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My partner can't cope with my son's apparent bad behaviour, it's tearing us apart(136 Posts)
Myself and my children moved last year, to be with my partner, over 150 miles away.
The children have coped amazingly well with the move and have settled in well at school and clubs, despite their having to travel over 8 hrs every other weekend to their dad's house.
My partner has a 6 yr old daughter from a previous marriage who comes here every day and stays once during the week and every other weekend.
The issue is that my partner just cannot cope with my son's behaviour and I don't think he ever will have time for him in his life.
My 9 year old son is what I term to be a typical boisterous boy of his age (I have 2 other sons one older one younger also) I also have a degree in childcare which really opened my eyes to child behaviour, parenting etc. Since I can remember he has been harder work than the other two, he needs to be told to do something about 20 times, he has a lot of energy which at the minute is taken out by jumping on the sofa and swinging on the doors....things which I don't see as that major.
My partner thinks different, in fact he thinks different about pretty much everything my son does. He finds it very hard to deal with his not listening and boisterous behaviour, he thinks he does it on purpose to wind him up. But I know my son has always been like this, things go in one ear and out the other sometimes and he finds it hard to focus. But he has the most amazing sense of humour, is the kindest child I've ever met and is so sensitive and caring.
I do discipline when I think his actions require it, but jumping on the sofa and swinging on the door are no major issues in my eyes. He has no issues at school, is very well liked and his behaviour has never been a problem at both schools he has attended. Our family and friends think he's a bit wild at times but think the world of him, as he's funny and caring.
My partners answer to "yes but they don't have to deal with him everyday". I find myself defending my son constantly as I feel my partner just has it in for him, he cant cope with him not listening and thinks he is doing it to spite him (sometimes I think maybe he is) as he never gets spoken to at any other time apart from stop that, cut that out, get off that, behave etc.
I've spoken to my partner several times about this, we've had massive arguments where I'm desperate for him to spend time with my son, show him interest and love and you may see a different response. But his answer is, I will then when he behaves likes he should.
When he misbehaves now my partner comes to me to tell him to stop and then goes on a rant about his behaviour again...I've had enough of it, the negativity is draining me and our relationship. I'm on eggshells wondering what my son will "do wrong" next and subsequently when our next argument will be.
My other three children are very well behaved, they listen, do as they are told etc...but from time to time can misbehave...this never starts an argument, there is never a wallowing in their behaviour from my partner, they get a quick telling off and that's it.
Really need some advice on this as I don't know what to do anymore. I can't move my children again, they have been through a divorce, death of life long dog and move over 150 miles away all within 2 years.
Incidently I have tried to discuss all aspects of my sons behaviour as a result of wanting attention, feeling insecure, upset of routine from moving etc and what my partner should do about it to support him...it goes nowhere, he's not interested.
I have to say that sofa jumping and swinging on doors are absolutely forbidden in our house, possibly understandable in a toddler but not ever from a 9yo. I don't see these as 'minor' at all and I would feel the same as your partner tbh
Does he do any sports out of school to help burn off some of his energy?
I get where your coming from and it must be tiring, maybe sit down with your partner and try and talk to him about it and get on the same page.
I have to disagree regarding the jumping on the sofa and swinging on the doors though, under no circumstances would that be acceptable in my home or anywhere, it shows a lack of respect for your things and I can see why your partner would get mad at that. If my two were to do that there would be a time out and or a consequence for it.
In this situation I think I would start by asking him at a calm time, when he hasn't just had a rant and no kids are about, what he would do if you behaved to his daughter the way he behaves to your son.
And if that didn't work I would probably move out - at least until your son is adult and not living with you anymore.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Why don't you all sit down together and make some house rules around treating the house and each other with respect. Sounds like a case of you didn't anticipate that your dh would have different ideas of parenting when you moved to be with him.
Work together on this or it will always be you defending ds.
Set some ground rules and go from there. I don't think anyone normally finds it ok for a children to run around throwing themselves about as ok. Because potential harm to child and damage to property? Get the kid into some clubs and work with your dh and find some common ground.
Door swinging and sofa jumping would be a no here too, especially at 9 years old. I think ground rules and consequences for breaking them should be agreed between the two of you.
It does makes me wonder at what point you feel the need to discipline him.
I have two energetic ten year olds.
I don’t know any houses where jumping on sofas or swinging on doors is acceptable. Your partner isn’t unreasonable in not wanting these things to happen in his home.
At 9yo jumping in the sofa is likely to damage it while swinging on doors is actively dangerous.
If these two things are of major contention then speak to your son and tell them they aren’t allowed.
After all he presumably doesn’t jump on the furniture or swing on doors at school.
Your DP needs to make an effort with your son but your son also needs to make an effort with your DP. At 9 he’s old enough to follow house rules.
How about arranging an activity they can do together? A sport for example? Might help with a little male bonding.
I wouldn’t accept jumping on the sofa or swinging from doors etc either and couldn’t live with someone who thought that was ok (sorry).
However, the bottom line here is that your DP is acting like a dick. Saying he’ll spend time with him when he behaves and other than telling him off, ignoring your DS. He’s got you walking on eggshells, fuck that for a joke.
I think you moved your kids 150 miles away from their Dad & their friends, schools etc very quickly after your divorce and so they’ve had a lot to adjust to. This is going to be yet another adjustment, but needs must. I would leave DP and take them back to their old friends, old school & their Dad, that commute every second weekend is ridiculous.
Staying with DP wouldn’t be an option, his distain for your DS will damage your DS, your other two DC and you.
Goodness, I don't think it matters what anyone here thinks about jumping on sofas or swinging on doors. If you think it is ok then it is ok in your house. We did this as kids in our house - wasn't an issue at all for our parents.
