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Oceanblue

Evil exes and angry children

9 posts in this topic

Sorry this is so long. This is a cut and paste of something I posted elsewhere. I figured I'd post it here too in hopes of getting as many ideas as possible...and for those of you here who aren't at the other spot I post.

Of course, a serious amount of time couldn’t pass without some bull from the kid’s dad.

Maybe some of it is deserved. Or some of it is.

My 13 year old daughter and I had a particularly rough weekend. She’s just so…mean. She began right off rip, talking snidely to her brother, cutting on him for joining in the conversation we were having. She did it again a few minutes later when he tried to change the subject when the Connecticut shootings came up. She’s so quick to correct anyone who she thinks is doing wrong, but she does the stuff herself. She interrupts, and claims, “It’s a free country,” or “I can share my opinion, too.” The quips are usually followed by name-calling, like “stupid jerk” or “idiot.”

Well my daughter and son started picking at each other about sharing the bf’s laptop…she’d been on for a long time, and S12 wanted a turn. I said he could have it in ten minutes. He was nice enough (ahem) to let her know, and she started calling him names. I told them both to quit arguing about it..just drop it and ignore the banter from one another or neither of them would be on it. They didn’t. S12 said something about school (he says) and D13 said he said something about the computer again and started to tell. Well BF walked in at the time they were both going at it, and said, “Alright. That’s it. Just give me that laptop.”

D13 started saying it wasn’t fair, S12 started pleading that he didn’t do anything. I said, let’s just put it up for now.

D13 looks at bf and says, “I can’t stand you!”

She refuses to get off the computer, saying she is messaging her dad.

And she was…about how she was going to blow up on us, how we’re all stupid retards, how she can’t stand it here with me, how I’m crazy and annoying…

I told her she was grounded from it for the weekend. She laughed at me and said, OK. I said, “Keep up that attitude, and you’ll be grounded from it Christmas break too.”

“Fine *smiles*.”

“Fine.”

She is STILL on the computer, and I finally get her off it. She starts getting mouthier, and I told her that she needs to sit down and be quiet, take a time out because she is getting herself in deeper trouble.

She just stands there, defiant.

She jumps up, “Give me the phone, I’m calling my dad.”

I told her no she wasn’t. She was in trouble now, and she wasn’t getting any technology at this moment.

We also had a discussion after she decided to lecture me on something or other, about why she doesn’t do that to her father (I brought it up). I said I didn’t like the way he drove, does he drive like that all the time with them…and she said no, just while I was around and started laughing. I said, “Why does he do that? To annoy me?” And she laughed again and said, “Yep. It’s funny.”

I said something that I shouldn’t, something to the level of that’s not funny. She laughed some more, and I told her she was being immature, and so was he driving like that. He was endangering their lives, or at the very least risking himself trouble with the law and that will have an effect on them.

It’s stupid, I know. To let a child push my buttons and get me to engage…to engage in that way. I need to find a better way to handle her when I see her father’s behavior coming out through her own behavior…

Than he texts me a couple days ago….pulling the “Satan in a Sunday hat” routine.

“Please in the future…if you did so…refrain from talking poorly about me to our kids. I do not participate in such behavior and I would think you to have the same respect for me. Also, if one of our children wishes to call me I would greatly appreciate you allow them such a request. I am there father after all. If none of this has any bearing on the weekend than disregard any of which I have said or asked. However if there is some truth please remember “WE” are both their parents and own them our best as such. Have a nice day.”

I texted back:

I will not honor your request for them to call you when they are being disciplined for being disrespectful. She could have called you after she decided to start listening but she isn’t going to be allowed to be disrespectful, refuse to get off the computer, call names, and then be allowed to get on the phone to stir the drama pot. I will honor the request about not talking bad. Please honor my request as well to give them your best by driving safely with them, and not endangering their lives or risking your freedom which will affect them. I am more than willing to discuss a mutually satisfying resolution. Neither party needs to discuss each other negatively, nor the people that are part of our respective lives. There should be more working together in problem-solving, however I do not feel comfortable bringing my concerns to you because you have a history of dismissing my concerns and do things specifically to get under my skin. We can work together, but there has to be firm boundaries as well. I do not like everything that goes on at your place, as I’m sure you may not like some of my decisions or rules at my house. It is just the nature of the beast of being co-parents but two very separate and different people with differing opinions and ideas.

Him:

Ummmm…ok. I think maybe you may be putting too much into this lol. I do not care what you and boyfriend do as long as it is not negative and that is it. Your problems you have with cousin and ss15 are yours. Everyone in our household stick together and work out our differences. We here have no want or desire to have a negative effect on you and yours. However as long as we are on the same page of not involving our dirt upon the children, all should be fine.

