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Sorry, this is kinda long - x-posted in blended family - I am not a single mom anymore but thought you ladies might have advice on this as well. Thanks...<br><br>
DS is 4.5, will be 5 in June. I left his dad when he was about ten months old because of difficulties with his father's alcoholism. Since then, ds has seen his dad just about every other weekend with some longer or shorter stretches in there, all while his dad was telling me he wasn't drinking at all. I moved here from Florida in October for work and paid for his dad to move up here too because I felt guilty about moving him away. In November, his father got a DUI (that I didn't find out about until January). In January, I got a call from the police to come get my son because his dad was in jail (DUI again and this time with DS in the car). So I have been going through the courts to get sole legal custody and change visitation to supervised until his dad can prove to me that he can stay sober. His dad calls every night to talk to him but I hadn't let him visit until two weekends ago. (So it was about two months where he didn't see his dad at all.) DS has been having a rough time of it, violent outbursts, negative and miserable. He never seems happy, ever. He doesn't smile, he hates everything. Since going to his dad's, he cries every single night for his father - he tells me he hates me and he hates our house and he wants to be at his dad's. His dad lets him watch tv, play computer, eat sugary snacks, and has five other kids (which belong to his gf) so it is like a continuous playdate for him when he is over there. We don’t have a tv, don't allow sugar in the house and he is an only child at my house. We also don’t spank, don't yell and do lots of fun things like play games and go walks. I feel like I am doing everything right for him and he just hates me more for it. I am struggling over whether to let him see his dad more or not just so he'll be happy. I only want for him to be happy. When he came home from his dad's, he called his dad and afterwards he was just so sweet and lovey and when I asked him about it, he said he was only being good because then I would let him go see his dad (that is what his dad told him.) I hate the fact that he is only being lovey to me just to get to his dad's house. I almost feel ready to give up and just let him go be with his dad (who is all apologetic and says he will never drink again- blah, blah) just so my son will be happy.<br><br>
I don't know exactly what I am asking for, maybe just a word of advice from someone who has been through this?
 

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I haven't been through exactly this, but i definately didn' t want to read and not post!<br><br>
Mama, you are doing a fabulous job with your little one. Never doubt *your* ability as a parent, as long as all of your checks and balances are in place.<br><br>
I can't imagine how rough that is. It's different for me, as DS doesn't see his Dad but *maybe* once a year. But that doesn't stop him from crying for Daddy when he's mad at me (DS is 3). It completely breaks my heart.<br><br>
But i wouldn't let that make me want DS's father in our lives more regularly. YUCK.<br><br>
You gave your X a chance. He didn't just break that trust, he thoroughly trounced it. Not only did he get a DUI in November, by himself (which obviously didn't scare him into getting sober), but he had your precious DS in the CAR WITH HIM this time!!!<br><br>
i don't know if now is the time to gently impress upon your DS that his Dad is sick and needs to get better before he can spend more time with him, or what. But i do know that allowing your X to take a chance with your DS's life again is something you just *cannot* do. He's going to have to do a LOT of things to prove himself before you should feel good about leaving DS unsupervised with him.<br><br>
I know it must be so hard, especially to see your DS so angry. But i think you need to stand your ground on this. It's not somthing silly either, this is a serious illness that could definately harm your DS.<br><br>
Just show him love, as best you can Mama. Things will get better.
 

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Ok well first off I think you are doing all the right things. I want to encourage you to keep the focus of maintaining the relationship w/DS and Daddy as safely as possible. There are a lot of ppl who would use this situation as justification to yank all contact. I really appreciate your willingness to find the solution that is best for your kiddo, regardless of how it may inconvenience or tick off your x.<br><br>
Second: ITA w/the PP regarding the time is now to sit DS down and gently, lovingly, patiently, explain that Daddy isn't being safe right now, and you are working SO hard to make sure he gets lots of Safe Daddy Time. I don't know about describing Daddy as sick at this age, because to a young child 'sick' means that A) there is medicine to make it better, B) Daddy might die C)it might be 'catchable' (contagious) and D) Daddy caught it from someone/thing else. It's hard for young children to comprehend the term 'alcoholic', so I'd suggest sticking with words like 'safe' and 'not safe' or 'dangerous'. I would also caution against connecting the 'not safe' behavior to beer at this age, as your DS will likely globalize the correlation and decide that 'all beer' (or wine, whatever) makes people sick. God forbid he sees you or anyone else he loves drinking responsibly (my DP has a beer w/football, for example, and DD is well aware of it nor does she care), which could result in DS worrying that Mommy (or whoever) might also 'get sick'. It's important to make the connection for him that it is Daddy's CHOICES that aren't safe, not necessarily any outside influence.<br><br>
Remember that he is in the throes of Daddy Worship right now, just developmentally speaking. Having Daddy do something 'wrong' or 'bad' is extremely unsettling to a child in this age range. Continue to validate his need to be angry and sad, although continue to reframe it for him in the sense of "I can see you are angry, I'm so sorry Daddy made these choices. I hope he gets better soon". This will help him (eventually) see that it isn't YOU keeping Daddy away, it's Daddy making the choice. Validate that Daddy loves DS immensely (Daddy loves you so much he knows it's not safe right now to take you for a visit, he'll see you soon, we're working on it), and that everyone wants Daddy to work hard at getting better. DS won't get it right off the bat, and it might even help to have 'missing Daddy time' where he can plan to 'write' to Daddy, color pictures for him, etc. and you can put them in a special 'Daddy folder' for him to give to Daddy as soon as a 'safe visit' can be arranged. Stress to your DS that the police agree that Daddy has a hard time being safe right now, that's why they helped Daddy stop driving and had Mommy come get him. Police have a lot of weight with this age range, use it to your advantage.<br><br>
Good luck, hope that helps...<br>
Bellevuemama
 

