Force painful discussions with my kid, or not? - Update #15 - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 03-24-2012, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In short, there were issues with the plane tickets my DSS's Mom sent, for him to visit her for Spring Break.  DH truly bent over backward, trying to work with her and compromise where he could - looking up and telling her about acceptable alternate tickets (even tickets that would've given her MORE time with DSS) and offering to pay for them.  She has refused to change them, even though DH told her that he won't put DSS on the plane for the visit, if she doesn't.  By the time Mom told DH about the plane tickets, there was insufficient time for court intervention.  But DH himself is pursuing action through the courts and we feel pretty confident that no reasonable person could penalize him, for how he's handled this.

 

IOW, I'm not looking to debate whether or not we should send DSS, but interested in feedback on how to discuss it with him.

 

DSS has been aware of his parents' basic disagreement about the plane tickets, for about 2 weeks (as long as we've been aware of it).  He has told DH that he actually agrees with his position, but isn't comfortable telling his mom that and would rather the parents just decide and leave him out of it.  However, I often suspect that DSS just tells both parents what he thinks will please them and that we just don't know what he really thinks, when it comes to disagreements btwn. DH and Mom.  

 

Although DSS's SB began this past Thursday, Mom doesn't have him scheduled to fly out to her until Monday.  So it kind of feels - to all of us - like things are in limbo, until then.  She might still change the tickets.  And she probably believes DH might still break down and send DSS, even if she doesn't.

 

Right now, DSS seems completely unconcerned about it.  We jumped on the chance to have him at least this first weekend of SB (Mom gets SB every year) and have taken him and a friend out of town.  They're having tons of fun (I'm typing this between visiting the zoo and going to a movie) and he hasn't said a word about going to CA.  But we haven't planned anything for the coming week, in case Mom came through and changed his tickets.  Most of his friends will either be out of town or still in school - including his older brothers.  I expect he will feel bad about not seeing his Mom - and feel bad for her, because she'll be upset.  I also expect he will not bring this up on his own.  My question is, should I?

 

And should I stick to platitudes ("It's not your fault.  Your parents just disagree.  They both want what they think is best for you.  Just try to trust that and stay out of it."), or give him some info. that would actually help him process this - but that can't help but make his mother look bad?  I am always aware that I shouldn't bad-mouth his mother, to (or in front of) him.  But this is absolutely not a situation where his parents are being equally stubborn, at his expense.  His mother - and only his mother - is standing on a principle I think most people would disagree with and which, regardless, should NEVER be more important to her than making sure she sees DSS.  

 

I feel at some point, someone has to suggest to him that she struggles with some personality/mental health issues that get in the way of her making the right choices where he's concerned, even though I know she loves him.  Of course, I'm posting this because I realize there's an argument to be made that the "someone" shouldn't be me.  But, then, who?  DH tells him what's going on and listens to him, but he's much more comfortable than I am, just leaving kids to figure out the "why" of things, on their own.  I think DSS could lose a lot of time in his life, trying to understand his mother on his own.


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#2 of 23 Old 03-24-2012, 11:29 PM
 
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I'd be one of those people who will argue this is not a discussion you should be having with him - his Dad should. Or his Mom. It is their decision as to how to address parenting decisions/issues with their son.

 

And... since we don't know what the problem is, there's no way of knowing whether Mom's stance is one we'd agree with or not.

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#3 of 23 Old 03-25-2012, 02:50 AM
 
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I appreciated my Step Dad talking to me about the crap that was always going on between my mom and dad.  The visitation arguments were obnoxious.  Though my dad was usually in the wrong about visitation by way of transportantion and crud but my mother made it a struggle on her end too.  They were both douches about it no matter how you looked at it.  Taking the High road for the benefit of the kids involved never occured to them so I kind of have a big FU for both of them. 

 

That being said I could always count on my SD to help me understand the selfish whine filled adult world.  He usually talked me through it and helped me stay calm and make it through yet another adult bitch fest over who was right and who was wrong.

 

Good luck. 

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#4 of 23 Old 03-25-2012, 03:58 AM
 
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I feel at some point, someone has to suggest to him that she struggles with some personality/mental health issues that get in the way of her making the right choices where he's concerned, even though I know she loves him.  

