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Originally Posted by shanagirl
lisac -GREAT post. All so true. I was just doing volunteer work setting up a book fair at dds school tonight and I was struck by how very very much parents feel they have to be involved in the childrens' schooling, to an exhausting degree. I too was an indifferent student for a number of years. But my parents let me take my lumps. They let me know they weren't happy, I did get grounded sometimes. But our lives were not about how I did in school. Now I see mothers who know the content of every book their children read and study. And the first thing that pops into my head is how much more miserable I would have been if, in addition to struggling to be motivated (because of other things going on in my life) I also had had several adults heavily overseeing so much of it and wtching me closely every day. It would have made me despair and hate school AND them. Motivation really does have to come from within, and reality (failing, having to repeat) can be a great motivator. You cannot force growth on someone, it has to come from within.
But this is such a delicate situation with the divorce and custody issues at hand because the system favors the mother and she appears to be a big part of the problem if the OP is taken at face value. Meaning no offense, from the divorce/custody situations I have seen, I do believe the children always suffer more than many people--even good people-- want to admit, which exacerbates the child's anger and related behavior. I will offer this for what it's worth, I may be totally off, but is it possible it would help if you back out of involvement with the son's school issues and just be a nonjudgmental, listening presence for him right now and leave it to your husband to resolve with his ex? That you do not express opinions about his son, and kind of let everyone know this is between the original family members. That may take some of your 'threat' away from his ex wife over time so that she can focus on what's best for her son if she's not fearing/resenting you as much as she sounds like she does right now? And it would take some pressure off the son not having three adults so intensely aware of his behavior and performance.
I may be way off and drawing parallels to other situations I have seen but the ones I have seen usually have certain factors in common, especially when one of the spouses has a new partner.
Originally Posted by Suzetta
This might sound harsh, but I think it needs to be said. Until the grownups start acting like grownups, the child will continue to take whatever control of the situation he can.
I would back off the kid, and let his mom and dad figure out how to communicate better in order to improve the situation.