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Maybe get a breath-a-lizer (spelling?) tester, and not allow ds to ride in the car with him? In turn, x should give you $ for gas. Good think ds is almost 5, instead of 18 months or something, so that if x were to be under the influence around the house, ds would be able to take care of himself, if need be. Except if there were an emergency and he was too out of it. Remind your son how great of a mom you are by helping x move with you guys. And also, you MUST talk to your ex about spoiling, and such. And not to blame it on you when ds asks why he can't have certain things. Seems like x is willing to compromise. Good Luck.
 

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I would keep up with your guns, your sons safety is #1, but if you can get someone to supervise your sons visits so that he can go see his dad, that would probably be good. Dont worry your son is only four he will probably go through stages where he doesnt like his dad and ect. Have you tried to sit down and explain why he hasnt gotten to see his dad, and why you dont allow sugar and tv?
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">(snip) When he came home from his dad's, he called his dad and afterwards he was just so sweet and lovey and when I asked him about it, he said he was only being good because then I would let him go see his dad (that is what his dad told him.)</div>
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I'm just gonna focus on this. How much does your DS know about why his dad wasn't involved for a few months? It sounds like your X basically made you the scape goat of evil mommy who wouldn't let him come visit, rather than the reality of daddy was being dumb and got in trouble. If your DS understands time outs, a friend used that one to help her kids. "Daddy went to jail. Jail is a special time out for adults when they do something they shouldn't do. They have to stay there longer than you do, sometimes for a few days, or weeks, or months. A person called a judge decides how long based on what was done." Something along those lines and then broach into why you continued to stop visits. I don't blame you at all. He's lucky DCF didn't immediately stop his visits (They do in Fla typically when a DUI occurs with kids in car). They make pocket breathalizer tests, and I assume with a DUI he can't drive your DS anymore. Heck, with 2, he should be losing his license for a LOOOOONG time to come. I'd use pocket breathalizers before every visit, at the end, and mention that you might stop by to have him do one. I know the sheriff's office here makes DUIers come in for random breathalizers...maybe see if one can be worked in during a weekend visit if you continue to allow unsupervised time at all. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> to you both...Not a fun situation
 

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please be gentle with yourself. ds is 4 1/2. very much a baby still. who wouldn't be swayed by sugar and video games and 'round the clock fun? when he says "I want daddy" substitute in your mind him saying "I want playmates, I want candy, i want TV I want video games" How would you deal with him wanting those things if they had nothing to do with his dad? He is 4. this is a great time and a great opportunity for you to start instilling your values in him. and helping him find joy in the life he he has.<br><br>
Sorry his df is such a looser. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I haven't been thru this, but I watched my mother go thru it with my brother. She ended up giving my bro to our bio father when he was 6yo and a few years later, my bio dad put my brother into my school, where we saw each other with a counselor. My brother regretted choosing our father over our mother and my mother was never right in the head after she gave him up.<br><br>
My advice: Continue to be gentle with your son. Remember that he is a baby and he's in a blended family. It's often difficult to be part of a blended family. It was difficult for me, but I never left my mom or wanted to b/c of it and largely that's b/c I was a girl (a girl who recognized her father for the loser he was...but I was 2 years older than my brother). A boy is probably going to want his father, regardless of the situation.<br><br>
I'm not sure I'm wording this the way I want to, but I just want to offer a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> and tell you to try not to worry too much. This is normal, IMO. I know I went thru my thing where I "ran away" to my bio dad's house (shortly after my bro went to live there and my mom moved us in with my stepdad) and I remember screaming, "I want my daddy! <i>He</i>'s not my daddy! I want my daddy!" when the police and my parents came to get me. (My stepdad was on the porch b/c my mother was afraid of my bio dad.) I didn't do any of that b/c I didn't love or want to be with my mom...I did it b/c I was pissed off. And, I had a right to be pissed off.<br><br>
I think your son is plenty mad, too. Maybe you can go to family counseling with him. And, keep on loving him! My mother distanced herself from me and it didn't help our relationship. She was afraid and I recognize that now. I urge you to not let your fear shadow the love you feel for your son and just continue to do your best to keep him safe.<br><br>
Good luck!
 
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