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Author Topic: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle  (Read 8417 times)

teacher98

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9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« on: Oct 15, 2009, 02:02:11 PM »
DH and I are having a big issue with his DS (my SS) age 9.   It started few years back when we did EOWeek in the summers.  SS kept asking for an equal schedule year round. We didn’t live close enough for that to happen.  Last year, we moved 10 minutes away from BM’s house and school.  Verbal agreement to go EOW full year.  When school started, BM did not follow through and since that point she has even lessened the time SS comes home to our house. DH has asked 2 times, in writing, to allow equal parenting time. BM always has a new reason to deny this. But the one that is most frequent  that SS tells her that he just wants EOWeekend and that’s it, however, he always tells us he wants it equal.  She is letting this be his decision and DH has stopped speaking to BM about, but always listens to his son when he wants to talk about it. He has been having crying fits at both houses regarding the issue, with totally opposite reasons.  To us it is he is trying to get Mom to understand that he wants it equal, what should he say or do. When he talks to Mom he says that we are always talking to him about it and trying to make him do this.  But he is the one that brings it up!!!  The only time I brought it up is when I asked him how it went the past week speaking to Mom.  In retrospect, I shouldn’t have said anything, but what’s done is done now.  Two weeks ago he asked DH to help him write BM a letter so he could give it to her.  He gave it to her saying, “here, I was supposed to give this to you.”  He has been crying that he doesn’t want either of us to pick him up for practices AND he even said he doesn’t want to come here this weekend.  She is NOT making him.  He says he doesn’t want to be with me because he will have to talk about “it” but he is the one who spills his guts when he is with us.  We have no idea what is going on.  We feel like we are totally getting played by a 9 year old, but don’t understand why he keeps telling us one thing and her the total opposite.  I am devastated and DH does not want to lose his son.  He has said that I am not allowed to talk about anything at all with SS other than the current days events to try to get to the bottom of this.  So now we will go 3 weeks in a row without seeing SS.  BM doesn't even think it is healthy for SS to come here AT ALL and is considering going back to original court order.
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BTW…current court order is from when SS was an infant.  States EOSunday 2 hours supervised. (teenage parents-DH was supposed to learn parenting skills) Parents can extend time when agreed upon. Obviously, they have adjusted the schedule since then.  We were saving to go to court, however, DH lost his job, so that is not an option until he gets a new one.  He is a professional with a Master’s degree, so hopefully he finds one soon.
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We know BM is just trying to protect her son, however, we have just been trying to listen to his feelings and help him get the confidence to be (what we thought was ) truthful to BM.  But what is the truth? Why is he using me as the reason he doesn’t  want to come here now to Mom when he comes to me with his feelings when he is here? Is this common?  What should we do?


ocean

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #1 on: Oct 15, 2009, 02:10:44 PM »
You are putting the child in the middle to chose and no child should do that. He is telling each parent when they were with them what they WANT to hear. I would tell BM that you will not bring it up for 6 months and see how he does...truce. If she will not allow you to see him, then file for modification of visitation to get things on paper. Can you all sit down with him and say he is not going to be put in the middle and the adults will deal with it from now on?

teacher98

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #2 on: Oct 15, 2009, 02:21:52 PM »
Ocean you are right. he definitely is in the middle, but that is how BM has wanted it. DH, SS and BM all sat down at the beginning of last year and BM decided that his time at each house will be up to him. However, when he stated something in favor of DH, she would not agree to it OR tell him that isn't what he really wants.  we think he had to prove to her he really wanted it, but she convinced him he didn't.  On top of that, DH has asked several times for the 3 of them to sit down, but BM says no she will not put SS through that. So now it is just her conversations with him relayed to DH and vice versa.  She only believes the ones he has with her and now SS is totally against us.  I have tears in my eyes just typing this.  I am sure the only answer is to just take the whole thing to court, but this is an awful state of mind for SS to be in while we try to prove to a judge that he "used" to really want equal time and that is supposedly his best interest.  I almost agree with BM on this.  It isn't healthy for him to come here if he is so upset about it, but why is he?  And she should be encouraging a positive relationship with DH but we can't change her.  We will just totally ignore the subject in hopes that he someday changes his mind again. or just keep it status quo and DH can have his son 20% of his life living 10 minutes away.

Kitty C.

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #3 on: Oct 15, 2009, 03:22:55 PM »
It seems the child have been through this for quite a while and appears totally confused.  Maybe a counselor or therapist would help to sort things out.  I would recommend having the boy talk to someone initially by himself, then add each parent individually and then all three together.  Basically getting an objective 3rd party to intervene and get to the bottom of the situation. 
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

teacher98

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #4 on: Oct 15, 2009, 06:19:35 PM »
kitty, you are right. this is about the 3rd time BM has blown up at DH about the time issue and SS's opinions/feelings about it.  we will have to look into insurance and see if a therapist is covered. if not, it may be worth it to pursue counseling out of pocket.  my SS is a great boy and i believe him when he is at our house when he shares his feelings. but i am sure that BM believes him just the same and I am sure he feels like he is being truthful at both homes. there is, however, a small part of me that thinks he is playing us for fools. he and BM have conversations about things that are against us and it is odd and getting worse.  thanks for all of your support on this page.  it's nice to know i can type it out and get feedback from people who understand.  it relieves our family from the daily burden of hearing "the latest drama" in the situation. 


teacher98

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #5 on: Oct 15, 2009, 07:05:20 PM »
I forgot to add one detail.  Not sure if this changes opinions..after SS gave BM his letter about truly wanting EOWeek,  she gave in and said yes. Then, according to her, he freaked out and started crying saying no,no.  And that he didn't even want to come here this weekend.  Now, he spent the last few months stating his case to us about EOWeek. Finally gets it and cries that he doesn't want to go.  What gives?

snowrose

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #6 on: Oct 15, 2009, 08:13:45 PM »
*waving hand*  I've been through this exact same thing over the last year with SD9.  The child is saying things to please both sides, and the kindest thing you can do is take it out of his lap.  Tell him that you don't need to talk to him about this question anymore, that this is a decision that has to be made by the adults.

