DS wont visit his dad if stepbrother is there

(38 Posts)
historygeek17 Sat 26-Nov-16 23:41:35

Exh and I divorced 5 years ago. Ds lives with me and visits his dad EOW. Exh has a partner who has two children and for the last 2 years we have been dealing with the issue of my ds getting bullied by his step-brother. I only found out about this after it had been going on for several months as my ds didn’t tell anyone for a long time. As soon as I found out then I spoke to his dad, who confirmed that he knew it had been happening but hadn’t done anything about it. This bullying involved physical attacks like pushing and kicking my son and kicking him between the legs. I was adamant that this needed resolved immediately and his dad agreed that it would be. The situation then got better for a while but then seemed to go back to the way it was before.

I have now raised this countless times and each time it is better for a bit then just reverts back. A few months ago exh moved in with his partner and her kids and the bullying escalated to the point that my ds refused to go and visit his dad if this child was there. I supported him in this and suggested that contact could take place away from his dad’s house (there were several other options available) but exh refused. He acknowledges that bullying but says its all in the past and says the kids just have to learn to get on. There is no real acknowledgement of the seriousness of the bullying and the impact that it had on my son, who was regularly in tears and even got upset at school about it.

There was a period of no-contact for several weeks as exh refused the idea of seeing ds anywhere other than his house but for the last few visits his partner’s child has been away for various reasons so ds has gone back to visiting his dad’s house. Now ds has learned that this child will be back during the next visit and is refusing to go. He is adamant that he wants to see his dad but will not be around this child. I have agreed to support ds in this decision and have taken legal advice, which basically said that as ds is 10 and given the situation, he is able to decide not to visit his dad’s house. Exh is refusing to accept this and saying that ds must go. He’s very angry that ds says he won’t go and is directing much of this anger at me (and some at ds), saying that this is ‘all my doing’. I have given him so many opportunities to deal with this issue and he has refused and stuck his head in the sand so I now feel that I have to step in and stand up for ds.

I want my ds to have a relationship with his dad and I understand how important that is to his overall happiness and confidence. The more people in his life that love and support him the better. But I can’t support putting him into a situation where he has been hurt before and is desperate to avoid now. In the period when he hasn’t had to be around this boy, he’s gone from crying at night and repeatedly talking about this situation, to no tears at all and just much happier in himself. I feel fairly sure that I’m making the right decision in supporting ds with this but would welcome thoughts from others as I know the implications for ds’ relationship with his dad are potentially huge. So AIBU in supporting ds in this way or would you act differently in my shoes? Any opinions would be gratefully accepted at this point as I’m at the end of my tether with deciding the right thing to do here and just want what’s best for ds.

BlackeyedSusan Sat 26-Nov-16 23:44:50

dad is failing to protect son from bullying...

fuck that. support ds.

Potnoodlewilld0 Sat 26-Nov-16 23:47:04

YANBU and I'd do exactly the same. Your poor ds I bet he was having a really tough time.

I would let your ds take the lead now and protect him as his own father isn't. The only person that is risking spoiling the relationship is your ex - be it on his own head. Idiot!

Jenny70 Sat 26-Nov-16 23:52:45

I would act the same as you.

Not sure what will make ex realise how unhappy this is making his DS.

Would he listen to the logic of this was some other kid, say at school, behaving this way to his son - would it be acceptable then? Would he have to go to school and just learn to take it, or would DH expect the school to protect him?

Surely, his home (albeit a second home) should be at least as safe as school - most would want it to be a place of top-most safety.

At 10, with the teen years ahead, and hearing so much about teen anxiety, suicide and mental health issues, there is no way I'd be forcing DS to go to a place he doesn't feel like anyone has his back.

WatchingFromTheWings Sat 26-Nov-16 23:53:29

I wouldn't let my DS go. If your ex won't protect him, you have no other choice.

pringlecat Sat 26-Nov-16 23:57:33

You haven't used this incident to refuse contact with his dad; you've refused it at the house when this boy is around. YANBU.

TaliZorahVasNormandy Sat 26-Nov-16 23:59:19

Your ex can piss off, to be frank. No child should have to put up with bullying. If your ex cant see what your son is going through, then he's a failure as a parent.

Stick to your guns. Your DS has made a sensible choice, now its your exes turn.

historygeek17 Sun 27-Nov-16 00:12:20

Thanks for the responses and the reassurance that I'm doing the right thing.

Jenny70 - I've tried asking him to think about if it was happening at school but he's really non-committal as he doesn't want to admit that he would want anything done. And the truth is, I don't really know if he would bother doing anything about school bullying as long as it wasn't affecting him personally. He only sees things in terms of how they affect him.

Pringlecat - that's exactly what the lawyer said, but exh says I'm just using it as a way to try and control his relationship. He doesn't get that I have no interest at all I his relationship and just want ds to be okay.

I just really hope that when ds looks back on this situation when he's older then he knows that he had someone there for him on his side all the time, even if the end result is a poorer relationship with his dad.

EweAreHere Sun 27-Nov-16 00:20:44

Your poor son. His father is clearly choosing an easy life at home with his new partner and her children rather than protecting his own child from bullying.

You are doing the right thing. If he want stop the bullying going on inside his own home, then he can make arrangements to see his child elsewhere if the bully is there. If he refuses to do this, that's on him. And he can explain it to his son someday, why he refused to stand up for him

He is destroying his relationship with his child. What an a*se.

