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Is this the counseling working?

1dad4kids's picture

The other day when DH picked SS10 up from school he told DH he'd been called a name on the playground. DH handled it, then when SS10 got home and I asked how school was he had DH tell me about the name. DH told me later that after SS10 had told him about the name calling that he thanked him for letting him tell him. DH was confused but didn't say so, he just said "anytime, that's what I'm here for". 

Today SS10 was quarantined at school because he wasn't feeling well. He explained to me that he had a stomach ache in the morning before school but felt better after eating. Then at school it was bike riding in gym class which he said he kinda likes but kinda not. He took his sweater off and got cold and said his whole face went hot and then his stomach started hurting again. Something similar happened to my nephew repeatedly during his school year last year and it was eventually discovered to be anxiety. My nephew is 11 months older than SS10, they are close cousins although they live about 5 hours apart. 

So I take SS10 into his room when he gets home and I go over how him and Nephew are similar (ADHD, age, blended families, etc etc) and SS10 is happily agreeing. I tell him that nephew had the same issues last year and that it ended up being anxiety. I assured SS10 that I am not saying it is anxiety, and we discuss how it could be a stomach bug, the effects of increasing his ADHD meds and etc. Afterwards I ask if he could just pay attention, if it happens frequently maybe it is anxiety and he should tell his Mom, or DH or I, his teacher or even his counselor if he wants. We finish up the conversation and I get ready to leave. SS10 stops me and asks me to sit back down on his bed. 

He then starts to open up about what's going on at his Mom's house. His step sisters are living with him apparently because their mom's new boyfriend hit her. He said his Mom and stepdad are going to court and his Mom is stressed out and the court date keeps changing. He goes on to say he doesn't like his sister's Mom because she fired his stepdad from his job. (DH and I knew this, but we aren't sure how this happened. SS10 didn't elaborate). He said his sister's still said their Mom is nice and he didn't understand that. I compared it to if I said his Mom did something bad and he agreed he would still love her and think she's nice. We talked a bit more about how he can support his sister's etc. 

After that convo then he opened up to me about thinking he might try to get a gf. He asks me about growing out his hair to make him irresistible like he was when he was little. (How adorable to think that him being irresistible to people when he was 3 was just from his curly hair lol). I told him to make a friend with a girl before trying to be her bf and he said he promised to tell me before he asked anyone to be his gf. 

I've been feeling a bit disconnected from SS10 lately. I was worried BM was alienating SS10 from us as he didn't really seem to want to spend time with me. Aside from opening up to me about his fears  for counseling because of what his mom said he'd been distant. He's had 3 counseling sessions since then. Do you think his openness and communication with me (he really never talks about his Mom's house with anything negative) is due to the counseling. DH seems to think so, I think it's likely as well. I'm hopeful it's opening us up for a steady communication. 

If it's the counseling then Yay! If it's just SS10 warming up to me again then Yay! Im hopeful this means no more alienation in the future! 




JRI's picture

Whatever it is, yaa!  Reading what he's talking about is touching.  Hoping for the best.

tog redux's picture

My SS did the same thing during court - most likely he's just very anxious and stressed and looking for a supportive person to talk to.

1dad4kids's picture

Did your SS know about court? SS10 doesn't know anything about lawyers etc. He just knows about the C&A interview and the counseling session but he thinks his parents ordered those both- he doesn't realize it was a legal obligation.

But he does know about the other ongoing trial. He's got a lot on his plate right now. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, he knew everything and he was under a great deal of pressure from BM to go along with what she wanted. Here, they get an "Attorney For The Child" and BM was pressuring him to say to that attorney that he wanted more time with her.  At the time, they had 50/50 with no child support, but if the divorce was finalized with 50/50, BM would owe DH full child support since she was the higher earner.  So gradually she chipped away at SS until she got what she wanted.

He used to come into our room crying at night and apologizing to DH for lying to the attorney. It was heartbreaking.

I'm guessing your SS knows quite well that BM does not want DH to get more custody time. He may not understand court, but I'm guessing he senses BM's upset and urgency to not let DH have more time.  She may even be outright bribing and pressuring him like BM here did.

1dad4kids's picture

Oh that's heartbreaking. Truly. 

Yes he's aware that DH wants him more, and that BM doesn't agree. He's also aware the C&a interviewer thinks it's in his best interest to spend more time with DH. He's adjusting, honestly I feel like that part (since he's back to EOW with us) is probably at the least of his worries. But something is bothering him, that's for sure. 

tog redux's picture

My experience was that BM didn't filter what she said to SS - he knew everything.  It may not bother him to spend more time with you - but it may bother him a great deal if BM is trying to get him to tell the therapist that he doesn't want to spend more time with you guys. BM is clearly trying to sway the therapist and SS would be her most useful tool.

Look how he knows that Stepdad's ex-wife got him fired - who tells a 10-year-old that? BM here treated SS like her mini-husband, he knew everything about everything.

1dad4kids's picture

I was surprised he had so much knowledge of what was happening. He told me "I heard them talking". He's known to be an eavesdropper so it wouldn't surprise me if he was listening in on private convos. But it also wouldn't surprise me if BM was talking openly about it because her DH and his EX had a very bad relationship and his girls grew up in that toxic crap. 

Lndsy747's picture

Completely agree. I think OP is probably underestimating how much the kids knows. If he knows that much about his Step Dad and Step sisters he probably knows about court and just won't talk about it.

JRI's picture

My kids and SKs are grown now but I'm surprised about how much they know about what was going on back in the day, both at our house and at BM's.  They weren't stupid and put two and two together more than I thought. .