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To be fed up of DSS spoilt behaviour? Very long sorry!

(191 Posts)
Chestnuts2017 Thu 07-Dec-17 15:47:43

DP and his ex wife split up when his DS was 3, his mother left and moved away and since then DP has had full time custody of his DS.

I came along when DSS was 6 and we instantly hit it off, really lovely little boy and he thought the world of me too.

DP and I are self employed (different businesses) and DP often works long hours, as do I. DP works 7 days a week and I work 6. This initially wasn't a problem because DP is lucky that he has his own place of work (it’s not a shop where members of the public come into by the way),which was just around the corner from his DC's school. DSS couldn't wait to get back from school to go to his dad’s workplace and help out or just mooch around and do his own thing - he loved it which was perfect as DP could keep working, I’d often pop in on my way home to collect him but he was more than happy to stay with his dad helping him out, you couldn’t drag him away!

Here is where grandmother comes in (DP's ex MIL) - she also moved away not long after her daughter left but has recently moved back and wants more time with her grandson – fair enough.

She used to have him once a week after school and one stay overnight on the weekend which was great for DSS and great for us as it meant we could either keep working if we were nearing deadlines or we could just spend some time together in the evening.

Since this arrangement has taken place DSS has expressed his unhappiness of his dad working until gone 6 in the evening and said he should be at home when he gets home like his other friends parents (apparently none of his other friends parents work so that would explain that). He’s decided that he no longer wants to go to his dad’s place of work (the thing that he used to get really excited about!) and that if he does go, he wants paying for it…

DP has explained that he can’t just drop work at 3pm and sit at home in the evening as he wouldn’t have enough money to pay for bills etc, so in light of this DSS has decided that from now on he will go with his grandmother every single night so that DP can work until around 6pm – great arrangement for everyone, or so we thought…
So she will collect him after school, go shopping, buy him the latest gadget, games, or trainers etc and then she will drive him around to his friends’ houses and sit outside in the car and wait for him until he’s ready to leave (yes really!)

DP has asked her not to do this as not only is it not fair on the other kids parents to have someone turning up every night of the week unannounced, but he is now expecting this to happen on a regular basis and if his grandmother cannot have him after school one night he now expects DP to do the same.

She agreed initially but then gives in when she collects DSS – he basically rules the roost when it comes to her. We have also asked her to cut down on the spending as he’s starting to take it for granted, and again she agrees initially but then gives in.

DSS attitude has changed dramatically since this arrangement has taken place – he brags about how loaded his grandmother and her family are and how he can’t wait to inherit it all, he has been given the login details to her online shopping accounts where he can order himself anything he pleases up to a certain value and is just acting completely spoilt!

He is learning not to look after things because “grandma will buy me a new one”
He has a brand new iphone and his grandmother has taken a £40 a month contract out for him so that he has unlimited amounts of minutes, texts, data etc.

When DP and I come home at night we have to do boring adult stuff like cook tea and wash dishes and put clothes in the washing machine. After we have all sat down and had tea (half of which gets wasted because DSS has already eaten something with his grandmother but still wants to eat with us) then we then sit in the living room together and either help DSS with his homework or watch something on TV or play a board game.

(with regards to the meals – I have requested that DSS doesn’t have anything as he’s already eaten but then he gets upset and says he’s being excluded on purpose! So I give him a tiny amount of which still gets wasted…)

Last night DP collected DSS from his grandmothers as usual and when they got home DSS went into the living room and played on his computer game – I started tea and DP started doing the recycling to take out at which point we could hear DSS crying.
DP went in to see what was wrong to which DSS replied he’s fed up of us coming home and doing nothing in the evening

We asked what we “should” be doing in the evening to which he responded going out, going shopping or going for meals!
DP explained that we can’t afford to go out and go shopping all the time and we have to work to pay bills or we can’t have any nice things, to which DSS responded that we should have worked harder to get better jobs so we can have lots of money like his grandmother!

