DH wants to send DSS to live with his mom :( - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 05-18-2013, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Michelle, wife to DH, and momma to DD16, DS15, DS12, DS10, DD9, DD7, DS5, and baby girl born Christmas Eve 2013!
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#2 of 24 Old 05-18-2013, 09:01 PM
 
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I don't know how you can get through to him either.  I'm so sorry.

 

I think sending your step son to live with his mom is a bad idea in this case.  As you point out - she hasn't expressed interest, he hasn't expressed interest, and there's no indication that this would be a better situation. 

 

I don't necessarily think it would be inappropriate for your son to live with his mom for a while, but it would be a thing you'd have to do for the right reasons:  If he was interested, if she was interested, if there was an opportunity for him at his mom's (a learning opportunity, or a summer job, or proximity to family members his own age, if it would be an adventure or a vacation for him), it could be a great thing to do, but there would have to be buy-in from his mom, and it doesn't sound like there is.  Turning the kid into the family hot potato isn't going to be good for anyone. 

 

I wonder if your son is lonely, and if that's making things worse. 

 

Some of the behavior you describe reminds me of how I act when I'm depressed - I stand around doing nothing, "vagueing out" (while assuring people that I'm doing chores, really), and seek connection and instant feedback (like hitting the refresh button on a web board over and over, hoping someone will respond to me).  It's pretty awful.  For me, I've found it helps to find a way to talk to people or be with people while doing the things I need to do.  Doing chores by myself in my own room devolves into me staring into space and doing nothing.  Company and conversation help (but you can't expect him to be thrilled at the prospect of chatting with you while he's grounded).

 

I wonder if counseling would help.  It's certainly something I'd look into before giving any consideration to drastic steps like sending a child to live somewhere else. 

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#3 of 24 Old 05-19-2013, 11:56 AM
 
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Yikes. I find myself sympathizing with your son. At first I was hoping that I'd be able to describe a point of view which might be similar to his, but whatever perspective your and your husband are coming from is so foreign to me that I don't think I could find words to bridge the gap.

 

So, I have life-long attention problems and executive functioning difficulties, and more recently a cyclical depressive disorder. If I were in a situation like your son is in, I could see myself "shutting down" in a pretty similar fashion. Despite my mental health issues, I was a pretty easy kid. Some kids are just more work than others, but my mom's stories and my own memories suggest I was one of the easiest kids ever. (e.g. I was introverted. I sprouted ethics spontaneously at age six. I was compliant out of cowardice when ethics weren't relevant, and when the rules were contradictory to ethics. I believed everything authority figures told me about which actions were beneficial to my future. I was totally non-impulsive. I was "gifted" and did well in school with a low level of parental help. I was not micromanaged. Like your son, my teenage "acting out" consisted of doing nothing. Doesn't get easier than that.) 

 

My parents were different than you--my step-dad had anger issues and violent tendencies (usually not violent enough to be illegal), but they were generally way less strict, especially my mom. Now, I understand you probably have to be a lot more strict because you have a lot more kids. But I can't imagine a kid like me being able to handle it. Because of the threat of violence in my home, I would be a lot more desperate to comply; my "why bother?" would have been "avoid the violence." I already had a sort of "back-up plan" that I day-dreamed about but was too compliant, cowardly, future-oriented, and non-impulsive to follow through with, but desperation is desperation, and my parents probably could have pushed me that far if they'd been inclined to do so. Without the threat of violence, I can imagine your son not needing a back-up plan, thank goodness, but instead just giving up and not doing anything.

 

Is your son aware that your husband is thinking of sending him away over this? I think most parents of 14-year-old boys would love it if the extent of their son's misbehavior was surfing the internet and not doing housework. So if your son knows your DH might actually get rid of him over something like this, of course he's going to give up making you guys happy enough to get ungrounded. Are there additional problem behaviors not reflected in your post? (I notice sometimes when people start a thread about issues with a family member, the first post often makes the problems seem really benign, and then bigger issues are described later in the thread as the OP thinks about it more.)

