This might be a long one....

peanutmomFebruary 15, 2010

I will start with some background info because I have never posted on this forum before. I have been married to dh for 2 years now. I have a son(9) and a daughter(17) from my first marriage. (13 years of mental, and occasionally, physical torture.) He has a daughter(13) from his first marriage. We have a daughter(3)together.

We have a pretty solid relationship as far as it goes. (compared to others I know) He gets along with my family great, including my really odd birth father. He is great with our daughter, and other than some griping about the usual teenage foolishness, great with my daughter. He babies his daughter most of the time. She isn't required to follow the rules in our home as strictly as my son. My daughter doesn't live with us. She is getting her own place. She is independent to a fault. (A little too much like her mother. LOL.) His daughter lives with her mother. My son lives with us full time. His father was involved with him for a while, but as time goes on he is less and less. At first I shared custody with his father. About a year ago, my ex decided it was too much work to get his son on a regular basis. In fact, the last weekend he was supposed to get him, he never showed and never called. He is a passive aggressive man who has serious control issues.

Here is the mess. My dh is really hard on my son. I try to keep things fair with my son and his daughter. The 3 year old is expected to behave just as the other children are. He constantly grounds him for weeks at a time from tv, computer, and other things. My son is very wrapped up in these things. I know this doesn't sound too drastic, but try dealing with any kind of family activity that your child can't participate in for, oh about 6 or 7 weeks. We used to do family movie and pizza night every Sat when we have all of the kids. I can't do that now because my son can't participate in anything. My dh will sit and watch my son, as opposed to the tv, to catch him glimpsing at the tv so he can ground him for another week. Where as I cannot even ground his daughter for one day when she leaves her room a disaster zone. Another thing my son is forbidden to do and grounded for. I try not to baby my son, but the problem is that he listens to me. When I hear dh talk about him, it is like a different kid- with horns! I don't know if I am getting too worked up about it, but I think that the kids should all have rules and that the punishment should fit the crime. I am getting to the point where I just don't know what to do. Talking to dh is just not getting anywhere.

Please, does anyone have any ideas about how to deal with this?


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this is unacceptable, long punishments don't work and are unnecessary and only make children bitter (what is he grounded for?)

I suggest counseling for both you and your husband, hopefully therapist will explain to your husband that he is wrong.

if nothing changes then remove your son from unhealthy environment. if living with his father is out of the question, I suggest separation from your husband. I understand you are married and I don't think divorce is always a solution, but I would not allow anyone to treat my child this way.

and if people tell you that your husband just trying to be strict for child's benefit, don't believe it. i find it ironic when people talk about strict parenting yet their children grow up and accomplish nothing plus keep making stupid choices. all this strictness leads to nothing, just a cover up for not being able to be a good parent. intelligent people parent by example and by talking to children not by punishing them.

poor child.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:36PM
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I hate to say it, but it has been a couple of weeks since he was grounded and -I- don't even remember what he is grounded for.

As for the counseling, I have been through so much counseling in my lifetime due to a really messed up childhood and some terrible times with my ex, that I think I could tell you exactly what a counselor will say. I guess the bad part is that I would have to get someone else to tell dh those things because he isn't listening to me. Divorce, at this point, is not an option. Normally, I can talk to dh and he will understand, but sometimes it takes 3 or 4 ways of explaining things to him to get the point across. He isn't a hateful parent and I think some of his problem is that he didn't have a father. His father was killed in an accident when he was a baby. I don't think he knows how to be a father to a boy. He has had to learn to deal with a girl because of his daughter. Dh is very old fashioned in the fact that he was raised, by his grandmother, to believe that girls are precious and delicate, and should be babied. Boys are supposed to be rough and tough and take it on the chin- as the saying goes. I have changed his mind about so many other things with parenting and marriage, I think if I can find the right way to explain to him what he is doing, it will sink in. I just need to find another angle.

In almost every area, this is a man who is a great father and wonderful husband. I have to say, the one thing I have in my favor is that I have a stronger personality and am stubborn enough to keep working on something when it needs it. I will not let my son be abused. It has been 2 weeks and as far as I can see the grounding is over and it is doing nothing. Dh is going to have to find another way to work with my son.

Oh he!!, I will just have to step in and make it stop like I would any other bs. I know that it isn't accomplishing anything. I would love to find another way getting him to interact.

I just read the preview of what I just wrote here and I don't think I can put into words the whole situation. The long and short of it is that I have to make dh make changes. It has been that way since the beginning of our relationship. I accept him for what he is, and sometimes, it is much like a parent/ child relationship. I know so many people won't deal with that, but I know from experience, there is much worse. I will stop the crazy, long groundings, but does anyone have an idea how to approach it? Or is it something everyone thinks is a deal breaker? aka Marriage breaker?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:06AM
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I agree with FD that long punishments are ineffective. BM used to mildly ground SS for weeks on end and it did nothing to change his behavior. Then we all switched to short-lived but harsh groundings and it's been much more effective.

SPs often view their SKs in a less flattering light than BPs do. (I am sometimes guilty of this - I am far from perfect.)

So here's my suggestion.
I think you need to sit down with DH and make some household guidelines without naming any names or dredging up any past transgressions.

- Make a list of about 7-8 "Do" behaviors that all family members are expected to adhere to. (Eg - Use nice language. Be safe, especially in the kitchen. Be kind to yourself and others. Clean up after yourself. Etc.) When a family member doesn't follow, stop what is happening to brainstorm how they could be showing the behavior.

- Agree that neither of you will dole out any punishment until you have spoken to the other about it (whether it's bio- or step-child).
So if DS does something bad on your watch, you tell him "Please go to your room while DH and I talk about this. One of us will be in there in a moment to discuss your behavior and its consequence."
And if DS does something bad on DH's watch, he tells him "Please go to your room while your mom and I talk about this. One of us will be in there in a moment to discuss your behavior and its consequence."

- Try to use a consistent set of rules, rewards and punishments that apply evenly to all kids.
Eg - If DS leaves his wet towel on the floor, he goes to bed 30 minutes early; if SD leaves her towel on the floor, she goes to bed 30 minutes early. No wiggle-room.
If you need to write down in a little log what the reward/punishment was, so you can refer back to it, go ahead.
But this might help it be a little more even across the kids.

DH will likely resist this conversation. Be firm and insistent without pointing fingers.
Say things like "We need to get back on the same page about discipline," "I think we should make a consistent set of expectations for all the kids," "You and I have to be a good team. All good teams need to communicate in the locker room sometimes," etc etc.
Don't say "You're too hard on my DS and I'm tired of it," "Your DD is an obnoxious snot too," "You suck at parenting," etc etc.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:12AM
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Thanks, Ceph, that is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. I had a problem putting things into words in my OP. I have to agree with the short, stern punishments. My son is definitely a kid who gets the point, but I am thinking- if I can't remember what he is grounded for, how can he? He has always responded well to praise for things he does well. This is not excessive praise, just a simple thank you, that was nice of you to help pick up your sister's mess. It works wonders with him. I am thinking the biggest problem may be that dh has no idea of how to parent this way. He was raised by his grandmother, and when she was too old to handle the discipline, by his uncle (who had 5 boys of his own to deal with as well as a huge dairy farm to run). I am thinking patience wasn't really looked for very hard as a predominant value.

I know dh wants my son to work hard and be less emotional, but I don't see his sensitivity as a problem. He is one of the most kind hearted kids you could ask for. He is awesome with his little sister and there has been nearly no jealousy from day one. I just don't see how to get dh to see the other side of the coin. Maybe it would be better to make him see what is going on, but I am lacking a way to get it across. Ideas? Thanks for the imput. I am really in the water without an paddle.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:36AM
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Wow, this is a really difficult situation.

I think Ceph had some GREAT ideas that you could really put into action.

If THAT doesn't change things with your DH, then I think HE needs to get into some sort of counseling. It sounds to me like he is very sexist in that he has totally different expectations for boys vs. girls. It bothered me how you said he will sit there and watch your son to catch him doing something wrong---it's like he gets some perverse pleasure out of punishing your son. I could be totally off base but if I'm right, then he is definitely being emotionally abusive to your son. THAT needs to be addressed immediately.