We have explained that we DO work hard but different people have different jobs, we can’t all do the same job and different jobs earn different amounts of money but he has never gone hungry, or gone without and he has always come first which he will accept at that time, but then at least once a week the story will raise its head again.
We have tried to include him in the evenings with things like cooking tea, or helping with doing washing etc so he feels involved but he refuses and said that he expects to be paid for doing things like that and that childhood is all about having fun and not having to do anything like that.

We do set aside time to go out, DP will move work commitments, as will I and we will say we are going out on X day of the month and we will stick to it, however, if DSS decides that he’s changed his mind and doesn’t want to go because his grandmother has offered him a better incentive, then we are expected to drop the plans and not go out – if we do go out then there’s holy hell to pay the next day when DSS finds out! We get accused of purposely excluding him – DP favouring time with me over time with DSS etc .

So I suggested that just the two of them spend time together, so again once a month DP will move his commitments and take DS out either to the cinema or for a meal, but again this doesn’t seem enough for DSS.

I'm getting really fed up of his behaviour of late, he's stressing the both of us out but I don't know what to do/say and neither does DP. Everytime DP has a word, his DS just gets really upset saying he wishes he had never been born and he's too much of an inconvenience to his dad etc which absolutely breaks DPs heart.

Christmas is coming and he's given us a list of REALLY expensive items he expects to have, we have explained that we can’t afford half of them on the list to which he responds “fine – ill get my grandma to buy them then because I know she will”
AIBU to think that if this doesn't get nipped in the bud its going to get worse and worse

What would YOU do if this was happening to you? We obviously can’t stop him spending time with his grandmother and we can’t stop her spending money on him but something needs to be said to DSS but I’m not sure what or even how to approach it!

mickeysminnie Thu 07-Dec-17 15:58:19

What age is he?
Ypu work 6 days a week and your husband works 7. So when do you get some time off to spend quality time with him?

Quartz2208 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:01:22

You need to parent him - my god it sounds like the poor boy was left to fend for himself and suddenly someone is paying him attention

ONCE A MONTH is not enough you need to parent

RadioGaGoo Thu 07-Dec-17 16:02:44

Fend for himself? He was with his Dad!

JennyOnAPlate Thu 07-Dec-17 16:03:22

I think the fact that his dad works 7 days a week is a much bigger problem than grandma to be honest.

DanniJR1 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:05:07

He doesn't just sound spoiled, he sounds seriously troubled. It sounds as though you and your DP are putting in massive amounts of time at work, and he is getting a bit short-changed on emotional contact. His grandmother seems to be teaching him that love is expressed through material items. He's expressed a need to see more of you. This didn't work, so now he is taking on his grandmother's values which sound seriously skewed.

Can you and his father spend more time with him that isn't work focused? Try and teach him that part of being a family is helping each other - doing things like cooking together, not for pay but because this is how families operate. I would cut down on the contact with his grandmother if she can't keep to the rules you set. I would cut down anyway. I can see it is convenient for you right now, but it seems to be doing a lot of damage to your DSS.

Handsfull13 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:05:10

I'm sorry that sucks.
But you can stop him seeing his grandmother and you can tell her if she continues to spoil him then she will no long have time with him.
She doesn't have grandparents rights and she has clearly shown she doesn't respect your choices as parents.
He has become spoilt and it's only going to get worse if you don't put a stop to it.
You shouldn't let him make decisions at all and even if that means a really shit few months where he cries cruelty because you don't change your plans or give him food when he doesn't need it. It will suck like hell but you will get past it and he needs to learn he isn't in charge

juddyrockingcloggs Thu 07-Dec-17 16:05:50

I'm sorry but the child doesn't appear to have much attention from the people that are supposed to give him it. I can totally understand why he is feeling and acting the way he is. It seems to me that he has learnt that attention comes in monetary value and to be honest it's hardly surprising and he isn't to blame for that. What's the point in working so hard when the kid isn't getting any time, I have no doubt he will grow up to resent you both more than he already does.

