Step Mom cheers for opposing team rather than my son (her stepson)

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015 ( 67 moms have responded )

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Just recently my son had a basketball tournament at the home town of where his father and his stepmom lives. He is on the basketball team and lives in the current city that I live not them. During the game between my son's team and their (dad and stepmom) home team, my son's stepmom was cheering against my son and for the home team where her kids went to school, but we not playing against him being that her oldest are girls. My son, as well as, his friends noticed and were not happy Personally I feel this is way below the belt. What are your thoughts??

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Dove - posted on 01/27/2015

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You aren't listening to the FACT that all these women are telling you that there isn't a damn thing you can DO about it.... Unless the counselor thinks it is abuse and is willing to testify in court on your son's behalf... it doesn't matter what we think about her rules, or what you think about her rules, or what your son thinks about the rules. This is his life.... and whether you agree w/ it or not... doesn't make one shred of difference. Teach him that this is the way it is in his dad's house and if he is in his dad's house... he follows his dad's rules.... period.

He knows she sucks. You know she sucks. It sucks... but w/ you and the counselor as his emotional support team... you can teach him that whatever she says about him doesn't matter. HE is awesome no matter what she says... and yeah, he may need more counseling as an adult... but don't we all. ;) lol

Jodi - posted on 01/26/2015

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"What would you do if your child told you he wanted to commit suicide because he didn't want to go to his fathers?"

I would have the counsellor arrange a testimony for the court so that a guardian ad litum could be appointed to determine if this was an appropriate environment for my child to live. Have you done that?

But your child is not threatening suicide. He is making a cry for attention in a way he knows he can get the attention he wants. He just doesn't like the rules. He has identified that you support him on that because you think the rules are bullshit too, so he is using what he can to manipulate you emotionally to get his own way. Children of separated parents frequently use manipulation when they know their parents are not supportive of each other, and this sounds like one of those situations. He needs to be in counselling for making these threats, but they sound like cries to get his own way.

Raye - posted on 01/27/2015

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If your ex says he can't go to a friends' house because it's his day to spend time together, then the dad needs to do things with the son so it's quality time. If they're just watching TV, or whatever, then they could do that any time, and the boy should be allowed to play with his friends.

What goes on at the other household is definitely not your circus. You're only the ringleader of your own household. But you do have to deal with the aftermath and helping your son cope with the differences and treatment. It is some of the harsh realities of life. Most parents hope their kids can be shielded from such negativity, but sometimes it just doesn't happen that way.

I've had a couple bosses in my life that I could not stand to be in the same room with, yet I had to suck it up and do my job until different circumstances could be arranged (i.e. new job). We're all going to experience people with different personality styles, and your son learning early on how to get along with hateful people could help him in the future. You just have to help him get through it along the way.

Dove - posted on 01/27/2015

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But you can't change how she talks to him unless the counselor concludes that it is abuse AND is willing to testify on his behalf in court.

And it is also the father's right to not allow hanging out w/ friends on his time. Is it fair to your son? No, but we've already concluded that life is not fair and what one parent does in their home (barring provable abuse/neglect) is completely up to them.

I can understand you feeling like you need to bubble wrap your son. He had a rough start in life and his current circumstances are far from ideal... but you do him no favors by continuing to try and bubble wrap him. Again... it is up to YOU (since the other home doesn't seem willing) to empower your son. That's really all you can do at this point. Continuing on and on about what you do not like over there and how you feel about it... helps no one, certainly not your son.

Sarah - posted on 01/27/2015

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If the step-mom is mistreating your son, it should be coming up at counseling and handled by the therapist and his father. If there is abuse I am sure the therapist would identify that as well.
Weekends in our house are just as busy as weekdays, even busier with sports and scouts etc. If I prepare a meal at 6-7 and a child does not appear to eat it, that is their choice. All of my kids can make an egg or prepare a bowl of cereal for themselves and most importantly...clean up! I elect not to make my kids wait until lunch, but if they left a mess or expected me to clean up after them, they'd not be allowed to use the kitchen at all. It comes down to house rules. I don't think parents that impose a "kitchen is closed" policy are abusive. Was is kind to call your child chubby, absolutely not. Did your son tell her she hurt his feelings? Maybe she talks that way to her own kids.
Someone on this site made a great analogy about "not my circus and not my monkeys" I think it applies to this but I don't remember the explanation well enough to describe it now. Can anyone clarify?

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/27/2015

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He does need to find his voice with his dad, Amy, and I'm glad he's learning to do so. I'm also glad he's got a respite place (grandma's) during dad time, and that dad is letting that happen and work out.