 

 

Therapist. It's probably a good time for that anyhow, since the nightmare age of choosing-where-you-want-to-live is soon to be upon him, and it would be so very good for him to talk to a neutral third party about all that. 

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#5 of 23 Old 03-25-2012, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Good replies, all.  Thank you.

 

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Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

I'd be one of those people who will argue this is not a discussion you should be having with him - his Dad should. Or his Mom. It is their decision as to how to address parenting decisions/issues with their son.

 

And... since we don't know what the problem is, there's no way of knowing whether Mom's stance is one we'd agree with or not.


Fair enough.  Mom has been arguing since DSS was 8 that he should be able to change planes alone, without her having to pay Unaccompanied Minor fees...to the point of being dishonest about his age and somehow thinking an airline would just let him waltz on the plane (looking smaller and younger than he is, not older).  When DH objected and the airline shared his position - at least until DSS turned 12 - Mom became intractable.  That's how she is, whenever she feels an authority (judge, custodial evaluator, principal, etc.) sided with her "enemy".  Since DSS turned 12 (last summer), she insists on booking him on flights with plane-changes, over DH's objections.

 

I realize some people will think, "What's the big deal?" and that's fine.  Everyone needn't agree.  The point is, knowing DSS (and most 12-year-old boys, not just him), DH - the sole legal guardian - would not consider it responsible parenting, to send him to change buses by himself, downtown, much less have him change planes alone in Las Vegas during Spring Break.

 

DH might compromise, if it weren't the last flight of the day (so if DSS missed his connecting flight, he'd be stranded overnight); if it were an airport where his airline's terminals are in the same concourse...or at least the same bldg. (not the case, here); and if Mom didn't pointedly encourage him to leave the gate area and wander around the airport alone, to "make her proud of his independence and maturity".  On some airlines, DH could still pay a fee to have DSS escorted btwn. flights, even if Mom didn't think that was necessary.  On half the airlines, an escort is still mandatory until kids turn 15.  But Mom uses the only available airline that considers kids "adults" - and offers no optional UM svcs. - after age 11.

 

Mom has DSS scheduled to return here Sat. (a day early).  DH found several direct flights she could switch to, which would give her the same amount of time with DSS, or even an extra day. He told her he'd pay any costs associated with the change.  With such little notice, DH could only find direct flights at an airport a 1.5-hour drive from Mom.  She schedules DSS's travel there, when it suits her, but for DH to suggest it was, of course, unacceptable.  She said she'd make the change, if DH could find flights at the airport closer to her (knowing there weren't any such flights).  Luckily, seats opened up on a direct flight from her home airport.  DH told her about it.  Now she isn't speaking to him.

 

When this went on over Christmas Break, DH finally just bought DSS different tickets and canceled the ones Mom had purchased.  This time, she has withheld the confirmation # on DSS's tickets, so DH can't cancel them.  Even if he bought different ones, she could still send him back on the objectionable flight.  Given how resolute she is on this issue, we assume that would be the most likely outcome.

 

So, the point isn't whether Mom's right or wrong.  DH's concerns for DSS's safety are genuine.  He's not just stubbornly refusing to compromise with his ex.  He's legally entitled to weigh in on whether or not his minor child is supervised, hundreds of miles from either parent.  He could stand on principle and tell Mom to pay for it herself, because airfare is the only form of child support she pays.  Instead, he has offered alternatives that address his concerns, without costing Mom anything or inconveniencing her in any way.  In fact, she could have a longer visit.  She is choosing to miss the visit, rather than compromise in any way.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

I appreciated my Step Dad talking to me about the crap that was always going on between my mom and dad.  The visitation arguments were obnoxious.  Though my dad was usually in the wrong about visitation by way of transportantion and crud but my mother made it a struggle on her end too.  They were both douches about it no matter how you looked at it.  Taking the High road for the benefit of the kids involved never occured to them so I kind of have a big FU for both of them. 

 

That being said I could always count on my SD to help me understand the selfish whine filled adult world.  He usually talked me through it and helped me stay calm and make it through yet another adult bitch fest over who was right and who was wrong.

 

Good luck. 


