Aggravated and hurt


Let me begin by stating that I'm not married and was not in the past. My son is 8 yrs and his BD has always been in the picture but a bad influence of a man child. My ex is out right lazy and looking for a constant hand up. He didn't finish high school because he didn't feel like going. Works minimum wage because he doesn't want to be management. Lives in a broken down house because instead of fixing things he pretends they are fine. Has every video game system and plays games more then the average teenager although my ex is 30. Sorry to rant but I wanted to show a clear image of this guy. My Ex has the gift of gab and can convince almost anyone to do a favor for him. My ex has influenced my son to the point where I cannot tell my son the sky is blue if his dad says its green. My son will somehow try to make sense of the b***s*** and tell himself it's true. He loves his dad and looks up to him. But my ex is more like a 8 year old friend then a father.
My boyfriend of 2 years is a great person and loves both my son and I with all his heart. Has stepped up when it comes to my son. (Taught my son how to tie his shoes, ride a bike, bought a winter coat for my son after a few months of dating because my paycheck wasn't processed by my bank fast enough, etc.) We three live together and my ex sees my son on the weekends at his parents house via a court order I had put in affect.
Unfortunately my boyfriend feels seriously disrespected when my son boasts about how awesome his dad is and all the cool video games they play together (all day long). My sons lack of hygiene and laziness he gets away with with his dad because like most kids, if the shower and/or cleaning up after himself isn't fun or entertaining they want nothing to do with it and his father isn't cleanly either nor does he pay enough attention to notice that my son isn't brushing his teeth or leaving his bed sheets dry. (My son wets the bed on occasion) My son and my ex disagree on a lot of things especially on Sundays when he picks up my son while I'm at work. I keep telling my boyfriend that my son is still young and will only look up to his father until he realizes what an idiot he is. (Hopefully in a few months to another year) My boyfriend thinks my son looks at him like a money tree. And that my ex and his family talk crap about us to my son.
I want my son to realize his dad's fault and understand the need to keep his praises to himself so my boyfriends feeling are spared but I don't want him to not love his father, hide who he is, or feel pressured into doing things he doesn't enjoy just to keep one or both men happy. I would have loved it if my ex walked away before birth but alias I'm stuck. if he walks or I get him out of my sons life now, I'm not entirely sure of the repercussions. How will my son fair?
In the mean time how do I keep my boyfriend and eventually my husband from hating and eventually resenting my son. Arguments ensue every time we discuss my son and his fathers influence, lack of child support payments, laziness levels, attitudes from my son. I don't want either of them to have to choose one or the other but life without my exes influence on my son would be awesome and easier.
Help. Advice. Input. I'm out of options.

Comments (13)
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Trying to think of ways to get your ex out of your son's life is not the answer. He is still your son's father and if you cut your ex out of your son's life your son is only going to hate you for it. The courts won't let you do it anyway so there's no use thinking about that.

"How do I keep my boyfriend and eventually my husband from hating and eventually resenting my son?"

You need to take over all areas of parenting. Do not ask your BF to do anything for your son. Do not ask your BF to babysit your son or pick him up for you when you’re at work. You say your BF feels that your son looks at him like he’s a money tree, so do not ask him to buy anything for him.

As for your son boasting about how awesome his dad is, your BF is going to have to ignore that. Plenty of kids are in denial about their parents and would rather think the world of them instead of the truth. In time when he gets older he’ll realize the truth about his dad, but right now he’s too young to understand.

“Arguments ensue every time we discuss my son and his fathers influence, lack of child support payments, laziness levels, attitudes from my son.”

Okay, I don’t see how much influence your ex could have over your son if he only sees him on the weekends. If your son believes his dad when he says things, unless it's something that's going to cause harm to himself or others, I would let it slide for now.

It might be helpful if you gave a more specific example of how your ex is influencing your son. My 8 year old daughter asked me why she had to go to bed so early on the weekends since she didn't have school the next day. She said her dad let her stay up till midnight.

I told her when she's at her dad's house, she follows his rules, but when she's in my house, she follows my rules. And then I sent her to bed. :)

Lack of support payments should be addressed by going back to court. You say you have a court order, so if he’s not paying CS take him back to court and have his wages garnished. You can also have it put in your CO that neither party nor their relatives are allowed to make any negative remarks about the other parent in the child’s presence. Now, I don’t know how enforceable a clause like that is, but sometimes just having it in the CO is enough to stop people from saying things to the kid.

However, your son’s laziness and attitude is completely on you. You have your son most of the time, so you need to instill some rules and punishments for misbehavior.

