How do you get extended family to back off?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by cmfout, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    I haven't been here in ages. Honestly, I haven't needed support. Things are going great with my difficult child. He's cleaned up his act, he's being respectful, doing well with homeschooling, and even going to anger management classes. During all of his improvements, I've learned to talk to him, and get my point across to him, without setting him off. We've learned to live together, talk to each other, and work on problems as a team.
    My problem now is his grandfather and uncle. We have a unique problem - while we don't live WITH my father and brother, we live in a building that they own. As a single parent with a troubled kid, I simply can't afford other housing in safe areas of our county and I won't move my son into an area with gang and drug activity. I'm sure it's here too, but it's not out in the open.
    Anyway - the problem. difficult child has court tomorrow for something he did over 5 months ago. They're just now getting around to filing charges - after telling me that they wouldn't be filing any. My brother and father decided that even though difficult child has really cleaned up his act, he should be very scared going into the courtroom tomorrow. They started yelling at him, telling him to shut up, swearing at him, and "trapped" him by blocking the only path out of the room they were in. difficult child told my father to move so he could go calm down. Dad said no and threatened to make it physical - telling difficult child "you might get past me because I'm old but you won't get past your uncle". difficult child had done NOTHING to threaten them, simply told them to move. At this point he told them "try it", pushed past them, and walked out. I watched and heard the entire exchange.
    I defended my son. He was in the right this time. He had been listening to their advice about talking to the judge, but didn't want to hear "you're going to be locked up" and "they won't care how much you say you've changed". In my opinion, he had a right to separate himself from it and to stop the yelling. When I told them to leave him alone, they both verbally attacked me. I told them to leave and stay out of our home and lives until they can show us both some respect.
    I know they won't honor that request. They're both stubborn and think they're always right, no matter what. My question is, what would you folks do in this situation? I do NOT want them pushing difficult child back onto the path he was on before!
  2. All you can do is get them out of your life. They aren't helping -- they're like the crabs pulling the escaping crab back into the pot. If possible, I'd move. Far. Your home needs to be a sanctuary and they're poking you like you're an animal in a cage. Is this a case of "Run for your life, your sanity, and your son's future!"?
  3. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Oh man. I am too familiar with this situation, not the anger but the parents not knowing their boundaries. We have a similar situation because I rent from my parents. Last night we had everyone over for dinner and I told my son to sit down (he wasn't hungry) with us anyway. He asked my dad if he could go play his game and my dad said yes. I explain that it makes MY job very difficult when son is getting such mixed signals. He needs to know that i'm the parent, and they are the grandparents. Their job is not to raise him.

    I really don't have any advice for you except to keep your doors locked and tell them that even though they own the house YOU live there and its your rules or they can't come over. i assume you rent from them? If so, tell them you expect a landlord/tennant relationship and that they have to respect the boundaries of your home. If not, it might be time to pay at least something so that you can use that relationship as leverage. I had to tell my parents that early on. Just because you own it doesn't make it your home. I want to be able to have MY family life in MY home without spontaneous intrusions or things that make it more complicated.

    I really wish I had more concrete advice to give you. I hate to hear about that situation for you and your child. Its not acceptable for them to treat him like that, problem child or not, its not their place and its inappropriate to threaten physical violence. I really think I would just put your foot down, they can NOT come in wihtout your permission and when you say go, they need to go.

    It sounds like they're very like my family so I know that's hard because they don't listen but you have to do something.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You need boundaries made clear. if they cannot accept those boundaries, I can't see any other option but moving. The alternative - compromise.

    You are a tenant, they "own" the place and therefore you. They need to know that while you love them as family, you are the parent here and in your space, your rules prevail. You understand that they were trying to help, but the reality is, their input was decidedly UNhelpful and difficult child actually acted with maturity in removing himself from the interaction.

    He's a kid. His uncle and grandfather should learn that adults who bully children, even in role-play fashion, are not achieving anything positive. If tey had set it up clearly from the beginning with "You need to practice staying in control for tomorrow" then it might be a little different; they still should have backed off when difficult child was becoming genuinely distressed. It's like teaching a kid to swim - you can throw the kid in the deep end of the pool and verbally abuse him while he drowns, or you can get in the water with him, show him how to move his arms and help him hold his head above water as he practices the new skills you are demonstrating.
    The first method will (if the kid survives) produce a kid who is scared of the water and may never learn to swim. The second method could produce an Olympic athlete. At the very least, it will produce a kid who can save himself if he falls in.

    I'm betting your father and brother thought they were teaching your son by role-play. But use the swimming analogy. The court system is NOT like they described and trying to push him like this is not likely to reduce his anxiety to a functioning level. The purpose of court is to determine what level of crime was committed and what the consequences should be, if any. The purpose of court is NOT to terrorise the defendant. Innocent until proven guilty. If the defendant goes in already terrified, it is LESS likely to be a useful experience in terms of preventing a recurrence.

  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I just want to hug difficult child. He did great, as far as I am concerned. Heck, in this situation I probably would have had a meltdown. And I'm fairly laid-back.

    I agree with setting boundaries. However... If you are NOT renting, and simply staying there - you STILL have a right to privacy. If I had a family member staying with me for several months (this HAS happened, and no, he was NOT paying anything), I still wouldn't just WALK IN.

    And I also agree that, if this doesn't work because they feel they have a right to your home because they own it? Find another place. It stinks. Moving's horrid. But you and difficult child need it.

