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Co parenting difficulties(21 Posts)
Hi all. I separated from my husband about a year ago now, he was emotionally abusive, everything had to be his way, and I did 99% of everything child related up to that point. Fast forward to now-my eldest is constantly playing me off against his dad. As soon as I tell him to come off his electronics, do some school work, come for a walk, anything he doesn’t want to do I get a torrent of abuse and told he hates me and wants to go to his dads. I can’t really discipline him as the things I would have done previously (limit screen time, remove pocket money etc) have no meaning as his dad lets him do exactly what he wants, and buys him whatever he wants. I have tried to speak to his dad about his behaviour, but he just says he’s fine when he’s there. He says he will back me up, but within 5minutes of being at his dads he is back on electronics or whatever I had banned him from.
Any advice? I feel like I can’t come down too hard on my son as he will just refuse to see me (he comes to mine reluctantly anyway) and then he will only have his dads influence, but if I don’t try and enforce some boundaries, I’m totally failing him as a parent. Any suggestions? Anyone in the same boat?
Sorry, that’s really long! Thank you if you make it to the end
Bumping this for you. You might get good advice if you ask MNHQ to move this to lone parents.
Following out of interest for myself. Separated 2 1/2 years with 2 girls. No longer seem to have any control over them - and situation is compounded by Covid-19. Feel like a failure as a parent.
Really dense I know, but I can’t see how to get the thread moved. Google says to report it, but can’t see a report button either! Anyone know how to get this moved? Thank you
Click on the three dots below your post, choose report then pop a note to MNHQ asking them to move it for you
Thank you! Done now so hopefully will be moved
How would Dad feel about having him fulltime? Is that something that Dad would be pleased about? What is the current living situation like and how old is your eldest? Not any advice, I know, but just trying to get a bit more information so that advice can come that is more suited to your situation
How old is your son, and any other siblings. How often Is he at yours, then your ex's?
Eldest is 11yrs old, right now his dad is doing everything he wants so I think he’d happily have him FT. From never doing drop offs/pick ups as always too busy he has changed overnight, DS always wanted his attention so it’s like a dream come true for him. Living with his dad FT would 110% not be in DS’s best interests, one of the reasons I stayed so long is because I was worried the influence his dads behaviour/attitude would have on him if he was having him unsupervised.
Oh no I wasnt suggesting it would be in his best interest. My wonder was more about if his Dad wouldn't want that and then it would show your son that his Dad giving him everything he wanted didnt make him the best parent. I know how hard it is when the other parent is always buying things, there are constant presents at our child's other home....fortunately these things are short lived for him and he would much rather be at home with me and my other half. I'm sorry I can't give you any advice but hopefully someone will come along soon with some good advice for you
Thank you, I’m hoping as he grows up he will see things clearly, but right now it feels like his dad can give him everything and I’m on the outside, with absolutely nothing to offer. I just don’t want him growing up to be like his dad.
This is very similar to my story apart from now ex has a new gf and attention has turned to her. I would stick with boundaries but only enforce them at your house. This is what I do with my son. He still says things in anger, how he wants to go live with his dad etc when told off but I feel this is all just rage at the time. When he's calmed down and I've spoken to him after he says he doesn't really want to live there, he's frustrated at the whole situation, when he's with me he wants to be with his dad and vice versa. It's also been nearly a year for us and my son is 10. I have other children but he is the only one that seems to be really effected like this and struggling so much! It's so hard so you have my sympathy!
Thank you, like you say he seems to say things in anger, I know he doesn’t mean it but it’s so hurtful and I don’t want him growing up thinking it’s ok to treat people like that (women in particular). With everything going on at the moment I’ve had some really down days, think I just need to stay strong and consistent, and hope he comes out the other side. It’s good to hear off others though in similar situations.
