Husband is giving up on son

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pinevalley, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    We had a horrible battle at home tonight, and I don't know what to do next. Our difficult child invited 3 friends to our home tonight, and they were playing outside for awhile. difficult child and his friends were running all around our neighborhood, and our son refused to tell us where he was going. difficult child can be defiant and very stubborn, and he told me that the guys were next door when they were really at a girls house in the next neighborhood. When my husband found out that our son had lied about where he was going he got extremely upset. My husband and I told difficult child that he was grounded the next day, and that his friends had to go home immediately. difficult child got very mad at this, and he got into a shouting match with my husband. The fight started to get physical, and both difficult child and my husband were trying to hit each other. When my husband walked out of the room difficult child got so mad that he threw a heavy metal wheel at the wall, and he made a big hole in our wall. We then told difficult child that he should go find his friends and stay at their house tonight, because he wasn't welcome in our house tonight. Now my husband is furious with difficult child, and he has told me that he doesn't want to have anything to do with a son who has so many problems. He told me that he wishes that our son would find a new home, and that he doesn't want to live in the same house with our son. He has asked me to choose between my husband and our son, which I refuse to do. Our son has put several other holes in doors and walls in our house in the past, and we are tired of repairing damages caused by our son. My husband didn't even want to discuss anything about our son with me, and he said he had to get out of our house. He is now staying at a hotel for the night, and our son is staying with friends. I think that we should all see a family counselor, but my husband refuses to see anyone. My husband likes to give ultimatums to difficult child, and he gets mad when difficult child doesn't obey right away. I am afraid that our family may be splitting up, and I don't know how to stop this. I have already told difficult child that he is not allowed to see any of his friends until he fixes the hole in our wall. What can I do to help my husband and difficult child to understand each other better? thanks,
  2. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    Sounds a little where my relationship may be headed.

    I don't have any advice I can think to give you...

    I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

    You're in my thoughts and I pray your family can bond together and learn to live with one another, happily.

    <3 <3 <3
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Kids like this do not respond well to ultimatums. Sounds like husband is a lot difficult child himself.

    Yes, family counselling would be beneficial. Good luck.

  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    In addition to family counseling, it sounds as if difficult child needs a new evaluation to figure out what's driving his behaviors. With the proper interventions, he might function better than he is now.
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    While it sounds like family counseling is needed, I don't think it will help unless/until difficult child is evaluated & stabilized. difficult child sounds more than a bit unstable/uncontrollable.

    husband sounds as though he's at the end of his rope & the knot he's tied is unraveling.

    You sound like you in the midst of the two of them. Not a good place to be.

    You & husband (talking from past/present/future experience here) need to talk with-o difficult child in the room & decide how to respond to difficult child & his antics. You need to present a united front. If that doesn't happen, all the family counseling in the world won't help - difficult child will know & continue to push button in the family. (Again, have been & continue to go through this with one tweedle on a full time basis, the other whenever he can.)

    Something to consider.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending a caring and supportive hug your way. I wish instead that I could send you "the" answer. Unfortunately if all three
    of you aren't willing to participate then family counseling is
    not possible. So, I'll share some thoughts on your situation that
    may or may not be of help.

    Fathers and sons usually butt heads once the son enters the
    teen years. It is a "male" thing. It is compounded when there
    is a difficult child male involved. Rarely is their a quick fix.

    Sometimes if the parents can agree (as in completely agree) on
    a few important rules and stick together, it not only helps the
    child but it keeps the parents feeling a little bit unified. DHs
    most often feel demasculated when their smart mouthed kid can
    flaunt disobedience AND have Mom on their side.

    It has been my experience that when you have a difficult child in the house
    that the house becomes centered around the difficult child. Sometimes it is
    necessary (as when difficult child is a danger to himself or others) but in my humble opinion
    most often it just becomes a habit that you fall into. Analyze
    your time usage and see how often you and your husband have spent time
    alone lately...doing something you both enjoy outside the house.
    Chances are you can do better.

    About running away to a hotel?? Most of us would love to do that
    just to enjoy complete peace and quiet. When I was a single Mom
    in my 30's I would save up for a room at the Holiday Inn and go
    straight there after I dropped the three kids at school. I'd put
    out the "do not disturb" sign and climb into bed and sleep until
    my body woke up. Then I'd open up my little bag and either go for a swim or eat my "bag lunch", watch soaps, nap again etc. It
    helped more than a trip to a shrink and was cheaper too. How
    'bout joining your husband there next time or planning impromptu getaways when the stress builds too high.

