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Relationship Problems between DH and DS - sorry long!

(45 Posts)
way2serious Sat 06-Apr-13 16:01:46

My DS is a typical 13 year old - spends most of his spare time in his room plugged into some device or another. He is bright and attends a good school where is he is doing ok despite not being particularly motivated or driven, except by my nagging! He has some lovely friends and there are no issues about his behaviour. He likes sport - plays for a football team, basketball and hockey teams and relies on us for lifts for training and matches, etc. He and I have always been really close despite me going back to work when he was only a couple of months old. We just seem to understand each other - that's not to say that he doesn't drive me completely mad at times and we don't have our fall outs. However, we usually resolve them quickly and move on.

My husband seems to find it really hard to understand DS. He constantly wants him to help with his work - property developing - but DS has absolutely no interest in this and hates it. This then escalates into a row where DH then claims he is ungrateful, takes away all electronic devices and refuses to give any lifts. DS and DH then stop communicating almost completely and the pressure then fall onto me to do all lifts, as I don't think DS should let his team members down. I have demanding full time job with very long hours whilst DH also works hard he can be more flexible.

DH can stay angry at DS for months - last time it was about 3! During this time they do not really talk and I just end up being caught in the middle.

Everything has been relatively calm for the past couple of months and the two of them have got on really well. We had a lovely few days away over the Easter weekend but since getting home, I have felt my DH beginning to get wound up about DS again and sure enough this afternoon he asked him to help him with a job, DS has refused and is now banned from everything indefinitely. DH never says for how long, just until he feels like it and that DS never learns his lesson.

May be I am too soft but all I see DH is doing is forcing DS away from him. He will then complain at other times that DS never talks to him. I agree that for specific misdemeanours there should be consequences for a set time but this complete ban for however long doesn't seem to be helpful. He really is a good lad and I don't know what DH is going to do if/when DS gets into trouble for doing something serious.
After 3 months of them not talking to each other last time, I had a real moan to DH about who the 'grown up' was.

DH is so stubborn and will not back down or see that he may have over reacted. Even if DS now apologises all he will get is a lecture and nothing will change. So now I feel depressed at being caught in the middle of it all again for the next however many months, while DS mopes around with nothing to do and me trying to keep the peace. We were supposed to be booking a summer holiday this weekend but it's now the last thing I want to do - the thought of being somewhere with neither of them talking to each other and expecting me to keep the peace just is not my idea of a holiday.

I guess I am also worried that DH's attitude will force DS away from both of us longer term.

Am not sure what I am asking for but just needed to get it out of my system!

Thanks if you have read all of this!

Toasttoppers Sat 06-Apr-13 18:43:47

It does sound as if your DS does quite a bit of helping round the house already. I missed the bit about your DH not speaking to him for 3 months, he needs to speak to him, this will have just made it worse, he is being the sulky teen in this not the actual teen.

So he has no one to hang about with, at that age you only want to hang about with mates. I avoided my parents and was off down the beach from 9 onwards.

You all need a proper talk and also get him seeing his friends, they only need the most minimal supervision, I get more done when DS has a mate round.

alistron1 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:47:41

I've got a 13 year old son. He's not an angel and pushes my buttons - but to ignore him for 3 months would just be wrong. Teenagers are tricky and s adults we have to be the bigger people. Sounds like you're parenting 2 teenagers here.

Nanny0gg Sat 06-Apr-13 18:52:31

Try ignoring your H for a day and see how he likes it. If there's anything precious you can hide too, it might make your point...

Angelico Sat 06-Apr-13 19:03:04

I'm usually pretty tough about teens but have to say your DS sounds like a good lad tbh! He does plenty round the house, doesn't seem to ask for much.

Your DH probably feels like he is working hard for the family and that DS should contribute more but his never-ending punishments and blanking DS are out of order. To me helping in a family business is above and beyond normal expectations of a teen and needs to be concretely rewarded. Is there a way of cajoling DS? Or tell him that from Sep lifts etc will be tied to him helping a half day a month or similar? If someone just told me to go and do something in my down time I'd be pissed off too.

The real problem here is that your DH is not being mature about this. He needs to use more carrot and less stick.