 

I don't know what your options are.... Since you're the step-parent, does your DH have veto power if he doesn't like your plan? Can you get the son into counseling? (First one-on-one counseling for why he finds housework so difficult and later parent-and-kid counseling so maybe the therapist will convince your DH to be less of a dick.) Even though you're homeschooling, the public school will probably offer relevant services.

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#4 of 24 Old 05-19-2013, 12:11 PM
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 I think most parents of 14-year-old boys would love it if the extent of their son's misbehavior was surfing the internet and not doing housework. 

Exactly.

 

This sounds like really minor stuff he's doing, to be honest.


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#5 of 24 Old 05-19-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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He has been grounded for five months now. He's not allowed to watch TV, get on the computer, or go out with his friends. We took away his cell phone. He's homeschooled, so he is pretty much stuck doing nothing at home, all the time. We keep setting goals for him, making them as easy as possible, telling him, "Just clean the kitchen every day for three days, and we will unground you!" He won't even do it for one day. We told him that if he would do ONE chore, just ONE time, we'd let him get on the computer for 15 minutes. He did it a few times, and then stopped. He just doesn't seem to care at all. We're trying really hard to make the punishments for his misbehavior as miserable as we can, while making it as easy as possible for him to do his chores and be rewarded. I've come up with a hundred plans and methods, writing out jobs step-by-step, offering to even HELP him do it. I feel like I'm bending over backwards, and he won't make the slightest effort on his part. I really don't understand this at all!
 

 

My sister's Husband does this to my oldest niece.  If the goal looks to hard, many children (people in general) won't try, because what's the point.  That being said, being grounded from basically everything fun for the last five months, it may seem too hard for him to get off grounding, as he's been on it so long without getting off, can you get what I mean?

 

Now, that being said, I would definitely second that call that he very well may have Depression and should be treated.  That would also explain it being "too much for him", even the seemingly simple requests.

 

Also, you have not failed, you have bent over backwards helping your son.  Sometimes, a parent's help isn't enough, you need outside help like therapy or maybe even medication.  I can tell you, though, if your husband sends him away, it will make matters worse.  Maybe you guys won't have to "deal with it" on a daily basis, but it will affect your son emotionally for the rest of his life that his parents "gave up on him".


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#6 of 24 Old 05-19-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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He has been grounded for five months now. He's not allowed to watch TV, get on the computer, or go out with his friends. We took away his cell phone. He's homeschooled, so he is pretty much stuck doing nothing at home, all the time.....
We've tried talking to him, but he won't talk to us. He has never liked talking about emotions or feelings. He told his sister that he does not want to talk to us. All he would tell her is that he feels like he can't do it, and he'll never get ungrounded, so why try. Even with his brother begging him to do his chores so they can play video games together, he won't try.
...If DH sends our son away, he's losing his child because I failed to make him behave!
 

 

 

First, I think you need to immediately stop the grounding. It's been 5 months. It isn't working in any way, and it just cruel. He is homeschooled and not allow to go out with his friends or even speak to them. This needs to stop immediately. Isolation is not a good thing.

 

Second, he needs real help. He is not doing OK, and you guys are out of ideas. It's time time to get professional help and figure out what is going on. I agree that he could have an undiagnosed special need or that he could be clinical depressed (if he wasn't depressed before this, he most likely is by now).

 

Your son has completely given up, so you have to do something completely different.

 

Also, your attitude about the whole thing is really unhealthy. If your H* sends is son away, it will be his own decision, and one that I suspect that he will end up regretting deeply. He alone will be responsible for sending his son away. I think you are showing a very odd view of what you have control over and what you don't. You need to make your H responsible for his choices, not feel like he is a victim here. You might point out to your H what message this would send to the younger children -- that love and acceptable are conditional at your house, "p*ss us off enough, and we''ll will find a way to get you out of the family".

,

* any parent who sends their child away for failing to clean their room doesn't get a "dear" from me.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 24 Old 05-19-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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Your child told you what is wrong....you over grounded him. He is bored. There is nothing to look forward.

 

Send him to public school. He is too enmeshed with all of you right now. He needs a company of his peers, goals and structure now.