I really don't see the conflicts between DH and DSS's mom this way, but I'm afraid that's exactly how DSS sees them.

 

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Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

I feel at some point, someone has to suggest to him that she struggles with some personality/mental health issues that get in the way of her making the right choices where he's concerned, even though I know she loves him.  

 

 

Therapist. It's probably a good time for that anyhow, since the nightmare age of choosing-where-you-want-to-live is soon to be upon him, and it would be so very good for him to talk to a neutral third party about all that. 


It has been really hard, to consider making him go to counseling when he doesn't want to; he says it makes him feel uncomfortable (like there's something wrong with him, if he doesn't feel more upset than he does about his situation); and he seems fine, overall.  But I think you're right, that with everything else going on, he needs to go.

 


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#6 of 23 Old 03-25-2012, 04:49 PM
 
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Knowing that your DH will soon be back in court, or may be back in court already, my only suggestion is to document everything.

I think your DH's concerns are valid, and I think he's right to follow through on them at this point. However, your dss has been flying back and forth for a long time, and in the next few years a judge may not agree with your DH on this issue any longer.
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#7 of 23 Old 03-25-2012, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

Knowing that your DH will soon be back in court, or may be back in court already, my only suggestion is to document everything.
I think your DH's concerns are valid, and I think he's right to follow through on them at this point. However, your dss has been flying back and forth for a long time, and in the next few years a judge may not agree with your DH on this issue any longer.

And in another few years, my DH will think differently about it, because there are significant differences between a 12-year-old and a 15- (or even 14-) year-old boy.  

 

It's always good to remind people in high-conflict divorces to document, so thank you!  We have.
 

 


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#8 of 23 Old 03-26-2012, 04:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post

And in another few years, my DH will think differently about it, because there are significant differences between a 12-year-old and a 15- (or even 14-) year-old boy.  

 

It's always good to remind people in high-conflict divorces to document, so thank you!  We have.
 

 


 

I was a little tired last night - of course, as your dss grows up he'll be more able to change planes in strange airports (although, then your dh's ex will just schedule him for the last flight of the day, a 5 minute layover, on the worlds worst airline that doesn't provide accommodations in case of missed flights....I'm afraid you'll always be trading one problem for another).

 

Anyway, I really feel for your dss - it must be awful to always be in the middle of everything (even though I know your dh doesn't put dss in the middle, he must feel like he is anyway).

 

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#9 of 23 Old 03-26-2012, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I was a little tired last night - of course, as your dss grows up he'll be more able to change planes in strange airports (although, then your dh's ex will just schedule him for the last flight of the day, a 5 minute layover, on the worlds worst airline that doesn't provide accommodations in case of missed flights....I'm afraid you'll always be trading one problem for another).

 

It would make more sense for the parent more concerned with safety issues - with no history of shortening visits - to buy the tickets.  We're working on how to suggest the court structure that, financially.

 

Anyway, I really feel for your dss - it must be awful to always be in the middle of everything (even though I know your dh doesn't put dss in the middle, he must feel like he is anyway).

 


Grrrr.  This is the morning that he's not getting on the plane.  Mom has told him she'll be "waiting at the airport and if he doesn't show up, she knows it's not his fault and she loves him so much".  What a classic example of how she phrases things.  This sounds very sweet, loving, nurturing.  But the obvious underlying messages:

 

- She knows it's not DSS's fault.  He should know it's not her fault (since she bought him a ticket and she'll be there to pick him up).  So they both understand it's DH's fault.

 

- The thought of her standing there alone at the airport, waiting for her baby to arrive when everyone involved knows ahead of time that he never will is so pathetic that DSS's sympathy for her should drown out any questions in his mind, of why she didn't just change his plane ticket so he could come?  Why is prevailing in an argument with his Dad more important than seeing him? 


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#10 of 23 Old 03-26-2012, 06:53 AM
 
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Quote:
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Grrrr.  This is the morning that he's not getting on the plane.  Mom has told him she'll be "waiting at the airport and if he doesn't show up, she knows it's not his fault and she loves him so much".  What a classic example of how she phrases things.  This sounds very sweet, loving, nurturing.  But the obvious underlying messages:

 

- She knows it's not DSS's fault.  He should know it's not her fault (since she bought him a ticket and she'll be there to pick him up).  So they both understand it's DH's fault.

