When the kids come back to my house

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When the kids come back to my house
« on: September 19, 2018, 05:56:30 PM »
I just want to say, everyone on here that posted about a change in behaviors when the kids returned to their house from the PD's was absolutely right. When I read those posts I would think to myself "huh, that sucks, but stbx would never..." I'm here to say, that yes. Yes he does! All of those things that were mentioned last year, last month, last week...it's all happening!

A few examples:

-He sends them back to me wearing clothes that are too small (even though I left all of the kids' clothes with him and bought them new clothing for my house).

-He sends them to school on 90 degree days in long sleeve shirts.

-The kids come back to me with stomachaches.

-They are constantly at each other's throats.

-They are so tired after stbx's weekend that we are missing some of their Monday extracurricular activities.

When I read these types of examples in other's posts, I thought "no way, stbx is too rigid. he has too many rules!" He was the one who demanded an early bedtime for the kids. I had to fight to get him to agree to allow DS12 to stay up past 8:30! He wanted them in bed early so he wouldn't have to deal with them after dinner. He would rage if one of them was up past 9:00 doing homework, now I'll get a phone call from DD at 9:30 full of panic because she just started her homework.

Now, when the kids get back to me, I have to force them back into getting along - as much as I can, seeing as they're tween and teen aged. It takes a good two days or more for them to relax around each other. I feel like by the time they're back on track, I have to send them back to him and the cycle repeats. I know he pits them against each other - they're easier to control if they're not teaming up against him.

Every time they come back to me, they have some kind of intestinal distress. It takes days for it to go through their systems. What is he feeding them??

I just want to scream. stbx makes gobs of money. He can buy clothes for the kids, but he doesn't. He could feed them healthier meals, but he doesn't. He could make sure they get to bed at a decent hour on school nights, but he doesn't (he once told me Sunday didn't count as a school night  :roll:).

Is this intentional? Does he just not know any better? Is he trying to sabotage my time with the kids?
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

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


Associate of Daniel

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Re: When the kids come back to my house
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2018, 06:52:26 PM »
"Is he trying to sabotage my time with the kids?".

IME and IMO, yes.

My ds11 spends every Friday and Saturday night with u/npd exH and his nwife.

It takes a good 2 to 3 days for him to return to bring my beautiful boy again.

He is ridiculously tired when he returns, having stayed up far too late watching inappropriate movies. He has a tv in his room at their place, something I won't allow at my place, even for myself.

His tiredness makes church attendance difficult and of course effects school for a couple of days, and it's a struggle to maintain my patience with his hyperactivity, disobedience and bad attitude.

They also poison his mind with all sorts of lies about me and ds's school. So I spend a few days each week doing damage control.

But thankfully that's about all I have to contend with.  I only have 1 child so my problems are not as many as yours.

I wish I had some advice. Hopefully some others here can help us out.



Penny Lane

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Re: When the kids come back to my house
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2018, 09:08:39 PM »
We have seen ALL of these with BM and they drive me insane! (Except we don't see the stomacheaches - your poor kids!)

The 7-year-old just came back in FOUR YEAR OLD underwear. Nice things the kids wear over to her house often don't come back. Or they come back several years later when they're way too small. It's amazing how much clothing cost she manages to push onto us. Now we just buy the kids tons of extra clothes at thrift stores so that it's no big deal if a bunch of their clothes go missing. If nothing else, it means that we're less invested in whether the clothes make it back.

The kids always come back exhausted. Kindergarten was the worst because their little bodies are already tired from the new school hours, and on top of that the kid just wasn't getting enough sleep. It's gotten slightly better over the years. I don't think that's because they're actually getting more sleep, just that we're getting better at making sure they're caught up and the kids are getting old enough that they can handle a couple nights of less sleep. And even still we see some pretty terrible tantrums after they get back from their mom's house. BM goes back and forth between lying about what time they go to bed (the kids report going to sleep hours later than she says or watching late night shows hours after she says they went to bed) and saying it's not her job to put them to bed on time. In what I think are some of her more honest moments, she's told SO that she doesn't know how to get the kids to bed and that there are a lot of struggles at bedtime at her house.

The kids also fight a LOT more when they get back from her house and they have all kinds of behavior issues that crop up, especially after they've been with her for an extra long stretch. These kids are normally so clever, funny, insightful, well-behaved - seriously I am so lucky to have such good stepkids. But they come back from their mom's house and they're cranky, tantrumy, lethargic and just really unhappy. Lately things have been really bad between BM and SO and the kids have been even extra stressed when they come over. It's like, they have to let the stress melt off them for a little while before they're themselves again. It breaks my heart.