You don’t give any examples of the complaints your BF has, but say for example, if your son is being lazy by not picking up after himself, then no TV until he picks up after himself. If he whines and has an attitude, then an appropriate punishment should be given.

So try to offer your BF a compromise. If he agrees to ignore your son’s boasts about his dad, you’ll work on your son’s poor attitude and laziness. And stop asking him to do anything for your son. Once your son's attitude/behavior improves your BF won't resent him so much.

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I've been down this path some myself. And my daughter is currently going thru it with her irresponsible ex who is his 40's and has no clue how to act like a father, not a buddy. I see so many similarities with the ex/parent trash talk, laziness, no initiative. And the nonstop video games! What's with this man-child generation?

To count on your 8 year old son having some sort of wake up call about his Disneyland dad in a few months or a year is very unrealistic. Yes it COULD happen but he may never change his opinion, so please don't hang your hat on that as a magic bullet.

Kids are very adept at seeing what behavior is tolerated or encouraged by each parent and using it to their advantage. They are just kids. It's what they do. You need to continue to insist on proper hygiene, doing chores appropriate to his age, and following the rules of your household while he is in it. Back talking is not allowed. Period. You can't MAKE him respect the adults in your household, but he can't be allowed to act out on it without repercussions/loss of privileges.

You may have not been married to BD, but he has a fiscal responsibility to his child. I see you have court ordered visitation. You mentioned a lack of support. Do you have court ordered child support as well? If not, why not? Even with a low paying job or with unemployment, support can be determined based on ability to pay. I can understand this could be a point of contention in your new relationship if your new BF does not feel you are doing everything reasonable within the law to get the support from your ex that your son is entitled to. If you are truly doing all you can to legally pursue the child support, then your BF needs to back off regarding that issue. He's just creating more angst unnecessarily by harping on it.

If your BF buys things for your son, your son should be made to understand he is to thank your BF. It is not ok to take that for granted.

Your new BF is supposedly an adult but it doesn't seem like he is always acting like one. I suspect if he had an ex and children with her (assuming he doesnt), he'd have more empathy for your current situation because the shoe would be on the other foot. He needs to develop a thicker skin when your son starts praising his Dad. Wishing your ex would evaporate into thin air probably isn't going to happen. Would be nice though :). I think of that often for my ex son-in-law too, but the truth is they love their Disneyland dad too and I wouldn't want to wish that loss on them. Your ex sounds grossly immature but if he's not doing drugs or other illegal or immoral activity, that's just life.

My daughter started seeing a family therapist with my 2 grandsons (ages 5 & 7) and her new BF. It was very helpful to everyone. If there is even a hint he will hate or resent your son, don't rush I to marriage! After 2 years, he sounds committed, but give it some more time to iron out these issues and see if you can get to a better place.

I think you are trying to do the right thing, but you are putting a lot on your shoulders to fix everything. These situations with problematic ex's are gut wrenching and sometimes you just can't fix everything even with the best intentions.

I surely wish you the best!

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This post was edited by PhoneLady on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 15:26

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Thanks for the feedback everyone.
Amber3902- examples of my ex influences on my son are simple yet so annoying. Here's a funny one.
-My son asked his father for a bottle of water. My ex said too much water isn't healthy for you. Drink some juice. I explained to my son that sugary drinks areNt healthy and water is how we survive. I even pulled up an article asking Siri if too much water is unhealthy. My son wasn't convinced. Until I called my ex(he used to pick up the phone when I called before the court papers where mailed) and asked him to explain himself.
-My son believes that his father is paying child support and we are lying about receiving the funds. Which isn't true and I've showed him the proof. He still thinks we are lying. I never wanted my son involved in any of this but when his dad didn't show up for his first child support hearing he disappeared for 6weeks until the custody hearing. I was left with no choice but to sit my son down and let him know where his father was and why he wasn't showing up(wanted the custody order in place and access to my son without paying child support. He hadn't expected the second child support hearing)
Before my son and I moved in with my bf my son lived 4 out of 7 days with his dad in his great grandmothers house. I wasn't making enough to afford a proper home so I stayed on a couch at a friends because I don't have family.(foster care) so my ex had more time with my son in the past until he and his lasted ex split violently. My son hasn't seen his little brother in a year.
My boyfriends complaints are lack of respect. My son doesn't listen, he argues back and pretends he doesn't know what you said or didn't hear you. He pretends to shower and lies about even the silly things. (Did you turn off your light? No... I mean I dunno. I think. I don't remember.) when he's standing in his room. Next to his light. His attitudes are worse on Fridays before he is picked up and extremely difficult on Sundays when we get him back.
My son has no rules at his grandparents house where he visits his dad and family. His dad works the night shift so my son is left on the couch in the living room until his father arrives and they play games until they fall asleep. God knows what time. So when he comes back home he wants to act like he does over there, eat like he does over there, play video games, and not worry about his hygiene. I'm getting prepared to talk to the mediator to see if I can adjust the visitation. They don't really pay attention my son over there. His behavior is a problem when he returns and I feel if I can slim down the amount of time he spends with them the better off he'll be in general. Thanks for the input. It has already helped me in talking to my son about his behavior. Normal punishments don't work. He doesn't seem to care because he knows on the weekends he gets away with everything Scott clean.