 

- The thought of her standing there alone at the airport, waiting for her baby to arrive when everyone involved knows ahead of time that he never will is so pathetic that DSS's sympathy for her should drown out any questions in his mind, of why she didn't just change his plane ticket so he could come?  Why is prevailing in an argument with his Dad more important than seeing him? 

 

I don't think you're giving him much credit here. If the same had happened to my brothers, at that age, they would have told her she was an idiot. Or not said it out loud, but thought it and been annoyed. And really, he knows that you have offered to buy different tickets, so reason will win eventually (and by that I don't mean today - but in a few weeks/months/years he will understand).

 

As for your dh buying tickets - I totally agree. I also think she should be paying other child support though, since kids are so much more costly than a couple plane tickets every year!
 

 

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#11 of 23 Old 03-26-2012, 10:04 AM
 
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I think some of it is definitely best left to a counselor, which I'd insist on him seeing at this point. 

 

How does he feel about changing flights? Has he said anything about being old enough to handle it, or argued with you in any way about that? If he hasn't I'd say it's a BIG sign of him not being ready yet... kids are constantly fighting for more independence and wanting to do things we think they aren't old enough for. Having one parents endorsement would be fuel on the fire if he actually feels ready for that sort of thing. I don't think he should be allowed to wander around an airport alone at 12, but I could see my 10 year old thinking he could handle it in a few years. He also thinks he could drive if we just let him behind the wheel.

 

For things to say, I don't think it'd be bad to say things like "I'm sorry your mom wasn't able to cooperate with us on making arrangements for your flight, that's difficult for her sometimes and we don't know how to make it better. We want you to be able to see her, but we need you to be safe. In a few years this won't be an issue anymore, but it sucks that you have to deal with it now." It's a remarkably fine line between acknowledging that there's an issue and dumping the blame in his mothers lap to him.

 

I agree that you guys should be booking the flights. If the judge won't change that, maybe they'd make it so that he has to take morning flights. That way he'd never be the last flight out and if he missed a transfer there'd be time to get him on another flight. I'd be tempted to ask that she should have to come to your town to visit... she's cast doubt on whether she'd show up at the airport for him before! 


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#12 of 23 Old 03-27-2012, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think some of it is definitely best left to a counselor, which I'd insist on him seeing at this point.

 

How does he feel about changing flights? Has he said anything about being old enough to handle it, or argued with you in any way about that? If he hasn't I'd say it's a BIG sign of him not being ready yet... kids are constantly fighting for more independence and wanting to do things we think they aren't old enough for. Having one parents endorsement would be fuel on the fire if he actually feels ready for that sort of thing. I don't think he should be allowed to wander around an airport alone at 12, but I could see my 10 year old thinking he could handle it in a few years. He also thinks he could drive if we just let him behind the wheel.  winky.gif

 

DSS tells us he feels nervous about changing planes completely by himself yet, especially if it's a really big airport, or really crowded, or if he may have to find his connecting flight in a whole different part of the airport...but he doesn't want to tell his Mom that, since she thinks this should only make him feel excited and grown-up.  As usual, he doesn't want to get in the middle of his parents' disagreement.  He wants them to resolve it somehow, without his input and he'll just go with the flow of whatever they work out (or a judge imposes on them).

 

On the one hand, I think that's the only healthy reaction he can have, to a lot of the craziness in his life.  On the other hand, the older he gets, the more people look to him, to know what he thinks and wants and the more his passivity actually contributes to the problem.

 

For example, in telling DH how ridiculous is his point of view, Mom claimed that DSS's flight to CA at winter break (the flight DH chose) was "diverted" to Las Vegas (where she wanted him to change planes after spring break), that he unexpectedly had to change planes, that he explored the airport alone, got himself something to eat, got to his next flight on time and she, at least, had the sense to be proud of him for it, instead of trying to keep him from being in that situation again, like DH is doing.  We know Mom distorted part of that story, since the flight was scheduled to stop in Vegas, not diverted.  And DSS did call us, during the layover, to say they had to do some sort of maintenance on the plane, so they were going to be delayed, taking off again.  But it was a direct flight, so he wasn't supposed to get off the plane and he told us he didn't; that he has no idea what Mom was talking about, he never told her any of that.

