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#1 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I are taking my two children, our one child together, and his son (12) to Disney World in March.  His son (10) refuses to come to our house...parental alienation on his mother's part...

 

Long story short, he is violent and will punch, kick, bite....the whole 9 yards when DH goes to pick him up.  DH can't handle it anymore and told him that he doesn't have to come to our house and can stay with his mother if that's what he wants.

 

We are not including him in our Disney Vacation even though we are taking his brother (who comes with us faithfully and doesn't give us any problems).

 

How would you handle this situation?

 

Would you take the son that wants nothing to do with your DH any other time or would you leave him with his mother since that is where he wants to be?

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#2 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 04:48 PM
 
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I think I would invite him, but not force him to go if he doesn't want to.  It isn't going to help anything if he feels like your dh doesn't want him along at all and/or care if he is there.  If he chooses not to go, I'd  bring him (small) souvenir and tell him you missed him. 


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#3 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 04:52 PM
 
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I'm sorry, now that I am rereading, is the issue more that he does want to go to Disney, but you and dh are feeling used because he doesn't want to come any other time? 

 

I feel like you should still let him come, but go easy on the bells and whistles-while you want him to feel included and loved, he might also start to think (or be encouraged to think, if alienation is an issue) that dad is trying to buy his love/visitation. 


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#4 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, we would definitely feel used. Another issue is we are not telling any of the kids we are going. it will be a surprise until we get there so we can't ask him if he wants to come with us to Disney world because it would ruin the surprise for the other children.

so in order to get him to even come with us it would be more kicking screaming and hitting which would definitely start the vacation off on a bad note. not to mention 12 hours stuck in a car with him crying and screaming and going on and on about how he doesn't want to be with us.
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#5 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 06:11 PM
 
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What is he like once he is at your house? Is the kicking and screaming just at pick-up and then he settles down or does he really object to being with you the whole time? Do you think he would be happy and excited to be at Disney World or unhappy and missing his mum the whole time?

Would it be possible to secretly tell him but not the others and get him to keep it a secret or would he not be able to keep it to himself? How important is it to keep it a secret from all the kids? Would it be worth telling them a bit earlier in order to have Master 10 come with you?

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#6 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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he acts up the whole time at this point because we have rules...bed times....you will brush your teeth and bathe. his mom let's him do whatever he wants to so naturally he will want to stay with her.

We were doing 7 and 7 at one point. We started this in January of last year. it took us 8 months to get him somewhat straightened out. We ended up in the hospital from august to September with our newborn. When we got back home all that we had worked towards in the 8 months was gone. He was back to the disruptive violent child he started out as. In one month all the progress we made that took 8 was gone.

During the week that he was with us he would throw things, steal things. It was pretty bad. We were told by the psychiatrist that we were bringing him to to NEVER leave him around the baby because of his violent tendencies. Pretty much the last day we had him for the week he would calm down slightly but not much.

He has ODD so he basically thinks he is the boss. If you tell him not to do something....don't tell anyone we are going to Disney world....he will run screaming to tell everyone. That's just the kid that he is.
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#7 of 42 Old 12-23-2013, 07:59 PM
 
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What a hard situation for everyone. It seems to me like there are two options

1. If you think the treat will prompt him to behave well and not ruin the trip for everyone, tell everyone beforehand and take him with you. Being prepared for some degree of poor behaviour and having plans in place to help him manage himself and your expectations.

2. Don't take him. If you think his behaviour will remain unchanged and he will spoil the trip for the other kids then not going is a consequence. A pretty tough one and a last resort IMO but the other kids have a right to peaceful enjoyment as well.

Does the psychiatrist have an opinion one way or the other and suggestions to handle whatever you decide?

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#8 of 42 Old 12-24-2013, 04:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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His mother changed him to a new psychiatrist while we were in the hospital. She changes doctors like this when one tells her something she doesn't like or doesn't want to put him on a med she wants him on. DH has left the doctors up to her at this point because when we make him appointments she doesn't bring him and then DH is responsible for cancellation fees...$75 for him NOT to show up because his mother wouldn't bring him.

There is A LOT more to this story but basically BM was determined that there was nothing wrong with SS and sabotaged every effort we made to get help.

