dealing with teens/pre teen
I am going to try my best not to ramble. I used to post here regarding issues with dealing the my skids bm and the many many issues that arose with that rocky relationship. Thankfully (and I can not say the enough) things are 100% better. We still have the kids most of the time. Although officially we have them every other week, the weeks that they are with her I meet her every morning and every afternoon with the kids to take them to and from school and wedneday's and friday's they are still with us because of her job. I am not working right now because I was laid off and then as a family we decided that I would go back to school and home school our oldest last year to help him get caught up. He is back regular school this year, but finding a job is nearly impossible so I am still at home and going to school but I am basically the primary caretaker for all of the kids.
My problem is with our oldest boys. At the beginning of the year our oldest (13 7th grade) spent the entire 9 weeks lieing about his work and almost got two referrals in less then a week. He wasnt doing any of his work at all and was lieing just about every day about it. We talked, we yelled, we had conferences with teachers. I finally setteled on every time you tell a lie I am taking something away and it is never coming back. I am tired of yelling. He was grounded for nearly an entire 9 nine week period because of his grades. He finally got a clue and brought all of his grades up. So, I told him that okay now you can earn things back with every A you bring home. However, now the younger son (12 6th grade) is doing almost the same thing. The difference with him is in his own head he is always right. He argues that he didnt lie even when he literally just lied. For example: "Do you have homework tonight?" "No." "Really, I spoke to your teachers and they said you have x y z to do. Why did you say you didnt have work." "I didnt want to do it." I then ask why did you lie? And his response is always an argument about why it wasnt a lie and blah blah blah. Now, I know middle school is a tough time for teenagers and I know teen boys can be a hand full. But, I am starting to get to the end of my rope. It seems like every single day there is something new. A new project that he didnt bother to do, a new lie about the teacher said I didnt have to x, when I full well know the teacher never told him that.
I am at a loss. I am tired of taking things away and I am tired of them being grounded. But, I also dont want to say oh, well if you fail you fail. Their education is just to important. And on top of everything, I feel like I am the one that is being the bad guy all of the time and they are going to end up hating me for it. Dad works so I am the first person to handle the problems. DH does always back me up and reinforces the consequences and lectures. BM attemtps to back us up and says the right things when we are all together but then when they are at her house even when they are grounded (a punishment she agreed to and sometimes came up with) lets them pretty much do whatever. For example last weekend younger son had a project to do not to mention being grounded for lieing. Instead of making him do the project she let him watch a movie with her. She is working overnights now, and quite frankly I think she really cant handle the schedule and is burned out with dealing with the situation. She has gone from being on top of it, to crying to me about dealing with them, to just shaking her head and not doing anything. DH is tired of it and has started to say well if he wants to fail let him fail. So, now it is down to me. While I know that I am the one out of the three of us that is not working and admittedly has the most time and family resonsibility to deal with this... I am starting to see the resentment build. And bm just confided to me that the boys run hom to her to complain about being in trouble and so on. Supposedly she said she is backing us up but I have a feeling the conversation is more like a "Oh baby Im sorry but..." That is her usual M.O. "My poor babies"
I dont know what to do anymore. I am trapped at home dealing with two teenage boys that pushing their limits to say the least and now I am feeling less and less supported and more and more like the boys are going to end up just hating me. I am out of creative ways to stop the lieing and get them to do their work. I am also completely exasperated with the lack of support. I dont want to rock the boat with BM because it took us so long to get to a positive point in our relationship but I can feel it boiling over... particularly when the oldest comes home and I ask did you do your research for your project last night? and he tells me he only looked up one thing because BMs laptop's battery was about to die and instead of hooking it up she said dont worry about it. But, she has no problem saying the a project needs to get done no matter what when they are with us and I am the one that is going to have to spend the entire night carting them to the library or helping them on a computer. I am trying to be understanding that this job schedule is killing her... but my understanding and patience is about to end across the board. Advice??