Keep up with the counseling. Like Trish, I don't think that kicking SM out of counseling was teh thing to do (at least not entirely...keep her in a separate session, one geared towards blending and being a quality step parent)

If the counselors, and the GAL (and, yes, you spelled it correctly ;-) )are on the same page, this will help with the attorneys and court dates.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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I re-read your post and I see your support. i was on the phone when I read it the first time and I took it the wrong way. Sorry Shawn. I am working on things with our counselors, but it just seems she keeps jabbing my son in the back. He is soooo sensitive and takes everything she says or does to heart. His love from his father and me should be all that matters to him, but I think he feels betrayed by his dad that he doesn't talk to her about the way he treats him.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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I guess I didn't and I am glad I amused you...lol! I am trying to let her not bother me, but when my son is saddened because of her, that bothers me. He won't even get into a vehicle with her if she picks him. And yes I tell him he has too, but won't go. The cops have been called and he has stayed with me until his father picks him up. That to me seems that he has a major issue with her and not so much his father. He is starting to turn on his father tho, and I do not like it. I tell him his father loves him, but he says if he did he wouldn't be with her. "She is so mean mom" His grandma picks him up on his fathers day from school and he goes to her house until his dad gets home. He won't go home unless his dad is there, and if he leaves for some reason he goes to grandmas. He is never left alone with her. I feel there is more going on than what he is telling me. As I said below there needs to be a common consistency within the two households. Am I overreacting on some things? Probably. But on the other hand there are some that I am not.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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My sons counselor is trying to get him to use his voice and speak to his father about his feelings, which I think it is great. He is very shy and sensitive, but has a huge heart. He has heard them talk bad about me, and her children are not even allowed to speak to me.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/27/2015

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Actually, Amy, I read the entire thread, including all of your responses, which is why they were copied and pasted for each of my points. That you read a couple of sentences and determined, based on that brief sampling of my response, that you weren't going to "get into it", tells me a lot about your personality.

You asked for responses, opinions, etc. I try to address each point from each OP and her responses, in order to avoid confusion. Since you 'refuse to get into it', you may be missing input that you could use. Your choice, not mine, and really I'm amused by your refusal.

Never once did I attack your parenting style, nor did I say that you were in the wrong. Overreaching on a few things, yes, but you apparently chose not to read far enough to see the support.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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lol !!! I think he feels that his father is letting it happen. IDK...I personally feel she should come though.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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We have been discussing the educational bit and how to take my sons feelings into consideration. It is not what we as parents want all the time is what he said. She will be the topic of conversation next meeting, so we will see how he feels.

Trisha - posted on 01/27/2015

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That is weird. hat is the equivalent of me going to an couples counselling session without my husband, who is the self-admitted problem in our relationship. lol.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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The counselor said that his father and I needed to learn to co-parent together and not to do what others tell us to do. That is all he told me. My sons guardian ad litem (not sure if I spelled that right) said that the counselor said the same thing, and that the counselor told him she needed to back off. I personally feel that she could come to the co-parenting meetings with us, but we meet separately because I think the counselor wants to see who is telling the truth. I called him out on a bunch of lies. I suggested we all meet together, so we can discuss the issues at hand, but it has not happened yet. I think the counselor thinks that his father is going to go back and tell her what to do and not to do, but I think she should join us too. She is actually not allowed to take him or go to any appointment unless the dr. or therapist wants her there...court ordered.

Trisha - posted on 01/27/2015

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Everything is about consistency.
I don't understand how kicking the step mom - the cause of most of the problems for your son - out of counselling will have benefited anyone...

And just to make it clear, I am not saying there isn't consistency at your home. I am just offering the potential perspective of the step mom.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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Thanks Raye. Im sticking with the professionals on this one. As I do agree with some things that were said, but not all. And of course everyone has their own opinions.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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he does live a healthy lifestyle at my house. He has a bedtime, makes his own breakfast, does his laundry, has chores...etc. So saying there is no consistency at my house is ridiculous. There needs to be similar consistency within the two households for him to feel secure, and that is not happening. And Im guessing she does feel this way, but that is not what the counselor says. He has tried to speak up to him and he doesn't listen. So then I talk to his father, and he says things will change but they don't. My sons counselor actually made her stop coming to his appointments and told her she needed to back off, and let the parenting be up to his father and I.

Raye - posted on 01/27/2015

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Amy, you're going to get a lot of opinions on here. And you're not going to agree with some of them. That's ok. We're all just trying to give you a different perspective based on our own experiences. But each situation is different, and we can't say with 100% certainty what the problems might be or what the best way to fix them might be.

Thank you for sharing part of you and your son's experiences so that we can offer our suggestions. Now it's up to you to think about what was said, and see which parts of our advice make sense and can be helpful to you.

