my 8 yr old ss- is this manipulation /wants dad over mom?

rosema12June 8, 2009

I am the SM to do children 6 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy. mY DH and i also have a son together that is 15 mths old. The Skids live w/ us 2 days a week and EOW. and w/ their mom and husband alternate days.

for the most part the kids are good. WE do have issues w/ my SS who went through the divorce while he was 3 yrs old and seems that may have traumatized him a bit as well as he now was just diagnosed w/ ADHD and the meds are helping tremendously . BUt he is a very strong child, needs to be center of attention, somewhat spoiled thinking and also easily angered.. He will throw a fit over broccoli which is now resolved, for the most part they eat what we cook at our house. I have a rule that i won't be ashort order cook etc.. we have rules are our house, i am more for consistency and routine and consequences to pay. My SS thinks he has no controlw hich isn't true. HE is also very smart for 8 yrs old, and he can be very compassionate and he is excellent w/ my son most of the times..

I am not sure what is going on w/ him but lately he seems very jealous (he's always been this way i guess0) w/ anything we do w/ out him. If we say we went to a bbq or are going and he's not w/ us (he was w/ his mom ) went to disneyland w/ her, He gets upset w/my DH . He is not materially spoiled at our house, but mY DH does seem to favor him the most and especially now that he was diagnosed w/ ADHD it's almost like he's coddling him a bit.

the thing that bothers me most about my SS is that he can be manipulative. E.g One time he was at our house and spent the entire day w/ his friend. He went back to his mom's got ugly /naughty w/ her, and he broke down and blamed my DH for not paying enough attention toh im and that is why he's soo upset.. THE EX called my DH to tell him and i said honey did you realize that this was the same weekend he played w/ his friend all weekend, where was he? Did he even mention not beig w/ you? dAD was history and is when his friends are around. IT felt like manipulation to me, to get out of trouble w/ his mom, it seems maybe he senses he can do this w/ his mom, play his parents against eachother. WE told her what had happened over the weekend that is not true etc.

So he again tried to pull a fast one this weekend. we had a family bbq SAT. all day the kids played, ate, swam outside, friends over etc.. 9:30 rolls around, bedtime, I am exhauasted and SS says I am staying up to watch a movie. OH you are, yes dad said I could. Ok first mistake is DAD and i did nt' unite on what we were going to do, he made his own decision which i was like , NO we had al ong day, bedtime , and the kids had lots of fun today, the movie can be for the following weekend..

so my SS used- well I didn't get to spend much time w/ you Dad today. I jumped in as i was like manipulative to stay up late. and said umm N i think you were w/ your friend all day, next time should we not invite your friends so you can be w/ dad. well he was talking to peeps etc. oh hmm i see.

so he tried to cut a deal w/ dad and manipulate his feelings.

goes to moms the next day , DH drops him off, quiet the whole way and throws a tantrum in the frontyard how he doesn't wnat to be w/ his mom and wants to go home w/ dad.

DH had the baby w/ him and my SD. SD was not wanting to go to moms either but didn't voice it then..

He was soo upset, flailing his arms likeyou were taking him to jail.. Apparently before this all happened BM told him he'd be cleaning his room (they don't clean their room daily so only imagine)

not exactly sure what is going on here/ I know we try to be consitent in rules but i know they do not socialize as much, entertain, their house is a mess/pigsty , we are more structured and routine , except sometimes DH and I are not on the same page and have to be..

so what gives why would my SS not want to be w/ BM. chores? jealously?

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Does the SS get alone time with Dad? Does the family of origin (SS, SD & Dad) do anything together by themselves? If so, is this regular and on a consistent basis?

Stepchildren need time alone with their bio parent and siblings. Most cannot express it verbally but will act out as your SS is doing. It is not an insult to the step, but a real actual need for children of divorce. It is not jealousy or wanting to get out of chores. It is a need to keep and strengthen bonds.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:21PM
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Sounds like mom and dad need to communicate better. Do they get along well enough to work together? I'd suggest a (cooperative) parenting class for both. It's not unusual for kids to manipulate divorced parents, use guilt, etc. to get attention. My SD does that and the most frustrating part is that BM won't call DH to inquire about things SD tells her, she just waits until she wants ammunition and then brings it up. SD tells her mom so many lies and when BM writes it in court papers without discussing it with DH... and DH has proof it's not true, it only makes BM look like a liar or an idiot. (and she may not be either if she is relaying what her child is telling her, but not checking with dad or anyone else to verify things... well, makes her look bad.)

All you can do to help the situation is to encourage dad to spend time alone with his child when you can. If he runs back to mom saying he didn't spend any time with dad, but he did spend the whole day with dad, there's nothing you can do about that. Dad can tell mom that their child is telling stories to get mom's attention but if mom ignores it and believes the stories, there's not much anyone can do. It's sad if mom can't see it. I've seen my SD spend the ENTIRE day with DH, while I find other things to do so they can watch a movie, play games, whatever she wants... and as he gets her ready for bed, she will actually cry to him that he didn't spend any time with her. Some kids just are never going to be happy no matter what you do.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:39PM
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well if a kid has fun and entertainment at dads on the weekend and then goes to moms for the boring week of chores and school (plus they don't entertain and socialize as much), then of course he wants to stay at dad swimming and playing. this weekend is not even over he is already promised movies for the next week! of course he doesn't want to go home and clean his room at moms.

