was i disrespectful?
Hi all - I've come to these forums on and off for a while while searching for tidbits of advice, but never posted here myself. But I want to put this out there and see if I'm off base.
Background: My wife and I married about 15 months ago - I have two teenage boys and she has a 7 year old daughter.
Right now, I'm in the middle of "renegotiating" the visitation and custody of my boys with my ex (I have the boys now, and have for the past 5+ years - I don't expect it to change, but the uncertainty is adding some stress on all of us).
On top of this, about 3 months ago I caught my older son "sexting" with his girlfriend (they are 15 and 16). After that incident we punished him via restriction from communications, grounded him for a time, had serious discussions with him about the ramifications of sexting, etc - we all (me, his mother and my wife) thought we had gotten through to him and his punishments had lapsed about a month ago.
Well, I found out that he did it again about a two weeks ago (I found irrefutable proof - so there is no doubt). I consulted with my wife, his mother, and MY mother before deciding on the punishment: he IS allowed to go on the NYC trip that is this weekend - mostly because it's a school function, he's a member of the chorus, AND it cost ME $500 - , but once he returns he's grounded for the next 4 weeks, and also no electronics or telephone through the end of the school year - unless he earns a reduced sentence somewhere between here and there.
Also want to mention here that we've followed up with the talk about the ramifications of sexting - he clearly "understands" the issue but had impulse control issues - hence the magnitude of the punishment (I know some will think it's not harsh enough, but what can you do. :-)
His mother and I took him to dinner and confronted him (which was actually suggested by my wife), showed him the evidence, and doled out the punishment.
So far so good - we all worked toward this end goal. It's this next part that I'm not sure about.
When my son and I got home he asked to call his girlfriend. After looking at him like "are you serious!?" he said that he wanted to call her and tell her he was going to be out of touch for the next several months (they don't go to the same school - so phone, email text is the only way they have to communicate). At that point I decided to let him talk to his girlfriend for 15 minutes to let her know he was grounded for an extended period of time.
I did not tell my wife in advance of that decision - but I did tell her as soon as I saw her which was about 5 minutes later and my son was about 5 minutes into his conversation.
And this is where things are falling apart all of sudden on me. My wife is extremely angry. She says that it was extremely disrespectful to not inform her of that decision before it was executed. That it undermines her authority in the house. That I "completely screwed her over" by not informing her of the decision. She says that I did not have to "check with her" or "ask permission", but simply let her know what was happening before making it a reality. She even said she probably would have agreed to it had we discussed it - but by not consulting her I haven't shown her the respect she deserves as my wife.
I'm a bit dumfounded. My view is that as an equal partner in the house, and my son's parent, I have the right to make a decision of this magnitude (allowing a 15 minute phone call) without prior notice or consultation with her. In fact, I feel strongly that we BOTH have that right. I trust that my wife would make a sane and logical decision and I would rarely have an issue if the roles were reversed ( the only exception I can think of is if her decision was in direct conflict with a prior decision of mine, but she'd be unlikely to override something she knew about so then I'd be more pissed at my boys for gaming the system than at her.)
In fact she HAS done this in the past giving the boys extra TV time, or even extending their telephone deadline when he was working late on a school paper - there was no consultation, but she knew I would be ok with her judgement and executed the decision on the spot.
So my question is - was I disrespectful? Was my making this decision beyond the bounds of "individual authority" as a parent and adult in the house? Did I step over a line here? Or this all about something else and I'm just not seeing it?
Thanks - BK