 

It would be perfectly characteristic of Mom to have made all that up, to suit her argument.  She does exactly that sort of thing.  But it wouldn't exactly be uncharacteristic of DSS, to have had to switch planes and not tell us, thinking we'd worry; or to have never gotten off the plane, but told his Mom that he did, knowing it would please her.  So it's possible each parent genuinely believes his/her position is in line with what DSS wants.  Just as Mom believes DSS never wanted to be here and is counting the days 'til he can live with her; while DH believes DSS prefers living here and, the older he gets, the less he looks forward to visiting Mom.  He wants to see her, but he doesn't like her lifestyle/housing as much.  Each parent thinks this because that's what DSS has told them.  I don't think DSS is intentionally manipulating anyone.  I think he's just trying to survive and avoid conflict.  But it unavoidably adds to the conflict between his parents.

 

For things to say, I don't think it'd be bad to say things like "I'm sorry your mom wasn't able to cooperate with us on making arrangements for your flight, that's difficult for her sometimes and we don't know how to make it better. We want you to be able to see her, but we need you to be safe. In a few years this won't be an issue anymore, but it sucks that you have to deal with it now." It's a remarkably fine line between acknowledging that there's an issue and dumping the blame in his mothers lap to him.

 

I agree that you guys should be booking the flights. If the judge won't change that, maybe they'd make it so that he has to take morning flights. That way he'd never be the last flight out and if he missed a transfer there'd be time to get him on another flight. I'd be tempted to ask that she should have to come to your town to visit... she's cast doubt on whether she'd show up at the airport for him before! 



 


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#13 of 23 Old 03-27-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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My situation with my DSD is different in many ways, regarding custody, court involvement and a few other ways.  What is similar is the level of crazy from my DSD's mom.  Hers might be more (serious drugs, neglect, abusive relationships etc).

 

Anyway, DSD is 16 now.  At 13, she came to see us for the summer, and life at her mom's fell apart, and she chose to stay.  We had been waiting years for her to choose.  We had spent 10 years biting our tongues, saying very neutral things about her mom, the situations that came up etc.  When she decided to stay, we had her in therapy immediately.  It has taken her 3+ years to begin to process what she has been through and to not continuously make excuses for her mom.  And even now, as her mom continues to do things that are heartbreaking to her, we are very neutral, and always supportive and verbally hopeful that things will work out.  She has started to talk about the neglect she suffered, what she saw and how it has affected her.  She doesn't blame her mom's actions on anyone else anymore.  And even though it is good she is in a place to to that, it is very painful to see her eyes opened. 

 

My point it (sorry, I get wordy and passionate), your DSS sees more than you think he does.  How he processes it is another story.  Don't assign yourself the role of truth teller.  Let him come to it in his own time, in a therapeutic setting.  Support how he feels right now.  He will get to the rest as the years go on. 

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#14 of 23 Old 03-28-2012, 06:36 AM
 
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Quote:

DSS tells us he feels nervous about changing planes completely by himself yet, especially if it's a really big airport, or really crowded, or if he may have to find his connecting flight in a whole different part of the airport...but he doesn't want to tell his Mom that, since she thinks this should only make him feel excited and grown-up.  As usual, he doesn't want to get in the middle of his parents' disagreement.  He wants them to resolve it somehow, without his input and he'll just go with the flow of whatever they work out (or a judge imposes on them).

 

On the one hand, I think that's the only healthy reaction he can have, to a lot of the craziness in his life.  On the other hand, the older he gets, the more people look to him, to know what he thinks and wants and the more his passivity actually contributes to the problem.

 

For example, in telling DH how ridiculous is his point of view, Mom claimed that DSS's flight to CA at winter break (the flight DH chose) was "diverted" to Las Vegas (where she wanted him to change planes after spring break), that he unexpectedly had to change planes, that he explored the airport alone, got himself something to eat, got to his next flight on time and she, at least, had the sense to be proud of him for it, instead of trying to keep him from being in that situation again, like DH is doing.  We know Mom distorted part of that story, since the flight was scheduled to stop in Vegas, not diverted.  And DSS did call us, during the layover, to say they had to do some sort of maintenance on the plane, so they were going to be delayed, taking off again.  But it was a direct flight, so he wasn't supposed to get off the plane and he told us he didn't; that he has no idea what Mom was talking about, he never told her any of that.