I had DD wiht me during the week and she went to dads on the weekend (every weekend) when we lived close by X. So i was "boring school and chores parent" while her dad was "fun and entertainment parent". LOL it never possessed any problems for us and DD. And DD wanted equally to go to dads and come home to moms. But I can see how it could be a problem for some kids. maybe schedule could be revisited? or maybe mom should not tell about chores ahead of time and dad doesn't have to make big fun plans ahead of time.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 10:51PM
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Thanks all for the insight. NOt really sure what it is. Can't figure it out yet.. I will say he gets alot of attention here at home from his dad, but not in an "entertaining" kind of way. My husband is a handy man and also has to take care of things w/the hosue and his business alot on weekends. so a lot of times his son tags along, helps out, watches or if not he's here just watching tv or hanging outside, pounding on wood etc.. Yes this weekend was an exception where we played games, had a bbq, and yes his friend was here. NOT saying that doesn't happen but it's not like we are social every single weekend at our house and the day he wanted to stay we already told him before he went to his moms (as it was her day) that we had things to do, DAD was going to be fixing stuff and in the attic and he was like that is fine I will stay w/ dad and do stuff w/ him. The child always is w/ his dad more than mY SD, my SD is soo easy going and ok w/ NOT having all the attention that she never really complains that her brother gets more of dad time. She sometimes will get needy and want her dad at night etc..

Now, moms house is more of a "royal" mess.. the room he had to clean was not a room that was a mess that day and then to clean as at our house, it's you make a mess you clean it up that day.. Not 3 weeks later when there is more of a mess.. they don't have tons of chores at 6 and 8, but they are to be respectful, take baths, eat dinner, then they get a treat, if they act out there are no rewards, but consequences such as time outs etc.. both kids have actually been listening and behaving exceptionally well except my SS has a lot of control issues and feels he is nOT in control alot at OUR house.. He said that to us one day that he gets more his way at his moms.. that is why I feel it maybe more a form of manipulation or just that he was having a good time at our house wanted to be w/ us vs. her, and not saying he doesn't like it there, but [perhaps that is just how he was feeling that day? but to have such a meltdown over it, I am baffled, yes he is usually an emotional child when things don't go his way, he is to take a minute calm down and come and talk. so yes he had a meltdown not sure why, maybe cuz he didn't get his way wanted to be w/ his dad and couldn't so made a scene..
maybe he didn't have a enough time w/ his dad and being he enjoys being w/ his father maybe he did just want to be hre..

again just baffled at the behavior.. it would seem to me besides the fact he had to clean his room, that he'd want to be w/ her because he says he gets more his way there.. but again his dad isn't there, who he gets along w/ outside in the garage etc, but again sometimes he is just here in the house doing his own thing.. perhaps he just wanted to be here..

i do know the mom lets them choose more meals, etc , pizza, fast food etc. in that way also they have more "controL'> here is more often than not that we sit down and eat together and have a full healthy meal. and usually it's not an issue but an enjoyment.. it took a while to get that way at first the kids would fight it as they didn't have consistency from mom's to dad but now it's been 2 years they understand this is just the way it is here, we do go out for fun stuff meals, but not every night, especially school/work nights..

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 11:10PM
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I think is boys get to a certain age where they relate more to their dad and want to be around dad more.

My son is 10 and relates better to his father and stepfather than me at times. Other times he is attached at my hip! But then there is my sd's who relate to me better than their father. They tell me things they would not tell him.

I think at different stages kids may relate to one parent better than the other.

And you mentioned that the mothers home is in chaos....they may contribute to this. A messy home can really bring your mood down.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:34AM
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Oh and forgot to add this one: SS is in therapy for his anger/ outbursts and diagnosed w/ the ADHD but still goes to therapy. during some of his therapy visits, he didn't want his father there and the mother pointed out that "he is scared of dad" to my DH.. Therapist brought this up in session, that when my SS was asked if ok to have DH there he got all nervous etc.. The ex made it like it was a bad thing. I said to my DH when he told me this, did you ask the therapist at that time isn't it ok to have a little bit of that scared feeling, meaning you know if you do wrong there is consequences to be paid etc? Not saying my DH beats the child or anything like that, but DH will put him in his place and give him consequences.

So if this child is soo scared of DH as the EX likes to point out frequently that it is our fault etc..for things, not soo true, then why would the kid be flailing his arms and legs to stay w/ dad??

that is what is soo baffling. yes he may use his tantrums as his defense mechanism for some reason but it does baffle me.

momtoemall- I agree w/ your theory most. WE had our house under construction for several months, and we are finally done . the kids mom's house was a mess when she bought it a year ago and nothing has really changed and she is also not as organized/ or clean etc as we are. NOt trying to point fingers but would make sense in the chaos.. I know for me clutter equals chaos/stress to me.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 11:36AM
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