I'm sorry op but I feel sorry for him.

TitaniasCloset Thu 07-Dec-17 16:07:52

How old is he?

Ooogetyooo Thu 07-Dec-17 16:08:23

It sounds like he has substituted one to one attention with material possessions. Doesn't he go to any clubs or do sports after school. ? Can you pay for childminder or after school club then his grandma wouldn't have opportunity to spend so recklessly on him. He sounds ruined but it isn't his fault. How old is he? He sounds bored.

crazycatgal Thu 07-Dec-17 16:09:14

Get him involved in out of school activities and speak to his grandma about all of this.

How old is he?

Loveactuallyoctopus Thu 07-Dec-17 16:09:42

Fend for himself? Are you joking?

Most people do work long days or long weeks. A lot of children are with family or in childcare. Op and her dh aren't being neglectful.

Parenting isn't just about doing fun things every weekend it's about earning and paying the bills to keep your kids fed and warm. Should ops dh close his business and they can all struggle but at least they'll spend time together?

RadioGaGoo Thu 07-Dec-17 16:09:48

It's sad as it sounds like he enjoyed the time with his Dad at his company before the Gran came along.

SendintheArdwolves Thu 07-Dec-17 16:10:33

The grandmother is buying his loyalty, which will work, but only for a short time - in order to achieve the same dazzling effect she will have to keep upping her game. It won't last much longer, OP.

In the meantime - IGNORE IT AND HOLD YOUR BOUNDARIES.
Your DP demands that his son does chores, but DSS insists on being paid? Tough. He does them anyway. He can whine about what childhood is for while he hoovers.
He moans that you guys ought to hang around waiting for him to be ready to be picked up? Tough. You pick him up at the pre-agreed time.
He decides he wants to go out with Granny rather than you? Fine. You go out anyway and have a nice time.
He wants expensive toys? Tough. You set a budget for his gifts and that's what he gets.
...etc

Kids need boundaries. He is (I'm guessing) a teen/preteen and he is going to start being very testing indeed. This rich-granny-does-what-I-say stick is proving very useful to hit you both with and he is going to keep using it as long as it works.

He doesn't sound like a bad kid - just one with a guilty, indulgent and game-playing granny. In the end, he will respect the adults who showed some self-respect and said 'no' to his outrageous demands far more than he will old Nannie-Doormat who is happy to sit in her car and wait for him.

SylviaTietjens Thu 07-Dec-17 16:12:00

Poor kid sad. He clearly just wants to do something, anything with his parents. He’s even put up with helping his dad at work for years as that’s the only time he sees him. Do you never do days out or anything?

RandomMess Thu 07-Dec-17 16:13:39

How old is he?

It could be possibly that the Ex MIL is filling his head with emotionally manipulative bullsh*t as she is angling him moving in with her.

He could be blagging and being emotionally manipulative himself.

I would seriously reduce contact though and up the time you spend with him.

RadioGaGoo Thu 07-Dec-17 16:14:01

How do you know that he 'put up with' working with his Dad Sylvia?

KurriKurri Thu 07-Dec-17 16:15:08

Actually I think you can stop him spending so much time with his grandmother, she seems to be the root of the problems (not with any malice I;m sure, but because she is constantly giving in to him).
Your DP and you are the parents here - ultimately you decide where he goes and what he does (I am reading quite a lot of DSS decided he would or wouldn't do this)

You can ask the grandmother not to spend so much money on him, tell her it is making him demanding and spoilt and that is not fair on him. If she wishes to keep giving him money, then suggest a savings account that he can access when he is 18.

Your DP needs to toughen up a bit, all the 'I wish I wasn't born, I'm an inconvenience' is emotional manipulation, and needs to be dealt with firmly but kindly. He sees your DP getting upset, so he knows this tactic will work every time. A brisk 'of course you aren;t an inconvenience, but we've explained we don;t have the money/time to do these things every day. Now what would you like to plan for the next time we can have a day out ?' etc.