Machli Sat 06-Apr-13 19:14:55

I think it is absolutely ridiculous to try and get your ds helping with his Dads job and quite honestly if your sulky chops dh is ignoring his own son for three months at a time I am not a bit surprised ds doesn't want to spend any time with him. My ex's Dad thought that helping Dad out with DIY was part of the Father/Son Deal. The result was a son who was terrified of his impatient father and to this day hates those kinds of jobs because he was forced into them when growing up. Ds has plenty of time to do jobs and work like that in his future.

I think your DH is currently damaging his relationship with his son in a way that it will be difficult to recover from.

My parents used to ignore me for months at a time too, just for behaving like a typical teenager. I have literally zero respect for them now and often dislike them intensely. That's the future if DH doesn't sort himself out.

thepixiefrog Sat 06-Apr-13 19:40:19

I agree with Machli

A lot of posters are concentrating on the fact that your Ds doesn't want to help, but what is screaming out at me is the passive aggressive bullying your dh throws at your Ds.

If a poster said she was ignored for 3 months by her dh there would be a tidal wave of posts telling the op to ltb and calling him ea.

I'm really surprised by how few posters have mentioned it in this thread, and I'm wondering why the target of this ea (and it is) being a child and not a spouse would affect opinions.

Being ignored by a parent is incredibly damaging and not to be tolerated, OP.

way2serious Sat 06-Apr-13 19:50:08

Thanks again for everyone's comments.

Angelico - your comments were very fair and I think that your suggestion about a specific agreement would be good, perhaps linked to lifts and some pocket money. We could come up with something for the the summer holidays and something different for school time.

DS does have some contact with friends during holidays. He was at a sleepover on Thursday/Friday and had a friend over last Saturday. Its just harder to manage very weekend and just about impossible during school weeks. His friends are all lovely and they are never a moment's bother when they are here - as long as they get frequent food!! DS however, won't now have anyone to us because he has lost use of his Playstation. I will have to try and come up with something I can take him to do with a friend that won't cost me a fortune - any suggestions???

Machli - Thanks for sharing your personal stories - those are exactly the situations that I am worried about happening.

lemonstartree Sat 06-Apr-13 19:51:33

You have my sympathy.

my situation is slightly different, but ahs echo's of yours. I live with my DP and my 3 sons who are now 14,11 and 8. DP has two children who are now grown up; he separated from their mother when they were 7 & 4. He saw them very often but did not live with them FT through teenager strife.

My DS1 has Aspergers, he has also had issues with theft, been expelled from school and a bad attitude round the huse. He has DP have been, at times like big lion. little cub and the testosterone has been hard to handle. For me anyway. DP started with the indefinite 'screen' bans; but I think he now understands that he need to be clear and specific about punishments. ie if you do not empty the dishwasher you will not be allowed on the computer for 2 days.

At times DP has 'ignored' DS1 which led toa terrible atmosphere inthe house. I thin - through discussion he has understood that, as the adult, he needs to be the adult.

In conjunction with that I do think that adolescent boys need a firm hand. They need to understand that they are NOT 'men' but youths. They need strong role models and a clear framework of expected behaviour. I don't think 'strictness' is bad for teenage boys. In fact I kind of think its essential

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 06-Apr-13 19:52:56

IThePixie me too. It seems people didn't notice...but the OP has said that she sees it's not on now.

OP...I just couldn't be with my DH if he did this to my children. It's incredibly damaging. I suggest family counselling.

Xales Sat 06-Apr-13 19:53:48

This If a poster said she was ignored for 3 months by her dh there would be a tidal wave of posts telling the op to ltb and calling him ea.

There was actually one very recently. The damage it was doing was unbelievable.

Nanny0gg Sat 06-Apr-13 19:57:14

I honestly don't think he should work for his dad for lifts. It's not his fault you live where you do. And he already contributes to the home with chores. Work for his dad for pocket money, yes.
What are you going to say to your H regarding this EA of his son? Because much as I believe in showing a united front regarding discipline, I'd be giving him his computer stuff straight back if it were me.

colditz Sat 06-Apr-13 21:34:10

It's not your sons fault that he lives where he does, he NEEDS to be transported because of the housing choices you made. He is thirteen and besides doing chores, he should not be working for his keep.

If you husband doesn't stop acting like a spoilt brat, you are going to have a sixteen year old kid running off to join the army just to get away.