I did take my ex to court for child support. He has yet to pay a dime but I was told to wait 45 days of non payment after filing before my case worker can take matters further. The system is slow, I just received the debit card where the funds are supposed to go if payments are made and we did the court things like 2months ago. I think my ex is waiting for his wages to be garnished but my boyfriend thinks he quit his job to avoid making payments. It causes arguments when I tell him to wait patiently, the courts are in control and he says they won't do anything unless I say so. There's a lot of confusion and it digs into our relationship. The website tell us little to nothing and we don't where to get more information. The blow ups with us don't last more than an hour and we apologize for getting out of hand but it always happens when we are discussing my ex or how my son will turn out when he grows up. My boyfriend thinks my son will be just like his dad but I keep telling him that we aren't like my exes parents so my son has a chance to be better.

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Amber3092, with all due respect, I am not sure cutting the new BF out of the son's life is the answer IF he is providing some balanced view of some other ways to spend your time. I can't tell from the OP email if that is the case or not.

Again, I can only say how it has been working out in a situation I know. My daughter's BF of several years is not a video game guy. He plays an occasional video game with with my grandsons, but he is basically a get up and go guy. Gee....a grownup? When the boys are around him, they are outside tossing a ball or building a campfire and toasting marshmallows. He leads them to the elderly neighbors yard with rakes where they all clean up the yard. He picks them up after school and takes them to the drugstore to have them pick out my daughter's Mothers Day and birthday cards. God forbid the ex would man up and put his own grievances aside and show his sons how to treat their mother.

He is showing them by example that there is more to life than sitting around in your own squalor focused on yourself.

He attends the boys' sporting events and sucks it up when their "real" Dad shows up 2 hours late and the boys still act like their Dad has bestowed upon them the greatest gift known to man.

I think it would be a shame to have the BF cut out of the interaction with the boy if he is indeed doing much more than opening his wallet - which is actually a lot easier than putting in the time.

Work on the respect and appreciation issues the son has with the BF rather than throw out the baby with the bath water.

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CJH Design

You are trying to manage something that is none of your business: your son's relationships with his father and your boyfriend.

Altho you mean well, this is controlling on your part, and will backfire on you. Let your son and your ex figure out their relationship. It really isn't your business.

If you want your son to brush his teeth, teach him to brush his teeth. He can maybe get away with not doing it at dad's house, but he should never get away with it at yours. Same with drinking water and cleaning up after himself. It's your job to teach him how to relate with you and how to live in your house.

Don't try to manipulate your ex or your son by calling your ex to enforce discipline in your house. That wouldn't work well if your ex was a responsible father, it certainly won't work with an ex who is irresponsible.

As for your boyfriend, I'm not sure why you and he are fighting about your son. It seems like you want your boyfriend to have father status. But he's not your son's father. He's not your son's stepfather. He should not be disciplining your son or trying to raise him.

The relationship between your son and your boyfriend is going to live and die on your boyfriend's personality. Does your son like and respect your boyfriend? If so, no problem and nothing to fight about. If not, there's nothing you can do. You can't force your son to respect someone or like him.
And you can't force your son to value your boyfriend over his own father.

You say you want your son to see his father's faults. Possibly your son wants you to see his father's good points. That's not going to happen, and neither is your son going to see his father the way you do.

All you can do is manage your relationship with your son. A good parenting class, especially one geared towards blended families and divorce would be very helpful.

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Thanks Phone Lady. At least i know now that I'm not alone in this man child video gamer world. Cutting my boyfriend out isn't gonna happen because although he isn't my sons real father he's a better version. I'm not trying to replace my sons dad. My sons is far too old to allow that to happen. But if my boyfriend can show my son a few cool things along the way than I'm not gonna stand by my ex when he is being out did in all areas of being a father.

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The similarities in the parenting styles (can you really call it that?) of my ex son-in-law and your ex are uncanny. My ex SIL will call his son and go on and on about a cool Star Trek shirt he got (really? you are like 44, right?) but NEVER "did you get your homework done" or anything else remotely parental. Like I said..........Disneyland Dad.

