Post # 1
Hi Bee’s! Not sure if this is the right forum for this but I need some outsider views on this!
So this may be confusing but Ill do my best to break it down!
My son is almost 12. His Dad and I have been divorced since he was about 5.
Before we divorced, he had cheated on me which resulted in a daughter, whom I took in as my own for the first couple years of her life. Even after the divorce I would still help with her and have her over.
During the time after we divorced, his dad wasn’t around as much as he should have been but always seemed to favor his daughter, to this day he still does.
My son has kind of caught onto this and has built up resentment towards them both. I have always tried to help and explain family if first and he needs to maintain good relationships with them both. He started being more distant and not wanting to spend time with them. when its his weekend to go to his Dads house, he is hesitant because the sister will be there and he doesn’t want to go. His dad also lives in a 1 bedroom with his girlfriend so my son and his sister sleep on the floor or couch in the living room.
So today I get this long ranting text from my ex saying that our son needs to put in effort to see him and act happier around him. That he doesn’t give a shit about my baby (im 18 weeks pregnant) but that our son needs to realize that this baby will not be any more of a sibling then his sister and that I need to help him fix this.
My viewpoint is, he is the only one to blame for the way our son feels! You get what you give in relationships! and hasn’t put much into the one with his son. Now he expects him to make the effort because he is done trying to force him (which he has never tried)…..
Anyone been through anything similar??
Post # 2
- Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California
Well first off, it’s his half sister and secondly, I think you just try to keep being positive about his dad and sister. What you and your ex behind closed doors is your prerogative. Easier said than done coming from someone still married, but if you can also just nod your head and pretend to agree when your ex says things like the text he sent you today. I can’t think of a direct quote that doesn’t sound passive agressive haha, but hopefully you catch my drift. Good luck 🙂
Post # 3
I would not get myself involved in an issue between your ex and your son. Obviously, you are your sons #1 advocate and protector, but anything you do directly will undermine his father and could cause a permanent rift.
Instead, I would suggest to your ex that he go to family therapy with your son so they can work our their issues with a neutral 3rd party. That way, you’re giving suggestions as a way to “help him fix this” but you’re maintaining a good distance and not taking sides.
Post # 4
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
If your son is 12, he’s old enough to make up his own mind about his father. If his half sister is being favoured over him, I don’t blame him for not wanting to go over there and my response to your ex would be along those lines.
Post # 5
I think id be honest and tell him that your son feels his sister is more favoured and thats why he’s been offish. Tell him he needs to spend some one on one time,at least for now,and that maybe its best he goes every other weekend while the sister goes on the next one. Think id also remind him he’s getting older and pretty soon he will be out and about with friends at the weekend so needs to make the most of the next few years
Post # 6
stephanie091512 : ExcitedScaredBee : KiwiDerbyBride :
Thanks everyone for all the advice. I agree 100% that this is not my mess to fix so to speak. The relationship is the way it is because of his actions over the years.
stronger-now1 : I have told him this multiple times but he never comes through. So I cant care for him. He told me word for word that our son needs to put in the effort with him now….. He is 11! He is the child here… so insane to me. He is beyond irrational and selfish.
Post # 7
An 11 year old child needs to put the effort in?!! Flippin heck!Well at least you tried. Tell him “gosh you can tell he’s your son,all those years you couldn’t be bothered and now HE can’t be bothered,must be in the genes”!!! Lol
Post # 8
Your son should have the option to not see his dad.
He needs the options to either not see his dad at all or to see him for hour(s) long visits only, like going to the movies, to dinner, or to a fun center.
The bottomline is this can’t be allowed to continue, and you can’t let your son and his dad work it out on their own, because you’ll be leaving your son at the mercy of a man who has shown he doesn’t care about him.
This is your mess; you didn’t cause the grown man to neglect his child, but you still have to act on your son’s behalf and find a solution. It’s not your son’s mess; he’s the one who shouldn’t be dealing with this beyond making it clear what’s going on at his dad’s house and how it affects him, which he has done.