I always go back and forth on whether BM does it on purpose or if she just can't help it. I think it's both. The clothing stuff is definitely petty and on purpose. You could probably track her mood with the clothes - the smaller and more ridiculous the clothes are, the madder she is at SO at that moment. But with bedtime, like I said, I think she really just has a hard time. Like your ex, she talks a big game about how strict she is and how important rules are to her. But I think in reality her house has very little structure and she doesn't know how to manage schedules or stuff like that. On the other hand, I don't know if she's purposely keeping them up late (at least always ... I do think she does sometimes) but it certainly doesn't seem to bother her that it makes it harder for them on SO's time.

Like AOD I don't have any good advice. We try to combat it with lots of structure overall and lots of extra love and attention on exchange days. We try to make sure the kids know we expect them to behave right even if they're tired. But at the end of the day you can't make up for the problems at the other house. I just hope the kids grow up and know that they like living in calm stability rather than tired chaos.

Sorry your ex has managed to do even worse than your expectations. It's amazing, you think things couldn't be worse but they always find a way to disappoint. AARRRGGGHHH! is right.



cant turn back

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Re: When the kids come back to my house
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2018, 09:57:50 PM »
I think it is a control issue.  He knows itís going to bug you... thatís enough reason.  Also, possibly baiting  you so you have to initiate discussion with him, which he would hijack and manipulate so as to turn the wheel again, try to reel you in.. then try to (TRY) to paint you out to be a control freak to the court.
In my situation I think my STBXH quietly  sabotages DD15 (lax rules, lax expectations, indulging in whims) because, if she struggles or if her schooling or sports or social life go badly, he can blame it on me and on divorce.. so, he doesnít have to be the bad guy actually parenting our DD15, he can just be a victim and I can accept all the responsibility.
Games and manipulation.


Stepping lightly

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Re: When the kids come back to my house
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2018, 10:44:43 AM »
We definitely get kids that come back extremely exhausted and non-stop bickering at each other.  Part of our management of it is to have a pretty low key transition night- they come back and we watch a movie or hang out.  It gives them a chance to quietly readjust.  BM keeps the kids on the go from sun up to sundown, so it wipes them out- plus I don't think they eat properly at her house.  DH said that she has always operated that way, almost like if she stops for a second her brain will be able to catch up to reality and see the truth...and not her false narrative she believes and feeds everyone.

So- we are firm with bedtimes and good nutrition- but we have really let the kids chill and watch a bit more tv etc than we normally would....just so they can check out and relax for a bit.  We push back on BM scheduling our time the way she schedules her time, and that HAS been a nonstop battle. 

Interestingly- we have noticed a trend in their behavior being more difficult if we have to see BM during an activity on our time.  The kids will be really difficult up through the time with BM...and then you can actually SEE the stress and tension melt away and they are giggly and happy again once it's over. 

 BM has made the SAME exact accusation of us, however.  She says it takes her days to "reprogram" the kids when they go back to her house.  I have a lot of things I can say to that, but part of me has to be fair and understand that the kids are being yanked back and forth....and there are different expectations at both houses....so naturally there is going to be an adjustment time.  It is amazing how she can twist it though.  DSS goes back to her house angry, because he has told her...and us...he doesn't want to be at her house.  She has twisted this to be OUR mistreatment of DSS and spoiling him or we cause emotional instability in him during our time and she has to fix it...or whatever reason that's convenient at the time.



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Re: When the kids come back to my house
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2018, 07:04:16 PM »
Your children my have digestion issues due to stress, and it could take a while to work the stress out of their systems.



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Re: When the kids come back to my house
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2018, 06:25:46 PM »
  BM keeps the kids on the go from sun up to sundown, so it wipes them out-

I kept my son in preK because he still needed naps.... his dad said he doesn't need naps because he stays up fine at his house, they wrestle and rough-house and play and he never needs naps.... I think the poor kid is overly stimulated, but dad thinks it's training him out of needing naps. 
But the next night at my house, when he falls asleep at 5:30 pm and won't even wake up to eat?? can't be healthy.

Anyway, transitions back and forth have been rough, my new husband and I call the first night back a "retraining" night of getting back into our expectations and routines.  I tend to expect that first night back to be a bit of a challenge, so we try to take it easy.