Trisha - posted on 01/27/2015

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Honestly Amy, the step-mom probably things that your son is a spoiled brat, and that you are responsible for him not living a healthy lifestyle, and his melt downs. She is probably trying to incorporate consistency - and she can offer him that there. She may just be trying to do good by him.
She probably disagrees 100% with your parenting skills, and she needs to hold all the children in her household to the same rules and stipulations that she holds her own children to - because that is what she found to work for them so far. In order to keep order in her home this is what she needs to do.
You might need to explain that to your son in that way. Your son needs to start learning to speak up to his father, instead of coming to you constantly about their problems, so they can come up with solutions for their household.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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You probably should have kept reading before you replied. There are things that I think are abuse/neglect and are not. like I sided OVER and OVER I know I cant change their rules, but it bothers me how she treats him. And yes I have witnessed her being demeaning to my son. As for the counselor he stated that his father does not take my sons feelings into consideration and that is why he is having meltdowns. And sorry for my misusage of words, the rules started when she moved in and by putting her in place I meant for him to talk to her and tell her she shouldnt treat his son like that. As for anythign else you wrote, I am not getting into it.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/27/2015

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“She has told my son he is chubby and he needs to start running with her. He is 10 and weighs 80 pounds”~~Ok, playing a bit of devil’s advocate…Perhaps, she was looking to start spending some time one on one with him, and thought running would be a good option. Without you actually witnessing the conversation, you don’t exactly know what was said. I’m not condoning shaming, or telling someone that they’re chubby, by the way, I’m just pointing out that you are a 3rd party getting the information.
“He is not allowed to use his cell phone at their house that I pay for”~~Well, considering he’s 10, and a cell phone is not a necessity, this is not unreasonable. However, not allowing any contact between you and he at all during his visits is not necessarily OK, either. That will probably need to be fully outlined when you request amended visitation orders..
“He is not allowed to eat sugar, drink soda, or even Gatorade”~~Oh, gracious! Call CPS…The kid is horribly ‘neglected’. Sorry, hon, but this is not abuse, this is watching out for calorie, sugar, and junk intake.
“He goes to bed at 8, the same time as her 4 and 7 year old”~~While this may seem early, bedtimes are flexible. If the house rule is 8 pm for anyone under the age of (for example) 12, then that’s the house rule. Your house rules are different. Your son needs to understand that, while he may not agree with a rule, he still needs to abide by the house rules.
“He is also not allowed to have a bedtime snack”~~Neither were my kids. Dinner & dessert…that’s enough in the evening.
“If he misses breakfast he’s not allowed to eat until lunch”~~Um…He’s 10. He can very easily grab himself a bowl of cereal, or a breakfast bar and glass of milk, and be just fine. If he wants prepared breakfast, he’ll learn to get up.
“How would you feel if your so called parent went to watch you at a game and they were cheering against you, and he is supposed to live with her part of the time”~~Was his father cheering for him? He’s the parent that ‘counts’, not his wife. Yes, it is upsetting when one doesn’t have the full support of a step parent, but the cruel reality of the situation is that she is her own person, and if she doesn’t feel moved to support your son, you cannot force her to do so. As I said before, it’s a lesson that we all need to learn. Also, as previously stated, she may have known players on the other team, and may be one of their regular supporters.
~~Any allegations of abuse need to be religiously documented. If they are not documented, you cannot present them as a possible problem.
“I dont agree with their rules and I know there is nothing I can do about it. I have talked to his father and he tells me the rules are going to be changed but never are. The thing is these rules were never enforced until she moved in. BTW..a candy bar won't hurt a child once in a while, or even a bag of chips. Let kids be kids!”~~We get it. You don’t agree with their rules, or their parenting practices. We understand that. You say that you know there’s nothing you can do, but you don’t seem to ACCEPT that fact. When you say that the rules “weren’t enforced until she moved in”…that’s a huge common issue among blended families. Usually one parent isn’t enforcing reasonable disciplinary boundaries and house rules, and the ‘new’ parent firms up those boundaries and enforces rules, and the kids (and other parents) aren’t happy. The facts are: Those are the house rules. They differ from your house rules. Respect each set of rules, and follow the appropriate set for the house that you’re in. Oh, and BTW…Nope, a candy bar once in awhile isn’t the end of the world. If you want to let your kid consume sweets at your home, that’s up to you. The other rule is no sweets, and he needs to live with it in his father’s home.
“What would you do if your child told you he wanted to commit suicide because he didn't want to go to his fathers?”~~I’d have him, myself, and dad in counseling sessions to get it sorted.
“And the counselor is on my side, unlike all of you”~~This is just plain funny. What a junior high tactic! Just because we are seeing two sides, and not automatically jumping on your wagon…
“He also owes me $800 dollar in the last year because he will not pay for anything...school lunch, rec fees, sporting uniforms, etc”~~Totally separate issue that should have already been addressed in court orders.
“He does not study with him or encourage him to study”~~Not abuse, certainly…not necessarily a supportive parent, but not abuse. And, at the age of 10, the kid should be responsible enough to study on his own, asking for help if necessary.