So try Ceph's ideas and if you don't see a change, I would get your DH into counseling or maybe you guys could take a parenting class together---PRONTO.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Watching that child to try to "catch" him so he can pounce is predatory, abusive scapegoating.

This guy isn't a "Great father & husband";
he's a nut & an abuser, & you're letting him mistreat your son & trying to find excuses for him.

This will *not* get better;
it'll get worse.

Your children have only one childhood, & your son is being tortured.

Get your kids outta there.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:45PM
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I would have to agree with you about dh being sexist. It was seriously shocking to him to deal with a strong independent woman when he met me. The funny part about it is that all of the women in his family are strong willed and demanding. Even his ex wife was terrible about it. I can't imagine how it works in his head that it is okay to be run by a woman but still agree with the philosophy in his head. He is normally good with my son when we aren't having issues about my son and his father. I don't know how it ends up translating into the mess we have had lately. I just know it isn't working and it has to change. I agree with the counseling idea, but for any couseling to happen we will have to travel over and hour to any place that might have it. We live in a rural area that is in many ways 30yrs behind the rest of the world. I spent some time in Germany when I was 17 and learned that life is what you make of it, but if you don't take the reigns someone else will. I don't know if my husband is able to deal with my son at all some days. It really hurts me and my son when it seems like he just wants him to go away. I don't know how much is the pain of not having a father himself and how much is the upbringing he had, being a hanger on at the end of a train full of boys. The extra one no one wanted if you get what I mean. I know it will ruin our relationship if it doesn't get addressed and soon. I am already afraid to leave my son home with dh only to come home to find him grounded for a month for something that makes no sense to me. It is rough. I won't lie. It keeps me awake at night. Dh will not physically lay a hand on my son. I have made it clear to him that if that ever happens he will be gone. My son was part of my life before I ever met dh and he is my first priority.

I thank you all for the ideas. Please feel free to ask questions and give advice. When you are dead in the water, almost any motion helps.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:55PM
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"Dh will not physically lay a hand on my son. I have made it clear to him that if that ever happens he will be gone. My son was part of my life before I ever met dh and he is my first priority."

If your son were indeed your first priority, you'd get him away from the grown man who's abusing him.

Instead, you're focusing entirely on your husband, on how *he* relates to your son, how *he* feels, on your "relationship" with *him*, on *his* childhood.

It doesn't matter if your husband's father beat the carp out of him every day of his life or if his mother was Joan Crawford;
he's a grown man & your son is a little boy & you're his mother.

Go back & read what you've posted & meditate on what your child's life is, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

You're letting a bully torture your child so you can keep living with the bully.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:22PM
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I don't understand how you call yourself a strong independent woman/mom on one hand and tell us you put up with 13 years in of mental and physical torture in your first marriage and are leting this new husband mentally if not physically abuse your son on the other.

--"I have made it clear to him that if that ever happens he will be gone. My son was part of my life before I ever met dh and he is my first priority"--

And he believes you why? Cause he now terrorizes the child in front of you and you can't stop that? Cause you're afriad now to leave the child alone with him yet do so anyway?

Be the strong independent woman you claim you are and take this child out of this mess. The child has already lived his short life in two different abusive relationships, please finally do make your child your 'priority'.

I realize that's not what you came here to hear, that you want everything better and find easy solutions to your life and your child's life and that you want your current husband to be a part of that...but I can't just sit here and tell you what you *want* to hear or pretend your household is normal and okay if only we all can give you some good ideas/advice.

I'm afraid for this child. This child does not deserve to live like this, nor should he have to wait to be saved while you try to fix the husband. And I'm not even going to get into what I see wrong with someone who expects a 3 year old can even began to compare in expectations as a 9 year old let alone a 13 year old.

Sylvia is dead on here, stop making excuses for this man's behavior.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:34PM
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I don't disagree that this man's behavior is potentially abusive. However, it IS possible that he's just sexist/tougher on boys. That's why I think Ceph's ideas were so great; implementing them will give OP the chance to see if her DH is capable of changing his behavior towards her son.

As far as advising OP to leave, I think that is a bit hasty *at this point in time.*

Let's not also forget that OP has a 3 year old with her DH. So if she were to just up and leave, then that 3 year old would potentially be spending time with her abusive father, without OP there to protect her. IF OP were to leave, I think she would need to proceed very, very cautiously, so that she is able to take measures to protect both her children.

Nothing in a situation is black and white, even when it seems it should be.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:56PM
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I 100% agree with Sylvia and Justmetoo. Hubby may not be physically abusive but as I read the original post it was running through my head that it is only a matter of time before he is. It doesn't matter though, what he *is* doing right now is bad enough. This guy is dangerous.

LH, I don't think this is the kind of situation where you give people chances to change their behavior. The wait and see approach is something I would never ever advise a woman to do when her child is in danger. Emotional abuse is just as bad as physical. I don't think it matters why he is doing it, I don't care if he is sexist, racist, whatever "ist" you can think of. His behavior is unacceptable. It's one thing for a grown woman to chose to accept abusive behavior towards herself but it's totally another to let that woman think it's ok towards her child because the man might just not be used to raising boys or have some sexist ideas about raising males or what have you. That's for this guy to figure out on his own, not let her son be his guinea pig in figuring out appropriate behavior and societal norms. It's not up to her son to be the scapegoat just so her GROWN husband can learn not to be a bully. What a load of carp.

The child does not have a choice here. I really hope OP that you do the right thing immediately and get your son out of this situation.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:07PM
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'The child does not have a choice here. I really hope OP that you do the right thing immediately and get your son out of this situation."

But what if, in doing that, she inadvertently puts her DAUGHTER right into the same situation?

What is the right thing to do here? How does OP protect BOTH her children in this situation?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:37PM
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Just to clear something up, I don't expect my 3yr old to listen in the same ways my other children do, but acting in what is acceptable for her age and using appropriate discipline, I do expect her to behave and listen as much as she is able to for her age. I don't expect a toddler to have the same behaviors or actions that I expect a older child to have, but I do believe I should follow through with her the same as with my other children.

I also want to set the record straight about my- so called- weak self. I was raised in an abusive home, very abusive. If you can imagine it, I lived through it. Sexual, physical, emotional, verbal- all of the above. Okay, now that you know that don't assume (because we all know where that leads) that I am not seeing my situation clearly. I came here hoping for ideas. Ceph, thank you for them. It seems like so many people are willing to condemn someone who has shown so much change in their life. Dh is not ever hateful with the girls. He is strict with them, though. I think a lot of what goes on with my son is the fact that when he is with his bf, he has no rules, no discipline and no consequences. So on one hand we have a bf who has no interest in his son's existance, other than when he thought he could get out of paying child support by seeing him. On the the other hand, we have the sf who is trying to learn how to deal with having a s-son with (I am sorry I didn't mention it before) mild adhd and who will only listen to women. He will listen to me, his sister, his grandmother, but he will push his limits as far as he can with his father and uncles.

As with most mothers, I can get my son to do what he should. I know what works and what doesn't, but the nuturing idea just doesn't come naturally to men in general(yes, stereotype, but true). I am looking for ways to speak to my husband to try and get him to try to deal with my son minus the grounding at every turn. I don't know how it was in your family growing up, but I was beat- a lot. That is something that I have done everything in my power to avoid with my children. I put up with my first 13yrs of he!! because I didn't think it was as bad being ignored and controlled as it was being beaten. I knew, but I had to reach my breaking point. I reached it when my daughter walked in on me having a nightmare- hiding behind a dresser because I was dealing with my ex raping me and holding me at gunpoint. That was the final straw. Anyone who can pull themselves out of that situation can't be considered weak. I am still here and have had to take baby steps, but I am still sane and moving forward. I wasted a lot of my life because I had to wait for the abuse to turn physical before I could walk away. I cannot give you my life story, but I can tell you that dh is willing to change. He has proved that more than once. He has made great improvements. I don't know if it is possible to explain to anyone's satisfaction what the situation is exactly, but you need to be willing to accept some things as a given. This is a lot better than what I had and my son is no more perfect than any other child. But I want to give him the best I can. Maybe you can have perfection in your home, but that is obviously beyond my capabilities. Fair is the best I can hope to have.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:43PM
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"you need to be willing to accept some things as a given. This is a lot better than what I had"


You *don't* have to accept the unacceptable, in fact it's a very bad idea, & "better than" rape & torture does not mean "healthy" or "desireable" or "good enough for innocent children".

