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NWR parenting issue

Hey ladies. First let me say married life the second time is so much better even if I'm only 3 weeks in lol.

Anywhoo. I know some of you on here have older children like me and can give me some advice. I have 3 children from my previous marriage  20,14,12. My 12 year old son and I got into it last night because he (recently) feels that he can talk to me any old way. I am an old school  mama who doesn't tolarate disrespect. You will not live in my house and talk to me any old way. My DH tries not to get get involved because my son has a involved father and doesn't want to step on his toes. I am fine with his postion. Last night it came to a head and I said , "look do you want to go live with your father" and he said yes. I kindly helped him pack his books and football equipment and dropped him off at his dad's house. Today I am sad but I know I did the right thing. His dad and I have a week to week custody agreement so he was used to being there anyway. Plus we live 5 minutes away from each other.

My question is have any of you had a child who stated they wanted to live with the other parent and how did you handle it emotionally?
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Re: NWR parenting issue

  • Well, first, I am sorry that you are feeling hurt.  I know how hard it is. 

    If you and his Dad are truly co-parenting, this will be short lived, as his Dad will hold him to the same rules, and he may decide that the grass is not necessarily greener. 

    If he does, however, decide to stay there, I think you need to sit down with DS at some point and let him know that you miss him, and that not having time with him is not ok with you.  Sometimes I think kids act out because they want to see if, in fact, you will easily abandon them.  And 3 weeks after marrying another man is a perfect time to test you to see how easily you will write him out of your life. 

    You would not let xH "dump" your son & not resume the custody agreement, right?  So perhaps you, xH and DS can sit down in a week, and talk about how you can resume time with DS.  Maybe its not alternating weeks right at the moment, but if you are not going to be the primary custodial parent, you want visitation, right?  Approach it like that.

    BTW, I am NOT saying you dumped him.  I fully get the behavior you are describing, and the response.  Maybe in the future, you might want to ask if he wants to take some time off from being with you, so that the clear expectation is that he WILL be returning to your home. 

    If you aren't doing some sort of family counseling, I would suggest you do.  Step-parenting is HARD, and a little professional help goes a long way. ~Donna
  • Thanks Donna!
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  • Donna has excellent advice.  I divorced when my daughter was 16.  One weekend, I was going to have some friends over, and knew that things could get a little, uh, blue in the conversation.  So, I asked her dad to take our DD for the weekend.  Somehow that got translated to "you kicked me out of the house!"   It took years to repair that, as she had misinterpreted what I was trying to do (and in looking back, I'm sure her dad was right there feeding the fire).  But either way, just make sure that you speak to your son; don't try to go through his dad, and the phrasing is all-important! 

    So hard when everyone is trying to find a new way to communicate, and a new way of being. 

    Best wishes!
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
  • MikesAngieMikesAngie member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited September 2012
    As a step-parent and child acting out is natural within the first few weeks of a change.  I did it to my step-mom (my only Mom). I went from calling her mom to her first name - she let it go for about a week, and asked me one night in front of my dad if I was going to start calling him by his first name... point taken.

    As a step-mom and only female parent involved in my DSD life - it's tough when they are disrespectful, and she treats me the way any young woman (late teen daughter) would treat a biological parent.  She now knows that as long as she is living in our house she's not to old to be sent to her room to think about her actions. 

    So talk to your son, don't let him get away with a pity party (he will try to go there), reasure him that you love him and that he is your son.  Also ask him if he has ever heard his siblings talk to you the way he did, or ask him if he would like it if you did that to him. (The late tact is the one I use with my DSD she's an only child)

    edited for clarity
  • My 12 year old lives with his dad and it's a two day drive from where I live with his sister (she's 9). I moved here for work just over a year ago, and we gave the kids a choice. Ds chose to stay with his dad.

    It breaks my heart that he's not here with me, and I've had many sleepless nights missing him, but I know that forcing him to live here isn't the answer. He knows that he can come up here any time and there is a room waiting. We have always gotten along really well, so I can't comment on the arguing, other than to say that he's likely just struggling with being 12 - he's not a teenager yet, but he's not a little kid either. Give him some space, but still be available to him. When things cool off a little, he will likely be back.

    Good luck.
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  • It sounds to me like maybe he said he wanted to go live with his Dad as a way of getting some time to cool down.   Also, kids (and a lot of adults) sometimes do/say stuff like that in the midst of a fight because they hope it will be a little bit hurtful to the person they're fighting with. 

    I agree that you should give it a week or so, then re-visit the issue.  12 is probably an age where a boy might feel like he needs quality time with his Dad, especially if puberty is an issue.  I agree that he needs to speak to you respectfully, and it's important for him to understand that living with Dad for a while doesn't mean that he can speak disrespectfully to you when he IS with you.   (heck, I still have to remind my 32-yr-old H to tone down the way he talks to his mother sometimes!)

    I think it sounds like you're handling things really well, and you'll probably be just fine as long as you trust your gut on this one:-)
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  • Thanks you guys. I'm better today. We'll see what happens next week when his sister comes back and he doesn't .
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  • Sorry to hear you are going through this. You've had great advice above.

