Birthday card?

(10 Posts)
flippychick Wed 16-Nov-16 17:25:07

So it was my partner's birthday on Sunday, and it happened to fall on a weekend where we had my 17 year old SS.

SS hasn't bought / given / made my partner a Birthday / Christmas / Father's Day card since we've lived together, but used to give a card & present before. I suspect his Mum used to buy the card / present and stopped either because we moved in together or because she deemed he was old enough to manage to purchase and write a card himself.

I’ve always been bothered about the lack of recognition (I’m really close to my own father and used to save up my pocket money to buy him a small birthday present every year), so this year I purchased a ‘Happy Birthday Dad’ card and left it in his bedroom, on his desk, with a pen.

The weekend went as normal, he was given pocket money on Saturday morning, and then went to town shopping with my partner, they went out for lunch and then he was bought a couple of games for his xbox. Sunday morning came and went, and he emerged from his pit mid-afternoon, helped himself to some birthday cake, ignored the cards, didn’t say a word to my partner and returned to his bedroom.

After he’d left to go back to his Mums I popped in to his bedroom to check on the card, and it had been moved, but not opened / written. I've been thinking about it for days, and I keep getting more upset. My partner just says "that's who he is", but I can think it's just terribly rude – I would be gutted if it were me.

So I was wondering – is this normal for teenage boys, and am I just overreacting?

The1975 Thu 17-Nov-16 23:14:12

He's old enough to know better & have a part time job. But if his Dad has never made an issue over not being bought cards etc and he isn't bothered, then that's a tough call.

I guess if he ends up with a Saturday job you'd see less off him, which might not be in everyone's best interests.

Is he a long way from friends when he's at yours & perhaps feeling isolated/resentful about visiting?

I would probably be hurt by the lack of effort as well, not to mention more generally, what seems like a lack of manners.

Perhaps at Christmas you could try and engage him by offering to take him Christmas shopping and helping out with some extra money so he can get something for his Mum and Dad?

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 17-Nov-16 23:18:48

I used to my all my DSCs birthday cards for their Dad, and father's day, until they were 18 and then I stopped. Only one out of three now remembers. I just leave them to it.

Part of the problem is Dads who say 'it's no big deal'. I do think it is a big deal. Birthdays and occasions are symbols of how we think and care for somebody. It is a very obvious outward sign, and being very blasé about it breeds indifference in general.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 17-Nov-16 23:19:10

Buy, not my!

OnceMoreIntoTheBleach Fri 18-Nov-16 07:48:38

I agree with PP but my question is why didn't you speak to him, why did you just leave it in his room with a pen? Is that a bit PA on your part?

00100001 Fri 18-Nov-16 07:56:31

Why would you even get involved? What dies Dad think?

flippychick Fri 18-Nov-16 08:27:23

Thanks for the replies.

SS doesn’t have many friends in real-life, and most of his interactions with other people are online (although he occasionally meets up with his online friends). He has a good relationship with his Dad, and from what my DP has said he actually prefers being at ours than his Mum’s. Reading between the lines I believe this to be true, but he’d be happier if I wasn’t here. So from this angle don’t think he’s resentful about coming, but maybe resentful that I am ‘intruding’ on the time with his Dad by being in the house.

I didn’t give the card in person because he will not speak to me unless my partner is in the room. If I walk in to a room he will walk out, if I say “hello, how was town?” he will walk away. If I ask how school was this week he will look straight through me. If I cook a meal he will eat it, but not acknowledge it by saying thank you, and rather than sit at the table with us he will take his food to his room. If I buy him something small while I am out he will say “I don’t want it”, but then take it when I am out of sight. When I buy presents for a birthday / Christmas he doesn’t acknowledge them, but will use them.

Partner is aware, but again doesn’t think this is a big issue (says his son is just shy). My partner and I moved in together 4-5 years ago (together for 5 before that and his parents separated a while before that), and it has always been this way. I keep persevering, but it can be soul destroying to be constantly ignored. I’ve tried all sorts over the years to try and build a relationship with SS, but I realise I could probably do more – he is just a child after all - but I’m at a loss to know what that is.

Given the circumstances I don’t think offering to take him shopping would go down well, but I might try and corner him (wrong phrase, but it’s very difficult to get him alone) and offer him some money to shop for Christmas presents for both his parents.

The1975 Fri 18-Nov-16 09:25:34

OMG. I honestly can't believe that your DP has not intervened in this situation. It is not on for your DSS to behave this way towards you & it's incredibly rude and disrespectful. You don't have to be his best friend but he could at least be polite and interact with you. I don't know how you've put up with it. Sorry, ranted a bit there.

For me, I'd have a serious talk with DP and say enough is enough. The card is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, this is about him coming home and behaving like a member of the family and not a surly lodger.

Does your DP spend time with DS alone and are you able to give them both space to do things without you?

If DP won't communicate this to his DS, I wonder if you can sit down and talk to him yourself. He's old enough to know what he's doing. Keep it very brief and calm - ask him why he ignores you, is there a reason behind it? Don't be emotional about it, but let him know you're unhappy with this, you'd like to get on better with him and ask him for his opinion.

I don't think giving him money is the answer in this situation. But trying to build bridges slowly might help both of you.

flippychick Fri 18-Nov-16 12:27:17

Partner is very much of the opinion that he doesn’t speak because he’s shy, and states he was similar at that age and that he isn’t being rude. I kid myself that this is the case, but have a suspicion he just hates me.

Also think my DP is trying to avoid conflict because he is aware that his son will be an adult soon and is trying to extend the parent / child relationship for as long as possible.

SS visits EOW, during those weekends my partner spends Friday night with him (I’m usually working late) they usually go out together all day Saturday until dinner time and then we’ll probably sit and watch TV or a film, SS has been known to occasionally hover at the door (yes we invite him to sit with us, but this normally scares him off), he will usually just disappear upstairs. He’s a teenage boy so we don’t really see him on Sunday mornings and then they’ll spend Sunday afternoon & evening doing something, usually around the house.

I understand the importance of them spending time together, so I try to give them space, but equally do not want him to think I’m avoiding him, so it’s hard finding the balance. I usually do not go out with them, but if they are in the house together I will involve myself in their conversation occasionally, and if I’m making a drink will always offer, and ask about his day / week etc, but as before if it’s just us I do not get a response, and if DP is in the room it’s one word answers.

It’s not our weekend this weekend, but I think I’ll start afresh next weekend. I’ve tried many times before (this has been going on for many years, and I think I’ve got to the point of just accepting it until something like a birthday comes up), but I think the suggestion that I try and sit down with him and address it head on (while avoiding conflict) is a good one. Hopefully DP will support…

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 18-Nov-16 21:27:05

Oh my the atmosphere must be so tense in your house! Looking straight through you is not just being shy.

This is bigger than a birthday card. Something has to break through this. Could you be the bigger person, start from day one, put your resentment to one side and sit them both down. Apologise for anything that may have upset the boy in the past. Ask him how he feels. Then agree a pact where you stay out of 90% of his life, but that he starts being pleasant and say thank you for meals. Just a start. ?

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