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:15PM
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Okay, I will accept that given the limited knowledge of my circumstances, some people will automatically assume the absolute worst in the situation. But for those who were willing to give me ideas, thanks again ceph, and try to help me find a different way to approach things, I did talk to dh.

I told him I thought we needed to find a different way to deal with the children. I told him that it is really confusing because my son doesn't understand the difference between the sassy joking going on between dh and his daughter and the disrespectful tone that he approaches dh with. I also explained to dh that my son isn't understanding anything beyond the fact that it seems his punishment is neverending. Dh says he understands that the grounding is not really working. He says that he isn't sure what else to do when my son back talks or gets too crazy playing with the 3yr old. We agreed that standing my son in the corner for a maximum of 10min is acceptable for backtalking and anything beyond that- my son will be sent to his room to wait for me and dh to talk about what happened and what an acceptable punishment will be. Dh also says that he knows that my son does better with praise than punishment. We agreed that we would allow my son extra cub scout activities as a reward for good behavior. And he will be pulled out of the extra activities when he shows extremely bad behaviors. I think that we made some progress. I am sure that he will try, it is just waiting to see how we can stick to it when the bad behavior starts.

Thank you for the constructive advice. I will come back with an update after we have a while to try the new system.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:44PM
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Is your son on meds for ADHD and are you AND your husband involved in support groups for children of ADD/ADHD? Parenting skill sessions? Anything?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:24PM
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Peanut, I'm very glad DH was open to your conversation!
You'll have to pop back to let me/us know how it's going as the weeks progress.

I do see why other posters are concerned about abuse. But the vibe I got from your original post was that your DH doesn't know how to be a SP (being a SP is hard!) and that he is well-past frustrated. So far past frustrated that he is turning to bad SP behaviors.
I think you and DH (and the kids) have some very hard work ahead of you, but that your DH can make these changes.

I wish you the very best of luck!!!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:37PM
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peanutmom, I didn't mean that you need counseling, I meant that you AND your DH need it together so someone neutral can tell him that he is wrong.

I still think unless he goes to counseling NOW and changes immediately, you must remove your son from unhealthy environment. Your first obligations are to protect your children, everything else comes second. You damage your son, how could your marriage could possibly be more important?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:31PM
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You say he can change -- I'll accept you at your word on that. Here are some specific suggestions:

- Many kids with ADHD have a hard time keeping social interactions appropriate, so your son's difficulty with 'tone of voice' is not unusual. What worked well with mine was for me to say "I don't think that came out right. Please try that again in a nice voice." The first few times, I gave a little more explanation about how someone's tone of voice is so important, and how the tone of voice communicates even more than the words that are said. But after the first few times, just the phrase was enough to get them to correct themselves. Later, just a look would do it. Now, (they're 14 and 18) it's not even a problem. I'd explain this strategy to your husband and see if he will agree to go along with it.

- Ceph's absolutely right about the short-duration punishments. And always give them a chance to redeem themselves. You don't want the kid living 'in the doghouse'. He needs to be able to think of himself as 'a good kid' --

- Find punishments that fit the crime - 'natural consequences'. The natural consequence of not putting away dirty breakfast dishes might be doing the whole family's dishes after dinner. The natural consequence of a messy room might be having to miss an activity and stay in to clean it, or having possessions taken away for a while because they weren't taken care of.

- Looking for things to catch him doing wrong sent off alarm bells with me -- sorry. For a 9 year old boy with ADHD, finding them is NOT hard. What MAY BE hard, but is SO worth doing, is finding things he does right. I'd ask your husband to 'catch him doing something right' at least once every day and to give him a genuine compliment when he does. Once your son sees it's not a hopeless cause, he'll do more of the good stuff and be a happier kid.

- I do understand how your husband would not want to ground a daughter he sees every other weekend. I mean, if he grounds her for even two days, there goes his whole weekend. Makes sense, right? (But it's also not fair.) Be sure you acknowledge his point of view before you point out the unfairness. Then ask him for his ideas on how to discipline both kids in a way that looks fair to both.

- A resident 9 year old boy and visiting 13 year old girl can both be held to a similar set of house rules: cleanliness of bedrooms, putting their own dishes in the DW, picking up after themselves. I'd try to get Hubby to sit down with you and agree on a *short* list of what those expectations will be, and of what the consequences will be for a kid who breaks the rules. Then write them down, review the list with both older kids, and post it plainly in view. Enforcement should be swift, absolute, and non-negotiable.

- Timers! Timers are fabulous for kids with attention difficulties. "I'm setting the timer for 10 minutes -- Can you get ready for bed before it goes off?"

- Eye contact is another important one. If Hubby wants DS to do something, and DS is in the other room watching TV, simply shouting for DS to do something is unlikely to work. But walking into the TV room, standing in front of the TV, waiting for DS to look up, THEN asking -- and waiting for DS to actually get up and do it. That works. Of course DS will probably ask if he can wait for a commercial. I usually agree, but say "You will remember, right?" (and he does) -- so it all works out. If too much time has gone by, I just walk in again, and DS either jumps right up "Oops! Sorry - I forgot!" or I turn off the TV with a quick "You can turn it on again as soon as you're done."

- Leaving the room is another one of my parenting secrets. It's hard for a kid to back-talk you if you're not there to hear it. If you got their attention to start with, communicated your request clearly, then leave, the kid has only two options: do it (and be thanked), or not (and face the consequences). There's just no place for backtalk.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:37PM
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I am glad you talked to your husband and he seems to understand the issue. i also wonder if your son might need counseling as well, emotionally abusive father and now semi-abusive stepfather. this boy will grow up very angry man unless something gets done...keep us updated

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:42PM
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Okay, I will accept that given the limited knowledge of my circumstances, some people will automatically assume the absolute worst in the situation. But for those who were willing to give me ideas, thanks again ceph, and try to help me find a different way to approach things, I did talk to dh.

I told him I thought we needed to find a different way to deal with the children. I told him that it is really confusing because my son doesn't understand the difference between the sassy joking going on between dh and his daughter and the disrespectful tone that he approaches dh with. I also explained to dh that my son isn't understanding anything beyond the fact that it seems his punishment is neverending. Dh says he understands that the grounding is not really working. He says that he isn't sure what else to do when my son back talks or gets too crazy playing with the 3yr old. We agreed that standing my son in the corner for a maximum of 10min is acceptable for backtalking and anything beyond that- my son will be sent to his room to wait for me and dh to talk about what happened and what an acceptable punishment will be. Dh also says that he knows that my son does better with praise than punishment. We agreed that we would allow my son extra cub scout activities as a reward for good behavior. And he will be pulled out of the extra activities when he shows extremely bad behaviors. I think that we made some progress. I am sure that he will try, it is just waiting to see how we can stick to it when the bad behavior starts.

Thank you for the constructive advice. I will come back with an update after we have a while to try the new system.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:20PM
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Answering questions as I read them. My son has been on meds, but they make him a space case. Sorry for the phrase, but that is the only way to put it. I found some herbal stuff and it works well, but it can be very expensive. My son has couseling and behavioral intervention services in school. He has made great improvements. As soon as we can get the money together, I am ordering his medicine. I know he needs it, but sometimes putting fuel in the house makes you make choices. Sorry, but being laid off isn't easy on anyone. We also have a teacher that comes every other week for parenting/ childhood development. It is for us and the kids. So, yes WE are trying.

I want to thank you for the ideas on how to deal with the adhd behavior. As I said, my son's symptoms are mild. He doesn't act wild or mean or crazy. He simply has a hard time processing the right time and the right place for some of the ideas he has in his head. It seems like things pop out at random.

Sweeby, thank you for the ideas on how to handle the discipline issues for the kids. I read them all out loud to dh and even he thinks they are great. He asked me a few questions about "what if?". We talked about it and clarified a few things. I am so glad I posted. Lovehadley, thank you for the support and the willingness to look at more than one perspective. I think I should have posted here sooner.

