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Cher
Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 20975
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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My boyfriend and I have been together years and now live

Customer Question

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years and now live together. His boys come to my home every second weekend. His eldest son of 14 is very disrespectful to me. Says things like I only come here to see my dad. Tells me a pester him and tells me to not text him. I think their should be some way to put a stop to this with a consequence for his actions?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hello, and thanks for requesting me to help with your question.

I completely agree with you that the eldest son is showing you disrespect. He is at a difficult age to begin with, but this doesn't excuse his behavior. He most likely resents that his parents aren't together and therefore, resents/blames you for being with his father. When in your home, certain rules need to be obeyed and this is for you to speak to him about, but, more importantly, it is his father's job, since you are not his mother, to speak to him about the way he interacts with you.

Speak to your boyfriend, his father, and let him know what's going on, if he is not aware of it. He needs to have a discussion with his son and let him know that he is not behaving appropriately in your home. It is not only your home, if you and your boyfriend are now living together--it's your 'family' home and there are rules.

If his father doesn't know about this behavior (he may only say things to you in private, when his father isn't around), of course, let him know and discuss it, to come up with a solution together. If he does know and does nothing, he needs to be come a stronger parent.

At the age of 14, there are many privileges that can be taken away from the boy, in this electronic age. He most likely has a cell phone, computer or tablet, and watches TV. If he is disrespectful to you, his father can take away his cell phone for a week, or not allow him to use the computer except for schoolwork, or take away his TV privileges for a certain period of time. He can be 'grounded' and not allowed to get together with friends after school or on weekends for a week. The boy's mother will need to be cooperative with this and help enforce the punishment, if the son is living with her during the week. She might be bitter that you are her ex-husband's girlfriend and not want to cooperate, but that would make her a parent that is not interested in the best interests of her son and teaching him the 'rules of life:' you do something inappropriate and there is a consequence.

It also might be a good idea to attend family counseling with an experienced therapist and all three of you (you, your boyfriend and the 14 year old son) can discuss this in a 'safe' environment with an unbiased professional. Perhaps s/he can find out the cause of his behavior toward you or at least get him to admit it. In the meantime you can tell the son, every time he disrespects you that it's inappropriate, and he will lose a privilege for his unacceptable behavior. You can explain that you are not trying to take the place of his mother, because you know he already has a mother, however, 'this' (yours and your boyfriend's home) is also YOUR home (you're speaking to the boy, now), when you come to spend time, and all family members are expected to show respect to one another.

The key here, is to involve his father and have him have a heart to heart talk with his son about the behavior that is expected in your home and always, in respecting his elders.

In addition to consequences for inappropriate behavior, there can also be a reward system for good behavior. You can plan trips to go have ice-cream, go to a park, a video arcade, etc., only if both boys behave well.

I hope this helped and things improve soon!

Please be so kind as to rate my answer positively, as that is the only way I receive credit for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Rating will not cut off our communication and you can click 'Reply' at any time, to ask for clarification or additional information.

Warmest regards,
Cher

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The boys mother is quite controlling and interfering. And not cooperative at all, which makes it difficult. If we try to discuss issues with the boys or enforce discipline and rules, she will email to stop discussing with the boys, and go and get some professional help. The boys made a comment to there mother that they had a shitty weekend with us. We tried to speak to them about and find out why and she interfered. It almost makes it impossible for us to parent?
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hi again, and thanks for your reply with additional information.

I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation. The boys' mother is purposely interfering and trying to turn the boys against you because she is resentful of your relationship with her ex-husband. This is very common. She is using the boys as 'weapons' against you and trying to sabotage your relationship.

Since you are, technically not related and an innocent bystander, it is up to the boys' father, your boyfriend to straighten this out with his ex and bring in both legal and psychological help for all, or this mother is going to cause great problems for her sons now, and possibly for the rest of their lives.

Children of divorce have a very hard time, especially if the parents are trying to get back at each other through the children. They are very impressionable at this age and the mother's behavior can form their view of how women should be treated---without respect.

Your boyfriend is going to have to take the reins on this one, since he IS their father and either come to an agreement with his ex or involve lawyers and/or family therapists that can help resolve the problems.

She IS making it impossible for you to parent. While I'm sure your boyfriend wants to see his children when he is entitled to, according to the divorce agreement (I'm assuming they're divorced), it might be necessary for them not to come to your house, but find other activities, like camping weekends, or spend time at a hotel or amusement park with a resort, etc., so it's just dad and his sons. I know this would make you feel left out and you would like the boys to spend a nice time at your house on your boyfriend's weekends, but, unless and until some other professionals, as I mentioned above, are involved in the situation, it doesn't seem like it's going to improve, if everything you try to do is sabotaged by the boys' mother.

Encourage your boyfriend to try to see a lawyer and therapist about these problems and I hope things improve for you.

Warmest regards,

Cher

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is that not complying to their rules? Them getting their way?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have 2 daughters as well, and they rules on place and they follow. Is that not setting 2 different sets of rules within the household?
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

I'm sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean by, "Is that not complying to their rules? Them getting their way? Can you explain further? Thanks!

How will they be getting their way?

If you have 2 daughters, and all 4 children are in the house at the same time, that adds to the resentment this 14 year old boy has built up against you. He probably accuses you of treating them better than him (and his brother?), because you're their 'real' mother. I'm glad that you set rules for your daughters and they are well behaved! I applaud you for that--you're a very good mother!

No, you're not setting 2 different sets of rules within the household. Everyone is expected to act appropriately and respectfully ***** ***** Those are the rules and everyone is expected to comply with them.

Warmest wishes,

Cher

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