Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Relationship Problems between DH and DS - sorry long!(45 Posts)
My DS is a typical 13 year old - spends most of his spare time in his room plugged into some device or another. He is bright and attends a good school where is he is doing ok despite not being particularly motivated or driven, except by my nagging! He has some lovely friends and there are no issues about his behaviour. He likes sport - plays for a football team, basketball and hockey teams and relies on us for lifts for training and matches, etc. He and I have always been really close despite me going back to work when he was only a couple of months old. We just seem to understand each other - that's not to say that he doesn't drive me completely mad at times and we don't have our fall outs. However, we usually resolve them quickly and move on.
My husband seems to find it really hard to understand DS. He constantly wants him to help with his work - property developing - but DS has absolutely no interest in this and hates it. This then escalates into a row where DH then claims he is ungrateful, takes away all electronic devices and refuses to give any lifts. DS and DH then stop communicating almost completely and the pressure then fall onto me to do all lifts, as I don't think DS should let his team members down. I have demanding full time job with very long hours whilst DH also works hard he can be more flexible.
DH can stay angry at DS for months - last time it was about 3! During this time they do not really talk and I just end up being caught in the middle.
Everything has been relatively calm for the past couple of months and the two of them have got on really well. We had a lovely few days away over the Easter weekend but since getting home, I have felt my DH beginning to get wound up about DS again and sure enough this afternoon he asked him to help him with a job, DS has refused and is now banned from everything indefinitely. DH never says for how long, just until he feels like it and that DS never learns his lesson.
May be I am too soft but all I see DH is doing is forcing DS away from him. He will then complain at other times that DS never talks to him. I agree that for specific misdemeanours there should be consequences for a set time but this complete ban for however long doesn't seem to be helpful. He really is a good lad and I don't know what DH is going to do if/when DS gets into trouble for doing something serious.
After 3 months of them not talking to each other last time, I had a real moan to DH about who the 'grown up' was.
DH is so stubborn and will not back down or see that he may have over reacted. Even if DS now apologises all he will get is a lecture and nothing will change. So now I feel depressed at being caught in the middle of it all again for the next however many months, while DS mopes around with nothing to do and me trying to keep the peace. We were supposed to be booking a summer holiday this weekend but it's now the last thing I want to do - the thought of being somewhere with neither of them talking to each other and expecting me to keep the peace just is not my idea of a holiday.
I guess I am also worried that DH's attitude will force DS away from both of us longer term.
Am not sure what I am asking for but just needed to get it out of my system!
Thanks if you have read all of this!
Your DS at 13 should be helping out with his share of household chores. I don't think he should be expected to help your H with his work. Your H is paid to do that I assume and it is clearly something your DS has no interest in.
I think your H is extremely unfair to punish your DS like this. It seems to be verging on bullying. Do what I want whether you want to or not or else I will take absolutely everything you enjoy away from you. It is completely disproportionate to a child not actually misbehaving.
If someone ignored me for 3 months I would be divorcing them. Your DS should not have to be treated like this like by a parent in his own home.
If you don't knock this on the head your nice 13 year old who has no issues with his behavior will end up going out on the streets for something to do and giving you issues.
This clearly isn't a new issue how long has he been treating your DS like this?
Thanks Xales. I didn't know if it was me being too soft because DS and I are so close. DS does do daily chores around the house and tidies his room once a week and other areas of the house.
I guess this has really only started happening over the last couple of years as DS has become more independent and started making his own decisions and can be left at home on his own. Dh also changed jobs a couple of years ago and is now self employed. Both are very stubborn but DS just isn't interested in his dad's work (which I understand completely!)
I just don't know what to do now to resolve the current fall out and dread the next few months. DS will now have no contact with friends except at school and will complain of having nothing to do. I try to back DH by telling DS that he should have done what his dad asked. I even said to DS that I would go with him this afternoon and help him but he wouldn't go. So part of me is cross with him because this could have been avoided!