I started my son in the counseling in school as soon as it started falling apart with the bf's visitation. I know his patterns and I knew it was just a matter of time. He will do anything to get his way, and if it doesn't work he will simply hurt whomever he can get away with hurting. I told my son that dispite the no-show on the last weekend, I would let him go with his bf if he shows this time, but if there is any upsetting my son I will put a stop to the visitation. His bf has violated the court order in so many ways, I think he working on inventing new ways to do it. I hate to do that with my son, but the bad behavior is much more obvious when he comes back from his bf's home, it isn't worth turning my son's life upside down everytime the man has a hair up his nose sideways. My son understands, as much as he is able, that his father has a choice and that there will be consequences if he chooses to continue hurting him. I made it clear that the bf needs to show up this time and if he isn't going to show up on future occasions, he needs to call and let me know. I can understand manditory overtime at work. What I can't understand is him ditching his son to take his girlfriend yardsaling. What a jerk!!!

As far as dh- he has shown just this evening after our talk that he is interested in changing how things work with my son. He has choices when my son misbehaves and doesn't feel like I won't back him up. I found out that was part of the problem. He also now understands that we need to agree on a punishment for it to work. If my son can sense I think it's unfair, how is he going to react? It is great finally making progress. I felt like I was spinning my wheels and getting no where, I guess I just needed to steer the right direction.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:13PM
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I apologize if my question was already addressed and I missed it as I only scanned through some of the posts, but why does your husband feel that he can discipline your son when you are not allowed to discipline his daughter. If that's the case, your son is YOUR responsibility and so is his discipline; his daughter is HIS responsibility and so is her discipline (or lack thereof). What's good for the goose... I'd make it very clear that he is to have a very hands-off approach when dealing with your son. He needs to disengage.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:34PM
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@peanutmom... I am glad to hear you and DH are able to move forward on this. In my experience, disciplining is the most difficult issue most parents face even when you have never been divorced and are dealing with only biological children. Add steps to the mix and things get much more complex.

I am new here and am actually only responding because so many of the responses you got seemed overly-judgmental and not necessarily good information. I don't know the history of all of you who responded, but if you have ever worked with women in abusive relationships you would understand why your answers were dangerous... not only to her but to her children. First, if this man was seriously dangerous, even if "only" emotionally to her son, telling her to leave immediately may mean throwing dynamite into a highly explosive situation. The largest percentage of women killed in America are killed by their spouses or SOs when leaving an abusive relationship... frequently those same people take the whole family with them. Yes, she may need to leave but there is a right way and a wrong way to counsel someone to do that. Leaving without a plan is dangerous. There are organizations to help with this and ensure everyone's safety.

Second, assuming peanutmom is weak because of being involved in an abusive relationship is unfair and uninformed. And, unless you have been in that exact situation (which would be difficult because you are not her, nor her ex), you cannot say what you would do. Peanutmom is right that she is strong. Only strong women survive abuse.

I am proud of you peanutmom and you should be too. First of all for standing your ground here on these forum walls... and second, for the actions you took because you were able to find a solution that may just work for the entire family. I'm praying that is true. Good luck!

One final note... I don't know if this is the right place to post this. If not, please forgive me. I wrote this poem when dealing with my own abuse and wanted to share with you how I felt at that time...

I could be anyone you meet Â
Your waitress, beautician or sister,
The woman you meet every day on the street.

IÂm smart as the next gal, I guess,
And yet somehow IÂm different
For when you see me, I seem like IÂm less.

Just trying to find my way through
The trials that IÂve been handed,
And sort out whatÂs really true.

A survivor of sorts, you could say.
For every day, I pick myself up
And I tell myself that IÂm okay.

But once I thought I truly was.
For IÂd never be treated like those women!
IÂd get out fastÂ. I wouldnÂt even pause.

For abuse gradually creeps in.
You question everything you thought you knew,
And the words get under your skin.

But not for the lies IÂve been told
But because of the millions out there just like me
Struggling to find a reality other than the one theyÂve been sold.

And, yet I really am.
Just like every other abused and victimized soul
Trying to get their life back again.

*** May God bless, and protect, every women and child living in an abusive home.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 4:28AM
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I don't work with abused women but I work with teens, majority of troubled teens come from abusive households. most with abusive fathers/stepfathers. it all could be prevented if they weren't forced staying in such environments. and it always escalates.

we have a student, who always complained about his stepfather, but there was no direct abuse just the kind of long punishments and unfair treatment from a stepfather (especially unfair compare how that stepfather treats his own children). actually story sounds a lot like peanutmom's. Just that the kid is high school age not 9. well, as it always does, it escalated into physical abuse with police involved and children had to be removed. and all this time boy's mother tried to cover for her husband so even boy's father did not know all the craziness in the household.

I do not think we should blame peanutmom but praising does not help either. I do not agree with a description of a strong woman. why is he even allowed to ground her child? i agree with lonepiper, it is not his place to punish not his child. the very fact that peanutmom allowed her husband to punish HER child sounded like a weakness to me. that's why she needs to hear it like it is.

"Only strong women survive abuse." i disagree, only strong women get themselves and children out of abusive situations, weak women stay. I understand how difficult it is to get out and of course she needs to have a plan (if in fact DH is abuser) but I disagree about praising abused women for staying. why do children have to be victims of parents' poor choices?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:21AM
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I guess I can overlook someone new assuming the ladies here are fools, but anyone reading this forum I'm sure has come across countless threads where much good advice is given for those in abusive situations. What is also usually done here is a steady dig for additional information. It's hard getting a 'pic' of any true understanding of what is being posted about from one intital first post...which is the case in this thread, more tidbits come with each additonal posting from OP.

But anyway, moving on....

Peanutmom, not all meds are equal in treating children, not all work the same way,nor from child to child and it can take time to get right dose. The goal of the meds is certainly not to 'space' the child out. And no, the children are not 'mean and crazy' though some can have a harder time controling impulse behavior.

Sweeby gave some excellent advice on dealing with a few incidents and ideas to deal. Also there are support groups (check with your local hospital and/or mental health center) that not only hold meetings with speakers and good information, they usually have role playing sessions so one can get a better take for for it's like for all involved. Peanutmom's husband may benefit from such a program. It does sound from latest postings that he wants to learn and develop better coping skills and it would help him get a understanding for what 'life' is like for your son.

No idea what child healthcare assistance has for guidelines in your state, have you talked with your medicaid offices to see what assistance may be available or if you might qualify even on a spenddown program or help through sliding scale fees at their places of referrals? Just with as meds, not all counseling centers/mental health options are created equal either.

I'm a big believer that families with ADD/ADHD kids grow and learn as a family. It's not enough to seek help for just the child, and you have it extra hard because the child has to go back and forth between homes where you can't guide consistancy in expectations and environment.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 8:25AM
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Peanutmom, just as an aside, I'm putting a link below that you might find some good ideas in for starters with your son and ADHD. I've linked to the Parent Articles that have some decent suggestions and also if you choose to look at the link, you'll see on the left hand side a "Kids Area" which this center's dr. is talking straight to the kids.

I remembered this site after I posted a bit ago when my little one(has ADHD is female and just turned 10) was walking by peeking into what I was up to and she brought up the famous people who are believed to have had ADD/ADHD. There's so much information and help out there that if your husband is interested as you say and really wants to be a good 'dad' in learning to live with and help his stepson, it's a good step in the right direction.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:08AM
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I just realized after reading this thread a lot of times that one of my posts ended up on here twice. Not sure how that happened. Sorry.

I have looked into some support groups for adhd near where we live. Near being a relative term. We live about 25min from the nearest grocery store, and over an hour to the nearest Walmart. So, when I say we live in a rural area, I mean rural.

As for the discipline questions. I am an EMT and have to leave at a moments notice frequently. I have cut back, but due to where we live, I cannot quit completely, as there are a lot of elderly people here who count on our services. Because of this situation, I have to be able to let dh handle the children. When I make comments about discipline, I do not mean spanking or any kind of physical contact. As was discussed before, dh was simply using the one form of discipline available to him to deal with my son. I don't have the time or desire to repeat everything I have written in every post. But for those who don't read everything, my son has mild adhd and will not listen to men. This has been created mainly by the fact that I have primarily handled the children on my own until I remarried. As some people always see the most extreme forms of any situation, I have tried to clarify the situation. I am not leaving. Not until I have a reason that makes sense to me. As far as I am concerned, it is normal to expect some forms of discipline from any set of adults that live in the same home. If my parents lived in my home, I would expect my son to listen to them. It has to do with being able to trust their judgement. I am aware there are some here who obviously would not consider it a good idea to let dh in that position, but if it cannot be improved or he was not willing to change, then we have a whole other problem. Dh has never been a step parent before and was the youngest of the kids in his family- until his baby sister was born and she was not raised around him. So it was an experience for him to become a parent and definitely a step parent.