    I wish you the best. I know from raising eight's an
    itch, to say the least. Just try to keep the connection to husband
    because the two of you can spend decades of happy years together
    starting in five years or so. DDD
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If it were me (and I know this isn't easy), I'd pick my son--wouldn't even think twice about it. I'd make suggestions to husband such as counseling, new ways of dealing with him, and I agree that DS needs a new evaluation--obviously the help he is getting is NOT working and maybe his diagnosis. and medications are wrong--but I'd pick my minor children every time over my spouse, even when they're at their worst. Adults can take care of themselves. Highly disturbed difficult child's of thirteen need us, even if they fight us every step of the way. Although lying about where they go isn't nice, it's pretty typical teen stuff. That difficult child can't handle frustration better than to break things indicates more is going on than just plain defiance. I'd get him evaluated by a neuropsychologist and let hub fend for himself. (((Hugs))).
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    13 is a crappy age. It doesn't even matter whether your child is a difficult child or not. It's a crappy age.
    If father and son didn't have a great relationship before it isn't going to get better.
    Personally I realized I can't be responsible for husband's feelings for his son or son's feelings for dad. It's entirely normal in the day to day living with a difficult child to want to give up, to be sick of them. They are a lot of work, a lot of stress and a lot of worry. Not much coming back either.
    Hopefully as adults we understand that the return on parenting is a long range goal and not an immediate one.
    Let your husband have his feelings. The best you can do is present other ways of looking at it.
    difficult child needs to be reminded how hard your husband works to help him and that is due respect. We never know if any of it gets through but it may plant the seed.

    Counseling is a good idea but maybe even an adoptive parent support group would be a help. Something where dads can talk to dad's about their particular issues with their kids. It's non threatening.

    There were many a day I wanted to walk away. I never deny that I occasionally having feelings that aren't terribly nurturing to my son. I get up the next morning and try again to be the parent I promised myself I would be.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Raising a difficult child is hard. Raising a 13 year old, smart-mouthed, rule-flaunting difficult child should warrant hazard pay.

    I don't mean to sound harsh, but if husband can't control himself (he and difficult child both trying to hit each other), how can he expect a 13 year old to control himself?

    I know that husband is angry, frustrated and hurting, but he didn't have any right to try to make you choose. If I were forced, I would always choose my children, but I would probably always have some regret and maybe even a little resentment that because of my child's behavior I had to give up someone important to me. We're human, afterall. It's even more unfair because husband is not willing to go to family counseling - something that might help the situation. He can't put it all on you if he's not willing to take any steps to try to help the situation.

    Ultimately, you are not responsible for the relationship your husband and your son have. That is between them. You're in a no-win situation and no matter what you do one of them - or both - is going to accuse you of taking sides.

    I agree with the poster (I think it was smallworld) who recommended further evaluation for you son.

    My heart goes out to you. You've been put in an incredibly tough spot. I will keep your family in my thoughts.

  10. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    My first thought is, difficult child put a hole in the wall in anger, and was rewarded with getting to go spend the night at his buddy's house.

    I understand that your motive was probably to remove him from the situation before it became more violent, but I don't think difficult child saw it like that. I'm guessing difficult child didn't view it as a punishment, but instead saw that he got his way and ended up being able to do what he wanted in the first place.

    difficult child might benefit from further evaluation. My youngest was definately ODD and given to wild melt-downs. Counseling helped him greatly. Most of his tantrums came as a result of tiredness. Seems too simplistic, but it worked for us. When he ranted, I sent him to his room. I'd check on him 15 minutes later, and he'd be sleeping.

    Definately talk to husband. If he truly has given up, then maybe you can agree that husband shouldn't take any action at all the next time there's a blowup. Maybe it should be your place to intervene and try to diffuse the situation.

    My heart goes out to you. 13 is a crappy age, no doubt! :hammer:

  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Your husband, who seems to have no self control himself, is telling you to choose.
    Your husband, will not go to counseling.
    Your husband will not talk about this to you, or negotiate.
    So now -
    You have a choice to make.
    Your husband has already made his.

    Choose your son. Get him help. Get him safe.
    Start over, by trying to make this life as successful as possible for your boy. You only have a couple of years to help him, and then he will be gone.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh dear. So sorry.