I can understand if your DH gets frustrated that they don't spend any time together and also that he gets cross about him being in his room all day. I'm always telling mine to get outside in the fresh air and it's like pulling teeth. His reaction sounds too extreme, however... What strikes me from your description is that DH seems always to be insisting DS joins him in his interests but not proposing anything the other way around. If DS is plugged into various devices does DH ever plug in alongside and play along? Do they develop the sport interest beyond lifts? Do they have any common ground, in other words?
I find with my DS (about the same age) that if I show an interest in what he's doing, he's a lot more likely to join me in something I enjoy.
I don't think you should be backing your H.
What exactly does property developing entail? Is it safe for a minor? Does your H have the right insurance if anything goes wrong and your DS is injured or for any 3rd parties injured by something that you son may cause? Will he be paying your DS a fair rate for any work he does?
I think you need to stop backing your H and make it clear he is being unreasonable and that it stops.
Your son will blame you equally if you enforce unfair punishments.
Cogito - DH was very sporty in his younger days and is very supportive of DS, giving coaching tips, finishing work early to be able to watch him play in school teams, etc. Both DH and I are not into computer games, etc. and are pretty useless with them.
When they are getting on they have a really good relationship and will go out together bowling or to play pool.
I think he wants DS to do jobs partly for him to be interested but mainly because he feels that DS almost has to pay back things he does for him. He will say things about always running around after DS and what we do for DS and yet Ds won't do anything for him. Obviously with the Easter school holiday it has been slightly more pronounced because DS has been lazing around for most of the week. I have said to DH that as parents and people who have chosen to live in a village with no transport system that taking DS to and from different things is what we signed up to and that we do it because we want to not because we want something back. But this doesn't get through!!
I just find it so hard to understand and also feel really sad about it. DH has gone to do jobs, DS now in sitting room watching DVD as he isn't allowed to do anything else.
Xales - DH isn't asking DS to do anything dangerous or risky. Sometimes it is to help sweep or clear up and this afternoon Dh was going to cut the grass in a property's garden and he wanted Ds to go and help to clear it up. DS complains that it is 'boring' and he ends up just waiting around not doing anything - this is probably true!
marking my place. I will be back. You are not alone :-)
"Both DH and I are not into computer games, etc. and are pretty useless with them"
Seriously... you have to play the games and be useless. I'm just spitballing here .... but DS is being coached by DH in sport, so DH is the expert? And if he helps his dad with the property development, again DH is the boss. This is not a bad thing, necessarily, but if he's always tagging along behind dad and dad is always 'coaching' and giving instructions then it becomes a grind. A game where your DS is the expert just flips the tables... he can teach DH something.
Having said that, he should help clear up the gardens occasionally if he's been asked to do so. It's the school holidays, he's not doing anything else and there's a work ethic at stake here (pocket money?). So support your DH, don't let DS be lazy for the sake of it, and see if they can get to a compromise.
Sorry I still think that punishing your child for not going to your Job which you are paid for and helping you do that is different from household chores with your DS already does.
You don't listen to the Archers, do you Xales? When it's a family business - and property development is project work rather than a 9-5 desk job - it's not wrong to ask family members to pitch in occasionally. A bit of garden tidying or whatever is quite appropriate, usually in exchange for some pocket money
I think the 'rutting stags' is probably an apt description!
All friends live in villages 10 to 15 mintues drive away. DS goes to a school out of catchment in a city about half an hour away.
DS does do chores at home. Regularly washes up, makes light snacks for us all, looks after pets (feeding, cleaning, etc), tidies bedroom and bathroom and other areas of the house, takes dustbins out and brings them in, etc, etc. It's the jobs at the properties DH is developing that he hates. I think that it is because that at home he can pace out the jobs and have some down time in between, whereas if he goes with his dad he is there for at least half a day and can spend a lot of time hanging around with nothing to do.
Have spoken to DS and asked why he just didn't go for a couple of hours to keep his dad happy. I said that surely it was better to do that for a short time and keep all his electronic privileges which he has now lost indefinitely. He couldn't really answer that one!
Forgot to say, he doesn't get pocket money. We pay for school dinners, phone on contract and he tends to get clothes as presents or I buy them. He has money in his room from Christmas and birthday which he rarely spends.