Me:

Can you please also drive reasonably with them? I told D13 my concern about your driving because I don’t feel like you would take it well from me, even though it is within my right to be concerned about their safety. She said you don’t do it all the time, so I don’t know why you would do it in front of me. No matter the reason though, it isn’t safe.

Him:

First off I never go about the speed limit and I never do anything like drink and drive with them (that’s bs, the kids told me before he has) so as far as your insinuation that I am bad or endanger our children is pish posh. Then…u are entitled to your opinion. Please I know you must have something else to do besides tit for tat with me. If you need to talk to me any more please…after work. As I stated earlier,have a nice day. HAPPY HOLIDAYS.”

I just :(..I feel like such a failure as a parent. I feel like I do a crappy job at communicating with them, particularly D13. I feel like I try, but she has shut me out...and that's partially my fault because I stayed with that evil goose egg for as long as I did, to the point she now thinks that kind of behavior is acceptable. She deemed my bf "weird" and she doesn't like him because he's "nice and seems like he's trying to kiss up to her and win her over."She thinks I'm too "girly", that we have nothing in common. Yet at times I still see her love for me, it's covered by SOMETHING. I feel like I'm failing at disengaging from the damage he is causing, but it's almost near impossible...it's affecting my KIDS...it's changing who they are. I feel like I've lost my daughter...She seems great at times. Joyful, happy. She seems genuinely excited for a sibling, though she did rag on me and sweetie for a good 15 minutes telling us our choice of a name for a girl is weird and isn't good. She seems excited to tell me about certain goings on in her life, and about her passions...but she is quick to bash anyone else's. We were playing baseball, and she kept telling me and S12 how "sucky" our throwing was, we didn't know how to pitch, and we "failed". Well she missed a ball and S12 said, "Fail."

She hurled the metal bat about 20 feet, and stomped off...

I don't know what to do I ALWAYS taught the kids about being respectful. Unfortunately, they seen and heard different.

I just don’t get it. From what I hear, she isn’t like this at her dad’s house. Why is that? Because she knows he plays hardball and I don’t? Because she knows that she’s going to curry favor with her father by being disrespectful to me—and even moreso—my sweetie?

Am I an easy target for her frustration with the divorce?

She’s right on that cusp of a girl and a woman, and I see it in her. Sometimes she is so excited to tell me about her life and her ideas, just like a child. She’ll have moments where she’ll do the same with the BF if they go on a bike ride. Is it normal to be so drastic in moods at that age? She’ll be excited to talk about something, but if she doesn’t bring it up, she’ll either dismiss it like she doesn’t care at all, or be rude about it. When I see those peeks of her heart—the heart I know—it warms me. The other side—I’m appalled. I compliment her when I see her having a good day, in hopes that will encourage her to continue the respectful attitude, but as soon as she is disciplined for something or doesn’t agree with someone or something, she flips. Like she says, she “blows up”.

Horrible to say, but there are times I want to tell her, “If you are that miserable here, don’t come.” THAT kills my heart to even think of saying those words, and it also kills my heart to imagine another weekend where there is some sort of huge negativity ready to well up. If she doesn’t come to my house, how will she ever see “normal”? I imagine the rejection she would feel if I said that. It literally hurts me.

We had a specific conversation this weekend, after the blow-up. I was trying to talk to her once she was calmed down. In the conversation, I told her, “Hon, I don’t understand where all this hostility is coming from..”

“*sigh* I don’t know, it just happens..”

“Well…it’s going to work out much better for you if you try to figure out a way to fix it, all this disrespect is getting you in more and more trouble.”

“I know…I just can’t stand people. Like HIM.” (Looks at BF and S12 riding the mini-bike together).

“D13, he’s a good guy. He treats me well, he’s good to you guys, we get along great. He’s going to be in my life for a very long time…and in your life too.”

“I KNOW that mom. I just prefer dad.”

She has an extreme dislike for BF. The first few times, before it was really serious, she LOVED going around him. She would ask to go over there. Than it seemed to change and those changes seemed to correlate with times she was with her dad. She first said he was NICE, FUNNY, and COOL. Than it was, “HE SEEMS LIKE HE’S KISSING UP TO US. HE’S WEIRD. HE’S TOO NICE. HIS HOUSE IS TOO CLEAN, LIKE STERILE ALMOST (lol trust me it isn’t).”

He’ll cook her breakfast, and she won’t even say thank you when her brings her a plate to her. She does the same to me, it’s almost as if it’s expected. She keeps talking about Cosplay costumes…well I bought the last two. I did her Halloween, and BF designed her whole costume for an anime convention that he took her to when he dad copped out on her the day before. No thanks. Lots of attitude though.

