How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Bonnie Your Own Question

Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2183
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
37122071
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Bonnie is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Help with co parenting in a divorce situation. My 11 year

Resolved Question:

Help with co parenting in a divorce situation. My 11 year old son does not want to go or do anything with me on the weekends. All he wants to do is have friends over, watch t.v and/or play on the computer. Last weekend we had a big blow up because I insisted we go out to a movie. I told him we were going wether he wanted or not and I began leaving the house. He rushed out to the car, sat in the driver seat and took the car keys from me. We fought half way to the movie turned around and finally went back. I do not understand why we can't agree to do things together. Much of the time he is defiant with me when I ask him to do simple things...Sometime when Brian and I are at it. He is having a temper tantrum and I am doing my best to stand my ground he calls his dad and his dad comes and picks him up. All I want is for him to tell Brian to listen and obey me. I have asked his dad if we can find a councelor to be a go between so we can co-parent parent more effectively. He says he does not want to because he does not ever have any problems with him. It is my problem. I need the counceling
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting Just Answer,

I am so sorry that you are in this difficult situation. I hope I can give you a reasonable answer that you can share with his father. You can print this answer by going to the share box at bottom of your question.

Brian has become over-empowered by being "rescued" by Dad when things do not go his way. He has been taught that if he gets into a confrontation with you he can get out of chores and outings by calling Dad. Therefore, he actually may provoke you on purpose to have reason to get rescued ("Mom's being mean again").

Two things need to happen here:
1. The times with each parent should be firm with no exceptions for parent/child altercations. An 11 year old child should never be put in a position to change these arrangements. Even though Dad thinks he is doing something good for the child, it is actually teaching him to avoid conflict instead of working it out. It is not good for child in long run. Brian needs to see mom and dad as strong co-parenting team who will make the decisions. He needs to feel that the adults..the parents...are in control.

2. Be realistic about expectations of an 11 year old boy. The interests he has are normal and age appropriate. His acting out behaviors may be his expression of uncomfortable feelings about the divorce or about having to adjust to two households. You may get the brunt of his anger. But he needs boundaries, rules and structure. For you to take back your authority as parent and for him to have a place to express his uncomfortable emotions, you and he should attend therapy together. The goals would be to define the boundaries and expectations, to find out what things he would agree to do with you and to find out what it would take for him to agree to special mother-son time. These things would be examined with the facilitation of the therapist. Once these things are defined, therapist may agree to talk to father about his roll in meeting these goals instead of enabling son to escape rather than solve problems.

I hope this is helpful but please feel free to ask if you need clarification.

Warm regards,



Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The problem Is that the papers state that both parents must agree on "non medical" care. His dad will not allow me to take him for counceling.

Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 2 years ago.
Hi Again Tammela,

Ohhh...that presents a problem.

Well, please share this answer with him and maybe he will consider it. I don't think he should have any problem with the goals of counseling for you and Brian.
1. To improve your relationship; finding ways to enjoy each other;
2. Define the rule and boundaries at your house;

I hope he would reconsider his stance on therapy.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Is it common for divorced couples to need a third party to negotiate daily issues of child rearing. It makes sense to me, but he will not even hear me out. I am having a very difficult time making a go of this single parenting situation. Sometimes I feel like giving his father full custody, but my gut will not let me do it...not to mention the cost of child support on my end would be impossible. I feel frustrated in my relationship with my son. I feel like a failure and his father continues to tell me that I am. I feel like crying all the time. When we were together I felt like I had someone to support me. Know I have no one and I feel totally incapable. Help!

Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,

Yes this is very common. Even though a good co-parenting relationship is the best predictor of good child outcome, often one parent will not agree to co parenting therapy. But it is available through the Collaborative Divorce programs. If you call a Collaborative Divorce attorney, they have lists of therapist who work on co-parenting.

Hang in there...it sounds like he is trying to shake your self-confidence and is hoping that you give up. But Brian needs both parents and especially his mother...no matter what they try to make you feel. There is nothing worse for a child's mental health than to be abandoned by a parent (especially mother). If you give up, he will feel your love of him is conditional (i.e., You will only love him if he is good). So please, hang in there. You are not the failure they would like you to think you are. Look at all of your strengths and successes and keep your strength.
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2183
Experience: 35 years experience counseling children and families
Dr. Bonnie and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Mental Health Professional
Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie
1594 Satisfied Customers
35 years experience counseling children and families