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Feeling like the enemy - my son is no longer mine....

(9 Posts)
TheDetective Sun 18-Sep-11 16:41:40

Or so it feels. Its been 2 1/2 years since I left ex DP, and every day I feel further and further estranged from my own child. I am the resident parent, but thanks to ex dp going back on his word re: childcare when we split up, my mum now has to care for my son approx 3 nights a week due to shift work and current DP being unable to drive to get him to school (she lives 7 miles away by the school - she is the headteacher). My ex also wants to see my DS once sometimes twice a week, and these don't always coordinate with my work days, meaning he can be away from home 3-5 nights a week. I feel like I'm not even a parent these days. My ex won't commit to regular days for access btw - its to suit him and HIS shifts!!!!

My son is 9, and is getting to a difficult stage. I feel he is manipulating the situation, and my ex DP is encouraging and allowing it. My son will not do anything my current partner says, and pushes his luck with me. He is rude and sullen a lot of the time. He doesn't want to do anything, and is always whinging or whining over simple things. I expect him to make his bed and open his curtains every morning, to make and eat his breakfast and get himself showered and teeth done. Every day he doesn't do half or any of it. He just has this look about him which says 'my dad doesn't make me do all this'. He has even told ex DP he wants to live with him because he's the fun one!!! He moans because we have to go to the shop for food, or because he has to go to bed. All of this moaning wouldn't bother me, if it wasn't for the fact that I feel he is unhappy at home with me, and would rather live with his dad. I'm scared of pushing him away further and further, but on the other hand, I simply will not have this behaviour.

I just don't know where to turn. I guess a lot of parents go through this when separated. I feel as if life with me makes my son unhappy. I constantly have to remind him of all the good things he gets, and how easy life is for him with me, when he moans and whinges about 'never going anywhere fun', or doing anything that he wants to do!

My ex DP encourages this behaviour in DS, and I've tried to talk to him about it, but he just laughs and says its my problem, and I should have thought about it before I left him!!! Ex DP is doing everything he can to make life difficult for me, and to make my son think he is the 'better' one. My son will not see that ex DP does anything wrong! Today yet again he has been sent home in unironed clothes, without a shower, and not done his teeth. He sends him like this to school too for goodness sake! Luckily my mum is the headteacher, so she intercepts him at the main door, and has to take him to her room to wash, change clothes and do his teeth!!! What kind of parent does that to their child! Urggggghhhh the man just makes me so angry, letting my son do and say whatever he wants! I wish contact was less - but then I'd get abuse from the ex, and make my son even more unhappy sad

I need some pearls of wisdom here on how to strike a happy balance between making my son happy, but ensuring he grows in to a lovely, caring, responsible adult - something which he father doesn't care about, clearly.

RandomMess Sun 18-Sep-11 19:23:02

How would you genuinely feel about your ds being resident with his Dad? Presumably you could then have him overnight when you weren't working and would actually have quality time with him?

With your ex attitude it may be in your ds interests to stop him being used as a pawn by your ex IYSWIM.

My eldest went to live with my ex, it hurt, I miss her but she is much happier now because of that move.

TheDetective Sun 18-Sep-11 21:06:50

It would tear me apart if he went to live with that man - my son would grow up just like the rest of the ex's family - and that is not a good thing. Although his dad probably has the most work ethic out of the lot of them to be fair. Most of them are what I affectionately term as 'knobheads'. I don't want my son to have zero aspiration in life, and to grow up to be some scruffy dole kid, which is where he would be headed in a life with his dad. I feel its my duty to guide him and protect him from these influences.

Besides, his dad lives with his parents in a 2 bed house. DS already has to share a bed with his dad when he stays over - hardly a healthy arrangement long term.

NicknameTaken Mon 19-Sep-11 09:40:04

Do you think it might help to take the opposite approach for a bit? Instead of concentrating on what is difficult and painful with your DS, can you have a conversation with him about what fun things you could do with him? Take him and a friend paintballing or something? I'm not saying you should try to out-compete your ex as the fun parent, but you could try to focus on finding the joy in your relationship with your son, so the emphasis is less on your (very understandable) frustration.