    My kids are now a 25 y/o son who lives in DC, and my daughter, who will be 18 in 2 weeks. Both have had their challenges and wonderful moments.

    You've already been through this tough stage with your older 2. Each age and gender has it's own challenges, as I'm sure you can attest to.

    I raised my son totally alone, his dad saw him once in his life, when he was 7, at my son's urging. His dad lives out of state. At the age of 7 my son really looked forward to this meeting, then poof, once done, he didn't care to communicate with his dad any longer.

    My son, and my daughter, have crossed the boundaries of proper parental ettiquette several times. When this happens I surmise it's because they feel they are not being heard or understood. I say this in hindsight, but trust me when the heat of the battle is going on, I understand how either side can fly off the handle. My daughter has said several times "I want to live with dad". She's even tossed in "I want to live with grandma". Hah!  They all live about 20 minutes away, but I agree with the comment above that often kids, and sometimes adults, will say the most wounding words to make a point.

    I think you handled it well. You acted like you "heard" him, you took him to his Dad's. Lucky for you your kids have an involved dad who co-parents. My daughter's dad has moved on and married again, has a now 9 yr old daughter with his wife, and my daughter often feels left out there. Her dad is now feeling left out because at almost 18, our daughter has college and a job, and he's begging her to come over but she can now choose where to go. She's going there less.  

    As parents we all do the best we can. Each and every day brings a new challenge. Like me, I'm sure you've built a foundation of love and support, your kids know it, and some day you'll have the pleasure of hearing those words we all live to hear: Thanks Mom.

    If your son's dad is as strict as you about respect and treating people, even family, with dignity, then I agree with the prior posters, he'll come back, maybe with his tail between his legs for a bit, and understand his attitude is not accepted at either home.

    Good luck. This is a great forum for newly married brides trying to integrate kids into a marriage.
  • Thanks Sue! Good words of wisdom as always.
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  • I know I'm late to the party, but wanted to chime in a few words of support.

    My oldest was always close to his father. my youngest tended to be ignored - more of a scapegoat where their dad was concerned. When we separated, we had been together 14 years and because HE blamed me, my oldest son blamed me. The boys stayed with me in the house they knew, in the schools they knew. When he finally signed the divorce decree two years later - we had joint custody on paper. However, I was the custodial parent and i had the final say in conflict. Occasionally, my oldest would lash out at me that I ruined our family. That I ruined his life. It was hard. I knew these were words he was fed from his father (his father also badgered him in to calling me names, so the pattern was already there).

    January last year, my son woke early on a Sunday, announced he wasn't going to church and proceeded as the conversation escalated to back me against a wall, his finger in my face, yelling and screaming. When he left, he went to his dad. The next day he returned and refused to apologize for part of his behavior. He said he didn't want to be there. He was 17, and would be 18 later that year. I told him that I loved him, but that I would not be disrespected in my home. That maybe it was time for him to go, and to consider that thoroughly - that if he returned it would be on my terms, not his.

    I tell you that so that I can honestly tell you this. I had to both see his father's influence and accept that he was still old enough to know better in how he spoke to me. I had to remember that it was my choice to be calm and hear him, even if he didn't have the skill set to breathe and listen to me. I had to remember that while legally and morally responsible for my children, I am going to teach them more by being responsible for my actions over theirs. We survived! He did finish high school, and his dad didn't make it easy on him (he moved, making it a 40 minute drive his senior year). He held so much resentment for me, but he has been letting it go. Over the last year or so, since about last October/November - he calls me, he visits his brother and I, and now he works less than a mile from where I work and he drops by on occasion here! I think he may see his father more realistically now. He would still defend him over me any day! But - he has grown, and he has let go of some of that animosity. We are closer than we would have been if I continued to fight to have him with me.