You don;t say his age - (I am guessing he is older than six now) what activities does he do after school - would he like cubs or a sport, drama classes - something like that, it would take him out of grandmothers clutches for a couple of evenings and also give him other things to think about than just expensive activities. And these things encourage teamwork and thnking about other people.

It is easy for a little boy to be swayed by an over indulgent GP, it isn;t really his fault, and the delightful little boy you first got to know is still there, you need to reduce the time spent with the bad influence, and be firm but kind about any whining regarding unfairness and being hard done by.

Quartz2208 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:15:25

Yes read the op he mooched around and did his own thing and now his grandmother had come along and gone totally over the top.

Nowhere in the post does he seem anything other than an inconvenience they pay minimal attention to.

niknok69 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:15:36

How old is he?

RadioGaGoo Thu 07-Dec-17 16:19:50

I read the OP Quartz. Did you miss the bit about him happy to stay with his dad helping him and having to drag him away?

AcrossthePond55 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:19:58

How old is he?

LoverOfCake Thu 07-Dec-17 16:20:06

How old is he?

Nothing wrong with going to dad's work occasionally after school but every day and being expected to help out is unreasonable.

If his father works seven days a week and his mum isn't on the scene he gets no parental attention does he?

Yes, parents need to work, and there are times when a child needs to be told that no, you can't have x or y and no, I'm not going to sit in the car outside while you play at your friend's, however if prior to the grandmother coming on the scene he never got to go to friends' houses then of course it's understandable that he is now resentful of this fact.

If your DH needs to work seven days a week then he should be making arrangements at the very least for his child to go to a CM or after school club, not expecting him to sit at his dad's work every afternoon.

It sounds as if the GM is attempting to clumsily make up for her daughter's failings as a parent by showering this child with attention and material possessions. Not ideal but tbh it's understandable. She's likely ashamed of the fact her daughter just left and abandoned her child when he was at such an impressionable age.

Cut the child some slack. He has lost his mum at such a young age and his dad appears to be more invested in working than being with him. And now he's getting attention elsewhere he's understandably clinging to that. And spending time with his friends is allowing him to see what he doesn't get at home.

Lizzie48 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:20:58

I agree that this boy is pining for quality time with his dad. I know your DH has to work, but is there an activity they can do together one evening a week, maybe? Possibly a sport of some kind? If he likes football, for example, they could maybe go to a football match together. Or go swimming together, or running? It doesn't matter what the activity is, as long as it's father and son time.

And I agree with PPs that he sounds bored and should be doing some after school activities. He must have plenty of homework to do as well.

If he's busy, there's less time for grandma to be able to exert her clearly negative influence over him.

Your DH needs to be a parent, which means taking charge.

FlowerPot1234 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:21:32

He does sound spoilt and does not know the value of items now. First thing right now of course is to reject his christmas present list of expensive items. Don't buy him any of these. To do so is to facilitate his spoilt behaviour, make him think he's right, make him think expensive items are to be expected if he moans hard enough.

If he were my DSS, I'd sit him down with my partner and discuss his behaviour and then go through his life with you in terms of a summary of costs and then ask him precisely where he believes the money comes from to give him the life he has had with your DP and you already, and yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Write a table, ask him to estimate how much he thinks it all costs, and then translate - "that means your SM and I work 7 hours to pay for that." etc.

My father used to work 6 days a week, he ran his own business too. Endless times I'd be dropped off there in his office, never got bored as I didn't expect the world to find interesting things for me, I helped him and his staff, played around, did drawing, explored the equipment, wrote stuff, sorted out his terrible filing etc.

Your DSS's attitude is starting to stink and be disrespectful. It is a slippery slope, so try and nip it in the bud right now with strict boundaries and very clear explanations of how things are, and what will and will not be tolerated. And do not let the grandmother rule the roost. Family works by not pandering to what children want all the time, it makes them grow up healthier and wiser. He doesn't get to have what he wants all the time, people will not drive him and wait for him - these are the fundamental lessons his DSS needs to learn.

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