, if you'd like. Parents often have a hard time letting go and, especially in divorce situations, your dad might feel as though he's "lost the battle" if you go live with your mom. He might also feel he's lost you. If your dad is unrelenting and the situation unbearable, you can ask a judge to modify the custody agreement.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Frank Walker
Frank Walker
I help couples manage the bumpy road called marriage. Whether your marriage needs a tune up, a major overhaul or just a flat tire changed. I can help.

OK first things first. We have to think of your safety and take care of those thoughts of hurting yourself.

Yes, this is a major problem for you and can cause anxiety and depression. You have the right to be sick and tired. Kids often are pawns in this marital problems that their parents have. I'm sorry that this is happening to you.

I am not sure of your rights in the state you live in but as far as I know you as a 17 year old you have the right to stay where you want. 

So your'e going through an anxiety episode and your therapist is not available.  

If I'm the therapist we would have already set up a plan so that if you are in this situation you would know what to do. In the worst case scenario you would be able to contact me.

But I would have given you several exercises to help reduce your anxiety.

Staying with your mom should be your choice. I know you probably don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but there are ways to ease the tension. Maybe with your permission and their agreement, we all could meet together for a session or two to ease your tensions and get over and through this hassle. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Have you told either of your parents that the current house rotation of where you stay, bothers you?

Since each parent has an interest to be together with you, I imagine that to some degree, each cares how you feel.

If these conversations are not getting your problem solved, then maybe your therapist can have a family session with your parents together and depending on the outcome, with you and each parent.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
Social Worker, Psychotherapist

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. Divorce can be so disruptive in a child's life.

I'd really need a lot more information about your situation before I'd feel comfortable offering any advice or suggestions. There are so many variables, and not knowing the whole story, any advice could possibly make your situation worse.

I do see some positives, though. 

One, you say you have a therapist. That's great! I hope you're able to talk to them about this soon. Still, they can't give you legal advice, and a lot of this situation may be dictated by the law. What your therapist can help with, though, is dealing with whatever situation you have to follow by law. If you can't change the situation, you at least need to learn how to cope with it better. 

Two, you're 17. When you're 18, you're legally an adult and will not be bound by any custody rules or visitation plans in place. 

Honestly, teenagers usually have a lot of say with the courts in custody arrangements. Since you didn't specify more on the situation, I have no idea what your specific situation is. Were your parents ever married? Are they separated or divorced? Was there ever a court hearing for custody? Not all couples have an official court order arrangement. All families are different, too. Was there abuse between your parents? Towards you by one of them? Does either of them have addiction issues, major health or mental health issues, or anything like that? You mentioned that you want to live with your mom, but didn't say why. Are you afraid to tell your dad you want to stay with your mom? Is mom the lenient and fun parent while dad is the more strict one, or is there something else going on? This isn't a decision that should be placed entirely on you, and it also isn't a decision that anyone else needs to make on your behalf without your input. But advice on what to do needs to come from the people who know more about your situation so they can help recommend the best thing for you. 

Whatever you do, hang in there! 18 will be here before you know it. Focus on that. Freedom. College. Plan for your future that YOU control, and focus on making it the best it can be. Do not let the anxiety and depression cloud your thoughts and make you do something irreversible. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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