Grandson and divorce/parenting issues

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm posting for my son who is having some problems with his four year old son. Here's a short backstory.

    Wife left for another man and had started changing since she obtained a new job...drinking, staying out late, spending overnights with her new honey (even when grandson is with her). The divorce is supposed to be final on Friday.

    Grandson is presenting some problems and my son would like some guidance on these issues. He is trying hard to present a stable home for his son when he has him (he has him half the time), however his X is NOT friendly nor willing to co-parent cooperatively with him. She is letting him stay up very late so his daycare lady sees him as tired all the time, and he's tired with my son as well as with X because his sleep patterns are off (and, no, she will not negotiate about it. She is always sure she is right and is unwilling to put her son before herself). She has physical custody. It is almost impossible, unless you have a ton of money to fight with, for a man to get physical custody in their state unless the mother is physically abusing him and it can be proven.

    When Grandson is with my son, he is starting to say, "Mommy doesn't make me eat XXXX for breakfast" or "mommy doesn't make me wear socks and shoes" or "mommy doesn't make me go to sleep this early." My son doesn't know how to handle this or if he should go along with X, in order not to upset grandson further, or to stand his ground, which makes his son compare him to his X again.

    X has only been gone for about four weeks. She had once been a responsible parent, but everything has changed. She doesn't communicate with my son except to yell at him (usually) so he tries not to talk to her so much. She does not pass along relevant information, such as how J. has been doing. She will never compromise.

    My son has a good lawyer, but he can't really afford to pay for the lawyer anymore so going to court and fighting her is not possible. Actually, my X is paying for the lawyer and has made it clear that he is not happy about it and he will be done once the divorce is final...and he wants as few charges on his credit card from the lawyer as possible. So settling anything in court is not possible.

    Son is also afraid to rock the boat with X so he doesn't. She is highly erratic in her behavior and he has no idea what she will do if he does anything to make her angry.

    Divorced parents with young kids and uncooperative X's...I know there are a lot of do you think he can best handle this, especially when his son says, "Mommy does it this way." Is it worth it to put his foot down over little things, such as wearing shoes instead of flip flops or eating certain things for breakfast or is it best to go easy on his son because he is still confused and upset. What about bedtime and the problems he is having with the sleepiness and unwillingness to go to sleep? This is VERY new to both my son and his child, my grandson. He is very afraid his X will go back to court and try to alter their decree at some time, although so far she has no money and has not even retained a lawyer. The laws seem stacked heavily in favor of the mother unless you can afford a private eye who can find illegal stuff about Mom, and he can't afford one.

    All input is welcome. I am going to try to get him to read this.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I saw a lot of this with Onyxx and Jett - Jett was not quite 4 when Bio took them and left husband. He was 5 when I met them - Onyxx was 8.

    Bio didn't make them follow the same rules we did, such as bed times (and we had them on weekends!), limiting television/video games (which doesn't work anymore, but it did back then), being respectful (you know how THAT ended up). Any time they would get reprimanded or a consequence imposed with us, she sent a nasty email/message to us about being unfair or stupid and how she would make sure they followed the rules and he needed to man up and be a REAL father. (As we've discussed their custody battle was UGLY.) And, no, any consequences imposed with us were not imposed with her - though she did expect us to follow through on consequences she imposed (Jett was grounded once for calling husband at 2 AM - but what "grounded" meant, we never did find out. Made it hard to follow through.)

    Basically, what I learned is this. Mommy is Mommy and Daddy is Daddy. They don't get along too well, so they aren't married anymore. Part of them not getting along is they can't agree on anything, including rules. So - Mommy can do it that way, but that's not the way Daddy does it...

    It hoovers BIG TIME. But unless something horrible happens... :sigh:
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Although my Ex did not spend much time with the children similar issues came about...and confusion, of course! I just sugarcoated the differences. Basically "Mommy loves you and Daddy does to. That's the good part for you because you have two parents who love you very much. BUT there are alot of differences between Mommies and Daddies aren't there?
    We don't look alike. We don't wear the same clothes. Our voices are not the same. We also don't have the very same rules. I know it is confusing to have two different houses and two separate sets of rules BUT (smile) wouldn't it be boring is everybody looked the same, spoke the same, etc. etc." This conversation would carry over to others and how each person is different. Friends. Neighbors. Grandparents. Teachers.

    I'm not saying that all the children grew up to live happily ever after, lol, but by taking personalities out of it and using it as a basic life lesson it made it least at my house. DDD
  4. Jewlz0113

    Jewlz0113 New Member

    Hello... I don't post often - but read ALL the time (I feel like I know a lot of you) :) - and thought I'd add my two cents worth on this one.

    First all, I love the analogy DDD suggested! If I'd know that four years ago, I would have definitely used it! I take on the same attitude: What happens at Daddy's, happens at Daddy's and what happens at Mommy's happens at Mommy's. It's ok for it to be different. I explained it as rules being different at home vs. at school. Rules must be respected and obeyed regardless of who sets them or where we are. My X and I, though, rarely expect the other parent to enforce the other's punishment. It was too difficult. How can you enforce a punishment if you weren't there to witness the crime? The exception is if the infraction is HUGE. In that case my X and I discuss it when it happens and agree upon a punishment and it's enforcement. That has happened a couple of times and it's worked out alright. (But then again, my X and I can communicate that way.) For your DS, I would stick with the Mommy's house, Mommy's rules; Daddy's house, Daddy's rules.

    It's only been 4 weeks. Over time Grandson will get used to it. For right now, it's incredibly confusing (especially at 4!) and the biggest thing he needs is consistency. If he can't get it between the two houses, DS can make sure he at least gets it when he's with him. It'll be tough at first - lots of testing, lots of "But Mommy lets me!". But if he can hang strong and just quitely but firmly stick to his guns ("But at Daddy's we do this"), he may have a chance.

    I don't envy his position. Been there, done that, still doing it. It's not easy in the best of situations. When you're dealing with a difficult X, well, that just makes it downright miserable.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Either she will get tired of being mommy and your son will get grandson more and more as time goes on....or....he will have to help his son get used to the differences in both households. I really like DDD's way of explaining. Especially at 4 years old.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    JMO... not having been around divorce first-hand, but seeing some of the impact with some of my friends growing up... SF needs to make the relationship more important than the rules. Really pick his battles carefully. How important is it really, what kind of shoes are on his feet? (especially this time of year). Food... well, you can't "make" a kid eat anything, but health depends on healthy food, so if he can find a balance between what his child likes and what is healthy, that would be more important. He does need to be consistent in the way he operates when his son is with him... but find ways to make it positive, rather than negative. Instead of "making" the child go to bed, they could develop a special bed-time routine that is just "theirs". Make bed-time at daddy's house something to look forward to... It's going to take a while to settle into a routine.