 

It would be perfectly characteristic of Mom to have made all that up, to suit her argument.  She does exactly that sort of thing.  But it wouldn't exactly be uncharacteristic of DSS, to have had to switch planes and not tell us, thinking we'd worry; or to have never gotten off the plane, but told his Mom that he did, knowing it would please her.  So it's possible each parent genuinely believes his/her position is in line with what DSS wants.  Just as Mom believes DSS never wanted to be here and is counting the days 'til he can live with her; while DH believes DSS prefers living here and, the older he gets, the less he looks forward to visiting Mom.  He wants to see her, but he doesn't like her lifestyle/housing as much.  Each parent thinks this because that's what DSS has told them.  I don't think DSS is intentionally manipulating anyone.  I think he's just trying to survive and avoid conflict.  But it unavoidably adds to the conflict between his parents.

 

Some of this is understandable - particularly the part about your dss wanting his parents to work it out and not drag him into the middle. But he HAS been dragged into the middle - by his mother. He's in the middle, so it needs to be addressed. Just because it wasn't your dh that dragged him into it, doesn't mean that your dh can ignore that its happening.

 

Knowing that this is only a small part of your interactions with you dss, take this with a grain of salt, OK? Reading the above, I would be nervous about him telling each parent a different thing - above all else he needs to be honest with each parent (he could be, and his mother is spinning webs of lies for him....but you won't ever know that for sure). I would also be nervous about him learning to shrug off his responsibilities, and not take responsibility for his actions. If you and your dh require that he be responsible for his actions when he is living with you (ie, during the school year with his various responsibilities), then I wouldn't worry as much - but its important that teenagers know that their actions have consequences. I know that his mother is toxic (to put it lightly), but if he can't be honest with her there are consequences. If he's telling her that he doesn't mind a 5 minute layover in LV at 11pm, then he's not going to be surprised when she schedules him a red-eye with a 5 minute layover in LV super late at night, right? More-over, he knows that your dh won't allow that, so is he trying to avoid the visit - by telling his mother lies? Better to do that openly, than by manipulating the situation. He should know that.

 

Since his mother is clearly not going to tell him these things, its up to your dh to. I also agree with pp's that say he needs to be in counseling. Even if he doesn't want to go. Ask around in your area for a therapist that is well liked by other teens, and sign him up.

 

PS - the last sentence you wrote, that I bolded - is something that he really needs to know. He needs to know that when he tells a different story to each parent, that it adds conflict, and makes it harder, not easier. Really, someone needs to step in and tell him that. As it happens preferably, but he really needs to know. It's part of holding him accountable for his actions, and that needs to happen while he's still young so that he doesn't grow up thinking everyone else is responsible for his actions. He is old enough to play your dh and his mom against each other, and to know he's doing it. If he's doing it - its at least in part intentional.

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We're heading into the final weekend of Spring Break and DSS truly seems absolutely fine.  He's been hanging out with friends, going to the movies and out to eat, skateboarding, sleeping in late.  DH has taken a lot of time off work and we've gone out to do things as a family, or just one of us at a time, with DSS.  The weather's been beautiful.  DSS is cheerful, relaxed and...well...fine.  When I was a 12-year-old girl, if I'd been in his position, I'm sure I would've been very emotional - sad for my Mom, if nothing else.  His behavior is completely unexpected for me, but such a relief.

 

The other day, he slept in especially late and when DH went to drag him out of bed, he said it looked like DSS was crying.  When he came out of his room and we were getting ready to go, he was mopey and hang-dog, shrugging and saying, "I don't care," when we asked him if he wanted to go trail riding, like we'd planned.  During a moment alone with him, I asked if he'd been talking with his Mom that morning.  He said no.  I said something along the lines of, "I know if I were in your position, I'd be feeling bad about my Mom.  It's OK if you are, but keep in mind that it's your Spring Break.  You deserve to have fun.  So let's get out of the house and do something."  Then he perked up and said he just wasn't excited about horseback riding, so could we go duckpin bowling instead?  Which we did and had a great time.  

