Did I do the right thing?

Sherri - posted on 11/14/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My SS and his mother are in this constant state of unrest. After the death of TWO loved ones, his mother taking NO interest in his emotional welfare. He was at camp and in another province most of the summer. He was scheduled to see his mother for 2 weeks (broken up) in the summer. He was with her from Sunday night to Wednesday the second week. She brought him home on Wednesday to do his paper route and then refused to bring him back the other 2 days, so he came home. That was the end of August. Then, she was scheduled to see him the second week of September and she cussed him out, swore at him, told him not to come for the weekend, promply hung up on him and deleted him from her facebook friends simply because he gave her hell and asked her (upset but respectfully) why she didn't call him and/or care that his aunt had just died. Seriously... he was sitting 3 feet away from me during this conversation. Then he was at cadet camp and then we were in Florida, so she didn't see him for 11 weeks. Here's the kicker.... she lives TEN minutes away from us and a 5 minute walk from his cadet corps.

Bio moms mother died on Haloween. Bio mom actually wanted my SS to go over to her house that night because she was "all alone". My SS didn't want to deal with it and chose to go to the movies with his girlfriend instead. He told me he didn't want to go and was worried that she'd be mad at him and I told him that his mother is an adult and can phone a friend if she didn't want to be alone and that it was not his responsibility to make his mother feel better. I also told him that people grive in their own way and at their own pace and if he felt that he needed to take some time and absorb the info and blow off some steam, well, he's entitled to that. She was PISSED at him for it which is so selfish. She then left the following day (Sunday) and came back Saturday and didn't call him until MONDAY. Honestly..... didn't bring him to his own grandmothers funeral... nothing.

So, this brings us to the other day. My SS got busted taking things that don't belong to him. Nothing huge, he just took my hand lotion and a flashlight..... fine. BUT, he took them out of a closed drawer in my nightstand in my room. So, I gave him hell for it and expressed that if he wants to use something of mine, he's to ask and not take and that my room is off limits. Futhermore, I told him that if he does use something of mine, he's to return it or he won't be using my things.... simple, no? So, I guess given everything that's been going on lately, he'd supressed some emotions and UNLOADED on us. So, he got himself grounded. Then he decided to give me a half hearted sorry. I accepted his apology and 2 hours later, he wants off his grounding. He was of course told no. That a "sorry" doesn't all of a sudden void the punishment. So, he flipped out, screaming that he hates me, hates it here and wants to go live with his mother..... lemme tell you, that STUNG. I'm the primary caregiver to that kid and have been for 5 plus years..... talk about being unappreciated.

So, I did something and looking back, I'm not sure if I did it as a wake up call or out of malice because I was hurting and I wanted to hurt him back. I told him that he wouldn't survive 3 months with his mother because she can't handle a simple argument on the phone with him, shuns him like a lepor and deletes him from facebook for voicing his feelings and opinions (even when he does it in a respectful way). I reminded him that his mother gives up weekends with him when he has cadet events becuase she finds getting him to mandatory events too inconvenient. I reminded him that she rarely calls him. I reminded him that she's never been to a parent/teacher interview, or asked to take him out for dinner (only living 10 minutes away, you'd think that a mother would want to see her son more than 4 days a month), or not once been to his cadet practices 5 minutes (walking) from her house and reminded him that he doesn't even so much as have a bed at her house (he sleeps on the couch). At the end of those few things, I REALLY lost it. I told him that his mother took us to court a year ago to enforce visitation (we ceased her visits when police were called for a domestic disturbance, she refused to give us any info, assure us of his safety, go to counselling or tell us where she was living). I told him that his mother wrote in her application that she believes it's in his best interest to continue to live with us and only see her every other weekend, so she obviously doesn't want him living there. He said "she says she does and that YOU guys are being controlling". So, I drove home my point and said "Fine. If your mother wants custody so badly, this weekend when you see her, tell her to throw down a few thousand bucks and take us to court for custody"... knowing full well that she doesn't and won't. I started to walk away and turned back. I told him that I wasn't out to get his mother. I told him that it's OK and that he should love his mother and see her and have a relationship with her, but he needs to be realistic about where he's best off living and that if he'd just follow the 4 rules of our house, he would have no cause to be miserable or "hate it here".