I don't know if that's all happy-clappy and unrealistic, but if you can't change a situation, the best you can do is to try to live as well and happily as possible within that situation.

Smum99 Mon 19-Sep-11 10:48:49

Just to clarify - your ds goes to your mum's for 3 nights a week - does he stay over there as well and she takes him to school? I am just wondering if that's the case that your DS is finding it all a challenge as he has multiple places to be each week.

If you and your ex have different values it's very hard to reconcile but all you can do is lead by example, explain why routine is important, talk to him about exciting careers and try to ensure he is in positive friendship groups. Peer pressure is very strong and if he has positive friends and your input he will make the right choices in life.

I would also recommend that you do use rewards and incentives, when he does well, brushes teeth etc make sure it's acknowledged.
PS I also think this can be 'normal' behaviour - pushing boundaries and continues til end of teens!!!!

cestlavielife Mon 19-Sep-11 12:38:54

you cannot protect him from these influences - all you can do is offer an alternative view.
also you cannot interfere when he at dad's.

you need to find a way to get your ideas across which doesnt just make you look like the baddie....

also your mum dragging him into get washed etc? what is all that about?
just tells him that you are all seeing his dad as bad guy etc. feeds his views that you all hate his dad etc. not good .

unironed clothes,
-well depends what they are - a shirt is probably hidden under a jumper or blazer anyway.
what was the big deal about him wearing unironed clothes on a sunday?
buy him clothes that dont need ironing....
I not sure that it really is going to be that noticeable - eg for school - unless it's Eton or some place like that.... in which case the masters will hold him up surely? and then he can tell dad - look dad you have to iron my shirt - opr he can learn to do it himself...if regular school then how much does it really notice? when other kids probably messed up by time they get to school.....
and when he get to an age where otehr kids tease him about it he will ask himself for ironed clothes / iron them himself

without a shower, -
he is nine -at this age unless he rolls around outside in the morning before school he doesnt really need a shower before school. espec if he bathed/showereed night before.
unless he already a really smelly pre-teen?
but in that case - issue him deodorant in his school bag...

and not done his teeth -
again while not ideal - if he does them at night thoroughly and geenrally eats healthily - then his teeth wont fall out.
keep him supplied with sugar free chewing gum. encourage apple eating.

needabuilder Mon 19-Sep-11 13:30:38

I am in quite a similar situation.. My DD is 5 - she spends Thurs/Fri overnight with ex DP and his GF where they spoil her rotten and have loads of fun!

When she comes home on a sat afternoon she is grumpy, angry and generally makes me feel like she hates me and would rather be with dad. She is argumentative and stubborn. She won't do anything I ask her to in the morning to get ready for school, or in the evening to get ready for bed.

But also similarly to you - I don't want to let her get away with such bad behaviour.. She throws things at me, shouts, ignores me, huffs and puffs, clenches her teeth and glares at me. Last week whilst she was in school I made her a reward chart and decorated it with stickers pics etc with stars to be won for 'good morning's'. When she saw it she pulled all the stickers off the chart screaming - 'they were my stickers' you can't use them. I hate you.'

We used to have a tight and loving relationship, but lately it feels like I'm losing her and it is breaking my heart. I just don't know how to make things better between us. I feel like I have to compete with the loving 'new family' she goes to on the weekends and to make the weekdays as enjoyable, but I'm also at a complete loss with how to deal with all of this challenging behaviour.

Vibrant Mon 19-Sep-11 15:37:16

I always make sure that at some point while dd is with me we do something that is daft and fun - whether that's a kitchen disco, dancing on the bed, watching a film or messing around on the trampoline for example. Otherwise it's too easy to get bogged down in the daily routine.

Is there an issue between him and your partner? Have things changed since they moved in? How are things between them generally?

RedHelenB Tue 20-Sep-11 16:01:00

Your ex does have a point though if it was your decision to split he sees less of his son no matter what he does.

Hard as it is, try not to nag ( we all do I know!!) & maybe your dp can take more of a back seat so there is less confrontation there.

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