 

Later, he asked DH to tell me not to bring up his Mom anymore, because he's not upset, but he just doesn't want to talk about her at all.  The night before, he ended up going to the movies with 3 girls from school, then they all went out to dinner with one of the girls' parents.  That morning, one of the girls had evidently been upset because she felt DSS paid more attention to the other girls, than to her.  That's why he was mopey!  lol.gif

 

I've been curious whether he's been communicating with his Mom, or not, so I checked our phone records online.  Since confirming that he didn't board the plane on Monday, she has not called or texted him, once.  He hasn't called or texted her, either.

 

I agree with everyone who has suggested counselling, especially since we're headed back to court, so there will be bigger issues on the horizon.  But I'm going to just enjoy the rest of this break with him and bring it up after school resumes.


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#16 of 23 Old 03-29-2012, 03:34 PM
 
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I know you just wanted to talk about how to talk to him about it but I thought it was worthwhile to weigh in on the issue itself. I just got back from a trip involving air travel with connections, and my plane was delayed 2 hours causing me to miss my connection. I got rebooked and it was ok, but I have to say that I can easily see how a 12 year old might have problems handling this situation. At the very least, I'm sure he would be very nervous, and that right there is enough reason to prevent this when it's so easily avoidable. At the worst, he might not approach the desk and get it handled, and it could be a big mess. Also, some airports are just huge - I've never been to Vegas but O'Hare in Chicago is a giant mess, for example. Changing concourses can be a big deal, and god forbid the connection be tight due to delays or aggressive scheduling.

 

Furthermore, I traveled in December, and I had delays then too! There was a ton of drama on that one, and even I was very stressed, and I am a confident, capable 35 year old. The first flight was delayed and I would miss the connecting flight, and they could not rebook me as all flights were full. They suggested I stay put and get a hotel. Then they said the connecting flight might be delayed too, so I could take a gamble on making the connection, but if it didn't go in my favor I'd be spending the night in Newark. I took the gamble, and the way it was working, I had about 10 minutes to make my connection. I spoke with the stewards on board the plane to see if they could tell me my connecting gate so I had a chance to just make a run for it without having to stop and look for a screen. (That was strictly an adult move; very few 12 year olds would think to ask). I also changed seats with another passenger so I was close to the front of the plane, another adult proactive and assertive move. As it turns out, it was all moot since my connecting flight was even more delayed than the first one. It left Newark at 1am, I kid you not (originally scheduled for 4pm). All the people waiting (all adults, thankfully) were just about out of their minds with boredom and tiredness. Plus we never had any idea when the plane would leave; every 20 minutes they'd announce a new estimated time and it would just get later and later and later. The stores and restaurants were all closed. I didn't stop for food because I was rushing for the connection, and they kept saying "in 15 minutes" or whatever; I couldn't safely get in line and grab a bite and get back in that timeframe. A lady fed me crackers from her purse. It was insane. I cannot imagine a 12 year old dealing with this and not being seriously stressed. I didn't even tell you the whole story, there was more, but you get the idea.

 

Most flights go fine and I'm sure your DSS could manage if everything went smoothly. But delays and complications are not rare, so it's crazy to put him at risk for that when it's so easily avoided with a direct flight. I am as cheap as you get (you'll notice I opt for the connections to save a few bucks myself) but what I choose for myself is way different than what I would choose for my 12 year old child traveling alone.

 

Long winded way of saying: yeah. You're right on this.

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#17 of 23 Old 03-29-2012, 04:57 PM
 
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Jeannine, from your update it looks like dss might not have wanted to go so that he could hang out with a few girls instead lol.

Anyway, I'm glad his spring break has been a good one!
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Jeannine, from your update it looks like dss might not have wanted to go so that he could hang out with a few girls instead lol.
Anyway, I'm glad his spring break has been a good one!


The funny thing is, two of the girls he's never hung out with before, only texted/Facebooked.  (Is Facebooked a word?)  When we took him and his friend out of town the first weekend of Spring Break, these girls went the same place with their moms and we ran into them at two of the tourist-attractions we visited!  So DSS and his buddy have had an out-of-this-world break, as far as girls are concerned...

