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Please help if you can......

Old 01-17-2011, 09:24 AM
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Please help if you can......

This just happened and I typed it up so I wouldn't forget the details so I could take it to my counselor, but also wanted all of your input too:

Friday evening at 11:24 pm my son was with my AH and my son text me to ask me if he could spend the night at his friend's house the next night and I said no because he already spent the night at a friendís on Thursday. He was angry and text: But mom it wasnít even a sleep over we went to bed at midnight. I responded See you tomorrow love you he responded Whatever Mom bye.

When I saw him on Saturday he said during our conversation about spending the night at the friendís that he and his father had already discussed it the previous weekend and his dad said yes and I said his father knew I had him the next weekend and should have said to ask me. (My son later, on Monday told me a different thing that he talked about it with his father on Thursday, 4 days ago not the previous weekend.) Mys on also said on Saturday that his father said if I let him go to the overnight, then our son could spend the night with me on Monday. After talking with my son on Saturday, I decided that he could go his friendís for the overnight because I thought it had already been decided the previous weekend and the family was expecting him to come, and I was ok with the idea that if he did, his dad would give up Monday evening for me to be with him and I wanted my son to be happy.
I emailed AH the following: at 1:58pm on Saturday:

Just wanted to clear things up our son said to me:

He said it was decided that he could spend the night at his friend's last weekend and that you said it was ok. I told him he needs to ask me ahead of time when he is scheduled to be at my home, at least two days and that he cannot have more than one sleepover in a 4 day period, which has been the rule. He agreed. He is already moved between two homes and needs some stability and balance to his life. He also said that you said if I let him go to the sleepover you would negotiate Monday evening him spending the night with me. If this is true and that is how you want to decide things, then yes he can stay with me Monday evening.

Let me know

I did not hear from AH until Monday when I got this email:
I would never agree or tell him it is okay for him to do something such as spend the night at someoneís house especially on a day that you have him I would simply say that you need to discuss that with your Mom.
He did mention that he wanted to spend the night at his friend's house Saturday night and you said no and I told him not to get upset and to go home and discuss it with you and I mentioned that he would be spending the day with you today since you donít have school but I am planning to pick him up tonight he knows that we are have pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans him and I talked about that so Iím not sure what that is all about. I will pick him up after work should be there around 5:30 I will text him.
Also I wasnít aware of the 4 day sleep over rule.


I read my son the email and he said: ďI swear to you that he said that if you let me go then I could spend the night here on Monday. You can ask (his other friend), he was in the car Friday night and again on Saturday morning.Ē I said then talk to your dad about it. He texted his father, His text to his father was:
Hey dad you said that if she let me go I could stay at her house and (his friend) is my witness and she thinks I am lieing and is about to ground me.
But his father called him on the phone instead and my son didnít want to talk to him so he ignored the phone call. Then AH called my phone and his tone of voice was angry as he was explaining to me that he told our son to talk to me on Saturday about spending the night and to not use an attitude when he did and went on with other things I donít specifically remember, I think I tune him out when he uses this tone with me. I started to get that same worthless feeling that I have had before when he speaks to me. I hesitated when I saw it was him calling and I told myself before I answered that I would not take his condescending way he talks to me, in my head, so I knew what was coming before I even turned on the phone! Then he asked to speak with our son, and I called my son over to talk to him, my son hesitated, but he did and the entire time my son listened to his father he never yelled at his father or argued with him. (I donít yell at my son very often, but I do use a stern tone myself at times but have been trying real hard to watch it and speak in a neutral or kind way). Why does he respond differently to his father? I know the counselor said it was because my son feels more confident in my love for him than he does his dad, but sometimes I am not sure, I canít imagine he really respects his father that much because when we were together as a family AH would not stand up to him unless I pointed out that he wasnít dealing with our son in a disciplined way but trying to be his buddy.) I wonder if my son reacts the same way I do and just takes it knowing that arguing with him is not going to matter anyway.
Then AH wanted to talk to me again and he continued to talk about how our son misunderstood his words and turned them around, saying the same things he said to me before I handed the phone over to my son, so I just said, ok, alright and goodbye trying to give him the idea that he is repeating himself and that I heard him the first time, but no, I didnít say that did I? Why? Am I afraid of him? Do I believe him? Now I feel like he won in a way, he likes to get the last word in, no matter what and in a way I do too, but if I know I am wrong about something that last word will be me admitting it and asking for forgiveness. When we went to coupleís counseling before, long long ago, the same issue came up I just remembered.

I feel like I am wrong on one had, that I shouldnít think my son lied to me intentionally but was angry at the time and only heard what he wanted, or my son is manipulating me.

