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How do I help DS? (Probably long but I'm alone here)

(9 Posts)
aliciaflorrick Thu 18-Apr-13 19:48:08

So DS1 has had a bad day today. He's 10, has ASD, but pretty much functions well. However, he is really missing his dad.

Ex H left us last year, just a three minute phone call telling me he no longer wanted to be married, followed by an email telling me what a crap wife I was, followed by changing his relationship status on FB to being with OW, all in the space of a week. A huge shock to me and the DCs.

The DCs and I are in France, EXH used to commute every weekend or if money was tight every second week. Since he left he has visited the DCs on only three weekends, and the last time they saw him was for a week from 4th to 10th March where ExH took them back to the UK and moved them in with OW and her family and I think DS1 spent a lot of time with OW and not so much with ExH. He did enjoy his trip though.

Since returning from the visit they haven't seen ExH he missed a piano concert they were giving because it was OWs birthday and she was having a party, but then he made a big deal about going to watch her daughter in a dancing competition a week later and how well she'd done, sending DCs photos of her and going on about it on the phone. This upset DC1 but he didn't make a fuss.

When DC1 was speaking to his dad the other day, ExH wasn't listening to him properly and asked DC a question, DC answered as best he could and tried to change the subject. ExH asked the question three times, DS answered as best he could three times but he couldn't give his dad the answer he wanted to hear, and each time tried to change the subject. ExH then shouted at him that he wasn't listening, DS went all weird, got upset and said sorry, sorry, sorry, over and over. ExH instead of hearing him out hung up on him. Very distressed DS after that, thinks he's offended dad.

DS today went to a specialist group he attends for children with ASD, he got very upset because he's missing his dad so much and broke down crying. They listened and consoled. When he went back to school he did the same thing, they've listened to him and calmed him down and he's done it again with me. What can I say to him? His dad chooses not to come and visit preferring to stay in the UK with the OW and her DCs. He knows the DCs are coming up to a two week school holiday and has chosen to only visit on the last weekend for two nights, but is really only a full day with them. I asked if he could have them for a week in the UK but he said no. How do I make DS feel better? What do I say? I can't say his dad is a selfish bastard who is only interested in having a good time. I don't know what to say to him, I've tried telling him tonight that he needs to keep himself busy so that his head hasn't got time to get sad. I've got lots of activities planned for his holidays, but really he just wants to see his dad. ExH can't even be bothered to Skype them these days and normally he just speaks to them a couple of times a week when he's doing the three min walk between his office and the tube station.

Sorry for the length I'm sitting here by myself after listening to DS sob his little heart out.

LightAFire Thu 18-Apr-13 21:04:37

That's just heartbreaking!

I can't give much in the way of sensible advice since I think your suggestion about keeping busy is a good one, but I just wanted to send some moral support your way.

ExH does sound rather a selfish bastard... How about, try sending him an email (you can compose yourself and say things more calmly) that Ds really misses him and would it be possible to book set times when he can get hold of them?

Failing that, since you've probably already tried that - I think all you can do is be there for DS, give him as much normality as possible, set up your own life separate from ex with lots of fun things you do as a new family unit, and tell him (even if it's a lie) that his dad does love him very much, he just shows it differently. I had to tell my DD a bunch of stuff that almost choked me post split (similar to you with abrupt ending and sudden new OW), and it was damn hard. It did get better in the end though.

I know one major impact on her was a fear that if he could leave, I might too, and so she needed huge amounts of reassurance.

FWIW I wish I could give your ex a piece of my mind right now, fuming on your behalf and also your kids! Sending you a hug, and honestly it does eventually get easier with time.

thewhistler Thu 18-Apr-13 21:19:39

What an awful F, so sorry.

Yes the fear of losing you will be important.

Can he email his F ? Just with chatty, newsy things. And I know it will be awful for you, but if he can ask after ow's family that will help.

PurpleThing Thu 18-Apr-13 21:35:43

What a prick. Hanging up on distressed 10 year old because he didn't like his answer is terrible. I would tell ds that hanging up on people is rude and hurtful - don't say directly that his dad is bad but that that type of behaviour is wrong, when it happens. If his dad is going to behave badly to him he has to understand his dad is choosing to behave like this (eg not making an effort to see him) and it is not because ds is unlovable or some how not good enough.