If you firmly believe that it is you that the child is being truthful with, then if it were me (and it was 2 years ago), I would put in to the courts for a modification of custody.  Watch carefully what happens if you do this, though.  If it's true and BM said yes at first and then started getting all emotional saying 'no, no' then you may find that she starts using a form of PAS on the child.  Most likely she'd try something like telling him how much she needs him there with her.  The proper response to that is that adults should not and cannot depend on children to make them happy.  Adults are in charge of their own happiness.

BTW, for the record we were able to get our custody changed.  It'd been recommended that we have 50/50, but then BM overloaded she and her BF had a major episode while still being reviewed by the GAL - and then we got full custody.

teacher98

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #7 on: Oct 16, 2009, 02:30:27 PM »
snowrose-thanks for your response.  I started thinking about PAS however the research says the child is hateful toward the other parent.  he has never been hateful. but when BM calls him you can hear him say 5-10 times (no exaggeration) "i miss you too."  She used to always tell him all of the things that her side of the family was doing while he was gone and he would get upset to miss it.  She would buy him things while he was with us and then call and tell him about it.  But as of recently, I don't know if these types of things are happening.  I just know that he has said that BM says to him that she doesn't think he really wants EOW and only says that to make Dad happy.  Who cares if he wants it or not at this point?  We live 10 minutes away. Our home is stable. We are not criminals. We are involved in his new school and sports.  Parents get along or just parallel parent when it comes to school or sports. AND he used to have EOW for the past 3 summers. The time factor is the biggest issue and she took about 30% of the summer away this year compared to the last 3 summers.  Kids are super adaptable and he will get used to EOW like he did in the summer. SS knows that she is in control and I think he is afraid to disappoint her.  We encourage him to love and express his feelings toward that side of his family. we make cards, bake stuff for them, ask about his week, I taught him things to teach his baby sister.  He says that BM just asks if he had fun with us and then moves on.  BM has said to DH that he won't open up to her about his time with us.  So...again....I guess we are just back to we have to totally avoid that topic and get ready for the courts.
 
Today at a writing conference (I'm a teacher)  I thought about DH and I keeping a family journal for him when he isn't home with us.  We could write about our week and the things we thought about him while he was away.  We could be careful not to make it so he feels guilty, but just to remind him again of how loved he is with us.  Hopefully now that he is a 4th grader (and he loves to write) he might just add his own pages during the time he is with us.  I going to give it a try. 

snowrose

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #8 on: Oct 16, 2009, 03:08:21 PM »

snowrose-thanks for your response.  I started thinking about PAS however the research says the child is hateful toward the other parent.  he has never been hateful. but when BM calls him you can hear him say 5-10 times (no exaggeration) "i miss you too."  She used to always tell him all of the things that her side of the family was doing while he was gone and he would get upset to miss it.  She would buy him things while he was with us and then call and tell him about it.


Make no mistake, this is a form of PAS.  You might check ou the book Divorce Poison by Warshak for a discussion on this kind of PAS and how to combat it.

Quote
Today at a writing conference (I'm a teacher)  I thought about DH and I keeping a family journal for him when he isn't home with us.  We could write about our week and the things we thought about him while he was away.  We could be careful not to make it so he feels guilty, but just to remind him again of how loved he is with us.  Hopefully now that he is a 4th grader (and he loves to write) he might just add his own pages during the time he is with us.  I going to give it a try.   


Have you ever considered doing a book about what SS is doing with you and DH when he's with you, instead?  My DH did a book like this for SD9 with all the things she did with us this summer, and she absolutely loves it!  Kids lose track of things so easily, so a memory book of what you all do together would help remember how you all care for each other.

teacher98

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Re: 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« Reply #9 on: Oct 16, 2009, 04:29:35 PM »
Snowrose-SS kept a journal for the past 2 summers that he took back and forth.  he got really sick of writing in it.  i suppose we could try it again with him dictating it to me or DH that way it is his ideas but us doing the "boring" part.

back to the PAS issue...could these also be examples of PAS?

1. telling SS to choose what district he wants to go to school in (dad's or mom's)
2. switching the Halloween costume that he made while with us because it was "her" halloween
3.  telling him to choose what city he wanted to play baseball in. he chose ours and then she told him he had to play in hers
4.  getting angry that we had a birthday party for him. told him it was dumb that he had to invite all of the boys in his class because he didn't like 1 boy.  got upset about party in front of him to her mother on the phone.
5. told him that dad emailing the teacher about a specific topic was dumb (she says things are dumb often)
6.  telling SS no each time he asks to stay an additional night and then questioning him whether it was his idea or DH and mine
 
 
I started thinking that maybe we were committing PAS as well.  We are very careful to always say that both parents' rules are good and he should follow them no matter what, but ours are so different.  We eat very healthy. He has chores here. DH reviews homework with him and makes sure he has no missing assignments. The list goes on.  Because it is so different to home at mom's, we find ourselves explaining to him so he understands why it is different.  Could this be making him feel like we think mom's rules and lifestyle are wrong?  We have tried hard NOT to make him feel that way by saying that is how WE do it and not everyone does it. I just don't know anymore.


I am so fed up with this and my DH is very torn up inside.  I will find that book. Thanks so much for your support.

 

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