WIBU to not allow them to bring DS home?(25 Posts)
DS is 7 and goes to exs every other weekend, Friday-Sunday.
We've had multiple issues over the years with ex not being a father, or doing what a parent does (maintenance, asking after his child, parenting, disicpline, attending any school events or even seeing DS when he went over).
Ex still lives with his mum and DS has a great relationship with his DGM. She phones him every Saturday and DS has said multiple times that he only goes over to see his gran. In contrast ex phones DS so sporadically, despite telling everyone else otherwise, (first day of August and then 2nd of October, for example) and shows such little interest that DS refuses to go over if it will just be himself and ex. Ex doesn't bother. Ex-MIL (never married but easier) tries to tell people, including me, that ex is very hands on but if you listen to DS it is always just him and his DGM.
The past week or two DS has been going through a phase. He has always been strong willed and stubborn but this has recently manifested itself in quite unpleasant behaviour (arguing, refusing to do as told, having an "I don't care attitude"). DS is also the size and weight of a 12.5 year old, so very robust (you can't just carry him if he refuses to go anywhere).
This weekend DS refused to get ready for ex and they both started arguing (who argues with a child!?) And it resulted in DS getting so wound up he hit ex in the face. Instead of discipling him ex decided he wanted to bring DS home as it "wasn't a nice weekend now". I refused and told ex to be a bloody parent. I've put up with this nonsense for weeks, albeit DS would never hit me, and never once thought "ah well lets give him to ex I only want the good bits". Ex-MIL tried to get me to change my mind as it was upsetting ex as he doesn't seem him often and ex didn't want a horrible weekend. My belief is that you are a parent and so you accept it, warts and all. You do not just get to do the Disney parenting, all the nice bits, because it's easier.
Obviously when DS came home I also punished him as we do not hit (no tv, no tablet, grounded, in his room and only allowed to practice piano). But wibu to refuse to ex when he wanted to bring him home, on the basis that parenting isn't always a bed of roses and you need to deal with it?
P.s. not condoning the hitting at all. DS has never hit myself, OH or my parents so I'm really not sure where it came from (he'd have to be seriously wound up), but DS was still punished.
You are absolutely correct in that your ex is also a parent and should parent, including discipline.
However, as much as I have little time for Disney dads, I can appreciate there might be difficulties in doling out effective punishments when you are not the resident parent.
My main thought was maybe you WBU not to let your dc come home. He's obviously unhappy there to the point he lost control. What kind of parent argues back with their 7 year old then wants to get rid of them? I would have taken dc back because I would be worried how alone/afraid/unfairly treated he had been. For me this would not have been about the ex.
Not unreasonable, as you say being a parent means doing all of it. Tell him (or ex-mil as she seems to have the most to lose) if he can't step up then he doesn't get him to stay at all? Can't have parenting like this, it's unfair on your son not too know where he stands and unfair on you as his behaviour is probably the worse for it when he returns to you!
I tbibj5 you did the right thing. Your Ex needs to step up.
Does the bairn actually want to go? If he’s to the point of lashing out there’s no way I would want mine over there at all.
Poor kid sounds as if he doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.
I would have prioritised my son's welfare over teaching my ex a lesson and let him come home. He was clearly unhappy and once it got to the point where he was no longer wanted there I wouldn't have forced him to endure a weekend in that atmosphere.
DS doesn't want to see ex but does want to see his DGM and as they live together it gets tricky.
I understand that effective discipline can be hars for the NRP but ex literally never disciplines DS. If DS refused to wear his coat to go to the park they'd then stay in and play or he'd bake with his DGM and when DS decided he wanted to wesr it they'd then go to the park. Whereas I wouldn't take him after being cheeky.
Ex is definitely the issue but, realistically, there's not much I can do about it. Ex already sees DS a pittance and, until he's older, courts won't take his views into much consideration. Plus ex likes making a show of pretending he wants DS there and becomes quite aggressive and verbally abusive.
I think you need to speak to ex, and perhaps also ex-MIL, about the fact that it's actually quite damaging for a child to be sent away because of hbad behaviour as ex "wanted a nice weekend"- what does that say to your DS? That granny and dad only love me if it's fun/nice? DC need to learn bad behaviour will not be tolerated (so they are disciplined for misbehaviour) but that they are loved, even when their behaviour is less than perfect.
If ex and ex-MIL cannot do that, I think visits are going to have to be curtailed to shorter, daytime only ones- and possibly even supervised visits if any further episodes such as this- until/if they can behave like responsible adults and a loving father/granny. Non-resident parents can still have effective discipline, it's about setting boundaries and sticking to them (and working with the resident parent too).