IDK…does anyone have any ideas on how I could approach this? :(

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(((OB))) This has to be so frustrating.

I don't have any great ideas and not much experience. But it seems to me that you are right about needing to find some way to not let her get you triggered. At the same time, though, you can't tolerate blatant disregard of your rules or requests or things will get really out of control.

Computers are interesting things ... they enrich our lives so much. But they also can be almost "addictive" and it can bring out the worst behavior in people. I remember long ago when stbx and I used to go on camping trips. For many years it was just out in the National Parks, no technology, living out of our tent with occasional hotel stops when we went from one park to another. At the hotels we just basqued in the opportunity to sleep in a real bed and have warm showers. But after the internet was developed and we had our laptop with us, suddenly hotel stops were stressful... who would get to go on the internet? Whose e-mail was more important to check? Who got to surf the web more? My stbx is pretty selfish and thinks he should have whatever he wanted, but I wanted to have "my turn" (kind of like your son!!!) I remember the anxious, grasping feeling I had, wanting to get a turn on the laptop but being denied. And then when I finally did get a turn, I could feel the seething resentment directed towards me from stbx because he was being "deprived".

I almost wonder whether you would be best off to just have a "no internet" rule at your house. It's unfortunate, your kids will hate you for a while. But .... if this keeps up, they are probably going to be stuck in the cycle I just described above with me and stbx and it's going to breed a lot of resentment and hate anyway. Maybe once they understand that no one gets to get on the computer, at least that source of conflict will go away.

And yeah, maybe your D has to be given the choice of simply not coming to visit. Big Girl had to do something similar with two of her daughters when she didn't fight their request to live with their biological dad. And in the end, she said it helped their relationship considerably. Maybe it is time for a discussion that if she is so unhappy, perhaps a better solution would be for her to stay with her dad but maybe you and she could just have some "mother-daughter time" on alternate weekends (or whatever you decide) and go see a movie or go out to dinner or do something you'd both enjoy. Limit the time, but make the time be "quality time". It might help her to have some time and space to re-think her feelings (and it sounds like she is caught up in this little girl- maturing-into-a-woman stage and is even further confused because she fears losing you to your bf. But the irony is that right now it seems like the more you try to "hold her" (literally and figuratively) to reassure her, the more she feels compelled to strike out (because she is seeking to be more independent, a normal developmental stage for her). So maybe by giving her more space and focusing more on fewer quantity but higher quality one-on-one interactions, maybe that would be more helpful at this time?

Anyway, I'm sure others here have a lot more experience with situations like this. I'm not really "qualified" to give advice on how to get children "on track", not doing too well in that regard with trying to get my S25 to take responsibility for himself! But from my own experience (and I won't hijack your thread here), I am finding out that trying to "fix everything" for your child so they will "be happy" and perhaps not be affected by an abuser dad doesn't really work... they will only take it for granted and it doesn't teach them to be respectful. Maybe it just reinforces their impression that like their abuser dad, they really don't need to take your feelings seriously either. So somehow I do think setting some healthy boundaries is key and in the long run may have a better chance in getting you the kind of relationship you really desire to have with your child.

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Ocean, it sounds like you may have wifi in your house? If so, next time simply turn the wifi off rather than trying to wrestle the laptop away from your daughter. You told her time was up, so just cut off her access to the internet. The laptop would have been boring without it and she would have put it up.

This is what we're doing with our foster daughter and her ipod. She accesses the internet so she check her facebook, but she wasn't sleeping at night so we now have a rule that the wifi gets turned off at bedtime.

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Unfortunately, she uses the computer for story-writing, music creation, and video creation as well. She's a very creative girl. My son is a little computer junkie too, but he's more about games.

She thinks her reasons for being on the computer are more important because they aren't just games, they are creations.

I truly want ALL of them to spend less time on the computer and games, and engage their bodies and minds more. It's like everyone is off in their own little technological world instead of interacting with one another. I know that's common right now, but I don't want to let them just stay on the whole time.

I guess my main complaint and difficulty is the disrespect. It isn't as much about computers, as about the way she talks to everyone and refuses to listen. It can be about other things too.

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Yes been through same disrespect and behaviors.

Its really hard to establish rules and boundaries in your own home when they drag an outside abusive parent into it and manipulate and threaten with it.

These are new issues people didnt have to this degree in the past with cell phones, computers, rapid access to communication at any time.

I dont have any magic answers, myself and other moms I know can write scenarios like you describe. The behavior and disrespect got so out of control that mine went to live with Dad finally, have a gf who has a jr high daughter pulling same stuff, she just let her to go to dads also.

