kids' behavior at stbx's house

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Whiteheron

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kids' behavior at stbx's house
« on: November 09, 2018, 12:30:04 AM »
I'm heartbroken for the kids. They are at stbx's house tonight and when I spoke with them on then phone to say goodnight DD is in tears. She's feeling ganged up on and insignificant. stbx yelled at her for not knowing how to do her homework. Forced her to sit there and work on one problem for over 30 minutes, then tells her he "doesn't care" that she doesn't understand it. Then her brother tells her that when he talks to 'the people' (meaning law guardian) that he's telling them he doesn't want to live in the same house as her. stbx was present for this and didn't say a word. Apparently a while later, when stbx got tired of hearing the kids go at each other he told them, "one day you'll be the best of friends"  :blink:

This is after the kids and I came up with and implemented our house rules. They've been doing great, laughing, getting along, relaxed. At my house. I reminded both of them that the house rules can also apply when they're at dad's house too. Apparently not. They're not even willing to try.

Kids are meeting with GAL next week - wondering if stbx is switching favorites again to get DS to say he wants to stay with dad more...since DS is old enough to have some say and DD isn't? I don't know.

I'm just beside myself and heartbroken for the kids. This is only the first of the four nights they have with stbx before they come back to me and I can attempt to repair all of this damage.

I'm so sick of this. It feels like every time I make progress with the kids, stbx knocks it back to square one. Now I'll have to start over. Again. I'm exhausted. Why does he do this??? It just needs to stop.
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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MaoMeow

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Re: kids' behavior at stbx's house
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 08:00:41 AM »
Awfull! I feel for you and your daughter (although in a couple of months it might be your son whoís the victim). Could your ex be triangulating between them? Setting them up to fight between themselves for his affection or altering their opinion of each other?

You might want to think about some tactics you could use to counter act this negative force. Can your daughter call you for a pep talk  when she has homework problems or other issues? Can she leave harder homework for when she is with you? Can she escape to a room or eslewhere when she feels intimidated? Is she old enough to be taught the skills of medium chill and gray rock? Itís horrible to think our children need to learn these skills to survive emotionally! Although I have no idea how you could communicate these skills to a child, I donít know if itís even appropriate. Good luck.

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athene1399

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Re: kids' behavior at stbx's house
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 10:32:44 AM »
I would bring this up as an example to the law guardian. It shows how stbx affects DD. And how stbx didn't say anything when DS  was mean to her.  I'm so sorry this happened. :( I agree with Maomeow. Maybe see if there's a way you can support DD while at stbx's, like if she can call you when she needs homework help. Or see if the teacher can email you a copy of the homework on the weekends/nights she is with stbx, so if she does call you can see what she is looking at. If that doesn't work, validate her emotions the next time you see her. Like, "that must hurt when dad says he doesn't care if you get it." Maybe just let her know that even if he says that, he still cares about her. And then brainstorm ways together of who she can talk to if she needs help. Maybe she has a friend who lives nearby. Or she can see a tutor. or even call you. Sometimes there's youtube videos that help with certain school subjects. Maybe ask the teacher if she recommends a certain youtuber whose videos help with the homework. 

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Whiteheron

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Re: kids' behavior at stbx's house
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 01:00:35 PM »
Thanks MaoMeow and athene.
Yes, stbx will switch between the two kids. Up until this past weekend, DD was the favored child. The impending GAL visit is why I think this sudden switch to DS being favored occurred. But who really knows. And yes, he does triangulate between them. He can't have them getting along. He's always been that way. He's not capable of treating them both well at the same time. Almost like he gets one child to be happy with him, then moves on to the other child, fully expecting first child to still be happy...then gets angry when first child is not, so focuses on that child...then child 2 gets unhappy, stbx can't understand why, switches focus, and around we go. Not quite sure if that completely fits him. He seems more calculating and malicious when he switches focus (for personal gain = ie the court).

Problem is DD isn't 'allowed' to call me for homework help. She did this initially, but got yelled at a few times by her dad, so she won't. She's allowed to call me at bedtime and that's it. stbx even gets angry if she texts me (but it's ok for him to constantly text both kids when they're with me...). So she will try to text or call covertly, but is so afraid of being yelled at by him that she usually won't.

They are isolated out at stbx's house and there are no friends nearby. When DD is with me, she will sometimes facetime a friend and they will study or do homework together. I don't know if that's allowed at stbx's house.

Apparently there's more that went on - DD won't tell me over the phone because she firmly believes I will write it down and tell the GAL (I will). So what she does is catch up with me at the school when I'm busy and distracted - then she'll tell me more. She did this a few days ago and told me that her dad also said to her "I just don't get you." He also told the kids he's tired of cooking so they will be going out to eat (at a specific "restaurant" that's barely better than fast food) or getting take out for dinners from now on. Seems to be one of his patterns -he starts out so good, I am amazed he's making an effort...but it never lasts. Even though I worry myself to bits every time (that he's now doing what he's supposed to and it will gain him brownie points in court). I should know by now it won't last.
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Penny Lane

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Re: kids' behavior at stbx's house
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2018, 01:32:33 PM »
WhiteHeron, I'm sorry you're still dealing with this bs and your kids have to navigate this tough situation.

I like MaoMeow's suggestion to teach the kids skills for at their dad's house, like going into her room or whatever. Even better I think would be to get her brainstorming about things that might work to deescalate things with her dad. The goal isn't to find a solution, it's to get her thinking critically about new ways to approach thing.

I'd also say, and hopefully this is comforting, the fact that the kids didn't immediately implement the new rules at their dad's house doesn't mean they won't. I find that when we try to teach the kids a new emotional skill, they spend some time perfecting it over here before they bring it into their relationships with their friends or at their mom's house. Usually it takes so long that I think, well, it's never going to work ... and then the kids will describe a situation where they perfectly put the new skills into play. It's tough for the kids to undo their dad's triangulation, give it some time for them to create more positive routines.