“She compares my son to her kids and asks him why he can't be as smart as them”~~Everyone compares kids to each other. The second half of the sentence isn’t right, but the comparison thing…everyone does it. I compare my two kids to each other. Mainly to tell the youngest that he’s doing better than the oldest did, and not in a derogatory manner, but the comparison happens. Should she be saying “why can’t you be as smart”…well, no, again, needs to be addressed with your ex, and handled. If not, another thing to bring up with attorneys.
“His father has also video taped him when he was having a meltdown instead of figuring out the problem and trying to fix it”~~I don’t see abuse here, either. I see a parent, trying to figure out what’s causing a meltdown, and using the video to demonstrate to the child (who is old enough to stop with the meltdowns and use actual words to communicate his distress) that melting down isn’t helping.
“They eat breakfast at 7... I wouldn't say getting up at 7:30 is laying in bed all day”~~Well, not necessarily lazing around, but if breakfast happens at 7, and he wants hot breakfast, he’ll get up. If not, a bowl of cereal won’t kill him. If house rules are up and at table by 7, that is the house rules…again, its different from yours.
“I honestly wish his father would put her in her place and it would go back to how it was before she moved in. None of these rules or actions were made until she moved in, as I stated before.”~~No, actually what you said was that no rules were enforced until she moved in. Big difference. If she just started making sure rules were consistently enforced…well, it was long overdue, from the sounds of things. Furthermore, in this day and age, there is no “put her in her place”, and I cannot believe that YOU, as a female, actually went there with your comment. If you and your ex aren’t coparenting well, and you feel that she’s hindering that, it needs to be addressed, but you can’t expect her to be ‘put in her place’, like she’s some erring slave or something. How crass.
“It really bothers me that I cannot even talk to him on his fathers days because she won't let it happen and takes his cell phone away”~~I’m sure it does bother you, and him as well. Another thing for you and ex to address with your attorneys.
“No matter why he said he wanted to commit suicide broke my heart and scared me deep to the bones. I really feel there is much more going on than what he is telling me. Rules shouldn't be a reason why a kid would say that...he was 8 when it happened. And hiding and locking himself in my jeep, rules should not be a reason why he wouldn't want to go there”~~Yes, it should bother you, however, while I agree that rules shouldn’t be a reason to run/hide, and threaten suicide, for many children who’ve been consistently given into, a sudden enforcing of rules can be problematic, because they’re used to constantly having their own way. Furthermore, rules (or desire to not have rules enforced) are a perfect reason to ‘not want to go’. At least to a kid, it’s a perfect reason…
“When she and her kids moved in his rules should have stayed the same not change because she says so”~~Again, I’d like to point out that you initially stated that she started ENFORCING dad’s rules, not changing them. However, when any family blends, some rules will naturally change to fit the dynamic of the new family, and your ex should have been patient enough to explain the changes, and get everyone organized into new blended family counseling for the changes.
“The sad thing is she never cheers for him at any other game, nor does she tell him good job when the games are over. I still feel that what she did was demeaning. It just shows that he daughter's friends are more important to her that her own step son. Other parents from both teams commented to me about it, so there were other parents who felt it was wrong too. Honestly, you are the only moms that I have talked to that said that there was not an issue. Aren't step moms supposed to be mom figures...I guess not”~~More middle school tactics? We’re not the “only” moms in the world who think that you are overreaching a bit on the team support deal. You’re not the ‘only’ mom in the world to not get along with the ex’s new spouse, nor are you the ‘only’ mom in the world to disagree with their household policies…it happens all the time, all over. What we are telling you is that you are upset about HUMAN NATURE. You can’t force her to do things that are against her nature. Its not abusive to your kid if not everyone shows support of him. Do I agree with her tactics? No, but…again…YOU are the one to tell him he’s special. You and his dad.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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I do agree with you on that one. He has enough anxiety already, I really do not want to make it worse. I will do my best to control this but there are times that I will defend him and take his side. HIs father is not complying with anything the counselor is telling him to do, which makes me even more stressed, but like you said I need to stay focused on not getting worked up around my son. I feel his father needs to have a long talk with his wife, but he won't cuz he is scared of her...lol

Trisha - posted on 01/27/2015

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You might not think you are, but if you get worked up over the things he tells you then you are heightening his current anxiety. Even if you don't react, he will likely still be able to pick it up from you.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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Once again thank Raye!! It sucks that he has to live with negativity half the time and I cannot do a damn thing about, and yes I have to deal with the aftermath. And as for his dad doing quality things alone with him, as he is suppose by law (it in our stipulation) he does not. They do things as a family, or yes my son just sits and watches tv, etc.. It is not like he only sees him every other weekend...it is 50/50. So half the time he cannot hang out with his friends, which is not fair. But like you said life is not fair but it sucks he is treated like this at such a young age.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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I don't complain to my son about. I listen to what he has to say and tell him he has to follow the rules.