Currently, his life is really shitty. His father is a bully who wants him to skivvy around doing his donkey work, and emotionally abuses him by stonewalling if daddy doesn't get his own way, and his mother is too much of a sap to put a stop to it, instead suggesting that the child appease the adult by "just give him what he wants and he will be happy".

I mean, really? That's an appropriate lesson to teach anyone? That if someone behaves in a shitty manner towards you, using your lower status to make you do something you shouldn't have to do in order to earn things you should have anyway, you should give them what they want because they are 'bigger'.

I feel really sorry for this kid. His dad is only a dad when he's getting his own way, and nobody will point out that this is a reasonable way to behave.

Machli Sat 06-Apr-13 22:52:59

colditz that is exactly what ex did. Joined the army in his teens to get away from home sad.

Isetan Sun 07-Apr-13 02:39:28

You need to talk to your H and tell him that you can not back him when his behaviour is so disproportionate and abusive. Your son is being bullied in his own home and you have chosen to placate the bully. Your husband is damaging his relationship with his son and by backing and enforcing his disproportion behaviour and therefore colluding (in the eyes of your son), you risk damaging your own relationship with your son.

You have found yourself in the middle of an unhealthy family dynamic and as the reasonable adult in this you are going to have to take a lead role in improving it. You're going to have to stand up to your H and agree on what constitutes bad behaviour in your son and the appropriate punishment which will follow. However, not talking to his son for long periods is damaging to not only his son but to you too and is unacceptable.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 07-Apr-13 03:46:55

I am appalled by this. Why the fuck should your son be an unpaid labourer for his dad? He is 13 and already does chores around the house, he isn't some skivvy that has to pay you for bed and board by working for nothing, he is your son.

I despise adults who sulk and give the silent treatment, particularly when their target is their children, it is emotional abuse and it's about time you stopped being complicit in it and showed your son some support. Otherwise you may well not be as close as you are now once he becomes an adult.

ruthyroo Sun 07-Apr-13 07:06:23

Op you are not being soft on your son, you sound like a great mum. But you are being horribly soft on your H and are letting bully your boy horribly. Does your OH have any interest in possibly learning from you how to have a better relationship with his son, learning from you possibly?

Dh and I have pretty different attitudes towards discipline and behavior. He tends to jump to punish, especially when he's tired after a days work. I can't always support his actions wholeheartedly but I can certainly sit down and have a heart to heart. - often difficult - about where we can find common ground, and what the 'rules' need to be. If your oh won't do this then I fail to see what you can do to improve their relationship because its not actually your job. Personally I would not back my OH up if he was acting like this.

Btw I grew up living on a farm with no way to get to the outside world until I learnt to drive at 17. And neither of my parents ever refused to drive me anywhere no matter how much of a sulky teen I was acting as - and i was pretty horrible at times. I think I would have genuinely hated them for that, exerting that kind of power over me when I could do nothing about it. Your oh is doing damage to his relationship with his son.

chemicalsister Sun 07-Apr-13 12:21:26

on a parenting course I went on they really recommended a family meeting.
you coukd sit down and openly list each persons point of view of what works in the family and what doesn't . then try and all come up of ways to address what everyonr needs to be happy. all try together to think of realistic new ways of organising as a family. Try and see this as a common goal all three of you have as none of you want conflict.

The meeting would not be a demoracy, you are still the parents and him the child but everyone's views are important.

At the end try and draw up some positive new ways to run things. Discussing all this when everyone is calm bearing in mind all of you would prefer a harmonious family to constant battle may just work.
Hope this idea might help.

Josie1974 Sun 07-Apr-13 12:30:10

Agree 3 months of silence is abuse. you not standing up for your son and making it clear to both that this is wholly unacceptable and abusive is in itself abusive IMO.

Why would yr ds want to do chores for someone who treats him this way? Why the hell should he? Feel v angry on his behalf.

Josie1974 Sun 07-Apr-13 12:33:16

Btw by trying to get him to appease his dad by just doing what he wants to avoid the over the top punishment and silent treatment is teaching him that he is causing his dad to abuse him IMO.

AnyFucker Sun 07-Apr-13 13:22:49

This is an upsetting thread. You are colluding with your husband's appallingly childish, recriminatory and chilling treatment of your son.

As your ds grows up, he will dislike his father but don't expect him to give you any special understanding. He won't, and I don't blame him.

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