Well, hang in there. I'm glad you've got a mediator to help you navigate the system. I think you've got the right ideas and just needed to blow off some steam.

And, not that it's any consolation, but 8 year old boys sometimes are no walk in the park even in an "intact" family. I had one who wanted to test me every step of the way and yet he turned into a pretty wonderful adult.

There's hope :)

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ThunderCats t shirt. How do they even survive in the day to day?

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If my post seemed to imply I was saying to cut out the BF completely that's not what I meant and I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

The BF certainly can be a positive role model for the boy, however, it sounds like BF is getting frustrated with the boy when he has to deal with him on his own, i.e. when he picks him up on Sundays and the OP is at work.

That is why I advised the OP should take over the lion's share of parenting, and BF should play more of the "fun uncle" role. OP should be the one to discipline her son, buy him clothes, etc. If she can't pick him up then she should make arrangments to pick her son up after she gets off work instead of asking her BF to do it.

However, I disagree that you can't make your son respect someone. You absolutely CAN make your child show respect for someone. What if the BF was the boy's son's teacher at school or a police officer? I'm sure the OP would make sure her son shows those people respect. It shouldn't be any different for the boyfriend. Now, you can't make him LIKE the BF, but you can make him show respect.

OP, I understand that your son's behavior seems to get worse when you pick him up from his fathers. I went through the same thing with my girls when they came back from their dads. He's also man-child that plays video games a lot so I can sympathize with you there. When my girls came back from his home I had to remind them that they were back at my house with my rules again.

So what he gets away with stuff when he's at grandparents. YOU makes the rules at your house. If he pretends not to hear you or argues with you, there are ways to get around that.

Give rewards for good behavior, punishments for bad behavior. My daughter used to split hairs with me, for example I would tell her to stop playing with her food. She'd say "I'm not playing with it, I'm pushing it around on my plate." I told her in a "don't mess with me" tone of voice: "STOP arguing with me. If I say you're playing with it, you're playing with it. Keep playing with it and you'll get NO desert."

I agree with Banana that you are trying to control things you can't control. You can't control what goes on at your ex's house. And you should not have involved your son in court proceedings. Not only is he too young to understand how family court works, that is not something he needs to know. If he asked why his dad didn't come to pick him up, just tell him some things needed to be worked first. Don't tell him all the details or show him court papers.

As for the juice thing, I agree that water is better for your teeth than juice, but why are you arguing with an 8 year old over what is healthier? There's a famous line that you should learn. "Because I'm the mother." That's it.

You don't have to "prove" to your son that water is better, or have your ex explain to him that water is better. You insist that when he's at your house, he drinks water and that's the end of the discussion. It seems like you're quick to blame your son's behavior on what happens at your ex's house, but again, what he does at his dad's house has nothing to do with what happens in your home. You need to put your foot down and MAKE your son behave. Stop worrying about what goes on at your ex's house and concentrate on making him behave when he's at your home.

I have a feeling once you get your son's behavior under control your BF's resentment will greatly diminish. I would start watching episodes of the Nanny, she has some great tips on how to make children behave.

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Thanks Amber. I'll Look up episodes now. I show my son facts and examples so he understands and if he is curious about something how to figure it out himself. I "argue".with him because he will let his imagination run wild with unexplained things and stand by them. There was no one to correct my misunderstandings and went around saying "pan-a-cakes" until I hit high school and a nice teacher corrected me in front of the whole class. He's a very strong willed kid and I'm proud to say that until he becomes thick headed and won't listen to reason. He's my one and only so I'll look into the Nanny episodes and keep checking in here about how to handle life in general.

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I understand you want to explain things to your son, and that's good he's curious and want explanations. But after a certain point you just have to say, Look, this is the way it is.

Using the juice example again, your son didn't believe you when you said drinking water is not unhealthy. Then you had to pull out Siri and he still didn't believe it. At that point I would have pulled the I'm the mother card and say, "Look, I don't care what your dad told you. When you are here, you have to drink water."

LOL, I go through the same thing with my daughter. She's 15, so I do give explanations. Yes, sometimes kids have questions and I have no problem explaining why they have to do something, but you have to draw the line somewhere. I tell her what she needs to do, if she has questions I'll answer them, but then she has to do it, regardless of whether or not she agrees with me.

Good luck to you. The nanny show has helped me a lot. Plus, it's a lot cheaper than parenting classes. :)

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That "I don't believe you" stuff is sometimes a power-grabbing gambit-
if you respond to it, you're then engaged in a defensive argument that you cannot win.

The proper answer to "I don't believe what you say" is
"Drink your water" (or whatever).

I wish you the best.

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