    OH, yes... :hugs:
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    They sound awful. I would move. To another city. Surely there are safe areas somewhere?
  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I would be ******. Seriously. I don't blame you. difficult child did right and tried to do right - good for him!!
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The only thing I would add to the above is, to talk to difficult child (if you haven't already) and let him know you think they were wrong, and that you think he did a great job handling the situation. Maybe brainstorm with him on some strategies to deal with their buttinski tendencies in case it happens again. I think just knowing you're on his side, will help him a lot.
  9. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    Thanks for the advice and support. difficult child and I ended up going up to their home and sitting down to talk about all of the issues. I've now demanded a rental contract that states that they won't enter our home uninvited and will leave when difficult child or I tell them to. They didn't like it, but agreed to it in order to keep being a part of our lives. difficult child no longer visits their home without me so they won't have a chance to start on him there.
    Court actually went pretty well. They've referred him to the diversion program and put some restrictions on him - mostly the same ones I already enforce that seem to be helping us both quite a lot.
    I've told him that I'm very VERY proud of how he handled himself. Just a couple of months ago he would have taken their bait and it would have ended up being a physical fight. He's trying so hard to control his emotions and work through them and he's doing a really great job of it. I'm enjoying seeing the "real" Jacob come out more and more. I even get goodnight hugs now!
  10. Glad to hear court went well and Jacob knows you're proud of him. I don't think family members with boundary issues ever really truly understand why what they do is wrong, but they eventually understand your boundaries exist. It's constant work because if you slip once, it's like letting the camel get its nose in the tent. Good luck.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    BRAVO for both of you! Well done! Better than I would have done. Wow. You definitely deserve goodnight hugs. You hit the problem head-on and with integrity.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You've gotten some good advice. Sounds like you are on the right path. If that doesn't work?

    Try a taser. Nothing says back off like 50k volts. :surprise: I'm kidding - I'm kidding. I think there may be one a little stronger. Get that one.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Star.

  14. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    LOL Star, I will definitely keep that in mind!
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Wow. Maybe you can explain gently that they are concerned that difficult child does not fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation and do not know how to explain themselves well or how to cope with it well. My guess is that their intentions are ok.
    It sounds like your difficult child has made much progress and if this is genuine, I hope that the court will recognize this progress. No matter what, your difficult child will have to accept the consequences of his actions.
    In the mean time, I would nicely ask the relatives to "chill."
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    It would be nice if you had sincerely concerned relatives who were just trying to help. Then again? If you had inlaws like I used to have? Power hungry, greedy, martyr, control freak, couldn't care less about the outcome, not the best interest for the child at heart, only WHAT and HOW can I get all the attention on Grandma today because I've literally run the gamut of my list of attention seeking quotents of problems I can create with my OWN life.....THEN you are going to have to stand up and back them down.

    It would be nice to think that there are more families out there who are kind, just, loving and really have the childs best interest at heart. That would be my immediate family (My Mom) and My fiances family. All are very nice, all are sincerely concerned about my son. None are out for themselves.

    Then there would have (had she not been run over by her own van by her own children) been my Xmil and my x who are not in it for the sake of the child and are just very sick, mentally ill people who need a daily "Soemthing" to talk about to others, to whine about, and cry about, and fein over while crying that YOU just don't understand them and YOU just don't allow them to help, and YOU just don't ever let them help. On and on et al. Those kinds of people are toxic. If that's what you are up against? Stand your ground, and worry a lot less about their opinions. Basically don't worry period.

    However if they are the nice family like Nomad speaks about, and I hope they are - do try her approach. I hope for your sons sake they are like that.

  17. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    My family goes both ways. Some of them - my sister and her kids especially, but the others at times too - are always out for themselves. Other times, most of them can be wonderfully supportive but totally lost at the same time.
    The problem with my brother and father is simply that they don't understand that Jacob isn't "normal". There are no outward signs, nothing you can look at him and see, so they expect him to be like my siblings and I were when we were teenagers. They keep thinking that if I'd raised him like we were raised he wouldn't have his attitudes and problems. Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work that way. My parents were fortunate to have 4 kids who didn't have problems. It seems that no amount of talking to them or explaining helps. They just have it in their heads that because he can't focus well, he's stupid or something. It's driving all of us insane!

    Nomad, thank you for your kind words. Jacob has done an amazing job of bettering himself and I couldn't be more proud of him. He's ready to take a fair punishment for his actions and he understands that what he did was wrong. His only problem with it is that the diversion program seems to be holding the actions of his older brother against him. That's something we're working with them on.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Then try this -

    The next time they can't SEE Jacobs disability? Turn and ask them - "Would you ask a child who used a wheelchair who just didn't happen to be in a wheelchair at that moment to walk too?" Would you blame his inability to walk on the way his parents raised him? Just because you can't SEE his handicap, doens't mean it doesn't exist, or that you can wish it away. Jacob has an invisible handicap, he doesn't need a wheelchair or crutches to make it real to you or me or anyone else. It is there, we ARE working to improve the outcome, and it does take time, patience, a differnt way of learning AND a different way of parenting.
  19. ski10

    ski10 New Member

    UGH, they sound just like my ex-husbands family, I felt so trapped, and almost went mad myself just being around them, I'm so sorry you and your son are in that situation, they are toxic, as others have said if you can't move right now I'd keep talking to your son and building his self-esteem on the upward path, he acted really well!

    I HATE abuse and of course that's what this is, sending you big hugs..
  20. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    Star, I've tried explaining it that way and they just don't get it. I'm seriously considering the taser idea! LOL
    Ski, Jacob and I are talking daily about his self esteem and what he can do to feel better about himself. He's finally understanding that even though I don't like or agree with some of his choices, I'll still support him through the consequences - not protect him from them, but be there to cushion it and make it more understandable for him.