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DrToni
DrToni, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 15
Experience:  I am a licensed Psychologist in New York State. I have been doing clinical work and research since 2005.
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I am a mother with three boys, at present ages 13, 11, and

Customer Question

I am a mother with three boys, at present ages 13, 11, and 17 months. I currently live with my boyfriend, Ted, of seven years. My two oldest live with their father, I receive visitation. My concern is how my boyfriend treats my sons. Before the custody hearing in 2011, things were great, we all got along. Afterwards was when things started to go downhill. During the hearing the judge spoke to the boys alone. Come to find out later, the boys told the judge some things that were not true or half-truths. They told the judge that they wanted to live with their father, that our house was in disarray, and they had to eat on milk cartons. The boys understood that the house was in disarray because the kitchen was being remodeled. We ate on milk cartons with the understanding that it was only to be temporary until we bought a table and chair set, and as for the comment of wanting to live with their father, they both told us that they wanted to stay with us, but their dad is forcing them to lie and say otherwise and they were crying when they said this. We have a witness that has heard their father say that he forced them to tell the judge what he wanted them to say.
Now my boyfriend resorts to calling the boys liars. He went as far as told them they were wastes of skin, or Pieces of S**t like their father. I only get them every other weekend and his punishment is to send them upstairs and for them to stay up there the entire weekend with the exception of bathroom breaks and at times of eating. He yells at them if they make a mistake, accidently or not accidently break something, and lectures them over and over again the same thing each time, which is everything they ever did wrong he brought up and threw into their faces. If they didn’t follow the rules when it came to their toys he retaliated by throwing the toys in garbage bags and throwing them out. If the boys leave their bikes where they shouldn’t be, he picks them up and throws them. One day my youngest of the two was kicking a soccer ball around and he was told by Ted that he needed to stop kicking the ball because it’s dark and he might knock the lantern down. My son did hit the lantern with the ball, it broke, and Ted yelled at my son so loud and called him names that my son was in tears. He didn’t mean to break it. It was a mistake. Anything that goes wrong, such as : they broke one of their own toys, they broke something of ours, didn’t follow the rules, were told to do something and they didn’t do it the right way, Ted overreacted and the boys suffered.
My oldest was chewing gum one day and Ted told him to chew with his mouth closed, and he did for a while. Then he got back into the habit of chewing loudly and Ted told him to spit his gum out. My son at the time was being defiant. Ted asked for the pack of gum and my son gave it to him. Ted proceeded to throw the pack outside. This pack of gum was given to him by his father. My oldest decided to get up and go outside and Ted told him that he needed to sit his a** down and stay there.
Another incident I can give is Ted was lecturing my oldest son again and as always brought up the many “wrongs” and “lies” he has done. My oldest was again being rebellious and rolled his eyes and said something under his breath. Ted reached over and with the back of his hand gave my son a hard tap to mouth. My son was upset and stood up to leave the house when Ted came up and told him to sit back down. My son refused. Ted pushed him hard, and my son fell. I stood up and told Ted that he went too far. My son’s father found out and called the police. Long story short a restraining order was put in place and Ted blames the boys, accusing them of lying to the DA about being “Afraid of Ted”
Another example is this: We bought the boys skateboards. They were pretty expensive boards and they were told to make sure to keep them inside and put away when they aren’t using the skateboards. One day they left them out and Ted decided that the boards were his now and placed them into the boom truck. One day my oldest of the two asked me if he could go in and get his board and take it home with him to show his friends. I said that he could. One thing that happened was his board got stolen. I never said anything to Ted about it because they are my sons and I am the one providing parental guidance for them. Ted found a door ajar on his boom truck and noticed the board missing. He decided to call the police to press charges against my oldest for “Theft and Breaking and Entering”. In any case the DA decided not to press charges.
I have told him many times over and over again that name calling, yelling, intimidating them, using the kind of discipline he was using, was not the best way to handle things. I feel that he undermines me, I feel that he sees my method as weak, and that I let the boys walk all over me. This isn't the case. I have a close relationship with my boys even though I don't have them full time. What should I do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrToni replied 4 years ago.
DrToni :

Hello my name is***** and I would like to help you with you question.

DrToni :

I am sorry that you and your family have gone through some difficult times. It is clear that there is a lot of love between you and your boys. I wonder if Ted feels excluded from this and copes in this way by trying to have some control in the house. Have you all tried family counseling? It can be very helpful to explore your issues and help you all make changes. It will be important for you to show your boys that you can protect them and that you have power in the house. As it stands Ted bullies them and you. You tell them they can use the skateboard and then ultimately he makes the decision that overrides your own. Can you sit down as a family and come up with some ground rules and define everyone's role in the family?

DrToni :

As women we often struggle to please our significant other, children, parents, etc. But we need to set limits with people and let them know that we need to be respected. Without having a dialogue, nothing will change. And if you want Ted to change, you need to make changes in the way you deal with issues. The children's behavior will be disturbing as they are acting out to their feelings of being bullied. They must feel safe and supported, and right now that is not the case. You have been struggling for years to please everyone, but is that really possible? Please find your inner strength and use your children's love as your motivation.

DrToni :

I hope that this helps you and your children. Please let me know if I can provide additional help. If you are satisfied with my answer, please consider giving me a rating of 3 or higher.

DrToni :

Dr. Toni, PhD

DrToni :

I am very sorry that you were dissatisfied with my professional advice. As I said earlier, please let me know if I can provide additional help.