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#8 of 24 Old 05-20-2013, 06:03 AM
 
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You are definitely past the point where grounding is potentially productive, and the kid is not going to help you undig that hole. Five months of no activities or computer time is a serious academic impediment to a homeschooled kid - the ultimate goal of parenting is to produce healthy, self-supporting adults, and this punishment is jeapordizing that goal. It has to end.

Public school is absolutely an option you should consider, but right now, it would be months off. You need a summer plan for this child. One that considers that he's basically been on a desert island since Christmas and he needs to reintegrate to wider society. Can you find a camp with a focus he'd be interested in? Can you call in favors to get him a summer job?
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#9 of 24 Old 05-20-2013, 11:10 PM
 
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What about Computer Camp? Something really good like ID Tech?  My son graduated school early and landed a job with a start up thank to that camp

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#10 of 24 Old 06-25-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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Have you had your child assessed for mental health issues?  To me, though untrained, this screams "depression".  Before taking the drastic step of sending him away, please try psychological help for him and family therapy for the three of you (and maybe your other children depending on their ages). 

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#11 of 24 Old 06-27-2013, 11:24 AM
 
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My first thought was send him to public school too.  He is not thriving in his present circumstances.  He is trying to grow up, he's 14, and adulthood is coming up quick for him.  He needs to get out there and experience life, not be locked in his room with no outside contact. 

 

Your situation is bad, bad, bad.  Change your perspective.  You don't see your own role quite right.  You are supposed to be his platform to launch himself, not his jailor.  Show him all the amazing possibilities in the world--the newest cutting-edge technologies that people are developing to pique his interest.  He needs to have freedom to find a path to adulthood, a career, relationships, and hobbies. 


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#12 of 24 Old 06-27-2013, 12:09 PM
 
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Can we get an update?  How are things going?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 24 Old 06-27-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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I agree with everyone about public school. My son was homeschooled for two years (he's 17) and this next year he will be going back to public school. In the case of my child, he was just home way too much - and it made him not want to do anything at all. He admitted that he felt depressed over it. It was nothing that going out a couple times a week could fix. He's a social child and he needs that interaction.

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#14 of 24 Old 06-27-2013, 05:26 PM
 
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I think he is bored and lonely and just shut down! I remember some friends doing the same thing while they were unemployed. Eventually, sitting around doing nothing breeds more of the same.

 

I agree that perhaps trying some school might be enjoyable for him. It might take some time to adjust to full-time schooling, but maybe it would be fun to have somewhere to go and some peers to interract with. I think it's worth a try before you send him off to Grandma so he can dick around at her house.

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#15 of 24 Old 06-27-2013, 05:43 PM
 
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First, I think you need to immediately stop the grounding. It's been 5 months. It isn't working in any way, and it just cruel. He is homeschooled and not allow to go out with his friends or even speak to them. This needs to stop immediately. Isolation is not a good thing.

Second, he needs real help. He is not doing OK, and you guys are out of ideas. It's time time to get professional help and figure out what is going on. I agree that he could have an undiagnosed special need or that he could be clinical depressed (if he wasn't depressed before this, he most likely is by now).

Your son has completely given up, so you have to do something completely different.

Also, your attitude about the whole thing is really unhealthy. If your H* sends is son away, it will be his own decision, and one that I suspect that he will end up regretting deeply. He alone will be responsible for sending his son away. I think you are showing a very odd view of what you have control over and what you don't. You need to make your H responsible for his choices, not feel like he is a victim here. You might point out to your H what message this would send to the younger children -- that love and acceptable are conditional at your house, "p*ss us off enough, and we''ll will find a way to get you out of the family".
,
* any parent who sends their child away for failing to clean their room doesn't get a "dear" from me.

All of this times a million.

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#16 of 24 Old 06-27-2013, 07:35 PM
 
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First, I think you need to immediately stop the grounding. It's been 5 months. It isn't working in any way, and it just cruel. He is homeschooled and not allow to go out with his friends or even speak to them. This needs to stop immediately. Isolation is not a good thing.

 

Second, he needs real help. He is not doing OK, and you guys are out of ideas. It's time time to get professional help and figure out what is going on. I agree that he could have an undiagnosed special need or that he could be clinical depressed (if he wasn't depressed before this, he most likely is by now).