I feel the same. My son actually had counselling for his anger right at the start which seemed to help. Then his dads recently been sporadic with contact, fused with lockdown the behaviour seems to have reared its head again! It's hard not to take it personally, my son has said some horrid things. I always try and diffuse, and then walk away if that doesn't work. Then we speak about it after, he's told me he says stuff like that to me because he knows I can take it, he doesn't do it to dad because dad invalidates his feelings and calls him stupid and he's also worried to upset his dad as he gets cross with him (also emotionally abusive and controllling) I feel like I bare the brunt of everything but son says he feels like he holds it in there and he knows I will listen etc so I take solice that at least he feels like he can be himself with me. The moods do ruin the day though and I'm afraid I still haven't worked out how to stop it!
You sound like a lovely mum, he’s lucky he has you to talk to, it’s good that he calms down and opens up and sounds like you are his safety. I’ve had problems with DS again tonight, I told him no electronics tomorrow, which he doesn’t care about as he’s going to his dads. Called his dad to say could he back me up on this and enforce the ban tomorrow, which I already regret. His dad was so smug telling me how he never has problems with DS there.
Going to come back and write properly later, but just to say I completely understand OP - my situation v similar.
The problem is partially going to be down to different parenting styles and rules but that's normal. Some parents have a blanket set of rules but others have variations or completely different rules. I think that's fine.
What seems to be more of a problem is you are blaming everything on your ex, which is easy to do and easy to get a lot of support for because of course nobody likes their ex or thinks they are doing as good as a job as they are, it's just a natural reaction.
Have you considered that DC might actually be happier at ex's? Have you thought to rethink your rules or discipline because it might not be working for DC?
I'm not saying you should but clearly as things stand, DC is unhappy and you are unhappy so somethings not right. You can't change your ex, even if you're in the right about everything you can't control your ex and he has as much right as you to discipline as he wishes in his own house.
Obviously take everything with a pinch of salt and apply what you're comfortable with to your own situation because we can never know the full picture, but I really think you need to stop focusing on what ex is doing wrong and try and work out what you can do to make things better.
@FatherB different sets of rules are OK as long as they are broadly similar - same ball park - but not if one set completely and utterly undermines the other. Often accompanied by direct and indirect attempts to undermine the other parent's parenting.
@FatherB I agree about our different ways of parenting. I’m happy to rethink and try other strategies, that’s why I’m asking on here as hoping for ideas to improve things. I know I can’t change my ex, so do you have any suggestions that have worked for you other than removing privileges (which right now are electronics and nothing else)? Would you keep discipline separate and wipe the slate clean when he goes to the other parent? Do you think it makes a difference that his dad is still in the family home with the familiarity that comes with that? I’m not trying to put all the blame onto the ex, I want what is best for my children and that’s all.
@StrawberryJam200 this is where I’m struggling, to what extent do we need to co-parent when our idea of parenting is poles apart? As much as I want an easy happy life, I can’t sit by and let him game, not sleep, not eat proper meals or do no exercise, just because he’s happier doing that. I have to at least try to parent him.
I'd say stick to what you think is right, explain why you think it's right, maybe give some leeway on the day the DC return to you but make it clear that's only adjustment time.
If it causes massive arguments or whatever, email yr ex expressing your concerns and asking to discuss to try and develop some consistent rules between the homes. If XP sees yr point of view and changes, hooray. If not, and DS tells you actually he's still allowed to do X, Y and Z at his dad's, and esp if there is any way you can prove it (eg you can see on his screen how many hrs he's been playing Fortnite for, or whatever), make notes of all of this, with dates.
Try always to avoid slating your ex to DS, although you can raise questions about how being on a screen all the time is not healthy.
Perhaps go via a third party if there is anyone suitable, especially if having a face to face meeting. Relative, friend, professional contact who might be trusted by both of you and won't be manipulated? Document any phone calls, any behaviours and comments from DS. Try always to get yr ex to reply stating his position and what his rules are, in writing.
When you have hard evidence that you've tried and yr DP hasn't, and evidence that it's to the detriment of your DS, ask for help from school.
It's not a fun road to travel I'm afraid.
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