    Ultimatums don't work unless you're willing to follow through with-consequences. Your husband doesn't have consequences. He has a short temper. How ironic, the similarities I see between him and your difficult child! Sorry, don't mean to hurt your feelings, just poing out that when you're a parent, you're in charge and it's not always fun. There is no easy ride here.

    You have got to get husband into counseling. Family counseling with-someone who knows a lot about kids would be a good idea.

    If there is a way to sit down with-husband and tell him that he's forcing you to choose when you love both of them, you want to do your duty to your difficult child, but you want to stay with-husband, whom you love. It is unfair. If you can tell him in a logical, calm way, it would be helpful. Listen when he complains about how hard it is, and even if/when he accuses you of exacerbating the situation. Just let him vent. Then repeat the whole deal about how HE needs to do his duty just as you are doing yours, and you two can make it easier on one another by having a date night and having fun together.

    IOW, make sure he knows that you care about him. Then ask him if he cares about you.

    Good luck!
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Another factor that often isn't seen until after the fact is...
    a young teenage boy who has a Dad who abandons the family does
    NOT get a positive message. The importance of the male to the
    teen can not be over emphasized. Some boys think that it makes
    them tough stuff to have run the Dad off. Some boys think that
    their Moms are wimps for not keeping the family together. Most
    boys feel rejected and unworthy when a parent leaves. A standard
    teenage male is NOT going to feel "warm and fuzzy" following a
    separation. Personally I think that a nonparticipatory father
    in the home is much better than an empty chair at the table. DDD
    PS: I do not mean violent parents just disenchanted parents!
  14. ysne58

    ysne58 New Member

    Unfortunately husband needs evaluating as much as difficult child does. If he is bio father, he does have legal obligations until difficult child reaches majority. Can you get some assistance with handling him from his parents? Some extended familys are helpful. Others are a total disaster (like mine for example).

    difficult child sounds like he needs different medications to help him stabilize.

    I'm lucky that my situation is fairly stable at the moment. I'm trying to be supportive to others around me who have teenagers that they are struggling with. They've all supported me when I've needed it so its my turn to help out.

  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Oh, my... :frown:

    I think it's somewhat typical for men to react this way. My father did to me. He wouldn't go to family therapy because it was my problem that was getting in the way. I was 12.

    While I comprehend the thoughts that your husband is having, they're not very practical. If you choose him and not your son, who exactly is going to raise your son? That's child abandonment, and the state will charge you both. I get it that your husband doesn't want to see a therapist, maybe a better way to approach it with him is to see a lawyer as a couple asking advice about what your legal obligations to your son are. Then your husband can see that it's about him choosing between you and your son, or no one and he better figure out how he is going to make the child support and alimony payments.

    Sometimes lawyers who specialize in family law are more therapist to their clients. I would tell husband that you have an open mind, and you want to protect yourselves from legal action by knowing your rights and responsibilities as a parent. Find a lawyer who specializes in juvenile/family law, and speak frankly when you are there. The lawyer will probably have ideas about placement and treatment, as well. Don't get upset, your husband can do that for both of you when he figures out that he doesn't get to take his ball and go home.

    Your son's initial behavior sounds pretty typical for a kid his age who may have been a little over-supervised by dad in the past. It sounds like dad needs to loosen his grip a little bit if he wants a wife, home and family.

    {{{{{{{{{{Big hugs}}}}}}}}}}} Sorry you are having a rough time of it.
  16. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I think the others have given you excellent advice. in my humble opinion, I think, as the others have already said, that difficult child needs to be reevaluated. It is impossible to reason or even try to reason with an unstable difficult child!!!

    I agree with those that said your husband is totally at the end of his rope. From reading your post, it doesn't sound like you want to end your marriage yet. So, I agree with those that believe family counseling would help. However, if husband doesn't want to go, there is no way this will be an option.

    As others have already said, you and husband need to be on the same page when it comes to handling difficult child. My husband and I went through some extremely rough times too. We managed to turn things around by having private weekly meetings where we discussed how we would handle our difficult children as a team. We don't always agree on how to handle all of the garbage that our difficult children throw in our direction, but we have learned to disagree and to try to respect the other's point of view.

    I truly know how hard it is to be where you are. It is a very lonely place. As I said in the beginning, I think difficult child needs to be reevaluated. Until he is stable, changes can't occur.

    I hope you and husband can work things out. I wish I had some answers for you. However, I think it is important when husband is calm, to talk to him about his latest response to difficult child. husband needs to find a way to get rid of some of his stress so situations like this don't continue to occur.

    Sending cyber hugs, WFEN