Right now if the counselor tells us something needs to be changed and the parent does not comply...it is contempt of court. I am getting ahold of our counselor to speak to him about her behavior towards my son. Hopefully he will try to make his father make changes, if he doesn't than it is contempt of court.

And thanks for the post Dove, you have been really helpful. Empowering him I am!!

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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So you are always suppose to treat you step kids like poop. He knows he has to follow the rules, and I have told him over and over again. I do not say anything to him about them, they are just different from our home. I get that! I guess I didn't realize a blended family was to put down and make your stepchildren feel like complete shit. And yes I have witnessed it and have told his father over and over again, but he says and does nothing.

If I had a small army living in my house the rules would probably be different too. As I said it is not the rules that bother me as much, and I am sorry I was "whining" about it, but I feel she needs to treat my son as she treats her own. She doesn't ignore her children in public or say deeming remarks to them, roll her eyes, etc....
I have also heard her tell my son he couldn't eat something because he was getting chubby and his dad laughed. I I then bought it for him so he could eat it. So it is not just my son telling me things, it is what I have seen personally.

and lets get off of the breakfast bit ...I feel completely different than most of you on that part and no one is going to change each others mind.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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Raye, his father tells me that he cannot go over to his friends house because it is his day and if he wants to see his friends he can see them on my day. It has nothing to do with misbehaving.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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As I have stated over and over again that I know I cannot change the rules in their house. That is not my main concern. How she treats him is. And I am not the one who is causing anxiety to my son.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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Thanks Raye!! I agree the rules he will have to deal with but demeaning my son he should not have to deal with. He has a very low self esteem and I doing what I can to improve it.

Even if he was chubby, which is is not even close, no parent should tell their child that ever. It can do great damage both mentally and physically.

Raye - posted on 01/27/2015

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Does he say why he's not allowed over to friends houses? Maybe, again, he's not following the rules and so he loses privileges.

You keep focusing on them "denying him food". But HE's the one that misses breakfast. Many kids are sent to bed without supper for misbehaving. This is the same thing. He won't starve. He will learn to be ready for breakfast, or he'll just have to wait.

Combining their meal-time rules with her allegedly calling him chubby and it seems like you're grouping two unrelated things. Depending on his height, at 80 lbs, he could still have a little baby fat. Obviously, she was not right to criticize him in that manner, but having never seen your son we are unable to determine the truth of her words.

If you have personally witnessed her putting your son down, then you need to speak to your ex about it, and tell him she should not be her treating your son differently than her own children. Rules are fine, but demeaning your son is not right. However, you still can't control her or control who your husband has a relationship with.

You keep working on his self-esteem and doing what you can to help him understand that he should follow their rules, even if they're strict.

Ev - posted on 01/27/2015

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Amy,

Did you ever stop to think that maybe this woman and your son just do not click at all? Maybe they do not care for each other. That does not mean he can have things like they are at your house at theirs. As for the rules coming into play at their house when she and her kids moved in, it was set up to cover all of them. And seven in one house is quite a lot especially when most of the population is kids. They have to have those rules to keep them all in line. I know this for fact. My son and daughter lived with one step mom who had 4 girls. The current step mom had only 3 boys to start but then she and their dad added 2 more children to the pack making it 7. But in that case from what my kids told me their dad and step mom (called the parents in this case) do not make the other kids mind at all, and when something was set to blame on someone it was usually my kids that got the brunt of it all. So, I can see why they would have set up rules from the get go. To keep some sort of control in the home. You said there were only 3 in your home so its much easier to keep control. More one to one time. Anyone with more kids than that has to work it all in. I read the last few posts since mine. I have to agree that you should not talk to kids in certain ways but it does not make it abuse. Sometimes people who come into our kids' lives do not know that the way they say something will be thought to mean something a bit more cruel sounding that what it was meant to be.

In the end we are all trying to say to slow down and back up out of the box and try to see it differently. You do not live in the house with that family. They have set rules and guidelines to run their house and it works for them and your son is going to have to comply. Whining about it is not going to get him breakfast when the kitchen is already closed for the time until lunch. They do not allow them to get into the fridge or cabinets after that fact to get anything and have to wait until lunch. It never hurt a child to miss a meal. As for cheering your son on, that is just something he is going to have to take up with her about through dad. But she and your son have got to come to terms with this too because he is part of that family and if she does not like him, you can not change that only he can. And she may not ever really like him. It happens but that does not mean she is being cruel or mean. Sounds like this is a typical blended family.