There’s a few things going on here.
You have moved your children 150 miles away from their dad and they now have to travel over 8 hours EOW to see their dad. Poor kids, they must be exhausted. How do they feel about being so far away from their dad? Maybe they miss their dad as the move has no doubt limited their contact with him. Could he be playing up because of that?
Swinging on doors and jumping on the sofa is wrong. Its unsafe and says I don’t respect your home. I totally agree with your partner. I can imagine he’s exhausted by your Disney parenting.
You need to sit down together and agree the rules and boundaries in your shared home. It’s upto you to enforce them with your children but you need to be a united front.
Another one saying that jumping on sofas and swinging on doors is a big no-no. It’s absolutely forbidden in my house for all children regardless of age and utterly inappropriate for a 9 year old. Perhaps there are other things you enable your son to do which aren’t appropriate and you don’t see?
I understand that you are angry with your partner and I see why you want him to love your son as much as you do but I think you need to take a step back and look at your son’s behaviour and to see if it’s a consequence of you not disciplining him or if he has other issues which will need addressing
I have really boisterous twin boys and they have never jumped on the sofa or swung on the doors. It's completely unacceptable.
You're his mum and therefore love him unconditionally, and as such are liable to excuse behaviour that other people would find unacceptable. So far, so normal.
You say yourself he is "boisterous" and other friends think he's "a bit wild" at times. And he doesn't listen. Step back and ask yourself honestly if there might be something else going on with him, especially if he's always been like this when your other children are perfectly able to follow house rules and "behave".
It is also perfectly normal for your partner not to find his behaviour as easily excusable as you do. To be fair to him, I don't know many families where sofa jumping and door swinging are even remotely acceptable.
I think you need to find strategies to manage your son't energy and lack of attention, and let your partner know that you are taking active steps to improve the situation, rather than immediately becoming defensive about your son and protesting that, yes, he will jump on the sofa despite being told again and again and again NOT to but look how funny and caring he is.
Equally, your partner needs to accept that the children have been through a lot of disruption lately, and not all children behave the same.
Is this his house you have moved into? If so,then I do think he is entitled to a say in whether swinging on doors and jumping on sofas is acceptable.
Your son does sound hard work, especially for someone isn't used to 24/7 parenting.
Ultimately, if he won't accept your son then you have to put your son first. However, it does sound as if some compromise might be reached if you are prepared to admit your son might be behaving badly (though he has gone through a lot of upheaval and continues to do so, that journey must be insanely tiring poor kids).
I don’t allow my children to do that either. Most DCs I know who leap around a lot at home don’t burn-off enough energy doing sports, games outside etc. Why not try and get your son doing an activity that will wear him out a bit?
Well your kids have been uprooted, they're clearly exhausted, one is running amok and your boyfriend says he'll only pay that one any heed as soon as he falls into line.
Did your kids and your partner know each other well before moving in? Why did you all have to go to him? Could you not have been the one doing the 8hours + travel every other weekend to go see him instead?
I think you've put your needs before those of your kids and now you're scratching your head wondering why it isn't going perfectly.
Yeah - don't allow sofa jumping etc. - but I think your issues run deeper than that.
Well I have a 9 year old son and wouldn't tolerate him jumping on the sofa and swinging from doors. But then I wouldn't ever disrupt his life to the extent that you have for a new boyfriend either. Can't you just move back home near to their Dad and friends again? All that travelling isn't fair or sustainable long term.
Does he have ADHD? Swinging on doors, jumping on sofas etc at that age is not usual so I can see where your partner is coming from.
It seems that you have shoehorned your kids into a house with a downright hostile partner and not left them any choice about the 8hours travel. How would you like to do that every other weekend while still keeping your job and running your household?
I think that the issue here is different ideas about disciple and acceptable behaviour. I wouldn't accept that from a 9 year old either and would be pretty pissed off is my husband brought a child like that into my house and just expected me to put up with it.
Kids aren't robots. They sometimes behave badly and react to the situation they are in. I would expect an adult to understand that these kids have been disrupted, taken away from everything they know including their other parent, and are being forced to endure an unacceptable amount of travelling so are probably exhausted too. He shouldn't be jumping on furniture etc but the partner shouldn't be making effort with this kid dependent on his behaviour.
Hmm.... my son has adhd and autism and is very similar sounding to your son. I love and accept him for who he is BUT hes never been allowed to bounce on the sofa or swing off doors, or bounce his body off the walls etc - all of which he'd love to do ha ha. Instead I bought him a trampoline and taught him what was acceptable in our house.
So on that score I can see where your partner is coming from. However it sounds like he doesn't like your ds, and that's very sad for the child that has to live with an adult who doesn't like them.
My DS now has a stepdad, he is more hands on than his own dad, loves all his little quirks, and is wonderfully accepting and supportive. He also wouldn't dream of suggesting we move out of town away from DS's dad.
Sorry to hear this. Whatever other people might think about sofas and doors, we all have different rules/boundaries and we also all know that sooner or later your son will grow out of that.
I have to say that I think your partner is not going to change. He's got a 'bee in his bonnet' about your son, and it's not going to go away. Lots of step-parents struggle with their feelings towards their stepchildren but it's a problem when the step-parent doesn't recognise that their feelings need addressing rather than the behaviour of the child, and that seems to be what's happening in your house.
Personally, and with all kindness, I'd say move back. How can you live with a man who says things like he'll only spend time with your son when your son learns to behave? What a nasty man. Your son is only 9. You have years and years left before he can move out and live on his own. Don't subject him to years and years of living with this bully of a man - he will lose all his self-esteem and self-confidence which in turn will damage his future.
Of course you can leave. You've done it once, now do it again, for the sake of your 9 year old, it's the right thing to do.