 

Your son has completely given up, so you have to do something completely different.

 

Also, your attitude about the whole thing is really unhealthy. If your H* sends is son away, it will be his own decision, and one that I suspect that he will end up regretting deeply. He alone will be responsible for sending his son away. I think you are showing a very odd view of what you have control over and what you don't. You need to make your H responsible for his choices, not feel like he is a victim here. You might point out to your H what message this would send to the younger children -- that love and acceptable are conditional at your house, "p*ss us off enough, and we''ll will find a way to get you out of the family".

,

* any parent who sends their child away for failing to clean their room doesn't get a "dear" from me.

yeahthat.gif  All of that above.   And another thought - I was quite the lazy teenager when it came to household chores.  In fact, any chore my parents tried to make me do, I detested even more.  Now I am a hard working, house cleaning, organizing, neat freak (that stays up all night on my lap top.)  He does sound depressed, but not doing his chores, or not doing as he's told at 14 does not lock in his future behavior.  The teenage years are about experimenting with your identity. You have to have friends and get out of the house to do that.


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#17 of 24 Old 06-28-2013, 12:53 AM
 
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Update! How are things?
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#18 of 24 Old 07-03-2013, 12:13 PM
 
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I hope the OP comes back to update this post.  I agree with everyone else this kid needs to go to public school. 

 

I was once grounded for SIX months and by the end of that time I was going crazy with cabin fever.  It was maddening!!  I was so insane with boredom I took my parent's car for a joy ride late at night and almost got into an accident.

 

I was going to public school at the time and I got that bored.  If he's being homeschooled, what's there to ground him from?


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#19 of 24 Old 07-03-2013, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Actually I was really hoping this thread would just die. I was really emotional when I wrote it, and I don't feel like I explained the situation well at all, and every time I see it I just get upset again. greensad.gif

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#20 of 24 Old 07-03-2013, 01:28 PM
 
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Are things better now?  (Is the poor kid ungrounded?)

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#21 of 24 Old 07-03-2013, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, better.

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#22 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 08:53 PM
 
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Your son has completely given up, so you have to do something completely different.

I agree with this completely.  The grounding isn't working.  I know his behavior is frustrating, but it really sounds like he is going through something, and you need to address whatever that is.

 

It does sound a lot like depression to me, or maybe even possible OCD issues.  Sometimes simple tasks can become very difficult if it triggers OCD rituals in one's head, and I know I used to exhibit avoidance behaviors like that and preferred to just be seen as ditzy or lazy.

 

It sounds like he needs counseling, and perhaps a therapist that works with the whole family could be helpful as well.

 

Good luck!  It is so hard when we don't know how to reach our children.


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#23 of 24 Old 12-06-2013, 07:41 AM
 
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I'm glad to hear things are better, but jeez everything you described was cruel. You have a homeschooled child that you grounded, including from computer, for five months- what kind of social interaction was that child getting? Public/private school'd children who are grounded still see their friends at school, eat with them at lunch, talk to classmates- it sounds like your son was basically under house arrest for five months, no wonder he got depressed and hopeless.

 

Not only that, but the fact that your husband wants to get rid of him for fairly normal teen behavior (not acceptable, and not good- his actions were a huge red flag of needing help, because teens do need help from their parents- it's why we don't kick them out the second they hit 13!) is a GIANT red flag and a huge betrayal. I hope that your step-son never found out his own father was even thinking about kicking him out. What will happen when the kids you two have together hit puberty?

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#24 of 24 Old 12-07-2013, 05:02 AM
 
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I agree with this completely.  The grounding isn't working.  I know his behavior is frustrating, but it really sounds like he is going through something, and you need to address whatever that is.

It does sound a lot like depression to me, or maybe even possible OCD issues.  Sometimes simple tasks can become very difficult if it triggers OCD rituals in one's head, and I know I used to exhibit avoidance behaviors like that and preferred to just be seen as ditzy or lazy.

It sounds like he needs counseling, and perhaps a therapist that works with the whole family could be helpful as well.

Good luck!  It is so hard when we don't know how to reach our children.
It sounds a lot more like his parents need counseling.
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