Trisha - posted on 01/27/2015

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If you feel that a candy bar is not a big deal, then let him eat them at your house. You need to let go of any sort of impression that you have control of the rules they have at their house.
They live a healthier lifestyle at their home than at yours. It probably ends up equaling out to be an 'ok' balance lifestyle in the end.
You really need to embrace the differences between the two houses. You are possibly causing a lot of unneeded anxiety for your son by not doing so, which is going to be very emotional and stressful.
At my house, if you are up for breakfast, then you can eat breakfast with the rest of the family. If you sleep in, then you miss it. It is a matter of meal planning and budgeting at our house, not about people getting fat. This way we can expect exactly how many groceries we will go through during the week.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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Dove, I know there is not anything I can do about it is I said many of times. I do tell my son he has to deal with the rules at his dads house. Honestly it is not about the rules, it is how she treats him. And thank you for your last paragraph. I am doing what I can to make him feel that he is the most amazing person in the world. It just really hurts that he has someone in his life that would treat him like this (Which I am not talking about the rules)

Oh and sorry I have a layer of "bubble wrap" on ....he was born 2 months early at 3 pounds and fought for his life. He has worked harder in his first 6 months of being born than most people do in all of their life.

And yes he is awesome!! Thanks Dove.
I guess I was venting a little too much

Being at two completely different households is very hard for him. They have 7 in their house and I have 3

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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I am not saying that the different rules are abuse, but telling him he is chubby, denying him food, comparing him vocally to her children are things that should never be done. He can't go over to friends houses of the town where he goes to school, but of course her kids can. When he is there, he is there and is not allowed to go anywhere else. And all of his friends won't go over there because of her. She doesn't even talk to him in public, which I have witnesses myself. So lets just through the rules out that I know I can't change and never said I was, I was venting. We used to get along until I witnessed how she treated my son in public and him coming home crying about her. She says nasty demeaning things to my son and roles her eyes at it, that is when she notices he is there.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2015

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Yes my son makes him own breakfast, lunches, and does his laundry. At fathers house he is not permitted to go in the fridge so if he misses breakfast by 15 min he cannot eat until lunch. And you think that is ok? Well I don't and you will not change my mind. You never deny growing children food!! He is seeing a counselor as so are his father and I, and our counselor says that his father does not take my sons feelings into consideration and that is why he has these meltdowns.

Raye - posted on 01/27/2015

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I am a step-mom. I cheer for my step-son at his baseball and basketball games. I can't imagine cheering for any other team unless I had kids on that other team, but I don't have ties to other cities/teams, so I am not in the same circumstance as your ex's wife.

My step-kids are 10 and 7 and they need to be ready for bed by 8pm on weekdays. We have story time to settle them down, and they are expected to have lights out around 8:30. Bedtime rules are not consistent at their mother's, and we often get the kids back cranky and tired because they didn't get enough sleep.

My husband also limits snacks and sugar (they still have most of their Halloween candy in the cabinet). They are allowed only non-caffeinated pop maybe 2-3 times a week. They are allowed chips occasionally, but snacks are usually healthier options like fruit.

Having different rules at different houses is not abuse. There are many times my step kids have total crying meltdowns over my husband enforcing the rules, but he also showers them with affection and they know he loves them. I love them too, and I make them follow their father's rules. And they would rather be with us than my husband's ex. She does not help them with their homework, science fair projects, etc. and she's their natural mother. There's a lot we don't like about her parenting, but nothing that we can pin down to abuse (although I feel she is neglectful in many ways). I can nit-pick about her all day long, but it wouldn't do any good.

As far as what your son tells you about how he's treated at their house, it really does all come down to perception. My sister and I both thought our mom was easier on the other than she was to ourselves. So, it might seem to your son that his step-mom's kids don't have the same rules when actually they do. They've lived with her rules longer, so it's not the same adjustment that your son is experiencing. If he didn't have many rules before, it certainly is a big deal to him that now he does have to obey all these new demands. Yes, parents and step-parents should be supportive and nurturing to their kids, but they also should be teaching them responsibility and that not following rules has consequences.

What it boils down to, is you love your son. You don't want him mistreated. And maybe you can't quite be objective with people doing things differently than yourself. I agree with Jodi, that your son may be manipulating you emotionally to get his own way. He may not even be doing it consciously. But you have to let some of the animosity toward your ex and his wife go, for your own sanity and that of your son.