There are times when dh and my son will get along great and it is definitely tied to #1- my son taking his medication #2- my son being exposed to his bf's irrational behavior. If I had to remove my son from any situation, it would definitely be from his bf. Being a sperm donor does not make him a father. He wasn't really one when we were married and it hasn't changed since the divorce. It certainly doesn't help when he tells my son he doesn't have to listen to dh and will tell him to call him names and be disrespectful- and give him specific examples of what to say and do!

This is one of the things that I have to deal with and maybe some people don't see it that way, but my life now is more stable and makes a lot more sense than it ever has. Just because some one makes mistakes out of ignorance of how to handle a situation does not make them a monster. I think it is the unwillingness to admit a mistake or not care that a mistake was made, and the unwillingness to change that can set someone on that path.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:25AM
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I agree with justmetoo, it's been very common for someone to post about their situation that frankly sounds unacceptable to everyone else, but as people start responding original poster starts adding more details, in fact details that portray completely different situation. in fact by the end of the thread situation is completely opposite to what it was in the beginning.

now apparently exhusband is source of a problem not a current husband. current husband has an excuse for everything he did, bad childhood, never had kids before, didn't have a father.

"Dh has never been a step parent before and was the youngest of the kids in his family- until his baby sister was born and she was not raised around him. So it was an experience for him to become a parent and definitely a step parent. "

this is the most bizarre excuse i can imagine. I just feel bad for a kid, i can't care less what this guy does or does not do. both dad and stepdad are emotionally damaging this child. not OK in my books.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:46PM
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Justmetoo, I did some reading on the link you provided. It was very helpful and I also bookmarked it, as dh wanted to read some too, but I am on the computer.

"Dh has never been a step parent before and was the youngest of the kids in his family- until his baby sister was born and she was not raised around him. So it was an experience for him to become a parent and definitely a step parent. "

This is not an excuse. It was an answer to a question. Simply put. I will explain my choice of words. I was raised as the oldest of 4 and expected to be a sort of surrogate parent to the youngest 2. It was in reference to my relative experience and not an excuse. I frequently feel like I am writing a book when I am posting. I guess maybe I should be including everything that crosses my mind instead of editing as it seems to create confusion.

Dh hasn't made excuses and has been willing to listen once it was put to him in words that made sense to him. I don't feel the need to make excuses for him either, but I have always felt that the more you know about any situation the more qualified you are to judge it. I have a habit of using vague statements and obviously specifics were called for. I don't think that what was going on with my son was "OK" or is for any child. I came here asking for advice on how to get dh to see what he was doing and change the way he interacted with my son.
Everyone has been helpful, including the people who said some rather blunt things. In some ways, that helped a lot too. I read a lot of the comments out loud to dh. It helped show him that the way he was acting was inappropriate not just to me, but to others as well. I know a lot of comments were clearly made before I clarified a lot of things, but it made the point. I appreciate the fact that it opened his eyes. I don't think that anyone has an excuse to treat a child badly, but it sometimes help to know where someone comes from to know how to approach the situation.

Thanks to those who made comments with the intention of helping. It has been helpful. I like the fact that some people can relate and have the experience to know how to address things.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 7:41PM
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well telling you the truth is intention to help you, why sugar coat the truth?

nobody needed to endure 13 years of abuse, your children are very damaged already (even if you were the one abused, they still knew what was going on), and now 2nd husband mistreats your child. and still your concern is how to fix your husband, how to make him understand, how to open his eyes. you should not be fixing wrong men, it shouldn't be your priority.

but I understand it is not what you want to hear, but so be it. messed up childhood might explain your attraction to abusive men, but it does not excuse subjecting your children to it. it just makes me sad. children should be happy at 9, not looking over their shoulder see if stepdad watches them.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 8:18PM
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LOL. It amazes me how often these posts (mine included) prompt a debate on leaving the offending spouse or parent or not. I don't consider dh or any of my family disposable. Heck, if that were the case I don't know if I would speak to 90% of the people in my family. Even if I were to take the most commonly offered advice, how do you propose I fix it so my daughter wouldn't have to see this with another family- given the fact that someone would probably marry the man who I am married to now. I don't see where that would be protecting my other child either. I think it is much better, if a person is willing to work on something to better themselves, to give them a chance.

If my children do something wrong, I try to teach them better. If my mom steps on my toes in regards to my kids or relationship, I talk to her. It is the dynamics of a family to try and work on things. I just can't imagine anyone who has children who would look at their own relationships and marriages with the black/white view that some seem comfortable viewing others with. It is not an insult for you to offer your opinion, but if you don't like what I do with it, it is definitely not my problem.

I like helping people. Most people do have some good in them and I have to think that we have all had moments that we are not so proud of, moments that would make others look at us as though we don't deserve what we have now. Think of that mental snapshot someone has of you in the supermarket growling not such nice words(under your breath or not) as your child has a complete meltdown. As I was once told- "He who has no faults, cast the first stone." I don't think anyone got a perfect set of parents and I know I have made my mistakes, but now I can see them and I have learned from them. I must be forgiven if it makes sense to think it is better to give someone a chance to fix something than to tear a family apart and throw 4 innocent kids into a tailspin and make their lives a mess with no guarantees of perfection the next time either. Guess it just sounds nuts- Don't you think?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 9:52PM
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Most of us KNOW you aren't going anywhere ... until you try to "fix it" .... eventually it will be fixed or you will move on or it will stay broken and you will be posting years from now on the parent forum wondering why your children do not contact you ....

Do not take the judgement of some to mean we all see your marriage as hopeless ... you could fix it ... he could wake up tomorrow and tell you he is a changed man .... we do not live in your home we do not see how he interacts with the kids .... only you can see that part.... all that we have to go by what you post ....

Most of us have been there done that with lots of stuff have a lot of great ideas to help ... others just want to state their opinion and let you know how rotten you are ... most will try to explain why they say what they say ... if that makes sense ... because most of us are in a stepfamily one way or another ... some are not but like to offer an opinion as if they have been in a SF but in reality have no clue how a SF works :)

This is a great resource for a lot of folks ... did I read somewhere you showed hubby this? ... I myself keep this place safe from hubby he has no idea I have been posting here since oct 2006!!! :) Good for you that you can share it with hubby (if you did ) I love my hubby enough not to show him how miserable his kids and his ex wife make me feel at times!!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:19PM
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LOL. I get what you are saying pseudo. I find it rather obnoxious that some people have only one answer to the questions posed. I have read a lot to see if things are as tough(?) in my family as they are in others, not just here, but other forums too. It is a natural curiosity that drives me to find out as much as I can about not just my situation, but others. I like to deal with my issues by talking and I just wasn't getting anywhere talking to family. I wasn't finding answers in any other posts either. But in my reading, I found that some people frequently have the same answers to nearly every question and problem. It is not helping anyone- one size doesn't fit all.

Let me say, that it is really appreciated that some members have put some thought into answers and have taken the time to put it on here to help me and others. It is nice to think that some people take the time to phrase their comments in non-judgmental ways. I was hurt by how many times I have read people asking for help, only to have them withdraw and retreat because someone lacks tact. I know that the computer isn't the first place people go for human contact and help, but sometimes people do look there because they have no other safe place to go. That isn't my case, but there were others. It would be nice to see some look at their answers and think before hitting submit. I know that some will never do that, but I guess there is always hope.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:48PM
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now now peanut lol ... that obnoxious comment might get you a friendly reminder lol

We are all judgemental to a degree we are human afterall

Lots of us will jump in an help the ones who are being berated ... and deflect the anger from OP (original poster) to ourselves :) ... its what we do!!!

