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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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Hi, I have two boys of 16 and 14 that are way too much connected

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I have two boys of 16 and 14 that are way too much connected with their father, from which I divorced 10 years ago. They talk a lot with him about our/my life: he asks every detail and they tell him, then he makes comments and judgements about it. They take impressions opinions and points of view, all negative, then they behave with me derespectfully. Sometimes I feel just like a domestic, if they are upset they swear at me. What can I do to address the situation. I don't feel talking with the father as an option, I already tried in past years to put some boundaries, but it didn't worked. I tried to talk with them sometimes, things got better for a while, then again as before. There's something else I can try?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. How long have they been disrespectful toward you? Is your ex disrespectful toward you when the boys are around? Why do you think the boundaries you set in the past failed? Thank you!!!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Well, they always dealt with me as a domestic, more than a mother. From a few months, the 16 years old started to say things like "don't piss me off" when he was upset for something on his own,
and the last ones were "f**k you" and "You don't know how much I loathe you" - these were his reaction to me telling him to do his things by himself, not expecting his brother doing things for him.

My ex talks with them on Skype (we live in London, he lives in Italy) and he always talks about me and what I do, and give his judgements. He never talks with me, just with them, about our lifestyle, my new husband and whatever.

Boundaries: I told him that my private life, the money that we have as a family, my husband, are none of his business, and more that he doesn't have to talk about this with the boys, but he does it anyway. He disagrees with my choices, and tells them, and they blame me - all of it without saying openly to me. They just do this among themselves, and the boys act consequently.
I told him already "if something bothers you, or worries you, ask me and I will be happy to give you any information you need (related to the life of the children, not simply about my life)" but he continues to talk always with them, and never with me.

I hope to have given enough infos, and clear enough.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

Hello and Thank You for responding. If at all possible, your new husband needs to step in and discuss the boys' behavior with them and explain that it is not acceptable in the household to be so disrespectful. If they continue, then you and your husband need to enforce consequences. Your sons should in no way act toward parental authority in the manner that they do. On the other hand, it may be time that they live with their dad for a while so that you can have some peace if that is an option. Another route would be for you to seek counseling to learn intervention and coping strategies in dealing with teen age sons. Family therapy is another suggestion but due to the influences of your ex-husband, it is doubtful that your sons would entertain family counseling sessions.


Your ex-husband still wants to control you by using your sons to find out all of the information about you. He probably is not remarried. If he is, he needs to direct attention more to his wife and not you.


If you need more assistance, let me know. Have a good evening!!!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Take in account that

1. the boys and my husband had already problems about discipline, and that he is criticized and belittled, as well as me, by sons and ex in their conversations (conversations= ex talks boys listen)

2. living with the ex doesn't feel like an option to me: the more they are together, the more insist in their habits, and the more they absorb his mindset and behaviour; they already spend all the holidays together (Christmas, Easter and Summer) and it looks like more than enough to me. I think they would need some distance from him - how can be good for them or me if they hang out more?
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
You are correct in the fact that if they hang out more, they will become more like your ex. Therefore you must step up to the plate and change in your ways. Do not let them continue to walk over you. As the adult and parent in the household, establish the rules. Be more authoritative and assertive. You will have to if you want to see any change because they are getting away with too much. Do not be so concerned with what your ex is saying about you. It is consuming your thoughts too much. You have got to be the disciplinarian parent. All your ex is going to do is to feed your sons garbage. If you have to sit down every day and talk with your boys, then do so.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

Another idea would be for you to discuss the issues with your ex along with your new husband since you are all in the parenting role together.


It seems though your husband may have never gotten over the divorce even though many years have passed. He is not teaching your sons to be respectful young men toward women at all. If they do not respect their own mother, then they will have difficulties as adults in respecting women in relationships. You may need to be the one to initiate family counseling sessions with you and your sons.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok, but if they go beyond the limits as they did, what can I do?

I cannot revoke privileges such as mobile phone, PS or PC, because they simply won't give me the devices - should I take them off while they are at school? That would mean a big, huge fight: should I do it anyway?

Or, what else? Should I refuse to look after them - cooking meals, washing laundry, taking them to appointments with doctors, teachers and so ...

Now, they are at their father's and they will be back on 31, they're not calling me and I don't know if they will, before coming back - what will I do when they will be here, to get my basic rules respected?
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

You must continue with normal parental responsibilities such as cooking, appointments with doctors and teachers etc. because you do not want to be accused of being neglectful.


YOU CAN revoke privileges. You should not be fearful of your own children. Take their computer, cell phone, tv, whatever away from them when they disobey.


When they return from their dad's house, have a typed up list of their responsibilities/rules and the consequences. If you take the things away, they will have to earn them back through good and respectful behavior.


Were you ever afraid of your ex husband? If so, maybe that is why you seem fearful and submissive to your sons. You must gain the strength and courage to stand up to your kids. You have a new husband as well who should be there to support you.

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