I emailed AH after the call the following:

next time I will call you first when he says you have said something, I still think he was turning your words around to get to go he has changed details about his story, he said today that he talked about it with you on Thursday not last weekend. Your tone on the phone with me was unnecessary and I will not listen to it anymore so if you do speak like that in the future I will hang up. I was just reporting to you via the email what he said to me. If you want to speak to him that way when you are angry with him that is your choice I did nothing but ask you to verify what he said to me, I suggest you wait when you are angry with someone and respond to someone when you are not so angry.

When I ask you to verify what our son has said to me it is only for that purpose. I try not to assume when I am not part of the conversation,

I also sat my son down and said to him that at times we are angry we are not always focused on what someone is saying to us and that the next time he should try to remember this lesson and listen closer. I also told him I would call his father right away the next time this situation came up and we would have a three way conversation about what was said. I told him I made a mistake to have not done this on Saturday. I made my decision to let my son go to the sleepover based on what my son told me (I believed that his father said these things because I am so angry at his father and my view of him is so low, that can be dangerous because his father may be trying and may not have said these things, or maybe not I will never know) I said to him that it would be a good thing to apologize to his father and to me about misunderstanding what was said and yelling, he said he did apologize to me and that was not good enough for me. That was in the heat of his yelling and I told him I heard him say it but his tone was not sincere enough for me to believe him. I asked him in the midst of this conversation why he responded differently to his father than to me and he said he didnít know. I donít remember exactly how I said this but I put it out there how I feel when his father speaks to me the way he did thinking that maybe that would open up my sonís feelings if he knew how I felt. He didnít say anything. I know I shouldnít talk to him about how his father affects me, but I am trying to teach him how to deal with his father at the same time. We ended it with him sitting next to me and me holding him and telling him I love him very much and that was all I said.

My gut feeling is my son lied to me and got caught and didnít like it, but after reading his text to his father I have to wonder if his father did say these things and is not owning up to it. I thought his father always told the truth, but now I donít know anymore since his father has lied to me in the past and his an alcoholic. I want to ask my son if his father was drinking Friday night when he picked up my son and his friend from another friendís house and they had this conversation, but what use is that?

I was just thinking about why when I am yelled at I cower and the first thing that came to my mind is when my mom and dad would yell at my brother who got into trouble a lot as a child and as a teenager and adult and how much I hated it and hid in my room.


I don't see my counselor until Wednesday and am going to take this to her to help me sort it out too, but thought you all might have some good insights because you have in the past!
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:57 AM
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You may never know, and you may have to learn to live with that.

My ds (7) complains to his dad saying that he is starving and that he doesn't like the soup I made him and I won't let him have any other food (I'm right there in the room when he says this) it's half the truth, ex gets angry that I haven't fed his son (!like I'd ever not feed him) when in fact I had made him cheese on toast which was uneaten and then his favorite soup which was uneaten because all he wants is another chocolate biscuit. I only know that son half told the truth and ex jumped off the deep end because I was party to all the conversations, but that won't always be the case.

I'd set up a system where son has to ask you if he wants to sleepover in your time, and dad in his time. No exceptions, whatever the other parent says about those times don't count.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:16 AM
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Good lord Jack, hon, so bogged down in the details it must be confusing. I'm with you on the gut feeling; your kid is playing you, and it's causing problems between you and your spouse. For me the question is, why second guess yourself? You made the rule, you stated the rule, but the boy wants his way and you allow him to play you. Now look where you are. How much time and energy is wasted thinking about all this, having these conversations, being confused, typing it all out, relaying the story to the counselor, etc. To me, this would be about people-pleasing and second guessing myself, and not standing up for what I want. All of which I am still working on. Sorry this happened but I can understand why the dad got angry.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:21 AM
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I also wanted to say I feel your pain about your son's reactions to his father, but you can't control their relationship. Someone here? said that our job isn't to protect our children from painful feelings, but to help them name and process them, and much of that is done by example rather than direct teaching.

My son is far ruder to me than to his dad, I am the safe consistent parent, I'm going nowhere no matter what you say or do. I am getting better at not overcompensating for his dad's behaviour, and keeping behaviour boundaries. I also get very tired and explode sometimes, I calm down instantly and apologise to my children, and we talk it through but that doesn't excuse it.

The absolute best thing in order to work on this for me, is to make sure I am not last on my list. I can only be a patient nurturing parent if I am not dead on my knees. I also have to realise that they are not me, and don't necesarily react/feel the way I do, for the reasons I would.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JenT1968 View Post
I'd set up a system where son has to ask you if he wants to sleepover in your time, and dad in his time. No exceptions, whatever the other parent says about those times don't count.
I'd do this exactly. I'd also eliminate all trading of days or adjusting visitation time based on time spent with friends. That is just asking for misunderstanding and complications.

