How should I respond to DS 13 criticism of DH ( his DF)

(17 Posts)
rookiemere Mon 11-Nov-19 08:55:52

So DS is 13 and an only child.Fairly typical teen boy, bit moody, rooms a mess, plays on his X box a lot but also plays sport and is out with friends.

As is common with most teens, he is pulling away from his parents. I've read a few books about communication with teens so I like to think I'm doing the right thing, but he is very critical of DH. Now to be fair DH can be tricky- he does tend to turn conversations into learning points and repeats things.

The question is what should I say when DS moans about DH. I want DS to feel supported and listened to, so I try to keep fairly neutral but I also don't want to be disloyal to DH. I refuse to be piggy in the middle and carry tales back to DH - DS has asked me to ask him not to come to parents evening but I won't do that as it's a mean thing to ask, but also I do kind of know where he's coming from. I use parents evening as an opportunity to ask lots of questions about progress and how we can support DS but DH likes to talk instead.

So those who have been through this, whats the best approach?

OP’s posts: |
Grannybags Mon 11-Nov-19 08:59:43

I think it’s fine to talk about the Parents eve issue with your husband - your son has a valid point. Will your husband listen or does he think he is always right?

rookiemere Mon 11-Nov-19 09:05:48

Hard to say Grannybags. DH may listen and agree with me, but then his natural personality takes over. I just kick him under the table and he tends to shut up.

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Grannybags Mon 11-Nov-19 09:08:28

Look out for a bit of an alpha male power struggle in the next few years too! If it’s any consolation my DSS didn’t speak hardly a word between the ages of 15-19. He’s now a doting dad himself and has a great relationship with his father.

BadgertheBodger Mon 11-Nov-19 09:09:10

I’d be tempted to have a full and frank conversation with DH. If he’s upsetting his son at 13 it’s not going to magically get better over the next few years so I think it’s important to get it right at this point. Sounds a bit like DH needs to acknowledge that DS is a person in his own right and learn to communicate better. As the adult, it’s on him to absorb that and remedy the situation.

rookiemere Mon 11-Nov-19 09:10:52

I could try getting DH to read one of the books I've got I suppose.

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lljkk Sat 16-Nov-19 07:32:38

Families bitch about each other. It's pretty normal.


larrygrylls Sat 16-Nov-19 07:40:50

Personally, I would back your husband up. It is impossible to be a parent while being constantly undermined by the other parent. If you really don’t trust your husband to go to a parents’ evening, you should not stay with him. Allowing a (young) adolescent to decide who he wants there is a recipe for disaster. What if it is you next year, or both of you, that he does not want?

As for his criticism, again he may be complaining about you to your husband at some point. How would you want him to react?

BlueCowWonders Sat 16-Nov-19 07:52:46

Ive been on a few 'how to talk to your teens' classes (like NCT for parents of big children!)
Dd said to me in passing recently that it would be good to send dh on one...
Sounds like your DH needs to realise that the way he's communicating with his son isn't working at the moment. You'd hope he'd be open to the understanding that children grow up and can't be lectured

sandgrown Sat 16-Nov-19 08:04:53

My partner has no idea how to parent a teen. I think he uses the example of his own father who I believe was a bombastic ex military policeman. DP' s parenting style is stuck in the 50s. There have been so many rows over the last few years and I have been stuck in the middle .They did not really speak for a year. DS is now 17 and bigger than his dad and he has finally started to get respect from his dad as an adult . They get on so much better now and it's good to see.
I feel , with boys particularly, it's like in the animal kingdom when the leader of the herd is challenged by the young buck. Don't get me started on teenage girls ???

HeyNotInMyName Sat 16-Nov-19 11:29:02

I dint like this idea of comparing teens with their dad with the animal kingdom tbh.

@rookiemere I think you need to have a talk with your DH. It’s not about you being pig in the middle or telling tales (that would be going back to playground antics).
It’s about communicating with your DH about your ds struggles. I think it’s great that he feels he can confide in you. If he has a point re his dad (and he might or might not depending on what he is complaining about) the you need to discuss that your DH. Turn the tables and imagine your ds was complaining about you to his dad, wouldn’t you want to know about it?
This is very different from agreeing with your ds, putting your DH down when he isn’t there etc.... THAT would be disloyal and disrespectful. Telling your DH he is failing and how it makes your ds feel is not.

HeyNotInMyName Sat 16-Nov-19 11:33:55

@rookiemere, what I have also noticed is the fact you dint seem to think your DH is ever going to change. You don’t seem to think he will nor that he will actually read any of the books to try and understand better how to communicate with your ds.

I think it’s sad tbh.

I also think that your DH is still stuck in ‘I am the parent if a child/toddler’ rather than ‘I am the parent of a teen’ which doesn’t help. He probably needs a reminder that his ds is growing up. In itself' i suspect it would make a big difference. Could you have a conversation around the idea that ‘now ds is 13yo, we can leave him more freedom and responsibilities’, including the freedom to make the wrong choices (and to repair them/learn from them rather than getting a lecture)?

IWorkAtTheCheescakeFactory Sat 16-Nov-19 11:37:20

Yeah you need to talk to your DH and not just accept this is who he is and won’t change. He risks cutting off the relationship with his son if he can’t take on board these valid concerns. This is a DH problem, not a DS problem. Tackle the problem, not the symptom.

rookiemere Sat 16-Nov-19 11:38:47

Yes I guess I could have a chat with DH. He always means well, there's no malice in what he does at all but struggles with the idea that DS needs to make some of his own mistakes and learn things ( within some boundaries of course).

I've reborrowed back my book "I never want to speak to you again but first give me and Alex a lift into town" as I'm struggling a bit with DS at the minute myself - nothing major just usual teenage messiness and lack of forethought and consideration. I'll suggest that DH has a look at it as well - I doubt he will but perhaps then we can have a chat.

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rookiemere Sat 16-Nov-19 11:41:04

Also for some of the earlier comments, DH is not awful, its a combination I think of DS naturally breaking away from us and being hyper aware of anything that could reflect on him and DH being a bit less reflective than he could be I suppose.

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GrumpyHoonMain Sat 16-Nov-19 11:41:40

I agree that you need to have your DH’s back. Teens can be really manipulative - he knows you disagree with your DH’s parenting style and as you’re the soft parent he’s trying to use it to his advantage by driving the tough parent out of the picture.

You need to remind your DS that he has two parents and that if he disagrees with anything at 13 he’s old enough to talk to his dad about the issue.

IWorkAtTheCheescakeFactory Sat 16-Nov-19 11:45:35

Now to be fair DH can be tricky- he does tend to turn conversations into learning points and repeats things.

He needs to cut this out. His son isn’t a project. He’s a person, with a personality, interests, conversation. If your DH ever expects to be able to sit and have a coffee or pint with his son he needs to cut that crap out. I’m 33 and have never once been for coffee or out to lunch with my mum because every single interaction we had when I was growing up was pointed. I could never talk to her about things like having a row with a friend because she would take that as a problem I had to fix, address my mistakes in the row, tell friend what she needed to say to be friends again etc. And I would walk away feeling stressed about having to go and do all this “work” to my friendship rather than my mum just hugging me (ha!) and saying “ahh don’t worry, you’ll be friends again soon”. Conversations are still the same now. She never just chats- it all has to have a point or be fixed or have a learning outcome.

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