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How do I deal with this?(12 Posts)
I separated from my VA Ex 2 years ago. We have 60/40 share of our DCs. Initially it was awful because my ex had a lot of anger in him and our DC had witnessed him being verbally abusive to me - including calling me a f*cking b*tch which resulted in my 10 year old DS calling him a f*cking b*stard, it was a horrible time
In the early days my DD would phone me and ask if she could come back to me as her Dad kept telling her to shut up. This is something that he said to me often and one of the things that I've used in the divorce petition. He saw and still sees nothing wrong with this - he would also tell his Mum to shut up and she never said a word to him, so obviously he has grown up thinking that this is acceptable. I know he won't have changed and I'm sure he rants at our DC still on occasions (I recently heard him when my DS had him on loud speak)
Things are better for me now, he has met someone else and we have minimal contact.
DCs are now nearly 12 and most of the time they are loving and wonderful and have dealt with things amazingly well, however at times they have both been quite aggressive towards me, told me to shut up and if I tell them not to say that they say I'm being too sensitive. This rings alarm bells as it's something my ex would say regularly. My DS has even told me to f*ck off which actually made me cry.
The question I am asking is - is this normal at their age? Am I being too sensitive? I feel like I am dealing with my ex all over again at times. I feel like the baddie disciplining them for telling me to shut up when I know it will be just the norm for them to say when they are with him.
How awful for you I fear their father is having a terrible influence on their attitude.
No, it is absolutely not the norm however children learn how to behave by watching and listening to others, especially parents and other adults. Your DC believe that it is OK to talk to you in that way as they have seen their father do the same. You need to be explicitly clear to them that such language/behaviour is unacceptable and you do not want to hear it again.
My DS is also 12 and often reminds me that he knows a lot of swear words that he shouldn't however he also knows that use of such words at home or in my presence will not be tolerated. At this age they are exploring the boundaries of acceptability, both at home and also in general society, so you need to be clear about what you will accept and what you won't, whilst at the same time accept that they are growing up. Its a tricky balance but they tend to respond to "lines in the sand". I have stopped taking DS to watch football as every second word begins with F and both he and I are fed up of it.
It is not normal for children to tell their parents to shut up. Don't allow it. But also don't say it.
The best way to say it: please be quiet.
It is not normal or acceptable for a 12 year old to speak to you that way. Or any age person actually. You need to continue to reenforce that message, to explain why its wrong (how it makes you feel, maybe) because if their dad does it you are fighting against his influence.
You aren't being over sensitive. He's passing on bad habits that will not serve them in their future lives, let alone in their relationship with you.
Talk to them about loving communication and hateful communication and how we need to decide which camp we are going to belong to and live in.
Ask them if they would tell their teacher to shut up? Would they tell an angel to shut up? Would they tell their favourite pop star or hero/one to shut up? If not, why not? Discuss with them what respect feels like and what being disrespected feels like.
Your ex husband has landed you with the task of making Good Behaviour explicitly clear to your children. Ask them why is there an age old refrain " manners make the man"? And why does the bible say " the meek shall inherit the earth"?
In other words, you'll have to be a counterforce to the drag of your ex H's influence.
Thank you for your replies.
Quite I certainly don't say it. I actually hate it. But I know my ex will be saying it and it will be the norm when he has the DC. I absolutely tell my DC it is not acceptable but they have one parent telling them one thing and one saying another thing completely. That's the problem.
My DD recently told me how her friend had paid for 6 bracelets on holiday but when the ladies back was turned her friend stole another 6. I told my daughter this was not at all funny and was completely unacceptable, she rolled her eyes and said 'I knew you wouldn't find it funny, you have no sense of humour, Dad found it funny'. I just feel like I am the baddie but I'm not going to let things like that go.
Thanks River that actually what I did. I asked them if they would tell their Grandma to shut up or their Dad's new girlfriend.
It very frustrating as my ex is well known in the community and everyone sees him as such a great person but he certainly isn't like that behind closed doors. I've moved on from having feelings of bitterness and anger towards him now - this is just something else to deal with.
Good for you in not colluding about the stolen bracelets. You are strong.
Eventually the children will see your kindness and his off handeness, your integrity and his laxity.
You'll get there. He's undermining their good conscience impulse and you are feeding their good conscience impulses.
Eventually they'll realise that they are safer with a kind honest person, and safer being kind honest people.
One thing is sure. His presence means you will have to be explicit about what being a good person really means. Ultimately your children can grow more conscious empathy and conscience because of your input.
Well done to you for flying the flag. They will be better people because of you.
Thanks for your lovely words River I know it's for the greater good, it's just hard in the here and now.
Yes, I bet it is, wish. Very undermining.
I feel for you, I do.
I have experience of an ex that sabotaged what I set up, chronically undermined what I taught the kids. Undermined my values.
It didn't work. I didn't let it. Doesn't mean I didn't see red, cry, and feel desperate about it many times.
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