Your son is old enough to have a voice with in the above structure. If he feels that he is being cheated out of time with friends because he has to make time for both parents separately that is a real and legitimate concern/feeling. He might not get his way, but he can be heard. He can have input with you on the rules during your time. How is dad handles it is their business.

Your son is 13 right? You should expect him to lie and manipulate this situation to get his way. That is what almost every kid in his situation is going to try at least a couple of times so try not to take it to personally or read to much into it. Just handle it and move on.

I have one kid that treats me very differently then he treats almost everyone else. His entire mood changes with me, even the look on his face. It is hard for me too.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:40 AM
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Thank you, I have so much to learn. It did hurt a little when you said "Sorry this happened but I can understand why the dad got angry.", Learn2Live maybe because I would have felt the same way, but I also have to be careful and realize how his father speaks to me because he has bullied me so much in the past I am realizing now, so I see both sides.....


I also have to realise that they are not me, and don't necesarily react/feel the way I do, for the reasons I would.

Thank you JenT1968 for this:
"Someone here? said that our job isn't to protect our children from painful feelings, but to help them name and process them, and much of that is done by example rather than direct teaching."

I need to remember this as I know it but have not been practicing it.

I only wrote it all out so I could help myself get better by doing so, to help me see the whole picture, I don't usually spend this much time on each encounter and sometimes think I should to help me learn from it instead of just letting it happen and repeat the behaviors the next time.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by JenT1968 View Post
:I'd set up a system where son has to ask you if he wants to sleepover in your time, and dad in his time. No exceptions, whatever the other parent says about those times don't count."
Thumper: "I'd do this exactly. I'd also eliminate all trading of days or adjusting visitation time based on time spent with friends. That is just asking for misunderstanding and complications."


I think I am going to type up a contract so my son and myself can sign stating that he has to ask me if he wants to sleepover during my time, no exceptions and that whatever dad says about those times doesn't count. Even though we have spoken this rule aloud, having a tangible contract will make him accountable and maybe remember.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:47 AM
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Kids now exactly how to "work their parents to get what hey want! And they will do exactly that. I have a 13 y/o great kid excellent student, athlete, saught after by all of her peers. Still, she is a product of a broken and very dysfunctional home, just trying to survive. She is also a teenager. Remember they have their own intentions (just to have fun =)) Relax.

imho:

1. What happens at your house stays at your house and vice versa
2. Believe the best
3. Let the punishment fit the crime
4. Pay attention to the goal don't get side tracked with the unimportant details what is it you are trying to accomplish in otherwords pick your battles

A childs spirit can easily be broken by a few harsh words.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:42 AM
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What I see here is that you are documenting the exchange between you, what happened and how you felt as was discussed on another prior thread as a way to work through these things.

I don't think I would write a contract tho'..that just aids in helping worm out of and diminish things that are SAID and agreed between the two of you. He is old enough to remember the rule.
It is up to you to enforce it.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:18 PM
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I'm sorry Jack. I am not you so I cannot know the dynamic between you and AH. I only read a story. But I feel that your son should respect your decision and you seem to worry a lot about his interaction with his father, how he perceives his father, how he feels, etc. None of which you have any control over. Just because a person is alcoholic does not automatically make him a liar. Trust me, my father was a nasty, belligerent DRUNK when I was your boy's age. But I respected him as my parent. Period.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:36 PM
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House Rules.

That's it. That's my answer.

Your son is playing you Both. He is one of many kids with a Mom's House and a Dad's House, and he should know by now, it's House Rules.

It's ok if the rules are different in each house. The rule for your son to remember is to follow the rules of each house. It's actually been studied that kids in divorced/separated families learn adaptability better than their peers in One Household.

Your house, your rules. He should know, at 13, better than to push it. But he did, and he got away with it. This Time. As an ACOA, I'll tell ya: it's easy to blame the drunk.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:15 PM
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I would agree that you are trying to hard to discern exactly what happened when you need to look at the bottom line.

But, to address your comment about cowering and remembering when your parents yelled:

yes, that is called a trigger. And it's real. Your mind gets sent back to the or a set, of original trauma, and your physiological reactions mimic what it felt like back then. This is why you would likely benefit from therapy, and need to distance yourself as much as you can from the triggers.

And, for what it's worth, I say contract-schmontract. He's a kid. He knows the rules. He's still gonna ask. It's your job to enforce them consistently.
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