Michelle - posted on 01/27/2015

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Why can't he make his own breakfast? Does he do his own laundry? Make his own lunches?
My 2 older ones do and have for the last 3 years and they are now 13.5 and 11. I am teaching my boys to be independent. Even my 5yo daughter can make herself breakfast.
I
m with Jodi and I don't bubblewrap my kids either. If I make breakfast on the weekend and the boys sleep through it then tough luck, they can get themselves something or wait until lunch.
If the rules at Dad's is they have breakfast at 7 then he should get up and have it with them or go without. That's their rules, not a problem really! He has to follow their rules just as much as he has to follow yours.
Like I said, if he is seeing a counsellor and they have feel he is being abused then they have to report it, if they don't see it as abuse then they won't.
I feel you would benefit from counselling as well to learn the most effective ways to co parent.
It's hard but it can be done, the lines of communication have to open though to work effectively.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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Thank you Evelyn for the advice. As you said I am his sounding board, and do tell him that it is his dads house and his dads rules. It just bothers me that all these rules came about when she moved in, but like you said I cannot do anything and I know that. It is very stressful to try to co-parent when he is not willing to cooperate. I know you all think that I am being picky, but some things should never be said to a child and one child should never be compared to another. Each child is their own person and should not be looked down because they are different or are not as smart in school.I still feel that as a step mom she should have cheered for my son, her children were not playing. So she was not rooting for her kids at all. I have heard all of your thoughts but I still think it is wrong. The co-parent counsellor has stated that his father and stepmom are not taking his feelings into consideration and this is why he is having the issues behaviorally. If his feelings get hurt so do mine.

Ev - posted on 01/26/2015

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Amy,

I just read all these comments. I also have had to share custody with a father who had other ideas on what was important and not. He chose to give his step kids from 2 other marriages after me more attention than our own and they lived at his house! They came to me time after time complaining about things and I let them. But I also told them I could not control dad's house and rules and gave them ideas how to handle sitauations on their own or how to approach their dad and step moms. I played sounding board to them so they had someone to listen. To me after reading all this, you are finding so many things to pick at. You can not do that. You need to just deal with what is what. My ex was not co-parenting with me at all when it came to the kids. I tried to be on the same level so many times. It just never happened. But I was there for my kids to listen to them and be there for them. They learned over time to become independent and to handle things on their own. At the age of 10 or 11, a child is more than capable of taking on some responsiblity of their own. An 8 pm bedtime is not at all that bad for that age because they need a lot of sleep still. My daughter at 13 had to be in her room at 8:30 pm. She did not have to be asleep but in bed and getting settled down for the night. Now, with the not cheering for him at a game at her hometown game, its not that big a deal. If she is rooting for her kids and so on, why not? Just give your son what you can give him and encourage him. Be that sounding board and offer advice. And when my son was his age and about 80 lbs. he was a bit big for his age and height. But he did grow so he lost the weight. I think you are picking too much like the others said. I also think you are looking for something to use against them so you can have things changed around.

Dove - posted on 01/26/2015

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I just read to the 'what would you do if your child said they were suicidal' part? I'd take them straight to the ER... and would not leave w/out a psych evaluation and a plan to HELP the child... even if that meant having them go inpatient for a while.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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And I am not going to force her to do anything, it just showed my son just exactly how much she means to him. I would think that if her daughters played against my home team he would cheer for his stepdaughters, being that my son was not on the other team.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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Shawn, it just showed me that her daughter's friends were more important than her stepson. And it truly bothered my son, as I understand.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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The sad thing is she never cheers for him at any other game, nor does she tell him good job when the games are over. I still feel that what she did was demeaning. It just shows that he daughter's friends are more important to her that her own step son. Other parents from both teams commented to me about it, so there were other parents who felt it was wrong too. Honestly, you are the only moms that I have talked to that said that there was not an issue. Aren't step moms supposed to be mom figures...I guess not

This is just a reply to what I have posted above, this does not include anything that was stated below. I feel she is a horrible person and treats my son like dirt, and his father is letting her get away with it. He should not be treated differently nor compared to her children, but he is and it breaks my heart.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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No matter why he said he wanted to commit suicide broke my heart and scared me deep to the bones. I really feel there is much more going on than what he is telling me. Rules shouldn't be a reason why a kid would say that...he was 8 when it happened. And hiding and locking himself in my jeep, rules should not be a reason why he wouldn't want to go there.

I know he loves his dad, but he has told be he has hated her repeatedly. When she and her kids moved in his rules should have stayed the same not change because she says so, but like you said I cannot do anything. His life at his fathers was turned upside down and he is having major issues coping with it, to which I understand.

As his parents we need to come to a happy medium so he life at both households are close to being the same, as they used to be before she moved in.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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They eat breakfast at 7... I wouldn't say getting up at 7:30 is laying in bed all day.

Sorry for the last 2 things I mentioned ...paying or studying ...they are not abuse
But there is a thing called educational neglect, which is going on at his fathers house.

And just because I feed my child when he gets up does not mean that he is not going to be independent. He has chores he has to do around the house...and has to get them done before he can play.

I don't want to argue with you and yes it does come down to perception.

I just feel that she needs to watch what she says and does around my child. He can't even have friends over, but of course her kids can.

I honestly wish his father would put her in her place and it would go back to how it was before she moved in. None of these rules or actions were made until she moved in, as I stated before.