We live in Louisiana...which means a 12+ drive and 7 days away from home. If it were a one day thing, somewhere local my decision wouldn't be as hard but this is 12 or more hours in a car where he could turn violent if he doesn't get his way and 5 days at Disney where we could have a miserable time because of his tantrums.
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#9 of 42 Old 12-27-2013, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wwe have decided to give SS10 the opportunity to show that he wants to be part of our family and in turn have a place in the family vacation.

Here is what is planned. DH will mention to SS that we have something big planned for this coming year. Something that will make him very sad to miss out on. We are telling him that he will have the option on deciding if he will be included or not. The way for him to be included is to come and spend time with us. This doesn't mean he has to do 7 and 7 right now. If he wants to just come on the weekend, that is fine with us as a start to rebuilt the relationship and get things right again.

He will do 1 of two things. Tell us that he doesn't care what we are doing and he isn't coming over, or....

this will peak his interest and he will realize that it's not all rules and no fun at our house.

He will also be told that he has to be on his best behavior because throwing temper tantrums and screaming and being violent will result in him not being able to be included.

When we went to meet up with BM to give SS10 his Christmas gifts, SS was very calm, gave his dad a huge hug and told me hi. This made me realize that there is definitely still hope for him but we have to start off small.

I will be putting small ideas into DH's head so that he takes the initiative and makes the first moves. I suggested that he takes SS10 somewhere by himself....fast food lunch....somewhere that they can talk 1 on 1 so that he realizes that he is very important to his dad.

I know this is not my battle but the mother in me feels heartbroken over this situation.

Bottom line is, if SS10 can prove that he is willing to try to be part of our family, we will be including him in the trip.

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#10 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH explained to SS that we would be going on a family vacation soon and we want him to come with us but he needed to prove to us that he wanted to be part of our family and that means spending time with us. DH asked SS to just come on the weekend and spend time. SS straight out told DH that he didn't care where we were going that he didn't want to come on vacation. This means if we try to make him go it will be kicking and screaming all the way to Disney World. So once again SS will not be coming on vacation.
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#11 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:08 AM
 
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I like how you did it because later he will realize he had the chance to go. It might not make sense in his world short term but it might help later thinking back on it.
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#12 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:19 AM
 
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I would definitely say you should invite him and not force him to go. He's still a child and you are still the adults so you really have to cut him a lot of slack an ongoing basis until he's 18. I don't think it's fair for you to throw up your hands one day and say "that's enough, we aren't going to put any effort into the relationship anymore, you're out!"

As the adult child of a mother who tried (amd ultimately failed) to alienate me from my dad I have a soft spot for these poor kids. He's 12 but he's still a child. While my mom was doing this my dad would still come faithfully to pick me up every time and would wait for an hour parked outside, just sitting there, and I wouldn't go out. Now, as an adult I feel so incredibly lucky to have a father that stuck with me through that. I love my dad and a big part of the reason I hold him in such high esteem is becaue he conducted himself with such integrity during what must have been very difficult circumstances for him. I was around the same age when I started rejecting my dad.

As for this: "issue is we are not telling any of the kids we are going. it will be a surprise until we get there so we can't ask him if he wants to come with us..." No offense but this seems like total BS. You're constructing the vacation in a way that makes it easier for you to rationalize excluding him. This is so not cool.
If you need for it to be a surprise (which why do you, it's Disney for crissake) why not wrap the tickets, pamphlets or whatever and have them unwrap it. It's still a surprise and you can now include the other son in a way that doesn't totally disrespect him.

It seems from your post that you're fed up, and that's understandable. But, you still have to play the adult here and even though he's big and isn't a baby he's still a child. If you mess this up now, at a time when he needs you most, he may never forgive you. Imagine how that might make you feel in 20 years of he starts have grandchildren or in 10 years when he confronts you about it as an adult. If you don't invite him to Disney (?! surely you must know this isn't a smart move) he will remember that forever and you will deal with the fallout of being thatparent forever.

Keep trying to build the relationship, but don't force him. The long term perspective is key here. Also, Dr Markhams book Peaceful Parents has helped many.
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#13 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have invited him and he said no. I am not begging him to come on vacation. He was given the choice. He decided not to come.

As for cutting him out of everything, that isn't what we are doing. dh will still ask him to come over and in the future if we take vacations we will give him the same choice we did this time.