    I know this got really long, but I felt it was important to know where I was coming from. Now you can decide if it helps or blow it off :) I hope you and your son come to terms with all the changes. It probably is not  coincidental this happened after your recent wedding. Good luck! (Parenting is one tough gig!)
    ~~Mendi~~ ...Everyone has their price; mine's chocolate Photobucket
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_second-weddings_nwr-parenting-issue?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:35Discussion:691fcf0c-b90d-419f-8810-9c36b38d24d9Post:bcdfcf60-5a64-40e5-94c0-55426d8c6cb8">Re: NWR parenting issue</a>:
    [QUOTE]I know I'm late to the party, but wanted to chime in a few words of support. My oldest was always close to his father. my youngest tended to be ignored - more of a scapegoat where their dad was concerned. When we separated, we had been together 14 years and because HE blamed me, my oldest son blamed me. The boys stayed with me in the house they knew, in the schools they knew. When he finally signed the divorce decree two years later - we had joint custody on paper. However, I was the custodial parent and i had the final say in conflict. Occasionally, my oldest would lash out at me that I ruined our family. That I ruined his life. It was hard. I knew these were words he was fed from his father (his father also badgered him in to calling me names, so the pattern was already there). January last year, my son woke early on a Sunday, announced he wasn't going to church and proceeded as the conversation escalated to back me against a wall, his finger in my face, yelling and screaming. When he left, he went to his dad. The next day he returned and refused to apologize for part of his behavior. He said he didn't want to be there. He was 17, and would be 18 later that year. I told him that I loved him, but that I would not be disrespected in my home. That maybe it was time for him to go, and to consider that thoroughly - that if he returned it would be on my terms, not his. I tell you that so that I can honestly tell you this. I had to both see his father's influence and accept that he was still old enough to know better in how he spoke to me. I had to remember that it was my choice to be calm and hear him, even if he didn't have the skill set to breathe and listen to me. I had to remember that while legally and morally responsible for my children, I am going to teach them more by being responsible for my actions over theirs. We survived! He did finish high school, and his dad didn't make it easy on him (he moved, making it a 40 minute drive his senior year). He held so much resentment for me, but he has been letting it go. Over the last year or so, since about last October/November - he calls me, he visits his brother and I, and now he works less than a mile from where I work and he drops by on occasion here! I think he may see his father more realistically now. He would still defend him over me any day! But - he has grown, and he has let go of some of that animosity. We are closer than we would have been if I continued to fight to have him with me. I know this got really long, but I felt it was important to know where I was coming from. Now you can decide if it helps or blow it off :) I hope you and your son come to terms with all the changes. It probably is not  coincidental this happened after your recent wedding. Good luck! (Parenting is one tough gig!)
    Posted by mmmendi[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I appreciate your insight! Parenting IS a tough job. There is always one child that is "the one." Unfortuately his dad emailed me today and told me he was sending him back on the already scheduled day. Fortuately for me my husband and I are on the same page concerning my son. Since his dad is so bitter and is letting his bitterness cloud his judgement my husband has agreed to play a bigger role in his life. I hate to rush a child's childhood, but I can't wait until he is 18. 

    </div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_second-weddings_nwr-parenting-issue?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:35Discussion:691fcf0c-b90d-419f-8810-9c36b38d24d9Post:9a46317d-1670-4ccc-9b20-887ff69b9759">Re: NWR parenting issue</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR parenting issue : I appreciate your insight! Parenting IS a tough job. There is always one child that is "the one." <strong><font color="#0000ff">Unfortuately his dad emailed me today and told me he was sending him back on the already scheduled day.</font></strong> Fortuately for me my husband and I are on the same page concerning my son. Since his dad is so bitter and is letting his bitterness cloud his judgement my husband has agreed to play a bigger role in his life. I hate to rush a child's childhood, but I can't wait until he is 18. 
    Posted by 20pearls16[/QUOTE]

    Honestly, I don't think adhering to the established schedule is unfortunate.  As much as you and your son might want him out of the house (if I read your first post correctly), it is to your son's advantage to know he has a schedule and, no matter what he does (temper tantrums, disrespectful behavior, etc.), there are some steadfast rules and the visitation schedule is one of those. It's almost like back to the future -- parenting a toddler, establishing rules and boundaries, etc.

    Don't rush his childhood; this is just a blip.  Give him and yourself some slack.  Everyone has their own reactions to change.

    As for his dad's bitterness, that's likely his personality. xH and I separated in 1998, divorced in 2000. He's still bitter. Good luck!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_second-weddings_nwr-parenting-issue?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:35Discussion:691fcf0c-b90d-419f-8810-9c36b38d24d9Post:b749b951-0e58-434b-9128-3d218fe86612">Re: NWR parenting issue</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR parenting issue : <strong>Honestly, I don't think adhering to the established schedule is unfortunate.  As much as you and your son might want him out of the house (if I read your first post correctly), it is to your son's advantage to know he has a schedule and, no matter what he does (temper tantrums, disrespectful behavior, etc.), there are some steadfast rules and the visitation schedule is one of those. It's almost like back to the future -- parenting a toddler, establishing rules and boundaries, etc. Don't rush his childhood; this is just a blip.  Give him and yourself some slack.  Everyone has their own reactions to change.</strong> As for his dad's bitterness, that's likely his personality. xH and I separated in 1998, divorced in 2000. He's still bitter. Good luck!
    Posted by Lisa50[/QUOTE]

    I agree with Lisa. I don't consider it unfortunate that he will be returning on the pre-approved schedule. As Lisa said, it's a rule that he must follow whether he likes it or not.

    I think you should tread carefully here. If I read your post correctly, it was your idea that he go to his dad's house when he disrespected you and not his. I don't know what the exact situation was or anything and I'm not trying to judge you. However, I can see potential where he would interpret that type of action as "getting rid" of him when you don't like something about him. Now that you are remarried, he may be more sensitive to that. I may be in the minority and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I think you should have handled it at your house. That way, he is disciplined without feeling "shipped out."

    This is just what I think from reading a small post - only you know the whole situation. Maybe at least I offer another perspective. Good luck! :-)
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