Post # 9
As a matter of fact, I have been through something similar. When I was a kid, my dad had full custody, and in addition to obviously favoring my siblings, he was emotionally and physically abusive to me (only me) until he lost custody when I was 13. During that time, I was singled out, held to a completely different set of rules and “consequences” and treated like Cinderella, and my resentment escalated to loathing him. Everyone around me saw it, but nobody thought to question the adult. He was manipulative as hell, so he’d use that to get others to see me as this angsty, out of control problem child, to garner pity and support from other adults in my life, including teachers, parents of friends, coaches, and even my own mom for a while. He used to call her to try to get her to “get through to me” so I’d behave just like he wanted me to as well. I knew what he was doing was wrong, but I felt completely powerless, like nobody was on my side. If I had a penny for every time I heard some wannabe-helpful enabler tell me that “family is important, you need to respect your parents, they really do love you, and your behavior hurts everyone around you” I’d be rich in both money and cynicism. There were times when others saw it, but they always excused it and dismissed my complaints, even after CPS got involved.
My situation was a bit extreme, but my point is, if your 12 year old son resents his father, telling him that “family is first and he needs to maintain good relationships with them both,” and making him sort this out or fake an effort to try and get closer with them and act like his father feels he should is definitely not the best way to navigate this situation. All this does is make the child feel like his dad’s status as an adult and a parent excuses his behavior, and that it’s the child’s responsibility to ignore the obvious and very hurtful injustice for the sake of maintaining a toxic relationship. If your son doesn’t want to visit his dad, he shouldn’t have to. He deserves a say in who he spends his time with.
Post # 10
I wrote this incorrectly: “He needs the options to either not see his dad at all or to see him for hour(s) long visits only, like going to the movies, to dinner, or to a fun center.”
I meant that he should have the option to not see his dad at all and the option to have hour(s)-long outings instead of overnight and weekend visits.
Post # 10
Rhopalocera : I’m not sure of the legal status of that. But barring abuse, I’m pretty uncomfortable with that approach. I’ve heard so many stories of mothers turning their children against their fathers (though I’m certainly not suggesting that’s the case here). But regardless: he’s only 11. He’s not old enough to decide he wants his father out of his life.
Post # 11
Wow. Your ex sounds like a 5 year old. Kids pick up on the tiniest things and while your son sees his half-sister being favoured nothing will change. All you can do is make sure nothing negative about his dad or sister comes from you. He should not be forced to go over there though, and definitely shouldn’t be made to sleep there when he doesn’t even have a bed! Is the sister sleeping in the living room a permanent thing?
Post # 12
stronger-now1 : My thoughts exactly! Who’s the adult and who’s the child here? If you want a better relationship with him then make it happen! You cant seriously expect a child to make the effort here, especially after years of being placed to the side by his dad!
Rhopalocera : I 10000% agree this is not my sons mess at all, and I make sure to not put him in any position that makes him feel like it is. I have a very close relationship with him and we seem to be able to talk very openly. I think its up to his Dad only to fix it, if he cant then there goes his relationship (or whats left of it) with his son. He threatens over and over that he will just leave him alone if that’s what our son wants. His son wants him to step up and be a dad, to make time for HIM, alone time, quality time. He doesn’t do that. So he seems more then content with seeing his dad every other weekend. He doesn’t want to go over more then he does now so I don’t make him…. I’ve tried cleaning this up before but it takes 2, I cant make his dad be the dad our son needs…. I know its hard since you don’t have the full back story on this….. but trust me I’ve done everything I can to make it better between them. You can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink!
aussiemum1248 : yes, not turning him against him at all! We do nothing but try to talk positively about that relationship and encourage it. He is to young to make that big of a decision but when he doesn’t want to see him I cant say I blame him at this point…..
nonablu : Great point, exactly what is happening. My ex makes no changes yet expects the relationship just to be peachy again. You have to change to see change! We do talk and encourage him when it comes to his dad and sister. Nothing negative ever on our side. Its permenant until they move which they have no plans to!
Post # 14
aussiemum1248 : He’s in distress and being ignored by his parent — something needs to be done.
If he needs to not see his dad anymore because it’s causing turmoil for him, that option needs to be on the table. It’s not right to say, “Well, that shouldn’t be an option because other mothers turned their children against the father,” when that’s not what’s happening in this case. “This man may be ignoring and neglecting you, but just deal with it the best you can,” is not a solution.
Options, there need to be options. He shouldn’t have to choose from several on his own, because that will put undue stress on him, but ways to solve this problem need to be thought up and one put into place on his behalf.
Post # 15
almostmrse2016 : That’s my whole point. This isn’t about making the dad be a good dad, it’s about mitigating damage and providing options for the child.
He shouldn’t have several options to choose from on his own, because that would be stressful and inappropriate, but options need to be thought up and one needs to be put into effect on his behalf.
It may be difficult, but, again, he can’t be left at the mercy of a man who neglects him.