Teenagers...*sigh*


#1

I understand how difficult this situation is. My suggestion is the same that I have given my husband whenever the children flip flop about coming over because they are angry at me…they do not have a choice…and if they make a choice it it going to be permanent.
The children are still telling each parent what they want to hear and since they are older, there are other issues involved.

We have our system set up that they have most everything at our house and similar at their mother’s. There is very little except school stuff that they have to carry back and forth. It sounds as though he has equal time with the children so would it not be easier to have clothes and supplies for them at his house. Then if there’s something that they “forget” to bring with them, they will just have to live without it for the week. As for staying with friends…that would only happen on weekend nights and it would be up to the parent that has custody for that week.
The ex coming by the house should be stopped if at all possible.
My husband’s ex has been to our house 2 times. Once before we moved in and one time prior to us getting married after I had left for the evening. If they have to meet to pick the children up or drop off items, they have a neutral place or somewhere in between the two homes.

Your BF needs to realize that if you are going to be part of his life then he has to set the boundaries with his ex. No more coming to his home unannounced. No more arguing with her about you. Let her rant and rave all she wants, but let her find someone else to do it to.

If the children are failing at school or treating their father badly, that is something that he will need to put his foot down on. They both should make sure that the children are doing their best in school, that is one of their jobs as parents. The children need to realize that their “job” is school and using their parents divorce as an excuse is not going to cut it anymore. Ground them, take away some of those “amenities”…when they complain to Mom, let her know that when they bring home better grades they will be allowed those activities again…He’s got to set some ground rules. He has to realize that this is his home and these children are his responsibility.

My husband and I are having a difficult time with our situation at the moment also. The boys seem to have started treating me like they do their mother…which means they are disrespectful, at times ugly, and they don’t listen. My husband and I have discussed it and realized that this behavior can NOT continue for too long or it will become a habit. Just some things to think about. Just because they are teenagers does not mean that they are now in control…
This is only my opinion, but maybe it will give you some ideas…


#2

It’s not so much that the older kids want only to stay with mom, it’s that my BF wants to give the teenager back to mom full custody because he’s tired of the teen manipulating the mom into doubleteaming him and getting whatever he wants. (…and yes, the older kids do tell mom whatever she wants to hear so that they can get their way…) I think giving her full-time custody of the teen is a big mistake because of the abandonment issues it could cause with that kid.

…and yes, he does have separate toys and clothes at each house for the kids. Only a few items have to be carried back and forth, like school stuff. The older kids have keys to his apartment so that they can go there after school until he can come home from work. (He doesn’t keep anything of value or import there, so there’s nothing for mom to get even if she were inclined to snoop, all his records and most valuable items are stored with me.)

Because of issues with the exchange of the kids some time back, they opted to make it so that the parent who was giving up the kids be the one who would transport the kids to the other parent. Other than that, she doesn’t come by the house…except in instances like this.

This is the root of the problem. If Dad says ‘no’, then the teen just waits until others are asleep and either uses his own phone, his dad’s phone, or the younger teen’s phone to call up the mom. Mom, who is really into keeping the apron strings attached, rushes right over to provide whatever is needed…unless she’s out on a date or with her divorce support group.

(BTW, this was an issue during the marriage that was part of the breakup. The mother did not think that kids should do chores or be held responsible about belongings or family schedules. If Dad tried to restrict or punish, she would undermine him and sometimes throw stuff at him or hit him in front of the kids.)

Dad has no place to keep the phones out of reach without punishing the younger teen. The only recourse he has is to prevent the child from activities he likes when he has custody. He has restricted the child from activities during his custody, however, it hasn’t been the most effective since mom doesn’t apply any punishment…the kid can just wait it out. The father is left holding the “mean guy” bag, and I’m blamed for anything else (encouraged, of course, by the mother).

Oh, and FWIW, he usually ignores anything she has to say about me…either that or if she gets too worked up, he hangs up on her or leaves. With the kids, he redirects the conversation or explains why I’m not to blame for whatever has gone on.


#3

I’m still in agreement with you on the custody thing. Most children who learn to play their parents against each other do not realize that they are the ones that lose…
My husband has had several long talks with both the boys about their behavior and attitude. He’s told them that they do not HAVE to come over, but because of the “amenities” that our house provides, they choose to continue this schedule. Since they do come over they are told that it makes no difference if the rules at their mother’s home is different. He is their father and has the right to make his own rules and standards. He needs to stand up to the ex and tell her that she is NOT to come to the house for any reason except to drop the children off. If the child calls the mother, he needs to be dealt with. Let him know that his father’s life does NOT include his ex any longer and that he no longer wants her at his home unless it’s to drop off the children. He’s going to have to set some boundaries and he’s going to have to enforce them…otherwise he really has no options. He’s letting the children and his ex run his life and his home and he’s the only one that can change that. Giving up on the children by giving them to the mother is only going to make the situation worse, IMHO, because it’s not like they will never visit. EDIT: He’s going to have to realize, like my husband did, that it’s more important to be a father than their friend. He may feel like the “bad guy” but if he’s doing what he thinks is right by his children then he needs to stand his ground. I’m glad that he takes up for you, but their problems probably have more to do with want their parents back together than with you. :EDIT

My husband is going to have to go through this eventually also because the children are beginning to choose to be more disrespectful. He’s told his ex previously when one of the boys mentioned that he did not want to come back over because of me that he would let her have him full time, continue to pay child support, but that when he was 16 and she could not handle him or he was arrested, NOT to call him. She would be the one to have to deal with the situation that she created by allowing the children to manipulate and disrespect her. She allows them to do whatever they want and they are often on their own in regards to homework, food, daily hygene care…At 10 and 13 you can imagine that these are not important issues. Eating Cheetos for breakfast before school and skipping lunch because that is what their mother does, is not healthy eating habits…

I’ll keep you in my thoughts…maybe some of the other have some suggestions.


#4

We have a situation here that I’m at a loss to deal with. The older kids will not pack the things they need for my BFs week of custody. Sometimes, one in particular just decides to spend the night with friends and doesn’t come home. Mom encourages this behavior by bringing the kids stuff by the house when they ‘forget’ it, and arguing with my BF that it’s all my fault that the kid doesn’t want to stay with him (at his house). (Needless to say both of these kids have begged to stay at my house because of the amenities. Same kid was happy enough when I paid for him to attend a sporting event and took him out for dinner.) So, basically mom hears whatever she wants from the kids if it fits her agenda and she supports them in whatever they want to do, even if it means failing school or treating their dad like @#$%.

Anyhow, it has reached the point where my BF is ready to tell the mother that the eldest will be staying with her full-time now and not to bother sending the kid with the other siblings for their 1/2 time custody. I’ve been arguing against my BF doing this for a long time now, telling him that the child will resent him and feel abandonned, however, we can’t let the situation continue as it has. Does anyone have any suggestions?