As for not telling the kids where we are going, I want to be able to turn around in my seat and take a picture of their faces when they realize where we are. As a mother, this is my right to be able to capture the faces of my own children to be able to look back on later. So to you it might be bs but to me this is an important part of our vacation memories.

We will be telling the kids we are taking a vacation, we have already told SS10 this and he doesn’t want to come, but we will not be telling them where it is to. Why should he be able to pick and choose which vacations he comes on? If we were to tell him we were going to the beach and he said no but we told him we are going to Disney and he said yes. How does that make it right????

We have NEVER disrespected SS10, if anything he is the disrespectful one. And I know he is a child but he is a child that was given a choice. He chooses not to go. When he is an adult he will remember that he was given the choice and he said no….
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#14 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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I would allow him to change his mind at any point between now and the trip.
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#15 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He has two weeks to change his mind. Everything has to be finalized by Jan 15th.
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#16 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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When I said be disrespectful I meant by making him go for visits, which it sounds like you don't do.

"Why should he be able to pick and choose which vacations he comes on?". Because he is a child.

Some of what I hear you writing sounds like you want to treat him like a "mini adult" ( ex: "why should he get to choose..?", "if anything he is being disrespectful"). He gets to be treated in a special way and have his feelings and needs get special consideration because he is a child.

Re: hes said no to "all" vacations so that must include this super awesome one that any kid would give their xbox for. I still think you're playing a dangerous game here and that it could backfire big time, especially when he's
Older and is more able to reason through what happened.
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#17 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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Omg he's only 10????

Poor kid.
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#18 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 08:31 AM
 
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What details need to be finalized by January?
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#19 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 08:56 AM
 
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I would definitely say you should invite him and not force him to go. He's still a child and you are still the adults so you really have to cut him a lot of slack an ongoing basis until he's 18. I don't think it's fair for you to throw up your hands one day and say "that's enough, we aren't going to put any effort into the relationship anymore, you're out!"

As the adult child of a mother who tried (amd ultimately failed) to alienate me from my dad I have a soft spot for these poor kids. He's 12 but he's still a child. While my mom was doing this my dad would still come faithfully to pick me up every time and would wait for an hour parked outside, just sitting there, and I wouldn't go out. Now, as an adult I feel so incredibly lucky to have a father that stuck with me through that. I love my dad and a big part of the reason I hold him in such high esteem is becaue he conducted himself with such integrity during what must have been very difficult circumstances for him. I was around the same age when I started rejecting my dad.

As for this: "issue is we are not telling any of the kids we are going. it will be a surprise until we get there so we can't ask him if he wants to come with us..." No offense but this seems like total BS. You're constructing the vacation in a way that makes it easier for you to rationalize excluding him. This is so not cool.
If you need for it to be a surprise (which why do you, it's Disney for crissake) why not wrap the tickets, pamphlets or whatever and have them unwrap it. It's still a surprise and you can now include the other son in a way that doesn't totally disrespect him.

It seems from your post that you're fed up, and that's understandable. But, you still have to play the adult here and even though he's big and isn't a baby he's still a child. If you mess this up now, at a time when he needs you most, he may never forgive you. Imagine how that might make you feel in 20 years of he starts have grandchildren or in 10 years when he confronts you about it as an adult. If you don't invite him to Disney (?! surely you must know this isn't a smart move) he will remember that forever and you will deal with the fallout of being thatparent forever.

Keep trying to build the relationship, but don't force him. The long term perspective is key here. Also.[/quote
Agree! Especially about the to telling.
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#20 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 08:58 AM
 
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When I said be disrespectful I meant by making him go for visits, which it sounds like you don't do.

"Why should he be able to pick and choose which vacations he comes on?". Because he is a child.

Some of what I hear you writing sounds like you want to treat him like a "mini adult" ( ex: "why should he get to choose..?", "if anything he is being disrespectful"). He gets to be treated in a special way and have his feelings and needs get special consideration because he is a child.

Re: hes said no to "all" vacations so that must include this super awesome one that any kid would give their xbox for. I still think you're playing a dangerous game here and that it could backfire big time, especially when he's
Older and is more able to reason through what happened.