There are some great ladies here to help many many people

we even have a few dads eeks!! they do not post often but they do offer a different point of view ... we have a stepdad who posts .. but he is a nitpicky jerk .. so he is not greeted very friendly :)

You will see after a couple weeks whose posts are worth reading and whose are not ...

Welcome to our online family!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:01PM
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"Where as I cannot even ground his daughter for one day when she leaves her room a disaster zone."

"As far as I am concerned, it is normal to expect some forms of discipline from any set of adults that live in the same home. If my parents lived in my home, I would expect my son to listen to them. It has to do with being able to trust their judgement."

I do not believe my confusion is unfounded. Again, why do you feel that he can dicipline your son, when you are not allowed the same with his daughter? This could be something to point out to him.

Also, it was my understanding that you do NOT trust his judgment as you could not even remember the reason why your son was grounded for weeks on end... Was that not the reason for your post? Good grief - he actually stares at your son during movie time in order to catch him glancing at the "forbidden" TV!! If nothing else, he is a BULLY picking on a 9 year old child. Poor little guy :( Can you imagine the stress of knowing that your every step is being scrutinzed? Oops, let me rephrase that: Can you image the stress of knowing that your every little glance or flicker of your eyes is being scrutinzed?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:35PM
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Let me clear something up. Not to step on anyone's toes. I did say that I can't ground my sd. I will say that I have used alternative methods of dealing with her. I do take away clothes that she leaves on the floor when she refuses to put them away. I will send her to her room if she gets mouthy. And I have made her wash dishes when she has fixed herself something to eat outside of a meal and leaves the kitchen a mess. The grounding is the issue with that one. Her father doesn't want to lose the flexibility of doing things with her. After talking to him about the unfairness of it all, he explained that he doesn't mind the others, just the grounding. I think it makes sense since he explained it. I also told him that since we frequently wait until we have all of the kids to do some things, we should deal with that differently too. It isn't fair for my son to miss so much. It ends up leaving him feel unwanted and unloved because he can't do some of the activities like movie night or going to the movies with us.

I also told him that we have to find new ways of dealing with things when my son is acting out. I cannot say he acts out frequently with me, but I have come downstairs at the end of him straight out arguing with dh about putting his clothes away or picking up his school books. I think my son has a real issue with listening to men as I have stated before. He never really had a man discipline him before.

I also told my husband that it is really warped to sit and watch a kid trying to sneak a peek at the tv to ground him for another week. He feels that if he is grounded from something that he shouldn't be allowed to sit on the steps or at the kitchen table to get around it. I guess that makes sense. I told him it was the watching him that freaked me out. As was pointed out before, kids with adhd are impulsive and have inappropriate timing. Dh said that what was getting to him was that my son would talk about movies and shows that were on when he wasn't allowed to be watching tv for the week. Apparantly we should have found a way to talk about this whole problem before it got to this point. And dh was stuck for ways of dealing with my son rubbing it in his face. Now, after us reading the post by sweeby, he has a better understanding of how to deal with it. Also, he now understands that it isn't a deliberate thing to rub it in his face, it was just the fact that my son can't be sneaky, and we both agree that isn't a bad thing. It is better if he and I discuss things before any decisions are made.

And just for the record, I don't think anyone on this forum is a fool or is intentionally giving overly harsh advice, but I do think like any other human we see things through our own eyes and filters. This can cause someone to say or think things that don't always apply to the situation, because what you take as a given or an "always" may not be the same situation in another house across the street or across the country. And like anyone else, we usually come here with problems and that is the part you hear, not the good stuff. That can leave a biased opinion, too.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 7:42AM
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In my last post I used the phrase "that one". Let me make sure everyone understands that I meant the situation and not the child. Didn't want anyone to misunderstand that.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 7:58AM
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Even after the updates from peanutmom, I still stand by my original post. I don't think it matters the whys behind why Hubby does what he does or even if he can change. What matters is this little boy, the past trauma he is been through, how he will heal and get on a path to an emotional stable life. Or you and I and our children and society as a whole will be feeling the affects of one angry kid for years to come.

OP has mentioned several times Son has problems with men. Ok, he had/has an abusive father. He watched his mother bear the brunt of the abuse and in doing so, was abused himself. He doesn't trust men, understandable.

Now because Husband is willing to change doesn't change my opinion that Husband is not good for Son or at least not good right now. What Son needs is to learn that the world is safe, it is ok to trust men. Not be pushed into a situation with a man who has only so far enforced his distrust and fear of men.

Peanutsmom, you mentioned posters viewing your situation as black and white, I personally don't see posters doing it on this thread. IMO, viewing as black/white is saying because one person is bad to me, than he is bad to everyone etc. I think there is a difference in acknowledging that Husband is bad for Son but may not be bad for you. I see a lot of updates from you in regards to Sons behavioral issues, past trauma and it is always someone else or something else. I think it is much more simpler in terms that Husband is not good for Sons well being and move on from there to look for solutions.

I don't buy into the theory that this is family and no one is leaving because otherwise that same principle would've been applied when the OP was being directly abused, but when Son is it's somehow a different story about family loyalties. I also get the sense throughout all of OP's postings that there was always a man needed to fulfill something for her, less about "family." A man doesn't make a family.

As far as the daughter, OP has not described abuse directed towards either one of the daughters. Also, the daughter was not in an abusive situation before (wasn't even born) so her *needs* will still be met in a seperated scenario. Sons *needs* will not (and have not) be met with Mom and Stepdad together.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:42AM
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As things stand, I have gotten the information that I came here looking for. And I thank those who have helped. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I have explained myself as time went on. There are times in life when we don't get what we want, and times when we do. Dh has made it clear that he is willing to try doing things a different way and has made changes that I hope will last.

Just for the record the final act of violence with my ex was a situation where he held me at gun point telling me that he was going to make me watch both children die and then kill me and kill himself so he didn't go to jail. This is something more people have had to deal with than I care to think. One more is too many. Life is full of choices. Some of mine won't be anyone else's.

I am not going to stop coming to the forum because of the help I recieved, but I am done explaining this situation for now. When I have other issues, I will post. And if any of my past experiences will help anyone else, I will be here. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 11:21AM
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wishing you the best, Peanut. Glad you haven't been scared away.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:39PM
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you are saying just because we disagree with you we don't give it any thought, sure we do. peanutmom, i gave it a lot of thought. I work with teens, primarily troubled. they come from dysfunctional families and my heart aches for them, my heart aches for your son. your son might grow up a very angry man because of his upbringing, i am concerned for his future. I don't care how precious is your husband, you try to explain to your son when he is 25 why you choose men over him.

\maybe your husband could be fixed but your children get damaged in the process of fixing your husband. IT is not fair to subject children to this "fixing wrong men ordeal."

you already devoted many years on saving your first marriage and sticking with abusive man, you already preferred that marriage to your children. now you do it again. your second husband and your marriage again come first, children come second. i agree marriage is important but only if it does not harm the children. you fail to see it or prefer to be in denial.

and about your daughter, she is 17, not of a legal age. is there any particular reason she is on her own at this age? could it be your husband as well?

i am sorry you had terrible first husband, it is to be expected with abusive men, it always escalates. you allowed it for too many years and it ended with violence. now you are doing it again, allowing your children to be abused.

it is not about you or your husbands, it is about your children, you are their mother, you are not mother to your husbands. family is important but you make it sound that unless you have your men you have no family. you still will have a family, your children. it is nice to have a man but it is not life's goal. to keep a man no matter what should not a be a goal.

i understand concept of giving people a chance but you already had 13 years of trying to fix a man. if you are single or don't have young kids at home maybe it is OK to get wrong men and then try to fix them, but when you have kids at home you simply can't have that luxury. they deserve better.

you made a choice to have children, your job is to protect them. time to start now.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:43PM
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"It really hurts me and my son when it seems like he just wants him to go away. I am already afraid to leave my son home with dh only to come home to find him grounded for a month for something that makes no sense to me. It is rough. I won't lie. It keeps me awake at night."
heartbreaking. he is not my son but I feel sick on my stomach, can't imagine allowing this happening to my own child. if you don't believe me, listen to sylviatexas, she always knows what's right.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:55PM
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your first husband threatened to kill you AND his children with the gun, and he actually held the gun in his hand, was he arrested? did he serve his term? how did he get joined custody if he threatened to kill his kids? i can't imagine anyone allowed unsupervised visitations let alone custody under the circumstances, never heard of such thing. why is your son allowed to see him unsupervised, what does the court say? how did judge allow that?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:05PM
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Finedreams, as I stated before I won't be making any more explanations or giving any more statements about dh until we have been able to see if the new discipline strategies are working. Period.