It really bothers me that I cannot even talk to him on his fathers days because she won't let it happen and takes his cell phone away.

Jodi - posted on 01/26/2015

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Amy, I am not denying my children food. They are making choices that result in them missing out. It's just like the choice a child makes to not eat their dinner because they are going to be fussy. To be perfectly honest, they've missed out such a minimal amount of times because instead, they actually make the choices that result in them being able to get up in time for breakfast. So instead of being cruel, they have learned that they can't just lay around in bed all day and expect the world to fall at their feet. I guess it comes down to perception, doesn't it? Bubble wrap doesn't exist in my house. Now ask me when the last time was I had to wake my children for school......and ask me if I've ever had to wake one of my children to get up to go to their job. I WILL have independent young adults in my home and it has to start somewhere.

If your son is missing breakfast, then he needs to make different choices. It is an issue of personal responsibility. An 11 year old is not too young to take personal responsibillity for his choices.

Not paying you for anything is not abuse. If you have an issue with him not making his payments, file for child support orders. If it is already ordered, then file for contempt. But it is not abuse.

Not studying with him or encouraging him to study is also not abuse. Not particularly supportive, but not abuse. If it were abuse, half the students I teach would be in foster homes or state care.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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There are other things that have happened that I have not got into that I feel are emotional abuse, but I am guessing you don't.

She compares my son to her kids and asks him why he can't be as smart as them. His father has also video taped him when he was having a meltdown instead of figuring out the problem and trying to fix it. She has also called the cops on me because I entered her house when the babysitter was there, mind you my son asks for me to come in and help him gather his clothes to go to my house.

So I guess the whole not cheering for my son at his basketball game is just something that was an irritant.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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I just think it is bad that you deny your children food, but they are your children not mine. I am stating my opinion.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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He is seeing a therapist!! CPS was told about the one physical incident but there was not enough evidence. I was actually told by many lawyers that there are no laws to protect the child.

I am not trying to be mean but I feel it is terrible that you deny your children food, that is my opinion though. They are your kids not mine.

And as for the counsellor, he understands where I am coming from.

He also owes me $800 dollar in the last year because he will not pay for anything...school lunch, rec fees, sporting uniforms, etc...

He also does not study with him or encourage him to study.

Jodi - posted on 01/26/2015

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So I am a terrible mother because once breakfast is packed up, it's packed up. Meh. Whatever. Yes, I tell them too bad. Natural consequence of not getting your ass out of bed. It's not like they are babies and need me to wake them.

Noone suggested having a candy bar or packet of chips occasionally was harmful, but if these are the rules in her house, then there is nothing wrong with that either and you need to STOP backing your son on this argument - no candy or junk food while at dad's. He needs to get over it and you need to tell him to stop whining about it.

And counsellors don't take "sides". If they do that, they aren't doing their job.

Sarah - posted on 01/26/2015

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If your child is suicidal, he should be seeing a therapist. Even if he isn't thinking of hurting himself, if he is as unhappy and stressed as you describe, he should be treated. Then as Michelle pointed out, if there is abuse the counselor is obligated to report to CPS. If you have brought up these concerns at a co-parenting counselor, why have they not been addressed?

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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He is seeing a counselor!! As so are his father and I and the counselor is on my side unlike all of you

Amy - posted on 01/26/2015

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No her daughters were not there.

And I feel denying children food is outrageous. So you are telling me that you will not feed your children if they miss breakfast?? They are hungry and you tell them too bad?? That is terrible!! And 80lbs for a 10 year old is small. My son does not need to lose weight at all.

I dont agree with their rules and I know there is nothing I can do about it. I have talked to his father and he tells me the rules are going to be changed but never are. The thing is these rules were never enforced until she moved in.

BTW..a candy bar won't hurt a child once in a while, or even a bag of chips. Let kids be kids!

What would you do if your child told you he wanted to commit suicide because he didn't want to go to his fathers?

Michelle - posted on 01/26/2015

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I agree that emotional abuse is just as damaging. Get your son into counselling if things are that bad. It will give him the tools to be able to deal with things better. If things are really bad then the counsellor should be a mandatory reporter and they can report it to CPS if they feel it's needed.

Jodi - posted on 01/26/2015

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Ah, so now we are pulling the physical abuse card. How many posts in, noone is agreeing with you that this is unreasonable, and now you pull the abuse card. If it is that bad, have a counsellor appointed by a court to do an assessment.

No, telling a kid he is chubby is not ok, as I said, there are different ways of approaching the issue. However, you also said this is what your son is telling you. Maybe she didn't quite say it that way but that was his perception (which is still valid, but maybe she isn't aware that this is the way he is perceiving it).

Ultimately, however, most of these things you listed as "emotional abuse" of your son are NOT emotional abuse.

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