To have literally lost the plot with Exh(7 Posts)
Brief background : Exh & I split about 18 months ago. Youngest DS (15) chose to live with his Dad as he didn't want him to be on his own. I have always suspected it is because he is basically given no boundaries, rules etc. Ex & my split has been very nasty culminating in the Police being called due to my eldest fears for my safety.
Last Friday there was an assault on a local shopkeeper by a 16 yo boy (all on CCTV) - there was a group of 5 boys. Although my DS wasn't involved in the assault he was there with the group & in my eyes by standing by & not doing anything is just as bad. Ex & I obviously pulled together & are absolutely horrified. We took DS back to the shop & he apologised etc. He had his phone confiscated & told he was grounded indefinitely.
Last night (Tuesday) Ex phoned to say DS had just been dropped off by the Police as he had been caught shoplifting.
I lost it completely. Ex says its not his fault that DS made his own decision to shoplift. Yes he did but Ex completely refuses to see that he gave him permission to go out with his mates therefore enabling him to make those choices. He can't see what message he is sending to DS - be party to an assault on Friday, roam the streets on Tuesday.
More of a rant really as I am still shaking with rage at both of them & the fact that he is accusing me of unreasonable behaviour because I screamed at both of them.
If you had been in the position of your ex DH, how would you have handled it? I don't think it's that easy to keep a 15 year old in the house - was it Easter holidays?
I would have handled it by enforcing the grounding. Making him do his homework. Friday was still the Easter holidays but they were at school yesterday. This was about 6pm last night when he should have been home straight after school. Ex was home cooking dinner.
An indefinite grounding is ridiculous. Any kind of target or punishment needs to have a clear timescale.
Your son was in the wrong but not as wrong as the assaulter.
I think you're feeling frustrated and worried and taking it out on the ex. Perhaps you're worried that the divorce has led to your youngest playing up. Perhaps it has.
I think you were a little unreasonable, in that your ex is as horrified and worried about the situations your son is getting into, as you are. 15 year olds - be they boys, or girls - don't think longterm, I'm afraid. They make stupid decisions/choices and often feel that the consequences are unfair... so won't/don't abide by them.
You say that your son was in school yesterday, and should have gone straight home to your ex. Who was obviously expecting your son to do precisely that, as he was there "cooking dinner". Which sounds as though your son was the one who took it upon himself to decide not to abide by the consequences (grounding) of the choice he made (to stand by and not even try to stop the assault - I really hope the shopkeeper is okay, and has no long lasting damage, physical or mental, from the assault, by the way).
Your son chose not to go straight home, presumably without informing his father of this decision, as he was "cooking dinner".
Your son made the decision to take things which didn't belong to him. He chose to steal. He made the choice to shoplift. Again, presumably his father knew nothing of this until it was too late. Was your son caught, by the way? How did you and your ex discover that he had made another horrific decision for himself that goes against social morality? Is/will he be facing a charge for his choice?
It might be that he's "acting out" because of your divorce. It might be that you're right and he's cottoned onto the fact that his father is a softer touch than you are, regarding boundaries, rules and responsibilities. It is, however, more likely that he's simply fallen in with "a bad crowd" - that his friends are, like him, incapable of thinking longterm and desperate for the brief thrill/adrenaline rush that behaving like this gives them. Behaving like this might make them feel powerful. Perhaps, like your son, they come from broken homes (and I'm not judging you, OP, because my son also comes from a broken home... and I have the teen years, for him, yet to come).
My 20 year old used to hang out with a crowd of girls when she was your son's age... until they were caught shoplifting, on a day when she wasn't with them. She stopped hanging out with them, immediately - which was her choice, because I explained the consequences of such behaviour in and around society, longterm. How would your son feel if he was unable to find work, because of a stupid choice he made as a teenager? It happens. In this climate, employers can afford to be picky about who they hire - and a prior conviction for theft? Well. I'd not employ him...
I think that, rather than screaming (and, again, I understand why you did that, completely, because I would have wanted to do the same) at your son, you need to talk to him. Find out why he is behaving like this, determine if it's because he wants to fit in with his friends, try to explain to him what he is facing in his future if he doesn't start to make better choices and... I think this is going to be the tough bit... start co-parenting properly with your ex. Because in this situation, your son needs you both to be his parents, I'm afraid, rather than individuals who are looking to score points against one another.
Good luck, OP. I have a feeling you're going to need it.
You screaming at them and shaking with rage, points to you feeling rather (understandably) helpless.
However, since your 15yr old was party to an assault on Friday and merrily shoplifting 4 days later, it's quite probable that your ex feels pretty helpless too.
Your son has time to turn this around and get back on the straight and narrow, but he stands far more chance of doing that if you and his dad are not at each others throats.
What Worra said. What difference will it make if we say you were right or wrong to yell at your ex. Will it help your son if you are morally in the right? You are the adults. Stop arguing about what has happened and work together to educate your son. This is gonna be incredibly difficult, so you need to focus on that. Not get involved with some petty argument.
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