I don't know what to do anymore.

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Whiteheron

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I don't know what to do anymore.
« on: April 01, 2019, 09:13:24 AM »
Kids were with stbx this past weekend. Last night on the phone, DD tells me that DS was saying to her that he would kill her and also told her that she was going to cause him to kill himself. I asked her if she told her dad, and she said yes, but that he did nothing.
Over the phone, I had to reassure her that DS was not going to kill her (they actually get along very well, except at stbx's house) and that she was not responsible for other people's actions.

Later on I speak to DS. I don't bring it up, we talk about other things. Then towards the end of our conversation, he says 'well I guess you heard what happened'. I told him I'd heard some things, but that I didn't know if it was the same thing he was talking about. He then started almost gloating about how he "emotionally abused DD" on purpose because she asked him to turn down his music and she had been 'picking on him'. I told him that emotional abuse was completely unacceptable and I did not appreciate hearing what he'd done. He then squarely blamed DD - said that it was all her fault because she... :blink: triggered. I told him this was non-negotiable and something I felt very strongly about - that emotional abuse is not allowed and how it doesn't matter what is said or done to you, nothing gives you the right to emotionally abuse someone. Then he tried to make me feel guilty for saying all of this, accusing me of ruining his evening.  :blink: triggered.

DS sounded just like his dad. And now I'm questioning if I reacted too harshly, but I don't believe I did. I spoke in a stern voice to let DS know I mean business. DS asked what I was going to do, I told DS that we would all sit down together (DS, DD, and myself) to try to talk this through. He's worried I will punish him, but I do not punish the kids for things that happen at stbx's house.

I'm thinking I should call DS's T and let her know about his threats to DD...but I'm still reeling from my conversation with DD's T (see my 'hands are tied' post for details). I just don't know what to do anymore. I thought everything was going ok. I thought (mistakenly) that people were seeing what was going on...so I'm feeling very down about all of that, and now this. I just can't anymore. I feel like all of the things I teach the kids about respect and getting along come unraveled every other weekend.
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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hhaw

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Re: I don't know what to do anymore.
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2019, 12:25:07 PM »
WH:

I think you should report the threat to your DD's T.

About the threat, expectations for behavior, getting between kids who bicker, etc.... there's always advice out there for more and less parental intervention, IME. 

I've had peers tell me I was too involved, and peers say not involved enough.  My youngest dd thought I should have been more strict with her and with her older sister.

You might want to research parent coaches in your area, to get more insight, and peace of mind around this.

This is all about boundaries, expectations and enforcing boundaries in a healthy way with kiddos.... I think it would pay off to do that proactively, and not wait.

Does your ds have a therapist?



hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Penny Lane

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Re: I don't know what to do anymore.
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2019, 02:17:37 PM »
Hi WhiteHeron,
It sounds like you're feeling really overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. I certainly would in your shoes! You're dealing with an overwhelming situation with no right answers. I know I would be beside myself if this happened with my stepkids.

So first, take a deep breath. You can do this! You don't have to find the perfect combination of words and actions to resolve this. Your kids need you to do your best, not be some imaginary perfect mom.

You are NOT going to be at your best if you're feeling triggered. And it sounds like you're already kind of raw because of your disappointment at DD's T. So I suggest your first step is to get in a better space, mentally. Maybe that just means taking a couple days before you address it with the kids. Maybe that means some self-care (whatever that looks like for you) or a visit to your own T.

The second thing is that it sounds like you have a good plan in place! I definitely think you should talk to DS's T and probably DD's too. I love the idea of talking to both kids together about this. And I also think your policy of not punishing DS for things that happen at his dad's house is really smart. I think all that is very wise, very good parenting!

If I could add a couple suggestions: In addition to explaining to DS why he shouldn't say this sort of thing, I think DD needs some suggestions for how to handle it if it comes up again. I think you could explicitly tell both kids that anytime someone threatens suicide, the right thing to do is call 911. Maybe you could brainstorm together what to do if he threatens to kill her again (!!!).

Would it also help to kind of prepare yourself to answer the stuff DS might say? Like, if he says again that you ruined his evening, you could tell him that if his evening is ruined it's the repercussions of his own actions, not your fault. Stuff like that.

Good luck! You sound like a really good mom and it really does sound like you are doing a good job with a tough situation.

 :bighug:

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Whiteheron

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Re: I don't know what to do anymore.
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2019, 06:45:21 PM »
Thanks hhaw and pennylane. Yes, hhaw, DS has his own T.

I was able to get more (unsolicited) information this afternoon. DS wanted to explain and give me 'his side' of the story. He claims DD was picking on him relentlessly. He asked her three times to please stop. (three times is my rule) She refused, which is not uncommon. DS asked his dad to help, stbx flat out refused and told DS he was "on his own". DS let his dad know he was at his breaking point, but stbx still refused to help. DS let stbx know that he was going to 'let her have it" if he didn't help. stbx still refused. (which happens a lot)

So DS took it upon himself to say the most mean and hurtful things to DD just to get her to go away and leave him alone. Then he got in trouble for telling DD to "just shut up."

None of this is ok. I told DS that it was his dad's responsibility to step in and put a stop to things when they escalate like this. Especially if one of them specifically asks for help. (and how does DD's T see this type of parenting as ok???)

When I picked DS up from school this afternoon, he said he was glad to be with a parent who won't tolerate this bullsh*t. (I won't tolerate it from either of them.)

So it sounds like both were guilty. DS knows that in a few days we will talk about more constructive ways he can handle his anger. He knows what he said is unacceptable. DD knows it's unacceptable to pick on DS relentlessly (but seems to be emboldened when with stbx and takes it farther than she normally would). Everything I teach them goes right out the window wen they're at stbx's for the weekend. It's a toxic house.

It also sounds like the tide is turning and DD is slowly but surely becoming the gc.

I'm feeling down and very fragile. I need a break from all this PD nonsense. Thank you for all of your support!
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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hhaw

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Re: I don't know what to do anymore.
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2019, 09:40:59 PM »
Sounds like progress,WH.

I'm sorry it's so hard.
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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athene1399

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Re: I don't know what to do anymore.
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2019, 09:40:35 AM »
I'm so sorry this is going on , WH, but it sounds like you handled it well.  It does help to go over with kids how to tell someone they are annoying them politely or to role-play a situation. They don't always do it in practice, but the more you remind them of appropriate responses the better. And remind them that as frustrating as it is at times, that they are only in charge of themselves and their own behaviors. Feeling upset is okay, but it's how we behave when we're upset that makes all the difference.

It sounds like the kids know what to do, but get so frustrated it goes out the window.  That must make you even more frustrated. Especially since it looks like this behavior doesn't go on at your house. Just let them know you understand how frustrating it must be for them (I think you already did). Sometimes all you can do is empathize and let them know you are hearing what they are saying. It sounds like you already do this. :) I try to tell myself that one day it won't be so frustrating. That helps me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.