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Ex is fuelling sons anger towards partners children

(7 Posts)
JESSEY Mon 22-Apr-13 08:48:59

After an acrimonious split 2 years ago things have (or I thought they had) settled down. I have shared residency with my 4yr old son who for most part is a joy and very bright. I have a new partner she has two children 5 & 7 and they all get on until my son returns to his mummy who is filling his head with hatred and anger toward my girlfriend and her children. He comes back a different little boy angry and aggressive saying not very nice things. When I tell him off he says I'm sad daddy-it's breaking my heart how do I tackle it with her and also my son? Any advice welcome

MaryRobinson Mon 22-Apr-13 09:56:38

Maybe don't tell him off as such, but help him to understand his own feelings, and to be able to talk about things.
If you demonstrate kindness and consideration, and talk about that it will become ingrained to him that it is how you behave in your own house.

You can also teach him assertiveness, to believe what he sees and hears for himself. You can teach him that he ought not behave in a way that gets other people in trouble - and conversely, not to pay attention to other people who are trying to get him to do naughty things. It is not too early for him to know that you believe him, and believe in him.

Know what is good and right, and behave in that way.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 10:18:53

Rise above it. Continue to be the best dad for your son you can be. If he is a confused little boy reassure him and give him time to settle back, I don't mean let him get away with being rude or aggressive, but jolly him out of it. Do you spend time with him on his own at all? A 4 year old won't be able to withstand brainwashing between visits. As Mary says above, demonstrate kindness and consideration.

I would stick rigidly to collection and dropping off times, don't give your son's mother any reason to add fuel to the flames. Never badmouth her to your son or to your partner in his hearing. An acrimonious split is likely to fester for a while to come but it's not right to involve your son.

Did you and your ex agree on a delay with any new partner meeting your son? Has she expressed a desire to meet your girlfriend, if she is present every time your son comes over? I feel this is reasonable if it is an established relationship.

It isn't her business who you are seeing, providing your son is well-treated and cared for. Likewise you will have no right to meet a new man that your ex has in her life. But if she resents the idea of you 'playing happy families' she might at least get over this if you and your partner meet her and can reassure her you have your son's best interests at heart.

Co-operation and a civil truce rather than friendship might be the best you can hope for.

CoolCadbury Mon 22-Apr-13 20:36:34

Your poor DS.

One of the things I do with my 4 year DS is talk about ok and not ok feelings and actions. Yes it's ok (thumbs up) to be angry, sad, scared, calm, happy etc but not ok (thumbs down) to hit, shout, be horrible to people etc. I also get him to tell me what the problem is eg "the problem is I feel angry because ...."

Also, don't automatically blame your ex wife. It's very confusing for him to share his life in two very different homes with different people, different rules. He is only 4, after all. Also, does he spend all his time with the children or does he also gets lots of Daddy time too? Maybe spend time with him alone when he first comes back to yours. (You don't say whether you live with your current g/f.)

JESSEY Tue 23-Apr-13 10:30:41

I don't live with my current g/f neither of us are ready for that yet - the children see each other 1 day/night over the weekend so my son gets lots of 1 on 1 with me, I know I am lucky I see a lot of him and am involved in is daily life. My ex has lots of issues relating to her past and is always angry/vindictive and I don't want that transferring to my son he says stuff like mummy doesn't like and * & * are horrible and dirty mummy says don't let them touch you - he's so confused. My mum & dad are really close to my son and also talk to him about it. My problem is how do I tackle this with my ex - things are calm at the moment and I know her she will kick off again if I try to talk to her about this. She has a new partner ( about a year - split at least 4 times already). I don't interfere unless it directly relates to my son so why can't she just move on?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 23-Apr-13 18:07:06

I would just say "Well that's a shame because Mummy doesn't know them at all but you do and they're all right aren't they? They look forward to seeing you and you have fun together," blah blah without rubbishing your ex, just sound matter of fact and it is how it is.

Obviously always be alert to the possibility the children fall out, as children do, and let him know he can come and tell you anything, not store it all up to wait until he's back with his mum again.

From his point of view he wants to please both parents.

Maybe ask your partner if she can ask her two to make allowances for your son's age and tell them he's not anti them, it takes time to re-adjust. If your parents can spread a bit of propaganda it won't do any harm.

If your ex has a b/f of her own I'm surprised she'd jeopardise time to herself with him by trying to set your son against your partner's children. It doesn't sound very rational but of course we only hear your side of the story, (no offence). I am no expert but if she has ongoing issues that remotely touch on her own upbringing or childhood she may find this whole phase triggering and evocative.

JESSEY Tue 23-Apr-13 21:05:15

I understand that and I (and my parents) do say to my son about his mummy not knowing them - maybe it's just a waiting game.

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