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Hello I believe I can help you with your concern
I am so sorry that your son has been treating you this way, I can imagine how distressing this must be for you
It definitely sounds like your son does not respect you and is actually trying to "blackmail" in a way by saying that if you do not give him what he wants then he will not come to see you anymore. This is not uncommon behavior among children with divorced parents and is especially apparent when they are teenagers
Usually they grow out of it, but he must have consequences for this type of behavior from you and his father, so that he knows it is not appropriate behavior overall. May I ask how does he behave with his father?
Well, I think he gets an attitude with him as well. I haven't really addressed this with his father at this point so I am not totally sure how "bad" he is with him or not? I also think my sone is more "afraid" of his father than me. My son is much bigger than I am of course, so obviously I am not much of a threat. Not that he ever threatens me physically or anything like that, I think he just knows that there isn't much I can do to make him comply with me.
Well I think he is trying to hold leverage of not coming to visit you or live with your permanently in a purely selfish way to get what he wants, and this can be problematic behavior for the future, but like I said usually teenagers outgrow this. I think it would be wise to address this with his father, if you two are on amicable terms, and if you both feel like it is a major issue then family counseling may be ideal. Your son may be afraid of his father and is taking his frustration out on you because he does not view you as a threat, so that can be the issue as well. Family counseling will help with your son's ability to communicate better with both parents instead of using these coercive tactics to get what he wants.
Also you are his parents and you are setting firm rules for him, but as a teenager he is seeking more independence and this is why he rebels against parental authority, so this is another reason why he uses these tactics to his advantage as a form of rebellion because he thinks he can
Yes, his father and I try to back each other up when it comes to our kids. When there is punishment at one house it applies to both houses, etc. I know also that he doesn't like his step mother or step sisters much. I also think part of the reason why he did't move in with me again (over and above the grounding issue) is that he also has a girlfriend at school. I think a lot of the reason he stays there is because of her. I think other than that he seems not very happy to be there...
Yes I agree that he thinks these tactics will work because I will "let" him get away with it. That is why I am not sure if the next time he says something like that if I should just not go get him? I don't want him to feel like he is that unimportant to me, but I am also tired of the way he is acting.
Well that is good that both you and his father are amicable for your children. His frustration and acting out with you may be because he is not happy living at that house. Many teenagers are still emotionally immature and typically lash out and displace their frustration to "safe" targets, like yourself, because he will always know that you love him. I agree that you should not let him get away with it, but instead of not getting him or not allowing him to come to your house, you should bring up how life is with him at his father's house and let him vent his frustration. Again sometimes family counseling for him can help him let out his frustrations in a more assertive and appropriate manner. If he continues with his behavior though, then you can challenge him and call him on his bluff about not coming to visit you anymore, most likely he will not follow through.
Ok. I will talk with his father and see what he has to say also. And yes, I doubt he would not actually come to my house, and not because he wouldn't be seeing me, but because he wouldn't be seeing his friends! I will also try to get him to open up about what all is going on at his dad's house. He usually will tell me, but I am just not sure what I can do for him with that regard? I have tried talking to his dad on behalf of both of my kids about how they feel with regard to his wife. It's unfortunate that she just doesn't seem to like my kids and they dont really have a good relationship. My daughter actually quit going to visit her father at about age 15 when I told her I wouldn't MAKE her go any more (as I had been making her go for quite some time).
I am sorry that your children do not like going to their father's house because of their step-mother. With that regard there is not much you can do, but if you and his father agree with family counseling then it is possible that he may see that the way his wife treats your children is problematic and he will be more assertive to help change that behavior for the sake of your children. But right now, the best you can do is be supportive of your son and help him deal with his frustration more assertively regarding his home life at his father's house. Here also a good worksheet you can provide to your son and work with him on to help him be more assertive and express his anger/frustration in a more positive way.
This may help him better deal with the situation over there at his father's house so that he does not lash out at you as much.
Thanks so much. I am hopeful things will improve!
I am hopeful too, and I think they will change for the better soon as you help your son better address these issues. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
I think that is all. Thanks again for your help.