Yes, and your husband may be very angry with the way this turned out when he comes to his senses.
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#21 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes he is 10. He also has ODD which means per psychiatrist orders, he has to be given options and has to be allowed to make his own decision on which option he chooses. So yes, he is treated like a "mini-adult". He was given the choice of coming or not coming on vacation. He said no


If we add one more child we have to switch from one room to two. This has to he done and paid for by January 15th.
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#22 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 09:08 AM
 
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Yes he is 10. He also has ODD which means per psychiatrist orders, he has to be given options and has to be allowed to make his own decision on which option he chooses. So yes, he is treated like a "mini-adult". He was given the choice of coming or not coming on vacation. He said no


If we add one more child we have to switch from one room to two. This has to he done and paid for by January 15th.

I would tell him it's Disney and let him decide. Isn't having the entire family there more important than the photograph of only some of the kids in the car? You must have thought he might have wanted to go, or you wouldn't post here. Why not give him all the info? Unless you want a way out. I think it's crappy what you're planning to do.
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#23 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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Yeah I think you're doing everything right except not telling him that it's Disney. There's a very good chance that he has no idea what he's saying no to.

On the positive side, this can all be a real opportunity to mend bridges, especially of he decides to go.
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#24 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 01:32 PM
 
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You only need one room for seven people?  I would just plan on two rooms, and that way you are set no matter what.  It doesn't sound like you are flying. 

 

This is the kind of thing that stands out in most kids' minds.  "The time you all went to disney without me."  He is 10.  There is a part of me that thinks you should just take him no matter what.  What if he was your biological child?  Would you consider leaving him behind then?  He 'is' your husband's bio child.  Going without him but with five other kids is a very divisive act that can lead to nothing good.

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#25 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 01:40 PM
 
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You only need one room for seven people?  I would just plan on two rooms, and that way you are set no matter what.  It doesn't sound like you are flying. 

This is the kind of thing that stands out in most kids' minds.  "The time you all went to disney without me."  He is 10.  There is a part of me that thinks you should just take him no matter what.  What if he was your biological child?  Would you consider leaving him behind then?  He 'is' your husband's bio child.  Going without him but with five other kids is a very divisive act that can lead to nothing good.

I was thinking that too but my only hesitation is that the OP said he can be violent with the other kids. I don't know what the solution is but I can see the dilemma of needing to keep the other kids safe.

I do think that keeping it a secret is wrong if knowing would help. It's a shame about the photo if that's something you've been looking forward to but it's not a good enough reason to exclude a child from a family event.

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#26 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 06:13 PM
 
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I was thinking that too but my only hesitation is that the OP said he can be violent with the other kids. I don't know what the solution is but I can see the dilemma of needing to keep the other kids safe.

I do think that keeping it a secret is wrong if knowing would help. It's a shame about the photo if that's something you've been looking forward to but it's not a good enough reason to exclude a child from a family event.

 

This.

 

Swede & ViolaP- It's not clear if you're acknowledging the tantruming issue or that this child is potentially a danger to the baby. If this were merely a case of a well-behaved kid refusing to go because his mother is poisoning him against his father- that's one thing. But there's also the very serious concern that this child with behavior problems will ruin the trip for everyone, hurt someone, make it a miserable experience, and taking him along may unduly punish the other children. As the OP said- if this were a day trip, something easy to leave and return home if the child kicks off badly, that'd be one thing. A 12 hour road trip is VERY stressful even for people who get along. If he turns violent or starts throwing things- he could cause a crash. Even if they get there without incident, it would be impossible to quickly get the OP's step son back to a place he feels safe and comfortable in the middle of the trip if this goes bad without causing even more stress. What happens if he doesn't want to leave?

 

This is a child with mental problems whose mother is trying to alienate him from his father. Even if he wants Disney World- can he handle it?


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#27 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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This.

 

Swede & ViolaP- It's not clear if you're acknowledging the tantruming issue or that this child is potentially a danger to the baby. If this were merely a case of a well-behaved kid refusing to go because his mother is poisoning him against his father- that's one thing. But there's also the very serious concern that this child with behavior problems will ruin the trip for everyone, hurt someone, make it a miserable experience, and taking him along may unduly punish the other children. As the OP said- if this were a day trip, something easy to leave and return home if the child kicks off badly, that'd be one thing. A 12 hour road trip is VERY stressful even for people who get along- it would be impossible to quickly get the OP's step son back to a place he feels safe and comfortable in the middle of the trip if this goes bad without causing even more stress.