I had a fairly knock-down fight with my DS the other day about coming out for a walk with me. He was starting to take on a prison pallor and I thought some fresh air and a 3 mile stroll would do him good. The way he went on you'd think I was asking him to put in a 12 hour shift spot welding a battleship.... Rather than 'keep Dad happy' therefore (which makes Dad the bad-guy) I think you should tell your DS that helping his Dad would make you happy.
Perhaps it is because I have issues with having had to do 'favors' as a child by my step father if I wanted or needed anything. I don't think anyone should be forced to do things for normal family everyday things.
Personally I think that if you agree to your child doing a sport then it is part of family life to get them there and back. To take that away as punishment because they won't do something they clearly hate doing is wrong. To not talk to them for 3 months until another person intervenes because they don't want to do something they hate is also wrong.
I saw no mention of being paid pocket money for this either.
DS clearly does help around the house a fair amount. I think that is equal in exchange for lifts or playing on their games.
You may think it is right acceptable to force a child by removing anything they enjoy for indefinite periods. I don't.
Does your DH ever give your DS advance warning that he would appreciate (and i'm deliberately using the word appreciate!) his help? I imagine your DS might respond better if he knew a few days ahead that, for e.g. on Wednesday he'd be clearing a garden with dad and his dad acknowledged that DS was helping him? It comes across that your DH suddenly demands DS helps him in a fairly aggressive way (and I'm assuming he's not prepared to pay him from what you've written) and DS naturally resents this.
Does anyone else think that not talking to your child for 3 months is actually abusive? I do. I think it's disgusting. OP I would imagine your DS will resent his Dad for this kind of emotional abuse later on in life and he may wonder why you never stopped it.
Oh and to compare this situation to "rutting stags" is ridiculous because the boy is a BOY and not a fully mature male.
The OPs DH obviously has some fixed ideas about what Father and Son should do together....the son shows no interest....so he ignores him or as OP says "remains angry".
It's unreasonable for your husband to try to force your son into property development, what's the point of him going to school just to jump into an industry full of chancers and 'get rich quick' types requiring no real skill or education. Not to mentioned the property market being screwed.
That's beside the point eastlands...it wouldn't matter WHAT industry the OPs DH was in...it's the actions that stink.
Chancers? And if you think it requires no skill you should try project managing one. LOL! FFS He's asking him to help sweep up some grass not blast-clean the inside of an oil-tanker... My Dad used to be a painter and decorator and I spent the occasional holiday helping him mix wallpaper paste and washing brushes...
Cogito agreed...property development DOES take skills. However...you can't tell me you think a Dad ignoring his 13 year old for 3 months is ok??
If your 'D'H wants your DS to help clear up properties he is developing, then he needs to offer payment. That is not part of the parent/child deal imo.
Your DS helps about the house he lives in and clears up his room. Many parents would kill for DCs that do that!
I think your H's response to your DS's refusal to help is bullying at best and possibly verging on EA. I don't know how you stomached living in a house with it going on for 3 months!
And as I assume you're not really on board with the punishment you and your H need to discuss what is and is not appropriate.
What usually happens when the two of you disagree?
Thanks for all your replies and comments.
Eastlands - DH isn't trying to persuade DS to become a property developer. He wants him to go to uni and become a doctor, lawyer, etc. Property development certainly does take many skills and lots of hard work and DH is hardworking and is defintely not a chancer and is actually very considered when making work / business decisions.
Nanny - I think that DH thinks that Ds helping him is part of the parent/child deal.
It isn't that he wants 'slave labour' but thinks that DS should take an interest because DH is doing it for us a family and DS's future. He doesn't expect DS to be there every day but does want him to give some of his time in return for the time he gives DS.
I have tried to discuss this with DH but he just believes that he is in the right and can't see that giving an indefinite punishment is unfair. We've argued over it previously but DH can't see it the way I do.
Although i haven't wanted to admit it I do agree that this is now verging on EA especially when it goes on for so long. I don't know what to do to get DH to see this.
Join the discussion
Please login first.