Please help me with whatever advice/input you have
I love my DH dearly--but he has a stubborn streak and when he does not want to hear something, he does NOT want to hear it. (Actually--I might be a bit like that myself :) )
SS is out of control. I do not say that in a critical or mean spirited way. OF COURSE he is out of control. He has so many things stacked against him. His parents are split up and he goes between homes. He struggles with learning/academic issues and school is not fun for him. His mother is an alcoholic.
MORE than anything, he needs clear boundaries and rules and limitations. I do believe that kids really crave those things---they want to know what is expected of them, and they want guidelines and rules to keep them safe.
My DH loves his son---but he is NOT good about being consistent with anything. When I met him, I was shocked that he had no routine for SS---I have always been so big on routines for my DD. Home from school (back then it was daycare), snack, play, dinner, bath, story, bed. DH never did any of that. He would put SS to bed at 9:30 or 10 pm when he was not even 2 yrs old! Even now, most nights he tells SS that he can do his homework in the morning, that he doesn't have to take a bath, etc. I parent SO DIFFERENTLY from that. My DD does her homework every afternoon on her own-she takes a bath EVERY single night, save for the occasional Friday night or whatever. Bedtime is consistently at 8 pm but I have to NAG DH to do these things for his son. It will be 8 pm and he says "oh, let's let them stay up until 8:30 tonight." Well, the problem is---it takes a good 15-20 minutes to actually GET them to bed, what with brushing teeth, going potty, bedtime stories, etc. So starting at 8 is crucial because then they are actually IN BED and ready for sleep around 8:15 or 8:30.
He vehemently denies this but the truth is--he THREATENS all the time but RARELY does anything. He will say to SS five times "if you don't stop shouting at the dinner table, you're going to time out." And SS keeps shouting and NOTHING happens except DH eventually, after the 12th time, gets angry, yells and FINALLY sends SS to his room. Scenes like this occur in our home constantly.
And it is all so unneccessary! If DH would just issue the warning--and then FOLLOW THROUGH if need be. No yelling, or getting angry. Just consistent expectations and boundaries.
SS is getting out of control with his backtalk and attitude. Everything DH asks him to do, or reprimands him about is met with defiance. And DH does nothing. Or he makes these stupid threats---like "keep it up and you'll spend the rest of the night in your room." Well, DUH--DH is not going to make SS stay in his room for 5 hours and everyone, INCLUDING SS, darn well knows it!
ANY time I try to talk with DH about this he says that my DD is just as bad, that it's just "the two of them together" and that I don't have any better boundaries than he does.
Not to pat myself on the back or toot my own horn--I have made many parenting mistakes like anyone! BUT I am consistent with DD and I believe the PROOF is in the pudding. She is (95% of the time) well behaved; she does very well in school, always has glowing report cards, follows directions, and does NOT backtalk me--not to say that she doesn't have her snippy moments but I am quick to nip them in the bud. I really, really am saying this objectively---I know I am *biased* towards my DD but really--she does NOT have these behavioral issues that SS does. She ALSO has a lot more going for her than he does---doesn't go back and forth between two homes, doesn't have a mother with substance abuse problems, etc. So of course life is *easier* for her. I don't have the same issues with her because she doesn't have the same issues going on in her life. I feel TERRIBLE for my SS that he has all these things stacked against him--but IMO those just emphasize all the more the need for consistency and stability in his life. We can't control what BM does at her house but we CAN control what goes on in ours.
Anyway, this all came to a head because my mom and her DH and my grandparents have spoken to me about SS's behavior. We usually see them every other week or so. My mom and her DH were at our house for SS's birthday two weeks ago, and then we were all together on Easter, as well.
My mom called me and said that her DH is considering emailing MY DH. Apparently, they are all just fed up with SS's behavior and my DH's lack of doing anything. My mom noted the disrespect, the loudness (really, he is LOUD all the time), the wild-running-not-listening behavior, etc. On Easter Sunday, I thought my mom's DH was in a weird mood--he went into his home office for a good hour and was just very anti-social. I found out from my mom yesterday when I spoke to her that he just dislikes being around SS that much. :( UGH. We are becoming the family that no one wants around anymore. :(
I do think it might be good for my mom's DH to email my DH. They get along well, and my mom's DH is more *objective* than my mom. I KNOW DH will see this as them being biased towards my DD. I think there is a *small* amount of that going on. Not really bias--but my mom kept reiterating to me that they are ALL really concerned about SS's behavior affecting my DD. I do think THAT is the driving factor in this--they are concerned about the effect this chaos will have on my DD.
Truly, a lot of it is being said out of concern for SS too. My family has always been so good to him. My grandparents refer to him as their "great grandchild." He gets cards for every holiday, presents at Christmas and his birthday, my grandma sends him a monthly children's magazine just like she does for DD, etc. When he was playing soccer, they went to some of his games, etc. They truly do care about him and treat him so well---and I think if it were MY DD exhibiting these behavioral issues, they would call ME out on it as well.
So I talked with DH a bit last night--and his mature response was "tell your family I will never be around them again."
Ooooh, I am so mad at him!
I get that he is defensive about his child--but at the same time---there are MANY people who see these issues: my mom, her husband, my grandparents, my dad, my dad's girlfriend, one of MY friends even pointed it out awhile ago. We spent a week last summer (in the throes of the court case) in Michigan with my dad and his GF and her kids, and a friend of my dad's--and I found out later that they were all appalled by SS's disrespectful attitude towards adults. And my dad noted the same thing---that DH does NOT make SS listen!
I think the thing is, no one is criticizing SS, they are criticizing DH's parenting!
I don't know HOW to get him on board! HELP!