An abuser can have constant access to us and what goes on in our homes with the computers and cell phones. It becomes a really slippery slope for further abuse against the mother, and messes with the kid, who becomes Dads ally for information and a puppet, sad thing is kids dont truly get it at the age they are at. Dad is cool and fun, Mom is the killjoy with the rules. And then insert being a teenager in the midst, its not pretty.

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Creativity is not a license to be rude.

Also, music and stories can be written without computers.

We get PRIVILEGES when we earn them.

They are NOT rights.

She needs to earn her privileges, just like everybody else.

I got REAL cozy with the phone company about the time my daughter started showing her donkey.

Funny how turning off a cell phone for simply a week gets a teen's attention like nothing else can...

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This is such a common thing that all of us are dealing with, I had to chuckle as I'm struggling as well. And at times it's not pretty.

Showing their donkey, being disrespectful - but it's all ramped up when they have this laptop thing and man do they get defensive and confrontational if you threaten to take away 'their right' to their 'laptop' or their 'privacy'.

Reminding them that their laptop is a privilege sometimes goes right over their head, and I think the only thing is to get rid of the wifi. Mine have worked out how to turn the thing back on and they sneak downstairs after we are all 'asleep'. Or I catch someone going down stairs on the pretext of getting a drink of water only to find the wifi back on.

I'm at the 3rd and final warning that the wifi will be off for a week if it happens again - like off/gone/caput. The last time it was off for a day, next is a week. They don't seem to get it.

I so WISH they will break the boundary as I just want to turn that thing off and have some social time with my kids! (Am I kidding myself?)

D14 has used 'you don't want me to FAIL school' or 'you want me to get up to speed with Japanese before next year don't you mum', type arguments as to the reasons why she should be allowed on the laptop for extended periods of time in the afternoons. They use it for study a lot - mathletics, japanese tutorials, science multi-choice review, accessing homework list, spelling/English tutorials, etc etc.

There is a K9 program you can put on there to control what websites and the amount of time they can spend on each one if FB is the culprit - but there are so many other social websites which are a worry - it's not just FB anymore.

And in fact - I think I will reinstate the electronic free day (once a week) - which we used to have when they had the Nintendos for the first time.

I've just gotten my last phone bill and the older girls have been very responsible about their limit with their mobiles (we are on a low $10 a month plan) but I noticed D14 has gone over her limit this time - so she will have to pay that one back. That's the second time she's done that - so if it happens a third time I will have to work out a consequence for that one. That I take her off the plan and she has prepaid only? My girls have tried the 'you can't take my mobile away, I have it for safety reasons as I'm on the bus! what if the bus is late?' or 'what if I get abducted walking the dog, mum?' etc. It's funny what they come up with sometimes, but it does push buttons for sure.

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Unfortunately, she uses the computer for story-writing, music creation, and video creation as well. She's a very creative girl. My son is a little computer junkie too, but he's more about games.

She thinks her reasons for being on the computer are more important because they aren't just games, they are creations.

I truly want ALL of them to spend less time on the computer and games, and engage their bodies and minds more. It's like everyone is off in their own little technological world instead of interacting with one another. I know that's common right now, but I don't want to let them just stay on the whole time.

I guess my main complaint and difficulty is the disrespect. It isn't as much about computers, as about the way she talks to everyone and refuses to listen. It can be about other things too.

I hear you Ocean !!! My D14 can switch that disrespect button on and off when she wants to bully her way. It's scary sometimes.

And I didn't even get to the evil ex !!!

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my 13 yr old is like that. i think we need to just keep on keeping on. love them as our parents loved us through our nighmarish teen years. i'm not saying let her get away with things though..there is a fine line. just like joyful wrote, just unplug the wifi. i have done that before.

also, i have a free service called norton family. the lowest package is free forever. it allows me to monitor the computer for each individual child (i have 4-they each have their own log in), including the time limit they are on it. once the time (you set up the limit) is reached, it logs them out. you can also set the time of day for access-if you want all internet off by 9 pm (for example) it will block them. i also block websites (took dd13 off facebook after some drama happened there), etc.. it's really awesome-i love it.

as far as the attitude, i think that is typical for that age. they are trying to use their freedom and voice for the first time. especially if your ex is like mine--controlling and overbearing. they not only are dealing with having a voice for the first time, but on top of that having a father who doesn't want ANYONE to use their voice. dd13 was alot worse a few years ago. she has gotten a little better and has short bursts of "niceness" to the other 3 younger kids. i dont know about your daughter, but mine is very encouraged with praise when she has a good attitude. this makes her want to be positive more often.

DD13 has used the excuse about school work and writing her novel. i told her to learn to use Word and i emailed her teacher to tell him she doesnt have internet all the time--please send homework in paper form.

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