I will however explain the situation to you about my ex. First, I married him on the day I turned 18. Not a good start, but at the time, the only option I had. I was pregnant. My mother was a single mom with three other kids at home. The two middle ones were getting into everything and everything they shouldn't. The youngest was in and out of the hospital for severe ear infections that lead to systs that destroyed his inner ears and ended up having reconstructive surgery by the time he was 13. So forgive her if she felt she wasn't able to handle a pregnant teen who was by all appearance with to a man who was really nice. He was until the day we got married and I became his property. I was raised with an abusive father and grandfather. It was "normal" for me to expect some amount of control issues. The more I tried to be an "adult"- work, pay bills, take care of the house- the more abuse I had to deal with. By abuse, I mean at first nasty comments, disrespectful actions, and accusations of cheating. It took me nearly a year to get him to put me on his checkbook, while he took my money when I was working. Keep in mind I know all of this is a terrible way to live, but it is unfortunately all too common where I live. By the time we had been married 5yrs, I was getting about half sick to come home. I had figured out the only thing that made him happy was money. All of it, I could pay the bills, but I couln't even buy groceries without them meeting his approval. I could buy anything for our daughter, but I couldn't even buy socks for myself unless they were all getting holes in them. I was slowly being trained to not think of myself as a person.

When I got my job where he worked, about 2yrs into our marriage, he didn't want anyone to know we were married. I just couldn't understand it. We worked about 20ft apart and he wouldn't even eat lunch with me. He would get upset if I even talked to him during work when he walked by. I now have suspicions about him and another woman he worked with, but I had no proof. I was always too busy defending myself to think about getting any either.

When we had been married about 8, I was ready to leave. I couldn't take anymore. Then he got me drunk and got me pregnant again. I was young and foolish enough to not question the first time, but this time I wasn't willing enough. I was happy about the baby, but nothing about my marriage made me happy. Not the fact that in all of the time we were married, I never got one gift, not one. No cards, nothing.

I was being told on all sides that he was such a nice guy and he provided so well for me, and I got no support from my family because even though I was never allowed to visit them, they never saw what a jerk he was. I got to the point where I was miserable and started stashing money in my retirement (as much as I could get away with) so I could take a loan out of it when I was ready to leave. I figured that way he couldn't touch it and it would be there for me to at least get security deposit and first months rent. I figured when I was no longer paying all of the bills I would be able to handle paying them at my house. When my son was about 5 months old, I was in a car accident. I broke my ankle, my wrist, and ruptured a disc in my back. It wasn't until nearly a year later, I finally was in so much pain, I had surgery to fix it. I could no longer walk. I had trouble controlling my bodily functions, and had to drag my leg or walk with crutches, or crawl to get to the bathroom. At this point a few friends and family members started believing me. I would lay in bed nearly all day because he would go to work, thankfully taking our youngest to daycare. Even he couldn't justify leaving me with an infant. My brother, grandmother, mother and best friend would stop in and make sure I had a way to bath, get to the bathroom, and have food. I would sit on the kitchen floor to eat because I couldn't balance to stand. Then I would crawl to the couch and go with out food for the rest of the day because the pain was so bad. If not for the fact that my friend moved in and did the cooking, cleaning and other housework, I would have been expected to figure out how to do that too.

Eventually, I had my surgery, healed, and went back to work. When I did, I was determined to get out. I couldn't live that way anymore. That was when it got physical. I couldn't leave the house to get groceries. I had to have a child with me at all times so I wouldn't "cheat" on him. Little did I know, that the whole time we were married, he had been sleeping with his ex wife. I was ready to leave and did. The first time, he tried the super nice guy with anger management courses and counseling, I was done, but didn't have a good counselor. They convinced me it was wrong to leave my family when he was trying so hard. (Yeah, when they were looking.) He eventually moved himself in with me, at the point where he told me if I wouldn't be with him, he would wait until I was at work an he would take the kids and hide them away from me. Things had been escalating the whole time. He had been pushing me and threatening me. One time when I was trying to leave for the night because he had pulled a gun on me, he beat me against the side of the minivan with my son in my arms. He told me he was going to kill us all. I ended up calling the cops, but was told that the bruises weren't bad enough to validate my story and with no witnesses, I couldn't prove anything against him. They told me that if what I was saying was true (if!?!) then I was just going to go back to him and he would end up making me pay for the fine he might get anyway.

So I did move back in with him. I stayed in a seperate bedroom with a lock. He would stand in the bathroom that had a vent where he could hear me and say stuff that made me want to throw up. After a few months, I went to WIN and asked for help. When he found out my counseling was at a women's shelter, he raped me. He told me I belonged to him and my life was his to take and if I tried to leave he would kill us all. I left. I dealt with him stalking me, doing damage to my vehicle, the one that I hauled our children around in, and constant harrassment. When my brother found out, he threatened to kill him if he ever threatened me again. It did start to slow down. I still had to deal with him sneaking around and driving by my house, and trying to break in. But as I was told repeatedly, I had no proof it was him. No witnesses. He knew how to work it.

Yeah, my life was hell. It is a lot better now and I am doing what I can to make things better. But you have as much of the story as I can make myself tell.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 8:12AM
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I'm so sorry for everything you've been through Peanut. It sounds like absolute he!!, and you are very strong to have survived it and gotten out intact.

It's hard, I think, for women who have never been abused to understand how it happens. I know I certainly never believed it would happen to me... But the first abuses are so subtle -- a contemptuous look, a few muttered words, a legitimate complaint delivered in an unpleasant voice. My first husband's abuse never became physical -- but probably only because he knew I'd have immediately recognized that for abuse and left him. But the psychological abuse is just as devastating. It's insidious. And the abusers only dish out as much as they know you will take...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 11:22AM
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I understand you had abuse in your life, i am sorry you had that, it is terrible, raped, threatened, all that... the thing is that when you are a child (as your son or you growing up) you have no choice. you have to take abuse. but when you become an adult, you make choices, tough choices.

You do not need to explain it, it is the past, you cannot change it. i understand it is difficult, awful past. But I don't think it should excuse current situation. Like what happened happened, i just don't know why your child should be mistreated now. i don't think children should suffer through abuse or even just watching abuse, no way.

i think sometimes problem with women is that they cannot imagine surviving on their own, like can't pay the bills, can't raise their children alone, have no place to live etc. I don't get it. Why don't women raise their daughters independent. You do not need second person to pay bills, you can pay them alone just fine, you can rent an apartment, don't need a a fancy house, you don't need to have more children in a bad marriage, in fact you don't need to have any children in abusive relationship, you don't need to be intimate if you are not treated right.

I think when you have children no matter what else is going on in your life you must protect your children.

"And the abusers only dish out as much as they know you will take... " yeap. and your second husband only treats your son poorly because he knows you are taking it, and that what is unacceptable for me. i understand being mistreated, i have met some unpleasant men in my life too LOL but no way i would allow anyone mistreat my daughter, I would be at that person's throat. that's where i find problem with your attitude peanutmom. your marriage, your life, your past should not matter when your child suffers. yet you seem to not get it. i give up. I wish your son the best (unfortunatelly that best differs from your defintion of the best).

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 2:26PM
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Since no one else will say it .... FD shut up .... you're making yourself look like a fool...

Leave the woman alone!

You putting her down is not going to change her situation.

How about an encouraging word or two.

Peanut you can do this for you and your children whatever you decide best of luck!

Keep us posted. :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Peanut, reading your description of yours & your DH's dynamic of dealing with your son, it occurs to me that for some reason you aren't claiming your own power in the matter. I think that's because quite often we women buy into the messages we get that the man has the ultimate say in everything. When in reality, we women often do men a disservice by putting them in charge of things they aren't as good at as we are. And it sounds like when it comes to parenting your son, you are the parent of the two of you who has better, more creative ideas for steering your son in the right direction.