I don't know if I did the right thing. I'm just honestly SO sick of her playing the victim, manipulating her 13 year old son, emotionally crippling him to the point he still hasn't todl her that he's had a girlfriend for 2 months and both of them making us out to be the devil and acting like she cares or things would be so friggin' rosey over there. She doesn't want him and doesn't care. She sees him living there as big dollar signs (my husband makes a good living and child support would be in excess of $450/month) and she wants to be seen as the good guy and wants him to "pick" her. It's not a friggin contest. She needs to care about what's best for him... maybe when he steals, ground him instead of giving him video games. She wants to be the "hero" instead of being a parent and it makes me wanna SCREAM!

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Betty - posted on 11/17/2010

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This probably won't be the last time he says he want's to live with his mom. Next time he says it just say "ok, I'll call her and let her know" and just let him go. He will want to come back or be kicked out within a week anyway. Just let her rescue him if she wants to.
I've seen this behavior play out with my own eyes over the span of a few years. My cousin's mom was mean to her so she decided to live with my family. Her mother allowed it but any time my cousin would get in trouble for something her mom would 'rescue' her, then somthing would happen over there and she would be back in tears. This went on until my aunt died from cancer. She is now married and has two sons who call my mom "grandma" and she is very close with my mom now. We refer to eachother as sisters too. My 'sister' turned out great and so will your son. I know it's hard having to deal with a 'hero' but I promise he will be fine and the two of you will be good friends when he's grown up.

Heidi - posted on 11/17/2010

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I have to admit that you being so honest and upfront with him was probably the best thing you could have done. It may have hurt his feelings or upset him but he is certainly old enough to know the truth.

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11 Comments

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Kimberly - posted on 12/02/2010

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I think u did the right thing. Keep us updated as to how things are going.

Trudy - posted on 11/26/2010

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same here she loves to keep the drama *as i call it* going all the time sounds like the same situatation here she doesn't enforce none of the rules and when they were here we had rules of keeping clean and doing the home work respect was the BIG issue here neither kid wanted to respect me as the step parent. i dont have to listen to you because your not my mom type of thing . talking stuff behind my back but what the oldest didn;t know is the people she was talking to about stuff going on here and about me was friends of mine so need less to say it got back to her dad and I. and then the mother her self is something to be desired i tell ya she has been in trouble with the law more then once and is known for drugs but of course the courts are not seeing past all this stuff if you have yahoo chat or anything let me know i would love to chat sometime i just feel kinda helpless when it comes to this kinda stuff because there is nothing i really can do my husband has went through alot beacuse of the kids and the ex-girlfriend(mother of the 2kids) and its hard to find people to chat with that is or has gone through the same thing.

Kirsten - posted on 11/26/2010

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I know exactly how you feel. My SS is 9 and we go through the same thing. His mom wants to be the "cool parent" and doesn't discipline at all so the few rules/expectations we have, she tells him we are "mean". I guess keeping clean and doing well in school are pretty crazy expectations but hey if she hadn't signed him away to my hubby he would be living with her. She has been keeping us in court over custody but breaks every order put in place. The most frustrating is that the orders are not enforceable except going through court so we live in this cycle of unrest and difficulty. I feel your pain. Hang in there :)