Can you try the classic Lone Parent response that some parents are not very good at being parents? Because he doesn't sound like he is.

aliciaflorrick Fri 19-Apr-13 06:27:56

Thanks for the support and advice.

I've tried emailing the Ex in the past about contacting the DCs but he just emails back with a load of nonsense. At the moment if he speaks to the DCs when he is at OWs house, he passes the phone straightaway to her daughter, while my DCs like her daughter they want to speak to their Dad, I asked him not to do this but to chat to the DCs, he told me he'll do what he wants and that they like her and want to speak to her. He doesn't understand at all the damage he is doing.

With regard to the phone call the other day I told DS that dad was a bit like him and once he got stuck on a subject he can't get off it. DS can relate to this he understands his ASD. I also said that the phone probably cut off rather than Dad hanging up.

The hilarious thing is ExH thinks he's an amazing dad. I used to think he was a great dad, I never thought for a minute he would be like this with the DCs.

I make excuses for him the whole time, dad is busy, dad has no money, the thing is since they've stayed with him and OW they know dad likes to flash the cash to show off so they're not buying it anymore.

It's just a complete mess and I'm the one picking up the pieces all the time.

LightAFire Fri 19-Apr-13 12:07:14

<blood boiling> It is just not fair. I know I was pretty stunned by how indifferent my ex seemed post split too, but even he wasn't that bad!

I think you are already doing everything you can to salvage the situation with the ex and showing the patience of a saint. Ultimately, if the ex won't work at his relationship with them, I can't see what else you can do to sort that. It is beyond gutting to see someone hurting your DC, but just keep reassuring them that you are there for them anyway.

Also just one quick thought - have you considered a child counsellor for them? It might do them good to talk to a professional who will undoubtedly have dealt with such situations before? Because I must admit I have no idea what I could say to comfort a child who is being treated like that by someone they love, other than to say "well I love you" a lot!

Good luck Alicia, thinking of you x

aliciaflorrick Fri 19-Apr-13 12:46:47

Thanks Light because of his ASD he actually has very, very good backup and support and has seen an educational psychologist for an hour a week throughout the split. Sometimes he talks to him, but a lot of the time he keeps it bottled up. He also spends two half days at his ASD group (for want of a better word) and it was one of the nurses he broke down to yesterday morning, then his classroom assistant and headmistress at school in the afternoon, and then me in the evening.

He knows I love him and when I ask him what I can do to make him feel better he says nothing, it's just that he misses daddy so much. I think a lot of it is tiredness, today is the last day of term and it takes a lot of effort to hold himself together to be "normal" at school, so home is where he can release his stress.

DS2 on the other hand couldn't give a stuff, although younger he's got the measure of his dad much faster. He loves his dad, but doesn't expect anything from him and therefore doesn't get hurt by him. A lot of the time he can't even be bothered to speak to him on the phone "because daddy is just interested in himself". He's only 8, but a very wise boy.

I've got lots of lovely activities planned for them in the holidays and they're going to a play scheme while I'm working, so hopefully after a busy day he'll fall straight asleep in bed and not have time to worry about things.

LightAFire Fri 19-Apr-13 19:02:46

Alicia sounds like you have excellent support there - I think you're quite right that end of term won't help and you are obviously doing everything you can. Your eldest will get over it with such a caring mum - but I agree it's just so sad that he has to.

And nice one, DS2!

Have a lovely holiday together x

PurpleThing Fri 19-Apr-13 21:42:04

I would ease up on the excuses tbh. Can you just say kindly "I don't know why he isn't coming to visit / phoning you. Because I think you are amazing and I love spending time with you, as do X,Y and Z"

It sounds like your ex is not going to change (he doesn't listen to you and seems deluded) and perhaps it would be best to help your ds1 accept the situation as it is, as ds2 does? It sounds horrible but if his hope that ex is going to improves dies, he might be able to get on with his life a bit more?

Sorry, it is all totally horrible and unfair that you should have to deal with this, on top of doing 99% of the parenting yourself. My ds is only little but I'm dreading when he starts to realise how selfish his dad is.

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