I would gently tell your DH that you "would like to try a different way" that you read about, or whatever...some way so that he will back off for a while. This would allow his and your son's relationship to heal, for one thing. I mean, no one in the world enjoys being scrutinized for faults, right? That's the best way to make a kid act out and have zero affection for the prison guard, ha! It might be that since your DH thinks he HAS to be in charge of your son's behavior, that he must be that vigilant. If you can take the "responsibility" off his shoulders, he might develop a more casual attitude to normal kid behavior, and start enjoying your son.

Just a thought...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 3:24PM
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I agree with you Finedreams. Who cares what happened in a person's past - it's what we do now and going forward. That is what matters. Everyone has a story, everyone has a past. I think there are more people with "issues" than there are without (myself included). Don't waste your breath any longer... It is clear viewpoints that don't align with OPs are unwanted.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 7:22PM
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Thank you psuedomom and ulrike1. I guess it there is something to be said for trying to look through someone else's eyes. And it is quite apperant that there are some people who will never see anything, but what they want. I can see other's opinions, but as this is a free country, I will still make my own choices.

Just for the record, for those who offered ideas instead of condemnation and criticism, the tension in my house has dropped considerably. A talk between dh, son and myself has created a few ground rules and settled a lot of disputes. We are attempting to start on a new platform. And it looks like the ex is out of the picture for good, having recieved a phone call that he cannot afford to spend time with his son because it costs him too much money. Oh and the heartless man I call dh is doing a wonderful job of talking to dear son and sharing feelings about how hard it is to deal with not having a dad. Funny, I guess, he should still be acting like a jerk if I were paying attention to some of the advice I didn't like on this forum. I guess I will never learn.....

"Who cares what happened in a person's past - it's what we do now and going forward. That is what matters. "

I couldn't have said it better myself.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Peanut, I feel for your situation. I have a SD(10) w/ ADHD who listens to her dad & other men in her life(sometimes) but not me or other women.She has lived w/ her dad FT & her BM bails on her & isn't involved in SD's life. It is so very hard!
A simple "put your clothes away" from me turns into chaos. And I do have a right to tell her to do something.... this is also my house. Her father & I have tried EVERYTHING out there suggested for ADHD kids: long,short,basic,creative discipline & still nothing works.No spankings or yelling in our house.Praise & reward charts haven't worked either. We even set up a system where she earns her privileges(TV,computer,video games)from day to day.Nope,still nothing.Her undesireable behavior starts when she wakes up & doesn't end until after bedtime. Have we grounded her for a few days too long? Yes. Have we even forgotten why she's grounded? Yes. When it is non stop behavior issues they do blend together. But as the saying goes...we learn from our mistakes. And we do fix our mistakes & apologize for them. It is not wrong to hold a child accountable for their actions,how else do they learn? Keep in mind this isn't just at also.Her teacher has kept her after school everyday(15min)for a week because she refused to do her work. On more than 1 occasion.
She has stolen from us & when asked why she says "because i wanted it." If we put it all on the ADHD & she doesn't get grounded then we are condoning those actions. Don't think that would work when she's older.."Sorry Judge, SD has ADHD so punishing her would be mean."
IMO I think your husband 1.hasn't had to deal w/ a child who has ADHD on top of other family issues overwhelmed with your sons behavior & doesn't know what else to do. taking it personal when your son doesn't listen to him or openly defies what your husband has said.
Good for your son,you,your DH & the rest of your family for figuring out different ways to deal with this.
A website I love is Empowering Parents.Hundreds of articles broken down by issues.
Let the Sh*tstorm begin on this posting!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 12:29AM
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lol, I know I shouldn't be laughing on this thread but people will only see what they want....what irony. And why does this remind me of that thread a couple years ago where the Mom was on her 3rd marriage (hubby 1 and 2 abusive) and Son attacked her 3rd husband with a baseball bat? She also refused to acknowledge the effects the abuse had on her son and went 16 years denying it...until the bat incident. Even then, she became happy when her son and 3rd hubby went for ice cream after the incident....cause ice cream makes it all better.

You know, in some instances I can see blowing smoke up someones behind and telling them what they want to hear....but it's funny, we've got a live one here. One that shows shades of BM's in your stepchildrens lives. Some of the SM's here have to clean up the mess these kind of Moms make and deal with the behaviors these children bring to their home due to the very same thinking OP has. I wonder do you stop and think that BM may have a bad background and this gives her license to treat her children this way? Does that really give the BM's in your life a pass? I don't think so.

OP, this is the internet. You can't control what people say to you, the advice they give etc. Your hyper awareness of what people post lead me to think this advice is nothing new to you, you've been told by people closest to you and your situation....that's what people think, can't control it.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:37AM
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Thanks sassy, it is nice to know someone has had experience with this kind of situation. I think it is hard to imagine what kind of perfect life some people must have had to not understand ever having been out of their league when trying to deal with a difficult situation.

I don't try to control what any one says or thinks. It is everyone's right to have their opinion. But on the other hand I get to have one, too. Just in case no one has figured it out, I am out spoken, but try not to be rude. I may have had some crappy life situations, but I do try make the best choices I can. Just because my post reminds you of someone else, I am not them and every situation is unique. I dont' condemn anyone for the situation they are in. Sh!t happens and we all make mistakes. I think most people try to do the best with what they have and when something changes, you make the best choices you can. It is all a learning process. I will admit I am not perfect, nor do I think anyone else is. I asked for opinions, but nothing on this forum's rules said I had to agree with them or follow everyone's advice. Just because I don't roll over and say of course dh is a worthless piece of sh!t, Doesn't mean I don't hear you. It just means I don't agree with you. We all have different lives and I can make my own decisions, just as you make yours.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 11:25AM
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"And why does this remind me of that thread a couple years ago where the Mom was on her 3rd marriage (hubby 1 and 2 abusive) and Son attacked her 3rd husband with a baseball bat?"

that's why i said this little boy will grow up very angry man, and there is a baseball bat somewhere in the future. but if mom wants to keep her head in a sand, nothing we can do.

"We all have different lives and I can make my own decisions, just as you make yours." children can't make much of a choice, they deal with the consequences of our choices. so you really do not have luxury of making whatever choices. you don't see it. nobody is condemning your mistakes in the past, but you keep making same choices and refuse to see their daily effect on children.

now i think you keep coming back and reading because you know we are right and like nivea said you were told that before (you even said you know what therapist will say about all this-ditch bad men, and focus on your kids). maybe one day you get the strength. I will pray for your little son and your daughter (still no reply why is she on her own at 17, not even a legal age).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 1:53PM
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In response to the question about my daughter.

When she was about 14 and doing the eow thing with her father, he left her do anything. No rules, no responsibilities, no consequences. She made life at my home impossible until I left her stay there. When she was 16, he left her boyfriend move in with her at his home. When it got on his nerves, he kicked them both out. I wanted her to move in with me, but she refused and they rented a place together. When she got pregnant, he threw her out and moved back in with his parents. Now she is renting a place a couple of miles from my house, dirt cheap, but nice. I can be here to help her with anything she needs. I live in a tiny house and she doesn't want to live in a house with 3 other kids. She does cyberschool and works full time. She wants to raise her baby on her own, but I know she will need help and I will be close enough to do that if she needs it. It is funny because she and dh get along well, despite the usual teenage drama. I tried at various times to force her to move in with me when it was obvious things weren't the way they were supposed to be, but legally my hands were tied. I contacted my lawyer several times, but was told at her age (over the age of 13 to live with her father, and over 17 to move out) I couldn't do anything. All I can do is be here to help her and make sure she has what she needs. It may not be fairy tale perfect, but it is all I can do.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:20PM
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oh I didn't know she is expecting...that must be tough, it is very bad in my state with jobs even for older/educated people. she is lucky she got a job without a high school diploma. I hope she gets child support from a guy, don't let him get away. but there is probably not much one can get from a guy, he is probably still in high school himself. I know girls who have babies at young age like 15-18 and they always hope that guys will stay with them but they never do, and girls cannot even get child support because what can a guy pay if he is 16 and still a high school student? It is so tough.

hope she moves back home after the baby comes at least for some time. who is going to watch her baby?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:53PM
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