Agree with PP, you may get further with ex-MIL as it sounds like she has more to lose, given that she seems to value time with her grandson. Though given the pandering she seems to do with her own son- and the way she's so desperate to convince others (and ? herself) he's an involved father when the opposite is true- I wonder how good an influence she is.
Ex isn't bothered about seeing DS but his DGM still wanted him there, took him on a play date to his cousins, took him out to a park etc.
Which is another issue. He has no consequence of his actions. DS was an angel for his gran.
Ex just didn't go with him.
Well yes his Dad should be able to deal with his son. I would absolutely take myself off so DS couldn't come home UNLESS DS was the one wanting it.
What struck me about your post is you disciplining of your DS because he hit your ex during your ex time. I get he was wrong and of course id worry that the behaviour would get worse but I would not discipline to such extremes at all. In fact after school today I would sit him down and apologise. Tell him you were shocked at his behaviour and that you do not condone it but also realise that getting 2 penalties because parents are separated is the pits and know you've thought about it you think he's been punished enough and he can have his stuff back. I would stop punishing him for stuff that happens when he's with his Dad. I don't punish my children twice and sounds like you don't need too either. I would also back off from being so friendly with ex family. Leave them too it.
(Oh and if you want him to be a pianist, don't make practicing a punishment.)
Surely it benefits OP's son to have a dad who knows how to parent him rather than just handing him back over to mum when it gets too difficult?
In fact, I'd have thought being sent away for misbehaving is terrible for your son's self esteem long term.
My kids have a similar relationship with their Dad. DC 1 is 15 and refuses to go over there and DC 2 is 13 and goes every week but complains a lot when he gets home.
If I didn’t have any plans/commitments that I’d of had to miss then I’d of let dc come home, and although I would have had s chat about his behaviour I wouldn’t have punished him.
Why should your ex off load punishments on to you?
All this kind of stuff is the exact reason why my eldest would rather stay at home.
I agree with Martell that ds shouldn't be punished twice. You are responsible for discipline in your household & your ex is responsible for discipline in his home.
I also think that if your ds is sent home for misbehaving, he will learn to unhelpful, unhealthy lesssons
1. If I don't want to go to my dad's, I can just behave badly when I get there and I will be able to go back to Mum
2. Dad and Grandma do not love me unconditionally. They only tolerate my presence when I do what they want. Otherwise, they reject me.
You seem very thoughtful about what is best for your son. Do listen to your instincts.
two unhelpful lessons, not to. Sorry.
"If DS refused to wear his coat to go to the park they'd then stay in and play or he'd bake with his DGM and when DS decided he wanted to wesr it they'd then go to the park. Whereas I wouldn't take him after being cheeky. "
I think his GM is in a very awkward position. The lack of consequence is possibly of a usual level for a caring Grandmother, who has been put in the middle. She is just trying to give him a nice stay.
I can understand his Dad not wanting to be harsh on him, in the past, in some ways, for the same reasons. I realise that he needs to see more of DS, though.
I think you need to get to the bottom of what happened and have a frank talk with his GM (you'll get nowhere with your ex).
Is your DS the height of a 12 year old?
I completely agree he needs to step up but I think I just wouldn't want DS to have to deal with that situation so I would maybe let DS take a month or 2 away from his Dad if you can
You can't have it both ways. I would not punish DS for things that happened in his father's care. Uphold his father's discipline, yes, had his Dad said 'no hitting, so no TV for a week'.
You can't force your ex to be a different parent or person.
I would guess MIL s being an apologist for him as she thinks you might stop sending him.
Talk to your MIL. Tell her you will send DS to stay with HER as DS values the relationship with his grandmother, but that she must take full responsibility while he is with her.
With the two punishments thing.
If she said she didn’t do anything how many posters would jump on her for not backing up the other parent which undermines their ability to actually deal with stuff?
Martell if DS had been punished at exs then of course I wouldn't. Instead his DGM took him out, for a play date etc. He had no punishment so last night he never got his tablet or to watch tv. As of tonight it is over and done with.
Piano also wasn't a punishment. He was told to sit in his roon and think about his actions, no playing or drawing but he is always allowed to read and/or play his piano. Not "you're grounded play until your fingers bleed" haha.
Birds DS is 4ft 5-6ish, at 7 years old. According to WHO growth charts that is the 50th centile for a 12 year old. He wears age 12 clothes for length. I'm 5ft 7 (he comes up to around my breasts) and his dad is about 5ft 11.
Mine's younger than yours but I'd have done exactly the same thing.
Sounds like you've got a handle on it to me.
I should say, we're in the same position regards ex and child's relationship. I totally get it.
Youre absolutely right imo. My dad used to put me on the train and send me home if we had an argument. Its just weird and damaging to the relationship
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