Trudy - posted on 11/25/2010

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i think you did the right thing i myself am a step parent of 2 a step daughter and step son both decided they wanted to live here the summer after husband and i had a child together they kept telling there dad we want to come live with you then after almost a year his son started acting up getting trouble in school and at home so his father had a officer come talk to him about his behavior well of course days following he wanted to go back to his mom (in which my hubby there father told them from day one he would Never keep them away from there mom) so he let his son go back to his mom so then it was this past feb. his daughter decided she wanted to go back to her moms also due to she was not wanting to do her home work or chores and she was not wanting to listen to us at all . she told her dad she is 14 she should be able to do what she wants when she wants and how she wants. so there again as i said before he promised from day one that he would never keep them away from there mom so he let her go back .. now the son is seeing what we were talking about and is regretting moving back with his mom and the daughter still has the attuide with everyone its very hard when you have the bio mother letting them do what ever they want to do and so now of course dad(my hubby) is the bad guy because bio mom lets them do whatever they want and be out of control and dad has rules at his house that they have to go by. the 14 step daughter wasnt aloud to date when she lived here because of being so boy crazy and now that she is with mom again she is aloud . thats what her mom told her to get her to move back up there with her was she could have a boyfriend and date at the age of 14 even after dad and bio mom talked about it and both agreed she shouldn't have a boyfriend till she was 16. both of the kids have issues of listening to authorty figures (in which the mother has the same problem) has been in trouble with the law before several times(the bio mother ). so i feel what your go through makes me want to scream because these kids(my stepkids) are playing one parent against the other and i even told my husband that is what they were doing . and now he is seeing it because the only time they call him or want to come around him is when they want something from him in which its sad for everyone invloved. our daughter together is 3 and she is having a great deal of issues with it doesn't understand why they won't come around or call and talk to her she keeps saying to us they don't love me. and we try to reassure her that they do that they just wanted to go live with there mommy . but at 3 wondering what she really understand of it.

Nickie - posted on 11/22/2010

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I think telling him the truth is a good thing, but not when you're upset or angry. He deserves the whole truth, but odds are he already has an idea of what his mother really is. Often times, the kids will try to defend the not-so-good parent because they know they're not good, or because they are absent. I think they feel like they have to defend them otherwise that parent won't love them. I've had a similar situation, but not with a step-child. My ex was a jerk to my boys; only wanted them around when he 'had time' and then wasn't much of a parent. The boys defended him at all costs, until they got older and realized exactly what was what. Kids hear and pick up on more than we realize, especially when it comes to an absent parent.

Lana - posted on 11/20/2010

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i know that feeling only to well at 13 years old he is going through puberty and grieving all in all he his an emotional wreck. If you still have them and you think it would help him see what you are saying try showing him the court documents instead of telling him whats in them show him. It might work but still encourage the contact with his bio if that is what he wants

Sherri - posted on 11/19/2010

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We tried that route and had to pull him out. At 10 years old, he was left home for hours on end; even made to cook his own dinners because she was out. We found out about it because his teacher called us with the concerns, so we forced him to move back home. He loved living there because there were no rules, he didn't have to do his homework or brush his teeth and TV, internet and video games were at his discresion, not hers. Instead we just tell him "we have custody, not your mother. This is where you live and you can live as happily or as miserably as YOU choose to. Simply follow the rules and you will have the privleges that you so desire. If you're not happy with your situation, you need to take steps to follow the rules and you will find that your situation improves." My biggest fear is that we call his bluff and tell him to go and he goes and because we weren't strong enough to stand our ground, we seal his fate. His mother wouldn't make him go to school and wouldn't make sure he's eating properly etc. It would be sending him to an abusive situation and I can't bring myself to do that simply because it would be easiest. That's what his mother would do. So conflicted.

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I think you did the right thing, though it may have been better said in a more controlled environment and with your hubby there as well. BUT, things can't be changed and I do think your SS probably needed to hear those things any way. He's old enough now for some truth, especially if he's been thinking that you guys are the "bad guys" all these years. I don't believe that kids need to know everything, but I will also never lie to my daughter if she asks me straight out.

We recently had to tell our oldest (my sd - she lives with us 99.99% of the time) a little truth about her bio mom (we never lie, but we also don't tell her everything). We found out that 3 years ago, the bio mom told our daughter that my hubby was the one that did the leaving and "stole" our daughter from her (the bio mom). Our daughter has been living with this for 3 YEARS and it ust recently came out to us in this huge emotional outburst (she's 8 now). So, we felt we HAD to set her straight. We sat down with her and explained that her mother was the one that did the leaving (she actually left twice, but we didn't say that...) and her mother was the one who chose to move halfway across the country. Our daughter is doing better now, but it just breaks my heart that she had lived with that lie for 3 years. :(

Heidi - posted on 11/14/2010

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this is just my opinion, but i think you did the right thing in telling him the truth, it was what he needed to hear.
we are always completely open with our kids about everything.
in the end its his choice who he believes, and heres to hoping its you.
lots of sympathy coming your way.

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