 

This is a child with mental problems whose mother is trying to alienate him from his father. Even if he wants Disney World- can he handle it?


what if her bio child had ODD?  What would she do then? W ould she make plans to leave the child with a grandparent or something?  Maybe he has ODD for a reason, like not feeling a strong attachment to dad?

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#28 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 06:18 PM
 
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Not inviting him because he's mentally ill goes to a question of severity. If that's the issue I would ask his doctor. If the doctor says its not a good idea then there's the answer.
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#29 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:27 PM
 
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Not inviting him because he's mentally ill goes to a question of severity. If that's the issue I would ask his doctor. If the doctor says its not a good idea then there's the answer.

I think this is a good idea. I mentioned it in a previous post but the OP said there was some issue with mum changing doctors.

I wonder if it would be possible to get an appointment with the original doctor though, to get some advice on how to handle the situation. Don't take DSS with you just you and his dad to see how the dr suggests handling it.

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#30 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by swede View Post
 


what if her bio child had ODD?  What would she do then? W ould she make plans to leave the child with a grandparent or something?  Maybe he has ODD for a reason, like not feeling a strong attachment to dad?

A better way to word it would be "like the mother's attempts at parental alienation from dad". It's possible that child abuse (which parental alienation and sabotaging mental health care is) is a cause for ODD. Simply not having an attachment to your parent is not- if the OP's husband had just never been in his son's life, and his mother took his emotional needs into consideration instead of constantly sabotaging him- it's likely that this child would be far better off. I agree that it is the father's job to do everything he can to help his son- but this isn't his fault. It's also possible that this child would have had ODD even with the perfect parents- but the perfect parents would get him the help he needs rather than sabotaging his care, and he would be in a far better place because of it.

 

Frankly- if a child has issues that make a specific trip/event inadvisable, the parents taking the child would be irresponsible. And, yes, sometimes parents DO make plans to leave the child who can't handle it with family/family friends if they feel it's unfair to deny the kids who CAN handle it the experience. You may not agree that Disney World is something like this-  but there are things that are worth it. If both children qualify for an out of state competition, but one can't handle the required travel- is it fair to say that the one child shouldn't be allowed to compete just because the other couldn't go as well? Again- you may say yes, other people would say no. As an adult- I have to face these limitations and decide for myself whether something I would like to do is worth the risk. I would have liked to go on a trip to NYC that my department was hosting- but I knew that, due to my fibromyalgia, I'd by physically unable to handle it and it could trigger panic attacks as well. Obviously, I didn't throw a tantrum and demand no one go just because I'm unable to. As a child, its the parents' job to make those judgement calls. Which, as a kid, meant missing out on things I wanted to do because I couldn't handle it- it's a part of life.

 

When there's more than one child- it gets complicated. Sometimes it's awful for the child/ren who can't handle it to be excluded, although sometimes kids that can't handle something PREFER not being included because they know it'd be a bad experience. But is it fair to deny the kids who can handle it from having the experience? It's a difficult question. It depends on the family, the circumstances, what the experience is, etc. Sometimes, yes, parents decide that the trip/experience/whatever is worth the benefit to the kids who can handle it, and sometimes they have a family friend/member take care of the child/ren that can't go. This isn't only with emotional problems- if someone has a physical disability or illness that makes it so they can't go, that's also a consideration.

 

They invited the son on a fun family vacation, telling him it was something he would be upset if he missed. They gave him the chance to prove he can go without causing problems. He refused. If they say Disney World and ruin the surprise and he still says "no" (because he may not want to go even there)- will that be enough?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Viola P View Post

Not inviting him because he's mentally ill goes to a question of severity. If that's the issue I would ask his doctor. If the doctor says its not a good idea then there's the answer.

The problem is, according to some posters in this thread, that they didn't do it right. They invited him on the proviso that he agree to visit them and behave, show that he'll be able to handle the vacation and that it won't be guaranteed to be a miserable experience. (I imagine the OP and her husband would help him to do so- if they wouldn't, that'd be a problem) He didn't want to.

I do agree that the doctor should be approached about this. If not the new doctor- perhaps a previous one that has more experience with the child. If there's virtually no chance that, even if he wants to and tries, the trip will be a good experience for the step son and family if he goes- that effects the situation. Letting him come and having it be a bad experience could make things even worse.


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