 


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Later, he asked DH to tell me not to bring up his Mom anymore, because he's not upset, but he just doesn't want to talk about her at all.


And this is something you need to respect. It does not mean he doesn't want to THINK about her. It means he doesn't want to talk about her. And it may also mean he doesn't want to talk about her with you. Honestly... I think you need to leave all this to Dad.

 

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As a step kid that dealt with drama, this isn't necessarily true.  I would actually prefer to talk to my step dad over my own mother about things.  However as far as talking about my father was concerned I just didn't want to think about it because it brought me down.  I didn't want to be reminded of his douchebaggery.  So if my SD had asked me about something that had come up and I didn't want to talk about the issue at all it wasn't that I didn't want to talk to him about it, it was because I just didn't want to talk about the issue. It's never black and white. 
 

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And this is something you need to respect. It does not mean he doesn't want to THINK about her. It means he doesn't want to talk about her. And it may also mean he doesn't want to talk about her with you. Honestly... I think you need to leave all this to Dad.

 



 

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#21 of 23 Old 03-30-2012, 05:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

Jeannine, from your update it looks like dss might not have wanted to go so that he could hang out with a few girls instead lol.
Anyway, I'm glad his spring break has been a good one!


The funny thing is, two of the girls he's never hung out with before, only texted/Facebooked.  (Is Facebooked a word?)  When we took him and his friend out of town the first weekend of Spring Break, these girls went the same place with their moms and we ran into them at two of the tourist-attractions we visited!  So DSS and his buddy have had an out-of-this-world break, as far as girls are concerned...

 


Yes, I think it is, and I think its a verb. Just like "googled" is a word now.

 

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#22 of 23 Old 03-30-2012, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd be one of those people who will argue this is not a discussion you should be having with him - his Dad should. Or his Mom. It is their decision as to how to address parenting decisions/issues with their son.

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...And this is something you need to respect. It does not mean he doesn't want to THINK about her. It means he doesn't want to talk about her. And it may also mean he doesn't want to talk about her with you. Honestly... I think you need to leave all this to Dad.


I did consider your opinion.  Again, part of the reason I posted is that I really felt like someone ought to get DSS to talk about this clearly upsetting situation with his Mom, but I questioned that I would be the appropriate person to do it.

 

I guess I view the brief conversation I actually had with him as something quite different from pushing him to open up and talk about the issue.  I know I'm not his mother.  But I'm also not simply his Dad's wife, co-existing under the same roof and making polite chit-chat, while I raise my kids and DH raises his.  I can't say how things "should" be, but I can tell you that's just not how they are.  For better or worse, his mother is not here to do a lot of the active "mothering".  And I am.  My husband feeds, shops for, cleans up after, teaches and corrects my older sons, volunteers at their school, helps with their homework, cheers at their games...and has heart-to-hearts with them, sometimes about things it's easier for them to discuss with him, than with me.  And I do all of those things for DSS, too.  It would feel cruel, to do anything less - to treat him fundamentally differently than I treat the other three boys in our home, who are biologically mine.

 

And if one of the other kids seemed happy for days on end, then suddenly emerged from his room pink-eyed and sullen, I would say basically what I said to DSS.  Perhaps not force him to divulge all the details, but at least convey that I notice what's going on in his life.  I see that he seems upset or sad.  If I were in his shoes, I might feel the same way - he's normal.  I care.  I'd like to help, at the very least by getting him outside and cheering him up.  Heck, I'd say the same to one of the kids across the street.

 

When DSS made it clear (through DH) that he didn't want to talk about his Mom - whether at all, or just with me - I did respect it.  But I just can't convince myself I did something wrong, by saying what little I did.  I want him to know all the adults in the home he lives in are open to hearing what's bothering him, and care, not just the adult who contributed to his DNA.

 


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#23 of 23 Old 03-31-2012, 04:05 AM
 
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Fair enough... I guess what I found objectionable was that, in the thread title, you mentioned *forcing* him to have a painful conversation. That's quite different (in my mind) to providing an opening for him to talk about it. Ya know?

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