InTheKitchenAtParties Sun 27-Nov-16 00:22:04

YADNBU. Children are vulnerable. A good parent protects them from harm. If XH wants to have a relationship with his son he would do that.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 27-Nov-16 00:30:51

"I know the implications for ds’ relationship with his dad are potentially huge"
And so are the implications for your sons relationship with his dad if you did insist on him going to this house where he is bullied. Logically, that would destroy the relationship; as your son would be being bullied, seeing his dad doing nothing about it, and growing increasingly resentful and bitter against his dad (and you, for making him go). By backing your son up and acknowledging his right to not go to this dangerous environment, you are actually safeguarding the possibility of a father-son relationship.

Can't think why he's an ex ....

Oh, and YANBU. I would do exactly as you are doing.

BottleBeach Sun 27-Nov-16 00:34:12

Is there a court order in place at the moment?

historygeek17 Sun 27-Nov-16 00:45:25

There's no court order, just an agreement as part of the divorce papers that ds lives with me and I will facilitate contact with his dad. He threatened to take me to court a few months ago over this issue and I told him that was fine and gave him my lawyer's contact details so he could get in touch with them. As expected, there's been no more mention of court from him as there's no way he'd be willing to pay the costs involved.

WhereYouLeftIt - yes, this kind of behaviour is one of many reasons that he is an ex!

jayisforjessica Sun 27-Nov-16 00:56:21

But you are facilitating contact, aren't you? You've never once said DS can't see his dad, nor that his dad can't see DS - just that it needs to not happen at dad's house. If dad really wanted the contact, if he had any love and concern at all for his child, he would agree to see his son any way he could. (Ideally, he would have put a stop to the bullying, but if he was an ideal kind of person, he wouldn't be an ex.)

Keep it up, OP. Show your son his mother is on his side. You're doing the right thing.

Butterymuffin Sun 27-Nov-16 01:02:25

Not only are you morally in the right to protect your son from further bullying, but you have legal advice giving you the go ahead. Done and dusted for me. Don't listen to more whinging from the ex, tell him you've stated your position and unless he is ready to make any changes you won't be discussing it further and he can take it up with your solicitor. Shitbag.

Comedyusername Sun 27-Nov-16 01:02:49

I wonder what the mother of the bully thinks about all of this? I would hope that a) she sorted her child out and b) helped her partner see that you are trying to protect his son, but I suspect this isn't the case.

From what you have said, you are doing everything right so do not doubt yourself. You are protecting your child and that's what good parents do

Graphista Sun 27-Nov-16 01:09:38

Let's call it what it is - abuse, physical And mental abuse.

Not just by the step brother (who is how old by the way? Certainly seems older than 10 so should know better) but by his fathers inaction/lack of support too.

Like hell would I put a child of line in that situation.

If your ex gave a shit about his son he'd

Deal with the stepson or at least ensure the mother does!

Protect your son.

At the very least see your son away from the stepbrother.

FeralBeryl Sun 27-Nov-16 01:15:58

Please continue to protect your son. You have done wonderfully so far - the implications for your son's relationship with his father absolutely pale into insignificance compared to his physical and emotional safety.
He needs to know you support him no matter what. Definitely get some further legal advice.
Your ex is a complete prick angry

kerryob Sun 27-Nov-16 01:32:26

Yanbu your ex is a bastard to not consider your sons feelings. Keep protecting him

SENPARENT Sun 27-Nov-16 01:40:06

You are absolutely doing the right thing in supporting your son over this. You are doing what his father is failing to do - safeguarding him from physical and emotional abuse.What's more you have legal backing.

Your Ex is a spineless twat and your son deserves better than this.

goddessofsmallthings Sun 27-Nov-16 01:45:00

It goes without saying that YANBU and should continue to safeguard your ds from his bullying stepbrother and indifferent father.

Have you thought about martial arts classes for your ds? Imo all dc should be taught how to physically defend themselves at an early age and martial arts classes can be a great confidence booster.

Plsadvise Sun 27-Nov-16 02:21:19

I think you are doing absolutely the right thing.

One way which you might consider to take the heat out of the situation, is to try and go one weekend at a time. So, before his next weekend could you and DS text his dad something like

"are you free on Sat dad? Do you fancy going to xxxx with me?" or "could we go christmas shopping on Sat dad? Just on our own maybe? I want to get a present for mum and stepmum?"

That way you/he are clearly suggesting contact (written down just incase he does go court-route) and it sounds a bit more positive than saying he will only see his dad outside the house. And might help improve their relationship a bit if he feels that DS really wants to see him.

Would that work?

kali110 Sun 27-Nov-16 02:23:44

I could understand it if it was silly stuff like name calling, your xdh saying that they need to get on as they do, but your ds is being phyically hurt when he is there.
No wonder your poor son is in tears, a person older than him would be!
Yes a relationship with his dad is important, but what kind of relationship would it be if he is forced to be around someone who is inflicting pain on him? He is only going to think of his dad as making him being around the lad hurting him and his dad not stopping it.
What kind of relationship is that?
Certainly not a good one.
You're not the one stopping contact.
Your xdh is by
a not stopping the bullying and
b not seeing his son away from this other child.
What exactly is his gf doing??
Why is she also not stopping her child from beating yours?
I think in this case it is both their responsibility to keep your son from being hurt by his stepbrother.
Write down every single time your son has been hurt, dates and injuries, what your xdh has said, what steps were supposed to have been put in place incase you have to go to court.
I would not let your ds go back there.
Bullying sticks with you.
Your poor ds flowers

Atenco Sun 27-Nov-16 05:11:47

You sound like a lovely mother, OP. Of course your son should not have to deal with a bully in his home.

StrangeLookingParasite Sun 27-Nov-16 08:23:16

I just really hope that when ds looks back on this situation when he's older then he knows that he had someone there for him on his side all the time, even if the end result is a poorer relationship with his dad.

I think this is really key. I was pretty badl bullied and the worst part was knowing that no-one was on my side. My mother's attitude was that I had to sort it out myself. I've never forgotten.

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